To Somali Meeting at Arabic Centre for Studies and Research, Doha, Qatar
By Jama Mohamed Ghalib
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The recent invasion of Somalia sanctioned by the United States was primarily motivated by a deep rooted aversion to Islam on the part of neoconservatives of the Bush administration. The alleged presence of Al-Qaeda operatives in Somalia was a myth, not unlike Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The object of this myth was to create the rationale for that invasion. After all, US proxy forces have taken over the Somali capital and no trace of such Al-Qaeda operatives have been found, although claims of the US myth still continue.
An uprising of the citizenry in Mogadishu under the leadership of Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) established a rule of law by the Islamic Sharia that wiped out anarchy and misery within the short time of their authority with no cost to the international community. The uprising also removed United States clientele of warlords who had been preying on the people for more than a decade and a half. Under that rule of law both the Mogadishu seaport and international airport were re-opened after being closed for more than a decade and rehabilitation programmes were in progress when the new order was not only aborted, but was also defamed as a terrorist organization in order to justify that sinister invasion.
Furthermore, the US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger’s comments in an interview on or about 23 May 2007 that the UIC did not have broad based support inside Somalia was an insult to human intelligence. What the ambassador wanted to be believed was a total denial of the popular uprising mentioned here-above that had supported the UIC, ending 16-year war-lordism, banditry, kidnapping, hostage taking for ransom, sea-piracy and overall anarchy that had visited misery on the Somali people. All those heinous crimes have resumed unabated since ending the authority of UIC by the US sanctioned foreign aggression, despite ubiquitous US proxy forces. Another absurd comment of the ambassador during that same interview was that the Ethiopian foisted Trojan horse, the so-called TFG that had not been able to function for nearly three years since its inception and only survives under Ethiopian protective care had legitimacy that the UIC with such a homegrown popular uprising of support had not! And thirdly, the ambassador’s other remark that the US was helping the Somali people after sanctioning the cause (invasion) of the ongoing mayhem and misery that is being visited on the same people was not only ironic, but it is construed as a euphemism for the destruction of the social fabric of the Somali people.
And adding insult to injury, the US neoconservative administration chose Ethiopian authorities, a perennial arch enemy of the Somali people of nearly five-century standing and still colonizing a large segment of the Somali people and their homeland, as its US proxy to execute that invasion, determined to destroy the essential structures in Somalia lest there ever be another Islamic rule. They could not have chosen a worse proxy than Meles Zenawi whose misrule had turned Ethiopia itself into a police state.
The Ethiopian US proxy forces have been afforded free rein vis-à-vis their occupation of Somalia where they visit havoc on the Somali people, especially in the national capital, Mogadishu. They act independent of their foisted Trojan horse, the so-called Somali government or TFG. This is easily explained by the well publicized fact of Ethiopian forces commanders’ freedom to negotiate with or coerce various Somali community leaders by passing those TFG.
Traditionally, since their early conquests of non-Abyssinian (Amhara and Tigre) Ethiopian nationalities, Ethiopian forces were never given regular budgets since the Menelik II era, but instead they had lived upon the spoils of those conquests and thereafter upon the resources of the conquered people. That Abyssinian culture has not changed up to the present time. They have since their occupation of Somalia been looting whatever they can lay their hands on, especially snatching any moveable items. In particular, they target cash of money, Mobile phones and laptops (personal computers). The last two items upon the pretext of checking them for terrorist connections, but they never come back. Instead they end up in black markets in Addis Ababa. The Orphanage hospital, SOS, was ransacked of all its stock of medicines. Many people have been kidnapped from their homes at night and their whereabouts are unknown, while others have bought their release by paying bribes. It is a common practice that people believed to have some income or wealth are easily accused of terrorist connections, or even arrested and blackmailed to ransom themselves.
The above plundering acts and also the illegal occupation naturally invite resistance from the local populace. The Ethiopian forces always respond brutally with unproportionate greater force including the use of tanks, heavy artillery and war planes in built up areas that impose collective punishments and spare no quarter. Consequently, they cause a great deal of suffering mainly to the civilian population and have so far inflicted a minimum death toll of over one thousand six hundred and seventy (1,670) and wounding twice as many, as well as displacement of between 400,000 and half a million people made homeless, according to humanitarian and media sources.
The Ethiopian invaders/occupiers and their Trojan horse, the so-called TFG, in order to justify their savage actions, claim all those victims were terrorists, even those killed in their sleep who perished under the rubble of their bombarded and destroyed homes by Ethiopian indiscriminate fire-power in the middle of the night.
A number of Mogadishu quarters were continuously bombed and emptied of any human survivors. Even health clinics were not spared. All schools were closed down and health services were very severely curtailed. Humanitarian relief efforts were obstructed at best or totally denied. A great deal of the infrastructure has been destroyed by Ethiopian heavy fire-power and the overall economy is devastated.
At the above backdrop, the commission of war crimes is obvious and beyond any reasonable doubt. However, the UN Security Council is most unlikely to authorize the setting up of war crimes tribunal unlike those of Rwanda, Sierra Leone and other similar situations since the United States, a key permanent member, is actually a party to the above diabolic scenario from which resulted the war crimes. And after all, neither Meles Zenawi nor Abdullahi Yusuf, or Ali Mohamed Gedi, the principal perpetrators of the war crimes, are Charles Taylors. It is, therefore, left to the Somali people both inside and outside the country to seek humanitarian assistance and also raise local resources for the pursuit of remedial legal action to present complaints on behalf of the victims of the war crimes and/or their families to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Rome.
Urgent solutions to Somalia’s salvation lie in a genuine all-inclusive reconciliation process. However, no such meaningful process can be put in motion unless and until Ethiopian occupation is ended and their forces totally withdraw from Somali soil. Even holding such reconciliation forum in a neutral venue outside Somalia will not suffice while Ethiopian forces still remain in the country. This is because the attendance of many people inside the country will be indispensably required at any such forum and they will be harassed and intimidated when leaving or returning to the country. Nor can any viable agreements be reached even outside the country, much less to implement them later inside the country, while Ethiopian forces are still there. Again, no independent fair investigation can be conducted into the war crimes while Ethiopian forces remain in the country.
Any solutions to salvation, therefore, depend on the immediate and total withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somali soil. However, some quarters justify their continued occupation of Somalia for what they term, ‘to avoid a security vacuum’. This reasoning is baseless and ignores the fact that Mogadishu was a secured environment and only the foreign occupation has made it insecure. And secondly, their continued occupation is insecurity prone, but never fosters peace. The justification is, therefore, not only groundless but also bankrupt.
Jama Mohamed Ghalib
E-mail: [email protected]