“Like they always do in the corporate media, they always leave out that complexity and context. And that complexity and context … will reveal that the turmoil on the continent of Africa … the US is largely responsible for,” Freeman, who is also a coordinating committee member with the Black Alliance for Peace and an organizer with Pan-African Community Action, told Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary Wednesday.
“We can’t really talk about Kenya or al-Shabaab without talking about Somalia … and the creation of al-Shabaab without talking about the US presence in Somalia. Let’s just go back in 1992, with the US’ so-called Operation Restore Hope,” he told hosts Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman.
Civil war in Somalia began in the mid-1980s as a result of the disastrous Ogaden War, during which Somali dictator Siad Barre attempted to occupy parts of Ethiopia. As the war failed, Barre’s authority crumbled, and tribal factions splintered from Mogadishu’s control. By 1992, government authority had almost totally collapsed, and the United Nations dispatched a special Unified Task Force, which the US called Restore Hope, to create a modicum of order in the East African country.
A US-led operation to conduct humanitarian operations in the southern half of Somalia between December 1992 and May 1993, Operation Restore Hope faced monumental challenges that resulted in its failure. During that time, many Somalis were dying from hunger as a result of the war. In 1993, however, American troops raided Mogadishu in an attempt to capture the warlord Gen. Mohamed Farah Aidid, who had grown strong enough to attempt to evict UN forces from the country. This raid failed, as did the subsequent attempt to broker peace. Two years later, Aidid declared himself president of Somalia.
“They [the US] invaded Somalia and decimated the country, and it’s been unable to really have any kind of [stable] state since then, and they’ve made sure and persisted to destabilize Somalia with the help of Ethiopia and Kenya for all these years,” Freeman noted. Al-Shabaab formed in 2006 amid fallout from an Ethiopian invasion that destroyed the Islamic Courts Union tribal alliance. Kenyan forces invaded southern Somalia several years later, in 2011, joining the international task force fighting al-Shabaab.
“Al-Shabaab really is the result of radicalized people … its creation is directly a result of US destabilization. Right now, what’s happening in Kenya and Somalia, these attacks with the assistance of the US government and AFRICOM [US Africa Command] … have been going on … between Kenya and Somalia for some time. You have all these very heightened, militarized, destructive conditions, and the US is using that situation that they created as an excuse to have AFRICOM there,” Freeman said.
“The continent of Africa, almost all of it … its politics and definitely its economy are controlled by the outside right now, with the US and the former colonizers,” he said, also noting that the US maintains its presence in Africa under the “guise of fighting terrorist extremism.” The US also continues to “create deals around mineral resources that are exploited by multinational organizations,” Freeman added.