Monday, December 19, 2011

Kenya's Criminal Assault on Famine-Stricken Somalia

Stephen Roblin
December 18, 2011.

On October 15, Kenya's top security chiefs declared war on Al Shabaab, the loose coalition of Islamist militias that controls southern Somalia. The next day, hundreds of Kenyan soldiers in armored trucks and tanks reportedly "stormed" across Kenya's northern border and into the region with the goal of decimating an Islamist coalition that was originally catapulted to dominance in 2007 consequent to a US-backed Ethiopian intervention.

Since then, Kenyan airstrikes have been clearing the way for Kenyan soldiers and their Somali proxy forces as they move deeper into southern Somalia, a region from which Al Shabaab has waged a bitter war against Somalia's Mogadishu-based Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the African Union (AU) "peacekeeping" mission (AMISOM) that has prevented its collapse. Ethiopian troops have reportedly joined the invasion where they are primarily targeting Al Shabaab strongholds in central Somalia.

Southern Somalia is currently the "epicenter" of a famine that the UN believes could claim up to 250,000 lives in coming months. Famine relief efforts have been crippled by three major factors: Al Shabaab's partial ban on aid agencies, the large-scale theft of food aid by TFG-affiliated militias, and US aid restrictions - the last of which have effectively criminalized humanitarian assistance in southern Somalia since 2008.

The Kenyan intervention now joins the factors cited above as a primary obstacle to overcoming "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today." In fact, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has already found that intervention is limiting humanitarian access and has stated unequivocally that "[t]he hostilities threaten the lives of those in crisis and the ongoing humanitarian efforts to assist them."[1]

Pushing hundreds of thousands of Somalis closer to the brink of starvation, however, has done nothing to deter Kenya, nor its backers, from pursuing what is clearly an illegal intervention.

Read the rest here

Comment: It is somewhat delusional to think that Kenya's war on Somalia is about isolated attacks by Al Shabaab.

It is even more delusional to expect that Kenya would prioritize the suffering of starving Somalis in Somalia?

Al Shabaab is not even a coherent militia.  And, there are hundreds of thousands of starving Somali refugees inside of Kenya.

The US is the agitator behind this attack on Somalia.  It has sold dreams and promises to the Kenyans and the Ethiopians (who have joined in).

The strategy is aimed at 'securing' the region which sits adjacent to the theater of middle east interests, and of course, Israel.

Why you think Israel has been 'asked' to help Kenyans fight those crazy Muslims in Somalia?

Nothing new here.  This is old cold war tactics which seek to close failed states and replace them with US-friendly client states.

And by the looks of it, Kenya and Ethiopia are buying the same sh*t.

Inside of this historical imbalance, the humanitarian principle which would have Africans caring about other Africans is set aside for stuff and other promises of more stuff.

And the stuff is not about development mind you.  It is about propping up client states with friendly Toms who care little about democracy, international law, or the fragility of their compromise.

For now, a promise is as good as gold.  It is the politics of imaginary colonial trinkets.  Still.



Kweli said...

No offense to Kenyans, but they simply aren't in tune with any sort of African brotherhood. If they umm said they were, my bullshit detector would go off super buuuuuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!


It appears we are not turning the invasion into a humanitarian war: the Kenyan military is asking that food aid and financing for anti-drought and famine be increased.


And er umm...our impotence was out for the world to witness when "bad weather" (read: rain and washed out roads) stalled our war operations (read: killings) "over there". Just saying (very sarcastic over here).

The only thing we are "securing" in this war is our tourism (read: sex tourism) and our pockets.

As of now, the navel gazing continues. Kenyans have gone back to watching their Mexican soaps and forgetting that we are at war "over there".

Ridwan said...

Hear you loud and clear brother Kweli.

We need a re-imagining of our beings.

If a leaders like Kimathi,Lumumba or Biko reappeared would they be voting for a humanitarian war?

Think not.

The ancestors cannot be pleased.

This is part of a larger injustice and our so called leaders and large parts of the euthanized citizenry could care less.

Peace chief,