The Nightmare in Somalia: Another US Sponsored Catastrophe

According to a Chicago Tribune article, the invasion in Somalia was “a covert war in which the CIA has recruited gangs of unsavory warlords to hunt down and kidnap Islamic militants…and secretly imprison them offshore, aboard U.S. warships. The British civil-rights group Reprieve contended that as many as 17 U.S. warships may have doubled as floating prisons since the September 11 terrorist attacks.” Only one month after the 9/11 attacks, Paul Wolfowitz, one of the top neo-con hawks in the Bush administration, met with various factions in Ethiopia and Somalia, alleging that al-Qaeda terrorists might use these territories as “escape routes.” On December 4, 2006, Gen. John Abizaid, then the head of U.S. Central Command covering much of the Middle East and the surrounding region, met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Three weeks later, Ethiopian forces crossed into Somalia, and the U.S. launched air strikes to back them up. The air attacks were supposedly against terrorist targets, but they killed dozens of civilians. The U.S. also embedded small numbers of Special Forces in the Ethiopian army, and provided naval and air support. * * * THE END result of the U.S. intervention has been untold destruction. Human Rights Watch published a report in December 2008 detailing the impact: Two years of unconstrained warfare and violent rights abuses have helped to generate an ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, without adequate response. Since January 2007, at least 870,000 civilians have fled the chaos in Mogadishu alone–two-thirds of the city’s population…Somalia’s humanitarian needs are enormous. Humanitarian organizations estimate that more than 3.25 million Somalis–over 40 percent of the population of south-central Somalia–will be in urgent need of assistance by the end of 2008…Freelance militias have robbed, murdered and raped displaced persons on the roads south towards Kenya. Hundreds of Somalis have drowned this year in desperate attempts to cross the Gulf of Aden by boat to Yemen. Amnesty International documented numerous accounts of killings of Somalis by Ethiopian troops. In one case, “a young child’s throat was slit by Ethiopian soldiers in front of the child’s mother.” And according to the Red Cross, about half of Somalia’s population is dependent on food aid. Millions live in tent cities without adequate water, food or power, while hyperinflation has driven up the price of staple goods by six times since the start of 2008. As Whitney puts it, “It is the greatest humanitarian crisis in Africa today; a man-made hell entirely conjured up in Washington.” read article

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