Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Somalia, Pirates and Prospects For a US Invasion

Somalia, pirates and prospects for a U.S. invasion

By Sultan Muhammad
Apr 22, 2009

( - “Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of Somali countryside ... According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991.”

These words taken from a Los Angeles Times article written January 18, 1993, by Mark Fineman, not only do much to expose the reason for the U.S. led attack and failure in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993 (known sentimentally as Blackhawk Down or militarily as Operation Gothic Serpent), but it also gives rise to the speculation about today's so-called “Somali sea pirates.” The pirates are now presented as a world threat or, at least, a threat to the United States of America. All such threats must eventually be met by an ominous defensive response from the most powerful military in the world.

Somali President Siad Barre, who had been supported by the Soviet Union until he attempted to unite the Greater Somalia area of Ogaden in 1977, turned to the United States whose support waned in 1989. He was ousted by General Mohammed Farah Aidid in 1991. Both the Soviet Union (at that time) and the United States had realized then, as now, the geostrategic importance of Somalia on the Western shore and Yemen on the Middle East side of the mouth of the Red Sea.

During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, two UN labeled moves, Operation Provide Relief in August, 1992 and Operation Restore Hope, in December, 1992 in accordance with UN Resolution 794 were initiated as so-called humanitarian relief efforts which required the presence of foreign troops to keep the peace. This is the premise which landed the U.S. Marine Corps with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit I in Mogadishu. With the help of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, the U.S. troops secured almost a third of the city, including the valuable port and airport facilities which allegedly helped humanitarian supplies be airlifted.

The locations also facilitated U.S. troop activity in Somalia and carving out a safe haven for millions invested and billions projected to be made from undelivered oil contracts.

It was President Bill Clinton, husband of Hillary Clinton, now Secretary of State, who ordered the October 3, 1993 assault by United States Army Rangers and Delta Force operatives who killed some 500 to 1,500 men, women and children in an onslaught against General Aidid. The U.S. had decided to arrest the Somali leader. Two famed Blackhawk helicopter gunships were shot down by grenade launchers, shocking those involved with the U.S. assault.

It was later discovered that the Somali operators of the grenade launchers had been trained by CIA-trained Afghans who were taught to use the grenade launchers to shoot down Soviet copters in Afghanistan.

What is seldom mentioned is that three months before Operation Gothic Serpent, on July 12, 1993, Mr. Clinton had already launched a U.S.-led Gaza-like attack on a supposed safe house meeting in Mogadishu between General Aidid's Habar Gidir clan. Thousands of 20–millimeter and reportedly 16 TOW missiles were fired upon the compound, killing some 73 elders, not gunmen, meeting to resolve the conflict between Mr. Aidid and the multinational task force in Somalia.

The United Nations, in concert with the U.S., had committed UNISOM II troops to support American troops brought in to help “keep the peace.”

Since this tumultuous period, there has yet to be a period of peace, as most that have interfered have worked to continue, not only the conflict of division, but also ever growing famine, starvation and destitution in Somalia.

Online Journal Associate Editor, Larry Chin, wrote in an article published May 22, 2006:

“Somalia is of geostrategic interest to the Bush administration, and the focus of operations and policy since 2001. This focus is a continuation of long-term policies of both the Clinton administration and George W. Bush administrations. Somalia's resources have been eyed by Western powers since the days of the British Empire.

“According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Somalia currently has proven oil reserves, and only 200 billion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, and hydrocarbon production. But this has not dimmed continuing interest in Somalia's untapped and unexplored potential, and the possibility of an energy bonanza ... Conoco, Agip, Amoco, Chevron, and Phillips held concessions in the area. Of more immediate logistical and military interest, Somalia is situated on a key corridor between the Middle East and Africa, strategically located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, a short distance from Yemen.”

Threats against Somalia have never ceased, including attempts to invade Somalia using U.S.-backed countries such as Ethiopia from the West and projected U.S. warship attacks upon what amounts to fishing boat-sized desperados, or so-called “pirates.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared April 8 that “pirates” holding American container ship Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips captive are “merely criminals.”

The question has to be raised how this rag-tag group of fishing boat “terrorists” can commandeer such huge and sophisticated ships. File film footage is questionable and could only be men going aboard most of these ships to work.

Will the problem be solved at sea or will it require an invasion into Somalia? Some analysts are already saying strike the “pirates” at their bases in the country.

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