By Amanuel Biedemariam
The Russians know the history of Somalia well because Somalia was an ally of the Soviet Union. Somalia became independent in 1960 and shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union was Somalia’s key ally. To counter US presence in the Horn, the Soviets eyed Somalia and provided comprehensive military assistance and training. In exchange, the Soviets built Berbera Port and used it as a staging ground as well as missile storage facility. This continued until the situation in Ethiopia changed in 1974 changing US and Ethiopian relationship and in turn, changed the dynamics in the region.
In 1977, the US started to warm to Somalia because by then the Soviets established ties with the Marxist Mengistu regime in Ethiopia opening a door for the US to come into Somalia. The US then signed an agreement with Somalia, started providing military assistance, and gained access to facilities in Somalia.
Central to all the geopolitical-juxtaposition was the conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia that attracted many players. Egypt saw Somalia as a destabilizing factor against Ethiopia and assisted Somalia. The Arabs also assisted Somalia for religious reasons. Italy was key arms supplier. In the late 1980s, China was also a player until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 which changed the dynamics in the region one more time.
In 1991, Siad Barre’s reign ended while at the same time the current regime in Ethiopia came to power. The US then resumed its relations with her traditional ally Ethiopia and started to take incremental moves to regain access into Somalia using Ethiopia and some of the countries in the region including Eritrea a new nation then. In addition, in 2003, the US tried to enter Somalia under a humanitarian cover using the armed forces and was repulsed.
Ethiopia having always seen Somalia as a threat started to arm various factions and reignited a new era of internal conflicts in Somalia. Ethiopia is the number one destabilizing factor in Somalia.
Whilst Somalia was always a weak nation dependent on foreign assistance for defense and humanitarian needs, prior to the civil war, all the actors knew Somalia as a nation.
The above is a snapshot-background of Somalia and its relations with the US and other members of the Security Council. Additionally, Great Britain as well as Italy was in parts of Somalia during the colonial era.
Somalia was always prone to interference but it retained its sovereign identity until the Bush Administration started to focus on Africa. The Bush Administration used the war on terror to infiltrate Somalia. Moreover, in December of 2006 Ethiopia the archenemy of Somalia, and the US collaborated to invade the sovereign nation of Somalia in violation of international laws and Security Council resolutions that governed the situation in Somalia. Ethiopia is archenemy of the people of Somalia and a party to the conflict yet, at that time none of the Security Council members objected to the breach of international laws on behalf of the Somali people.
The people of Somalia fought the US Ethiopian invasion hard and it led to untold death and suffering. This was done openly in brazen disregard to the wishes of the people of Somalia. Furthermore, the US openly flouted the idea of recognizing Somaliland, Puntland and Jubaland while at the same time recognizing one Somalia Transitional Federal Government after the other by imposing leaders that are unaccountable to the people of Somalia. But what is significant here is the fact that the Transitional Governments are flaunted as leaders of Somalia. These are leaders, at one time considered terrorists or affiliated with labeled organizations. These leaders are nails, that the hammer, meaning the US and Ethiopia use to seal the coffin that is Somalia.
In the backdrop, as the Wikileaks cable after cable revealed, the minority regime in Ethiopia has basically owned Somalia and used it, for monetary gains from the US and others in the name of fighting terrorism; for diplomatic advantage in the name of bringing peace in Somalia; for military support from the US and other Western nations; to suppress the people of Ethiopia in the Ogaden and Oromo regions in the name of fighting terrorism and to suppress any dissent in the name of fighting terrorism. While at the same time using Eritrea as a scapegoat in an effort to weaken and isolate Eritrea using the US at the Security Council and, achieving key strategic objective of weakening Somalia for good.
Since 2006, the bloodletting in Somalia has continued with impunity. Any hope of resuscitating Somalia to viability kept being hammered by Ethiopia, Ugandan, and Burundian troops in the name of African Union with US taking a leading role. The US in the mean time kept trying to force government after failed government to ensure US interest disregarding the interests the people of Somalia. Those that opposed the US intervention in Somalia whether they are Somalis in the Diaspora or inside Somalia are deemed terrorists or threatened to be labeled as one and silenced. Those nations that opposed the imposition on the Somali people or spoke out against US policies in the region face sever reprimand. Furthermore, in order to cover up and distract the world from the atrocities being committed, they have consistently used Eritrea as a scapegoat.
Eritrea is on the US blacklist for a regime change hence no lies are spared to label Eritrea the spoiler, destabilizing agent etc… whilst US, Ethiopia, Kenya and others physically perpetrate the spoiling and destabilizing. They even managed to push a UNSC resolution to sanction Eritrea based on fabrications and they are still targeting Eritrea to impose harsher sanctions designed to dissolve the nation from existence, all based on fabrications.
While that is at play, the ambitions of the US expanded and at present, we are witnessing another violation of Somalia’s sovereignty by Kenya. This time US drones, French aerial support accompanied Kenya to occupy Jubaland in Southern Somalia.
Kenya’s incursion into Somalia is like an atomic bomb dropped onto the area. Millions of Somalis and Kenyans will suffer as the result. The conflict will expand into areas of Kenya and beyond. It will affect Kenya’s economy severely due to the instabilities that will ensue as a result. In 2007, the civil unrest that broke out in Kenya brought Uganda’s economy to a complete halt because as a landlocked country Uganda depends on Port Mombasa Kenya for its imports.
Not surprisingly, like Ethiopia, Kenya is using Eritrea to divert attention and scapegoat it by claiming Eritrea is flying-in military support into Somalia while Kenya is the perpetrating the violation. This is an area and airspace actively monitored by French and US troops. It is absurd to see Kenya openly fabricate accusation against Eritrea while Kenya is in violation of international law by invading Somalia to pursue a “Jubaland Initiative” that has been in the works for a long time. This is taking place while Ambassador Susan Rice of the US is actively pushing for sanctions against Eritrea by fabricating claims that Eritrea is destabilizing Somalia as an African initiative. This is perfect “Wag the Dog” approach to hit two birds with one stone. In one hand, the US pursues Jubaland Initiative while diverting attention by making Eritrea the bogeyman and, punishes Eritrea with sanctions; however, this is a nuclear option.
This raises many questions about the UN body, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) key organ tasked to facilitate peace and security in the world. The situation described above will lead to more bloodshed. There is no end game because what is happening here is not geared to bring peace and lasting solutions for the region. Its design is to dismantle the area into pieces to benefit the powers to be at the expense of the people. Furthermore, if any conflict arises in the region which is likely, then the entire region will be up in flames beyond control. Thence, why is the UNSC, a body comprised of handful veto wielding countries allowing this genocidal holocaust to take place?
Why is Kenya, not held to account for the violation? Why is the US, not being questioned by the members’ UNSC for flying drones openly? Why are the rights of the people of Somalia not in consideration? The UN just reported the number of “children being caught on attack and crossfire is increasing.” Why not assign responsibilities? Why are the rights of these people trampled by the Security Council? What is even worse, why so much complacency and disregard to such hardship, death and suffering? Why is the Security Council not looking for real solutions instead of interest based geopolitical conflicts that is destroying life? The questions are endless.
The world is denied peace to accommodate the interest of the powers particularly the five members in the Security Council. There are no checks, balances, and repercussions for wrongdoing. Nearly all the problems the world faces is directly attributable to it. It is about time to say, “Enough is enough”! It is time to speak out and act against this world madness.
Please spread the message to all peace loving people to avoid further bloodshed.