|The deeper imperialism sinks into crisis, the more desperately it takes to the path of war.
In its struggle to dominate all markets, especially energy markets, imperialism strives to suppress any expression of national independence that interferes with its ability to exploit. Meanwhile, rivalries are mounting between the imperialist gangs themselves – rivalries that will ultimately end in war. The exploiters cannot help turning to war to solve their problems. Yet when they do, they end up increasing the forces of resistance that will finally overthrow their bloodthirsty system.
The drive to war is particularly pronounced in Africa, that continent so wealthy in resources and so impoverished by imperialist robbery. The assault on Libya signalled a major new phase in the campaign to recolonise Africa. And that is how we must understand the turn now taken by imperialist meddling in Somalia.
Somalia fights back
Western imperialist policy on Somalia is nothing to do with pirates or kidnapping. It’s all about oil. Since the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, Washington has wanted to get its hands on the lucrative oil deals conceded by the president before his departure. This drew the US into one failed military adventure after another, each intended to install a government capable of delivering the country’s oil wealth into the hands of Uncle Sam.
In 1993, Washington used famine as a pretext for invasion, only to see its far better-armed forces humiliated and chased out by the Somali people. Since then, the US has been justifiably nervous about getting its boots on the ground.
Yet whilst the counter-revolutionary forces on the ground in Somalia have mostly been Ethiopian and Kenyan, supplemented by further cannon fodder drafted in by the African Union (AU) from Burundi, Uganda and Djibouti, the real interests for which these proxies are fighting are American, British and French.
It was French warships that covered Kenya’s back as she invaded the south in September. It is US drones that rain death on Somali fighters and civilians alike. And it is BP with whom the West-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is already discussing “the future management of oil revenues”!
But these discussions are premature. With the sham ‘transitional’ government in control of little more than central Mogadishu and some parts of the north, and the influential islamist al-Shabaab resistance in control everywhere else, imperialism’s puppets are beleaguered on all sides.
Baidoa, the southern town forced to host the TFG’s joke ‘parliament’ until the resistance chased them out three years ago, was supposedly recaptured by Ethiopian troops in February. However, the puppet forces found themselves hemmed in by the resistance, which unleashed a salvo of bombings.
Elsewhere in the south, in Garbaharey, puppet soldiers and officials have also found themselves under attack, and al-Shabaab is confident in its ability to undermine the Ethiopian hold on the area by destroying key strategic facilities.
Thieves fall out
Unlike the forces defending Somalia’s unity, the TFG is only too happy to assist plans to fragment Somalia, the better to sell it out piecemeal to the multinationals. A recent WikiLeaks exposure revealed how the US spent two years grooming Kenya for its role in occupying the south, with the goal of carving out a separatist dependent region earmarked for ruthless exploitation. They even dreamed up a name for this: ‘Judaland’. Up in the north-east the TFG has now proclaimed a similar project, this time dubbed ‘Puntland’.
But the harder the imperialists try to divide Somalia, the faster the cracks multiply in their own ranks, prompting that Lady Macbeth of the US State Department, Hillary Clinton, to issue a stark warning to “people inside and outside the TFG who seek to undermine Somalia’s peace and security or even prevent the political transition”. This comment clearly reveals the imperialists’ frustration at their ongoing inability to create the ‘peaceful’ atmosphere required for ‘doing business’ in Somalia, despite all the political, economic and military muscle that has been thrown at the ‘problem’ of the people’s resistance.
And whilst politicians squabble, the hired muscle is also getting flabby. Ethiopia’s prime minister recently announced that the country’s troops will pull out soon. More cannon fodder is expected from Sierra Leone in June, but her government might with profit heed the words of senior al-Shabaab commander Sheik Hudeyfa, who warns them “not to dispatch their boys to Somalia, otherwise they will collect more bodies from here as the failed Kenyans did”, pointing out that if the invaders “were successful they would not have to call Sierra Leone troops to join them”.
Meanwhile, Kenya finds herself on the rack of an economic crisis. The government promised to free public-sector wages for three years in exchange for the IMF raising the country’s borrowing ceiling, only to be confronted by a massive wave of strikes by the country’s doctors, dentists and teachers. Now the government has reneged on the wage freeze, imperilling its IMF loan status. On top of all this, the cost of the war in Somalia has rocketed, with uncertainty over how much will be covered by funding from the UN.
If a cash-strapped and demoralised Kenya pulls out of Somalia whilst the TFG collapses under the weight of its own contradictions, imperialism could be looking at another defeat at the hands of the resistance on the scale of 1993 or worse.
Be that as it may, the words of the great revolutionary Kim Il Sung in 1968 will sooner or later be validated by history: “The great anti-imperialist revolutionary cause of the Asian, African and Latin-American peoples is invincible.” Giving support to all those forces which by their actions are making that cause invincible is the simple revolutionary duty of the British proletariat.
Victory to al-Shabaab!