Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/469/1951

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2007

Ethiopia invasion throws Somalia further into crisis

THE LONG-suffering Somali people, after enjoying six months of relative stability, have once again seen their country thrown into chaos. This time, Ethiopian troops supporting the weak Somali 'transitional federal government' invaded and swept aside the militias of the ruling Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

Dave Carr

The routing of the UIC - who seized power in June 2006 after ousting a coalition of Somalia's warlords - came after several leading clans in the capital Mogadishu withdrew their support for the UIC.

But events in Somalia are not simply a localised conflict in a 'failed state', they reveal a regional conflict in the Horn of Africa and a wider struggle involving US imperialism's 'war on terror'.

Ten countries have been supplying arms in the Somalia conflict, using the country as a proxy battlefield. Neighbouring Eritrea had been supporting the UIC in order to fight its old Ethiopian foe. Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia have also been supporting the UIC along with a few thousand foreign fighters from other Arab and African states.

The US Bush administration had backed Somalia's warlords who were battling with the Islamist UIC. After the UIC triumphed, the US, along with the United Nations, continued to back the remnants of the warlords in the so-called Somalia transitional federal government, whose authority didn't run beyond the town of Baidoa.

However, Ethiopia, which fought two territorial wars with Somalia during the last 45 years, backed by the US, launched an invasion two weeks ago - ostensibly to support the 'transitional government' against the 'Islamic terrorists' of the UIC.

The US has maintained that the UIC were constructing a 'Taliban-like' state in Somalia with links to al-Qa'ida. But although elements within the UIC were advocating a hardline imposition of Sharia law, to most Somalis who had endured 15 years of terror under a 'coalition' of warlords, the UIC (backed by Somalian businessmen) had restored civil government and begun to rebuild the country's shattered infrastructure. The country is desperately poor, with an average life expectancy of 46 while 219 in every 1,000 children die before the age of five.

The UIC, resting on a weak capitalist economy, would not have been able to ameliorate the suffering of the poor. However, Somalia's population again faces an uncertain future, not least from thousands of occupying Ethiopian troops and Somalian clan leaders.

As if to underline the current precarious political situation in the country, an attempt last weekend to disarm the inhabitants of Mogadishu (some 100,000 AK 47 rifles are believed to be held amongst the population) led to hundreds rioting against the new regime.

US intervention

It's also unclear whether the defeated Islamist militias will regroup and start a war of resistance against the occupation. Such a prospect has led to the US navy patrolling offshore and launching airstrikes. And Kenyan troops have rushed to the Kenyan border with Somalia to prevent fleeing militiamen crossing, as well as a new influx of refugees.

There are calls from some African countries' leaders for an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force to be sent to 'stabilise' the country. The US, concerned that a political power vacuum will open up in the country if Ethiopia withdraws its troops "within weeks", says it will immediately fund an AU force to the tune of $14 million.

However, the current failure of AU troops to prevent genocide in Darfur and the UN's previous failure to impose 'peace' in Somalia, shows that these forces offer no solution.

The country's recent history shows that capitalism and feudalism cannot develop one of the poorest regions of the world. It will take the development of a united working-class force to pose an alternative to the current regime.


Decades of civil strife

IN 1960 Somalia gained independence from Britain and Italy. In October 1969 General Said Barre seized power establishing a "socialist" regime - in reality, (despite some progress in social fields such as education), it was a military-police dictatorship backed by the Soviet Union.

Instead of developing the country, Barre launched military offensives against Ethiopia, attempting to annex the Ogaden plateau region in 1976.

Backed by Cuban troops, Ethiopia repelled the incursions. The Soviet Union withdrew its support of Barre's regime.

In the aftermath, Somalia's economy was shattered and a weakened president Barre assumed more dictatorial powers. These factors led to internal factionalism.

In 1991, Mohammad Ali Mahdi (following a brief civil war) sought power as factional fighting between clans split the country, with General Mohammad Farah Aidid controlling the capital Mogadishu.

Bloody inter-clan fighting ensued, while the mass of the population starved. An estimated 300,000 people died and 1.5 million were forced to flee to neighbouring areas.

In response to this crisis, the United Nations (UN) sent a humanitarian mission and a 'peacekeeping' force in 1992.

The militias clashed with UN 'peacekeepers' and US troops initiated operations to capture Aidid and his lieutenants. This led to the 'black hawk down' incident in which 18 US soldiers were killed and the subsequent humiliating withdrawal of US forces. UN forces withdrew completely by 1995.

After the 11 September 2001 attacks, the US labelled Somalia a terrorist state and imposed further sanctions on the country.

In June 2006 militias of the Union of Islamic Courts ousted the warlords.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 January 2007:

Sri Lankan government blamed for violent attack on ant-war rally organiers

Labour to savage NHS jobs

Union action can defend the NHS

Manchester NHS: "Making it better" means making it worse


Socialist Students

Students fight for free education

How to become a fees fighter

ISR and Socialist Students' conference - a political voice for young people


Socialist Party news and analysis

The war for oil profits

Murderous raid on anti-war meeting

Ruthless Ruth Kelly


Violence against women

Ipswich murders lift lid on violence against women


Socialist Party review

Pirates of the Caribbean


International socialist news and analysis

Ethiopia invasion throws Somalia further into crisis

The Lagos oil pipeline tragedy was avoidable

Northern Ireland: New governing executive looks in doubt


Socialist Party workplace news

Time for action on pensions!

Vote 'yes' in PCS ballot

Construction boom - workers organise

We want our buses back!

Public transport and private ownership don't mix


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 January 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Somalia:

triangleMigrants flee horrors created by capitalism

triangle'I can be a voice for youth and the Somali community'

triangleSomalia piracy - a consequence of western powers' intervention

Ethiopia:

triangleSocialism, black liberation and cricket - the life of CLR James

triangleImperialism in Africa today

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2