America: Corporate Imperialism Abroad (Sub-Saharan Africa)

Blind patriotism has infected the American populace, allowing the corporatocracy the ability to interact with sovereign power in an unhealthy alignment between corporate and political power; thus resulting in a passive citizenry and subservient media that blissfully observe the imposition of business interests in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa.

American Foreign Policy has been Defined by Corporate Interests

Under the cover of American exceptionalism, the corporations have purchased governments and legislatures, created its own personal armed enforcers, engaged in systemic fraud of domestic and foreign peoples, plundered national treasuries, and engaged in imperialistic exploitation of foreign lands through paramilitary operations.  American exceptionalism refers to the theory that US occupies a special niche among the nations of the world in terms of its national power, historical evolution, political and religious institutions.  Along with the phenomenon known as White Man’s Burden, the US has justified the impositions of its interests on foreign peoples as merely protecting the causes of freedom, democracy and justice worldwide.  With corporate-owned mass media communications denying cases of exceptionalism and imperialism, a systemic strategy of propaganda to manufacture public opinion into a subordinate constituency base, the CIA marauders have infiltrated and undercut popular governments and peoples movement in numerous regions of the world for the sake of protecting American interests.  US imperialist policies are the products of the excessive influence of certain sectors of US business and government – the arms industry alliance with political bureaucracies and more often than not other industries such as oil and finance, a combination known as the military-industrial complex.  Under the cover of the Cold War and after, the CIA has justified the imposition of its Orwellian oppression on foreign territories in order to protect the big businesses therein invested.  This cycle of international manipulation has perpetuated into an intensifying scheme of capitalist monarchism, underscoring the corporate control of American policy.  Beginning with the corporate interests in the slave trade, the corporatocracy has fueled American imperialism and materialism in Ethiopia, Congo (Zaire), Niger, Uganda and Somalia.


“To join the corporate army for God and country, give up your life.  Don’t try to figure out what’s wrong or right.  You never tried to stop, to look, to see that you’re exactly what you’re told to be.”
– Anti-Flag, “Their System Doesnt Work for You”

As with the post concentrating on corporate influence through operations in the Americas, the imposition of capitalism in Sub-Saharan Africa came through the manipulation of the CIA and the domestic political agenda rallied around anti-communism.  Though the US sensationalized the communist threat during the Cold War in order to exploit public fervor around intervention abroad, the same cannot be said about the US in Ethiopia in 1935.  Though the public agenda was opposed to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the large profit margins earned by the oil corporations in America not only subdued any embargoes or retaliatory actions by the US, but also encouraged Eisenhower to double shipments to Italy.  Endorsing the fascist regime in its colonialist expansion and undercutting the concept of democracy was clearly justified by the profits earned by the corporations dependent on natural resources, who also continue to govern this country’s foreign practices today.  The dependency on natural resources has driven America’s expansionist policies throughout the world, ruthlessly intervening in the internal life of dozens of nations to prevent them from choosing the leader they did want, or stop them from ousting one they didn’t.  The US has been importing  raw materials such as cobalt from Zaire and Zambia, chromium from Zimbabwe, uranium from South Africa, Namibia and Niger, bauxit from Guinea, and industrial diamonds from Angola, South Africa and Zaire.  Africa’s rich mineral resources have tempted and will continue to tempt Western economies in general and the US economy in particular because each of these minerals can add to their power potential.  Especially, the uranium from South Africa has been used by the US to build its nuclear potentials.

“You’ve heard it every day, since the first day of your life.  But you never stopped to think, what you heard was full of lies.  You can’t think just for a minute, can’t think just for a second.  Cause you’re nothing but a tool, whose thoughts are tailored and fashioned each night by the evening news.” – Anti-Flag, “Until It Happen to You”

The American cult of personality is defined by the materialistic ethics, made viable by the privatization of democracy by corporate business owners.  The leaders of the corporatocracy have organized a theocracy in which corporate interests reign supreme, managing the government expenditures to finance CIA operations into third world regions for the purpose of undercutting populist regimes to ensure their profit margins are secured for the next quarter.  So saying, the shareholders of the government stock are protected by the development of a capitalist monarchy, creating a structured society in which the elites are guaranteed their lifestyles at the expense of others.  A clear illustration of this exploitation is seen in blood diamonds and the investment of the American government into the corrupt dictator, Mobutu, to ensure the viability of the countries resources.  The popularly supporter Prime Minister of Congo, Lumumba, sought international aid in an endeavor to suppress civil strife by a succession movement in Katanga.  The US was the first country from which Lumumba requested help but Lumumba’s pan-Africanism and his vision of a united Congo gained him many enemies among the corporate elite in America, all of whom benefited from  the civil strife.  Therefore, Lumumba sought help from the USSR which further antagonized US anti-communist fervor.  Lumumba, for his part, not only denied being a communist, but said he found colonialism and communism to be equally deplorable.  Nevertheless, the CIA ordered his assassination but could not complete the job.  Instead, the CIA covertly funneled cash to Mobutu’s military group, who was then able to capture and execute the former Prime Minister.  Thereafter, Mobutu installed one of the most repressive and brutal military dictatorships in Africa with the help of CIA training and US corporate investment.  Because of their bilateral ties, US corporations were given access to the Congo’s minerals for more than 30 years.

“It’s the same today as then, as US tax dollars are spent to rid the native insurgence in Mexico and any other US corporate interests.  The 3rd world is a modern playground for multinational companies.  And the tax dollars we’re forced to pay fund these heartless US policies.   Their explanation: ‘it’s national interest, national security.'” – Anti-Flag, “Start and Stripes”

Because of the exploitation of resources, Mobutu’s regime began to fear reprimand from the people it continually repressed.  For these reasons, Mobutu began to limit western exploitation in order to preserve his own wealth and security.  In 1998, US military-trained leaders in Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo.  The invaders installed illegal colonial-style governments which continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training from the US.  Their control of mineral rich areas allows western corporations, such as American Mineral Fields (AMF), to illegally rape the soil of its resources.  AMF landed exclusive exploration rights to an estimated 1.4 million tons of copper and 270,000 tons of cobalt.  San Francisco based engineering firm Bechtel Inc also drew up an inventory of the Congo’s mineral resources free of charge.  Betchel estimated that the Congo’s mineral ores alone are worth $157 billion dollars.  Through coltan production, the Rwandans and their allies are bringing in $20 million in revenue a month.  Rwanda’s diamond exports went from 166 carats in 1998 to 30,500 in 2000.  Uganda’s diamond exports jumped from approximately 1,500 carats to about 11,300.  The final destination for many of these conflict diamonds, is the US.

“A government untouchable by the people, run by the corporations of the world.  Enslaving mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.  Profits put before people.” – Anti-Flag, “No Border, No Nations”

Resource exploitation in Africa is not new, but the scale of agricultural ‘land grabbing’ in African nations is unprecedented, becoming the new colonization of the 21 Century.  Among the nations being decimated by state violence, funded by foreign corporations, is Nigeria.  The Nigerian military has carried out helicopter and gunboat attacks by land, air and sea on the oil-rich Niger Delta; reports have estimated casualty counts as high as in the thousands.  Nigerian military have carried out these attacks in an attempt to oust groups protesting decades of environmental exploitation, destruction and human rights violations.  As many as 30,000 civilians have been displaced without adequate food or water, and aid agencies have been barred from the region.  Major oil firms in the area, Shell and Chevron, have made record profits in recent years.  The US, home of the Royal Dutch’s subsidiary Shell Oil Company, located in Houston, Texas, imports almost 50% of Nigeria’s annual oil production.  Evidence has indicated that Shell has fomented civil unrest in Nigeria to protect its access to cheap oil.  In October 1990, Nigerian villagers occupied part of a Shell facility demanding compensation for the farm lands which had been destroyed by Shell.  A division manager at Shell Petroleum Development Company called the Nigerian military for assistance.  The military forces then fired on the villagers, killing some 80 people.

“This country’s flag flies as a corporate symbol.  This country’s flag strikes hearts with fear – cold fear!  This country’s flag represents oil interests.  The president wages an endless war so he can justify stealing fucking billions.” – Anti-Flag, “Gifts from America: With Love, the USA”

The Niger Delta region remains impoverished, with no schools, no health facilities, or basic infrastructure.  Most foods in the region is imported due to decades of contamination of the water and oil by the oil and gas companies in the region.  Environmental and human rights activists have, for years, documented atrocities on the part of oil companies and the military in the region. As the tactics of resistance groups have shifted from petition and protest to more proactive measures, attacks on pipelines and oil facilities have curtailed the flow of oil leaving the region.  Oil companies and the Pentagon. representing the military-industrial complex, are attempting to link these resistance groups to international terror networks in order to legitimize the use of US military to suppress these areas and secure their involvement.  The volatility surrounding oil installations in Nigeria, however, has been used by the US security establishment to justify military support in African oil production states, under the guide of helping Africans defend themselves against those who would hinder their engagement in supposed free trade.  The December 2006 invasion of Somalia was coordinated using US bases throughout the region.  The arrival of AFRICOM effectively reinforced efforts to replace the popular Islamic Courts Union of Somalia with oil-industry friendly Transitional Federal Government.

“They try to tell us a free we run this country, but nobody wants to talk about the CIA files,  files we can’t see.  “National security” concerns a whole country but we have no say.  Our “security” blamed for our restricted freedom.  A game the government plays.” – Anti-Flag, What You Don’t Know

In retrospect, the US Government is supporting atrocities occurring in Africa under the veil of national security, all in an effort to guarantee the investment of businesses and oil companies.  The US plays a large hand in the civil unrest happening in countries throughout Africa, a means of internal subversion to ensure the accessibility of minerals and oil.  It is a wide misconception that US involvement in the support of brutal regimes is non-existent.  It is with the help of the press corpse that the corporate elite are able to devise blanket stories in order to minimize the outcry of these foreign affairs, formally titles ‘perception management’.

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Libya: A New Democratic Era

As the now deceased Colonel Qaddafi lays in an old meat store on Friday waiting for a secret burial, Libya’s new leaders begin to launch to formal start of a new era of democracy.

The Libyan People Welcome a New Democratic Era

With this new era, defunct of a common enemy that united regional and ideological rivalries between the NTC and other rebel forces, new challenges loom for the free Libyans.  With NATO secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announcing that the alliance of power involved in Libya will conclude the NATO mission, launched in March under a UN mandate to protect civilians, the security of Libya come sunder question.  Despite being a protective and offensive force through the long 8 months of interstate conflict, NATO’s presence embodied foreign interest and involvement in Libya, a country holding large amounts of viable oil.  With French, British, German and US representative having begun visits months ago, it is clear that the stake of foreign interests will intensify divisions among pro-West forces and large amount of anti-West forces, which has always been a wide sentiment throughout the region.

For instance, controversy over the final moments of Qaddafi’s death has raised questions over the ability of the NTC to control the men with guns, especially considering the tribal and regional cleavages in Libya.  The interim Prime Minister has insisted that Qaddafi, shown alive (though bloodied) and talking in videos, was killed in crossfire between loyalist and rebel forces, few Libyans seem concerned that he was more probably summarily executed on the spot.  This has raised discomfort for Western allies about the respect for justice and human rights among those who claim to be fighting for just those ideals.

“This is a time to start a new Libya, with a new economy, with a new education and with a new health system – with one future.” – Mahmoud, Kibril, chairman of the National Transitional Council’s executive board

Moreover, a key division in Libya is between Libya’s Islamist, a sect that is fragmented internally as well, and the NTC.  These Islamist forces were oppressed under Qaddafi and participated in some of the toughest fighting, which will result in Islamist calls for a share in the power.  Given the intensity of difference in Libya, these differences could easily escalate.  Another problem comes from the need for the transitional authorities to determine how to incorporate former loyalist forces and technocrats into a new Libya society, which will be far from receptive.

Although President Obama states that Libya has won its revolution, thoughts linger of a new revolution emerging.  A power vacuum is evident, large weapon caches are up for grabs and populace is without basic needs, such as water and power. The NTC needs to consolidate control over the country’s security situation, ensuring that criminals and gangs don’t take advantage of the weapons still circulating.  With secular, nonsecular, pro-West, anti-West, tribal forces and regional forces, the safety of Libya is threatened and any self-proposed leader could threaten the safety of Libya’s civilian population.   Laying the grounds for an underground militia group, possibly resembling any terrorist group, such as al-Shabbab in Somalia, the self-proposed leader could thus create a fractiousness and anarchistic state.  Clearly, the new democratic era needs to bolster its legitimacy and reassure all sects of a government reflecting their values.

The rivalries and grounds for open civil war among rebels were exploited by Qaddafi at time to control the thinly populate country of 6 million and its substantial oil and gas resources.  His repression and firm-handed rule ensured stability, as Saddam Hussein did in Iraq.  So saying, the links between these two are not so far off, as Iraq’s status quo is summarily explained by a historic Sunni-Shia war, which was sparked by foreign involvement that ended the oppressive hand of Saddam that ensured stability, of some sort.  International relations suggest that most interstate wars are caused by a preliminary intrastate war, as exhibited in Iraq and could very well be submitted again in Libya between the NTC and Islamist groups.

“Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy.  There will be difficult days ahead.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of America

Nevertheless, revenue from Libya’s oil will go a long way toward paving a democratic road, bolstering its legitimacy and tending to social and public needs.  The country has already begun producing an estimated 350,000 barrels of oil per day, which is a huge jump from 0 oil barrels during the conflict.  With surefooted moves, Libya could easily double its current production and because of global dependence on such a commodity, the exports would result in approximately $80 million in funding per day.  A return to its prewar output, 1.6 million barrels a day, which would net hundreds of millions of dollars a day, is still above the NTC capacity as it would require slow and complicated work.  Another move open to the NTC, and is being taken, is lobbying for the release of its frozen assets, which analysts estimate to be at $150 billion.  The assets range from real estate, staked in the Italian bank UniCredit, British publisher Pearson which owns Financial Times, and Italy’s soccer club Juventus.  Libya, with all its tribal and cultural division, was united into one colony by Italy until 1947, which explains the Italian assets.

In retrospect, the coming days will be witness to scenes of celebration and tears of relief but the road ahead for the people of Libya will be difficult and full of challenges both domestically and internationally.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=bestoftv/2011/10/20/ac-farmer-gadhafi-final-moments.cnn

Somalia: The Status Quo is Starvation

After the official declaration of famine in Somalia in July, the extent of the problems have only grown more severe, now encompassing six of the eight regions in Somalia.

Malnutrition and death rates have surpassed famine thresholds in the Bay region of southern Somalia.  According to the UN, famine implies that at least 20% of households face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition in over 30% of people, and two deaths per 10,000 people every day.   Though a definition seems as a shallow substitute to illustrate the severity of the situation, it seems that empty and half-hearted promises are all the aid that has been given, or will be given, to the Somali people.  With 4 million people in crisis, 75,000 of which are at risk of dying in the coming months, the new from the region is appalling.

53% of the population is unable to meet their daily food needs and approximately 12 million people are in need of some form of aid.  Aid, usually denoting relief and assistance, would serve to help instill some form of hope through stability and certainty.  However, out of the 12 million people in need, the promised aid has only been able to reach 1 million of those in need.  Besides the delay in foreign responses, or the lack of response in general, the problem of Somalia is encompassed towards a more fundamental chaos: anarchy.  Without a central authority to serve as a third power enforcer of stability, human rights and infrastructure of any sorts, the southern regions of Somalia have been claimed and plagued by al-Shabbab.  As a terrorist organization, the kindness and selflessness of such people is evident.  Nevertheless, illustrating the repulsive nature of such people needs to be as oft-repeated as possible to ensure that such acts can be combatted at any front and by any means. The al-Shabbab terrorist organization has blocked all forms of foreign involvement,be in financial or medicinal, from entering into most of southern Somalia.  Thus, the organization has effectively cut aid from reaching over 11 million people in dire need of such aid; condemning men, women and children to certain death.

“We may have to live with the reality that we may never be able to reach communities most in need of help.” – Dr. Unni Karunakara, the international president of Medecins Sans Fronteires.

Although it has become “common” to hear about starvation, the situation has not waned just because the attention of the international community has diminished. As media coverage of Somalia fluctuates, the use of “common” has been on the upsurge because starvation and death is apparently the status quo of Somalia and should not spark any sentiment from the international community.

At which point in the modernization of society has the value the human life deteriorated. Possibly the ability to kill millions with an atomic bomb had a large implication this, as well as the fanatical devotion to gore and death in all forms of game, and of course the popularity of observing gruesome deaths in movies like the Final Destinations.  The decay of society does without saying, but there can be no excuse for simple arrogance towards the thousands of children being buried on side trails as families flee chaos in hopes of a new life.

In retrospect, life for the Somali people has been characterized by chronic gun fights, anarchy, starvation, and death.  The past, the present and the future of Somalia will continue on a cyclical path unless a major step is taken in efforts to combat the humanitarian crisis.

Libya: Crisis Looms

As the “victorious” rebels celebrate in the renamed Martyr’s Square in Tripoli, crisis continues to loom for the rebels, extending into the realm of famine and an urgent need for humanitarian actions.

Once again, the news from Libya claim victory but problems remain and the evident fact remains that Libya will remain in this chronic state of anarchy for quite some time.  With Algeria harboring the Qaddafi family, what is there to say that Algeria will not become home to an underground “anti-resistance resistance” movement to rectify the “injustice” perpetrated on Colonel Qaddafi?  Algeria may soon resemble Pakistan, a country that receives billions in US aid but was home to both Bin Laden and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.  With Qaddafi’s whereabouts unknown, a cult of personality remains to which the loyalists forces and tribes of Libya will defend and die for.  Frighteningly, the resistance movement has shifted from the TNC unto the loyalist forces, who will launch guerrilla forces.  Death will not frighten these forces, as it did not frighten the rebels throughout the “Arab Spring”, because of their belief in  “Martyrdom” and it death being “Allah’s wish”.

“Everyone is Moammar Gadhafi. Wherever you see the enemy, attack them.  They are weak, they have suffered lots of losses and they are now licking their wounds.” – Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Moammar Qaddafi

Although the EU and UN have taken action, more so then condemning actions usually so popular from such political entities, the important factor in Libya’s future is the USA. The startgame for Libya will be decided by the US’ approach to the reconstruction of the Arab country.  With 73% of Americans voting against any American assistance to the reconstruction of the political and financial infrastructure of Libya, it will be interesting to observe whether the US will heed the American will. What may be more interesting is the answer. If the US does response with assistance and involvement in Libya, the US government will clearly be at the back -and-call of oil companies, at the liberalization of Libya has led to an oil bonanza.  If not, then the US government has finally understood its role as representing the will of the majority, representing the American people, a duty that they have so far demeaned.

So saying, despite subtle differences, the situation in Libya resembles that of the Horn of Africa and most specifically, Somalia.  As repeated often throughout the contents of Year of 1989, the famine in Somalia is one of the worst in decades, leaving millions of Somali people starving and dying.  The country was split by civil war in 1990 and has remained in a chronic state of anarchy due to its division in tribal areas, al-Shabbab territory, and a small portion designated to a corrupt and defunct government.  Similarly, the nation of Libya has been divided by civil war, is victim to a power vacuum, the loyalist forces have turned into a terrorist group, and a humanitarian crisis looms.

Tripoli’s two million residents face increasingly dire shortages of food and water.  With the TNC planning for the future, the question arises about the future involvement.  The EU and UN have long been involved in the push for liberalism and it would make sense they would maintain a strong presence due to the sensitivity of the immediate future.  The future government can easily shift towards a secular government, non-secular, anti-West, or pro-West.  Nevertheless, the response to the humanitarian crisis is a clear illustration of the international community’s determination to protect the liberty they have so long sponsored.

With 60% of Tripoli without water or sanitation, the EU and the UN have procured five million liters of water to ship to Tripoli.  The United Nations’ World Food Programme has begun to send 600 tons of food commodities for the Red Cross to distribute.  So aid has begun to enter the nation, similar to the long awaited aid in Somalia.  But as in Somalia, will it be enough?  Will the loyalist forces be able to restrict access of these humanitarian entities as the al-Shabbab did?  In regards to the loyalist forces, it is very doubtful due to the endless pressure that is physically being shot at them.

The death toll of Libya’s exploits also serve as a somber note of the price at which Qaddafi’s semi-fall has taken, as well as the future tolls that may accumulate.  TNC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil has told reports that rebels were in negotiations with the loyalists and hoped to avoid more bloodshed.  The concerns seem justified as reports have estimated the death toll of the Libyan rebellion as high as 50,000.

“We are also deeply concerned about reports that there are still thousands of people unaccounted for who were arrested or taken by Gadhafi’s security forces either earlier in the conflict or before it even started.” – Rupert Colville,spokesmen for the UN High Commisioner for Human Rights.

Al-Shabbab and its human rights violations are just one of the countless gangs, killing squads and terrorist organizations in the world, but for the purpose of the running comparison between the two nations, al-Shabbab and the Libyan situation resemble one another.The Khamis Brigade,previously led by Khamis Qaddafi,has been accused of executing detainees a week ago in a warehouse near Tripoli.  Combined with the hundreds of other rights violations that have been committed and continue to be, the loyalist forces have turned into a rugged terrorist organization sworn to a cult of personality that is crumbling.

In retrospect,victory still eludes the rebels as loyalist forces are still in control of Bani Walid in the north, Sabha in the south and Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte (though this has come under fire).

Somalia: Malnourished and Cholera

In the last two months, it has been estimated that over 30,000 Somali babies have died of hunger and disease in a Kenya refugee camp near Dabaab.

“My eyes refuse to shed tears. We come from God and thus we return to God”  – Somali mother

Grim faced but with no tears, mothers ar seen burying their children all along the grounds of the refugee camp. Yet, the matters only seem to get worse for the Horn of Africa. Despite the al-Shabbab terrorist organization agreeing to withdrawal and allow the passage of international aid into Somalia, the amount of aid is still only a sliver of what is needed, according to the Mercy Corps.  As depicted by the Mercy Corps, a Portland-based international aid agency, the assistance being brought to Somalia is internationally widespread, but with 1.5 million people having been displaced in southern Somalia alone, with about 500,000 of those squatting in Mogadishu,the aid must be more substantial.

Moreover, the high counts of malnourished is not the only problem that has grown to hamper both the Somali people and international aid organization.  A cholera outbreak, along the lines of the one in 2007, has broken out and intensified in Mogadishu.  According to the World Health Organization, 4,272 cases of cholera  have been reported since January and these reports are coming from Banadir, only a single hospital in Mogadishu. With 3.6 million people at risk of starvation in Somalia alone, 12 million throughout the Horn of Africa, the outbreak has only made matters much worse, especially considering that reports have stated it has spread to another 4 regions outside of Mogadishu.

“I have never ever seen so many people so close to death.  Kids are definitely starving. There is no doubt.” – Cassandra Nelson, Mercy Corps aid worker.

Why is this happening again?

Somalia’s endless agony is caused by their lack of leadership, a central structure to provide organization and reassurance.  Somali politicians have only narrowed their goals to merely seeking publicity and scrambling for a few dollars through their divisive politics, policies that have already left Somalian lands resembling small pockets of clannish enclaves.  The people are now yearning for unity and the building of a nation. Illustrated in the “Arab Spring”, informational opportunities can come in the form of pain.  There are many Somalis who truly want to win peace.  The international aid being brought to Somalia is only a short-term solution.  The people of Somalia need a functional infrastructure, in short, the need a new government.

As always, social networking has become a useful asset to activists, including some in Somalia.  The new generation, activists seeking change, have created hundreds of Facebook groups seeking a return to a peaceful era in Somalian history.  The new generation can overcome the grudges that have formed from the Civil War that left the country in shambled in the 90s.  So saying, the formation of that government in 1945 came without any political blueprint, only the actions taken by the Somalian Youth League. If history should every repeat itself, the creation of another functional government (hopefully longer and lasting and without corruption…much to ask for) should come again.

The starving people of Somalia, on the verge of death, have the motivation and the reason to rally but they need leadership, a person who will not compromise their core values of putting country first, caring for the weak and the orphans of Somalia.

Somalia: Food or Drone Strikes?

“The Somalia famine is spiraling out of control”. Oxfam is requesting the international community to respond with further aid and funding, stating that $1.4 billion in needed in assistance.

With the UN classifying the famine in the Horn of Africa as the worst case in the world, as well as the worst famine in Somalia in over two decades, the people of Somalia are desperate for a change in their scenario. More than 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti need food aid but despite the already drastic statistics, the most startling news is the lack of intervention by the US. Rather than supporting the communal efforts of the UN, Oxfam, and UNIFCEF, to relieve the ailing people, the US has authorized military action. Because of the large presence of al-Shabbab in the southern regions of Somalia, mainly Mogadishu where the majority of the famine struck populace has fled to, the US has diverted to military action to target al-Shabbab and potentially ensure the no aid is diverted to the efforts of the terrorist organization.  Clearly, the threat is present as 2 military personnel of the African Union were killed by a suicide bombing today and BBC reporter David Muir reported during an attack on the aid convoy he was currently riding with. 

Despite the threat and high percent chance that certain amounts of the Western aid will be diverted to al-Shabbab efforts, the international community must ask itself whether it will risk the lives of millions of innocent civilians to ensure that al-Shabbab is not given a chance to plunder some aid convoys.  Furthermore, the launched it first drone strike within Somalia’s border last month in efforts to hunt the al-Shabbab leader, Anwar al-Awlaki.  With the USA’s past success with hunting terrorist leaders, sometimes taking multiple years, the Somalian people will not be able to sustain themselves for those countless years.  Change, hope, or logic (call it what you will) might be emerging in the USA’s in the White House and the counterterrorism agency. About 2.2 million of the 3.7 million people affected the Somalia famine live in parts of al-Shabbab controlled regions, making it extremely difficult for the US to work through its current “moral dilemma”.  The US has made it evident that they do not wish to potentially support the terrorist agency but the Obama administration is moving to ease anti-terrorism restrictions in Somalia.  The need to lift the restrictions has some come at the cost of thousands of villagers, many of them women and children, dying of hunger.  Once again, the international community is presented with the stubbornness and high costs that must come before the US rises to action (e.g. Debt crisis). 

“The question is, can we live with some diversion of aid to stop famine the famine”  Ken Menkhaus, Davidson College professor and expert on Somalia

If the Somalian people are battling through the worst famine in the world, a political vacuum, a weak government, and al-Shabbab, the people of America can deal with a supposed “dilemma” as the aid with be doing more good than harm.  The majority of Somalia is being directly affected by the lack of foreign assistance and even with minor portions being diverted to al-Shabbab, the rest will help the humanitarian effort.

Take a look at the current circumstances in Somalia:

Somalia: Trail of Tears and Death

Hawa Madey looked at her children, ages 2 and 3 months. They had yellowing skin and small sores on their heads, both signs of severe malnutrition. “I worry a lot about what will happen to my babies. Can you help?”

Last week, the United Nations formally declared the outbreak of a famine in two southern regions in Somalia, yet there are already 3.2 million people within Somalia that require lifesaving assistance and international relief is either slim or nonexistent. Already beginning in March, Somalian have been fleeing the land to cross the borders into Kenya and Ethiopia in search of refugee camps and hope; rather then being welcome with medical assistance, there were no doctors and no aid agencies distributing food. As Xuken Muhumed stated, “I am asking the international community to give me medication to help my children and food to feed my family. So far, I have not gotten any support”.

To make matters worse, last week, the al-Qaeda linked terrorist organization known as al-Shabab has rescinded its promise to end its barring of international aid agencies from delivering assistance to regions it controls. Perhaps the organization views foreign aid as a manipulative weapon for Christian crusaders to convert the people of Somalia, perhaps the organization aims at blocking aid to deliver its own assistance in its mission to gather support against the US backed transitional government in Somalia, or perhaps the terrorist organization has developed a conscious after discovering 19 to 24 children per 10,000 under the age of 5 are dying every day? No. The terrorist organization refuses to recognize the existence of a famine in southern Somalia. Tens of thousands of Somalian women and children are walking hundreds of miles of dust and heat, passing bodies of the more unfortunate, fleeing the worst famine in generations. Clearly, the famine is a figment of imagination that is part of a larger Western conspiracy theory to undermine the radical ideologies of al-Qaeda.

Nearly 17,000 Somalians have already fled the appalling situations of Somalia, deserting a corrupt and weak transitional government that has refused to assist in the situation because of its struggle to keep al-Shabab to establish an Islamic emirate. In Kenya about 1,300 are arriving in daily and 1,700 in Ethiopia. These are the lucky few to have survived the journey.

“These are becoming roads of death. Over half the women I talked to had to leave children to die or had children die” – Josette Sheran, UN World Food Program

Aid agencies have been sounding the alarm for months and yet the UN deceleration is only a week old, leaving any help from the international community to a slow and sluggish start. Refugee camps are on the verge of being overrun and aid agencies are struggling to keep refugees sheltered and fed. The Somalian people are strong, having dealt with 2 decades of civil war and 2 seasons of no rain, but current circumstances have not made matters worst. The World Food Program is aiming at establishing aid distribution sites and camps in Dolo, but the international community must have a stronger presence in Somalia. A stronger presence will aid the people of Somalia and help weaken the established militia of al-Shabab, a mission the West has undertaken for generations.