Last month the Ethiopian military invaded Somalia. Hours after marching into the capital Mogadishu, US AC-130 “Spectre” Gunship war aircraft bombed villages in eastern and southern Somalia killing over 100 civilians – several of them fouryear
old children. The US military then announced it was sending an aircraft carrier off the Somali coast. The reasons that the Addis Ababa and Washington regimes claimed for doing so was to stabilise the country and make it safe as part of the war on terror. Nothing could be further from the truth. The back-ground to the invasion is the takeover of almost all of Somalia by militias of the United Islamic Courts (UIC) last year. The militias drove out western backed warlords who had
dominated Somali politics for the last 15 years.
The militias victory was based on genuine popular support. Weary of the violence and brutality of the warlords, many ordinary Somalis supported the UIC. In addition several key leaders of Somalia’s clans were prepared to back the UIC in order to stabilise the country. The Bush regime had been growing closer to the warlords who were prepared to act as Bush’s agents in his “war on terror”. These warlords had a bloody record who also bitterly divided Somalia.
All this was forgotten by Bush because they would boost US military presence in the region – just across the Gulf of Aden lies the Middle East.
The UIC takeover and success was a blow to US plans for the region. The takeover was also a defeat of the Somali “transitional” government that had been formed in 2004 in Kenya. The “government” existed in name rather than fact.
As even Britain’s state owned BBC stated “President Yusuf’s administration made up of former warlords, often struggled to control its own members…Its forst 18 months…were spent squabbling over where to set up its base, eventually settling for the town of Baidoa”
Although Ethiopian forces have occupied most of the UIC strong-holds, the war may be far from over. Ethiopia has superior military arms and UIC fighters cannot openly confront tanks and planes, the US has discovered in Iraq that irregular resistance can be very effective against occupiers.Ordinary people’s interests have been trampled beneath the US’s desire to ramp its control of the Horn of Africa. Instead of dealing with Somalia’s terrible poverty and the present flood
emergency, resources have been poured into arms of war.
Although Ethiopian forces have occupied most of the UIC strong-holds, the war may be far from over. Ethiopia has superior military arms and UIC fighters cannot openly confront tanks and planes, the US has discovered in Iraq that irregular resistance can be very effective against occupiers.