Failing Somalia

January 25, 2010

Toxic waste which washed up on a Somali beach after the 2004 Tsunami

Rejoice. Apparently, EU forces from Germany and Spain are going to be training 2,000 Somali troops to take on the insurgency which has confined the nation’s government to a few buildings in Mogadishu. According to EU spokesperson Cristina Gallach setting up a training camp in Uganda will be a “very good contribution” to stabilizing Somalia.

Officially, this aims to quell incidents of piracy and hostage taking. European nations have shown very little concern about Somali stability since 1992, when the government collapsed and certainly since 2006 when the U.S. goaded Ethiopia to invade.

Well, some Europeans have shown an interest. One of the reasons given by Somali pirates for their actions has been the continuous dumping for twenty years of toxic waste off Somalia’s coast by European vessels. When the Ukrainian ship, MV Faina, was taken, an $8 million ransom was demanded, in reaction “to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years” as one spokesperson of the pirates put it. Italy has been a keen supporter of outsourcing its own waste problems – with the mafia being a key participant.

Apparently, while disposing of waste in Italy costs $1000 per tonne, dumping the same amount on a fisherman’s doorstep in Somalia costs $2.50.

Another group of Europeans showing an interest in Somalia have been Spanish and French fishermen. According to the UN, $300 million worth of fish is plundered from Somali waters each year and much of it will be endangered tuna. Pirates have taken Spanish trawlers before, and this is not a coincidence. Nor is it a coincidence that Spain is leading this training effort, and that the training is linked to piracy. But let’s have no nonsense about helping Somalis.

This is business. As one commentator from Somaliland put it last year, pirates, “pose a threat to shipping lanes; or more precisely, they create a formidable obstacle to illegal fishing incursion into Somalia’s coast—a condoned theft.”

As Dalmar Kahin argues, “Somali piracy stems from the unabated European and Asian illegal fishing expeditions and toxic dumping into Somalia’s waters. Portraying pirates as savage criminals while putting a lipstick smudge on the vicious vultures pillaging Somalia’s fish and dumping nuclear waste into its waters is a testimony of how the scheme is rarely mentioned much less condemned.”

This is no mercy mission. Somalia’s problems are not going to be solved at this training camp in Uganda, but they may well be worsened. In fact, the reason why EU forces even need to step in to provide such training is because of the Ethiopian led, but U.S. organized invasion. After the invasion, nothing was done to provide adequate training for police, while the Ethiopians and African Union “peacekeepers” murdered thousands of Somalis, creating the insurgency that the EU now so hypocritically abhors.

One question worth asking, which the press seems to have forgotten is actually quite topical. Where is Dyncorp? The disgraceful U.S. private military firm, which has been heroically bilking the U.S. taxpayer in Iraq via its contracts with the State Department, was supposed to be providing assistance to Somalia.

As Forbes reported in 2007, “Dyncorp…will be paid $10 million to help the first peacekeeping mission in Somalia in more than 10 years.” The firm’s assistance has kept very little peace. However, there have been allegations that Dyncorp is involved with firms accused of breaching the UN arms embargo on Somalia.

As AFP reported last year, researchers have found that Dyncorp has used Aerolift, a Russian firm which the UN accused of supplying weapons to the Somalian government’s “Islamist” enemies. Moreover, “air carriers involved in aid and peacekeeping operations were also used to transport “conflict-sensitive” goods such as cocaine, diamonds and other precious materials.”

Fascinating stuff that this is, it does not inspire confidence in efforts to “keep the peace” or “build the state” in Somalia. There are multiple vested interests in making that state fail – from illegal fishing to gun running.


3 Responses to “Failing Somalia”

  1. watsonlow Says:

    I am a fan of the EU. To me it doesn’t make sense to have a British foreign policy independent of the EU. But when EU armed forces are being used to protect parochial business interests in Africa I am bound to ask how trustworthy the Brussels decision makers are. Now I feel even remoter from the levers of power than if such decisions were being taken in Whitehall. When the Ethiopians went in to Somalia we could blame the Americans and pronounce “proxy war”. What arms are being twisted to suck Europe into this one? When are we going to stand up to the U.S.?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Captain Patch, jake lampner. jake lampner said: Failing Somalia « The Hidden Paw: One of the reasons given by Somali pirates for their actions has been the contin… […]

  3. […] efficient than having every country with its own approach.  Also there is a dark suspicion that sovereign states use aid as a means of furthering their own economic interests.  Then there is the story of the Commonwealth Development Corporation which was sold off at a […]

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