Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, is a frequent guest commentator on various media outlets throughout the world. Azikiwe is also a broadcast journalist and hosts the Pan-African Journal blogtalk radio program., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Attacks on United Nations Offices in Somalia Shattered Notions of Peace and Stability
At least 15 were killed when armed guerrillas destroyed the compound during the day
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Somalian resistance forces struck at the United Nations compound in the capital of Mogadishu on June 19. At least 15 people were killed and many others injured.
The attacks were carried out by a group of well-armed combatants labeled as “suicide bombers.” Nonetheless, it is not clear even from reports issued by the western media and the Somalia Federal Government in regard to actual casualties among the fighters.
Later that same day, the Al-Shabab Islamic organization through a twitter message claimed responsibility for the attacks on the U.N. Development Program offices in the capital. With the capacity of Al-Shabab to engage in such military operations amid the presence of well-over 17,000 African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops along with the allied Somalian forces numbering several thousand, is a testament to the viability of the organization within the urban areas of the Horn of Africa nation.
This major assault on a U.N. facility which is ostensibly authorizing the deployment of the AMISOM, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces inside the country illustrates clearly that the Al-Shabab fighters have in no way been neutralized or liquidated. The United States has a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station in Mogadishu and drone operations take place on a regular basis.
Ludger Schadomsky of the German DW news agency wrote that “In early May this year, the United Nations passed a resolution to support Somalia by sending in up to 200 experts to advise the government and local authorities. The aim was to stabilize the security situation in the country. At the time, security expert Ahmed Abdi Hassan, a former senior official with the national security forces, expressed the hope that ‘the resolution would help the Somali government to improve its security situation.’" (June 20)
This same article also observes that “Earlier, 34 people were killed on 14 April 2013, in a series of coordinated suicide attacks. The U.N. Special Envoy for Somalia at the time, Augustine Mahiga, warned then of further ‘terror attacks’ by al-Shabab. The security situation was also the main topic at the Somalia conference in London in early May, a conference which was also overshadowed by an attack aimed at a high level delegation from Qatar.”
These problems in the capital of Mogadishu are taking place at the same time as tensions escalate in the south of the country around the port city of Kismayo. A number of different factions are contesting the administrative authority of the area where lucrative shipping of charcoals can earn up to $US100, 000 per day.
At least one of the contending factions in Kismayo is said to be supported by neighboring Kenya. Even with the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya is maintaining its military presence in Somalia.
The intervention of the Kenyan Defense Forces in late 2011 had been urged by the U.S. government. Ethiopia also has troops in Somalia after it said it had withdrawn in early 2010.
White House directives have authorized hundreds of drone operations in Somalia. Drones have crashed in the country killing civilians even though enemies of the U.S. have been the stated targets.
Kenya Police Announce Huge Arms Cache Finding
The previous government in Kenya under Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga claimed that the instability in Somalia was a direct threat to their country. Several attacks that took place in Kenya were said to have been committed by Al-Shabab.
Nairobi has been a close ally militarily with the U.S. counter-terrorism operations in East Africa. Operation Linda Nchi, the Kenya Defense Forces intervention in Somalia, was planned at least two years in advance in conjunction with the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
At present AFRICOM has relationships with at least three dozen states throughout the continent. In December 2012, President Obama announced the deployment of 3,500 Special Forces and trainers to these African countries for the purpose of counter-terrorism operations.
In a recent article published by Raxanreeb.com (RBC), it says “Kenya and Ethiopia are America’s more resourceful and reliable counterterrorism partners. Ethiopia kicked Al Shabab out of many towns in southern Somalia whereas Kenya, with the help of Raskamboni Somali group, captured Kismayo last year. Somalia has no effective National Army but only an army made up of clan militias sometimes at war with each and dependent on AMISOM.” (June 18)
A paper written for Critical Threats by Breuk Bass and Katherine Zimmerman indicates that the situation in southern Somalia is by no means stable. Factionalism and the interference of the U.S. and its allies are preventing real negotiations that would lead to a meaningful and lasting political settlement. (criticalthreats.org, June 10)
Bass and Zimmerman stress that “If the current political crisis does devolve to violence, and Kenya and Ethiopia are not kept in check, war could re-emerge in a country too used to it.” The principal objective of the U.S. is to maintain dominance in Somalia and throughout the East Africa region.
In northeastern Kenya recently the administrative police say they made a huge finding of explosives that could have been destined for neighboring Somalia. A truck was taken control of by police on the Dadajabula-Dif Road in Wajir County.
The truck was transporting chemicals from the Port of Mombasa when it was stopped at a checkpoint, according to a report from the Shabelle Media Network. (June 22)
Inside the truck the Kenyan police found “27 tons of assorted bomb-making materials believed to be destined for the Al-Shabab militants consisted of 7,000 kg of basic chromium sulphate, 3,000 kg of sodium formate, 3,000 kg of sodium bicarbonate, 2,500 kg of soda ash and 5,000 kg of microzyme-P.” (Shabelle Media Network)
The Shabelle Media Network article also stated that “Bomb experts have taken samples from the chemicals in the lorry for further tests in Nairobi to establish the range of explosives that could be derived from them. The lorry belonging to a Garissa businessman is being kept under 24-hour armed guard.”
These are just a few of the examples that have exposed the fallacy of the narrative that is being articulated by the U.S. and its allies in East Africa. The entire region of East Africa is rich in oil, natural gas and other strategic resources including its close proximity to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
The discovery of the explosive-making materials in Wajir County follows another incident a few weeks earlier where security personnel acting on a tip uncovered 10 AK47s, 20 grenades and other assorted explosives that were buried at a cemetery in the area. These weapons could have very well been destined for Somalia.
With the formal exclusion of Al-Shabab from the political arrangements in Somalia, it will be extremely difficult for peace and security to be achieved. It is quite obvious that the U.S. is categorically opposed to the involvement of Al-Shabab in the current federal government in Somalia.
Since Al-Shabab has been labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, this designation has prevented any rational discussion of the political future of an all-inclusive Somalia by the Congress and the corporate media. Yet the ongoing destabilization of Somalia by the imperialist states and their allies will continue to provide a false justification for the growing militarization of the region.