05 March, 2008

Somalia attacked by US submarine cruise missile

US missile strike kills women and children in Somalia

By Bill Van Auken -- 4 March 200

The US military fired missiles at a town in southern Somalia in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning, killing and wounding civilians. Local officials in the town of Dobley told news agencies that at least three women and three children were killed in the attack and another 20 wounded.
Fatuma Abdullah, a resident of Dobley, told the BBC that he and other residents were awakened by the sound of explosions. .When we came out we found our neighbor.s house completely obliterated, as if no house existed there..
Witnesses said that at least three missiles struck the town, which is just north of the Kenyan border. This is the fourth such US attack on the impoverished East African country in the space of 14 months.
There were conflicting reports as to the specific source of the attack. The Associated Press stated that US naval forces, armed with cruise missiles, were responsible. The AP cited an unnamed Pentagon official who said that the bombardment was carried out with Tomahawk missiles fired from a US submarine.
Other attacks have been carried out from American warships, which constantly patrol Somalia.s 1,800-mile coast, which borders strategically key shipping routes between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Reports from witnesses in Dobley, however, cited the presence of AC130 attack gunships, the type of aircraft the US used in attacking the same area in January of last year. A resident of the town speaking by phone to the BBC said, .Right now.in full daylight.the planes keep flying over us. They are so low that we.re deafened by their engines. We are poor civilians living in a simple town. What have we done to deserve this bombing?.
.I woke up to loud blasts and flashing lights that shook my doors and windows. Airplanes were flying at a low altitude and were firing. I ran outside and hid under trees,. Saed Abdulle, a Dobley elder, told the German news agency DPA.
Many residents were reported fleeing the town for fear that the American military would continue raining death from the sky.
Predictably, Washington justified the slaughter in the name of the .war on terrorism.. A Pentagon official described it as .a deliberate, precise strike against a known terrorist and his associates.. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman told the media, .As we have repeatedly said, we will continue to pursue terrorist activities and their operations wherever we may find them..
The global eruption of US militarism is producing such .precision strikes. by Washington and its surrogates with increasing frequency in every corner of the globe. The attack on civilians in Somalia comes less than a week after the dispatch of warships to the coast of Lebanon, posing an ominous threat of US military intervention against opposition forces in Lebanon itself, as well as in support of Washington.s ally, Israel, as it employs US-supplied weapons to carry out devastating attacks on the Palestinian population of Gaza.
Meanwhile, in Latin America, the government of Colombia, the Bush administration.s principal regional ally.and the fifth largest recipient of US military aid after Israel, Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan.has brought the region to the brink of war by massacring leading members of the FARC guerrilla movement in a cross-border raid against their camp in Ecuador. The Colombian counter-insurgency forces operate under the supervision of US Special Forces .advisors. and utilize American intelligence to direct such attacks.
In other regions, the US administration proceeds with equal recklessness, as in the drive to sever Kosovo from Serbia and the continuous provocations against Iran.
All the while, the US military remains bogged down in the quagmires created by the US invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is, no doubt, an element of political calculation by the Bush administration in pursuing such policies as it enters its last ten months in office. The Republican Party intends to contest the November elections on the basis of a fear-mongering campaign, proclaiming the ubiquitous threat of terrorism and the need for strong .national security.. The greater the global instability created by US actions, the more fodder they will have for such an effort.
More fundamentally, the explosive spread of American militarism is rooted in the deepening crisis of US capitalism, reflected in the precipitous fall of the dollar and the cancerous spread of a credit crisis that is increasingly manifested in the contraction of production and employment. As the economic foundations of the US claim to global hegemony weaken, the American ruling elite is driven to ever greater reliance on its residual military superiority.
Somalia provides a case study in the immense destruction and human suffering produced by this policy. The Bush administration helped engineer and backed an Ethiopian invasion to overthrow the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), the regime formed by the Somalia.s Islamic courts, businessmen and some local and regional officials, with significant popular support, in opposition to the officially recognized Transitional Federal Government, dominated by CIA-backed warlords. The ICU established its control over the vast majority of the country, including the capital of Mogadishu, expelling the warlords and establishing civil order, the distribution of food and provision of basic services for the first time in nearly 15 years.
Washington charged that the ICU was tied to Al Qaeda and was harboring terrorists responsible for the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The ICU leaders denied both charges.
In December of last year, some 50,000 Ethiopian troops, backed by US Special Forces units and American air power, swept into Somalia and deposed the ICU.
The subsequent 14 months of Ethiopian occupation have succeeded only in provoking a growing popular insurgency that has deprived the US-backed regime of effective control of virtually any part of the country, including the capital, while unleashing the worst humanitarian crisis on the African continent.
Mogadishu has turned into a ghost town, with the city.s residents fleeing the violence and repression, and the majority living in squalid camps outside the city. Fighting continues to rage in the capital, while guerrilla forces loyal to the ICU have had increasing success in overrunning towns in the south of the country.
The principal motivation of the US missile strike Monday morning was apparently the fact that these forces had established control over Dobley, and one their senior leaders, Hassan Turki, (described by Washington as a .financer of terrorism.), was believed to be there.
Last month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported, .There are up to two million vulnerable people in need of assistance in the country. In the capital Mogadishu, the number of people escaping the city to the poorest areas of the Horn of Africa nation has doubled to 700,000 in the last six months..
The United Nations Children.s Fund (UNICEF), meanwhile, warned that some 90,000 children face imminent threat of death from malnutrition. In addition to hunger, the areas with a large concentration of internally displaced persons are being ravaged by cholera and other diseases.
Thousands have been killed by the Ethiopian occupation troops and their Somali government allies. Many more have been arbitrarily arrested.
The nature of the US-backed regime found clear expression Sunday when hundreds of heavily armed government troops raided the country.s three main radio stations.the country.s principal source of news.beating and arresting staff members, destroying or confiscating equipment and taking them off the air. Nine journalists have been killed in the country in the past year and scores have been forced into exile. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked the country the second deadliest for journalists, trailing only Iraq.
It is noteworthy that the missile attack on Somalia comes little more than a week after Bush.s tour of Africa. In many ways, Somalia represents a model for American strategy in the region, based on the use of the armies of African regimes as surrogates, aided and directed by US forces, to secure Washington.s interests. This strategy has been developed since the US military was driven out of Somalia in 1993 in the well-known .Black Hawk down. incident, which claimed the lives of 19 American troops. It is now being employed in alliance with some of the same warlords that the US forces were fighting 15 years ago.
The aim of the White House and the Pentagon is to develop its new African military command.Africom.to apply this same brutal strategy throughout the continent in a bid to secure American control of key oil and other natural resources and to beat back the incursions of US capitalism.s increasingly important competitor in the region, China.


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. missile strike in southern Somalia on Monday targeted a man wanted by the FBI, two senior U.S. officials said Tuesday.

CNN - voice of the US administration ...

remember that it is illegal to assassinate people in foreign countries,
the USA itself has signed this UN law.

Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan is wanted for questioning in 2002 attacks in Kenya, including a hotel suicide blast.

It is unclear whether Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed when a U.S. submarine fired a Tomahawk missile at the target, the officials said.

The FBI wants Nabhan, 28, for questioning in the 2002 suicide bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel and the unsuccessful attack on an Israeli charter jet in Mombasa, Kenya. Ten Kenyans and three Israelis were killed when three suicide bombers detonated a car bomb outside Mombasa's Paradise Hotel. The bombing took place within minutes of an unsuccessful missile attack on an Israeli charter jet, which was taking off with 261 passengers and 10 crew members. Nabhan is also thought to be an associate of al Qaeda member Harun Fazul, who was indicted for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, according to the FBI. More than 200 people were killed and 4,000 wounded in the attacks, most of them Kenyans.

The U.S. military has long sought Nabhan because he is believed to be deeply involved in al Qaeda's East African operations, one senior official said.

The FBI announced in February 2006 that it was seeking information on Nabhan and any possible links to those incidents. The Pentagon confirmed Monday that the U.S. military struck "a target against a known al Qaeda terrorist." The strike hit near the town of Dhoobley along the Somali-Kenyan border, a U.S. military official said Monday.

It was aimed at a "facility where there were known terrorists" affiliated with East African al Qaeda operations, the official said.

The strike destroyed two houses, killing three women and three children and wounding another 20 people, said Dhoobley's district commissioner, Ali Nur Ali Dherre. Dherre said the remains of the missiles were marked "US K." Villagers fled in fear of another attack, Dherre said, adding that he did not know of any Islamist extremists in the village. While referring questions about details of the strike to the Pentagon, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe stressed that "the United States is going to go after al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated operatives wherever we find them." "They are plotting and planning all over the world to destabilize the world, to inflict terror, and where we find them, we are going to go after them," he said. The United States conducted similar strikes in southern Somalia in January 2007 against al Qaeda targets. Officials later confirmed that they did not believe that they achieved their goal.

The 2007 targets also included members of the Islamic Courts Union, who had recently been driven out of power in Somalia by Ethiopian-backed Somali troops.

Washington accuses the Islamic movement of harboring fugitives from al Qaeda, including the suspect in the 1998 embassy bombings.

Eritrea viewpoint
Peace Process Essentially Means War: A look at UN Peacekeeping & Eritrea Ethiopia Case
Written by Sam B.    Monday, 25 February 2008
Few of us seriously scrutinize or even question .Peace Processes. and associated diplomatic maneuvers.
It is something that automatically implies a benevolent and/or benign respectable endeavor. At a time when Africa and many parts of the world is dotted with .Peacekeeping. missions and foreign armies under one pretext or another it is high time to consider the true nature of some of these endeavors.

Clearly the United Nation is .occasionally useful in specific crisis,. however when used .inappropriately, it risks internationalization and prolonging local conflicts.. (Ernest W. Lefever, Foreign Affairs, 1993) UN.s failures and the subsequent .internationalization and prolonging. of the conflict in the Darfur, Congo, Somalia, Palestine, Eritrea-Ethiopia, Rwanda, to name but few, requires little elaborations. The failure of the Eritrea- Ethiopia peace process is therefore not unique, even its failure by design. It is among many notable UN sponsored peace processes that have come short of their stated goal - intentionally or otherwise. However, before considering the Eritrea Ethiopia peace process it is useful to consider other affairs, in the region in particular. For instance, in a detailed study of the Rwanda genocide, R. Philpot, ascribes primary culpability for the genocide on .Peace Process. sponsored by the UN, US and UK. Which he contends was designed to undermine and isolate the Rwandan government of the time.

.Peace process essentially means war,. writes R. Philpot, .a war in which the sponsors of the process choose the winner before the meeting they call take place. They then pretend to be neutral during negotiations. Having bought time, they tighten the noose on the designated loser and prepare the ground to install a government that is totally subject to their will..

R. Philpot condemns the sponsors of the .Peace Process. for deliberately exacerbating the genocide in Rwanda, if not causing it in an attempt to .prepare the ground to install a government that is totally subject to their will.. Obviously he is not alone, the former UN Secretary General (UNSG), Boutros Boutros Ghali, hold similar views. In an interview regarding the behavior of the United States within the UN Security Council he stated, .that the Americans were 100 percent responsible for the Rwandan genocide..
Moreover, Yamin Zakaria, recalls that .after the genocide started, [Kofi] Annan oversaw the reduction of the peacekeeping force from 2,500 to 450., curiously, over the protests of the peacekeepers' top commander Canadian Romeo Dallaire.. (Al-Jazeerah, September 22, 2004) The fmr. UNSG, Mr. Ghali, contends that the genocide was .the responsibility of the Americans who were aided by England.. It would be important to underscore that the US policy toward Rwanda at the time was regime change.
Many prominent political commentators have stressed the fact that the UN is basically .a reliable instrument of U.S. foreign policy.(Noam Chomsky). A position echoed by Boutros Boutros Ghali in 2003: .the United Nations is just an instrument at the service of American policy.. Naturally UN peacekeeping missions and forces are an extension of this .instrument..  The assertion may be an open secret, however, among the overwhelming evidence it suffices to point out two examples; the Mehlis Commission and the UN Mission in Haiti . MINUSTAH.
Commenting on the ever-changing mission of the Mehils. Commission, T. Ramih writes; .The mission of judicial assistance for Lebanese justice, which the UN Security Council had entrusted to Detlev Mehlis, turned into an international investigating commission and later, into an international prosecuting entity. It also became an instrument used by the neoconservatives to blame Syria for the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Mehlis.s maneuvers have been uncovered and he has been forced to present his resignation. Although it was proved that the accusations against Syria were baseless, Washington has assumed an attitude similar to the one it had towards the reports presented by Hans Blix, which showed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.. (T. Ramih, Voltaire, Paris)
In Haiti, after the coup d'état orchestrated by the U.S. State department a UN .peacekeeping. force was sent into Haiti to .keep the peace.. MINUSTAH however, is detested by Haitians and is accused by politicians, reporters, human right organizations as well as Haitian public figures for the heinous crimes MINUSTAH participated in.
A US Labor/Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, 20 July 2005, investigated eyewitness accounts of .massacre. committed by UN Peacekeeping Forces in Haiti. In their investigation the Human Right delegation .uncovered extensive evidence that indicates there was indeed a massacre conducted by UN military forces in Cite Soleil..

The delegation concluded its investigation by reinforcing that .the evidence of a massacre by UN military forces in Cite Soleil is substantial and compelling. The eyewitness account of the operation, and the film footage shot by Haitian human rights workers who were on the scene during the operation; the extensive videotaped testimony by community members themselves on July 7th, coupled with tangible, physical damage to their homes and infrastructure; the bodies still on the scene that we have on video; the intense fear of the UN military forces evidenced by hundreds of residents of Cite Soleil; the statements by the local Red Cross; and finally the registry records of the relevant hospital -- all of these pieces of evidence indicate that UN military forces in Haiti today are not engaged in the work of .peacekeeping. as much as they are in the business of repression.. (US Labor/Human Rights Delegation to Haiti)

In a similarly condemning report Rob Lyon in a 10 November 2004 article writes: .If there was ever any doubt as to the nature of UN .peacekeeping. there can be no doubt now. The UN has completely revealed its reactionary nature in Haiti..  He adds: .It has become obvious that the majority of the population is opposed to . the presence of foreign troops, which are being used to prop up the new regime . the UN troops are simply an occupation force..
Sherene Razack detailed study of the torturing and killing innocent Somalies by Canadian .peacekeeping.  forces, which culminated into her 2004 book, .Dark Threats and White Nights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism., writes: "modern peacekeeping revealed its sordid colonial origins. Soldiers had acted more like conquerors than humanitarians."
Conceivably there are many lessons we can learn from Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda and other experience with UN .peacekeeping forces.. One thing however is definite and cannot be overlooked is that .if there was ever any doubt as to the nature of UN .peacekeeping. there can be no doubt now..  UN.s .peacekeeping forces. on many occasions are used as .an occupation force. and as .an instrument at the service of American policy..
To address UN.s failure in Eritrea and Ethiopia and the eventual .internationalization and prolonging. of the conflict it is crucial to consider the main influencing factors, namely the policies of the powers-that-be towards the countries involved. Particularly US policy toward Eritrea and US influence and design for the region needs to be appreciated.

US Policy in Eritrea
US State Department.s own documents state: the US strategy in Eritrea is .designed to contribute to political and economic devolution. and that the US Embassy in Asmera (.Asmara.) .has implemented programs that promote the devolution of political power and economic resources. of Eritrea, over what .the Government of Eritrea perceives as unacceptable meddling in its internal affairs by foreign powers.. (United States State Department, March 28, 2005) Furthermore, according to Congressman Rohrabacher, the US policy towards the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), and the border ruling appears to be .to apply political pressure on Eritrea until there is war--and then blame Eritrea for not compromising with Ethiopia.or continuously pressure Eritrea until they agree to renegotiate the final and binding decision of the EEBC..
The US policy in Africa is to divide the continent into four spheres of influence and designate one country in each sphere as a lynchpin for its policy and interest. Ethiopia is such country, and as such the hostility toward the Government of Eritrea, and .the injustice being committed against Eritrea is the outcome of the misguided US policy.. (MOI Eritrea)
The US State Department insistence to instill itself as a mediator in the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict despite one of the parties reservations was curious to say the least. After US Assistant Secretary for Africa, J. Frazer attempt to undermine the EEBC ruling by injecting .human geography. as a pretext and renaming guarantors of the Algiers Agreement as .Witness. little was left to the imagination as to where the US stood. Given such stand and US policy towards Eritrea - specifically its policy .to apply political pressure on Eritrea until there is war. - it would be vital reassess the true nature of the process and deal with it accordingly.
Part of the reason for the failures to enforce the UN and US sponsored Eritrea-Ethiopia peace process may be found in the fact that the process did not play out as anticipated by the sponsors. Initially there was opinion that the EEBC finding would not be to the liking of Eritrea. To insure that Eritrea accepts the ruling the UN sent its delegates to Asmera (.Asmara.) to insure the Government of Eritrea complies. However, Eritrea.s acceptance of the EEBC ruling and Eritrea.s victory and vindication in court of international law the .chosen winner., Ethiopia, is painted into a corner - along with the sponsors. In essence this has been the dilemma for the architects of the Algiers Agreement. The mechanisms they created in anticipation that the .designated loser. will back out of the arrangement backfired and became a noose on the designated winner instead.
However, Ethiopia and its masters had perceived an opportunity on prolonging a no-war no-peace situation, expecting if sustained it would cause the eventual collapse of Eritrea politically and economically. Eritrean people.s steadfastness has thwarted the anticipated result and the preparing of  .the ground to install a government that is totally subject to their will.. This plan has failed completely. In fact, Eritrea took the challenge to its advantage and created the ground for acceleration of development projects to improving Eritrea.s infrastructures, food security and self-reliance.

UNMEE: Occupying Force
Eritrean Defense Forces and the government.s determination to protect its population and the country.s sovereignty impeded many ambitious adventures by foreign elements that operate under one mandate or another. Nonetheless, the United Nations Mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) presence in Eritrea presents a dilemma. UNMEE mandate is .to assist the Boundary Commission in the expeditious and orderly implementation of its Delimitation Decision. and includes, .administrative and logistical support for the Field Offices of the Boundary Commission..
Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, the President of EEBC, in a January 7, 2008 report to the UNSG clearly reasserts:

.In stipulating that the boundary now automatically stands as demarcated by the boundary points listed in the annex to the 27 November 2006 Statement, the Commission considers that it has fulfilled the mandate given to it..

Now that the EEBC has .fulfilled the mandate given to it., UNMEE.s mandate which was .to assist the Boundary Commission. has expired. The Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) is now irrelevant. Maintaining any of the two any longer may in fact be dangerous, as it means maintaining the status quo of no-war no-peace, which was designed to strangulate Eritrea socio-economically by preventing Eritrea from properly administering its sovereign territories. Moreover, UNMEE and the TSZ are serving as an extension of the Ethiopian army that is occupying sovereign Eritrean territory. UNMEE and the TSZ are providing a comfort and buffer zone from where the Ethiopian army can unleash its next war. For all practical purposes UNMEE has effectively become an extension of the Ethiopian Army, an occupation force itself. As such, it is within a nations inalienable right for self defense, it is the responsibility of the people of Eritrea to rid themselves of all foreign occupying forces currently in Eritrean territory.
The notion that if Eritrea plays international diplomatic games it will eventually win or find a win-win solution can no longer be entertained. For most part all the maneuvering in international diplomacy arena thus far has been to setup traps into which Eritrea would fall in. Even when Eritrea skillfully played the game and nearly scored big the goal posts were continually moved, and they will continue to be moved until such time that Eritrea is ready to insure its security and sovereignty. It has to prepared for any eventuality while presenting a clear and credible danger to its adversaries and their interest if they chose to continue to miscalculate. Otherwise, they will be more than happy to keep managing the status quo.

It would be important to keep in mind that a .peace process essentially means war, a war in which the sponsors of the process choose the winner before the meeting they call take place. They then pretend to be neutral during negotiations. Having bought time, they tighten the noose on the designated loser and prepare the ground to install a government that is totally subject to their will..

One thing is for sure, Eritrea has effectively quashed the dream of the .pretend neutral negotiators. to .install a government that is totally subject to their will. in Eritrea. Eritrea is daily proving it can withstand the assault, survive and move itself further into self reliance. Eritrea will continue to prevail in its quest for justice as its case is deeply rooted in a just, fair and moral stand.


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posted by u2r2h at Wednesday, March 05, 2008


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