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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 September 5 - 11  > Maritime SDF’s refueling operations may have supported U.S.-led forces’ attack on Somalia
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2007 September 5 - 11 [SDF]

Maritime SDF’s refueling operations may have supported U.S.-led forces’ attack on Somalia

September 6, 2007
The suspicion arises that the Maritime Self-Defense Force unit that has been refueling U.S. warships in the Indian Ocean may have given support to the U.S. forces in their attack on Somalia in January.

The government has carried out the MSDF’s refueling based on the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law under the pretext of “reconstruction of Afghanistan.” The MSDF’s actual activities, however, could have deviated from the law.

The MSDF have been supplying the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which consists of U.S. and other coalition ships and is engaged in maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea, with fuel and water.

In January, the U.S. Central Command deployed the CTF 150 to the area off the coast of Somalia in order to “deter individuals with links to al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations the use of the sea as a potential escape route” (Navy Newsstand, January 5). Since then, the CTF 150 has been active in the area on the grounds of deterring pirates.

A map attached to documents that the MSDF produced in August indicates the area off Somalia as one of the main refueling points. The Defense Ministry also admitted that the MSDF was refueling coalition vessels participating in the maritime interdiction operations to block transfer of terrorist groups between Somalia and Afghanistan.

The suspicion about the MSDF operations’ deviation from the Anti-Terrorism Law is not new.

It has been suspected that the MSDF, through its refueling operations, has been assisting the U.S. war in Iraq. Since December 2001, the MSDF has provided a total of 480,000 kiloliters of fuel. About 65 percent of the amount was transferred by May 2003 when the U.S. declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. The U.S. Navy and the SDF have officially admitted that the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk and its two escort ships that were on their way to Iraq received fuel from the MSDF in February 2003.

The U.S. forces are conducting anti-terrorist operations as well as operations in Iraq in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. A MSDF commander sent to the area said, “We don’t know how they have used the fuel we provided.”
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