From Fri Jan 4 08:00:09 2002
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 00:08:25 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Givel <>
Subject: [toeslist] US forces land in Comoros Islands
Article: 132975
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

US force lands in Comoros Islands

By Dimitry Litvinovich, Pravda, 19 December 2001, 20:10:25

American troops invaded Panama 12 years ago on December 20, 1989 and arrested the head of the state, General Manuel Noriega. The general was convicted by an American court for his active participation in the illegal drug commerce. The same thing is now happening on the Comoros islands, but this time under the guise of the struggle with the international terrorism.

The USA continued its “war with terror,” having dispatched not less than 100 commandos to the island of Moheli (or Mwali) on Wednesday morning. Moheli is included in the Islamic republic of the Comoros Islands. This republic is a member of the Arab League.

The Al-Jazeera TV company reported that the American military, which arrived in special American transport aircraft, placed all the military structures of the Comoros islands under their control, including the army and the police.

The leaflets, which have been reportedly dropped on the island, said that the United States of America was continuing its anti-terrorist operation on the territory of the Comoro Islands.

It was also said that the island was being taken by the US Army within the framework of the anti-terrorist operation which was charging the president of the Islamic Republic of the Comoros Islands, Assoumani Azzali, with rendering support to terrorists.

The leaflets also called upon the population to lay down its arms. It is not clear from Al-Jazeeras information if the deployment of the American commandos was a military invasion, or maybe it is an attempt to instigate a coup detat under the guise of the foreign “anti-terrorist operation.”

The BBC reported that a group of the armed men landed on the island of Moheli, which is the smallest of the Comoros archipelago, and took control of the local police station. The special representative of the African Union on the Comoros Islands said to the BBC that there were about 20 armed men, both black and white, who were speaking English and French.

The reasons why this is all happening now are not clear, but as the special representative of the African Union believed, the reasons could be dictated by the opposition to the coming referendum about the political future of the islands ( the referendum is to take place on December 23).

The political instability on the Comoros islands is not new. Two islands, included in the Comoros archipelago, proclaimed their independence in 1997. Incumbent President Azali Assoumani came to power on the Comoros islands in April of 1999 with the help of a coup detat. The Comoro islands are included in the Arab League; the Islamic Republic of the Comoros islands is a member of the All-Arab joint defense treaty.

All members of the League are considered to have a warfare with any state that assaults one of its members. At the same time, as RIA Novosti reported, a representative of the American embassy in Kenya stated in Nairobi that he did not have any information about the military operation on the Comoros islands.

It is hard to say what this all means. If it is an anti-terrorist operation, the goal of which is to destroy the terrorist groups based on the archipelago, then why was there nothing said about it before? Or maybe it is a coup detat, at which the Americans are now good at (the events in Panama and Grenade are the examples).

France should not be ruled out of the events in the Comoros; this country would not mind having the islands back with the help of a “democratic referendum.” But, of course, none of the officials will say it out loud that Paris is watching the development of the situation on the Comoros with interest. France still has to prove it did not have anything in common with the funding of the latest attempt of a coup that took place in 1995.

The Comoros Islands are an archipelago of four islands and several islets located in the western Indian Ocean about ten to twelve degrees south of the Equator and less than 200 miles off the East African coast. They lie approximately halfway between the island of Madagascar and northern Mozambique at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel.