The United States has used assassination drones to launch aerial attacks in Somalia where Washington claims it fights terrorism.
Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia has been without a functioning government since the overthrow of its military dictator in 1991.
Press TV talks with Linh Dinh, a writer and journalist in Philadelphia about the developing situation in Somalia. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Why is this crackdown taking place right now? There have been other military interventions in Somalia since 1993, which have only aggravated the country's unstable internal equilibrium. What makes it different this time around?
Dinh: Looking at the US, you have to conclude that the US is behind this latest push because since 1991 with the overthrow of a US-friendly dictator, the US has been trying to install another government that would be favorable to it.
Just before this ouster Somalia promised two thirds of its territory to four US oil companies, so with that kind of loss the US is trying to get back and has been trying to sabotage and invade Somalia ever since. The kind of chaos in Somalia right now actually works in the US' favor because it gives it justification to come in so that is what it is doing now.
Press TV: What role do you see the al-Shabab fighters playing in all of this?
Dinh: From here (US) all you get is a kind of demonization of al-Shabab and Somalia in general. It's presented as a basket case. Any time the US goes to war or is trying to go to war with a Muslim enemy it accuses it of being affiliated with al-Qaeda. So, I do not know what to make of it. Al-Shabab is again accused of being affiliated with al-Qaeda... you know... so with so much demonization of Somalia and pirates, al-Qaeda...
I want to remind your readers of an incident last Christmas when a Somalia-American was accused of trying to blow up a Christmas tree in Portland, Oregon. This incident was so ridiculously presented with so little physical evidence that at the time I was wondering why the FBI bothered to entrap and make a big case out of this and I concluded that it was preparing the American public for an eventual invasion of Somalia.
And when I was saying this last year there was some ridicule, they were saying that's so far-fetched, but look at what's happening now.
Press TV: Our guest in Cairo talked about how the Somalians are not happy with even regional militaries getting involved - Let's look also at the US factor... We know that the US has stepped up their drone attacks in Somalia, why do you think that is the case?
Dinh: If you look at the two sides in the conflict here, one side is heavily backed by foreign powers including Kenya, Ethiopia and even Ugandan troops and the US is behind all of this. And one side is basically indigenous.
So you have to conclude that the Somali people are behind al-Shabab mostly because otherwise the other side with their massive power wouldn't need to lean on these other countries. I see a parallel with Libya - what happened recently - with the rebels being supported by so many other foreign countries.
I don't know if the US will succeed this time, but with Libya out of the way and Iraq temporarily pacified, it is turning its attention to Somalia.
Press TV:You talked about the oil factor, let's go back to that, you mentioned four major US oil companies and their interest in Somalia - So you think that this is part of this US intervention in Somalia or is it like Washington says that they're basically involved to stop terrorism?
Dinh: You should not take the US seriously when it talks about humanitarian missions. It's never about helping somebody; it's always about money. When you talk about money these days it usually means oil or natural gas, which Somalia has. So, it's all about that and because it's all about that the American press is not mentioning it at all.