By Michel Chossudovskywww.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25725
Global Research, July 21, 2011
For the last twenty years,
The country is now facing widespread famine. According to reports, tens of thousands of people have died from malnutrition in the last few months. The lives of several million people are threatened.
The mainstream media casually attributes the famine to a severe drought without examining the broader causes.
An atmosphere of "lawlessness, gang warfare and anarchy" is also upheld as one of the major causes behind the famine.
But who is behind the lawlessness and armed gangs?
But how did it become a "failed state"? There is ample evidence of foreign intervention as well as covert support of armed militia groups. Triggering "failed states" is an integral part ofAccording to the UN, a situation of famine prevails in southern Bakool and
foreign policy. It is part of a military-intelligence agenda. US
Both the UN and the Obama administration had accused Al Shahab of imposing "a ban on foreign aid agencies in its territories in 2009". What the reports do not mention, however, is that Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) ("Movement of Striving Youth") is funded by
The backing of Islamic militia by Western intelligence agencies is part of a broader historical pattern of covert support to Al Qaeda affiliated and jihadist organizations in a number of countries, including, more recently, Libya and Syria.
The broader question is: What outside forces triggered the destruction of the
The process of economic dislocation preceded the onset of the civil war in 1991. Economic and social chaos resulting from IMF "economic medicine" was a "precondition" for the launching of a US sponsored "civil war".
An entire country with a rich history of commerce and economic development, was transformed into a territory.
In a bitter irony, this open territory encompasses significant oil wealth. Four
Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of
According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of
Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the
But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue
Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government's role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.(Quoted in The Oil Factor In Somalia | COLUMN ONE : The Oil Factor in Somalia : Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored. - Los Angeles Times 1993)
The early 1980s marks a major turning point.
The IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) was imposed on sub-Saharan
By the late 1980s, following recurrent "austerity measures" imposed by the
The following article first published in 1994 in Le Monde diplomatique and Third World Resurgence centers on the historical causes of famine in
This article was subsequently integrated in my book The Globalization of Poverty and the
New World Order, first edition 1997, second edition, Global Research. , 2003 Montreal
First published in 1994, Third World Resurgence and Le monde diplomatique
The IMF Intervention in the Early 1980s
The IMF-World Bank intervention in the early 1980s contributed to exacerbating the crisis of Somali agriculture. The economic reforms undermined the fragile exchange relationship between the "nomadic economy" and the "sedentary economy" - i.e. between pastoralists and small farmers characterized by money transactions as well as traditional barter. A very tight austerity program was imposed on the government largely to release the funds required to service
[T]he Fund alone among
Towards the Destruction of Food Agriculture
The structural adjustment program reinforced
Also, during this period, much of the best agricultural land was appropriated by bureaucrats, army officers and merchants with connections to the government.' Rather than promoting food production for the domestic market, the donors were encouraging the development of so-called "high value-added" fruits, vegetables, oilseeds and cotton for export on the best irrigated farmland.
Collapse of the Livestock Economy
As of the early 1980s, prices for imported livestock drugs increased as a result of the depreciation of the currency. The World Bank encouraged the exaction of user fees for veterinarian services to the nomadic herdsmen, including the vaccination of animals. A private market for veterinary drugs was promoted. The functions performed by the Ministry of Livestock were phased out, with the Veterinary Laboratory Services of the ministry to be fully financed on a cost-recovery basis. According to the World Bank:
Veterinarian services are essential for livestock development in all areas, and they can be provided mainly by the private sector. (... Since few private veterinarians will choose to practice in the remote pastoral areas, improved livestock care will also depend on "para vets" paid from drug sales.'
The privatization of animal health was combined with the absence of emergency animal feed during periods of drought, the commercialization of water and the neglect of water and rangeland conservation. The results were predictable: the herds were decimated and so were the pastoralists, who represent 50 percent of the country's population. The "hidden objective" of this program was to eliminate the nomadic herdsmen involved in the traditional exchange economy. According to the World Bank, "adjustments" in the size of the herds are, in any event, beneficial because nomadic pastoralists in sub-Saharan
The collapse in veterinarian services also indirectly served the interests of the rich countries: in 1984, Somalian cattle exports to
Destroying the State
The restructuring of government expenditure under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions also played a crucial role in destroying food agriculture. Agricultural infrastructure collapsed and recurrent expenditure in agriculture declined by about 85 percent in relation to the mid-1970s." The Somali government was prevented by the IMF from mobilizing domestic resources. Tight targets for the budget deficit were set. Moreover, the donors increasingly provided "aid", not in the form of imports of capital and equipment, but in the form of "food aid". The latter would in turn be sold by the government on the local market and the proceeds of these sales (i.e. the so-called "counterpart funds") would be used to cover the domestic costs of development projects. As of the early 1980s, "the sale of food aid" became the principal source of revenue for the state, thereby enabling donors to take control of the entire budgetary process."
The economic reforms were marked by the disintegration of health and educational programmes.'3 By 1989, expenditure on health had declined by 78 percent in relation to its 1975 level. According to World Bank figures, the level of recurrent expenditure on education in 1989 was about US$ 4 Per annum per primary school student down from about $ 82 in 1982. From 1981 to 1989, school enrolment declined by 41 percent (despite a sizeable increase in the population of school age), textbooks and school materials disappeared from the class-rooms, school buildings deteriorated and nearly a quarter of the primary schools closed down. Teachers' salaries declined to abysmally low levels.
The IMF-World Bank program has led the Somali economy into a vicious circle: the decimation of the herds pushed the nomadic pastoralists into starvation which in turn backlashes on grain producers who sold or bartered their grain for cattle. The entire social fabric of the pastoralist economy was undone. The collapse in foreign exchange earnings from declining cattle exports and remittances (from Somali workers in the Gulf countries) backlashed on the balance of payments and the state's public finances leading to the breakdown of the government's economic and social programs.
Small farmers were displaced as a result of the dumping of subsidized
According to World Bank estimates, real public-sector wages in 1989 had declined by 90 percent in relation to the mid-1970s. Average wages in the public sector had fallen to US$ 3 a month, leading to the inevitable disintegration of the civil administration." A program to rehabilitate civil service wages was proposed by the World Bank (in the context of a reform of the civil service), but this objective was to be achieved within the same budgetary envelope by dismissing some 40 percent of public-sector employees and eliminating salary supplements." Under this plan, the civil service would have been reduced to a mere 25,000 employees by 1995 (in a country of six million people). Several donors indicated keen interest in funding the cost associated with the retrenchment of civil servants."
In the face of impending disaster, no attempt was made by the international donor community to rehabilitate the country's economic and social infrastructure, to restore levels of purchasing power and to rebuild the civil service: the macro-economic adjustment measures proposed by the creditors in the year prior to the collapse of the government of General Siyad Barre in January 1991 (at the height of the civil war) called for a further tightening over public spending, the restructuring of the Central Bank, the liberalization of credit (which virtually thwarted the private sector) and the liquidation and divestiture of most of the state enterprises.
In 1989, debt-servicing obligations represented 194.6 percent of export earnings. The IMF's loan was cancelled because of
Famine Formation in sub-Saharan Africa: The Lessons of Somalia
The experience of
Throughout the continent, the pattern of "sectoral adjustment" in agriculture under the custody of the Bretton Woods institutions has been unequivocally towards the destruction of food security. Dependency vis-à-vis the world market has been reinforced, "food aid" to sub-Saharan
"Food aid", however, was no longer earmarked for the drought-stricken countries of the Sahelian belt; it was also channeled into countries which were, until recently, more or less self-sufficient in food.
Under the structural adjustment program, farmers have increasingly abandoned traditional food crops; in
While "external" climatic variables play a role in triggering off a famine and heightening the social impact of drought, famines in the age of globalization are man-made. They are not the consequence of a scarcity of food but of a structure of global oversupply which undermines food security and destroys national food agriculture. Tightly regulated and controlled by international agri-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.