U.S. military forces intervened in the African states of Libya and Somalia on Oct. 5 under the guise of waging the “war on terrorism.”
A Libyan national, Abu Anas al-Liby, was kidnapped and taken to a warship in the Mediterranean. He is being interrogated there as a suspect in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
In addition, the Somalian city of Baraawe was targeted by Navy Seals. An elite assassination squad was sent to capture or kill a leading Al-Shabaab commander, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir. A Kenyan national of Somali origin, Abdulkadir is wanted by Washington for his alleged participation in the Sept. 21-24 siege of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, which left 67 people reportedly dead.
Both incidents represent the escalation of Pentagon and CIA intervention in Africa. During the Westgate mall standoff, agents of the U.S. FBI and the Israeli military were said to have joined Kenyan military and police.
These operations by the Obama administration are the direct result of a stated policy of enhanced military intervention on the continent. Last December the administration announced it would be deploying 3,500 Special Forces and military trainers to various African countries.
The Pentagon arm known as AFRICOM has partnerships with numerous African governments, carrying out frequent training programs and joint military exercises. Washington’s military programs in Mali and Somalia add to their instability.
In Mali, the military officer who staged a coup in 2012, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, was trained in the U.S. by the Pentagon. Despite this training and arming of Malian soldiers, separatists and Islamic forces in the north of the country were still able to take control of various cities and towns, prompting a French invasion in January 2013.
In Somalia, a U.S.-financed 17,500-person military force known as the African Union Mission to Somalia has failed to defeat the Al-Shabaab Islamic organization.
Libya kidnapping escalates tensions
Alleged Al-Qaeda operative Anas al-Liby was snatched from the streets of Tripoli on Oct. 5. Eyewitnesses said his abductors spoke with Libyan accents but turned him over to the U.S. military.
The abduction drew protests in Libya, where demonstrators burned U.S. flags and denounced the actions of both the Pentagon and the U.S.-backed Libyan regime. This prompted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan to cover himself by making a formal objection over the capture of Al-Liby.
However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the kidnapping of Al-Liby was done with the approval of the General National Congress regime. Kerry justified the detention on the grounds of the U.S. “war on terrorism.”
A few days after the kidnapping of Al-Liby, Prime Minister Zeidan was seized by an opposition militia and held for several hours. He later said the incident was an attempted coup against his government.
Libya has been destroyed as a nation since the U.S. and NATO, along with their allies, waged a war of regime-change between February and October of 2011. The government, the economy and the distribution of its national resources were shattered during the war, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands, including leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi and members of his family.
Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa. The imperialist states sought to open the country up to super-exploitation typical in other post-colonial states.
However, the resistance of the Libyan people and internecine conflict between various militias and criminal elements have created instability throughout Libya and the region.
Efforts to jump-start the production of oil have slowed due to sectional clashes and work stoppages, which have virtually shut down the oil industry. Before the war it was producing 1.6 million barrels per day.
Somalia raid rebuffed in Baraawe
On the same day as the abduction in Libya, a U.S. Navy Seals team raided a home in Baraawe, Somalia, reputed to be a high-level Al-Shabaab hideout. This city of 200,000 on the Indian Ocean is considered a strong base for Islamic resistance to the Washington-backed Somali Federal Government, based in Mogadishu.
Eyewitness accounts of the raid, coupled with official statements issued by the Pentagon, show the attempted kidnap met formidable resistance and did not succeed. A fierce firefight occurred between Al-Shabaab guerrillas and the Navy Seals.
An account of the incident, published in the Oct. 9 Guardian newspaper of Britain and based on the accounts of witnesses in the neighborhood where the U.S. assault took place, said, “The element of surprise had been lost and Al-Shabaab’s fighters unleashed gunfire and grenades in a cacophony that rang out across the town, murdering sleep before dawn prayers. But the Americans continued on the offensive, according to an elder who did not wish to be named.”
“The attackers from the U.S. divided into two groups,” this same man said. “Group one, comprising six men, stormed the house and began shooting the people inside it, while group two, also of at least six men, were staying outside the house. The worst shooting took place inside where one Al-Shabaab fighter was killed. Al-Shabaab had more fighters inside and they fought extremely hard against the Americans.”
Another person in the area said that discarded U.S. military equipment was found near a pool of blood. The Seals were seen fleeing by the locals.
Resistance to imperialist intervention
As the Pentagon and CIA continue their interventionist projects in Africa, the people of the continent will resist these murderous operations. Even where governments have been installed and supported by Washington, the principal victims of imperialist policies of resource extraction and labor exploitation have demonstrated their opposition to imperialism.
In both Libya and Somalia, the U.S. ruling class is seeking to take total control of the oil, natural gas and strategic waterways of these states.
Military adventures in these states can only exacerbate the contradictions between the people and the imperialist nations and expose the collaborationist posture of the client regimes. U.S. militarism, bolstered by its NATO allies and subservient elites within these countries, can only enhance instability.