Tag Archives: UN

Thomas C Mountain radio interview – UN responsible for Somali famine

An eye opening interview has been recorded with journalist Thomas C Mountain, one of the most prolific and widely circulated journalists who writes on Africa

In the interview, Mountain reveals the role the UN  have played in Somalia, and how they are responsible for literally thousands of deaths of people during the famine. It also discusses the myths surrounding the disaster, ‘aid’, and the role of Britain, US and the UN to show how they act purely in the interests of imperialism in East Africa.

http://scotthorton.org/2013/05/10/5713-thomas-c-mountain/

Its a must listen!!! We encourage all our supporters and followers to check it out and learn the facts.

More information can be found in the recent article posted on our blog 

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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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Imperialism stirs conflict in North Somalia

Originally posted by Global Research

See also: http://somalilandpress.com/energy-juniors-eye-somaliland-oil-potential-38189

Tony Hayward makes a deal for Genel Oil in Puntland

British Tony Hayward makes a deal for Genel Oil in Puntland

On Monday the  5th of November 2012, Somaliland forces mounted an offensive [1] against Khatumo state forces based in Hudun town.

Hudun[2] town is situated in the western parts of Sool province, in what was a relatively peaceful area of Northern Somalia.

Pro Somaliland media outlets reported [3] that “the skirmishes” were the result of elements who were trying to intimidate voters in the “local elections [4]” that was held in Somaliland. However the offensive launched by Somaliland on the 5th of November proved to be just the start of what would be a prolonged offensive campaign waged by Somaliland on Khatumo State forces based in Hudun town.

Repeated [5] clashes followed on the  28th of November, the  1st31st of December, the 23th24th of January, the  1st13th of February 2013, with the most recent one being on the 8th of March. The offensive on the  8th of March followed the  press release [6] by Jacka resources on 6th March of large structural petroleum prospects in North Somalia.

In three months’ time Somaliland attacked Hudun a total of nine times. Sources close to Somaliland have confirmed Somaliland is planning a new major offensive. In spite of Somaliland’s continued offensive, Khatumo remains in firm control of Hudun town.

Illegitimate Oil Deals

Prior to the start of its offensive on the 5th of November, Somaliland signed a deal [7] on the 30th of October 2012 with  Genel Energy Plc to drill two wells for Oil in Northwestern Somalia, on two blocks assigned by Somaliland. Soon after the deal Somaliland militia headed towards Hudun and attacked the town.

Hudun town is situated on the Nugaal block [8]one of the blocks to be drilled for oil.

The Nugaal block is a stretch of land situated in the regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (Buhoodle town) in short the SSC [9] regions, and to a lesser extend Nugaal region. The Nugaal block has been  sold [10] to oil companies by both Somaliland and Puntland. Somaliland has sold the land to Genel Energy led by  Tony Hayward, the former BP CEO, who headed BP during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Puntland has sold the land to Horn Petroleum.

However both entities do not control or have minimal control of the Nugaal Block, with the later having no physical presence at all in the SSC region. There are also claims being made by large international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell [11], who possess old oil exploration licenses granted by the former Somali government of Major General Mohamed Siad Barre. The SSC region is not only rich in Oil but also has large reserves of Tin, Iron Ore, Zircominium, Copper, Cobalt and Chromium.

The Nugaal Block is largely  controlled [12] by Khatumo State and cannot be sold to any foreign company without the consent of Khatumo State, that represents the aspirations of the local population.

Investors in companies who claim to have bought the rights to explore Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) from either Somaliland or Puntland should be informed about the facts on the ground, and the conflict that these oil deals have caused. Any funds disbursed to these two entities for drilling rights on the Nugaal block can be considered as an squandered investment and a lack of due diligence on the part of these companies.

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The Nugaal block is the most sought out by the oil companies, with prospective resources of 4.1 Billion barrels of oil.

Extraction of Oil and Minerals can only be done with the support of the local population represented by Khatumo State of Somalia.

The War Waged against Khatumo State and the SSC population

Puntland and Somaliland have been waging war against each-other in the SSC regions for a  decade [13] now, and in the last three years  against [14] Khatumo State of Somalia and its predecessor SSC.

Khatumo State of Somalia was created on the 12th of January 2012, in the historic town of Taleh [15]. The officials of  Khatumostate of Somalia [16] have been elected and endorsed by the civil society at large including the 13 Garaads of the SSC regions (prominent elders of SSC), women associations and business groups.

Since the creation of Khatumo State of Somalia and its predecessor SSC, Somaliland and Puntland have moved closer to each-other and have formed an alliance to fully eliminate any party that may challenge their claims to these regions. This alliance culminated into a  coordinated [17] attack on Khatumo State forces on the 28th of June 2012 by Puntland and Somaliland on Tukaraq a small village in Sool region, situated 15 Miles from Garowe, the capital of Puntland. The presumption in the SSC regions is that Puntland and Somaliland have divided the area between themselves.

Since the  capture of Lasanod by Somaliland on the 5th of October 2007, there has been a relentless war against the local population. The war waged by Somaliland includes the targeting of food convoys,  sexual violence [18], arbitrary excecutions of nomads [19] and their animals with mobile units of technicals mounted with machine guns. The wars waged by Somaliland in Buhoodle district alone have resulted in the displacement of  150,000 residents as reported [20] by the UN monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea. These fleeing civilians end up in villages and cities where safety is provided by Khatumo State of Somalia or end up in refugee camps in Kenya.

The displacement of civilians from their homes and livelihoods by Somaliland is the main cause of loss of life in the Northern region of Somalia. The war in the SSC region will continue and accelerate in the near future while Somaliland is trying to secure these regions for  seismic surveys on the ground and eventually drilling.

Despite Somaliland’s continues offensive it has been losing ground to Khatumo State that has the support of the local population.

The role of the International community and the UN

The UN has undertaken various governance and law programmes in Somaliland, including the training [21] of  Special police unitsmaritime police and the donating of vehicles [22]. The aim of these governance programs is to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of the security forces thereby “increasing security” in “Somaliland”.

These programs do not take into account the war waged by Somaliland on Khatumo State and the SSC population. Increasing the effectiveness of the security means increasing their ability to wage war. At the start of 2012, Somaliland started to use its newly acquired equipment and training received to  attack Buhoodle district.

The UN is aware of the war that Somaliland is waging in the SSC region but is still committed to funding “governance and law” programs in Somaliland and has even increased funding for these kind of projects for 2013. Through the UN, the  United  Kingdom and to a lesser extend the European Union have been the biggest donors to Somaliland. The budget of Somaliland depends on the funds made available by the International community.

The United Kingdom has been informed [23] of the war waged by Somaliland by the SSC diaspora living in the United Kingdom and is well aware of Somaliland’s war against Khatumo State of Somalia and its people. However it has promised increased funding [24]  to Somaliland. One has to question why the United Kingdom is funding Somaliland while it is waging war in the SSC regions of Somalia.

Although there has been a decade of war in North Somalia (Somaliland), there is a media blackout of the conflict. Many media outlets even portray Somaliland as an oases of Peace in Northern Somalia, with the BBC leading the way.

Khatumo State and the SSC population

Khatumo State of Somalia and the population living in the SSC regions are aware that the war is not only about Somaliland wanting to secede, but that it is increasingly a war for resources. Somaliland has been able to promote itself as being in full control of the SSC region to oil companies, and is actively seeking to “sell” land to these companies. The international community is keen to explore these resources.

The war in the SSC regions is developing into a war for the resources of North Somalia. The human and material cost suffered by the SSC population is of no relevance to Somaliland and the oil companies.

Khaatumo State and the SSC population are aware that the resources on their land can either be a blessing or a curse. Today Khaatumo State controls the majority of the SSC regions and is actively working towards the development of the region. It is the right of the people of Khaatumo State to choose their own destiny, and to develop their own land.

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Notes

1.  ”Somaliland troops clash with rebels in Hudun”. http://somaliamediamonitoring.org. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/november-6-2012-daily-monitoring-report/

2. Location Hudun, see: http://www.gomapper.com/travel/where-is/hudun-nugaal-located.html

3. ”Somaliland: Skirmishes in Hudun as Polling gets underway”. http://somalilandpress.com. 5 November 2012.

Retrieved 30 March, from http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-skirmishes-in-hudun-as-polling-gets-underway-38009

4. The local election held in Somaliland in 2012, was largely of tribal nature were each sub clan of the ruling Isaaq clan of Somaliland had its own party. The 4 (DhulbahanteGadabuursiIssa, and Warsangali) other clans of Somaliland did not participate and were not represented during the local election. See Steve Kibble. “Preparing for local elections in Somaliland”.http://www.progressio.org.uk. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/progressio.org.uk/files/Preparing-for-local-elections-Sld-2012.pd

5. Repeated clashes, see: “Fighting erupts in Hudun district, Sool region”. http://www.bar-kulan.com. 28 November 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/11/28/fighting-erupts-in-hudun-district-sool-region/, “Somaliland (Somalia) 1 Dec 2012″. http://www.crisisgroup.org. 1 December 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/crisiswatch/crisiswatch-database.aspx?CountryIDs={F8A09CE3-0615-4CBA-9EC7-7DCC2A088A7E}, “War in Xudun” (Somali language). http://www.lasanod.com. 31 December 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, from www.lasanod.com/details.php?wararPage=12&num=8520, “War in Xudun” (Somali language).http://www.lasanod.com. 22 January 2013.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.lasanod.com/details.php?wararPage=6&num=8637, “Somaliland:Khatumo Militias Dislodged from Hudun Bases”. http://somalilandsun.com. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://samotalis.blogspot.nl/2013/01/somalilandkhatumo-militias-dislodged.html, “Somaliland Army Crush Khatumo Aligned Militiamen”. somaliamediamonitoring.org. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 30 March, fromhttp://somaliamediamonitoring.org/january-25-2013-daily-monitoring-report/, “Somaliland (Somalia) 1 Feb 2013″.http://www.crisisgroup.org. 1 February 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/crisiswatch/crisiswatch-database.aspx?CountryIDs={F8A09CE3-0615-4CBA-9EC7-7DCC2A088A7E}, “North Somalia: Somaliland Militia & Khatumo State Forces Clash in Hudun Town, Sool Region, Somalia February 13. 2013″. http://awdalstatenews.com. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://awdalstatenews.com/north-somalia-somaliland-militia-khatumo-state-forces-clash-in-hudun-town-sool-region-somalia-february-13-2013/, “Somaliland: clashes between army and khaatumo separatist group militiamen in Hudun town”. http://beforeitsnews.com. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://beforeitsnews.com/war-and-conflict/2013/03/somaliland-clashes-between-army-and-khaatumo-separatist-group-militiamen-in-hudun-town-2445388.html

6. Bevis,Yeo. “Jacka Resources finds promising structures in Somaliland petroleum block”.http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from

7. ”Turkish firm eyes Somaliland”. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-firm-eyes-somaliland.aspx?pageID=238&nid=33524

8. ”Nogal and Dharoor valley blocks”. http://www.africaoilcorp.com. Retrieved 30 March, fromhttp://www.africaoilcorp.com/s/Nogal.asp

9. SSC region, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:SSC_Somalia/Sandbox1

10. Kelly Gilblom. “Row between Somali regions slows oil exploration”. http://uk.reuters.com. 11 May 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/11/somalia-oil-idUKL5E8GB3LG20120511

11. Jon Kamp. http://www.foxbusiness.com. 21 March 2013.  Retrieved 30 March, fromhttp://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/03/21/royal-dutch-shell-ceo-highlights-somalia-holdings/

12. Political map of Somalia, see: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Somalia_map_states_regions_districts.png

13. For an analysis, see: Markus V. Hoehne. “Puntland and Somaliland Clashing in Northern Somalia: Who Cuts the Gordian Knot?” http://hornofafrica.ssrc.org. 7 November 2007.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://hornofafrica.ssrc.org/Hoehne/

14. Mark Anderson. “Somaliland clashes with secessionists” http://www.reuters.com. 10 February 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/10/somalia-conflict-idUSL2E8D9BN420120210

15. Historic town of Taleh, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taleh

16. “What is Khatumo State”. http://www.somaliareport.com. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2013, from http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/3271/What_is_Khatumo_State

17. Abdinur Elmi Qaaje. Khatumo State of Somalia. “Joint war Waged by Somaliland and Puntland Administrations on Khatumo State of Somalia”. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://lasanod.com/details.php?wararPage=3&num=7679

18 Osman Hassan. “Somaliland occupying militia gang-rape 13-year old girl in Sool”. http://khatumo.net. 30 December

2012. Retrieved 04 April 2013 from http://khatumo.net/?p=1363. Dalmar Kaahin, a pro Somaliland reports of 13 old being raped. “Somaliland: the Violent Militant, Khatumo’s “Press Release” Back Fires”. http://somalilandpress.com. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-the-violent-militant-khatumo%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cpress-release%E2%80%9D-back-fires-39179

19 “Warlord Siilaanyo & His Somaliland Killing KHaatumo Civilians”. http://www.dhanbaal.com. 26 January 2012.

Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.dhanbaal.com/main/index.php?module=News&func=display&sid=1571

20 Matt Bryden, Coordinator Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. “Letter dated 20 June 2011 from the members of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea”. Page 130. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2011/433

21 Yusuf M Hasan. “Somaliland: UK Trained Resistant Reaction Police Unit Graduate”. http://www.somalilandsun.com. 15 March 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://index.php/politics/402- somaliland-uk-trained-resistant-reaction-police-unit-graduate, Colonel S. R. Roberts. “Conference on capacity- building to Counter Piracy off the coast of Somalia”. 15 May 2012.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/HotTopics/piracy/Documents/UNPOS.pdf

22 “UNDP donates vehicles to Somaliland police, judiciary”. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=6272&tirsan=3

23 Alex Milan Tracy. “Somali’s demonstrate against Somaliland’s war on SSC people”. http://www.demotix.com. 5

March 2011.  Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.demotix.com/news/612059/somalis-demonstrate-against- somalilands-war-ssc-people#media-612064

24 “UK increases aid to Somalia”. http://somalilandpress.com. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somalilandpress.com/uk-increases-aid-to-somalia-20537

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The west’s deep pursuit for Somali oil

Since David Cameron’s claim in February 2012, that “Somalia is a failed state that directly threatens british interests”, other European and U.S officials and businessmen have joined in to condemn Somalia and advise Somali’s on how to make their country ‘prosperous’ again.

With advice apparently comes expertise; at the moment it is in the form of foreign corporations who are winning contracts to explore, extract and process Somali natural resources. Foreign corporations are also winning the contracts to provide security for these activities.

This article will explore how Somalia is entering its supposed “transition” to a non ‘failed state’, that doesn’t ‘directly threaten British interests’.

British Prime Minister David Cameron leads a breakfast meeting with representatives of Somalia and the United Nations at 10 Downing Street in London, on February 23, 2012,

Our previous article tried to show how an imposed constitution is paving the way for a familiar pattern of resource exploitation in Africa, under the motive of development.

This article will attempt to decipher the murky world of resource exploitation, understanding that many believe Somalia has ‘no choice’ but to enter a game where the players with the biggest pockets set the rules.

Britain, Norway, Italy and the USA are all keen to rush a constitution that enshrines the balkanisation of Somalia while regions are being separately bolstered with million dollar contracts. If the motive is development – it is yet to be seen if the development of Somalia’s education, healthcare and housing infrastructure will be supported with the same fervour and energy seen by foreign businessmen and leaders.

Somalia’s strategic position in the Horn of Africa, with the longest coastline on mainland Africa and view to the oil trail in the indian ocean, means it has had a history of colonial domination. Yet it has never been an easy battle for imperialists.

Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, claimed in February 2012 that ‘Britain has no interest in Somalia’s resources’ and the main aim is to encourage accountability and transparency in Somalia’s oil development efforts. British Petroleum was quick to offer a ‘helping hand’ to build and increase Somalia’s oil production capacity.

Shortly after Cameron’s conference in February, William Hague paid an unannounced visit to Somalia, a first in almost two decades! His visit consisted of accompanying oil companies and negotiating in secret meetings, for Britain, the first step to helping Somalia ‘develop’ is to talk to the people holding the keys to the mines and wells.

Somali ex-president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, centre, receives diplomatic credentials from Matt Baugh, with William Hague.

Somali ex-Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohammed Ali claimed that Somalia is in-between a rock and a hard place, explaining that ‘our government had little choice but to entice western companies to Somalia by offering a slice of the country’s natural resources, which include oil, gas and large reserves of uranium’. Abdiwelli neglected to comment on how Somalia got there in the first place.

 

Oil was first extracted in Somalia by the British who were helped by Italy. Exploration by foreign agencies has not ceased throughout the decades, while the Somali people have heroically and tragically faced civil war, famine and drought. Wikileaks uncovered communication from US under secretary of state Jendayi Frazer, pushing for Ethiopia to invade somalia in 2006, despite the fact that Ethiopia had ‘no intention’ to do so. 20,000 Somalis were killed and over 2 million were made homeless as a result of this war.

Yet still the main agenda is resource extraction. As it was in the 1980s when 12 International oil companies sought and obtained exploration rights in Somalia. Conoco, Phillips/Agip, Shell, (all based in britain,) Arco, Amoco, Chevron, (US based) and the Italian multinational ENI. During the same period the US and Italy increased their military assistance to Somalia.

 

In 1982, for example, equipment sales and gifts amounted to US$14.3 million; on July 24 of that year, the United States responded to an Ethiopian attack on Somalia by providing antitank weapons, radars, air defense guns, small arms, and ammunition. In 1983 United States military aid totaled US$21.2 million; in 1984 US$24.3 million; in 1985 US$80 million, a large amount of which included air-transportable 155mm M-198s; in 1986 US$40 million; and in 1987 approximately US$37.1 million.

 

Another development which has arisen from Somalia’s oil prospects is the tactical reconstruction of the land’s infrastructure. Whilst on the surface this may look like development, there is much to be said when looking deeper.

The interest of construction companies such as SKA Air and Logistics, a Dubai-based British company which is a “supplier of fuel, aviation services and logistics… operating throughout the Middle East and Africa.”, and “specialises in moving fuel, people and equipment safely in challenging environments”. In other words, if there’s an occupation, civil war or indeed western bombs dropping, for a price, SKA will make sure the oil and the cash moves freely.

 

British imperialists have often argued that building India’s train network was for India’s development. However without it Britain faced a logistical nightmare, how else could they ensure the swift transportation of Asian goods? SKA have bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kurdistan and ironically, their slogan happens to be ‘’Doing difficult jobs in difficult places’’. SKA’s rebuilding of Mogadishu’s international airport, is crucial for visits like those of WIlliam Hague and his businessmen.

As expected, the workings of SKA have proven to be even more sinister than they appear, Somali lawmaker Ali Afgoye spoke out against SKA to accuse them of embezzlement, pocketing large sums of money illegally, and engaging in shady dealings with government personnel. SKA fails to hire Somali workers, relying primarily on external employees, doing nothing to aid the high levels of unemployment in Somalia.

So, for a price, SKA will also engage in corruption and pay off a transitional government, which is already receiving funding from the UN. This gave SKA CEO Mike Douglas, the confidence to pat himself on the back, while celebrating “Well, we have signed what we call “a private partnership plan” this is an agreement for the next ten years to manage the operations in the airport. We split the revenue from the services we provide in the airport with TFG. We are putting money back into the economy. We invested a lot of money and we did make money in Somalia”. It is unclear what economy Mike is referring to.

 

Potential in Somalia’s offshore regions is as huge as inland potential and is comparable to Kuwait which has more than 100bn barrels of proven reserves. Somalia is potentially the 7th oil-rich nation in the world, and developing countries are also trying to lay their hands on these riches, with China’s state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation having tried to acquire an interest in the reserves. American companies Amoco, Conoco, Philips and Chevron were present in Somalia until Siad Barre was overthrown. Conoco started their exploration in 1952 and kept their office in the capital for several years after the overthrowing. This office later became the American Embassy under Bush Sr!

An abandoned Conoco oil well site in Somalia (photo by Jim Shanor)

Another long-present nation in the ceaseless exploitation of Somalia, Norway is the world’s seventh largest oil exporting nation. Playing a pivotal role in the attempts to renegotiate Somalia’s sea boundaries in order to create a setup whereby they can drill for oil freely, they have used the UN as a tool to achieve their greedy goals with the (now defunct) TFG by coercing the then Somali interim president Shaykh Sharif Shaykh Ahmed, backed by the former UN envoy to Somalia Ahmad Ould Abdullah to sign a bid to instigate the boundary changes.

 

It remains unclear as to how Norway managed to convince Abdullah and Ahmed to provide their signatures and agree to the bid; however sources within the Somali and Kenyan governments say that possibly millions of dollars were paid to secure the dodgy deal. A Somali minister who declined to be named, revealed that Norway had previously attempted to exploit successful oil discoveries throughout the north-east in Puntland, to the south in the Barawe and Jubba regions, but were prevented by “western countries that had more influence” despite the then-president, Siad Barre’s agreement to the plan.

Norway’s involvement doesn’t stop there- they are said to be the driving force behind Kenya’s continuing military invasion in the southern Jubba regions by using individuals in the Kenyan cabinet to persuade the Somali government to support their hopes of creating a buffer zone in order to facilitate the creation of an administration, thus aiding their attempts to loot the resources of the area.

 

Kenya, (which has 46 oil exploration blocks) have laid claim over offshore oil blocks which are actually Somali and have gone so far as to give exploration rights away, awarding 4 blocks that are in the contested waters; blocks L21, L23 & L24 to Italy’s ENI and block 122 to France’s Total, designating a further eight new exploration blocks with four in Lamu on the Kenya-Somalia border, attracting interest from Brazil’s Petrobras, Britain’s Tullow Oil Plc and Norway’s Statoil.

Tullow Oil exploration rig in Kenya

Shell Oil’s subsidiary Pecten Somalia holds an exploration license for a block in the Indian Ocean. Shell, along with BP, recently unveiled an initiative to support ‘job-creation’ projects in the coastal regions. Total Fina Elf has operated in the port of Berbera throughout the civil war having signed an exploration deal with the TNG in early 2001. Other companies currently operating in Somali regions include Australia’s Red Emperor, Range Resources and Jacka Resources, Canada’s Africa Oil (Horn Petroleum), London-based Ophir Energy, (reports say Ophir’s deal entitles them to pocket 75% of profits and their United Arab Emirates-based partner company Ras Al Khaimah Gas Company, 22.5%, leaving an appallingly low 2.5% for the country), British Asante Oil and British Petroleum.

 

Oil exploitation has had devastating effects on vulnerable nations worldwide, with Nigeria’s Niger Delta (home to 31 million people) a prime example of the ruins inflicted by imperialist powers. Nigeria’s reserves are 37.2bn barrels yet the levels of environmental degradation, poor health care facilities, inadequate housing and transportation, infertile soil and pollution, lack of clean, safe water and poor education and unemployment is startling proof that despite being the 6th largest exporter of oil internationally, the profits are simply not reaching the people. Oil spillages here and ravaged the agriculture, with an astonishing 15 million barrels reported to have been spilled owing to lack of safe practices by the companies operating there, such as Shell, who are alleged to have spilled 4.5 million gallons in 2009 alone.

Workers subcontracted by Shell Oil Company clean up an oil spill from an abandoned Shell Petroleum Development Company well, in Oloibiri Town, Bayelsa, Nigeria. Wellhead 14 was closed in 1977 but has been leaking for years, and in June of 2004 it finally released an oil spill of over 20,000 barrels of crude oil.

So it seems Hands off Somalia is keen to expose the ambitions of imperialists in Somalia, because there is plenty of debate amongst Somalis who believe this transition only has one direction. So what answers do we have?

For a group of people living in Imperialist Britain, our role is not to “advise” the Somali people. Our job is to expose the oppressor in this relationship, the British government and its corporations, to reveal their aim which is to under-develop and enslave weaker nations for their natural resources, land and labour power.

We are not opposed to development for Somalia. Conversely, we demand development as a human right. If people in Britain want to show solidarity with people in Somalia, and bring about development, the first thing they should do is hold the ‘democratic’ British government to account for their actions so far, so that a fair deal can be obtained by Somalia and Britain can no longer live off the backs of African people and their resources.

Massive banner held to block the BBC entrance by HOS supporters, during a protest against their recent bias documentary against Somalia. (Photo by Aimee Valinski)

The premise of our argument is that Britain is an imperialist power and so has to be opposed. It is clear that a strong, unified, Somali state would be an end to this exploitative relationship and is a threat to imperialism. 

We must expose all the dirty tricks played by Britain, EU, US and the UN so that Somalia can stand up freely with solidarity from our people, not suffer from the actions of our corrupt and violent government.

Thankfully – there are nations who are are answering these very questions for themselves.

Venezuela, the 5th largest oil exporter in the world, with proven reserves among the top ten internationally, have a nationalised system and president Hugo Chavez’s economic policies have led to huge rises in social spending resulting in reduced poverty and reduced unemployment (levels are below 10%; the lowest in over a decade).

Venezuela’s state-owned petroleum company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) must spend 10% of its annual investment budget on social policies. In 2007, the PDVSA spent $14.4bn on programmes including medical clinics providing free health care, discount food and household item centres in poorer neighbourhoods, job-creation programmes outside of the oil industry and university and education programmes.

Venezuela’s oil benefits not only Venezuelans; 100,000 barrels of oil are sold to Cuba at discounted rates of as much as 40%. In exchange, thousands of Venezuelans travel to Cuba for medical treatment and Cuban doctors help to administer health care programmes for low-income Venezuelans.

By Naz and Nimo for Hands off Somalia

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Imperialists impose new constitution on Somalia

Change in Somalia is indeed around the corner. The “transitional government” is due to dissolve by August 20th. Along with prospective oil contracts, proposed federalisation and foreign military presence; the new consitution is one of many heavily disputed factors which will shape the direction that this ‘change’ will take Somalia and its people.

Hands off Somalia have been speaking to people on the streets of London on a weekly basis over the past 2 months – and one thing is clear; although Somalis are mostly aware that a constitution has suddenly been imposed on Somalia by foreign hands, few know much else. Why is this?

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