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The Name of the Game in Somalia is Oil
By Karamatullah K. Ghori
|Toronto. George W. Bush, under pressure from Japan and South Korea, has let it be known that he has dropped plans to attack, militarily, North Korea, one of the three " axis of evil" countries by his recknoning.
Those knowing the mind and mentality of Bush knew, from the moment he uttered his litany of ‘ axis of evil’ that North Korea had only been included in the pack to hoodwink the Muslims and make them believe that he was not a crusader against the world of Islam only. That he has not taken Iraq or Iran " off the table", as he is fond of saying, should not surprise anyone. Bush has his heart set on taking to finality the agenda of hostility against ‘unrelenting’ Islamic countries, initially set by his father in the late 80s and early 90s.
Logically, Bush should have included Somalia, the rag tag country teetering on the brink of disintegration for so long, in his ‘ axis of evil’. His military planners have long had their sights on chasing the elusive Al Qaeda partisans into their alleged lairs in Somalia. The American people, forced-fed on a diet of frenzied chauvinism since September 11, would hardly be averse to such a repeat- adventure after the ‘success’ in Afghanistan—though the chicks there are coming home to roost. The roaring box-office success of a Hollywood , adrenaline-pumping , war-thriller, " Black Hawk Down", based on the American military intervention in Somalia in the twilight days of Bush Senior in the White House, is cashing in on the popular hankering for more American ‘victories.’
The Hollywood thriller paints the American soldiers as, what else, ‘heroes’ fighting for liberty and human dignity, the lofty principles invariably cited as the justification for every military adventure abroad since the cold war. The American people are not prepared to question these flimsy pretexts because they have been made to believe that their ‘way of life’ is inextricably linked with America’s ‘moral crusade’ abroad. The media is squarely behind the ‘crusaders’ in their zeal to rid the world of all that is ‘evil’ to America.
But there are still voices of sanity pleading for a less-jaundiced version of the world divided between good and evil. An unconventional website, NetNomad.com, has recently posted a ‘ Los Angeles Times’ report of Jan.18, 1993 by the paper’s correspondent in Mogadishu, Mark Fineman, at the height of American " humanitarian" military intervention there, supposedly in defence of human rights. The report paints a totally different view of U.S. military intervention in Somalia.
Bush Senior went into Somalia with 20 thousand US troops in December, 1992 when he had been defeated in his re-election bid by Bill Clinton and was a lame-duck President. Why such a major overseas undertaking by an outgoing president was a question that perplexed many. His excuse was that US was in Somalia on a humanitarian mission to beef up the UN effort to stave off a bloodbath from civil war and anarchy. The real mission for Bush Senior was something else. He went in there to save the interest of US oil giants from his native Texas. After all, he had made his fortunes in the oil industry before making a mark in politics. The powerful and influence-peddling oil cartel had bankrolled him into politics, and he was anxious to pay back in kind. He might have lost his own bid for re-election but he had sons waiting in the wings to inherit his mantle. He had to lubricate their passage into high-stakes politics by obliging his powerful friends.
Bush’s interest in the countries around the Horn of Africa, marking the nexus of the Red Sea with the Arabian Sea, began in the mid-80s when he was Vice-President to Reagan. Hunt Oil Company, a Texas-based oil giant, had explored for oil successfully in Yemen and discovered oil deposits there of up to one billion barrels. Geologists believed that there was a natural trough of oil that extended across the Red Sea into Somalia from Yemen. The World Bank had an intensive technical study on oil prospects in the region around Yemen done by its principal petroleum engineer, an Irishman by the name of Thomas E. O’Connor, in the mid-80s. O’Connor was dead certain that "it’s there. There’s no doubt there’s oil there." Somalia beckoned, just as Yemen had lured them earlier.
Their doubts, if any, put to rest by this independent WB study, Bush’s friends in the oil cartel of America saw a bonanza for themselves and swooped down on Somalia in hordes. Bush used his office and influence to egg them on.
There was also a political motive with the Reagan Whit House to decrease America’s dependence on oil from the Gulf region, because the oil producers there constantly found fault with the undisguised pro-Israeli bias of the administration against Arab and Muslim interests. For that reason alone, Bush in particular was keen that his Texas friends from the oil industry should focus on Somalia with a big search light. Inaugurating the brand new oil refinery of Hunt Oil at Maarib, in Yemen, in April, 1986, Vice President Bush insisted that it was of " growing strategic importance to the west" to tap crude oil resources " in the region away from the Strait of Hormuz."
The American oil companies had no problem in winning concessions from President Siad Barre of Somalia. He was corrupt and a lackey of Washington. With his palms sufficiently greased, he awarded generous exploration rights to at least four American companies to look for oil in Somalia. These were : Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillip—all of them with connections to Bush.