Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Somali Masses Escalate Their Resistance Against US-backed Occupation

Somali Masses Escalate Their Resistance Against US-backed Occupation

Imperialists plans drafted to directly re-occupy Somalia while US airstrikes spark outrage

by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire


Another American military airstrike May 1 in central Somalia has intensified the determination of the people in this east African nation to end the US-backed occupation carried out by the Ethiopian government of Meles Zenawi. The target of the bombings was the al-Shabab organization, which was the youth wing of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) until recently.

A Somali military leader of al-Shabab, Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed in the US bombings along with dozens of other innocent civilians in Dusa Marreb in the central region of the country. As a result of the US attacks, an area the size of two city blocks was completely destroyed.

Several weeks ago al-Shabab was added to the United States' long list of "terrorists", describing the organization as "a violent and brutal extremist group with a number of officials affiliated to Al Qaeda." In a defiant response, a leading member of al-Shabab, Sheikh Muktar Robow, told the BBC in a recent interview that the organization "feels honored to be included on the list. We are good Muslims and the Americans are infidels."

"We are on the right path," Robow said, while rejecting the American claims that his organization is in alliance with Al Qaeda. "We are fighting a jihad to rid Somalia of the Ethiopians and its allies, the secular Somali stooges."

In December of 2006, the United States and Britain encouraged the western-backed neighboring regime in Ethiopia to invade and occupy Somalia. It was revealed at the time that US Special Forces provided the military coordination for the invasion and occupation. The Somali intervention also provided a political cover for the Ethiopian regime to escalate its repressive tactics against the ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden region of the country who have maintained their struggle against the western-financed government in Addis Ababa.

Somalia has been without an internationally recognized government since 1991, when the former head-of-state Siad Barre fled the capital of Mogadishu. After years of political turmoil, which saw the direct US-led occupation of the country between 1992-94, a grassroots Council of Islamic Courts began to rebuild the key areas of the country and restore a greater level of security.

The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) is an independent community-based coalition extending through various towns and cities inside Somalia. The United States administration has attempted to label the UIC as an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, in order to justify military intervention in the region. However, the spokespersons for the organization have denied such a relationship and maintain that it grew directly out of the needs of the people resulting from a lack of state institutions to regulate the distribution of services.

What the US rulers found problematic about the UIC is that they were acting independently of Washington and its allies. When the American government attempted to finance warlords to attack the UIC and its supporters, they were repelled. Later the US administration ordered the Ethiopian regime, which in highly armed by the Pentagon, to carry out its bidding in Somalia.

US policy creates worse disaster in nation's history

Since the United States engineered the intervention of Ethiopia into Somalia in December of 2006, the humanitarian situation inside that east African nation has rapidly deteriorated. According to Philippe Lazzarini, the director of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-Somalia, some 2.5 milion people are in serious need of relief. "If things do not improve within the coming weeks, and it is not likely, then we will be confronted with the images of 1991-92," when many citizens of the country died as a result of drought and starvation.

The so-called Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which was imposed by the United States and Ethiopia, has proven to be ineffective as it relates to providing services and security to the Somali people. Asha Haji Ilmi, the director of a humanitarian organization called Save Somali Women and Children, which is based in the capital of Mogadishu, stated that the situation in the country has never been this bad since the collapse of the Barre government in 1991. Ilmi said recently that "the destruction and looting of Bakara market and the printing of fake currency has led to hyperinflation," which has resulted in the refusal of merchants to accept this worthless money for the purchase of food and other essential supplies.

On Monday, May 5, mass demonstrations erupted in Mogadishu over the rapid increase in food prices. US-backed Ethiopian and TFG soldiers opened fire on the large crowds of women and youthful protesters resulting in the reported deaths of least three people. The rebellions in Mogadishu reflect the growing crisis of rising food prices and distribution throughout the world. Recently in Haiti, similar demonstrations were held over a period of days resulting in the resignation of the Prime Minister in that Caribbean nation. Additional unrest has developed in the west African nation of Senegal.

Imperialist plans drafted for direct intervention

In a Reuters press report issued on April 23, the British government has circulated a draft plan to the United Nations Security Council to send a so-called peacekeeping force to Somalia. At present the African Union has approximately 1600 troops from Uganda and Burundi, known as AMISOM, in Somalia. However, these troops have had a limited impact on the actual situation developing inside the country.

African Union member nations have been reluctant to send troops into Somalia amid the escalation of fighting by the resistance forces as well as the growing popular discontent among youth and women over the lack of social services, clean water and food. Consequently, with the failure of the Ethiopian military to carry out the foreign policy aims of the United States and the other western imperialist states, it is the growing feeling among these countries that an American, UK and EU led military force will be required to subdue the Somali masses.

In the draft text of the document circulated by the UK government, it asks the United Nations Security Council to "welcome" a report by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to replace the AU force with one sponsored by the UN.

The document also calls for the office of the Secretary-General "to continue its planning for deployment of a peacekeeping operation, taking account of conditions on the the ground, and considering additional options for the size, configuration, responsibility and proposed area of operation on the ground."

In addition, the UK document calls for the imposition of sanctions "against those who seek to prevent or block a peaceful political process, or those who threaten the (peacekeepers)...by force, or take action that undermines the stability in Somalia or the region."

A companion plan is being drafted by the United States and France to deal with what they describe as "piracy" off the coast of Somalia and elsewhere in the region.

"We French and the Americans, with the support of the British and others, want to have a resolutoin on piracy," French Ambassador to the United Nations Jean-Maurice Ripert told Retuers on April 23.

He continued by stating that: "We are in the process of agreeing among ourselves the details of the resolution, including the scope and the legal aspects."

Ripert also said that "the idea is to give a mandate, to call on states of the UN to tackle piracy by organizing patrols, reacting to acts of piracy, to take as many preventative measures as possible. We really are keen on not doing anything that could endanger the law of the sea."

Anti-war movement must support the people of Somalia

People in the United States must remember the disastrous effect of the American invasion and occupation of Somalia between 1992-94. The occupation, which was carried out under the guise of providing humanitarian relief to the people, resulted in attempts to disarm and suppress the masses in this Horn of Africa nation.

The people of Somalia realizing the actual aims of the intervention during the early 1990s, rose up and launched coordinated attacks against the United States military and its allies including the Canadian and the Italian forces. During this occupation, several thousand Somalis lost their lives as a result of aerial bombardments of civilian areas as well as targeted assassinations of Somali leaders opposed to US policy in the region. These efforts were carried out under the rubric of the United Nations.

As a result of the resistance by the Somali people, the American government and its allies were forced to withdraw their forces in 1994. Today, they are plotting to reverse this important defeat of imperialist military forces won through the blood and sacrifice of the Somali people.

The anti-war movement in the United States must raise the question of US intervention in the Horn of Africa right alongside demands calling for the withdrawl of American military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. With the Pentagon facing continued military and political defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, they will seek other geo-political regions to dominate in their quest for oil and other strategic resources and minerals.

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