Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/446/5316

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2006

Somalia:

New regime a setback for US imperialism

WARLORDS WHO ruled the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, for 15 years have recently been driven out by a coalition of Muslim groups backing the 'Islamic Courts Union'.

Kevin Parslow

This has brought US imperialism's role in the Horn of Africa into sharp focus. The fear of the US Republican 'neo-conservatives' is that the very outcome they wished to prevent in their 'war against terror' (ie the emergence of a Taliban-style regime harbouring al-Qa'ida guerrillas) is now taking place.

These fears were deepened when Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former Somali army colonel and vice-chairman of al-Itihad (a group labled as 'terrorist' by Washington), was named head of the Council of the Islamic Courts. Aweys favours an Islamic state in Somalia.

His appointment comes only days after Islamic leaders came to an agreement with the secular interim government based in Baidoa, 200 kilometres from Mogadishu. Any fighting will stop and the Islamists will recognise the government while the government has recognised the "reality and existence" of the Islamic courts.

But there are still differences, particularly over the use of foreign troops to maintain 'peace', which the Islamists oppose. A Swedish cameraman was killed at a 'peace' rally in Mogadishu by an unknown assailant, raising questions as to the effectiveness of the Islamists' ability to maintain stability.

Divisions

Somalia gained independence in 1960 and was ruled from 1969 by President Mohamed Siad Barre following the so-called 'October Revolution'. Popular at first, Barre proclaimed Somalia a 'socialist' state but capitalism and feudalism were never abolished.

In the late 1970s, Barre attempted to incorporate Ethiopian-held 'Somali territories' into the country. But following this failed military adventure, he resorted to increasingly unpopular, dictatorial methods. Trying to rule the country by divide and rule, Barre was eventually overthrown in 1991.

But the very divisions which Barre had played on to rule made Somalia impossible to govern. The warlords gained increasing control of Mogadishu and central rule broke down. As a result, two internationally unrecognised but 'independent' or 'autonomous' territories in the north, the 'Republic of Somaliland' and the 'Puntland state of Somalia' seceded from central control in the 1990s.

The United Nations sent in a force, led by US troops, in 1992 to restore order but this faced growing opposition. This culminated in the famous 'Blackhawk Down' incident in which two US helicopters were shot down with numerous casualties. As a result of this humiliation for US imperialism, President Clinton withdrew US troops the following year and a full UN withdrawal was completed in 1995.

Imperialism allowed the warlords to rule Somalia for some time. They extorted tributes in the ports, airfields and roads. They became relatively wealthy and powerful in a country of extreme poverty and deprivation. Average life expectancy is 46, while 219 in every 1,000 children die before the age of five. Somalia is amongst the poorest nations of the world, although the internal conflicts make data collection very difficult.

Efforts have been made by the African Union to re-establish a central government for Somalia since 2000. Meetings took place in Kenya, where the interim government headed by 'President' Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was established in October 2004. Members of the government began moving back to Somalia from June 2005, although quarrels within this 'administration' continued. Eventually, the first assembly of the 'parliament' and 'government' took place in Baidoa in February 2006. But the writ of this transitional 'authority' does not run much further than the city limits.

Effectively, US imperialism allowed the warlords to rule Mogadishu to prevent a radical Islamist regime coming to power in the region, which adjoins an important sea route. But the population became tired and angry with the warlords, their increasing wealth and power, and the lack of stability.

Increasingly, Sharia (Islamic) law was introduced into the mayhem and the population gave their support to the Union of Islamic Courts. They become an increasingly political and military force in society as businessmen began funding the Islamists in an attempt to regain stability.

US interference

The US's effective backing for the warlords has made them even more hated than before. Some business leaders said they recently met US officials in neighbouring Djibouti and said they would stop funding the Islamists if the US stopped using the warlords as proxies. But the US refused and now the Islamists have power in Mogadishu and are attempting to spread their influence outside of the capital.

These recent events will not stabilise Somalia for very long. Depending on the character of any new regime in Mogadishu, and the balance between the Islamists and the interim government, the US may try and intervene in its 'war on terror', probably not directly but possibly through intermediaries. Already there are reports of Ethiopian troops crossing the border 'in support' of the transitional government but mainly to prevent a radical Islamist state being established over its borders.

"This is a staggering defeat for the US strategy of counter-terrorism by proxy," said a Horn of Africa analyst to the guardian. "It also represents a seismic shift in Somali politics. For the first time in many years we have a new political group that is capable of forming some sort of administration."

However, an Islamic regime could easily become a stifling, theocratic dictatorship oppressing any independent movements of workers and poor people. Already the Mogadishu regime has attempted to shut down cinemas for allowing the 'evils of the Western world' to be shown, including coverage of World Cup football matches.

The US says it will not allow the 'Talibanisation' of Somalia, suggesting interference of various kinds. This could return the country to a violent cycle of instability and poverty which has plagued the people of Somalia and this region for decades.

Capitalism and feudalism cannot develop one of the poorest regions of the world and it will take the development of a united working-class force to pose an alternative to the current alternative governments on offer to the Somali people.

 

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


In The Socialist 29 June 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS SOS

Manchester marches to defend the NHS

Save our baby unit!

Take over the drugs giants

What the Socialist Party says:


Socialist Party youth and students

Young people - fight for your rights!


Socialist Party feature

SWP / Respect conference: Flawed perspectives


International socialist news and analysis

Greek students' protests ignite solidarity action

New regime in Somalia a setback for US imperialism


Socialist Party campaigns

G8 leaders fail to make poverty history

Police and fascists attack Moscow Pride

Fight back against homophobic bullying


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Hands off civil servants' pension rights

Support striking Asda workers

Anger at leadership's tactics

Not just: " Lie back and Think of England"

General Motors meets workers' resistance


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 June 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

US:

triangleResist Trump and his rotten policies: why I'm walking out on 'Day X'

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

Islamic:

triangleCondemnation of racist destruction of Muswell Hill Islamic centre in London

triangleLondon demo: Stop the BNP! - updated

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/2/17

Steel

Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

15/2/17

London

Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

15/2/17

Leicester

Thousands march to defend Glenfield heart centre

15/2/17

May Day

May Day greetings in the Socialist

15/2/17

Fracking

Toxic fracking could start in England in 2017

15/2/17

The Socialist

The Socialist: 20 years old and more important than ever

15/2/17

Unite

Workplace news in brief

15/2/17

PCS

PCS union pledges to fight Jobcentre job losses at public meetings

15/2/17

Tesco

Solidarity with Tesco Ireland Valentine's Day strike

15/2/17

IWGB

Ultimatum as Deliveroo drivers down tools in Brighton

15/2/17

PCS

"Disgraceful" treatment of sacked EHRC workers

15/2/17

Rail

United fightback needed as entire grade of rail worker is at stake

15/2/17

Trump

Resist Trump and his rotten policies: why I'm walking out on 'Day X'

15/2/17

Socialist Party

New Socialist Party press

14/2/17

Labour

Wallasey Labour remains suspended despite collapse of allegations

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle17 Feb Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

triangle16 Feb Aslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to...

triangle15 Feb Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence

triangle15 Feb March to save #OurNHS

triangle15 Feb Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

triangle15 Feb French presidential election: crisis in the establishment parties

No cuts!, photo by JB

triangle15 Feb Council cuts can be fought - and they must be!

More ...

triangle20 Feb Chesterfield Socialist Party: Capitalism - On the edge of the volcano?

triangle20 Feb Leeds Socialist Party: LGBT rights & the Russian Revolution

triangle21 Feb Bristol North Socialist Party: Where is Britain heading?

triangle21 Feb Manchester Socialist Party: Where does British capitalism come from?

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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