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Escalation in Somalia Part of AFRICOM's Resource Wars in Africa

Farid Omar

December 29, 2011

After suffering defeat in Iraq and getting bogged down in Afghanistan, the US is shifting its imperialist ambitions to Africa. The bloody military intervention in Libya was swiftly followed by deployment of Special Forces in Uganda, paving the way for large scale militarization in the Central African region and the new escalation by President Obama of America’s two decades old war in Somalia.

Under the auspices of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the US is looking to forcefully secure Somalia’s vast untapped oil reserves, natural gas and uranium deposits. Strategically located at the confluence where the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea converge, resource-rich Somalia is the gateway to the world’s busiest shipping lanes along the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Its proximity to oil-rich Sudan, North Africa and the Middle East makes it a pawn in the new scramble for Africa pitting the US against China’s rapid ascendancy in Africa, characterized by its increased inroads into the continent’s oilfields. The US is also seeking to counter the wave of revolutionary protests that have swept North Africa and now spreading into other regions of the continent.

Since mid-October 2011, the US has deployed regional proxies to conduct its war in Somalia with Kenyan forces rolling into the southern region of Jubaland/Azania under the pretext of flushing out Al-Shabab militants blamed for a recent spate of kidnappings of foreigners in Kenyan soil, a charge the Islamists vehemently deny. It appears that the recent kidnappings have nothing to do with Kenya’s incursions into Somalia as officials in Nairobi have openly admitted that Kenya’s planned invasion of Somalia has long been in the making.

Under the tacit approval of Washington, Ethiopian forces re-invaded Somalia’s central region in November while Djibouti, which is home to US and French bases has started deploying troops in Mogadishu under the banner of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), seen by many Somalis as another US proxy force. Sierra Leonean forces are expected to deploy soon.

In addition to the multiple proxy forces on the ground, the US is also waging direct war in Somalia through air strikes and sustained drone attacks in the South that has resulted in civilian deaths.

The US strategy in Somalia is to escalate the 20-year old conflict to consolidate AFRICOM’s military objectives of securing vital resources, countering China’s strategy and confronting the revolutionary wave sweeping across the continent. America’s war in Somalia has had a devastating impact on the Horn of Africa nation resulting in massive loss of civilian lives, mass displacement, refugee crisis and ongoing famine.

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