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AFRICOM's First War: U.S. Directs Large-Scale Offensive In Somalia

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And, more pertinent to the Horn of Africa:

"A 1993 study by Petroconsultants of Geneva concluded that Somalia has two of the most potentially interesting hydrocarbon-yielding basins in the entire region - one in the central Mudugh region, the other in the Gulf of Aden. More recent analyses indicate that Somalia could have reserves of up to 10 billion barrels." [14]

Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are also deeply involved in the militarization of East Africa.

On March 10 NATO extended its naval operation in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, Ocean Shield, to the end of 2012, an unprecedentedly long 33-month extension. On March 12 "Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 will take over missions from Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for the four-month assignment. The change will increase NATO's contribution from four ships to five ships...." [15]

At the same hearings of the Senate Armed Services Committee that AFRICOM commander William Ward addressed, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, America's Admiral James Stavridis, "noted that 100,000 NATO troops are involved in expeditionary operations on three continents, including operations in Afghanistan, off the coast of Africa, and in Bosnia." (Evidently Kosovo was meant for Bosnia.)

Stavridis, who is concurrently top military chief of U.S. European Command, said "The nature of threats in this 21st century [is] going to demand more than just sitting behind our borders." [16]

He also said he finds "Iran alarming in any number of dimensions," specifically mentioning alleged "state-sponsored terrorism, nuclear proliferation and political outreach into Latin America." [17]

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently returned from Jordan and the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain where he pressured both nations to support the war in Afghanistan and Alliance naval operations.

"NATO's top official said [on March 9] that he has asked Jordan and Bahrain to contribute to alliance naval operations fighting terrorism and piracy in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden, as he ended a visit to the two countries. NATO is keen to improve cooperation with Arab and Muslim states, seeing them as important allies for a number of missions, including the all-important deployment in Afghanistan." [18]

Regarding the Western military bloc's almost nine-year Operation Active Endeavor in the entire Mediterranean Sea and its Operation Ocean Shield in the Gulf of Aden, Rasmussen said, "We would very much like to strengthen cooperation (with Bahrain and Jordan) within these operations." [19]

While in Jordan he was strengthening military ties with NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue partnership - Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia - and in Bahrain firming up the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative aimed at the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have military personnel serving under NATO in Afghanistan.

In late February a delegation of the 53-nation African Union (AU) visited NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.

"NATO continues to support the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through the provision of strategic sea- and air-lift for AMISOM Troop Contributing Nations on request. The last airlift support occurred in June 2008 when NATO transported a battalion of Burundian peacekeepers to Mogadishu." [20]

On March 10 AMISON deployed tanks to prevent the capture of the Somali presidential palace by rebels.

The North Atlantic military bloc, which in recent years has conducted large-scale exercises in West Africa and inaugurated its international Response Force in Cape Verde in 2006, also supports "the operationalisation of the African Standby Force the African Union's vision for a continental, on-call security apparatus similar to the NATO Response Force." [21]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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