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A history of naked imperialism continues as Biden approves Somalia redeployment

Biden has reversed Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US forces from Somalia and will redeploy Special Operations Forces. It is just the latest move in a long history of destructive US-UK meddling in the Horn of Africa. 
 
by TJ Coles
 
Part 1
 
Almost as soon as the administration of President Joseph Biden announced a redeployment of US Special Operations Forces to Somalia on May 16, the Western media began to spin the intervention.

As the BBC framed it, Biden’s deployment would “support the fight against militant group al-Shabab” (sic). The intervention coincides with the re-election of former Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who governed between 2012 and ‘17.

Similarly, the New York Times (NYT) reported that “Biden has approved a Pentagon request for standing authority to target about a dozen suspected leaders of Al Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda.

But are these motives true? Does Washington really want merely to defeat al-Shabab? Is al-Shabab actually linked to al-Qaeda and, if so, to what degree? As usual, the mainstream state-corporate media reportage is missing context and reference to international law.

As we shall see, the context behind the US redeployment is naked imperialism using counterterrorism as the latest in a long line of excuses to interfere in the politics of the strategically-significant country on the Horn of Africa. In terms of international law, signatories of the UN Charter have legal responsibilities to gain authorization from the Security Council before launching military operations –– something the Biden administration and its predecessors have never done in Somalia, or anywhere else, for that matter.

It is also worth tackling the Trump-era propaganda, which is double-edged. Trump supporters claimed that their hero ended America’s “forever wars,” as he “bombed the shit out of ISIS,” in his words, which often meant dumping munitions on Iraqi and Syrian women and children, while blowing Somalis to pieces via drone operators in numbers greater than during Obama’s term. It is accurate that Trump withdrew US ground forces from Somalia, though it appears to have been both an America First PR stunt and a device to make things difficult for the incoming Biden administration.

On the other side, the pro-war, neoliberal, anti-Trump establishment sought to portray Trump’s withdrawal of ground troops as a sign of American weakness in the face of globalized “Islamic” terrorists. By demonizing Trump and inaccurately reporting the motives of his withdrawal, the NYT, BBC and company were essentially clamoring for US militarism in Somalia: Trump bad so militarism good. And as usual, their reporting was absent of any critical or skeptical voices.

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