Caracas, May 18, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—A statement from the spokesperson for the United States Department of Defense, John Kirby, indicated that President Joe Biden approved the redeployment of troops to Somalia, a decision that reverses the order that Donald Trump gave during his term to withdraw 700 soldiers from the African country.
The Horn of Africa, consisting of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, for many geo-strategic experts is a region of contention for Chinese interest in Africa. It also represents a controversial region where US and European interests have incentivized fragmentation and thus have created the conditions for a “humanitarian crisis” that is the perfect excuse for military intervention.
According to Kirby, the objective of the mission is to help local forces defeat the Al-Shabaab insurgency, linked to Al Qaeda, which includes training, advice and delivery of weapons. In the US announcement no mention was made of Somali government approval despite a reference to engagement with “partners in the region” and Sunday’s presidential elections in Somalia.
The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia H.E @HassanSMohamud thanks and appreciates H.E @JoeBiden for authorizing the deployment of American troops to #Somalia. The #US has always been a reliable partner in our quest to stability and fight against terrorism. #Partnership
— Villa Somalia (@TheVillaSomalia) May 17, 2022
On Tuesday reelected former president Hassan Mohamud, via Somalia’s official presidency Twitter account, saluted the announcement in a very welcoming tone and called the US a reliable partner in the quest for stability and against terrorism.
The Pentagon justified the decision by saying that Al-Shabaab has increased its strength and currently represents a greater threat. The spokesperson pointed out that the current US assistance, which consists of entering and leaving Somalia as needed, has become “inefficient,” according to an RT report.
Since December 1992, the US army under the banner of Operation Restore Hope, with the complacency of the United Nations have marked the military and political life of the African country with the excuse of alleged “humanitarian intervention” or fight against terrorism, something that has not translated into a real improvement of life conditions for the majority of the Somalis. US military presence has been active in Somalia since 1992, directly or under the African Union, Ethiopian or Kenyan military operations but since 2016 under the Obama administration many US strikes have been performed, most of the time taking the lives of innocent people.
According to government officials during this latest announcement, the US president approved the proposal in early May and the deployment of 450 soldiers.
The redeployment of US troops to Somalia stands in stark contrast to Western countries’ outrage over Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, which they have labeled as an invasion and have used as an excuse to fuel Russophobia and sanctions in an attempt to diminish the growing role of Russia in the new international order. Some analysts believe that the indignation would be greater if any other country were to decide to send weapons to the Somalis to defend themselves against US military intervention, just as they do with the Ukrainians.
A UK-based NGO with funding from ultra-conservative George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, Airwars, reports that since 2002 between 68 and 143 civilian deaths have been reported as a result of direct actions of US forces in Somalia. Between 18-21 of them were children.
In their report the number of airstrikes is not clearly seen, including massive launches of drone strikes since Barack Obama’s presidency, which are pointed out by many local and international news outlets as responsible for countless “collateral damage.”
However, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (also financed by mainstream corporate so-called philanthropic foundations) reported that, from 2004 until February 2020, at least 202 US drone strikes were confirmed, with a total death toll of between 1,197 and 1,410.
Featured image: A house destroyed when Al-Shabaab militants attacked a police station on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia in February 2022. Photo: Hassan Ali Elmi AFP.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff