As sure as night follows day, when George W. Bush backs a "regime change" invasion of a country, you will see headlines like this: "Corpses Rotting in the Streets." We see it every day in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we are seeing it again in Somalia – the third nation-breaking operation launched under the rubric of Bush's "War on Terror."
On Saturday at least 73 people were killed in Mogadishu as vicious fighting continued between the American-backed Ethiopian invaders (along with their Somali warlord allies) and the inevitable "insurgents" produced by the Bushist overthrow. The day's death toll was just part of a week-long violent frenzy in the capital as the army of the Ethiopian dictatorship – armed and trained by American forces, and supported by American bombing raids on refugees and by U.S. "Special Ops" troops coverting around the country – shelled residential areas. Meanwhile, the insurgents – made up of hard-core remnants of t he overthrown Islamist government, some tribal groups excluded by rivals in the U.S.-backed warlord faction, and the usual mix of Somali nationalists who object to having their country invaded and people taking up arms to revenge the "collateral damage" murders of family members – lashed back with increasing ferocity.
It is thought that when the final death count is in, up a thousand people will have been killed in the week's fighting, while tens of thousands of new refugees have joined the more than 100,000 people fleeing the Bush-backed destruction. Reports from Agence France Presse ("Corpses 'rotting in Mogadishu streets'") and Reuters ("Scores Killed in Fighting in Mogadishu") paint a grim scene of despair and devastation:
AFP: “Ethiopian forces are bombing down civilian sites, places where there are no insurgents," Hussein Said Korgab, the spokesman for Mogadishu's dominant Hawiye clan, said. "This morning, they have shelled places some 15km away (from the city), and people are fleeing again.”Why has Somalia been blessed by this inclusion in Bush's Terror War? Why else? Oil. One of our astute commenters, "b real," picked up on this little-noticed story from Dow Jones a couple of weeks ago. (It's a cliché, but true: if you want to know what's really going on in the world, ignore the Beltway blather and head to the business pages; the moneyspinners need to deal with reality, not spin, if they want to keep their coffers full.) Dow Jones noted that Somalia's new, Bush-installed prime minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi, is now pushing an Iraqi-style "oil law" that will give the Bushist oil barons and their global cronies control of Somalia's unexploited oil fields, through the usual "production sharing agreement" that guarantees decades of fat profits for foreign companies while starving the natives of their patrimony:
...More Ethiopian troops moved into Mogadishu to reinforce their colleagues a day after a suspected suicide bomber attacked their base south of the capital. The worsening situation in Mogadishu has led UN humanitarian officials to warn of a looming disaster...The UN said Somali government forces were blocking relief supplies and that UN aircraft were being shot at. In Mogadishu, bodies were left lying in the streets, while a cholera or diarrhea epidemic was taking hold and new flooding was likely soon, it added.
Reuters: Shells pounded Mogadishu on Saturday, killing at least 73 people to swell a death-toll already in the hundreds from this week's battles pitting militias and Islamists against Somali and Ethiopian troops.
The escalating war has also sent more than 321,000 residents fleeing in the biggest refugee movement in Somalia since the 1991 fall of a dictator ushered in 16 years of anarchy.
Even by Somali standards, Saturday's carnage was shocking. "I counted 20 dead in the street and the sidewalk. Some were missing heads, others were so mutilated you couldn't tell if they were men or women,'' resident Suleman Mohammed said from the Al Barakah market area where more than seven mortars landed. Residents and medical staff interviewed by Reuters confirmed a minimum of 73 casualties from the incessant shelling and gunfire across the city on Saturday, adding to an estimated 131 others from the previous three days' violence.
The week's final death-toll is expected to soar and may come close to the estimated 1,000 casualties from a similar four-day flare-up at the end of March. Most of the victims are civilians...
"We are in a state of shock, I see no end to this,'' said Ali Haji, 50, a resident who took his family out of Mogadishu last month but came back to protect his house and belongings. "I've had enough. I'm abandoning the house. I am caught between two groups -- Ethiopians trying to kill me because I am Somali, and insurgents not happy because I am not picking up a gun and fighting with them. I have lost all hope.''
...The only operating hospital, Madina, was packed with wounded, screams echoing through the corridors. Tents were set up in the hospital garden to deal with the influx, with many people nursing injuries unattended under trees in the heat. "Unless we get massive international help, we cannot cope,'' a doctor said."Our beds and tents are full.''
Somalian Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi hopes big oil companies will return to the country and said parliament is set to vote on a petroleum law to encourage this by providing a legal framework. Gedi told Dow Jones Newswires last week: "The parliament will approve the law within two months." Large oil companies were awarded acreage before the country's government collapsed in 1991 but have yet to return owing to years of political instability and violence.Bush's war aims in Somalia are the same as elsewhere in his Terror War: securing the control (or dominating influence) over the world's oil supplies and its distribution networks, with the concomitant political and financial dominance this guarantees on a wider scale. We've touched lightly on some of this context for the Somalia take-down in previous pieces (such as here), but b real has provided copious documentation of just what the Bushists are up to, not only in Somalia itself but throughout the Horn of Africa, in this series at Moon of Alabama: "Understanding AFRICOM" (the latter being the new proconsular command that Bush has established to extend American military sway over Africa).
In one passage of the series, b real notes the early and extensive involvement of the Bush Regime with the Ethiopian dictatorship, and again notes the oil connection which is being made explicitly by Somalia's new leaders:
Investigative reporter Keith Harmon Snow, in an article from 2004, wrote of training camps in Ethiopia:The draconian, torture-inflicting Ethiopian dictatorship has been plied with weapons, money, training, intelligence and diplomatic support by George W. Bush -- in much the same way that his father serviced Saddam Hussein 20 years ago. Bush has even gone so far as to allow Ethiopia to receive vast quantities of arms from North Korea -- thus providing that regime with desperately needed hard currency to prop up its own dictatorship and advance its nuclear proliferation programs; again, a precise echo of Bush I's dealings with Saddam. Although in Somalia, unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush has opted to work largely through these proxies, committing no overt U.S. ground troops to the invasion, the plain fact is that it is his green light that has made this happen. It simply beggars belief to think that his pet dictator in Ethiopia would have launched this invasion if Bush had told him not to. But of course, as b real noted, Americans were an integral part of the invasion planning -- and as we've often noted here, Americans have taken a leading role in some of the most sinister elements of invasion aftermath: the killing of civilian refugees fleeing the fighting, and the "rendering" of civilians into the torture chambers of Ethiopian prisons.
In 2003, the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division (Special Operations Forces) completed a three-month program to train an Ethiopian army division in counter-terrorism tactics. Operations are coordinated through the Combined Joint Task Forces-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) base in Djibouti. In January 2004, Special Operations soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment replaced the 10th Mountain Division forces at a new Hurso Training Camp, northwest of Dire Dawa near the border with Somalia, to be used for launching local joint missions in "counter-terrorism" with the Ethiopian military. Soldiers will continue to operate missions out of Hurso for several months from a new forward base names "Camp United." From April 12-25, 2003, under the U.S. State Department-sponsored Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance Program, CJTF-HOA provided instruction to nearly 900 Ethiopian soldiers at a base in Legedadi. CJTF-HOA forces from the U.S. Army's 478th Civil Affairs Battalion also operated in Ethiopia in 2003 in and around Dire Dawa, Galadi, and Dolo Odo, among other areas.The December 2006 invasion of Somalia was coordinated using these and other bases throughout the region. While efforts to replace the popular Islamic Courts Union in Somalia with the warlord-led Transitional Federal Government (TFG) appear to be failing, the arrival of AFRICOM may bring more boots on the ground into that unstable, geostrategic nation. Especially now that TFG spokesman Abdirahman Dinari has dangled a carrot before foreign investors: "Somalia has a lot of oil, and our ministers have just approved a key exploration law to regulate how concessions are given out.... But what we need now is international support to restore security and build our nation, and we will be noting who helps us and who doesn't when these decisions are taken."
I want to reiterate a point that I have made over and over here: This war in Somalia, this carnage, this mass death, this brutality, this vast suffering is the direct result of the Bush Administration's "War on Terror." For all you Americans out there, this is our war, just as much as Afghanistan and Iraq are. It's being done in our name, with our money, at the instigation of our leaders. The American Establishment and the American media are almost totally ignoring this on-going horror story -- and downplaying the Bush gang's central role in it whenever it does get a mention -- but be assured: just because American citizens have been left in the usual amnesiac fog by their leaders, the victims of the invasion, and those watching it from outside the American media bubble -- especially in the Muslim world -- know full well whose war it really is. Once again, the brutal policies of loot and domination are preparing a terrible blowback for us; even now, you can see the thunderclouds gathering on the horizon.
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