Tag Archives: AMISOM

The UN and 250,000 Dead Somalis

The UN has announced that in 2010-2012, including the Great Horn of Africa Drought period, at least 250,000 Somalis starved to death.

Most of those who died from starvation were internally displaced persons, displaced in the main by the military invasion and occupation of southern Somalia by the UN backed Ethiopian Army and then the AU “peacekeepers”, today some 25,000 strong.

When I last wrote about starvation in Somalia I spoke of the UN budgeting 10 cents a day for food aid to feed each Somali refugee. Its called a “budget shortfall” as in “we want to help but we just don’t have the money”.

Yet during this period of mass starvation of the Somali people the UN and its western overlords spent over $1 billion funding its military “peacekeeping mission” in what’s left of the country.

$1 billion for war and 250,000 Somalis left to starve to death?

Maybe knowing that the head of the largest UN food aid “ngo” in Somalia, UNICEF, is Anthony “Tony” Lake, formerly National Security Advisor of the USA and once nominated to be Director of the CIA can help one understand why this happened.

Tony Lake is the one who so infamously stated he “regretted” not doing anything while knowing full well mass murder was going on in Rwanda on his watch as Bill Clinton’s right hand man in 1994. CIA to UNICEF? Should one be suprised to find mass starvation under his watch in Somalia?

Today, while the propaganda machines in the western media speak of “peace and democracy coming to Somalia for the first time in a generation” they some how forget how Somalis themselves brought peace to Mogadishu in 2006 only to see the UN backed Ethiopian invasion send it all up in smoke.

The television news channels may trot out a few tame Somalis to spout rhetoric about “Somalis running the show” behind the cameras stand “peacekeepers” armed to the teeth by the UN backed by the banktatorships in the west.

The fact is no power no matter how strong can bring peace to Somalia from without, only the Somali people, left alone to sort out their own problems can do so. In 2006 the Union of Islamic Courts succeeded for the first time in 15 years to no avail due to armed intervention ordered by the USA and its minions in the UN. This externally funded and directed armed conflict continues to drive hundreds of thousands of Somalis from their land and homes leaving them to starve on the UN’s bounty of 10 cents a day.

And all the while more arms pour into Somalia from the west with Pax Americana demanding that any and all paper restrictions on such be lifted, all in the name of the “war on terror”, really a “war of terror”, a war on the Somali people whose main misfortune turns out to be that they live smack in the middle of the Horn of Africa astride the “Gate of Tears”, Baab Al Mandeb, where the Indian Ocean meets the Red Sea through which the largest economies in the world depend on to ship their goods.

Writing about the enormous, inhuman crimes committed by the UN in the Horn of Africa has become almost to painful to continue to do. But when the UN sends its talking heads to tell the world that a quarter million more Somalis died these past two years, died by mass starvation what choice does one have but to once again raise a voice in protest for turning your head away from the television and pretending not to hear is simply not a decision I for one can live with.

Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com.

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Unmasking Britain’s crude plans for Somalia

It has been three months since the British conference on 23 February, set up by the ruling imperialist powers to define their idea of a future for Somalia. Since then, the British government has been hardly public on its plans, but through its influence in the UN in Kenya and Uganda, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in Somali waters, a new proxy war is being waged against Somali people in a battle for their natural resources and sovereign nation.

The first EU NAVFOR attack hit Somali shores on 15 May at 3am. Sea-based attack helicopters bombed ‘pirate supplies’ on a beach near Harardhere, which in detail only amounted to three speed boats, four ladders, and fishing supplies being destroyed. EU NAVFOR Lieutenant Commander Sherriff was quoted as saying: ‘What we want to do is make life more difficult for these guys’ (New York Times). Residents are reportedly terrified, due to reports of Somali fishermen being killed by foreigners, such as the two murdered by the US Navy on 17 March (Somalia Report).

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London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab

Originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 226 April/May 2012 (see: London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab)

Photo by Aimee Valinski

The London Conference on Somalia on 23 February, convened and hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, was the 15th attempt since 1993 to solve the ‘Somalia problem’, all of which have ended in failure. The Conference was a grubby cover to enable Britain and the US to bargain over Somalia’s oil resources. Its final communiqué stated that ‘decisions on Somalia’s future rest with the Somali people’, but like the final statement read by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, it was written before the Conference. They agreed to ‘inject momentum into the political process, strengthen AMISOM [the African Union mission] and help Somalia develop security forces, build stability, and tackle pirates and terrorists’.

The presidents of autonomous Puntland, Somaliland and Galmudug and Islamist militia ASWJ attended the Conference along with three members of the TFG. Britain promised ‘humanitarian and security assistance’ to the respective autonomous regions in the country. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 was passed before the Conference to avoid it ‘dominating the agenda’: AMISOM will be increased from 12,000 to 17,731 police and troops, and equipment support increased, doubling the required UN budget to $500m annually. 4,600 Kenyan troops make up the bulk of the increase.

The London Communiqué proposes the TFG be dissolved, that elections take place when its mandate runs out in August 2012 and that a ‘representative government’ replace it. The TFG’s mandate actually ran out in 2011 but it was undemocratically extended by 12 months following pressure from Uganda, then the main contributor to AMISOM. Following a brawl in parliament in January, where the Speaker had to be removed, the TFG has been in paralysis. Gelled by personal greed, it has been characterised since 2004 by a power struggle between the President and the Speaker of the parliament, who both try to use the Prime Minister as their dummy. The TFG has no legitimacy or support amongst Somali people, no money (97% of its funds are from international donors), no civil service, no troops and no sense of shame. It has been a monumental and expensive eight-year failure imposed on Somalia by US and British imperialism. There is no evidence that a new technocratic government will be any different.

As well as piously ‘condemn[ing] terrorism and violent extremism’ the London Communiqué proposed a Joint Financial Management Board (JFMB) ‘to increase transparency and accountability in the…use of public revenues, [and] international development aid.’ Essentially, this will be an international committee to oversee the Somali ‘government’ and contain its crude corruption. Just days before the Conference, the sacked head of the Public Finance Management Unit of the TFG, Abdirazak Fartaag, revealed that TFG top executives use the Somali Central Bank, the repository of all TFG revenues and ‘aid’, as personal bank accounts.

Al Shabaab, the Islamic militant organisation which was formed in response to the Ethiopian invasion of 2006, promised to ‘confront and counter, by any means possible, all the outcomes of the London Conference.’ Britain appointed itself (in the form of William Hague) to monitor implementation of the Conference dictats.

However, away from the fanfare of the London Conference on Somalia, secret talks were going on ‘between British officials and Somali counterparts over exploiting oil reserves that have been explored’ in Somalia (Observer, 25 February 2012). The Puntland minister for international cooperation admitted: ‘We have spoken to a number of UK officials; some have offered to help us with the future management of oil revenues.’ Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Ali said a share of natural resources would be offered in return for help with ‘reconstruction’: ‘What we need is capital from countries like the UK to invest.’ BP and Shell promised to support ‘job-creation projects’ in the coastal regions.

The potential for oil and natural gas off Somalia in the Indian Ocean is the big prize for imperialism. The entire East African coastline is teeming with international oil company exploration teams on land and offshore, and is expected to rival the massive oil fields of West Africa. Fields containing reserves estimated at 110 trillion cubic feet of gas have been found off Mozambique and Tanzania in recent months. Britain’s top priority in Africa is to secure access to its natural resources and it has rushed to get first dibs on Somali oil ahead of US and Chinese rivals. Al Shabaab has refused to recognise exploration licences issued by the regional authorities, and is apparently heading for Puntland to attack oil drilling there. It is unlikely that 17,700 AMISOM troops will succeed in defeating a more organised Al Shabaab, when 30,000 international UNOSOM troops failed to secure Somalia in the 1990s.

Charles Chinweizu

Originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 226 April/May 2012 (see: London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab and www.revolutionarycommunist.org)

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