Published on Online Journal, by Thomas C. Mountain, Sept. 1, 2010.
Pirates, warlords, Marxist guerilla turned G-20 statesman and the USA … the real story of the Somali pirates in the Horn of Africa is a tale that needs telling. This story starts in a place calling itself Puntland, after The Land of Punt, a once great and glorious civilization in Africa’s Horn, today a forgotten legend found only in the most ancient texts. Formerly part of Somalia, Puntland can be found at the very tip of the Horn of Africa. From its shores desperadoes in small, open boats motor hundreds of miles into the Indian Ocean in search of unwary ships to hijack and hold for ransom.
Many reasons are given for what drives these pirates but the question not being asked is how they have managed to get away with extorting over a quarter of a billion dollars from the international community.
The fact remains that despite the assembled flotillas from much of the world’s navies, with unmanned drones flying overhead and satellites in space watching their every move, the Somali pirates of Puntland have been almost unimpeded in collecting their loot and returning to their lairs. No Delta Force commando raids, no cruise missiles, not even a smart bomb, little if any attempt has been made to bring these pirates to justice. The answer to this mystery lies at the very core of US foreign policy, which is based on using local gendarmes to do its dirty work, and of course, being able to distance itself from these crimes when they are exposed.
The warlords in Puntland are allied with the Ethiopian regime, lead by Meles Zenawi, a Marxist guerilla turned G-20 statesman. With both regimes built on a house of cards the USA and its Western allies are afraid to place any stress on the lot in fear of it all falling down. With the Ethiopian regime gone, who is going to enforce Western interests in East Africa?
The law of the jungle rules life in the Horn of Africa and in Puntland in particular. In this struggle for survival, clan connections, and loyalty, are all important. In Puntland the clans are ruled by a council of warlords, whose brigandry and opportunism has earned them the support of the murderous clique of former Marxist guerillas who today rule Ethiopia. Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi and his former comrades in arms in the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front, one-time followers of Enver Hoxha and the Albanian Communist Party’s version of world revolution, are today enforcing Pax Americana in East Africa … //
… What is almost unknown in the west is that Ethiopia also has the largest, best equipped army in Africa, though finding information in the Western media about Ethiopia’s military has been all but impossible for over a decade now.
Ethiopia invaded its former colony Eritrea in 2000 and by its own admission lost 123,000 of its own soldiers killed in action. Ethiopia invaded Somalia at the end of 2006, something no Ethiopian leader in history had ever done, and quickly found itself attacked from all sides by the Islamic resistance. By the time Ethiopia officially “withdrew” some two years later, estimates of Ethiopian soldiers killed in action range from 20-30,000.
Today, the Ethiopian army is conducting search and destroy operations throughout the ethnically Somali Ogaden region and, at the same time, during a series of the worst droughts in history, blocking all food aid to 90 percent of the province. Even the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders have been expelled. What is being committed can only be described as genocide and Ethiopia doesn’t want any witnesses blowing the whistle on it.
If Ethiopia can carry out genocide against its own population for years now with the unwavering support of its Western funding agencies, it is little wonder that the pirates of Puntland have nothing to fear from all the naval flotillas in the world. The empire of the USA may be crumbling but it still calls the shots when it comes to its gendarmes on the beat in East Africa, and little is being allowed to threaten an already shaky Ethiopian regime.
The tale of the pirates of Puntland may be hard to believe, but then truth is so often stranger than fiction. And with fiction passing as fact in the Western media when it comes to the Horn of Africa, it behooves one and all to stop and take a second look at what is really going on in these parts. (full text).
(Thomas C. Mountain was, in a former life, an educator, activist and alternative medicine practitioner in the USA. Email thomascmountain at yahoo.com).
Some exemples of articles and videos by Thomas C. Mountain:
Why Do India’s Dalits Hate Gandhi? on CounterCurrents, March 20, 2006.