•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

U.S. backed Somali government calls for intervention

Published Jun 24, 2009 3:58 PM

The worsening security situation in Somalia has prompted the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government to declare a state of emergency and issue a call for military support from neighboring countries and the international community. Attacks on the fragile security apparatus, resulting in the death of Minister Omar Hashi Aden, have created panic among officials in the TFG and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

AMISOM has 4,300 troops stationed in the capital of Mogadishu. The troops have been accused of launching attacks that have led to the deaths of hundreds of Somali civilians.

The AMISOM operation is heavily underwritten by the U.S. government to the tune of over $160 million. Troops involved in AMISOM are from Uganda and Burundi, two regimes allied with the U.S. that have received substantial military assistance over the years.

As AMISOM military forces indiscriminately bombed and shelled residential areas, reportedly killing 30 people and wounding 100 others, thousands of Somalis fled the capital between June 19 and 22. They added to the 400,000 people who have already taken up residence in the Afgooye corridor, about 20 kilometers south of the capital.

Clashes took place on June 20 in Hamarweh, a suburb of Mogadishu. Other fighting was reported in the northern Karan district. “I saw heavily armed Islamist fighters advancing onto Hamarweh area. They are firing mortar shells and government forces are retaliating,” said Mogadishu resident Warsameh Ahmed. (French Press Agency, June 22) Ahmed added, “It seems [the Islamists] are close to taking control of the area.”

On June 20, the speaker of the parliament for the TFG, Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nor (also known as Madobe), held a press conference in the capital where he made an urgent appeal for military intervention. (FPA, June 22) Madobe stated that the TFG was on the verge of collapse and accused Al-Qaeda of being behind the recent offensive against the government that began on May 7. Two resistance movements, Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, have taken the lead in the struggle to remove the government of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

“The government is weakened by the rebel forces. We ask neighboring countries—including Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen—to send troops to Somalia within 24 hours. We have a state of emergency in this country because foreign fighters from all over the world are fighting the government,” said Madobe.

The African Union Commission and the Organization of Islamic Conference have also called for intervention.

Ethiopian troops re-enter southern region

There have been reports that Ethiopian troops have already re-entered Somalia in the southern region of Bakol. Ethiopian military forces occupied Somalia at the behest of the U.S. from December 2006 to January 2009. Resistance from the Islamic Courts Union (UIC) and other groups led to the withdrawal of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian regime relied upon U.S. intelligence and logistical support during its intervention in Somalia. A negotiated settlement with moderate forces inside the UIC created a new transitional government led by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. However, Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam have refused to enter the TFG until all AMISOM forces are withdrawn and the composition of the government is changed.

Despite recent reports of Ethiopian military troops inside of Somalia, the government in Addis Ababa has denied involvement and says that it will intervene only if there is an international mandate from the United Nations.

According to Mohammed Adow of Al-Jazeera, “Ethiopia has got a big stake in what is going on in Somalia because it believes that its security would be threatened if the Islamist militias, such as Al-Shabab, take over Somalia. But I doubt it is sending its forces into Somalia, unless it gets its actions sanctioned by the United Nations, which would take weeks, if not months.” (June 22)

The government in Kenya has also threatened military involvement in Somalia. Prime Minister Raila Odinga held a joint press conference on June 22 with Somalia Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake to discuss the situation. (Kenya Daily Nation)

“When I was in Geneva last week, I talked to various agencies to help Somalia deal with the problem, and to also help us deal with the influx of refugees into Kenya. There is also a need to provide military assistance to deal with the situation in Somalia,” said Odinga.

In Kismayu, a port city 311 miles (500 kilometers) from Mogadishu, local authorities allied with the Islamic resistance forces accused the Kenyan government of intervening in the area. Sheikh Hassan Ya’qub, who heads the local Islamic administration, said that the Kenyans should stop their involvement in the city as well as in the Jubba regions in southern Somalia. (Shabelle Media Network, June 21)

“We are warning Kenya. We are saying to them that we are not in a glass house so if you continue interfering in Somali affairs or attack our people or country, we shall not be silent. We shall attack locations in Nairobi,” said Ya’qub. Shabelle Media Network reported Kenyan troops have moved to the border between the two countries.

Oppose imperialist-backed intervention

Any attempts to engage in another large-scale invasion and occupation of Somalia must be opposed by the anti-war and anti-imperialist movements in the U.S.

In 1992 the first Bush administration sent thousands of Marines into Somalia under the code name “Operation Restore Hope.” The aim was purportedly to supply material aid since there was no recognized central government. The operation was soon exposed as an imperialist occupation and met fierce resistance from the Somali people, resulting in the withdrawal of U.S. forces by 1994. Thousands of Somalis, however, died at the hands of the U.S. and other allied forces, which included the former colonial power of Italy as well as Canada.

Since 2001, U.S. administrations have charged Somalia with being a haven for Al-Qaeda. The most recent advances by Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam have been blamed on Al-Qaeda. Both organizations have denied any affiliation with Al-Qaeda, and state emphatically that they are based in Somalia and concerned about the foreign interference in their country.

With the failure of the U.S.-backed occupation carried out by Ethiopia, the Obama administration has increased support for AMISOM forces inside the country. But only Uganda and Burundi have sent troops to prop up the TFG, while other African states have refused to intervene.

The so-called “piracy problem” has also been utilized as a justification for greater U.S. and European Union involvement, which involves stationing warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. The Kenya government, which has called for military intervention in Somalia, recently agreed to the establishment of a “piracy tribunal” on its territory where Somalis captured at sea can be detained and prosecuted.

After the Ethiopian military invaded Somalia in December 2006, the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa was created. It has been reported that over 1 million people have been dislocated since Ethiopia’s occupation began, and some 300,000 have perished.

The imperialist adventures of the U.S. and its allies in Somalia will be met with further resistance. The Somali people have demonstrated over the years that they are prepared and willing to defend the sovereignty of their country.