Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Somalia Ranks Second to Last in Global Health Security. Why is the U.S. Bombing it During the Pandemic?

The U.S. has intensified its air raids against Somalia during the pandemic, exacerbating the country’s humanitarian crisis. We must demand an end to military interventions and direct resources to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

Otto Fors

April 29, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Photograph by Mohamed Abdiwahab / AFP / Getty, 2017

While the Coronavirus crisis unfolds across the world causing unprecedented suffering, the U.S. has expanded its vicious air war against Somalia. Since the start of this year, the U.S. has conducted 39 airstrikes, compared to the 36 strikes conducted during the entirety of Barack Obama’s presidency. While the U.S.’s bombing campaign against Somalia is often described as hidden, it has taken a tremendous human toll. It is especially devastating for a country with woefully inadequate health resources to confront the Coronavirus. 

As of this week, Somalia has 390 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, a number which is expected to increase. Due to decades of military conflict abetted by U.S. foreign intervention targeting Al-Shabaab, 2.6 million people in Somalia are internally displaced and crowded into settlements with inadequate water, sanitation, and basic hygiene access. These conditions, which preclude recommended preventative measures such as social distancing and hand-washing, are a tinderbox of disease transmission. 

The long-standing conflict in Somalia has likewise decimated healthcare infrastructure, exacerbated by U.S. involvement. Somalia ranks 194th out of 195 countries in global health security. It has no ventilators, and only 15 ICU beds for a population of 15 million people, not to mention the shortage of more basic medical resources such as oxygen. Large-scale Coronavirus infection, which seems increasingly likely due to the humanitarian crisis in the country, will be devastating. 

Nonetheless, the U.S. has been steadily increasing its military engagements both in Somalia and around the world. In December, Congress passed a staggering $738 billion defense budget to support the country’s military involvement in  80 countries. Somalia is one of seven countries where the U.S. is conducting direct air and drone strikes, and is home to five U.S. military bases, the second most in Africa. Military engagement in Somalia is poised to continue increasing despite calls by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to implement ceasefires globally to focus efforts on suppressing the Coronavirus crisis. 

The dire situation within the U.S. as a result of the pandemic has only further proven that the government must spend resources on public health, rather than on its war machine. Across the country, people are protesting the lack of PPE, and many hospitals are at their breaking point. Since the start of the pandemic, over 9 million people in the U.S. have lost their health insurance, and over 26 million people have filed for unemployment claims. Even before this crisis, 8.5% of Americans lacked health insurance. The obscene $738 billion defense budget could be used to fund hospitals and ICU beds, particularly in under-resourced areas, and provide much-needed support for vulnerable people and those who have lost their jobs.  

During the pandemic, U.S. military violence has been undeterred by the health crisis. In addition to air raids in Somalia, the U.S. has bombed Iran, and the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign against Yemen – supported by the U.S. – has also continued. These actions exacerbate the humanitarian crises in these countries, and seriously hamper efforts to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. 

When the capitalists say that there is no money to help hospitals in need, or to provide relief for unemployed people, it is a lie. The military budget should be immediately directed towards combating the pandemic and to aid the struggling working class. 

Facebook Twitter Share

Otto Fors

Otto is a PhD student and lecturer in New York.

Guest Posts

Teachers in NYC Pay Out of Pocket for Abortion. Healthcare Must be Accessible to All

The following is a speech by a public school teacher in NYC against the overturn of Roe v. Wade and in favor of abortion rights for all.


June 28, 2022

Republicans’ Legislation Against Drag Shows Is Part of their Anti-LGBTQ+ Agenda

Right-wing reactionaries are taking aim at drag shows as part of their attack on LGBTQ+ rights. These proposed bills will undoubtedly open the floodgates for more and more explicit attacks against queer people across the country.

Sawyer Smith

June 14, 2022

We Need a Militant Mass Movement for Reproductive Rights and We Needed It Yesterday!

We need a mass movement for abortion rights.

Mary Nicole Reeves

June 10, 2022
A hand catching grain coming from a machine.

Food, Famine, and War

If anything proves that famine and food insecurity are man-made, it is the current food crisis that is putting millions globally close to starvation.

Michael Roberts

June 7, 2022


On the left, Ruth Fischer, former German communist party leader. On the right, the cover of her biography by Mario Keßler.

Ruth Fischer: The Ongoing Fascination of the Ultra-left

Ruth Fischer was the chairwoman of the Communist Party of Germany in the mid-1920s, before she became a supporter of McCarthy. Her ultra-left policies continue to provoke discussions among socialists. A massive biography by Mario Keßler offers some lessons for revolutionary strategy today.

Nathaniel Flakin

July 3, 2022

Western Imperialism Expands with New Military Bases and NATO Members

The NATO summit in Madrid has expanded the alliance’s footprint — a result of the U.S. and European role in the Ukraine war, and a big win for Western imperialism. Workers must use our power to fight the U.S. and NATO agenda, without giving any support to the Putin regime.

Sam Carliner

July 1, 2022

The Court is Trying To Kill You: SCOTUS Bolsters Climate Change

The Supreme Court just gutted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s power to regulate emissions. It’s time for the climate movement to stand up and fight back against the capitalist institutions that are killing the planet.

Sam Carliner

June 30, 2022

Urgent Call to Action: Our Unions Must Defend the Right to Abortion

The Rank-and-File Caucus of the Temple Association of University Professionals issued a statement against the Supreme Court's attack on abortion and for the need for unions to mobilize to protect the right to an abortion in the streets and in our workplaces.

RAFT Temple

June 30, 2022