Category Archives: Somalia

U.S. role in Somalia war confirmed

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By Abayomi Azikiwe
December 20, 2011

First contingent of Djibouti troops enter Somalia in a US-backed effort to liquidate the al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement in the Horn of Africa state. The Pentagon and France have a military base in Djibouti at Camp Lemonier.

Plans for the Kenyan military invasion of southern Somalia had been mapped-out for nearly two years according to recent cables released by the WikiLeaks website. Claims that the intervention was done without the knowledge of the United States has been refuted through the revelations that high-level meetings took place in early 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which laid the ground work for the renewed attempts to eliminate the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement that controls large sections of the Horn of Africa nation.

This secret plan dubbed “Jubaland Initiative,” discussed the creation of an artificial state in southern Somalia in an effort to choke off al-Shabaab from the border areas near Kenya. At the meeting in Ethiopia during January 2010, the Kenyan delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula, appealed for U.S. support in the operation.

Other Kenyan officials in the delegation included Chief of General Staff Jeremiah Kianga, Defense Minister Yusuf Haji and the director of National Security Intelligence Services Maj.-Gen. Michael Gichang’i. This meeting in Addis Ababa was just one in a series of discussions designed to enlist U.S. support for the current military operations.

Operation Linda Nchi, the Kenyan invasion of southern Somalia, began on October 16 and involved over 2,000 members of the defense forces. The war has become bogged down due to the lack of logistical coordination, the inclement weather and the formidable resistance to the intervention by Al-Shabaab and its supporters inside the country.

In a December 17 article published by the Kenya Daily Nation, it points out that “The cables also say the military action took years of planning and was not a spontaneous reaction to abductions conducted by the Islamist group on Kenyan soil as repeatedly stated by government officials. The abductions seemed to provide Kenya with a convenient excuse to launch the plan which, officials argued, was necessary to ensure protection against threats posed by an unstable neighbor.” (Daily Nation, December 17)

Cables released by WikiLeaks reveals that Kenyan Foreign Minister Wetang’ula had informed U.S. Undersecretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson of developments being made in preparation for the invasion of Somalia. The plan was to invade Somalia and drive away Al-Shabaab units from the border and then seize the port at Kismayo.

The justification for the invasion was centered around false allegations of plans by the Al-Shabaab resistance movement to stockpile weapons near the border with Kenya and to send its fighters into the neighboring country. One U.S. diplomatic cable indicated that Kenyan Director of Military Intelligence Brig. Philip Kameru told the visiting U.S. ambassador-at-large for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin that Al-Shabaab had plans to begin incursions inside Kenyan territory.

The U.S. diplomatic cable stated that “He (Kameru) added that the Director of Military Intelligence expects Al-Shabaab to begin cross-border incursions into Kenya and he claimed to have received reports indicating Al-Shabaab has plans to use improvised explosive devices and landmines against security personnel and civilian traffic inside Kenya.” (Daily Nation, December 17)

Other false claims reported to the U.S. ambassador involved unsubstantiated reports that Al-Shabaab was circulating currency obtained through piracy and purchasing real estate inside Kenya. Officials from Kenya also told Washington that Al-Shabaab was radicalizing youth inside the East African country.

Despite these allegations of piracy, Al-Shabaab has denied participation in the hijacking of ships in the Gulf of Aden. Kidnappings taking place in Kenya have also been denied by the Islamist organization which is now fighting to drive outside forces from Somalia.

Fighting Intensifies Inside Somalia

Kenyan Defense Forces have been frustrated in their drive towards eliminating Al-Shabaab bases in southern Somalia. Their efforts have been assisted by U.S. drone attacks that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians as well as French logistical and naval support which has been responsible bombings of Somali territory as well.

In addition to U.S. and French military intervention, the State of Israel has deployed drones in Somalia. Also the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which consists of 9,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops, has stepped up its military operations against Al-Shabaab in the capital of Mogadishu and other areas in the central regions of the country.

As a result of the stalled land invasion by Nairobi, the Kenyan Air Force has engaged in bombing operations in southern Somalia. According to Mareeg Online, “On December 13 the military choppers destroyed Al-Shabaab camps at Garbaguso, Afmadow airstrip and Usingo.” (Mareeg Online)

In a military briefing by Kenyan Colonel Cyrus Oguna on December 17 he reported that the Air Force attacked and destroyed a purported Al-Shabaab camp at Wamaitho on December 14. The following day additional strikes were carried out against areas in northern Somalia at Bungavu.

Oguna also reported that there were numerous casualties among the Somalis and said that no injuries or deaths took place on the Kenyan side. He further claimed that the attacks were precise and consequently minimized “collateral damage.”

“Kismayo hospital has been overflowing with the injured,” Oguna said during the press briefing. In response to reports that Kenyan military forces would join AMISOM in joint efforts against Al-Shabaab, Oguna asserted that this merger would not prevent Kenya from engaging in separate military operations in Somalia. (Mareeg Online, December 18)

“If the Kenyan territory is threatened, KDF will come back and defend it and then go back to AMISOM. KDF is very much committed and we will continue defending Kenya,” Oguna said.

Reports from other areas of Somalia indicate that clashes are escalating between Al-Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) allied militia known as Ahlu Suna. In Dhusamareb City in the Galgudud region, at least 10 people were killed and a number of others were wounded in bitter fighting between supporters and opponents of the U.S.-backed TFG regime.

Meanwhile inside Kenya, it was reported that a policeman was killed in the northern region near the Dadaab refugee camp where many Somalis have taken flight in response to the horrendous food deficits inside the country. Kenyan authorities said the policeman was killed in an explosion as he was traveling in a vehicle.

This incident took place amid a series of small-scale attacks that have targeted Kenyan security forces since the beginning of the KDF invasion of Somalia. Dadaab is currently housing approximately 400,000 refugees from Somalia.

Imperialist Intervention Cannot Stabilize TFG Regime

Despite the intervention of Kenyan forces, the utilization of U.S. and Israeli drones, French military support and naval maneuvers, the presence of thousands of AMISOM forces and the TFG units, the political situation inside Somalia is becoming more unstable every day. A split within the TFG parliament has led to the expulsion of the speaker of the assembly.

The former speaker of parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, was fired in a dispute over the future of the transition process. Sheikh Aden stated in the capital of Mogadishu during a press conference that “I am not fired from being the speaker. There are no members of parliament that can take these actions against me since I am the speaker.” (Mareeg Online, December 19)

Both the United Nations and the United States have issued statements demanding the end to internal power struggles within the fragile TFG government. The interim regime in Mogadishu could not survive long without the intervention of U.S.-backed forces in the capital and other regions of the country.

In a statement issued by the United Nations on December 19, its states that “A joint delegation of the UN, the African Union and a regional organization has urged Somalia’s transitional institutions to quickly resolve a political stand-off triggered by last week’s passing by Parliament of a vote of no-confidence against the Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.” The UN urged all parties involved in the interim TFG to rapidly implement the so-called Kampala Accord which provides a framework for the continuation of the current political dispensation for another year.

In a similar statement the United States acknowledged that it “has been following with concern recent developments within the Transitional Federal Government’s Parliament, including efforts to remove the Speaker and Deputy Speakers. We call on all the signatory institutions to set aside distracting political infighting and instead focus their efforts on fulfilling their collective obligations under the Kampala Accords and the Roadmap.” (Mareeg Online)

At the same time a planned Constitutional Conference on the future of Somalia is being threatened by Al-Shabaab. This conference, which was postponed until December 20, is designed to bring together all signatories of the Kampala Accord and the Roadmap.

Al-Shabaab, which has been excluded from the Kampala Accord and Roadmap, vowed to attack the meeting that was scheduled to take place in Garowe in the autonomous region of Puntland. Mo’alin Hashi, a senior leader of Al-Shabaab in Lower Shabelle, called upon secret members based in Puntland to carry out the operations.

Hashi said that the “Puntland administration forces are targeting and rooting out every Islamic scholar living in those regions, so they are infidels and should be attacked.” The Somalian Interim President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed is scheduled to attend the conference.

U.S. Hands Off Somalia

The U.S. military intervention in Somalia is designed to control the political developments in the Horn of Africa as well as other states within East Africa. U.S. military intervention has been taking place in Somalia directly for at least two decades when in 1992, thousands of Marines were sent into the country under the guise of a humanitarian mission to fight famine.

In 1993, large sections of the Somalian population rose up against the U.S. and UN military intervention prompting their withdrawal during 1994. Since 2006, Washington has sponsored the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments to militarily intervene on behalf of their interests in Somalia.

At present large flotillas of warships from the U.S., Europe and other states are patrolling the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia under the pretext of fighting piracy. Nonetheless, all of these efforts have failed to stabilize Somalia in the interests of western imperialism.

The problems and political differences in the Horn of Africa must be resolved by the people themselves. Anti-war and anti-imperialist forces in the Western states must oppose U.S. and NATO intervention in East Africa as well as encourage the people and governments of the region to embark upon efforts aimed at finding a lasting and just resolution to the ongoing conflict.

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Western Imperialism and Its Neocolonial Puppets Out of Somalia!

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By Libanga Tika-Kongo
November 12, 2011

On Sunday October 16, troops from Kenya entered Somalia, not to help end the famine by planting food (as it is planting season), or to help with irrigation, but to kill more Africans.

It has been reported that the French army is also assisting them by transporting weapons and other logistical equipment to attack the horn of Africa.

The neocolonial government of Mwai Kibaki agreed to send in troops to attack al-Shabaab citing the usual imperialist propaganda: “Al-Shabaab presents a clear and present danger to the security of the world and especially of the East Africa region.”

This was what the government spokesman Mutua stated in a press conference reported by the Associated Press.

The Kenyan army is not alone. It will be amongst other African Union soldiers and Ethiopian security personnel, already occupying Somalia.

To add to the suffering of millions of Africans in Somalia facing drought and starvation, the U.S. has stepped up its bombing of the country which began in 2006 under U.S. president George Bush.

Today the military attack on Africa’s impoverished people is led by the first U.S. African president, whose father was also from East Africa.

U.S. Drones

U.S. drone attacks in Somalia and the lynching of Gaddafi show the desperation and weakness of U.S. imperialism on its deathbed.

Drones are airplanes with no pilot. Someone sitting safely somewhere in the middle of the U.S. controls them, guided by satellite data, to release bombs on their targets.

This is a cowardly attack on Africa’s impoverished and starving people. It is a sign of the U.S. ruling elite’s desperation.

Who is al-Shabaab?

Al-Shabaab was part of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), a social movement to bring law and order, backed by local businessmen.

The law and order was reinforced by militant armies within the Union who were guided by Islamic nationalist ideas instead of a particular clan.

In 2006, the BBC Somali Service editor Yusuf Garaad Omar reported that the UIC was the most popular political force in the country.

Why Somalia?

In 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts led a war that began to establish stability, peace and order. By the end of that year they were poised to take over all of Somalia and unite it with the other breakaway regions.

By November, under George Bush, the U.S. started bombing the UIC-controlled areas and sent in the Ethiopian neocolonial army to fight the UIC army.

The attack on Somalia is a desperate move to stop China’s growing economic influence in Africa. The U.S. also aims to gain greater military access to Africa’s newly discovered oil wells in East Africa.

The U.S. and other imperialists may disagree on many things such as healthcare, the financial crisis, education or who can join the European Union, but they are 100 percent united to stop any self-determined African group establishing a power base in Africa or elsewhere.

This is why the U.S. has imposed its own handpicked government in Somalia, with assistance from the neocolonial governments of Kenya and Uganda.

This proves again that when it comes to oppressing African people, there is no respect for borders that separate us. It exposes the real basis for war in oil-rich Libya.

France, Britain and the U.S. saw what was in their interests to obtain, and united to achieve that goal at the expense of African and Arab peoples.

Resistance is the Future

However, just as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. is losing the war in Somalia.

The neocolonial army of Ethiopia had to pull out after facing stiff armed resistance. And although African Union (AU) soldiers were sent in to replace the defeated Ethiopian army, they too are losing the battle.

On Friday, October 29, the African Socialist International (ASI) Secretary General, along with other members of the ASI, joined a protest outside the Kenyan embassy, organized by the Somalia Youth Group and called for an end to the occupation of Somalia and for Kenyan troops to withdraw.

Despite the numbers, the protest managed to shut down the embassy, sending a powerful message to the neocolonial government of Kenya that it will not be business as usual as long as they attack Africans in Somalia, like the October 28 attack that killed nine fighters.

The only reason the U.S. can maintain its military operation in Somalia is because it has the ability to mobilize African neocolonial armies.

We cannot win against Western imperialism as Somalis, Jamaicans, black Brits or Libyans. But as Africans, we are over one billion strong spread throughout the world.

If we combine our skills and effort, we could mobilize IT experts in Nigeria to cause a virus on the U.S. defense systems and stop the drone attacks.

Or we could mobilize Africans in every port, from Cape Town to Mombasa to the Suez Canal, to stop goods from leaving Africa for the West, starving the U.S., France and UK of our oil and food.

We are going to have to coordinate our strategic strength, without respect to countries, borders or ethnicity, but as a nation.

From Somalia to Libya and all over the African world—One People! One Destiny!

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Somali women humanitarian workers convicted on ‘terrorism’ charges

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October 20, 2011

Somali women protest at Minneapolis trial of humanitarian workers accused of material support for foreign terrorist organization. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN – There were tears and anger at the Federal Courthouse here, Oct. 20, after Hawo Mohamed Hassan and Amina Farah Ali, two Somali American women who raised money for charities assisting Somalia’s poor, were found guilty of providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations.

Supporters of Ali and Hassan, mainly women, packed the courtroom as the all white jury returned with the guilty verdict. An overflow crowd of Somali women and men filled the plaza outdoors, along with members of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR). After the verdict, everyone gathered outside, where many cried, prayed and expressed anger at the injustice.

Steff Yorek of the CSFR said, “We showed up to the Federal Courthouse this morning to wait with the women – and that was the right thing to do. All of the women were very welcoming. Amina took time from her prayers to thank us for being there.”

Both women were convicted of conspiracy to provide material support for a foreign terrorist organization. In addition, Ali was convicted of 12 counts of providing material support and Hassan was convicted of two counts of lying to FBI agents. Each count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a 15-year sentence.

The women were accused of helping al-Shabab, an Islamist organization that fights to free Somalia from foreign domination.

Amina Farah Ali, 35, is taking care of her paralyzed mother and two children. Hawo Mohamed Hassan is 64 and is battling many health problems. Both women were taken into custody and are now in jail. Sentencing will take place sometime in the next few months.

Mick Kelly, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression stated, “These women have done nothing wrong. They care about the people of Somalia and worked to make the country a better place. The U.S. government has no business dictating what political party, religion or social movements that the Somali people chose to support. The laws on ‘material support for terrorism’ should be scrapped.”

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression will help to mobilize activities around the sentencing and the appeals.

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Somali women demand justice for two women on trial for material support of terrorism

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October 19, 2011

Somali women at Minneapolis protest holding sign reading "To help my country is not a crime" (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN – More than 60 Somali women assembled outside the Federal Courthouse here, Oct. 19, in support of Hawo Mohamed Hassan and Amina Farah Ali, two Somali humanitarian workers who are charged with providing ‘material support for a foreign terrorist organization.’

The two women, who raised money to help destitute people in their homeland, are accused of helping al-Shabab, an Islamist organization that fights to free Somalia from foreign domination.

The jury is still out on the case.

Mick Kelly, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression states, “These women have done nothing wrong. They worked hard to help people in need. They deserve the support of everyone who cares about justice.”

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Lowkey – Obama Nation Pt. 2 (feat. M1 of Dead Prez and Black The Ripper)

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Chorus

I don’t want no Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna vote for your inauguration
Cause I don’t need a Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna …

Lupe Fiasco:

“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist, Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit”

M-1 of Dead Prez

After you divorce yourself from the right wing propaganda campaign
Its all simple an plain, America took the stands to gain
Your president got an african name, now who you’re gonna blame?
When you’re dropping bombs out of the planes with depleted uranium
Babies lookin’ like two-headed aliens
Follow the money, trail the leash to the criminal
Ain’t nothing subliminal to it, that’s how they do it
See the game they’re running, give a fuck if he’s cunning, articulate and handsome
Afghanistan held for ransom by the hand of this black man
Neocolonial puppet, white power with a black face, he said fuck it, i’ll do it
A master of disguise, expert in telling lies
Then they gave him a nobel peace prize
Shoulda known he was trained in Chicago, word to Chairman Fred & Mark Clark
What they’re doin in the dark will come out in the light
Like a wikileaks site, so I guess Nkrumah was right
Who’s ready to fight? Last stage of imperialism, I ain’t kiddin’
In the immortal words of Marvin Gaye “This ain’t livin'”

Chorus

Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna vote for your inauguration
Cause I don’t need a Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna …

Lupe Fiasco:

“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist, Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit”

Black the Ripper

O-B-A-M-A , you ain’t fooling everyone, I see the games you play
You was VIP at the BIC and we know that’s codename for CIA
The same way your cameras are watching us, we are watching you
Think we’re easy to control? You ain’t got a clue
Revolution’s on the way, let’s see what you gonna do
You gonna send the troops? You gonna drop the nukes?
See it’s not where you from, it’s where you at
He’s sitting in the White House so who cares if he’s black?
And why is there soldiers still out there in Iraq?
Natural Resources ain’t yours, it’s theirs, give it back
You’re just another puppet, but I’m not surprised
Look at Collin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice
They didn’t change shit, house niggas fresh off the slaveship
You’ll all burn in hell, even Michelle … Obama Nation

Chorus

Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna vote for your inauguration
Cause I don’t need a Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna …

Lupe Fiasco:

“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist, Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit”

Lowkey

Was the bigger threat from Osama or from Obama?
Military bases from Chagos to Okinawa
I say things that other rappers won’t say
Cause my mind never closed like Guantanamo Bay
Hope you didn’t build a statue or tattoo your arm
Cause the drones are still flying over Pashtunistan
Did he defend the war? No! He extended more
He even had the time to attempt a coup in Ecuador
Morales and Chavez, the state’s are on a hunt for ya
Military now stationed on bases in Colombia
Take a trip to the past and tell ‘em I was right
Ask Ali Abunimah or Jeremiah Wright
Drones over Pakistan, Yemen and Libya
Is Obama the bomber getting ready for Syria?
First black president, the masses were hungry
But the same president just bombed an african country

Chorus

Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna vote for your inauguration
Cause I don’t need a Obama-Obama Nation
I’m not gonna …

Lupe Fiasco:

“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist, Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit”

Venezuela Sends 50 Tons of Food Aid, Five Million Dollars, and Solidarity to Somalia

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By JUAN REARDON – VENEZUELANALYSIS.COM

Venezuelan civilian and military personnel help load cargo headed to Somalia (Agencies).

Mérida, July 28th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Wednesday the Venezuelan government contributed 50 tons in food aid to the people of Somalia currently suffering one of the worst food crises in decades. In addition to the direct shipment of “nonperishable foods, drinking water, baby food and grains,” the Venezuelan government transferred USD $5 million dollars to international efforts in the region and will soon send a team of Venezuelan technicians and agricultural experts to support Somali efforts to increase food production.

According to Minister of Justice and the Interior Tareck el Aissami, Venezuela “stands with the rest of those in the world who defend life, the living of life,” referring to the community of nations working to minimize the devastating effects of Somalia’s current humanitarian crisis.

Last Friday the United Nations called on the international community to help stave off one of the worst food crises in the horn of Africa’s history, a crisis affecting some 12 million people in the region and placing 780,000 children at risk of starvation.

Speaking on Venezolana de Television (VTV), Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez affirmed that “the least we (Venezuela) can do is help” before he approved USD $5 million dollars he said was to “purchase additional food and help soften the death and hunger produced by savage capitalism.”

From outside Venezuela’s Maiquetia International Airport, where aid was later flown to Kenya for ground transport to neighboring Somalia, El Aissami told the press that Venezuela’s contribution “ratifies our solidarity with the cause of humanity, with the life of the Somali people” and is accompanied by the “love and support” of the Venezuelan people.

Next week a team of Venezuelan agricultural technicians will fly to Somalia “to participate in a program aimed at providing technical training and increasing food production,” he added.

In response to the UN calls for immediate support from governments, organizations and individuals, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) called on its entire membership to contribute one day’s salary in solidarity with the people of Somalia.

According to Rodrigo Cabezas, member of the PSUV’s National Directorate, the party has mobilized its base so that next Monday, August 1st, members across the nation “will contribute one day’s salary to the children of Somalia.” Cabezas called on “all militants of the PSUV, all friends and allies, all Venezuelans of good will, to consider making this contribution.”

Venezuela’s PSUV is currently the largest political party in the country, with an over 7,000,000 members nationwide.

Money for Life, Not for War

In closing his remarks on Wednesday, Venezuela’s El Aissami criticized the use of billions of dollars “to kill off people,” referring to the war in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. The minister affirmed that “thousands of lives could be saved” if the United States and its European allies “made that money available for humanitarian causes” instead of war.

As measured by costofwar.com, the total cost of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the end of this month will top $790 and $440 billion dollars, respectively. Estimates place the cost paid by U.S. taxpayers for the attacks on Libya at roughly USD $9.5 million dollars per day, or $66.5 million a week.

In contrast, the U.S. last week promised $28 million in emergency aid to Somalia, funding that is said to supplement the $431 million already given in 2011.

According to the UK’s Guardian news agency, the first two months of bombings against Libya cost Britain over £100 million pounds. The British government recently offered £42 million pounds to help the people of Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti face the devastating effects of drought and famine, slightly over the £38 million pounds it has spent per week bombing Libya since early May.

The total amount to be spent by Britain in the war against Libya is expected to reach £1 billion pounds by September this year.

According to the Miami Herald, after the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, Venezuela was “the first nation to respond”, “became the first country to forgive Haiti’s foreign debt”, and pledged more aid than the US, EU or World Bank at the UN Donor Conference held in New York later that year.

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Unrest spreads throughout continent in Malawi, Senegal, South Africa and Somalia

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By Abayomi Azikiwe
July 26, 2011

Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking on Press TV on the humanitarian and political crisis in the Horn of Africa. 11 million people are facing famine in the region.

As the United States Congress and the White House continue the political theater surrounding the debate over the raising of the national debt ceiling, both Europe and Africa are experiencing heightened economic woos that have prompted political struggle. Events in the U.S. have spread concern throughout Europe as countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Britain undergo major cuts in public sector services, pensions and educational benefits.

The impact of the world economic crisis of capitalist overproduction on the continent has been revealed through various forms of protest actions and social instability. In Somalia, the worst drought in six decades has prompted mass migration and further pressure on the Al-Shabab movement which controls large section of the central and south of the Horn of Africa nation.

Corporate and governmental media outlets in the U.S. and Europe have claimed that Al-Shabab has barred major humanitarian aid organizations from entering sections of the country where their forces are dominant. Al-Shabab has responded that the situation involving food deficits in the country are being exaggerated in order open the way for western intervention in the country which has largely been without an internationally recognized government for two decades.

At present the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is being heavily supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which has at least 8,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops in the capital of Mogadishu. Although there has been tremendous migration into neighboring Kenya from Somalia as a result of the drought, there are also many people who are returning to the capital in search of food and shelter.

In West Africa, the pro-western President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, is seeking to run for office again amid protest from youth and workers throughout the country. On July 23 there were rival demonstrations in the capital of Dakar both for and against Wade seeking another term which the opposition says would be a violation of the country’s constitution.

There were demonstrations in Senegal last month when offices of the national electricity company were burned. People often complain of the poor economic conditions that result in high unemployment, poverty, frequent electricity outages and the rising price for food.

Also the West African state of Nigeria, the continent’s most populous, a national strike was narrowly averted when the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) reached agreement with the federal government to raise the minimum wage. Nigeria is a large oil-producing state, however, the workers have not benefitted from the foreign exchange revenue generated by the export of petroleum from the country.

Unrest and Labor Activity Spread From South Africa to Malawi

The Southern African nation of Malawi has been the center of unrest since the week of July 18. According to the Associated Press, “Malawian activists who helped organize last week’s protests threatened Monday (July 25) to hold more demonstrations unless the president addresses their grievances.” (AP, July 25)

One protest leader, Rafiq Hajat, said that President Bingu wa Mutharika should meet the demands of the people by August 16. The demands of the demonstrations are related to the rising prices of food and fuel, the worsening shortages of foreign exchange and allegations of corruption by the president and other political officials.

In three major cities unrest resulted in the deaths of 19 people. President Mutharika has taken a firm position against the demonstrations while reshuffling the leadership with in the military.

Although the military is no longer maintaining a strong presence in the cities, police are continuing to patrol the streets where shops and businesses were looted and burned. Activists have presented a petition to the president with their demands for economic and political reforms.

South Africa is the largest economy on the continent and has the most organized working class. A series of strikes have erupted over the last few weeks in broad sectors of the labor force including industrial, chemicals, fuel and now mining. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the country’s biggest union, along with the United Association of South Africa (UASA) and Solidarity are demanding between 12 and 14 percent wage increases.

As a result of the strike, Anglo American Plc’s thermal coal mining production has grounded to a halt. Hulisani Rasivhaga, an Anglo American spokesperson, said that production has “stopped completely at all our operations. We have kept essential services running, such as water monitoring and ventilation.” (Bloomberg, July 25)

Anglo American produced 59 million metric tons of thermal coal during 2010 in South Africa. At another firm, Xstrata Plc, the workers from UASA may join the other miners on strike by July 28 if their demands are not met. Xstrata produced 17.7 tons of thermal coal last year.

South Africa is the fifth largest thermal coal exporter with 66 million tons being shipped out in 2009.

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Abayomi Azikiwe: Somalia famine worsened by West

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July 15, 2011

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, has been interviewed on numerous occasions on Press TV. Azikiwe has discussed U.S. foreign policy toward Libya and the African continent.

Climate change, exploitation of resources and America’s covert operations in what one analyst describes as the Western occupation of Somalia are exacerbating the famine woes in the lawless Horn of Africa nation.

Press TV talks with Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan-African News Wire in Detroit, who discusses the military aid agenda of the US in Somalia and how this is at the detriment of the people now experiencing the worst famine in half a century. Following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Can the effects of this drought be blamed only on nature or do leaders in countries like Somalia have some blame to shoulder as well?

Azikiwe: First of all, it’s been reported that this is the worst drought in sixty years in the east and Horn of Africa region. But drought does not necessarily translate into famine.

Famine is a result of the inability of a country to feed its people adequately and it also results from the inability of the various state institutions to provide relief to those population groups that have been so terribly affected.

What is interesting about this situation that exists right now in east African and in the Horn of Africa states is that the US has very close relationships to all the governments that are now the most negatively affected by the drought.

For example, in Somalia the US is propping up the transitional federal government (TFG) there; it is bankrolling not only the TFG, but it’s also supporting and training the military forces of Burundi and Uganda who have at least 8,000 troops occupying the capital of Mogadishu in order to prevent the al-Shabab Islamic resistance movement from taking power in that country.

In neighboring Ethiopia, the government there is largely subsidized mostly by the US and the regime in the past to occupy a territory in Somalia on behalf of the US. So it’s quite ironic that the US is supplying a tremendous amount of military assistance; they even have a CIA station that has been documented in the latest issue of the nation magazine in Somalia.
But at the same time they cannot do hardly anything to provide food and water to people who are suffering in the millions in this particular region of Africa.

Press TV: Though Africa’s resources are large it has been “raped” by the developed world. How much of an effect does that have influencing Africa on how it responds to things like drought and famine?

Azikiwe: It’s interesting that the major corporate media outlets in the US never draw the link between climate change and drought. Many specialists on African affairs have sighted this phenomenon and have sighted that increased disasters in the region stems from a lack of rainfall and also consequent crop failure and this also can be attributed to industrial policies of the so-called developed countries.

Nonetheless, the drought as I’ve said before doesn’t necessarily translate into famine. Its result is strictly stemming from the inability of these countries to provided aid and water and food to their populations.

So Yes, the fact that these countries produce mineral resources, agricultural commodities and the prices of these goods are set largely by the former colonial countries and the US and this has a lot to do with the fact that they’re incapable at this point of providing food and water adequately to their populations.

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WikiLeaks reveals U.S. imperialism’s role in Africa

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By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Dec 18, 2010

WikiLeaks release of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables continues to expose Washington’s Africa policy for its imperialistic designs. Various African states, those viewed as enemies and others considered allies, all face successive U.S. administrations’ efforts for economic control and political destabilization.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson’s briefing on Dec. 9 outlined the Obama administration’s priorities on the continent. Carson played down the damages from WikiLeaks’ exposures and attempted to shift the discussion to other issues such as the recent disputed elections in Ivory Coast.

Carson said, “The United States government is very much focused and engaged in a wide array of issues across the African continent and WikiLeaks has not distracted U.S. officials in any way from their overall goal of building a strong U.S.- Africa partnership.” (America.gov, Dec. 10)

Throughout Africa, however, people inside and outside of various governments have expressed outrage at U.S. efforts to undermine the independence and sovereignty of various states. These cables reveal that U.S. decisions led to displacement and deaths for millions of Africans.

U.S. targets Somalia and Zimbabwe

For more than three decades U.S. imperialism has given special focus to the Horn of Africa. A major effort has taken place since the early 1990s in the nation of Somalia where the U.S. has intervened militarily both directly from 1992 to 1994 and indirectly in recent years since 2006.

According to the Sudan Tribune, the U.S.-backed government in Ethiopia was compelled to intervene in Somalia in 2006 to carry out Washington’s foreign policy aims in the region. The intervention resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis on the African continent, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 2 million people displaced.

A series of leaked cables indicate that there was a secret agreement between the U.S. and the Ethiopian government of Meles Zenawi. The Ethiopian army would cross into Somalia to stop the Islamic Courts Union from consolidating power.

The ICU movement had brought a much-desired sense of social stability to a country which had been without an internationally recognized state since 1991. The ICU was an independent alliance of community organizations that sought to reconstruct Somalia based on the interests of the people and not Western imperialist forces.

The Dec. 6 Sudan Tribune wrote, “Ethiopia had no intention to invade and said the U.S. was behind the plot and it was sponsored by the United States government.” The report noted that Washington was “already tied up in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was in no position to openly launch large-scale attacks against Somalia and had to sponsor a country like Ethiopia.”

This same report wrote that the Bush administration’s “U.S. head for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer spearheaded the proxy war along with allies in the State Department and the Pentagon.”

Another major concern of the U.S. has been the growing involvement by the People’s Republic of China on the African continent. Relations have been particularly strong between the PRC and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, the ruling party in this southern African state.

Washington treats Zimbabwe as an enemy, since 2000 targeting President Robert Mugabe’s government for regime-change, following its implementation of a land redistribution program that empowered the Indigenous African masses.

A Dec. 12 Zimbabwe Herald article analyzing the WikiLeaks documents reported: “The West tried various strategies, including a desperate attempt to ask China to influence the reform of Zimbabwe’s security sector, in a futile attempt to effect regime-change. After most of their strategies dating back to the year 2000 such as civil unrest, the possibility of a coup and sanctions failed, the United States and Germany resolved to work towards a reform of the security services.”

Big Oil and U.S. policy toward Nigeria

WikiLeaks’ most striking revelations arguably relate to U.S. interference in the internal affairs of the oil-rich west African state of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. A leading newspaper in Nigeria, ThisDay, reported Dec. 8 that the U.S. State Department, in conjunction with Shell Oil, planted operatives within the government to influence domestic and foreign policy.

According to ThisDay, “Shell’s top executive in Nigeria told U.S. diplomats that Shell had inserted employees to every relevant department and so knew ‘everything that was being done in those ministries.’ She also reportedly boasted that the government had ‘forgotten’ about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and were unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.”

In addition, ThisDay continues: “The cache of secret dispatches from Washington’s embassies in Africa also revealed that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm swapped intelligence with the U.S., in one case providing U.S. diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the U.S. on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.”

Also in Nigeria, a potentially criminal case against the Pfizer pharmaceutical company was sabotaged when the firm hired operatives to foster allegations of corruption against Nigeria’s attorney general. Pfizer had come under fire for the 1996 “test” of tainted antibiotics used to treat meningitis in children. The test resulted in the deaths of patients and the sickening of others who suffered brain damage, paralysis, deafness and blindness. (New York Times, Dec. 10)

The New York Times reported: “The cable indicated that the information alleging corruption on the part of the attorney general was spread through the media to publicly pressure him to drop the lawsuits.” Nigerian Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa dismissed the $6 billion lawsuit and eventually settled the case for $75 million.

The Nigerian Vanguard newspaper reported on Dec. 11 that Pfizer reached the settlement for a mere $75 million for the damage done through the tainted medicines, which resulted in the deaths of 11 children and deformities in dozens of others. The so-called clinical trials in 1996 were said to have involved 200 patients who were given the drug Trovan.

Trovan had been approved for usage in adults only in 1997 in Europe and the United States. In the aftermath of reports of liver failure and deaths resulting from Trovan usage, however, it was then banned in Europe and restricted in the U.S. in 1999.

Egypt and Sudan unity

Washington is also hostile toward another oil-rich African state, Sudan, whose government has maintained an independent foreign policy. The U.S. and the International Criminal Court have subjected Sudan to allegations of war crimes and genocide.

The Khartoum central government headed by the National Congress Party of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir signed several years ago a Comprehensive Political Agreement with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which is based in the south of Africa’s largest geographic nation-state. The CPA resulted in the cessation of hostilities.

The southern region has set a referendum in 2011 on its future. This could result in breaking up Sudan and a resumption of the civil war involving the SPLM and Khartoum. The U.S. is pushing to hold the referendum on schedule and has sent a delegation to the south of Sudan headed by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, a leading adviser to President Obama on foreign affairs.

Nonetheless, a close U.S. ally, Egypt, has told Washington of its fears over the potential division of Sudan. Documents published by WikiLeaks reveal that “Egypt had even asked the U.S. government to help postpone next month’s referendum by four to six years.” (Kenyan Daily Monitor Correspondent, Dec. 7)

Leaked cables highlight need for anti-imperialist demands

The exposed cables make it clear that the Democratic Party and the Obama administration have not changed Washington’s imperialist policy toward Africa. The anti-war and peace movements in the U.S. need to incorporate anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist demands with specific reference to the African continent into their political programs.

At a July 23-25 national conference hosted by the United National Anti-War Committee in Albany, a strong resolution was adopted calling for an end to U.S. military intervention in Africa and upholding the right of self-determination and sovereignty for the African continent. The resolution was jointly sponsored by the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, the International Action Center, the Virginia Defenders for Freedom Justice and Equality and among other progressive organizations.

This resolution can serve as a guide to the anti-war movement as a whole, which must address concretely U.S. imperialist policy toward the African continent. These efforts on the part of the anti-war movement in the U.S. can assist greatly in strengthening international solidarity throughout the world.

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Universal Children’s Day without U.S.A and Somalia

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United Nations, Nov 20 (Prensa Latina) The world celebrates the Universal Children”s Day on Saturday with The U.S.A and Somalia as the only two countries that remain without ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989.

This is the first legally binding instrument that incorporates the full range of human, civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for children who are less than 18 years of age.

The Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 when the General Assembly recommended that all countries should institute it on the day they deemed appropriate.

Then the date was set to be on November 20, which marked the approval of two milestones in the world: the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

The Convention establishes the rights of infants to survive, to a complete development, to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation and full participation in family, cultural and social life.

The document contains 54 articles and two protocols: one on the involvement of children in armed conflict and another on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography.

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