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So what do we have here in Ethiopia? There is the Chinese investor. Then there is the Ogaden region. In it, is Oil, potentially an untapped large source of it. Guess what? America is not that far behind and it is not going to miss this O.O.P. - the Ogaden Oil Party. As expected, It would do anything just to get it and to make sure China doesn't get a single liter of it. Including of course, doing a 180 degree turn to attack its closest friend in Africa, Meles Zenawi, and make the Ogaden look like Darfur as much as possible.
The latest liberal and angry New York Times article should teach Meles Zenawi a good lesson - never trust the American government! NYT's Jeffrey, as usual, made sure that he didn't talk about the real goals of the ONLF rebels and the forces behind the ONLF. Mr. Jeffrey also made sure that he hid the details about the Somali/Ogaden state officials governing the area. His goal is to make the region as lawless as possible, without any governing body, but just full of Ethiopian genocidal troops attacking the local population that is waiting to be saved by the ONLF rebels. This is same old, same old stuff. Despite the American attempt to portray divisions between liberals and the GOPs, in America, these two groups work hand in hand with each other. It is the job of the "pro-poor" and caring liberals to play angels and show such using their mass media & human rights organizations etc. After that, depending on which liberal spiced up crisis story is the most money-making one, the American government would select the best one and proceed. Once it is assured that there is something worth taking (like Oil) it is the job of the tough GOPs to go down and save the locals from massacre, "famine" and "genocide" and bring justice & democrcay by using force. At the end, ironically, the liberals will ofcourse shout and cry about the harshness of the GOPs, not because they really mean it, but just because it sounds good and portrays the picture that not all Americans are as cruel as the resulting bloody American military occupations. This cycle of deceptive American foreign politics, with liberals and GOPs working together, have been going on for a while. But the fact that it is happening against Ethiopia will be unique but not as strange as the fact that Ethiopians are not ready for this game.
Well, the opposition parties in the parliament have already warned Meles Zenawi. Before he went to Somalia, everyone told him of the consequences. Now an overstretched Ethiopian defence forces means that Ethiopia will not be able to easily defeat the combined Eritrea-ONLF-ICU forces in the Ogaden. The saying "time is money" can be applied here. The faster one finishes off the ONLF rebels, the harder it would have been for the anti-China Americans to start the first part of their pre-intervention strategy: which is showing their loving & caring pro-Human Rights side. But so far, it is too late for Meles Zenawi and depending on how much the GOP were laughing about the China oil field massacre in April or depending on how Oil-thirsty they are, it would not be far before the next step of American foreign politics of bloody intervention takes place.
Now the time is evaluation period for the "good old America." What are the tradeoffs for the American government? Should it assist the ONLF to get the Oil and to also be seen as a hero by the pro-ONLF people? Or should it stick with Ethiopia, placing security on top of its agenda? It appears like the only way ONLF can gain control is if Eritrean government invades Ethiopia. So would that be the best scenario for America? It seems like the UK and EU are already siding with the Eritrean government & ONLF. The UK confirmed that only the WEST has the exclusive privilage of defining groups as "terrorist organizations" by overtly protecting the ONLF leaders in London even after the bloody massacre by ONLF. The EU also awarded the Eritrean government with tens of millions of dollars, which has ofcourse become Eritrean money that is mostly used to finance and arm the ONLF. So the American government would not feel alone if it decides to help the ONLF. Certainly, there are a lot of tradeoffs in this game for America.
For Ethiopia, the options have dwindled. Certainly, by Meles Zenawi making such bad decisions, Ethiopia will inherit a historical burden unless Meles quickly gets himself out of this quagmire. It is not like he hasn't been warned. Actually, the warning started many years ago with his reckless policies including the disasterous Article 39 of the constitution that gives rebels the legal power to take any part of Ethiopia they want. And Meles has been trying to make Ethiopia democratic while keepig her sovereignty in question via Article 39. As expected, he has mostly failed so far. Meles should have read books about how much Human Rights was actually respected by the early European Americans while making their empire by exterminating Native Americans. None. In fact, all nations around the world have such bloody beginning to secure their sovereignty and HRW & Amnesty International certainly were not running around centuries ago and picking on American founding fathers for mass murdering the native Americans. But what Meles has done is take the Ethiopian sovereignity question back to the "survival of the fittest" answer. This would mean more wars with the Eritrea-ONLF alliance just to re-secure Ethiopia's boundaries and sovereignity. Instead of building democracy after keeping Ethiopia's sovereignity, Meles is now trying to re-secure Ethiopia's sovereignity from scratch and secure democracy: both at the same time. Which has beeen an impossible thing to do and will be impossible to do so without facing massive diplomatic setbacks. By trivializing Ethiopia's sovereignity via Article 39 and with his other failed policies, the Meles Zenawi adminstration has so far put the issue of democracy in the back seat.
Still the problem in the Ogaden is not as bad as it looks. The locals have representatives in the Ethiopian parliament and most of them are actually supporting the government against the ONLF rebels. The fact that the ONLF rebels are ignoring their constitutional rights to be elected and do whatever they want, if achieved the majority, would be another political weapon against this separatist group. Also if a central Somalia government succeeds in Mogadishu and the rule of law prevails, ONLF's lawlessness would be less tolerable by the powers in the regions. But the WEST factor and interests play a big role in the future of this eastern Ethiopia Ogaden region. Afterall, Oil is Oil.
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