al-Shabab War in Somalia Update:
After the disintigration of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) after the U.S.-aided Ethiopian Invasion of 2006, the al-Shabab militia became the leading Islamist military group. In 2007, Shabab publicly aligned itself with al-Qaida, and has waged a bloody guerrilla war against the TFG government forces and the African Union troops (primarily troops from Uganda and Burundi), in Mogadishu and in southern Somalia. Al-Shabab is considered a terrorist group by Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (see also U.S. Special Forces Attack on al-Qaida in Somalia (September, 2009)
Shabab engaged in a terrorist attack in Uganda in 2010, and in the autumn of 2011, Shabab militants kidnapped several foreigners from Kenyan soil, prompting a Kenyan military intervention in southern Somalia to battle the Shabab fighters. Kenyan government sources claimed that the goal of their invasion was to end the Shabab presence in the southern Somali city of Kismayo.
Witnesses reported seeing 25Kenyan armoured vehicles carrying Kenyan soldiers passing through the Somali town of Dhobley, and there were reports of warplanes bombing two Shabab bases near the border.
According to the BBC, Somali government troops are acting in conjunction with the Kenyan forces ito attack the al-Shabab-controlled areas in southern Somalia. The third day of the Kenyan offensive featured a slowing down of Kenyan forces due to heavy rain and mud in a region with few paved roads.
Map of Kenya and southern Somalia in 2011
Kenyan forces intervene in southern Somalia to battle the al-Shabab Islamist militia. Shabab has engaged in terrorist activities in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya, and is allied with al-Qaida.
Kenya and the Transitional Somali government are supported by the United States. And, can it be a coincidence that this intervention by an American-allied African nation takes place only two days after President Obama announces the American intervention in the Lord’s Resistance Army Insurgency that has bedeviled Uganda, southern Sudan, Congo, and the Central African Republic? Note that Uganda, has thousands of troops in Somalia in support of the transitional government.
New York Times Article on the escalating drone war against al-Qaida and Shahab in Somalia at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/world/africa/02somalia.html
The First Ivory Coast Civil War
French Soldiers on duty in Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast (Cote d Ivorie) Civil War (Sept. 19, 2002-2007)Rebel soldiers (who later called themselves the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) launched a coordinated, nation-wide attack on forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo. Loyalist forces held onto the capital city of Abidjan, but lost control of the northern cities ofBouake and Korhogo. Initial reports had former military dictator General Robert Guei as the leader of the coup.It was also reported that he perished in the fighting. Ivory Coast has seen ethnic and religious violence since 2000 between northern Muslims (such as Guei) and southern Christians (such as President Gbagbo). The government also claims that rebel reinforcement entered the country from a bordering nation, most likely Burkina Faso to the north.Tensions have increased between the two West African nations partly as a result of the status of millions of migrant Burkina Faso citizens living in Ivory Coast seeking jobs.A cease-fire began on Oct. 17, which held until the last week of November, as government forces launched a new offensive with recently acquired helicopters and what appeared to be a unit of English-speaking mercenaries.Also, a new rebel group appeared, seizing several towns along the western border with Liberia. This group, calling itself the Ivorian Popular Movement for the Greater West, clashed with French peacekeeping forces that were attempting to evacuate Europeans from the area. This Yacouba-based tribal group, which appears to include some Liberians, may be connected to one of the factions involved in the Liberian Civil War. A second western rebel group, called the Movement for Justice and Peace, appears loyal to the late General Guei.
From January 15 through January 26, 2003, the warring parties met at Linas-Marcoussis in France to to negotiate a an end to the war. The parties signed a compromise deal on January 26. President Gbagbo was to retain power and opponents were invited into a government of reconciliation and obtained control over the Ministries for Defense and of the Interior. Soldiers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and 4,000 French soldiers took up positions separating the warring sides. The parties agreed to work together on modifying national identity, eligibility for citizenship, and land tenure laws which many observers see as among the root causes of the conflict. The civil war was declared over as of July 4, 2003 when the government and New Forces militaries signed an “End of the War” declaration, recognized President Gbagbo’s authority, and vowed to work for the implementation of the LMA and a program of Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR).
Despite the written agreement, true reconciliation did not take place, and in November, 2004, President Gbagbo ordered airstrikes against the rebel-held north and hit the city of Bouaké.. These airstrikes also hit (supposedly by accident, though that is questionalble) French forces who were in the country to enforce the peace on November 6. In this attack, an Ivorian Sukhoi Su-25 bombed a French base in Bouaké, killing nine French soldiers and an American aid worker while injuring 31 others. French forces then responoded with an overland attack on Yamassoukro Airport, destroying two Su-25s and three attack helicopters on the ground, while two government military helicopters were shot down over Abidjan. One hour after the attack on the camp, the French Army established control of Abidjan Airport. France flew in reinforcements and sent three jets to Gabon on standby.
Pro-government demonstators , rallied by the pro-government media, rioted and plundered properties owned by French nationals. Several hundred Westerners, mainly French citizens, took refuge on the roofs of their buildings to escape the mob, and were then evacuated by French Army helicopters. France sent in f 600 troops as reinforcements from their base in Gabon and from France itself while foreign civilians were evacuated from Abidjan airport on French and Spanish military airplanes. An unknown number of rioters were killed after French troops opened fire on the mobs.
Ivory Coast Map
After the French-Ivorian clashes in 2004, the two opposing Ivorian sides settled into a stalemate, whicn proved conducive to negotiations, and on March 4, 2007, a peace agreement was signed between the government and the rebel New Forces in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. New Forces leader Guillaume Soro was then appointed Prime Minister and assumed that office in early April, 2007. On April 16, in the presence of Gbagbo and Soro, the U.N. buffer zone between the two sides began to be dismantled, and government and New Forces soldiers paraded together for the first time. Gbagbo declared that the war was over.Scattered violence broke out on occassion, including an assassination attempt on Soro, but the agreement held until a resumption of the civil war in 2011 after a disputed election.
Ivory Coast Civil War Sources and Links:
First Ivorian Civil War–Wikipedia Article
Background Note: Cote d’Ivoire–U.S. State Department
A ‘Civil War’ that is French and Neo-Colonial–International Viewpoint
French troops in Ivory Coast battle–BBC News, Dec. 21, 2002
Events in Libya February 24, 2011:
–Forces loyal to the Libyan government counter-attacked rebels in the town of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, and at the small airport outside Misrata, Libya’s third largest city.
–World oil prices reached $120 a barrel due to concerns over the violence in Libya and the fear of further revolt in the oil-producing regions of the Middle East.
–Gadhafi’s cousin, Gadhaf al-Dam, an aide who served as Gadhafi’s personal ambassador to other nations, defected to Egypt and denounced the Libyan dictator.
Nigerian Rebels Claim Attack on Oil Pipeline
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta blamed the resumption of the attacks on the suspended peace talks due to President Umaru Yar’Adua’s absence.
December 19, 2009
The rebel group responsible for most of the attacks in Nigeria’s oil producing region claims to have destroyed a major crude pipeline in “a warning” strike early Saturday, December 19, 2009. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) says 35 of its fighters, armed with assault rifles and heavy machine guns raided an oil facility jointly operated by Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron in Rivers state.
The group met with President Umaru Yar’Adua last month at the start of peace talks. But the process has been stalled by Mr. Yar’Adua’s absence from Nigeria in the past few weeks. The Nigerian leader is receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for a heart condition.
A statement by MEND said “a situation where the future of the Niger Delta is tied to the health and well-being of one man is unacceptable.” The group says it may review an indefinite cease-fire it declared after 30 days.
The Catholic bishop of the Niger Delta town of Bomadi, Hyacinth Egbegbo, is urging the militants to stay calm saying only a negotiated peace can bring lasting stability to the troubled oil-rich region.
“Let us go for peace, not for any more struggles,” said the bishop. “Armed struggle is not going to be in favor of any Nigerian. So let us sit down at the table and see that we resolve these problems amicably. I appeal to the boys to take their guns away from the dialogue that is being initiated by the government. Because dialogue with guns is not dialogue. So let us put the guns aside and speak words of wisdom to each other so that we can come to a more amicable solution to the problem.”
The militant group, which says it is fighting for a fairer share of the region’s oil wealth, crippled daily oil production with series of attacks on oil facilities and personnel since early 2006.
But MEND has been severely weakened since dozens of its field commanders and thousands of gunmen accepted President Yar’Adua’s amnesty offer and disarmed.
The Niger Delta remains a stronghold for gangs and militant groups with strong opposition toward foreign oil companies and the government.
Security analysts say the oil industry remains vulnerable to opportunistic attacks, crude oil thefts and kidnappings. Nigeria plans to offer inhabitants of the Niger Delta an extra 10 percent in oil and gas revenues in a bid to end the rebellion.
The region of Southern Africa has a bloody history of wars against colonial and racist rule, as well as prolonged civil wars after independence. Many of the conflicts from the 1960s through the 1980s were strongly influenced by the Cold War between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union and its allies, in particular, the communist nation of Cuba, which sent thousands of combat troops to take part in the Angolan Civil War.
The Second Boer War (1899-1902)–Britain vs. The Boer Republics (Orange Free State and Transvaal) in what is now South Africa.Mozambican Revolts (1895-1899) – Native uprisings against Portuguese colonial rule in Mozambique.
Madagascar Rebellion (1947)–Against French rule. France crushed the revolt.
South African Civil War (1960-1994)–Black nationalist rebels fought against the white-ruled apartheid government of South Africa. The 1994 election ended white minority rule and began the period of majority rule.
Angolan War of Independence (1961-1975)– Fought against Portugal.
Mozambican War of Independence (1964-1975)– Fought against Portugal.
Namibian War of Independence (1966-1990)
Rhodesian Civil War (1967-1979)– Can also be considered the Zimbabwe War of Independence. Rebels of the black majority fought a guerilla war against the white minority government of Ian Smith. Smith had declared unilateral independence from Britain rather than end white rule. The war concluded with a peace agreement in which each adult received the right to vote regardless of race.
Angolan Civil War (1975-2002)– Following independence from Portugal, the two primary rebel groups, the Marxist MPLA and the “pro-Western” UNITA movements battled for control of Angola. Each side received significant outside assistance. The MPLA enjoyed massive aid from the Soviet Union as well as combat troops from Cuba. Early in the conflict, Zaire sent troops to aid UNITA, while the United States (mostly through the Central Intelligence Agency) sent weapons and mercenaries. South Africa also aided UNITA with large cross-border incursions. South Africa’s involvement came out of concern that a pro-Communist regime would aid SWAPO rebels fighting for Namibia’s independence from South Africa. The war finally ended after the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.
Mozambican Civil War (1975-1992) – Also known as the “Renamo War.” The Renamo rebel group attempted to overthrow the leftist government with aid from Rhodesia and South Africa. The fighting ended in 1992, with a formal peace treaty ending the war signed in 1994.
Caprivi Uprising [Namibia] (1999) – Rebels in the Caprivi region launched a guerrilla uprising against the Namibian government.
Chadian rebels clash with gov’t forces in capital; head toward presidential palace–Associated Press, February 2, 2008
Hundreds of rebels penetrated the capital of Chad today, clashing with government troops and moving on the presidential palace after a three-day advance through the oil-producing central African nation, officials and witnesses said.
Chad’s ambassador to Ethiopia said the capital had not fallen and that President Idriss Deby was "fine" in his palace.
"The situation is under control," ambassador Cherif Mahamat Zene told The Associated Press. "The head of state is fine in his palace … It’s true that there are some rebels who have entered the city, but to say the city has fallen is false."
A French military spokesman, Col. Thierry Burkhard, said that Chadian government forces were pushing rebels away from the presidential palace but that the outcome of the fighting today remained unclear. To read the rest of the story, click the link above.
The main rebel group in Chad, the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), has declared war on France. France, along with Austria, Sweden, Ireland, and other European Union members, are putting together a 3,500 man peacekeeping force in response to the warfare in Chad and neighboring Sudan’s Darfur region. The rebels allege French involvement in the war on the side of the government.
The UFDD is a coalition of several small rebel armies who seek to overthrow the government of President Idriss Deby, who invaded Chad himself in 1990 to overthrow the then-President Hissene Habre. Chad’s proven method of regime-change is through the barrel of a gun, with multiple coups, rebellions, interventions, and invasions in its history as an independent nation.
Since France freed Chad from its bondage as a piece of its decaying colonial empire in 1960, French troops and air power have intervened several times in the nation’s unending series of civil wars and rebellions. The current rebels allege French aid to the government, it is most likely true, based on France’s past actions in Chad and other former colonies.
As to why France may be motivated to get involved in a war not its own, one only needs to look at the fact that in 2003, Chad became an exporter of oil.
Chadians declare war on France–Telegraph.uk