Britain’s quest to divide and rule Somalia

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On 7 May 2013 the British government will host another conference in London to discuss the future of Somalia. Undoubtedly the new Somali Federal Republic model, chosen by the UN, will be hailed a ‘success’. The reality is it is fast becoming a sectarian nightmare for the Somali people who are forced to divide into smaller and smaller clan-based enclaves and ‘buffer-zones’, like the latest breakaway Jubaland, where foreign authorities, including Kenya and Ethiopia, seek proxies to control.

Britain holds its former protectorate Somaliland, in northern Somalia, as its big ‘success story’, keeping quiet about the brutal behaviour of President Ahmed Silanyo towards protests following municipal elections in November 2012. Ten people are said to have been murdered after protests spread across the region. On 6 December the Somaliland Police Special Protection Unit, an anti-terror unit trained and funded by the British MOD, is thought to have been involved in four murders in Hargeisa. At least nine other people were injured, some of them seriously, including a ten-year-old girl who was shot in the stomach. The government also attacked protesters in Zeila, Saylac (western Somaliland); videos posted online show government troops deliberately shooting and killing teenagers on a demonstration against the fraudulent election results.

On 10 January Somali President Hassan Mohamud met high-ranking World Bank officials, telling them: ‘Somalia needs to reinstate operations with the World Bank family...We believe the World Bank can play an important role in the reconstruction of Somalia.’ It was the World Bank and IMF that destroyed Somalia’s economy in the 1980s, leading up to the crumbling of the state and civil war.

A week later, on 17 January, the US ‘recognised’ Somalia, after Mohamud met Hillary Clinton and promised that ‘Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government in the last 22 years…and I say in front of you today, thank you, America.’ He did not question the many Somalis killed by US drones or demand the removal of US-backed AMISOM troops and military bases from the country.

The British government has funnelled £2.2m into the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s counter-piracy programme, to run prisons in Puntland and reinforce its police and maritime forces which will defend British interests in the region. On 6 January the first private British navy for the last 200 years was set up off Somali waters to defend private British interests and rake in massive shipping insurance contracts with Lloyds of London. The chairman of mining giant Glencore Simon Murray backs the company behind the venture, Typhon. The firm’s personnel include ex-Royal Marines, Legionnaires, NATO commanders, and a former chief of HSBC’s marine and insurance business. Typhon owner Anthony Sharp told the Daily Telegraph, ‘I had the idea for Typhon playing polo one afternoon, thinking about what my next business might be’. Britain is responsible for naval operations and judicial programmes for the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

Anthony Rupert

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 231 February-March 2013