British Arc of Crisis Extended to Africa
by Douglas DeGroot
The December military offensive by Ethiopian troops in Somalia, ostensibly in defense of a weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG), with the support and encouragement of the Bush Administration, plus the subsequent U.S. airstrikes in Somalia, and the presence of U.S. troops there, demonstrate that Vice President Dick Cheney and his neo-con cabal are intent on expanding the British-designed global crusade against Islam by instigating a war in the Horn of Africa.
This move activates the African end of the British intelligence-designed Arc of Crisis, that extends through the Islamic world, from Afghanistan and Pakistan, through Southwest Asia, northern Africa, down to the Horn. (See this week's Feature for Lyndon LaRouche's remarks to an international webcast.)
Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, the three main countries in the Horn of Africa, account for nearly 100 million people, and are among the poorest countries in the world. Rivers from the Ethiopian highlands provide 86% of the water in the Nile. Use of this water is a critical issue for Sudan and Egypt.
There have been long-term antagonisms between Ethiopia, and Somalia and Eritrea, making it easy to begin a protracted conflict in the Horn of Africa. Cheney and company have set off the crisis in such a way that it will drag in neighboring nations, thus turning the entire region into a quagmire of permanent, and spreading, war. It will be unstoppable until the British globalization policy of destroying populations and sovereign nations is eliminated. This has been the underlying axiom of U.S. policy since Henry Kissinger's genocidal NSSM 200, promulgated during the Nixon Administration.
The crisis has already spread to Kenya. Of the countries neighboring Somalia, Kenya has the largest number of resident ethnic Somalis. Kenya has attempted to seal its border to keep out al-Qaeda operatives, which will keep out refugees fleeing the conflict in Somalia. Many will get through anyway, and there have already been reports of Ethiopian helicopter gunship attacks inside Kenya.
The Cheney cabal, using the Rumsfeldian Global-War-on-Terror strategy, are working to turn the Horn—under the guise of a war against al-Qaeda—into a Thirty Years War-style confessional/political conflict. It is being set up by giving Christian-ruled Ethiopia tacit approval and support to invade neighboring Somalia, an Islamic country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991. The U.S. military intervention which followed the Ethiopian-led attacks in Somalia, ensures that the crisis will be used as a recruiting tool for radical Islamists to go to Somalia. As a Sudanese source told EIR, "the crisis in the Horn will dwarf the Darfur crisis." In fact, Sudan will also ultimately be pulled into the crisis as well.
The Pretext for Launching the Crisis
The pretext given for Ethiopia's military intervention, is to prevent al-Qaeda from gaining control of an Islamic movement, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), that had managed to drive out the warlords from the southern part of the country last year, and to find three al-Qaeda terrorists the Cheney crowd maintains are hiding there. The three were allegedly behind the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Right before the Ethiopian attack, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Afairs Jendayi Frazer stated that the UIC leadership "is now controlled by al-Qaeda cell individuals" whom she labelled "terrorists." She then began shuttling between capitals in the Horn and Yemen, spreading the same message, and after the Ethiopian offensive began, called for an African peacekeeping force deployment to relieve the Ethiopians. The State Department approved the Ethiopian counteroffensive, calling it a response to "aggression" by the UIC, which had deployed its militias to Baidoa, the seat of the TFG.
The first skirmishes with TFG forces began on Dec. 19. On Dec. 23, the UIC announced that Somalia was open to Muslim fighters from around the world who wanted to wage a holy war against Ethiopia. The UIC forces were rapidly overwhelmed by the superior Ethiopian forces, and made no effort to defend the capital, Mogadishu, when the Ethiopian-led forces arrived, because they didn't want to be blamed by the population, if all-out warfare ensued there. Some fled towards southern Somalia, while most of them disappeared into the population, going underground, raising the possibility of an insurgency later. As far back as late 2001, Ken Menkhaus, a specialist on Somalia and its Islamic movements, warned: "By lumping everyone together, we may wind up creating an organization that is truly anti-American and evil."
Ignoring this possibility, U.S. officials were euphoric about the quick victory, saying "They're on the run." There have already been Somali protests in Mogadishu against the TFG and the Ethiopians, which have resulted in deaths.
Just days after the Ethiopian military intervention, which began Dec. 24, the African Union (AU) sought to quickly organize a peacekeeping force from several non-neighboring nations, so that efforts for negotiating an end to the crisis could begin. During this time, Ethiopian troops in Somalia, along with the TFG, had been pursuing some of the Islamic militia forces towards Kenya.
Very conveniently for Cheney and company, on Jan. 5, a taped message, purportedly by Osama bin Laden's deputy, an Egyptian named Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for an Iraq-style insurgency in Somalia. "You must ambush, mine, raid, and [carry out] martyrdom campaigns so that you can wipe them out," the tape said.
U.S. Joins the Military Intervention
This was the cue the Cheney forces used for the United States to intervene militarily, which guarantees that a negotiated end to the conflict cannot be accommplished quickly. U.S. special forces launched AC-130 gunships from a U.S. military base in Djibouti (which neighbors Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea), to conduct air strikes on Jan. 8 against a village in southern Somalia, and an island off the coast of Kenya, just below the southern tip of Somalia. The reason given was that the U.S. officials claimed to have "reliable intelligence" that the three al-Qaeda terrorists were in that area.
Somali officials reported that many deaths resulted from the U.S. attacks. The Pentagon confirmed the strike, but declined to comment on any details. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that the assault was based on intelligence, "that led us to believe we had principal al-Qaeda leaders in an area where we could identify them and take action against them," and added: "We're going to remain committed to reducing terrorist capabilities where and when we find them."
Witnesses report that air strikes continued over the next two days. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the Bush Administration "has had concerns that there are terrorists, and al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, that were in Somalia." He stated that "we have great interest in seeing that those individuals not be able to flee to other locations." U.S. ships have been deployed off the coast to make sure no terrorists escape.
Making no mention of villages and nomads' herds being devastated by the attacks, and the undetermined number of civilian victims, the global-war-on-terrorism maniacs are claiming success. They claim to have wiped out fleeing Islamic leaders. However, they had to admit they had no evidence that they had killed any of the three supposed al-Qaeda people they were pursuing. On Jan. 10, the Somali TFG claimed that one of the al-Qaeda terrorists had been killed. On the same day, the Arab League said that U.S. military action in Somalia had killed "many innocent victims."
The next day, U.S. officials admitted publicly that none of the top three "suspected terrorists" were killed by the U.S. airstrike. As of Jan. 11, unnamed U.S. officials admitted that a team of U.S. military personnel was on the ground in Somalia at the site of the U.S. airstrike, attempting to verify if any of those targetted had been killed. So far, "no one can confirm a high-value target" among the dead, said one U.S. source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, according to a Jan. 11 CBS/AP news release.
The overt U.S. role in this conflict, plus reports that Israel helped coordinate Ethiopia's military needs, only helps inflame the radical Islamic ferment globally, and fuel the anti-Islamic permanent-war policy which the Cheney crew is implementing. This U.S. role amounts to a red flag which makes it impossible for any African peacekeeping force to have any credibility. African nations are extremely reluctant to get ensnared in an operation that would be perceived as doing the bidding of the United States, after the U.S. military deployment. Unless the TFG agrees to bring moderate elements from the UIC into the government, African specialists say, African nations won't contribute troops to a peacekeeping force.
The brazen U.S. military intervention, by inciting radical Islamic attacks, ensures that a negotiated end to the conflict won't happen. The conflict will now become a quaqmire that bogs down any country which tries to intervene. The irrational and indiscriminate attacks by the U.S. on the civilian population will create more radical fundamentalist Islamists in Somalia, just as it has done in Iraq. Somalia has always been a secular country, but has now been primed to go down the same road Iraq has been on since the U.S. intervention.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi Meles, who thought he could carry out a swift attack, and then pull his forces back to Ethiopia in a few weeks, is now stuck. If he pulls out now, the weak TFG which asked Ethiopia to intervene, would collapse because of the radicalization caused by the U.S. intervention. The TFG was set up at reconciliation talks between Somali factions in Nairobi, Kenya by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (a seven-country organization from the Horn and surrounding region), the AU, and the UN, in 2004, in an effort to restore governmental rule in the country. Until the Ethiopian invasion, the TFG had only been able to operate in the town of Baidoa, located between Mogadishu and the Ethiopian border.
The East African Standard, a Kenyan daily, headlined its Jan. 11 editorial: "U.S. attack on Somalia threat to peace efforts." After noting that there had been no confirmation of any al-Qaeda operatives killed, the editorial noted: "It would take a long time to win back the trust of the people of Somalia if, like Ethiopia, the U.S., the African Union, and world organisations are seen as invaders and forces of occupation rather than saviours from the subjugation and clan-ethnic paralysis that have been the bane of Somalia for a decade and a half."
Genocidal War Instead of Nation-Building
As part of the Rumsfeldian shift in defense policy since 9/11, the Pentagon has let it be known that it will reorganize the U.S. military outlook, and has announced the formation of an African Command, which will see an expansion of bases in Africa, which will be seen as vehicles for regime change, using the anti-terrorist pretext to intervene in conflicts throughout the continent. From any rational policy standpoint, in the estimation of African observers, this invasion of Somalia will backfire. As one stated: "Establishing an African Command will only be effective if the primary policy thrust is support for internally driven governance-building processes."
With the Cheney crowd implementing the British-spawned genocidal permanent warfare policy, no development-oriented nation-building approach is possible. This British policy of permanent conflict, will have worse consequences for Third World nations than colonialism did, or the suffering brought about by dictators installed during the "Cold War." The policy of permanent conflict will wipe out populations, and destroy nations, as demanded by the utopian, free-market advocates of globalization.
Adding to the catastrophe in the Horn of Africa, there are reports that Rift Valley Fever, a rare, contagious hemorrhagic disease, which originated in the Rift Valley, and is endemic there, has spread from northern Kenya into Somalia, where seven have died of it in the Jan. 5-10 period. It also kills animals. Devastation of livestock would severely cut exports, thus depriving nomads of their livelihood. Because of the Ethiopian/American military activity, efforts to confirm the extent of the spread of the disease have not been possible, and therefore no moves can be taken to control the disease.
History of the Crisis
The United States, which had been a close ally of Somalia since the late 1970s, dumped Somalia in the late 1980s, when the port of Berbera and the air base there were no longer considered necessary. Consequently, the government collapsed in 1991, and since then, Somalia has been ravaged by the competing militias of clan-based warlords, resulting in pervasive fighting, plundering, extortion, and stealing. With no police force, and no central authority, the Somali people had no protection. As a result, many were internally displaced, and now live in squalid camps, dependent on food aid, or have been forced to flee their country.
The UIC reversed this in southern Somalia this past year, after various regional Islamic Courts unified, and with the support of merchants and some of the clans who wanted to stop the extortion of the various warlord militias, set up their own militia. The fight raged between the UIC and the U.S.-backed warlords (in violation of the UN arms embargo) from February until June. The warlords had set up a now-defunct Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) as a justification for those funneling money to them.
During the period of that fight between the ARPCT (warlords) and the UIC, TFG government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari, speaking by phone from Baidoa, told journalists that, "The U.S. government funded the warlords in the recent battle in Mogadishu, there is no doubt about that. This cooperation ... only fuels further civil war," according to news agency reports at the time.
TFG Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said, in an interview during that period of fighting, that "We would prefer that the U.S. work with the transitional government and not with criminals. This is a dangerous game. Somalia is not a stable place and we want the U.S. in Somalia, but in a more constructive way. Clearly we have a common objective to stabilize Somalia, but the U.S. is using the wrong channels."
The Bush Administration fixated on the potential terrorist threat, and did nothing to create or support economic development initiatives. Thus, nothing was done to alter the conditions which have allowed radical fundamentalist cells installing themselves in the country, or which leave the only other option for survival being working for a warlord.
As a result of the lack of the proper kind of support, the TFG, which includes some warlords, has no independent power base. It has been left to be played as an Ethiopian and Bush Administration card.
Since the UIC left Mogadishu, warlords and their militias have returned, and resumed their previous extortion activity, setting up checkpoints to demand money before they let people or shipped goods pass.