Monday, March 3, 2008

A Dangerous, Deadly Escalation of U.S. War on Somalia

From the Desk of Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey, MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) March 3, 2008 - The Pentagon announced today that the U.S. launched a missile strike against a target in the little town of Dobley, Somalia, located some 140 miles from the southern port city of Kismayu.

According to reports, this attack was launched against a group of Islamic leaders in the town, including Shaykh Hassan Turki. The men, who are members of the Islamic Courts, were thought to be in Dobley to mediate a conflict between members of their militia and a militia loyal to the U.S.-installed regime in Mogadishu. There were conflicting reports on the damage done by the missiles; one account from a local official claimed that six persons were killed, while another reported that only three individuals had been wounded. Whatever the body count might be, it is clear that the United States has again attacked a nation with whom it is not at war - the fourth such attack by the U.S. military in the past 14-months.

There has been comparatively little media focus on Somalia subsequent to the U.S.-backed Ethiopian troops success in driving the Islamic Courts from power in Mogadishu last year, while installing to power the same Somali warlords who had utterly destroyed the country in the civil war of the 1990's. The Islamic Courts Movement had the backing of much of the Somali population, and they were, by most accounts, successful in restoring some order and justice to the civil society.

However, because they are an Islamic movement, The Islamic Courts are opposed by the Unites States - even though they are clearly a better alternative than the thugs and gangsters installed by the U.S. and kept in power by a rapacious Ethiopian occupation force.

The Pentagon characterized the aerial attack as a "precision" strike against a known "terrorist" target. The rhetoric from the American government, in this case, is similar to the claim of "precision" strikes against targets in Gaza, that ended up killing far more innocent civilians than combatants.

The effect, however, is not the killing of "terrorists"', but the terrorization of a civilian population already devastated by internecine violence and the collapse of virtually all social infrastructure that would ordinarily serve to sustain 'normalcy' - this, coming in the wake of the horrific aftermath of the Ethiopian invasion and the countless killings and rapes committed by Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu.

American bombs and missiles will not bring order and justice to the situation in Somalia.

Ethiopia is a poor and oppressed nation in its own right, fighting, ironically, its own internal insurgency. It has no business in Somalia. And the United States has no business bombing Somalia under the pretext of hunting "terrorist" targets.

The task of restoring peace, stability and order to Somalia is a formidable one, that will require the antagonistic parties to work out their own arrangements for demilitarizing the conflict and providing safety for its citizens. The killing in Somalia must stop. But to insure that it does, the United States must stop military attacks and cease it’s support for a foreign occupation army in Somalia.

The Islamic Courts are not the enemy of the people of Somalia, and they must not be regarded as the enemy of the U.S. government or the people of the Unites States.

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