Somalia: The Other (Hidden) War for Oil

The invasion and occupation of Somalia coincided with the Pentagon’s now operational plan to build a new ‘Africa Command to deal with what the Christian Science Monitor dubbed ‘Strife, oil, and Al Qaeda.’

When I first visited this subject shortly after the invasion, I quoted a 10 percent figure for the proportion of petroleum our country takes in from Africa and noted that some experts were saying the U.S. will need to up that percentage to 25 by 2010. Wrong again. Last week came the news that the U.S. now imports more oil from Africa than the Middle East, with Nigeria, Angola and Algeria providing nearly one-fifth of it — more than from Saudi Arabia. While the rulers in Addis Ababa claim the invasion was a preemptive attack on a threatening Somalia and the Bush Administration says giving a wink and a nod to the attack was only a chance to capture a few terrorist holed up in Somalia, for most of the media and diplomatic observers outside the U.S. it was another strategic move to secure positioning in the region where there is a lot of oil. On file are plans – put on hold amid continuing conflicts – for nearly two-thirds of Somalia’s oil fields to be allocated to the U.S. oil companies Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. It was recently reported that the U.S. – backed prime minister of Somalia has proposed enactment of a new oil law to encourage the return of foreign oil companies to the country. read more

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