Britain and America
linked to Somali pirates, Somalia still suffers
By Tim Coles
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, April 5, 2010
Tim Coles argues that British and US policies in Somalia, and
London’s and Washington’s support for warlord Abdullahi Yusuf’s Transitional
Federal Government, belie their opposition to the Somali pirates.
Britain’s former chief of the General Staff, Richard Dannatt, has
clarified the role of British institutions in world affairs. “[S]uccess can
only be achieved if our actions are fully integrated with our government
partners in the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office], DFID [Department for
International Development] and all the other instruments of national power”
According to DFID, one of the instruments of national power,
“[a]cross the country [Somalia], as fighting cuts off the delivery of
essential services and a prolonged drought causes widespread crop failure,
an estimated 3.76 million people – close to 40 per cent of the population –
are thought to require emergency help. In no other country in the world is
so large a proportion of the population in need of relief assistance”
The "Department for International
Development boasts of its millions of pounds in aid
donations, but it omits the fact that Britain has helped to
plunge Somalia into disaster by destroying the Union of
Islamic Courts which were recognized under UN Resolution
DFID boasts of its millions of pounds in aid donations, but it omits the
fact that Britain has helped to plunge Somalia into disaster by destroying
the Union of Islamic Courts which were recognized under UN Resolution 1725.
Britain and America supported the warlords of the Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) which Ethiopia, under US auspices, sought to establish in
Somalia in December 2006.
The TFG was led by warlord Abdullahi Yusuf, whom the Blair government
supported with a house, an NHS liver transplant and finance for his militia
(Hartley 2008; Campbell 2005).
By 2009, the situation had not improved: Human Rights Watch reported that
“[m]ore than 100,000 people almost all of them from Somalia and
Ethiopia have arrived by boat along Yemen's coast during the past two
years. Most are fleeing war or persecution at home or are in search of work”
(HRW 2009). In line with the standard, and breathtaking, hypocrisy of the
British rulers, Yemen is now called a terrorist hotbed.
Despite this horror, the media, following the demands of the government,
still likes to condemn pirates. Royal Institute of International Affairs
analyst Roger Middleton found that “[t]he only period during which piracy
virtually vanished around Somalia was during the six months of rule by the
Islamic Courts Union in the second half of 2006. This indicates that a
functioning government in Somalia is capable of controlling piracy”
(Middleton 2008, 3). In that case, if Britain and America really want to end
piracy they wouldn’t have destroyed the Union of Islamic Courts. Not
surprisingly, Britain and America are linked to the pirates who funded none
other than Abdullahi Yusuf.
Puntland, the semi-autonomous region in the northeast of the country,
appears to be the base for most pirates in Somalia… The fact that the
pirates originate from Puntland is significant as this is also the home
region of President Abdullahi Yusuf. As one expert said, “money will go
to Yusuf as a gesture of goodwill to a regional leader” – so even if the
higher echelons of Somali government and clan structure are not directly
involved in organizing piracy, they probably do benefit... Puntland is
one of the poorest areas of Somalia, so the financial attraction of
piracy is strong. Somalia’s fishing industry has collapsed in the last
15 years and its waters are being heavily fished by European, Asian and
African ships (2008, 4-5).
This another example of the West’s benevolence.
The “Somalia has
links with al-Qaeda” thread on which the US is hanging its Somalia ambitions
is, at times, embarrassingly thin. In 2010 BBC Africa reported that the TFG
“confirmed to the BBC that an Al-Qaeda fighter had been killed, but did not
name him and said the government ‘would provide evidence later’” (BBC Africa
“So much to fear”: war crimes and the devastation of Somalia, NY: HRW
Middleton, R., “Piracy in Somalia: threatening global trade, feeding
local wars”, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House),
Briefing paper, October 2008
Tim Coles is a
filmmaker who posts on
www.youtube.com/timcoles. His latest film is "War crimes in
Fallujah: what the media oesn't report" and "Behind the wall: a film for
Suaad and the people of Palestine"
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