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Somalia and Ethiopia

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07/30/06

  12:11:43 am, by admin, 698 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Somalia

Somalia and Ethiopia

Link: http://www.economist.com/world/africa/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=7236805

Somalia and Ethiopia

The Osama factor
Jul 27th 2006 NAIROBI
From The Economist print edition

Somalia's Islamists hail a familiar leader: Osama bin Laden

Source: The Economist

LAST week's arrival of Ethiopian troops in Somalia's dusty western town of Baidoa, ostensibly to protect the feeble transitional Somali government holed up there against its Islamist countrymen, has pushed the country closer to war. Ethiopia has long been suspected of having troops in Somalia, hidden in the deserts north of Baidoa. Now their very visible arrival in the town, and their entry into others such as Wajid, has raised the stakes.
EPA
EPA

That's our hero

Ethiopia's intervention was immediately denounced by Somalia's Council of Islamic Courts, which now holds sway over most of southern Somalia, after recent victories over the CIA-backed warlords of Mogadishu, the country's capital. The two sides are now squaring off against each other across the desert. There have already been skirmishes between Ethiopian troops and Somali Islamists east of Baidoa.

Both the Ethiopians and the Islamists have something to gain from fighting. Ethiopia, which has often meddled in Somalia, is one of the world's oldest Christian-led countries, though it has many Muslims too. A war against militant Islam in the region might make it a useful ally of America, bringing cash and diplomatic support. It would also be quite a coup for the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, since America's Congress recently passed a bill condemning his government as an undemocratic abuser of human rights, which it is.

Ethiopia, fearing that some of its own Muslims will side with the Islamists, will try to strike hard and early, if an opportunity presents itself. Tiny Djibouti, home to a large American military base, and secessionist Somaliland, which has peeled way from the rest of Somalia, could both play vital roles. Their ports serve Ethiopia; their governments oppose Islamists.

War might also, however, help the Islamists, positioning them as the patriotic choice for ordinary Somalis against the supposedly quisling secularists in Baidoa and their Ethiopian masters. Most Somalis have always hated the Ethiopians, whose support for the transitional government, far from saving it, has undermined it. To complicate matters, there are reports that Eritrea, another foe of Ethiopia, is secretly flying arms to the Islamists.

But war is not yet inevitable. Moderate Islamists still outnumber the radicals, and could yet restrain their more vociferous co-religionists in order to make a power-sharing deal with the transitional government. But it is the radicals, emboldened by their recent victories, who have the guns. They have a clearer vision, not just for building clinics and Islamic schools but for setting up an emirate—to encompass all of Somalia as well as the Somali-inhabited parts of neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya—to be run by austere sharia courts.

Buoyed by arms and money from sympathisers, the radicals have dropped their earlier caution. A few weeks ago, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, their front man, distanced himself from Osama bin Laden. Now he likens Mr bin Laden to Nelson Mandela. Rallies in Mogadishu are calling for victimised Muslims around the world to come and fight in Somalia. Against whom? Ethiopia, to begin with. Then America. Perhaps finally Saudi Arabia.

A lot of this is simply rhetoric to stoke up Islamist gunmen for a fight. The rallies are strikingly small. The wild talk is still occasionally tempered by cooler speeches from moderates, such as Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who may still seek to restrain Mr Aweys in the Islamist leadership. But even Mr Ahmed condemns the Baidoa government as “unbelievers” and “traitors” for welcoming Ethiopian troops.

The UN and the main Western countries—in particular, Britain, Italy and Sweden—which have been trying to build up the transitional government now look powerless. The UN, in particular, has been wrong-footed by Ethiopia's incursion and has been reduced to silence, since neither the transitional government nor Ethiopia will admit that an incursion has occurred. The African Union still says it wants to send peacekeepers to Somalia, while the Arab League hopes to sponsor peace talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in the next few weeks; Somalia's transitional government says it wants them. Meanwhile, both sides want more weapons.

Source:
The Economist

9 comments

Comment from: Asrat [Visitor]
Asrat

Go, Ethiopia go! If you don’t act now, beloved Ethiopia, you will lose and you will pay later a very painful price. Some Ethiopians look at this situation from their ethno-centric and selfish political point of view. But I see it from a hisorical and national point of view. You cannot afford to lose this game Ethiopia. Your enemies are too many and too dangers for you to take no action now. God keep our nation from all evil.

07/30/06 @ 02:43
Comment from: abakorran [Visitor]
abakorran

now the world must know for whom the govt of ethiopia is working …
In Ethiopia many ppl still are starving homeless and many Ethiopian intellectuals in prison with no reason and the wicked rebel group leader Weyane leader is invading neighbour countries …..he is the only one terrorist in the region.
OUR LEADERS ARE IN PRISON THEY ARE THE TRUE CHILDREN OF ETHIOPIA AND THEY ARE ONLY SERVING THEIR COUNTRY THEY WILL NEVER BE MAIDS FOR AMERICA
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!!

07/30/06 @ 10:13
Comment from: Jah ROODOG [Visitor]
Jah ROODOG

I read what is taking place in Somalia and none of the events taking place are for the benefit of Somalians unless they really do enjoy being enslaved by brutal taliban style justice.Can you not see you are about to lose all your personal freedoms and told how you must live and what you must do so as not to upset your new masters.If your new masters try to snatch a bit of Ethiopia then rejoice as you will be liberated from your chains by the noble Ethiopian People.Read below oh Somalian people and if this brings you joy it shall also bring you pain for your masters shall be trampled by the conquering lion of Judah.

Over the weekend, the UIC leadership distanced itself from remarks by Osama bin Laden in the al-Qaeda’s leader’s most recent audio tape praising efforts to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

Facts and figures about life in Somalia

At-a-glance

Now a promotional Islamist video in Arabic depicts what appears to be foreign fighters supporting the Islamic courts in fighting last month.

The video, a copy of which has been acquired by the Associated Press news agency, is done with a hand-held camera in the same style as similar films showing fighting in Iraq from the perspective of the insurgents.

It shows fighting in Somalia and what appears to be armed Arabs training at a camp in Somalia.

But Mr Ahmed has denied this: “This is related to misconceptions and bad information… To tell you the truth that camp, it exists as a camp - but there are no foreigners.”
May God help you before it’s too late

07/30/06 @ 14:41
Comment from: kolotemari [Visitor]
kolotemari

Look at that fool holding the picture of Osama, i’m not sure to laugh or be sad with that…its so amazing how illiteracy make people so stupid and naieve, anyways, i have been saying this, and its true. Osama Binladen is not who you think he is, he is a CIA agent working for the US. His job is to take the blame to whatever terrorist act the US Gov does around the world, for example…Osama hasgot nothing to do with any of the 911 bombing, or any of the terrorist bombings around the world. Whenever you hear Osama taking credit for something…think how it would benefit the US gov and the West…But Osama is one coward SOB, who doesnt care about muslims; he trades with the Blood of Muslims around the world…now these retarded somalis think he is their true leader,… Nice Job US, nicely done, believe me when things get hot, Osama will be involved paving the road for the US to get Involved with their bulshit terrorism rhetoric, to satisfy their greed for war, and revenge.

07/30/06 @ 15:16
Comment from: fuattoti [Visitor]
fuattoti

ethiopia destroyed somalia and dont want to help somalian becouse ethipia knows if somalians unite it can not hold ogaden any more and if they enter somalia lets see them stay more than americansa and italians and britons it will run as her warlords .
we as somalis we dont hate ethiopians as they are ethiopian but we hate the colonials .
at the last eithiopias infront today is two roads
1 to give ogaden and live together peacefull and prosparety or
2 destroy all ethiopia becouse they are not one people

08/01/06 @ 11:18
Comment from: lion of africa [Visitor]
lion of africa

[Dear lion of africa, please limit your comments to few paragraphs. Youmay submit articles see the contact us page at the footer. Thank you]

08/01/06 @ 17:14
Comment from: somali patriot [Visitor]
somali patriot

I wonder why the whole world trying now like they care about somalia? the whole world was happy when we were killing eachother, adisababa regime was part of the problem,when we understood the root of the problem and we comeback to allah and koran and we get peace at last,so they are angry again and start their bulshit terrorism etc.

but this time the will of allah and somalis will prevail and terrorist like melez will be judged for their crimes soon.

peace

08/01/06 @ 20:40
Comment from: cooldani [Visitor]
cooldani

The good part of the analysis was the intention of the TPLF led Ethiopian government. CASH AND DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT. Ethiopians will never be fooled by TPLF again. We know for sure the Lunatic Shiek Aweyes is not going anywhere. He is just bluffing and we really don’t care. The point is TPLF will never deflect our attention from the crimes it is commiting against our people. TPLF HAS TO GO FIRST.

08/01/06 @ 20:58
Comment from: des_pes [Visitor]
des_pes

I think the best option for this problem, the long lasting one is to form A Somalian and Ethiopian Federation. Could call it (Somaili Ethiopian Federation)SEF or (Ethiopian Somailian Federation)ESF. Just don’t go annex eachother when you feel like it just as HaileSellasie did with Eritrea.
It’s good for both people. The world at large is forming unions for better life, prosperity and security.

But wow, Somalis, specially southerners are such rebels. Do you know it is very difficult to hold a civil debate with a Somali without getting into a shouting match or fist fights. I was in Kenya, I know them well. Such wild people.

08/03/06 @ 14:14

rebtel

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