The Sudan Tribune reported on Saturday that Ethiopian troops would hand over the recently captured Somalian towns of Beledweyne and Baidoa – which had been strongholds of al Qaeda-allied Al-Shabab Islamist militants – to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Ethiopian had sent hundreds of troops to Somalia in December to help Mogadishu fight Al-Shabab.
(Excerpted from Chapter 13: USS Persian Gulf: Big Oil & Their Bankers…) Western intelligence agencies used these Islamists to split Somalia into three different nations. On September 10, 1992 the US sent 2000 Marines and four warships led by the USS Tarawa to lurk off the Somali coast in the Gulf of Aden which separates Somalia from Saudi Arabia.
Somalia had always been recognized as a highly strategic piece of real estate. Its President Siad Barre had played favorite to both the Soviets and the United States at different times, even allowing US Rapid Reaction fallback forces to base there. In 1982 General Alexander Haig, who briefly stepped in as self-imposed President when Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, emphasized the strategic significance of Somalia to the US saying the country “would be vital to our own Persian Gulf access”.
The US had cut aid to Somalia in 1989 and reduced its three-swimming-pool embassy staff from 450 to 30. In January 1991 Barre was overthrown by his Defense Minister General Mohammed Farrah Aideed. The US Embassy was burned to the ground as Somalis expressed their outrage at decades of US support for the brutal Barre.
General Aideed was a nationalist and US hawks began looking for a pretext to intervene. Columnist William Neikirk articulated the new interventionist attitude which prevailed in US foreign policy circles after the Gulf War when he wrote on December 6, 1992, “The world cops…should be walking the international beat every day, doing preventive work in the world community”.
The UN Security Council held a summit in January 1992 during which it was decided that global peacekeeping operations, quite congruent with both Neikirk’s “world cops” concept and the Report from Iron Mountain, should be deployed around the world. Today 40,000 UN peacekeepers from sixty-one countries serve on four continents. President Clinton heartily embraced the idea saying, “We must do more than talk about a New World Order”. In Somalia the UN launched Operation Restore Hope with troops from Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Nigeria participating. The Saudis too sent elite forces.
The Pope called the intervention a “moral duty”. Many Third World countries, starved for cash, eagerly sent troops, who were well-paid to keep the peace. But other countries saw the mandate of the UN Security Council coming under the thumb of the United States and its European allies. Indonesia’s UN Ambassador Nugroho Wisnumurti stated, “If you look at the Council, in reality, you will see that only one or two are making decisions.”
Under the guise of a humanitarian crisis, the Rome-based World Food Program, which Iraq had found was serving as CIA cover, chartered two C-130 transports from CIA-contract airline Southern Air Transport and began delivering food to Somalia.
The CIA began arming Islamic fundamentalists bent on destroying Aideed’s leftist Somali National Alliance. As the fighting intensified the 2,000 US Marines, who had officially been deployed to protect UN peacekeeping troops, prepared to come ashore. Organization for African Unity President Salim Salim called the event “a new kind of colonialism”.
UN relief groups were forced to withdraw their workers from the Somali regions of Bardera and Baidoa where the famine which served as pretext for intervention was worst.  There had been a severe drought in Somalia, at least partly because the country had been a big producer of cattle for export to Saudi Arabia. This resulted in severe overgrazing, deforestation and desertification.
The US had often used Somalia to dump surplus commodities which could be fed to the cattle. The Somalia schilling had gone from 15.6 per dollar in 1983 to 38,000 per dollar in 1991 due to a series of IMF-mandated devaluations. The IMF encouraged the export-led cattle economy, while small farmers lost land and the country became a desert.
General Aideed tried to form a government but was forced to fight off the Islamist extremists which the CIA unleashed. The day the US Marines came ashore to back the extremists President Bush stated that the war “may have to be extended into northern Somalia”. That very same day Chevron Texaco board member and former Secretary of State George Schultz called for air strikes on Yugoslavia.
The CIA funded extremist warlord Ali Mahdi Mohammed, who seized the northern section of the Somali capital Mogadishu. They also backed the Somalia National Movement’s successful attempt to seize northwestern Somalia and declare an independent country called the Republic of Somaliland.
In northeastern Somalia, which includes the strategic Gulf of Aden ports of Berbera and Boosaaso, the Company supported the separatist Somali Salvation Democratic Front, which had called for foreign intervention in Somalia.
The Company also got help from Siad Barre’s son-in-law General Morgan. The CIA’s most important contact in Somalia was General Mohammed Abshir, a long-time CIA liason and former police chief. 
Eventually the two northern factions seceded from Somalia and created two new countries known as Somaliland and Puntland, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the strategic French-controlled country of Djibouti at the gateway to the Suez Canal.
The area had been known as British Somaliland until 1960, when it combined with southern Somalia and became known as Italian Somaliland. History was being repealed, a stealth neo-colonial takeover was underway and Somaliland quickly had its own army, currency and flag. 
All the while the Clinton Administration attempted to frame the Somalia conflict as an ethnic struggle between different clans, a highly misleading characterization which they would use to justify adventures in Rwanda and Yugoslavia as well.
The US vowed to withdraw from Somalia by January 20, 1993. That date came and went while the US contingent grew to a 10,000 man force, including 8,000 troops from the 10th Mountain Division. In February CIA helped remnants of Siad Barre’s military take the southern port of Kismayu. Africa Rights says Belgian troops involved in the operation tortured numerous people. Similar allegations were leveled against Canadian troops. Italy dropped out of Operation Restore Hope in disgust.
On June 12, 1993 Pakistani troops fired into a Somali crowd killing twenty-three innocent people. That same day a helicopter attack on a building supposedly housing General Aideed killed fifty-four more. On June 17th, UN troops attacked the Digfer Hospital in the capital killing nine. On June 18th, tired of the daily protests by Somalis at UN headquarters, the US bombed Mogadishu, killing more than 100 people.
The UNOSOM compound there was an 81-acre monstrosity which cost $2 billion to build. While Somalis lived in squalor, UN staff enjoyed hot showers, pizza and satellite television. The Somalia mission was now termed Operation Restore Normalcy, but order was far from restored.
As Somali support for General Aideed grew, the US media did their best to demonize him, though they knew absolutely nothing about him. US Admiral Jonathan Howe explained condescendingly that the goal in Somalia was to “put people back to work”. Howe put a $25 million bounty on Aideed’s head. Aideed responded by offering $1 million for Howe’s cranium.
On September 9, 1993 US helicopter gun ships opened fire on an anti-US demonstration killing 125 more people. Between 5,000 and 6,000 Somalis died during the US intervention.
Somalis were outraged and it was little wonder that when a shoulder-fired missile from one of Aideed’s militiamen brought down a US Blackhawk helicopter trying to rescue members of an elite US Delta Force trapped in a Mogadishu building, which they had entered looking for Aideed, crowds of Somalis gathered to drag some of the bodies of the eighteen Americans who died through the Mogadishu streets. Delta Force member Michael Durant was captured by Aideed’s forces during the operation, which featured other US helicopter gunships blasting the homes of Somalis who lived in the area. The day Durant was released President Clinton pulled US forces out of Somalia.
The UN operations in Somalia under Admiral Howe’s control had originally been run out of the Mogadishu offices of Conoco. Exploration done by Hunt Oil in the 1980’s found that the massive oil rift which underlies Saudi Arabia and Yemen extends across the Gulf of Aden and into northern Somalia, an area now conveniently partitioned and known as Somaliland and Puntland.
Just prior to his overthrow, the corrupt President Siad Barre had cut a deal allocating nearly two-thirds of Somalia to four US oil companies- Conoco, BP Amoco, Chevron Texaco and Phillips Petroleum. Conoco later bought Phillips. One World Bank oil engineer said of the Somaliland oil prospects, “It’s there. There’s no doubt there’s oil there.”
According to Yossef Bodansky, Director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, the Chechen rebels were organized at a 1996 meeting in Mogadishu, Somalia, which was attended by Pakistani ISI officials, Osama bin Laden and the CIA’s fundamentalist Somali warlords.
That same year General Mohammed Farrah Aideed lost his game of Russian roulette with Admiral Howe. On August 1, 1996 Aideed was gunned down by the same CIA-backed Islamist Assassins who were now organizing to attack Russia. That same day US Army Colonel William Garrison, who had commanded the ill-fated US Delta Force raid on Mogadishu, announced his retirement. 
 “Aid Workers Relocated in Somalia”. AP. Tulsa World. 12-6-92. p.1
 “The Warlord Speaks”. The Nation. 4-4-94
 “Looking for a Little Recognition”. AP. Missoulian. 4-8-96
 “The Great Humanitarian”. Ramon Gris. Storm Warning. Seattle. 10-93
 “Blackhawk Down”. CNN Presents. 1-20-02
Dean Henderson is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries and Das Kartell der Federal Reserve.