Monday, March 15, 2010

Pentagon says it will bomb in Somalia to wipe out resistance

Pentagon says it will bomb in Somalia to wipe out resistance

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A recent statement issued by the Obama administration indicates that it is planning to carry out aerial bombardments in the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia. The announcement comes amid intense fighting in the capital of Mogadishu between the two Islamic resistance movements, Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, and the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government that is ruling the country.

It is broadly acknowledged that the TFG only controls a small section of the capital, having conceded other areas in Mogadishu and throughout the south and central regions to both resistance organizations. The U.S. is financing the presence of an African Union peacekeeping force known as AMISOM, which consists of approximately 5,000 troops from the pro-Western regimes of Uganda and Burundi.

Complicating matters further, there has been growing hostility between Hizbul Islam and Al Shabaab, resulting in clashes over control of the southern port city of Kismayo. Hizbul Islam has stated its willingness to engage in dialogue with Al Shabaab but has refused to hold negotiations with the TFG headed by Sheikh Shariff Sheikh Ahmed.

Sheikh Ibrahim Bare Mohammed, the Hizbul Islam Deputy Commander in the Bandir region, pledged to retain control of the areas occupied by his organization. “We are controlling many parts of Mogadishu and we will defend these areas because we are already here.” (Garowe Online, March 8)

The Hizbul Islam official continued: ‘”We cannot accept our enemy controlling this region and we are not afraid of the American government. We will defeat any attack from the Somali government.”

The same article reported that U.S. officials have said, “What you are likely to see is air strikes and Special Ops moving in, hitting and getting out.” The Obama administration has continued the same policy against Somalia as that of the previous regime of George W. Bush.

Gen. Mohamed Gelle Kahiya, the recently appointed commander of the TFG military, confirmed that the U.S. would be involved in the offensive. The Obama administration, just like its predecessors, views Somalia as strategic to imperialist interests.

According to the March 5 New York Times, “The United States is increasingly concerned about the link between Somalia and Yemen, a growing extremist hot spot, with fighters going back and forth across the Red Sea in what one Somali watcher described as an ‘Al Qaeda exchange program.’”

To minimize U.S. casualties and exact maximum damage to the Somali people, U.S. Special Forces are training and coordinating the TFG to stage ground operations while the U.S. forces handle bombings from the air and offshore. “This is not an American offensive,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson told the Times. “The U.S. military is not on the ground in Somalia. Full stop.”

The Times continues: “The Americans have provided covert training to Somali intelligence officers, logistical support to the peacekeepers, fuel for the maneuvers, surveillance information about insurgent positions and money for the bullets and guns. ... Washington is also using its heft as the biggest supplier of humanitarian aid to Somalia to encourage private aid agencies to move quickly into ‘new liberated areas’ and deliver services like food and medicine to the beleaguered Somali people in an effort to make the government more popular.”

The Obama administration has increased U.S. military assistance to Somalia over the last several months. The New York Times admits that during 2009, when the TFG was on the verge of collapse, the U.S. sent in millions of dollars in weapons.

In addition to the Obama administration’s commitment to launch military strikes against Somalia, the activity of various European imperialist states and Canada is designed to increase pressure on the resistance forces in the country.

On March 5, European Union Naval spokesperson Commander John Harbour revealed that his forces have anticipated a spike in so-called “piracy” attacks off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. “We know they’re coming,” said Harbour. “We’re taking the fight to the pirates.” (Associated Press)

On the same day the French frigate Nivose reported seizing 35 “pirates” in three days off the coast of Somalia. In four operations in early March, eleven people were reported taken into French custody, with the assistance of a Spanish maritime airplane that was engaged in a European Union military mission in the region.

The EU initiated what it calls the “Atalanta Anti-Piracy Mission” in December 2008 in a concerted plan with the U.S., NATO and other countries to guarantee undisturbed passage for vessels traveling through the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, the world’s busiest shipping lane.

This massive build-up over the last 15 months failed to eliminate attacks on ships by Somalis seeking compensation from firms for use of the waterways. In April 2009, the U.S. Navy killed three Somali teenagers who had held a U.S. boat in the Gulf of Aden. One 16-year-old was taken into custody, and is awaiting trial in New York City charged with crimes under U.S. law.

Somalia and the ‘war on terrorism’

In preparation for the upcoming offensive against Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam in Somalia, the Canadian, British and U.S. governments have taken measures against Somali expatriates living in these imperialist states. Canada authorities agreed to list Al Shabaab as a “terrorist group” purportedly to prevent the organization from raising funds inside the country. They also announced that anyone convicted of aiding the Somali resistance organization will be guilty of a criminal offense.

The British government is taking similar action against Al Shabaab, claiming that the Somali group is connected to Al Qaeda.

U.S. authorities recently brought a man to New York City to face charges of assisting a foreign “terrorist” organization. The indictment unsealed on March 8 claims that Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed had traveled to Somalia in April 2009 and was trained at an Al Shabaab camp. Al Shabaab has been designated a “terrorist” organization by the U.S.

In 1992, the George H.W. Bush administration sent thousands of U.S. Marines into Somalia under the banner of United Nations Mission “Restore Hope.” Over the next 18 months, Somali resistance forces fought the U.S. military, which engaged in brutal acts of occupation and aggression against the people.

U.S. military losses forced the Clinton administration to withdraw. After 2001 Somalia became a central focus of the so-called “war on terrorism,” which is really designed to establish U.S. imperialist control over the Horn of Africa region and the surrounding waterways.

In 2006 Washington financed and coordinated a military invasion by the pro-Western government in neighboring Ethiopia. Most Ethiopian soldiers withdrew in January 2009 but have periodically entered the border regions to carry out operations against the resistance forces of Al Shabaab.

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