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.
U.S. State Department Issues Bounties for Somalia Resistance Leaders
White House “kill list” grows while scrutiny of drone attacks deepen
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
United States military intervention in Africa has been further exposed for the imperialist project that it truly is when the State Department issued in early June bounties for the capture of several leading resistance figures in Somalia. The U.S. is backing the Transitional Federal Government based in Mogadishu, the capital, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is largely staffed by Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Sierra Leone troops of all which have been trained, armed and coordinated through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) for the specific purpose of taking control of Somalia from the al-Shabaab Islamic organization that has been battling the U.S.-armed and supported armies for more than five years.
In addition to the AMISOM forces, the Ethiopian military and the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) have also entered the theater of war in Somalia through the central and south of the Horn of Africa nation. U.S. drone attacks are carried out against Somalians under the guise of “targeted assassinations” of suspected “terrorists.”
Hundreds have been killed just this year in drone attacks which murder more civilians than purported combatants from organizations the White House deemed as “terrorists.” Drone attacks are also being utilized in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan under the same pretense.
With offering of bounties on key Somalian resistance leaders the U.S. is attempting to foster even more aggressive tactics already being utilized in the war. Under the banner of the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” website on June 6, the offers for $7 million for Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed and $5 million for Ibrahim Haji Jama and Fuad Mohamed Khalaz along with Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud and Mukhtar Robow, indicate that the administration in Washington is fully committed to the policy of targeted assassinations.
Robert Hartung, an assistant director at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said of the program that “This is the first time we’ve had key leaders of al-Shabaab as part of the Rewards for Justice program. Every time we add someone to the Rewards for Justice site, that is a signal that the U.S. government is saying that it takes the fight against terrorism very seriously.” (Reuters, June 6)
Deputy assistant secretary of state Karl Wycoff said that “What we’re about in Somalia is a comprehensive broad effort with a variety of partners in the region and around the world to bring stability to Somalia.” (Reuters, June 6)
In response to the bounties put on al-Shabaab leaders, the resistance movement put forward their own rewards for the capture of U.S. leaders. The Somalian organization however, is only willing to hand over chickens and camels for the capture of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Fuad Muhammad Khalaf of the al-Shabaab organization said that “Whoever reveals the hideout of the idiot Obama will be rewarded with 10 camels, and whoever reveals the hideout of the old woman Hillary Clinton will be rewarded 10 chickens and 10 roosters.” (Reuters, June 9)
Drone Attacks Kill 39 in Somalia
On June 22, it was reported that at least 39 people were killed through drone attacks in Somalia. The deaths took place when two of these unmanned weapons struck an al-Shabaab training base at Harweyne in Elasha Biyaha, a strong resistance movement base outside Mogadishu. (Press TV, June 22)
This follows a similar pattern where drone attacks are carried out on a regular basis in Somalia hitting internally displaced persons camps and other civilian areas. The strike on an al-Shabaab training facility is part of an offensive launched against the organization during 2011 with the expansion of AMISOM and the interventions of Kenya, France, Israel and Ethiopia into the conflict.
Recently Jo Becker and Scott Shane wrote in the New York Times that the president maintains a “kill list.” Under consultation with counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, Obama himself supposedly makes the decision over who is to be killed by drones. (Press TV, June 25)
Although the U.S. is not legally through an act of Congress at war with Somalia, Yemen or Pakistan, these killings continue. Since 2004, 300 drone strikes have been launched in Pakistan and untold numbers in Yemen.
Despite the election year claims of winding down the war in Central Asia, the drone attacks are escalating. Anti-war organizations in the U.S. have taken up this issue but much remains to be done to apply pressure on the government and Congress to stop these deadly and illegal acts of war.