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

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In May the European Union, whose membership largely overlaps with that of NATO and which is engaged in intense integration with the military bloc on a global scale [22], will begin training 2,000 Somali troops in Uganda.

Brigadier General Thierry Caspar-Fille-Lambie, commanding officer of French armed forces in Djibouti, said "the Somali troops will be trained with the necessary military skills to help pacify and stabilize the volatile country."

He issued that statement "at the closing ceremony of four-week French operational training of 1,700 Ugandan troops to be deployed" to Somalia in May. The French ambassador to Uganda said "The EU troops shall work in close collaboration with UPDF to train Somali troops." [23]

The 2,000 soldiers to be trained by the EU will represent a full third of a projected 6,000-troop Somali army.

The U.S.-NATO-EU global triad plans an even larger collective military role in the new scramble for Africa. On March 4 and 5 a delegation from AFRICOM met with European Union officials in Brussels "seeking EU cooperation in Africa," specifically in "areas where cooperation could be possible, notably with the soon-to-be-launched EU mission to train Somali troops." [24]

Tony Holmes, AFRICOM's deputy to the commander for civil-military activities, said "Somalia, that's an area where we're going to be doing a lot more, the European Union is already doing a lot and will be doing more....

"Somalia is very important for us. The European Union is involved in training Somalis in Uganda and that's something we might be able to work closely with to support."

The AFRICOM delegation, including Major-General Richard Sherlock, director of strategy, plans and programs, also discussed "counter-terrorism cooperation with the EU in the Sahel region, notably in Mauritania, Mali and Niger...." [25]

In late January the chairman of NATO's Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, said "that the Alliance is in discussion with a Gulf state to deploy AWACS planes for a reconnaissance mission over Afghanistan in support of its ISAF mission and also for anti-piracy off Somalia." [24]

To demonstrate that NATO's anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia has other designs than the one acknowledged, early this year a NATO spokesman announced that the bloc's naval contingent in the Gulf of Aden "now has an additional task" to intervene against a fictional deployment of Somali fighters across the Gulf to Yemen.

The spokesman, Jacqui Sheriff, said "NATO warships will be on the lookout for anything suspicious." [25]

As though Somali al-Shabaab fighters have nothing else to do as the U.S. is engineering an all-out assault on them in their homeland.

Five days after the New York Times feature detailed American war plans in Somalia, the Washington Times followed up on and added to that report.

U.S. operations are "likely to be the most overt demonstration of U.S. military backing since the ill-fated Operation Restore Hope of 1992...."

"Unmanned U.S. surveillance aircraft have been seen circling over Mogadishu in recent days, apparently pinpointing insurgent positions as the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] marshals its forces. U.S. Army advisers have been helping train the TFG's forces, which have been largely equipped with millions of dollars' worth of U.S. arms airlifted into Mogadishu over the last few weeks."

The newspaper report further stated: "It's not clear when the offensive will start. The word on the street is sometime in the next few weeks...."

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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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