Oil, Not Terrorists, the Reason for US Attack on Somalia
Monday, 22 January 2007
By Wanjohi Kabukuru
01/22/07 “ICHBlog” — — Just why did the US attack Somalia two weeks ago? Of course, the answer given for the US military intervention and the generally accepted notion is the hunt for terrorists. But is it? Are terrorists the only bone of contention the US has with Somalia? When the US military devised “Operation Restore Hope” in 1993 which was short-lived after they were whipsawed by rag-tag militia in and around Mogadishu, were they fighting the ‘war on terror’?
They couldn’t have been because this war was to start much later, If anything it is a post-Sept 11 phenomenon. So then why did the US bomb ICU extremists in the name of Al Qaeda terrorists and not throughout last year when they occupied Mogadishu?
Just why is Somalia so important to the US, and by extension the big boys of Europe and some Gulf states? A UN Somalia Monitoring Group report released in November 2005 reveals that a dozen countries, namely Yemen, Djibouti, Libya, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Uganda were all poking their noses into the Somalia pie.
What the UN Somalia Monitoring Group didn’t reveal, however, is that these were not the only countries which were interested in the country. The little known yet well-heeled contact group, consisting of Norway, the US, UK, France and Tanzania (just an appendage) are also deeply enmeshed in Somalia.
While the terrorism theory holds some water, the reality of the factors contributing to the mess in Somalia is pegged on natural resources. Oil and gas are Somalia’s Achilles heel. It is an open secret that four US oil giants are sitting pretty on money-spinning concessions expecting to reap huge windfalls from massive resources of both oil and gas in Somalia.
The story of Somalia and oil goes back to the colonial period. British and Italian geologists first identified oil deposits during that period of imperialism. The first oil wells historically referred to as the Daga Shabell series were dug in the 1960s. Tiny gas discoveries adjacent to Socotra were also noted.
The race for these precious natural resources took a new turn in 1988, when the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, with the support of the governments of Britain, France and Canada and backed by several Western oil companies financed a regional hydrocarbon study of the countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Eden.
Read the rest here.