A reported car bomb rammed into a convoy of troops of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on Sept. 8, killing 12 people, including a U.S. military commander and three others from the United States. Reportedly, 27 people were injured.
At least three AMISOM officers and two U.S. personnel working for Bancroft Global Development — which performs consultation services for AMISOM — were wounded in the attacks.
This attack was the first major response to the Pentagon airstrike Sept. 1 on a leadership meeting of the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement, which has fought since 2008 against the Western-backed Somalia Federal Government, based in Mogadishu.
The U.S. military attack killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, Al-Shabaab’s leader, and other officials of the guerrilla organization. President Barack Obama took responsibility for the deaths, saying they were part of the war against terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
The U.S. State Department had put Godane on a most-wanted list and offered $7 million for his capture or death. Washington has also put out huge bounties on other Al-Shabaab officials.
Al Jazeera reported Sept. 8 that Abduaziz Abu Muscab, of al-Shabaab, said, “The target of [their group’s] attack was a [U.S.] commander who trains special forces in Mogadishu.” He said, “We … [killed] him and three other Americans. Also, a South African mercenary died in the attack.” The operation was “retaliation for the killing of our leader.” He warned it would not be the “last attack targeting Americans.”
The New York Times revealed in 2011 that Bancroft Global Development trains AMISOM military forces in Somalia and has a “vital role in the conflict inside Somalia. … The fight against the Shabaab … has mostly been outsourced to African soldiers and private companies out of reluctance to send American troops back into a country they hastily exited nearly two decades ago.” (Aug. 10, 2011)
U.S., European Union train, finance AMISOM
The Sept. 8 attack further exposes the role of the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department in Somalia. The weak federal government established by Washington and maintained by a coalition of imperialist states and their regional allies would collapse overnight without U.S. support.
AMISOM has 22,000 troops from African neocolonial states, including Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. Although AMISOM and the federal government claim that it has pushed Al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu, the guerrilla organization has been able to strike inside the capital many times in recent months.
The training and coordination of AMISOM forces and the newly created Somalia Federal Army are carried out by the Pentagon, private military consultancy firms and European Union Forces (EUFOR) officers. Pentagon and EUFOR warships are stationed off Somalia’s coast in the Gulf of Aden.
U.S.: history of interference in Somalia
This is not the first time that Washington has engaged in offensive military operations in Somalia. Since 2007, the U.S. has bombed Somalia on numerous occasions.
The CIA has a field station in Mogadishu that is utilized for counterinsurgency operations in Somalia and throughout the region. CIA and Pentagon drone operations, conducted from Somalia and extending throughout the Horn of Africa region, utilize Ethiopia and Djibouti, where the U.S. Africa Command maintains a military base housing several thousand troops.
Since the failed U.S. Marine occupation of Somalia from 1992 to 1994, which resulted in the deaths of many Pentagon troops and thousands of local citizens, Washington has interfered in the country’s internal affairs. Recent oil drilling by major transnational petroleum companies reveals the real motives for imperialist interference in the region.
Despite the heavy military presence by the Pentagon, the CIA and allied African states, along with the EU, the situation inside Somalia remains unstable. Al-Shabaab still has significant support there.
Al-Shabaab has just named a new leader, Ahmed Omar (Abu Ubaidah), who was selected unanimously. He pledged to avenge the deaths of Godane and other officials by continuing the war against the U.S.-backed military and intelligence forces now occupying the country.