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Abandoned by the World: UN Declares Open Season on Somalia

by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 17 December 2008

With this resolution, the entire world – the entire world – has turned its back on the people of Somalia. They have been abandoned as utterly, completely – and officially -- as any people in history.

We reported here last week about American plans to turn Somalia into a global free-fire zone, with powerful militaries from around the world given carte blanche to launch armed incursions into Somali territory and fill the nation's skies with bombers, fighters and missiles. This nightmare scenario --- an unlimited escalation of bloodshed and destruction in one of the most ravaged, shattered lands on earth – has now become a reality, as the Washington Post reports:

The UN Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize nations to conduct military raids, on land and by air, against pirates plying the waters off the Somalia coast... The U.S.-drafted resolution authorizes nations to "use all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia" in pursuit of pirates, as long as they are approved by the country's transitional federal government.

The provision about the "approval" of the Somalia's "transitional federal government" is, of course, a cynical joke on the part of the Security Council. This so-called government – put in place by foreign invaders, riddled with warlords and paid CIA assets – has not only lost control of virtually the entire country; it is now in the process of completely disintegrating. In the past few days, the Somali president, Abdullahi Yusuf, dismissed Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein and appointed someone else in his place, as Reuters reports. The Somali parliament rejected Yusuf's move and reinstated Hussein, who met this week with his cabinet.

Now there are two "transitional governments," neither of which have any genuine authority or power. In the unlikely event that one of these Western-installed paper entities raises an objection to an incursion on their soil by foreign forces in pursuit of alleged pirates (or anyone the foreigners arbitrarily designate as a "pirate"), then the other one can give the required "permission" instead. But as the Security Council well knows, it is inconceivable that any incarnation of the "Transitional Federal Government" will prevent any major power from doing whatever it wants in Somalia.

The UN decision is being portrayed as a "diplomatic triumph" for Condoleeza Rice, who "personally pushed for the resolution's passage." So she has taken on personal responsibility for an act that will lead inexorably and inevitably to the slaughter of innocent Africans. This fact is recognized not only by humanitarian groups like Oxfam but even by one of U.S. military officers who will be tasked with putting the resolution into practice, as the Post reports:

Aid groups, meanwhile, said the approval of military raids could worsen the situation on the ground. "Expanding anti-piracy operations inside Somalia risks further complicating the conflict and could exacerbate an already dire humanitarian crisis," said Nicole Widdersheim, who heads Oxfam International's New York office. She urged nations to focus on reducing violence within the country, rather than "the threat to commercial interests from piracy off the Somali coast."

The commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet warned last week that ground attacks on suspected Somali pirates would put the lives of innocent civilians at risk.

But for Rice – a major war criminal who has been deeply involved in, among many other things, the illegal invasion of Iraq and the construction of the Bush gulag's torture regimen – these considerations are nothing. She even claims to have no idea of how U.S. forces will engage in "hot pursuit" of pirates, or what the parameters of these incursions – such as the "acceptable" level of "collateral damage" – will be:

Rice told reporters Tuesday, "What we do or do not do in cases of hot pursuit we'll have to see, and you'll have to take it case by case."

"We'll have to see." Imagine some overwhelmingly powerful force claiming the right to launch armed raids into your town. You ask: What can we expect? What should we prepare for? What will trigger it? How bad will it be? Should we send the children away? Should we all flee? What should we do? And only one answer comes from the bristling camp of the marauders: "We'll have to see."

This is a sickening display of moral depravity – on a par with Rice's fearmongering evocations of "mushroom clouds" to panic the American people into support for a war of aggression against Iraq. Yet good progressives tell us that we should be happy for Condi's moments of personal happiness, and hope that she puts "her experience and intelligence to work" for the good of the country in the years to come. (See "Happy Days: No Crime, No Foul for the Media-Political Club.")

As I noted in the previous piece on the UN resolution:

And now the Bush Regime -- going out in a Götterdämmerung of blood and fury aimed at the world (and at the American people) -- wants to intensify the chaos in Somalia, laying it bare to more invasions, "precision strikes," death squad operations, renditions and other atrocities, this time coming from not just from Washington and its Terror War proxies but from all directions. This is the answer of the American militarist state to any problem, such as piracy or terrorism: the blunderbuss assault of massive military force by land, sea and air; vast destruction, social collapse -- and immeasurable, unbounded human suffering.

This is the reality of much-praised "continuity" in "national security affairs" that Barack Obama's appointments have promised. This is what will be "continued."

But let us not succumb to American exceptionalism in this case. The UN Security Council resolution is a virulent product of a global militarism, the universal warlordism that finds expression sometimes in ragged bands of fighters in desert, mountain or jungle enclaves – and sometimes in the clean and carpeted halls of vast nation-states and international institutions. With this resolution, the entire world – the entire world – has turned its back on the people of Somalia. They have been abandoned as utterly, completely – and officially -- as any people in history. At least there was some opposition in the Security Council to the American rape of Iraq; but this declaration of open season on Somalia – this univeral license to kill Somalis granted to every government on earth – passed unanimously. Without demur, without protest, with no objection.

Are there pirates in Somalia? Yes. Have they hindered some commercial operations? Yes. Are there criminal organizations in the United States, in Europe, in Russia, in China, in the Middle East? Yes. Do they hinder some commercial operations? Yes. (And far more violently and extensively than the Somali pirates, we might add.) But only the Somali people are subjected to the murderous strictures of the UN's draconian edict. Only the Somali people are being condemned to die – by the United Nations – for the actions of criminals within their borders.

There are many injustices in the world, of course; murder, destruction and cruelty almost beyond reckoning – and most of it slathered in pious hypocrisy and self-righteousness of one sort or another. But I've never seen anything quite like the relentless assault on the Somali people in the past two years – and the near-universal silence that has greeted this on-going abomination. It is a blot on all humanity.

Chris Floyd at his deskChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.

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This story was published on December 17, 2008.