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U.S. issues bounties for resistance leaders

Published Jul 1, 2012 10:33 PM

U.S. military intervention in Africa has been further exposed for the imperialist project that it truly is when in early June the State Department issued bounties for the capture of several leading resistance figures in Somalia. The U.S. is backing the Transitional Federal Government based in Mogadishu, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is largely staffed by Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Sierra Leone troops, which have been trained, armed and coordinated through the U.S. Africa Command (Africom). Their goal is to take control of Somalia from the al-Shabab Islamic organization that has been battling the U.S.-armed and – supported armies for more than five years.

In addition to AMISOM, the Ethiopian military and the Kenyan Defense Forces have entered the theater of war in Somalia through the central and southern areas of the Horn of Africa nation. U.S. drone attacks are aimed against Somalians under the guise of “targeted assassinations” of suspected “terrorists.”

Hundreds have been killed this year in drone attacks, which murder more civilians than purported combatants from organizations the White House deems as “terrorists.” Drone attacks are also being utilized in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan under the same pretense.

The U.S. is offering bounties on key Somalian resistance leaders in its attempts to foster even more aggressive tactics in the war. On June 6, the U.S. State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” website offered $7 million for Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed and $5 million for Ibrahim Haji Jama, Fuad Mohamed Khalaz, Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud and Mukhtar Robow. This shows that Washington is fully committed to the policy of targeted assassinations.

Robert Hartung, an assistant director at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said, “This is the first time we’ve had key leaders of al-Shabab as part of the ‘Rewards for Justice’ program. Every time we add someone to [this] site, that is a signal that the U.S. government is saying that it takes the fight against terrorism very seriously.” (Reuters, June 6)

In the same dispatch, Karl Wycoff, deputy assistant secretary of state, claimed, “What we’re about in Somalia is a comprehensive broad effort with a variety of partners in the region and around the world to bring stability to Somalia.”

The resistance movement responded to the bounties put out on al-Shabab leaders by putting forward their own rewards — of chickens and camels — for the capture of U.S. leaders, including the president and the secretary of state.

Drone attacks kill 39

Press TV reported that drone attacks killed 39 people in Somalia on June 22. The deaths took place when two of these unpiloted weapons struck a strong al-Shabab training base at Harweyne in Elasha Biyaha, outside Mogadishu.

The strike on an al-Shabab training facility is part of an offensive which was launched against the organization in 2011, as AMISON expanded and Kenya, France, Israel and Ethiopia intervened in the conflict.

This drone attack follows a similar pattern of such deadly assaults, which are carried out regularly in Somalia hitting internally displaced persons camps and other civilian areas.

On June 25, Press TV reported that Jo Becker and Scott Shane wrote in the New York Times that the U.S. president maintains a list of who is to be killed by drones, in consultation with counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan.

Although the U.S. is not legally at war with Somalia, Yemen or Pakistan, through a congressional act, these killings continue. Since 2004, 300 drone strikes have been launched in Pakistan and untold numbers in Yemen.

Despite election year claims of winding down the imperialist war in Central Asia, drone attacks are escalating. Anti-war organizations in the U.S. have taken up this issue but much remains to be done to apply pressure on the government and Congress to stop these deadly and illegal acts of war. n