An old tweet by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar criticizing the United States army for killing “thousands” of Somalians during operation Black Hawk was brought into circulation by right-wing media Tuesday in which they try to discredit her for attacking U.S. actions in her other home country.
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Omar, in the October 2017 tweet said, “In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan” commenting on the Black Hawk down
The African country gained its independence in 1960 from Italy and Britain and formed a united country. In 1969 Mohamed Siad Barre gained control of the government and brought forth socialist policies. However, Barre was ousted in 1991 due to a power struggle with the country's clans and tribe that his government worked to sideline, leaving a power vacuum behind and engulfing the country in a civil war.
In a similar fashion like Libya, the country descended into chaos after militias of warring clans started fighting for territory.
The U.S. elite forces were sent to Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 to capture two high-level militia. However, the mission turned into a 15-hour battle when two black hawk choppers were shot down by Somalians and captured U.S. soldiers.
In retaliation, the troops started a battle in one of the biggest cities of Somalia in the civilian area killing numerous Somalians.
The U.S. troops were also supported by Pakistani and Malaysian peacekeeping forces.
However, only a conclusive number of 18 killed U.S. military personnel and 73 injured are found while searching for data on casualties.
The number of killed Pakistani and Malaysian soldiers are not included in the “martyred” and neither are the countless Somalians.
In the book “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” (1999) Mark Bowden estimated the death of more than 700 Somalis including militias and civilians.
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The data has been disputed as various organizations put the number of dead Somalis between 130 to nearly 1,000.
Ilhan Omar, who was a Somalian refugee when she arrived in the United States, said thousands of Somalians died and unsurprisingly came under attack by right-wing media and organizations alike.
This was not the first time Omar was wrongfully targeted. The unflinching criticism of brutal U.S. policies and interventions has made the Congresswoman a target of trolling and death threats in recent past. The Black Hawk Down mission was not the only place where U.S. troops created mayhem and increased human cost. In the infamous Vietnam war, where the U.S. intervened, around 2 million civilian lives were taken.
Nevertheless, Somalians were not left alone after the black hawk mission. Under the administration of former President Barack Obama, the U.S. started indiscriminate drone attacks in Somalia which was tripled during the administration of Donald Trump.
A March 2019 report by Amnesty International revealed that in the past two years the U.S. carried out 110 drone strikes in Somalia killed more than 800 people.
Based on the averages provided by the New America Foundation, Long War Journal, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Obama's admistration is responsible for 528 strikes that killed 4,189 people, 474 of whom were civilians around the world. One the most affected countries was Somalia, Omar’s place of birth.
The U.S. has also been criticized by rights groups for maintaining secrecy over its role in Somalia.