Unmasking Britain’s crude plans for Somalia

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 227 June/July 2012

It has been three months since the British conference on 23 February, set up by the ruling imperialist powers to define their idea of a future for Somalia. Since then, the British government has been hardly public on its plans, but through its influence in the UN in Kenya and Uganda, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in Somali waters, a new proxy war is being waged against Somali people in a battle for their natural resources and sovereign nation.

The first EU NAVFOR attack hit Somali shores on 15 May at 3am. Sea-based attack helicopters bombed ‘pirate supplies’ on a beach near Harardhere, which in detail only amounted to three speed boats, four ladders, and fishing supplies being destroyed. EU NAVFOR Lieutenant Commander Sherriff was quoted as saying: ‘What we want to do is make life more difficult for these guys’ (New York Times). Residents are reportedly terrified, due to reports of Somali fishermen being killed by foreigners, such as the two murdered by the US Navy on 17 March (Somalia Report).


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Hands off Somalia!

Muna Hassan

Hands Off Somalia (HOS) was initiated by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism in January 2012. The campaign was then set up by both Somali and non-Somali activists, who understand what western intervention means and the destruction that it imposes on its victims. It was a response to David Cameron’s speech in November 2011 at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, in which he claimed ‘Somalia is a failed state that directly threatens British interests’ and that ‘young British minds are being poisoned by radicalism’.


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London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 226 April/May 2012

Photo by Aimee Valinski
London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab

The London Conference on Somalia on 23 February, convened and hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, was the 15th attempt since 1993 to solve the ‘Somalia problem’, all of which have ended in failure. The Conference was a grubby cover to enable Britain and the US to bargain over Somalia’s oil resources. Its final communiqué stated that ‘decisions on Somalia’s future rest with the Somali people’, but like the final statement read by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, it was written before the Conference. They agreed to ‘inject momentum into the political process, strengthen AMISOM [the African Union mission] and help Somalia develop security forces, build stability, and tackle pirates and terrorists’.


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Imperialist hands off Somalia! 23 February 2012

On 23 February, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supported a demonstration called by the Hands Off Somalia! and Voice 4 Somalia campaigns in opposition to the London Somalia Conference.

This conference was a high profile event, hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, which boasted it would bring together representatives of 40 governments, as well as international organisations, to decide how best to tackle the ‘problem of Somalia’. Cameron, Hillary Clinton, Alain Juppe and other imperialists discussed how to deal with ‘piracy’, ‘Islamic militancy’ and the other factors which in their eyes render Somalia ‘the world’s most failed state’. The day ended with a communiqué which had been written and widely leaked a month prior to the event, and a press conference, at which Cameron and other speakers made it clear that ‘targeted’ military intervention and air-strikes against Somalia are on the cards.


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TALK ON SOMALIA - Trevor Rayne - 4 Feb 2012

The following is an extended version of a talk given by Trevor Rayne at the Kentish Town Community Centre on 4 February 2012.

First, some word images from a person who has recently been to Somalia [these are re-worked from the London Review of Books 3 November 2011]: After three years of drought thousands of colourful tents have sprung up in Mogadishu, amidst the destroyed buildings. Thousands of starving Somalis left the countryside for the city. They appear in the streets in tattered clothes with bundles on their heads, jerry cans in their hands and babies on their backs. These are the younger people; the older ones and the sick are left in the villages.

Even in the drought what water there was in parts of the country was diverted to banana plantations – a cash crop, sold mainly to the Middle East.


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Oil corporations rush to carve up Somalia

When in December 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron described Somalia as ‘a failed state that directly threatens British interests’ he was signalling Britain’s intention to secure its economic interests in the oil-rich and strategically important Horn of Africa. It has little to do with pirates, Islamists, terrorists or the famine in the country. The continent has become a battleground for imperialists scrambling to control energy sources. The oil in East Africa is historically underexplored. British firms BG Group, Tullow Oil, Premier Oil and Cove Energy, have acquired oil interests in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania since 2010. Puntland in northern Somalia can yield 5-10bn barrels of oil, and drilling has begun there. With political instability in the Middle East, African oil has grown in strategic importance to the imperialist parasites. This is the reality behind the increasing military attacks and interventionist rhetoric against Somalia.


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Somalia: Imperialists scramble for oil

Between 8 and 10 January 2007 the US bombed villages in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia near the Kenyan border, killing almost 100 civilians including many children, some burned beyond recognition. The bombings were launched from neighbouring Djibouti by the Joint Combined Task Force Horn of Africa, comprising US Marines, Special Operations Forces and a naval task force whose primary mission has been training regional East African armies ostensibly to fight ‘Islamist terrorist groups’. British PM Blair supported the bombing.

The assault continued US imperialism’s policy in the oil-rich and strategically important Horn of Africa. The US claimed it was targeting the Al Qaida leadership in the region, including three men said to have masterminded the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On 11 January, the US confirmed that all three suspects had survived. The US has never provided any credible evidence of Al Qaida’s presence in Somalia – the ‘Islamic terrorists’ story is a cover for its real goals – to prevent an Islamic government and to obtain a foothold in a highly strategic area of the world via a client regime.


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