Somalia: Imperialists to blame for half a million famine deaths

As imperialist powers jostle for Somalia’s promising oil and gas fields, organising one bogus conference after another, a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has revealed that 258,000 people died as a result of famine in Somalia between 2010-2012, including 133,000 children under the age of five. This vast human tragedy is the responsibility of imperialist policy, particularly by Britain and the US, which has destroyed Somalia in pursuit of influence in the wider region.

2010-12 famine worse than 1992

The FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network found that, between 2010 and 2012:

  • An estimated 4.6% of the total population and 10% of under-fives died in Southern and Central Somalia –the areas most affected.
  • Deaths included Somalis in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
  • ‘Excess’ deaths caused by the famine peaked at 30,000 per month between May and August 2011.

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British conference to cement carve-up of Somalia /FRFI 232 Apr/May 2013

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 232 April/May 2013

Britain’s announcement in December 2011 of its intention to secure ‘British interests’ in the oil-rich and strategically important Horn of Africa, intensified the scramble by the imperialists and local powers to secure their own regional interests. Now another conference is to be held in London on 7 May 2013.

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Britain’s quest to divide and rule Somalia

On 7 May 2013 the British government will host another conference in London to discuss the future of Somalia. Undoubtedly the new Somali Federal Republic model, chosen by the UN, will be hailed a ‘success’. The reality is it is fast becoming a sectarian nightmare for the Somali people who are forced to divide into smaller and smaller clan-based enclaves and ‘buffer-zones’, like the latest breakaway Jubaland, where foreign authorities, including Kenya and Ethiopia, seek proxies to control.

Britain holds its former protectorate Somaliland, in northern Somalia, as its big ‘success story’, keeping quiet about the brutal behaviour of President Ahmed Silanyo towards protests following municipal elections in November 2012. Ten people are said to have been murdered after protests spread across the region. On 6 December the Somaliland Police Special Protection Unit, an anti-terror unit trained and funded by the British MOD, is thought to have been involved in four murders in Hargeisa. At least nine other people were injured, some of them seriously, including a ten-year-old girl who was shot in the stomach. The government also attacked protesters in Zeila, Saylac (western Somaliland); videos posted online show government troops deliberately shooting and killing teenagers on a demonstration against the fraudulent election results.

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Hands off Somalia!

Imperialism continues to target Somalia, as the nation sees an ever-growing interest in its oil and an accelerating rush to grab its natural resources. Australia-based Jacka Resources, Ophir Energy and Turkish firm Genel all announced plans to start ‘extensive exploration activities’ in the semi-autonomous area of Somaliland, in what has been called the biggest exploration programme in the region for 21 years.

Genel, headed by former BP chief executive Tony Hayward, who visited the region in early November 2012, is preparing to commence ‘seismic work’ early next year, with an eye to drilling its first well in the second quarter of 2014 and another following in 2015. Despite speculation that the new federal government may up-end oil agreements made after 1991, the London-listed company remains unmoved and plans to spend $400m drilling five wells across Africa in the next three years. Negotiations continue between Somaliland and ‘unnamed groups’ to give away remaining oil blocks. In a continuation of secrecy, further unnamed private equity firms, backed by Chinese, Korean and Indian investors, are also developing manganese, iron ore and coal projects in the region. Iran, hoping to gain influence in the Horn of Africa, announced plans to open an embassy in Somalia, replicating Turkey amidst tensions between the two nations over Syria. Prior to this, only five countries had embassies in Somalia.

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Somalia: imperialists impose new constitution

Imperialism is set to impose a new constitution on Somalia on 20 August. There will be no elected constituent assembly to discuss or modify it, no plebiscite to approve it. There will not be the slightest shred of a popular mandate for it. Its purpose is not to aid the reconstruction of a country devastated by imperialist plunder, invasion and civil war, but to provide the political conditions for renewed imperialist looting, particularly of the oil resources in the north east of the country.

The main constitutional proposal is to end the post-colonial attempt to build a unified state and to create a federation of what will be in effect three statelets – Somaliland in the north-west, Puntland in the north-east, and Somalia to the south. This process of balkanisation is aimed at establishing conditions of political stability for the profitable operations of oil and other monopoly corporations. Already British imperialism, which has been leading the imperialist intervention following the February conference in London, is establishing Somaliland as its client state in the region. This will serve as a launch pad to grab the oil resources of neighbouring Puntland. The remainder of Somalia will be left to the UN AMISOM force with the remit of destroying Al Shabab, the Islamic militant organisation formed in response to the Ethiopian invasion in 2006.

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