Trump’s Africom killing Somali civilians


This 26 August 2017 video about Somalia says, translated from Indonesian:

26 August 2017

Somali forces backed by the United States shot dead 10 residents, including three children in a village. Barire village was attacked … The Somali military says no civilians were killed in the attack.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

10 civilians killed in raid by Somali army and US forces

Monday 28th August 2017

SOMALIA’S army chief of staff admitted on Saturday that 10 civilians were killed in a joint raid with US forces the previous day.

Ahmed Jimale Gedi said he was shocked by the massacre in the village of Barire in the Lower Shabelle region.

The US Africa Command (Africom) confirmed that it had supported an operation by the Somali army in the area.

The Somali Information Ministry had earlier claimed that eight al-Shabab terrorists had been killed in the operation on Friday morning and “no civilians were harmed or killed.”

A second statement late that night said: “It appears that there were different security operations.”

Villagers brought the bodies of the dead to the capital Mogadishu in a protest later on Friday. Lower Shabelle deputy governor Ali Nur Mohamed told reporters there the residents had been killed “one by one” by “foreign troops”.

He said: “These local farmers were attacked by foreign troops while looking after their crops.

“The troops could have arrested them because they were unarmed but instead shot them one by one mercilessly.”

Mr Mohamed said three children, aged eight to 10, and a women were among the dead.

Africom said: “We are aware of the civilian casualty allegations near Barire, Somalia.”

Trump plans to make it easier to kill civilians with drones. Sadly, we can thank Obama for that: here.

US forces carried out three separate drone strikes across Somalia within less than 24 hours last weekend, underscoring the sharp escalation of Washington’s military offensive in the Horn of Africa: here.

Trump escalates United States war in Somalia


This video says about itself:

America’s “Shadow War” In Somalia Gets A Fresh Start Under Trump

23 June 2017

U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed over 400 people in the last eight years as part of a quiet war on “terrorism.” Parts of the country have been designated as “active war zones,” allowing for more strikes to take place with little to no oversight.

By Timotheos Gaist in the USA:

Trump escalates US drone war in Somalia

8 July 2017

The Trump White House escalated American imperialism’s decades-long war in Somalia this week, ordering American military drones to launch repeated airstrikes against insurgent strongholds in southern regions of the impoverished Horn of Africa nation.

… The attacks are openly acknowledged in American ruling class media as marking the onset of a major expansion of the war.

During its first six months in office, the Trump administration has laid the foundations for a wider war in Somalia, extending and building upon the general policy of covert and proxy war against Somalia pursued by the previous two administrations under the banner of the “global war on terrorism.”

In March, Trump granted US commanders open-ended authority to wage war throughout southern Somalia, without approval by civilian authorities. In April, President Trump approved deployment of scores of regular American ground troops to Somalia, the first such deployments since the 1992 “Operation Restore Hope,” which saw some 30,000 imperialist troops dispatched to the outskirts of Mogadishu, under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid.

The Trump White House now favors “even more permissive rules of engagement for drone operations in Yemen and Somalia,” Center for Drone Studies expert Dan Gettinger told Fox News last week.

The drone war in Somalia, waged by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for more than 10 years, is being organized from AFRICOM’s Camp Lemonnier, in neighboring Djibouti.

Local sources report seeing dozens of heavily armed drones and war planes leaving Lemonnier’s airfield every day. American military and intelligence operatives have also established a secret drone and commando training base at Baledogle airport, some 70 miles north of Mogadishu, according to Homeland Security News Wire.

“We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region,” an AFRICOM statement released Tuesday said.

“U.S. forces remain committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia [FGS], the Somali National Army and our Amisom partners in defeating al Shabaab and establishing a safe and secure environment in Somalia,” Pentagon spokesperson Major Audricia Harris said.

The drumbeat of drone strikes, commando raids, and proxy wars by US-backed regional forces and warlords have completely failed to defeat or even stem the al Shabaab insurgency, which has consolidated its hold over large areas of the country, and continues to deal punishing blows against the government.

The Islamist militia, which emerged out of the youth wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), has achieved a series of tactical successes in recent months, aggressively engaging and defeating government troops across a broad swath of the country, from the oil-rich Puntland region in the north, to the Somali-Kenyan border in the south. On June 8, al Shabaab forces overran a government military base in Puntland, killing dozens of government soldiers, and seizing large quantities of weaponry, munitions and armored vehicles.

Al Shabaab “has cemented its hold on ungoverned territory across southern and central Somalia, even after decades of the United States partnering with some African nations to combat al-Qaida’s third-largest affiliate,” the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

“In the last eight months, al-Shabaab has overrun three African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Forward Operating Bases by amassing large numbers of fighters and attacking in overwhelming numbers. Al-Shabaab has also increased its combat capability by seizing heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, explosives, small arms, ammunition, and other miscellaneous supplies during its operations overrunning Burundian National Defense Forces FOB Leego, Ugandan People’s Defense Force FOB Janaale, and Kenyan Defense Force FOB Ceel Ad,” AFRICOM acknowledged in a June 11 statement.

“The terror organization has cemented its control over southern and central Somalia, they have used this area to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, and to shelter other radical terrorists,” AFRICOM said.

This week saw al Shabaab mount brazen attacks against targets associated with the US-allied Kenyan government to the south, whose Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) have served as a proxy occupation force on behalf of Washington since 2011.

On July 6, al Shabaab fighters launched attacks against a Kenyan police station near the coastal town of Lamu, and in the Boni forest along the Kenya-Somalia border. The fighting near Lamu, whose port facility sits at the eastern end of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) strategic infrastructure corridor, lasted throughout the day, leaving three Kenyan police officers dead.

The rise of al Shabaab is powerful measure of the ongoing collapse of the nation-state system. The extremist militia group has exploited the breakdown of Somalia’s central government to establish power bases in large areas of the country, taking on social and economic roles associated with normal sovereign states, such as levying taxes and providing basic services. The group’s internal intelligence service, known as the Amniyat, regularly carries out sophisticated covert operations in the heart of Mogadishu, assassinating top officials and bombing FSG facilities.

“Al-Shabab is becoming a shadow government, positioning itself as Somalia’s champion of disenfranchised and marginalized clans,” American University Professor Tricia Bacon wrote in an analysis for the Washington Post. “This is why al-Shabab won’t be going away anytime soon.

“Al-Shabab has shown an impressive ability to adapt and is positioned to not only survive, but to thrive. It has overrun AMISOM forward operating bases (FOB), killing and injuring scores of troops and seizing arms, military vehicles and heavy weaponry,” Bacon wrote. “Al-Shabab has a remarkably effective taxation system that few dare to defy, even those living, as one person I interviewed put it, ‘a stone’s throw from an AMISOM FOB.’ That brings in a steady stream of revenue. What’s more, al-Shabab is relatively uncorrupt and efficient. You can see that clearly on the roads that it controls, where it operates checkpoints that require set payments, offers a receipt to passengers, and keeps the roads relatively safe.

“Al-Shabab finds ways to exploit the vacuum left by the state, tapping into a deep reservoir of grievances. It has both conventional military strength and terrorist abilities as well as political and ideological influence that goes beyond its territorial holdings,” she wrote.

US ruling class strategists fear a repeat, in Somalia, of the seizure of large areas of northern Iraq by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which took the Pentagon high command completely by surprise, and nearly toppled the US-backed government in Baghdad.

The FSG has proven incapable of securing and holding the vast majority of its own territory, aside from central areas of Mogadishu, small portions of the surrounding Indian Ocean coastline, and narrow corridors linking the capital and the southern port city of Kismayo to the Kenyan and Ethiopia borders. Calls are growing for US forces to assume a much larger role in the FGS’s defense, until now left in the hands of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops drawn from the militaries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, supported by American commandos, “advisers,” and air power. Such a mission would require thousands of conventional ground forces, along the lines of the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’ve convinced ourselves that working through our African partners is going to solve the problem. But in many cases, it’s making the problem we’re trying to solve worse,” American Enterprise Institute analyst Katherine Zimmerman argued in an appearance on Fox News.

Whatever the exact form taken by future US war operations, it is clear that American imperialism is determined to employ ever greater levels of military violence against a Somali society that is already reeling from decades of imperialist-orchestrated war, and is wracked by historic levels of famine, drought and disease.

Over 750,000 Somalis have been displaced by drought since November 2016, with more than 20,000 displaced in June alone. More than 50,000 Somalis have been treated for cholera or acute watery diarrhea (AWD) since the beginning of 2017. Some 350,000 Somali children under the age of five are currently acutely malnourished, according to a United Nations Humanitarian Snapshot published July 6.

The spread of famine is accelerating the destabilization of US-backed political arrangements throughout East Africa, and placing mass social struggles against imperialism on the order of the day. AFRICOM is “war-gaming procedures to work in a famine environment,” US Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser told Congress in March.

Nearly 27 million people living in the broader East African region, including Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, urgently require food aid, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Five million South Sudanese are projected to be “severely food insecure” by the end of July, according to the UN.

Since the beginning of the year, the US has rapidly expanded its forces and significantly ramped up its military offensive in Somalia, conducting at least 28 air strikes in 2017. By comparison, 13 such air strikes were carried out in 2016, and five during 2015: here.

United States soldier dies in Somalia


This video from the USA says about itself:

5 December 2016

The US has recently escalated a … war in Somalia over the newly found oil reserves off the shores of Somalia and Kenya.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

For the first time since ‘Black Hawk Down‘ United States American killed in Somalia

Today, 09:12

For the first time since 1993, a US soldier has lost his life in Somalia. …

The US American armed forces have not disclosed further details. It is believed that the killed soldier was a member of the Navy Seals elite unit. …

Black Hawks

In 1993, eighteen American soldiers died in Somalia when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, after which US troops carried out an unsuccessful rescue operation. Bodies of dead US soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in triumph. …

New offensives

President Trump has commanded aggressive air attacks and sent dozens of soldiers to train, advise and guide the Somali army.

It has been the largest commitment of US troops since 1993. In recent years, the United States has already performed a small number of operations in Somalia with drones and commandos.

The cruel irony in this that the Somali United States puppet army, now trained by the Pentagon as ordered by Donald Trump, are basically the same warlord-commanded fighters who dragged the dead bodies of United States soldiers through the streets in 1993.

Although promoted in the name of “political reform,” “economic development,” and “drought relief,” the “London Conference on Somalia,” hosted by the British government in London from May 12 to 13, served as a planning forum for imperialist military projects in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The main outcome of the conference was a Security Pact that commits the United Kingdom and unnamed “international partners” to support the creation of a new Somali National Army (SNA). The SNA force is planned to include 18,000 regular soldiers, 4,000 special forces, and a Somalia Air Force and Somalia Maritime Force, and will be tasked with defending the Federal Government of Somalia (FSG): here.

Yemen, Somalia wars and British Guardian daily


This video from the USA says about itself:

14 October 2016

The United States Navy fired missiles at sites in Yemen, continuing America’s long tradition of perpetual wars for profit.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Please don’t mention Western intervention

Wednesday 29th March 2017

By downplaying the West’s role in Yemen and Somalia, the Guardian is keeping its readers ignorant of the true nature of Western foreign policy, says IAN SINCLAIR

EARLIER this month Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, warned the world was facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the second world war.

Speaking to the UN security council, O’Brien said more than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria were facing starvation and famine.

Following up on this, on March 17 2017 the Guardian published a report on Yemen, noting that aid agencies have warned the country is “at the point of no return.”

UN figures show 17 million people face severe food insecurity, the Guardian noted, including nearly seven million people deemed to be in a state of emergency.

With the article relegated to page 29 of the newspaper, there was just one oblique mention of the US and Britain, which the report explained “have influence over the Saudi-led coalition” currently attacking Yemen and blocking aid entering the country.

Here are the basic facts the Guardian chose not to highlight. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of countries in a bombing campaign to overthrow the Houthi government in Yemen (which itself overthrew the previous government).

According to the United Nations, there have been over 10,000 civilian casualties, with the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes responsible for the majority.

In 2016 the Yemen Data Project — a group of academics, human rights organisers and activists — reported that one third of Saudi-led air raids have hit civilian sites such as school buildings, hospitals, markets and mosques. Martha Mundy, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, believes that “in some regions, the Saudis are deliberately striking at agricultural infrastructure in order to destroy the civil society.”

The US and Britain have been closely collaborating with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. “We’ll support the Saudis in every practical way, short of engaging in combat… political support, of course, logistical and technical support,” the then foreign secretary Philip Hammond announced a month into the bombardment.

Speaking to me last year, activist Medea Benjamin, author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection, explained Saudi Arabia is “getting munitions from the West… The US is even refuelling their planes in the air.”

President Barack Obama, described as “the reluctant interventionist” by senior Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, sold $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia during his eight years in office. This makes the 44th president of the United States “the most enthusiastic arms salesman to Saudi Arabia in American history,” according to senior Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Riedel.

Speaking in January 2017, O’Brien was crystal clear about the main cause of the ongoing humanitarian crisis: “The conflict in Yemen is now the primary driver of the largest food security emergency in the world.”

The Guardian has form when it comes to (not) reporting the causes of the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Surveying the newspaper’s coverage of Yemen between June 2016 and mid-January 2017, Peace News editor Milan Rai concluded: “The critical role of the Saudi blockade in creating these conditions in Yemen has been effectively suppressed by the British media, including Britain’s most liberal mainstream newspaper, the Guardian.”

According to Rai, there were 70 stories or editorials about Yemen on the Guardian website during this period: “Most of those 70 items (42 stories, 60 per cent of the total) do not mention the humanitarian crisis — or the role of the Saudi blockade — in any way at all.” And though the other 28 articles did refer to the humanitarian crisis “most did so only in a way that effectively suppressed the information,” Rai notes.

Unsurprisingly a recent YouGov/ Independent poll found more than half of British people were unaware of the war in Yemen, with just 37 per cent of 18-24 year olds aware of the conflict.

Turning to Somalia, on March 13 the Guardian published a full-page article on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in east Africa. “As many as 6.2 million Somalis — more than half the population — need urgent food assistance,” noted the Guardian, including “some districts… under the control of Islamist rebels al-Shabab, making [aid] access complicated.” There is one mention of the US: “The US government says it has spent more than $110 million on humanitarian assistance in Somalia in 2017.”

In reality, the US has been heavily involved in Somali affairs since the 1990s. These interventions, noted BBC journalist Mary Harper in her 2012 book Getting Somalia Wrong?, are viewed by “a growing number of experts” as having “contributed towards [Somalia’s] destruction as a viable nation-state.”

Speaking to Democracy Now! in 2013, journalist Jeremy Scahill explained that in the early years of the “war on terror” the George W Bush administration “made a disastrous decision to put [Somali] warlords on the CIA payroll” and “basically had them acting as an assassination squad.”

A relative stability was created for a brief period when the Islamic Courts Union took control in 2006 — quickly shattered by the December 2006 US-supported Ethiopian invasion and occupation.

The occupation, as occupations often tend to do, energised extremists, with Somali journalist Jamal Osman explaining “al-Shabab was born when Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 and some still see the group as a resistance movement.”

Since then the US has been trying to destroy the group its actions helped create. In 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported: “The US has been quietly equipping and training thousands of African soldiers to wage a widening proxy war against the Shabab.”

“Officially, the troops are under the auspices of the African Union,” the report explained. “But in truth, according to interviews by US and African officials and senior military officers and budget documents, the 15,000-strong force pulled from five African countries is largely a creation of the State Department and Pentagon.” The US government “is trying to achieve US military goals with minimal risk of American deaths and scant public debate,” the Los Angeles Times noted.

Since then the US has intensified its clandestine war in Somalia “using special operations troops, air strikes, private contractors and African allies in an escalating campaign against Islamist militants,” the New York Times reported last year.

Like Yemen, the US military involvement in Somalia has harmed the country’s ability to deal with humanitarian crises. For example, though the Financial Times explains the looming famine in Somalia is primarily the result of regional drought, it goes on to note: “The lack of effective government and an insurgency by al-Shabab, an al-Qaida linked jihadist group, have not helped.”

This quick survey of the Guardian’s recent coverage of Yemen and Somalia puts the lie to Guardian regular Polly Toynbee’s claim that the newspaper is “always free to hold power to account: to take on politicians, global corporations, the secret security state or great vested interests.”

The Guardian may well be free to hold power to account but it’s currently missing some huge open goals when it comes to Western foreign policy.

To be clear, I’m not saying the Guardian never mentions Western interference in Yemen and Somalia or links this to the growing humanitarian crises — I’m arguing the newspaper’s coverage does not match the importance of the issue.

As Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky argue in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent, the fact “that the media provide some information about an issue… proves absolutely nothing about the adequacy or accuracy of media coverage… More important is the way they present a particular fact — its placement, tone, and frequency of repetition — and the framework of analysis in which it is placed.”

Indeed, by downplaying of US intervention in Yemen and Somalia, the Guardian has helped to keep the large swatches of the general public ignorant of Western foreign policy — a state of affairs that suits the US government’s interests, as the Los Angeles Times report above makes clear.

Up To 50,000 Cases Of Cholera Expected In Somalia By This Summer: WHO. Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Malnourished children are especially vulnerable: here.

Pro-Pentagon Somali government accuses pro-Pentagon Saudis of massacring civilians


This 18 March 2017 video is called Helicopter attacked refugee boat off the coast of Yemen.

First, there was the United States Pentagon and other NATO militarists-supported war in Somalia.

It led to millions of Somali refugees, fleeing to, eg, Yemen.

Then came the United States Pentagon and other NATO militarists-supported war on Yemen.

It killed many civilians, including refugees.

So, now many Somalis are fleeing again, this time from Yemen.

On 18 March 2017, the Pentagon-supported Somali government accused the Saudi Arabian government, the special darlings of the Pentagon, of butchering its citizens.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Somalia accuses Saudis of attack on boat

The government of Somalia has said that the Saudi coalition is responsible for the shelling yesterday of a boat with Somali refugees. At least 42 people lost their lives. The Somali government used words like repugnant, monstrous and appalling.

The Shiite rebels in Yemen designate Saudi Arabia as the offender as well. That country has made no comments yet.

Here Dutch NOS TV, being a broadcaster of Pentagon ally the Netherlands, means with ‘that country’ the Yemeni puppet government in exile in Saudi Arabia.

The ship was fired upon from a helicopter gunship, 30 miles from the coast of Yemen.

AMNESTY International has corroborated new evidence the Saudi Arabia-led coalition recently fired banned cluster munitions in Yemen: here.

Saudi helicopter butchers Somali refugees from Yemen


This video says about itself:

17 March 2017

Thirty-one Somali refugees were killed off the coast of Yemen late on Thursday when a helicopter attacked the boat they were traveling in. Reports say the refugees, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab al-Mandeb strait. They were said to have been carrying official UNHCR documents. 80 refugees were rescued after the incident.

First, there was the United States Pentagon and other NATO militarists-supported war in Somalia.

It led to millions of Somali refugees, fleeing to, eg, Yemen.

Then came the United States Pentagon and other NATO militarists-supported war on Yemen.

It killed many civilians, including refugees.

So, now many Somalis are fleeing again, this time from Yemen.

From Common Dreams in the USA:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Local Official Says US-Built Apache Helicopter Behind Massacre of Refugees

Signs suggest the refugees, who were carrying official United Nations documents, were attacked by Saudi-led coalition helicopter

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

At least 31 Somali refugees are dead after the boat they were traveling in from Yemen to Sudan was attacked by what might have been a U.S.-made Apache helicopter.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed “dozens of deaths and many dozens of survivors brought to hospitals.”

A local coastguard officer told Reuters that “the refugees, carrying official [United Nations Refugee Agency] documents, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab al-Mandeb strait.”

If the reports are true, Yemen Peace Project director of policy and advocacy Kate Kizer noted online, the Apache helicopter “likely was U.S. sold, #Saudi manned (last sale last fall).”

Middle East Eye reported: “Photos from the scene showed bodies of men, women, and children laid out on the ground at a small harbor, covered in pieces of colored fabric.”

The outlet added:

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack, although the Saudi-led coalition is known to fly Apache helicopters near the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and carries millions of barrels of oil per day.

Local news site Aden al-Ghad reported that jets from the Saudi-led coalition—which has led a ground and air campaign against Houthi rebels since March 2015—had “intensified its strikes” in Hudaida on Thursday.

“Coalition planes launched dozens of strikes on coastal areas of Hudaida, in support of advances by troops on the ground,” a local source told the site, which is known to be opposed to the Houthi rebels.

The Guardian further reported:

There was no immediate comment from the coalition. Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition in the war in Yemen, has U.S.-built Apache A-64 Longbow attack helicopters.

The kingdom’s Al-Madinah class frigates, one of which was damaged in an attack by a Houthi militia in January, are also capable of carrying a single helicopter. Other naval forces operating in the area are also equipped with helicopters, including the U.S. military.

The U.N. Refugee Agency said it was “appalled by this tragic incident, the latest in which civilians continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict in Yemen.”

UPI reported Thursday that Boeing just this week “received a $3.2 billion contract modification to support the U.S. Army’s foreign military sale of Apache helicopters to Saudi Arabia.” The U.S. has already sold dozens of Apaches to Saudi Arabia, along with billions in additional arms. On Tuesday, Amnesty International urged the Trump administration to halt future sales immediately.