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Destabilizing the Horn: American-Backed Warlords Invade Somalia
Salim Lone, AlterNet
The Bush administration, undeterred by the horrors and setbacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, has opened another battlefront in this oil-rich quarter of the Muslim world.
The stability that emerged in southern Somalia after 16 years of utter lawlessness is gone, the defeat of the ruling Islamic Courts Union now ushering in looting, martial law and the prospect of another major anti-Western insurgency. Clan warlords, who terrorized Somalia until they were driven out by the Islamists, and who were put back in power by the U.S.-backed and -trained Ethiopian army, have begun carving up the country once again.
With these developments, the Bush administration, undeterred by the horrors and setbacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, has opened another battlefront in this volatile quarter of the Muslim world. As with Iraq, it casts this illegal war as a way to curtail terrorism, but its real goal appears to be to obtain a direct foothold in a highly strategic area of the world through a client regime. The results could destabilize the whole region.
The Horn of Africa, at whose core Somalia lies, is newly oil-rich. It is also just miles across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, overlooking the daily passage of large numbers of oil tankers and warships through that waterway.
(8 Jan 2007)
What's at stake in the Horn of Africa
Monica Moorehead, garoweonline.com
GAROWE EDITORS' NOTE: Several geological studies conducted in the Somali Peninsula and the greater Horn of Africa region since the 1980s have suggested that the region has a high potential of untapped oil reserves. In August 2005, the northeastern Somali region of Puntland, a regional autonomy, signed a controversial exploration "agreement" [the Puntland Agreement] with Australia-based junior exploration firm Range Resources, Ltd. Even though the Agreement has not entered its production phase, attempts by Range geologists to conduct further studies in Puntland led to several deadly skirmishes in early 2006, threatening the delicate security situation in a Somali region renowned for its relative peace and stability. We hope you enjoy reading the piece below, which sheds more light on the long-term goals of the Great Powers, with the African continent as their playground.
An estimated 15,000 Ethiopian troops invaded Mogadishu, the capital of the African country of Somalia, in late December to militarily defeat the Islamic Courts Union. The ICU until recently controlled large sections of the southern part of that country. It has now pulled back from the cities and said it will conduct guerrilla warfare against the invaders.
(8 Jan 2007)
The rest of article considers the oil issue.
Background: The oil factor in Somalia
Mark Fineman, LA Times via Somalia Watch
Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.
That land, in the opinion of geologists and industry sources, could yield significant amounts of oil and natural gas if the U.S.-led military mission can restore peace to the impoverished East African nation.
According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. Industry sources said the companies holding the rights to the most promising concessions are hoping that the Bush Administration's decision to send U.S. troops to safeguard aid shipments to Somalia will also help protect their multimillion-dollar investments there.
Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as "absurd" and "nonsense" allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush, a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.
(18 Jan 1993)
Follow the above link for several articles regarding oil and gas in Somalia from a 2002 newsletter. More background:
Research credit: Adam Whaley on EnergyResources e-list.