IC Quarterly Analysis – Q2 2022
Period: April–June 2022
Volume 2, Issue 4
At its 2019 convention, Democratic Socialists of America voted that its International Committee (IC) should produce for members a quarterly newsletter of news and analysis about international events. In our second quarter of 2022 newsletter, we cover Biden’s redeployment of troops to Somalia and explore its context in the broader history of US imperialism in that country, the historic victory of the left in Colombia, and ongoing protests in Ecuador.
US Troops Return To Somalia
The Biden administration has signed an order authorizing the re-deployment of hundreds of Special Operations forces into Somalia. Additionally, the Pentagon has been granted discretionary authority to resume airstrikes across the nation. The Democratic Socialists of America International Committee (DSA IC) strongly opposes all US military activity on the African continent, and calls for the immediate withdrawal of US military personnel from Somalia.
For more than thirty years, Somalia has been subject to interventions by the United Nations, US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others. These institutions exert political, economic and military power to service the needs of US multinational corporations. For example, countless US airstrikes have occurred in the petroleum-rich Lower Shabelle region, resulting in the uprooting of rural communities while securing favorable conditions for investment in offshore oil blocks by companies like Shell and Exxon-Mobil.
Through its security partnerships in the Horn, the US maintains permanent or semi-permanent bases in Mombasa and Manda Bay, Kenya; Chebelley and Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti; and Bosaso and Galkayo, Somalia. Joint military exercises like Justified Accord find the US and dozens of partner nations testing their battle readiness, while the needs of Africans go unmet.
The people of Somalia contend with a multitude of forces impacting their survival, including real threats of extreme violence at the hands of Al-Shabaab. Re-deploying US troops into Somalia will only benefit the extremist elements wreaking havoc on the lives of Somalis, as well as the military industries which profit from endless war. The record is clear that decades-long counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Iraq met with resounding failure and left the populations of these nations in a state of total devastation.
By the end of 2020, the Trump administration had launched 208 airstrikes across Somalia, compared to 42 airstrikes combined between the previous administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. A 2019 study found that since AFRICOM’s establishment in 2007, the number of military missions, activities, programs and exercises on the African continent had risen 1,900%, from 172 to 3,500. US airstrikes routinely lead to civilian deaths and often target the most fertile areas of the country, destroying the land which is the economic base upon which millions of Somalis rely. The ability of Al-Shabaab to recruit young Somali fighters will not be diminished by the expansion of US military activities across Somalia.
The Left Prevails in Colombia
On June 19th, Colombians headed to the polls for the second round of their presidential elections and voted in favor of Gustavo Petro, the center-left candidate of Colombia Humana, and his running mate, environmental activist Francia Marquez, in representation of a broad left coalition named Pacto Historico. This is a historic victory for a country that has never been previously governed by the left since its independence over two centuries ago. This coalition of parties and social movements will now be in charge of implementing a domestic policy that will center the social and economic needs of the Colombian people for the first time.
Protests in Ecuador
Ecuadorian saw ongoing protests, which started with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities [CONAIE] and expanded to include other historically marginalized groups to include workers, farmers, craftspeople, health professionals, teachers, students and hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens. 2022 has dramatically worsened Ecuador’s burdens due to rising inflation and lack of funding for basic social services. The government has responded to these nonviolent protests with unjustified yet widespread violence and military action. Further, statements by Defense Minister Luis Lara imply the Lasso government’s current plan is to escalate state force against protestors