Somalia: Opening Another Frontier

Soroor Ahmed points out that the US is again indulging in game of colonial intervention to further its objective of controlling Red Sea and getting a foot hold in Africa

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Soroor Ahmed

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Soroor Ahmed points out that the US is again indulging in game of colonial intervention to further its objective of controlling Red Sea and getting a foot hold in Africa

Ethiopians are surviving on aids and dying of AIDS. Yet today their country is being used by the US establishment for its ambitious global plan. The neo-cons have, in the form of Somalia, discovered another lamb to gobble up. But there is a fear that a piece of bone may once again get stuck in their neck. However, the American establishment is too greedy to realize its folly. After all it specializes in the art of attacking weak, helpless and crisis-ridden countries.

Strange, it took about nine long years for the super power to find that a certain Al-Qaida operative, Fazul Abdullah Mohammad, a Kenyan national alleged to be involved in August 1998 bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salam, which killed 225 people, is hiding in an obscure Somali village. Fazul’s name, according the US intelligence agencies, also figured in the car bombing of a beach resort in Kenya and a simultaneous attempt on an Israeli aircraft in Mombassa, which killed ten Kenyans and three Israeli tourists. And for eliminating one man the whole area was pounded by the gunship helicopters.

George Bush-II perhaps forgot that exactly 13 years back the American forces had to be abruptly withdrawn when two choppers were brought down by the armies of the Somali warlord, Farah Aideed. The country, as now, had been witnessing, a civil war and Americans, as is their wont, went to capitalize on this crisis. Eighteen US soldiers were killed in that attack and their bodies were dragged in the streets of the capital city, Mogadishu. Later a film, based on this episode, was also made in the US.

The January 8 US strike on Ras Kamboni in Somalia close to Kenyan border, only confirms that the Americans have learnt no lesson from the past blunders. Besides, it is becoming a favourite pastime for US establishment to make powerless and crisis-ridden countries its favorite prays.

Iraq in 1991 was the safest country to attack as after eight long years of war with Iran it lost all its resistance capacity. Its invasion of Kuwait gave the US opportunity to set foot in the Middle East in the post-Soviet era. Iraq already lost its nuclear plant in early 1980s when it was bombed by Israeli war planes. During the second Gulf War in 2003 Iraq was absolutely helpless and without any friend.

Similarly civil war torn Afghanistan, which had no air force, was attacked in 2001. This was done in retaliation to the attack on the World Trade Centre in which no Afghan took part. Those who participated in those attacks were either Saudis or Egyptians but the US targeted Afghanistan as it knew that it would face little resistance there. Exactly similar attempts to intervene were made in war-torn Lebanon in 1983 and Somalia a decade later. But the US had to run away from these two countries after suffering casualties.

Somalia today somewhat resembles Afghanistan. While Taleban capitalized on the political vacuum in that country the Islamists, under the banner of Islamic Courts Union, fully utilized the prevailing chaos in the country following tribal conflicts and captured power in the middle of last year.

But this daring act outraged the US establishment. It has already been exploiting the Christian-Muslim divide in the region. Ethiopia, ruled by a ruthless dictator, was enlisted in the war on terror. Its soldiers enjoying the full backing of the US and Israel attacked Somalia and finally on December 29, that is, hours before the execution of Saddam Husain, captured Mogadishu. The Islamists, who lacked the air-power, left Mogadishu. The Ethiopians installed Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the President of Somalia’s interim government. Ten days after the capture of power in Somalia by Ethiopia the US air force swung into action and bombed a remote place in Somalia on the plea that it is an Al-Qaida base.

The irony is that till date not a single Somali has been accused in the attack on the World Trade Centre, Pentagon or any other high-profile target in the West. Yet Somalia was bombed and a titular head installed. What is strange is that the US is using the services of Husain Aideed, son of Farah Aideed, whose soldiers shot down two helicopters in November 1993 and killed 18 US soldiers.

Husain along with his mother fled to the US as a political refugee when he was only 14 after the then President of Somalia, Siad Barre, got his father Farah, then the intelligence chief of the country, arrested. Farah bounced back and got Barre removed.

Soon Somalia got embroiled in civil war. It was after that the US intervened in the affairs of that country. Farah emerged powerful after the war and declared himself as the President of the country but failed to get international recognition. He was killed by his rivals on August 2, 1996. His son Husain on the other hand remained in US and even served in the Marines for nine years. He took part in the first war against Iraq in 1991. However, when the US soldiers were sent to Somalia in early 1990s Husain too was one of them. He was the only US soldier who could speak Somali. He later resigned and decided to stay back in his original country and emerged as a local militia leader. Perhaps this decision has the backing of US intelligence.

Ironically the son of the man on whose head the US announced the award of 25,000 dollars is now the darling of the same super power. He is now the deputy prime minister and the interior minister in the current arrangement. On January 2, that is, only five days after the capture of Mogadishu by the Ethiopian soldiers, Husain, for all practical purpose, made it clear that he is working on the payroll of the US. He announced that the Somalis and Ethiopians have common blood and that there should be a single passport for the two countries.

The truth is that Somalia and Ethiopia share nothing except a 2,000 kilometres long border. While Ethiopia has 70 per cent Orthodox Christians and 30 per cent Muslims Somalia is essentially a Muslim country. Husain’s father Farah was a leading general when Somalia fought a bitter battle with Ethiopia over the control of Ogaden in 1977-78. Now his son is saying something so strange. Ethiopia was then a Communist country, but now a committed US ally.

The champions of democracy in the West are using the Ethopian dictator for their own bigger goal. The turmoil in East African can not be seen in isolation. The Americans want to have a full control on the southern tip of the Red Sea as it secures the shipment of oil to Europe and the east coast of the United States.

Apart from this strategic importance there is business interest of the US too. But there is another angle too. The United States in particular – and some other European countries in general – want to woo Christian Blacks towards their sides. In Sudan the neo-cons backed the Christians in the southern province of Darfur. They want to create similar divide in rest of the East African countries. This strategy was adopted to woo the Blacks, who are generally considered as the supporters of Democrats in the United States. Through the Sudan and Somalia cards the US establishment not only wants to win the Blacks of US but of Africa as well. At the same time it wants to calm the ruffled feathers of Kofi Annan, a Black Christian from Africa, who till December 31, 2006 was the UN secretary general and who was not very pleased with the US hegemonic designs. Thus with one stone the US establishment wants to kill a number of birds. But the big question is: Will it succeed? ¨