JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Human shields and drones, hunger and terrorists and China’s Belt and Road.
It is the toxic cocktail that is today’s Somalia, torn apart by the struggle of superpowers, dressed up in the diplomatic grace of Washington and Beijing. A country whose true goals are hidden, Somalia has been fighting for peace for decades and now faces a deadly famine.
Not content with terrorizing the population, the Islamist group al-Shabaab, closely linked to Al-Qaeda terrorist movement, now said to be actively and rapidly causing famine in Somalia:
“With international support, al-Shabaab is facing some pressure. Now they’re weaponizing the devastating situation we’re seeing, accelerating (the onset of) hunger,” Jasmine Opperman, a former intelligence agent and now a top security official. a consultant who specializes in extremism and political violence, told Fox News Digital. “They are deliberately displacing the people who live under their rule.”
As a result of US airstrikes in Somalia, 15 al-Shabaab militants were killed.
Simply put, in areas where al-Shabaab operates, its fighters are driving villagers, mostly farmers, and their livestock off the land and starving them to death in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees calls the country’s worst drought in decades. 40 years.
A representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Somalia, Magat Ghis, confirmed to Fox News Digital that refugees face “protection risks caused by armed conflict: indiscriminate attacks, separation of families, forced recruitment into armed groups, destruction of property. Lack of security in some in areas where aid services find it difficult to reach people affected by the drought.”
Observers point out what this means Al-Shabaab terrorists. perhaps unwittingly preventing agencies from accurately determining how many are already dying of starvation. Some even say that there may already be famine in Somalia. Even so, the official line, based on clearly incomplete data, is that the death toll should reach famine levels within the next six months.
UNHCR’s Gies told Fox News Digital Somalia is “on the brink of famine”. Severe food and water shortages have left 7.1 million people in the country acutely food insecure. Millions of people have left their homes in search of life-saving humanitarian aid. This year alone, more than 1.1 million people have been displaced in Somalia due to drought. In the course of the large-scale operation of the UNHCR this year, almost half a million people were helped in Somalia.
Umi Dubov, deputy director for programs in Somalia at the aid agency CARE, which has supported more than 700,000 Somalis this year, told Fox News Digital that the organization is very concerned.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of exhausted women and children visiting the medical centers we support,” Dubov said. “It is unacceptable that more than half of Somalia’s population will face acute food insecurity by June 2023 unless urgent funding is provided. Hunger or no famine, more support is needed to save lives.”
Time in May, when the Biden administration announced that Americans are returning to the ground after President Trump pulled out the troops – the day after the election results in Somalia – is raising suspicions among some.
After all, Somalia has oil. Seismologists claim that it is up to 30 billion barrels. And American companies are reportedly keen to get involved.
FAMINE AWAITS SEVERAL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY IN THE NEXT MONTHS
But the US is playing catch-up with the panda in the room. China never stopped supporting Somalia, instead developing more than 80 infrastructure projects such as hospitals and highways.
In turn, Somalia became the first East African country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and Beijing created a special ambassador for the Horn of Africa. Such a person was not appointed in Washington. Beijing treats Somalialocated close to the vital Suez Canal and with the longest coastline in Africa, being an important part of the Belt and Road trade route.
From Washington and Beijing, completely different views are emerging.
“We view African countries, including Somalia, as partners in global and regional priorities,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital this week. “We remain committed to supporting Somalia and the African Union’s efforts to counter the threat posed by al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups.”
China’s special envoy to the region, Xue Bing, said “Chinese wisdom” suggests foreign countries such as the United States withdraw and called on the Somali government to “get rid of outside interference. We respect and support the countries of the region in resolving their differences independently. “
And at the center of the geopolitical struggle is an aggressive cancer, which is the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. This is perhaps even more dangerous because, thanks to the continuous offensive of the country’s new government, the militants have their backs against the wall.
Analyst Opperman concluded that al-Shabaab recently lost control of 80% of the south-central regions of Somalia.
“The government offensive is intense, and it continues to gain momentum,” Opperman said. “Shabaab is back to human shields, back to kidnapping.”
ELECTIONS IN SOMALIA: AT LEAST 100 KILLED IN TERRORIST ATTACKS BY AL-SHABAB
There are signs that some sectors of Somali society, often quiet in the past, are turning against the terrorist group, sometimes violently. The governor of the region, Hiran Ali Jeite, promised a $30,000 reward and amnesty for “any member of al-Shabaab who kills the group’s leader” and urged them to cut off the private parts of the militants.
Al-Shabaab has become one of the richest terrorist groups in the world, extorting money from villagers and operating roadblocks that let most people through, but at great cost. This prompted Somali President Hassan Mohamud to lash out at this alleged religious organization during a recent American-African Summit in Washington.
They are “hiding in Islam, which is not true,” Mohamud told delegates. “What they are promoting is not Islam and has nothing to do with Islam. They are a mafia group cloaking themselves in the brand of Islam. If the community comes forward, they have no choice but to flee.”
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At the request of the Somali government, US Africa Command said two drone strikes last week killed 15 al-Shabaab militants. The U.S. operation, which involves about 450 U.S. troops, is helping government forces and the feared Danab special forces push back al-Shabaab. But militants still frequently undo conquests, and some villages change hands multiple times.