Tuesday, March 04, 2008

US Attacks Somalia - Again. What is the Legal Basis for This War?

As American missiles destroy a house in Southern Somalia (reports Reuters), questions urgently need asking about this and other attacks on the east African country in the last year:
  • what is the legal basis for these attacks? There have been four since December 2006
  • on what authority is the United States government carrying out these strikes?
  • to whom is the US accountable for its actions in Somalia?
  • what role, if any, does the United Nations have in the operations?
Claiming that the most recent missile attack was directed at "a known al Qaeda terrorist", US official have declined to give further details of the attack, which occurred on Monday 3rd March. Local reports claim that the target was near the town of Dobley and that casualties ranged from three wounded to six killed.

Previous attacks on Somali soil in recent months have included:
  • an attack on January 8th 2007 by a U.S. AC-130 gunship in southern Somalia, allegedly at Islamists fleeing Ethiopian and Somali troops
  • a missile launch on June 21st 2007 on suspected Islamists in the mountainous Puntland region in the north of the country

Steve Bloomfield writes here on the forgotten tragedy of Somalia. Essential background reading.

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