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Ethiopia - The danger of underestimating the threat of terrorism in Somalia

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03/04/08

  10:30:55 am, by admin, 457 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Mulugeta Alemu

Ethiopia - The danger of underestimating the threat of terrorism in Somalia

The danger of underestimating the threat of terrorism in Somalia

By Mulugeta Alemu

4 March 2008

For the third time since Ethiopia’ intervention in Somalia in January 2006, the US military fired a precision missile into Somalia in an apparent attack on Al-Qaeda cells. The mission is US’s highest profile military measures in recent years other than its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Effective or not, the military attack is a vivid demonstration of what many have known for a long time─ the threat of terrorism remains a formidable challenge in Somalia and in the Horn of Africa.

It is extraordinary that doubts have been raised on the depth of the threat of terrorism in Somalia. Just in 2006, Jihadist Shebab groups and members of Somalia Islamic Union have been calling for Jihad against Ethiopia while waving their AK-47. Al-Qaeda’s second man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, made an unabashed call for a jihad against the infidels. In 2007, the US attacked what it considered to be "high-value" Al-Qaeda militants -- among them the Comoros islander Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Kenyan Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, blamed for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people. But it is also a common place that various terrorist cells abound in Somalia that have attacked officials of Somalia government, Ethiopian troops, AU peacekeepers and peaceful Somalia citizens.

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Against the availability of massive evidence showing the depth and strength of the threat, some have conveniently ignored the seriousness of the threat. Among the list of front-benchers in the community of serial deniers of terrorism are those who should have naturally highlighted it. Human Rights Watch and some few other organisations issued massively flawed reports and studies insinuating that the threat of terrorism is negligible in Somalia, and that the biggest challenge in the country is human rights violations. A more troubling view is held by those who wish to contend that terrorism is a strategic ploy imagined or invented by the US and its allies in the region. Nothing can be further from the truth. Would the world’s largest and most sophisticated military establishment invest its resources to attack imagined enemies?

The cost of such understatement on the threat of terrorism in Somalia is considerable. It is this indifference which is fueling the international community’s lethargic response. It clearly indicates the problem of envisioning what the TFG is up against. African Union troops are not being strengthened and the UN has given all but a lukewarm response. The major task for those who are concerned about Somalia’s future should be to effectively challenge the act of denial that terrorism is real in Somalia.

17 comments

Comment from: mateos [Visitor]
mateos

The terrorist threat in Somalia is real, but perhaps not as dire as you imply. The question seems to be whether or not it is a threat with reach. American attacks on Al Qaeda criminals in Somalia does not equate to a decisive blow to unstable forces on the Horn of Africa. A bigger threat is the oppression of political dialogue in Ethiopia, the tyranny of Eritrea, and the unrest of Kenya.
Somalia is a “Robbbers’ Roost” where the rule of law does not have sway, but that does not make it an eminent threat to political stability in the region. Nor does the roost pose much more of a terror threat to the world, than any other countries in the region.
If American missiles can flatten some bad characters, it is all the better for the world. The significance of this attack is not that it diminishes the threat emanating from Somalia where lawlessness reigns, it is significant to America’s global effort to seek safety from its enemies.
If Somalia did not have such a weak government, do you think the American military be allowed to launch missile strikes into an otherwise sovereign country? This is not an indication that terrorism is the boogey-man of East Africa, it is an indication that Somalia is pathetically weak to the point that the United States, Ethiopia, Al Qaeda and other external forces can traipse about Somalia at will.

03/04/08 @ 19:16
Comment from: Samson [Visitor]
Samson

The master spinner Mulugeta Alemu likes to talk about “terrorism” which is becoming a fashion by dictators in Africa to garner the Bush administration’s misguided policy of fighting terrorism. This is how seasoned analysts are saying about the recent bombing in Somalia:

The Christian science Monitor states
“Attacks against individual militants may frighten and anger ordinary Somalis, say some analysts, leading to something of a backlash against the US. Meanwhile, the US government in the area might be focusing on antiterrorism policy at the expense of nation-building efforts.

“I am concerned we are not helping the Somalis build even a minimally functional government,” says Karin von Hippel, co-director of the post conflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.”

The Washington Post states

“Since Ethiopian troops ousted the Islamic movement, the United States has steadfastly backed the transitional government of Abdullahi Yusuf, which has been battling a relentless insurgency in Mogadishu. The capital has turned into a crumbling ghost town as nearly half its population has fled.

Yusuf has allowed U.S. forces a free hand in Somalia while waging a brutal campaign that analysts say often targets his personal political and sometimes business enemies under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

With the humanitarian situation deteriorating, international pressure has mounted for a political compromise with a diverse opposition that includes the former Islamic leaders, clan leaders, intellectuals, businessmen and other Somalis now based in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

The opposition coalition has been struggling to contain extremist elements in their midst, analysts said, and the U.S. airstrikes have had the effect of undermining those efforts.

The issue has been a matter of vigorous debate among U.S. policymakers, some of whom believe the State Department should be pushing Yusuf harder for a compromise.

Matt Bryden, an independent Somalia analyst based in Nairobi, said the United States faces a choice. “Is it more interested in a political solution to stabilize Somalia, which will take longer to achieve its goals?” he said. “Or is the priority still to take a whack-a-mole approach to hunting for three al-Qaeda operatives?”

03/04/08 @ 23:17
Comment from: Patriotic [Visitor]
Patriotic

Freedom fighters of yours are terrorists of others, for the lack of misunderstanding interest of particular nation/race or particular organization.
Some times they end up terrorists for mishandling their issues and raising it violently, and some times a good formation of terrorist organization is considered as a good freedom fighter or anti dictator only for the way they express their agendas and handle situations among their society, however the US DOD and NS just learned new lesson and its importance to segregate insurgency from the populace and identify them from their interest to maintain healthy relationship with a civil society in area of interest like Iraq and Afghanistan.
But when we come to Somali issue of insurgency, the only conventional force operating in the area is none experienced Ethiopian force who is more or less not different than the Somalia insurgents them selves, it is always possible to kill a people to come with temporary solution to partially succeed in a military operation, but that will never be dependable or permanent solution, the old fashion way of forming functioning central ruling system its self is not working from what we learned from Iraq, that is why involvement of civil subject matter experts are needed in support of military operation.
Insurgency is original structure and starting point of most terrorism, two main points are believed to be led insurgency to terrorism.

1-Lack of funding peaceful insurgency
2-Improper counterinsurgency operation

A lot to say but I am watching CNN see you guys on my Part II of the above comment

03/05/08 @ 01:06
Comment from: Moti [Visitor]
Moti

Dear Mulugeta Alemu,

The greatest threat to political instability in East Africa is not Somalia as you try to maneuver but dictators like Meles Zenawi, Isayas, Abdulahi Yousuf and Bashir of Sudan. These are one of the cruelest and anti-democratic and hypocritical leaders history has ever seen. These are the sources of instability, terrorism, poverty and genocide! If the Bush administration really wants to defeat terrorists in this part of the world, it should not deal with these terrorist leaders; instead it should give them an ultimatum to change and bring democracy by allowing free elections as soon as possible.

03/05/08 @ 01:11
Comment from: Tekk [Visitor]
Tekk

:crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy:
Mulugeta Alemu

:)):)):)):))
There are no terrorist in Somalia. Keep bombing innocent civilians like the U.S. and Ethiopia is doing and you will create the same problem they are trying to avoid. The last time the U.S. bombed its target in Somalia as a result of Ethiopian intelligence, we were told the leaders of al Qaeda were killed. After the dust cleared, the U.S. and its Ethiopian partners failed to show the evidence they claimed they were gathering from the scene. :)):)):)):)):))

Let the dust clear once again, and we will know the results. But don’t wait for Ethiopia and the U.S. to tell us they missed their target. Their silence like before will speak volumes in their war to create or to relocate terrorist from Iraq and Afghanistan to Somalia.:no::no::no::no:

:crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy:
Mulugeta Alemu

Keep your distorted propaganda in the pro-TPLF Walta web site.

Innocent people will die because of your propaganda. I hope you wake-up and you find a way to wipe their blood from your hands.

03/05/08 @ 01:18
Comment from: Patriotic [Visitor]
Patriotic

Mateos
what is a point about posting some thing which is not yours?
I did listen thesame news on NPR, do you work for NPR or some thing?
don’t try to fool people with some thing which is not your own…

03/05/08 @ 01:55
Comment from: Patriotic [Visitor]
Patriotic

Mulugeta Alemu
and that the biggest challenge in the country is human rights violations.
I didn’t get that point

03/05/08 @ 01:58
Comment from: Bush Terrorist as whole [Visitor]
Bush Terrorist as whole

We know who the real terrorist is…it’s the one who was busy looking for a cave to hide when the 911 took place. This Bush terror-regime is coming to end, who is going to save the neck of Gabre and Meles from the Heros of Somali people.The shabaab like Ham as are here to stay and will fight with last bullet and machete. If the west wants peace on their home soil, then bombing and destroying a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, marching to afghanistan and throwing missile cruise on Kabul, 150,000 boots on foot to baghdad, arming and paying Mohamad Dahlan to overthrow elected Palastinian Government will not bring about one inch towards security they so desire….it will only bring more willingness to show the west that they can also be shown weakness as 911 demonstrated.we have famous somali proverb,"if you are digging a hole, don’t dig too deep as you might be the one who falls into it” So the moral of the story to americans is don’t terrorize millions of people and expect to go and sit back with a hot choclate on your sofa.

03/05/08 @ 06:21
Comment from: selam [Visitor]
selam

Looking for three ppl so I have to
bomb the hole country this is
Bush & Meles polecy whats sham

03/05/08 @ 10:32
Comment from: Janet [Visitor]
Janet

African leaders who promised the TFG to stabilise, didn’t show up when the going gets tough. They are very unreliable. Besides, Somalia is very far away so they don’t give a damn. Somalia is a memberof Arab leage and member of Islamic nation. But it is only Ethiopia along Uganda and Burundi who so far are willing to take all the risks. The Somalis knows this but Jihadists whose policy is a perpetuation of hate would never accept it. Somalis, bad government is better than having none.

03/05/08 @ 12:43
Comment from: Giyorgis [Visitor]
Giyorgis

Bottom line: All African leaders are terrorists just like Bush. Soon Zuma will be terrorist leader of South Africa. There is so much hypocrisy in African politics it is like a comedy show. Meles ,Issaya, all of them except for one or two have come into their regimes with mass bloodshed and are causing bloodshed to keep it.

03/05/08 @ 13:15
Comment from: philly [Visitor]
philly

alemu

what a bunch of b.s, what the hell are you talking about. the are no terrorist in the horn, especially in somalia. if the citizenes of somalia fight for their country , dignity and pride, it doesn’t mean they are terrorist. leave the innocent somalies alone. meles you master rat invaded somalia in order to please bush.
mr. faggot alemu, you can’t use terrorist anymore. its getting really old, why don’t you rats fight poverty, etc in your country.
THE WHITE MAN ONLY WANT ONE THING, OIL. SOMALIA IS A OIL RICH COUNTRY. WITH ALL PRICES HITTING $100 A BARRELS, THERE IS PLENTY OF MONEY TO BE MADE. THATS WHY THE U.S THROUGH ITS HOOKER ETHIOPIA IS TALKING ABOUT TERROR. the same thing that happened in iraq. meles leave ethiopia before it gets worse

03/05/08 @ 13:22
Comment from: mateos [Visitor]
mateos

Patriotic,

Please let us know when NPR aired that story. They obviously see things correctly in my book if you think that I stole the story from them.

I presume that you are in favor of the current EPRDF government. If that is so, you might want to consider the European children’s fable about the emperor who wore no clothes. There is a lot of wisdom in that story about the failings associated with group think and propoganda.

03/05/08 @ 15:33
Comment from: Sharamara [Visitor]
Sharamara

The Agaazi Tribal Council’s resident foriegn policy guru weekely make belief analysis is devoid of logic,depth and substance. If the intention is to win the gullible western policy makers, I think it is failing misearably. The mediocre analysis is an embarasement to the country in general and the foriegn service professionals in particular.
The root cause of this fiasco can be attributed to the fact that the Woyannes are pathological liars.The lack of integrity and character are the hallmarks of the Woyanne persona.These uncultured peasants should return back to days of collecting belles and work as coolies, for it is their natural habitat.The ‘dankerra’ in the Menelik palace too hot to handle for these thugs.

03/05/08 @ 15:41
Comment from: Brooks [Visitor]
Brooks

Somalia is a failed State like Afganistan in the 90’s.Somalia & Somalians were left at their disposal to Govern/Governed by their own for 17 yrs but failed. The consequences developed in to blaming game by Somalians as excuse when Somalia became a threat to the Region & the World.No body to blame but themselfs.

03/05/08 @ 21:14
Comment from: Patriotic [Visitor]
Patriotic

Part II

Funding insurgency is supposed to be voluntarily, in early days of a communist establishment, and late 19th century during the cold war, that gives us end of the socialist dictatorial regime in Ethiopia as an example, the Chinese Mao ideology of Marxist Lenin based insurgency establishment succeeded in overthrowing one of the most structurally strong government in Ethiopia.

Very similar other insurgency did succeed in Vietnam against imperial power; both were funding their organization in interest and favor of the civil society; however the government did try to eliminate the movement, using conventional force and political tactics beside torturing, and abusing the locals for their support to insurgents then gorilla fighters.

Mishandling question of the civil populace also contributed in transition of the organization from insurgency level to the gorilla level, from the gorilla level to conventional mechanized armed force, which led the organization to distinguished political structure in forming functional parties/sub organizations which almost believed to represent the entire society, by winning people’s heart and mind.

The hardest thing to forget is an orbit which we have been rotating on for decades! Unbelievably, the way Ethiopian government is handling the issue of Somalia which have immediate thigh to the Easter Ethiopian insurgency is going to lead to an Ex way of the EPLF/TPLF which include not only their steps of growth but also where both TPLF/ELF are today.

Ethiopian government can easily solve the seamless Somalia problem just by taking smart actions in process of solving the Ethiopian Somali (OGADEN) problem which also is mishandled, as I said in part one of my comment, weapon can kill only the person not his ideology which is already sprayed all over that particular society.

Ethiopian government must win heart and mind of the Ogaden people by understanding their question and answering it properly so that insurgents can lose a trust among the civil Ogaden society; this goes for the rest part of the country as well.

To overcome disasters, weapon is not always a choice, let social scientists, anthropologists and other professionals help to solve this problem beside the armed force before it will go out of control.

Good Luck Ethiopia!

03/06/08 @ 00:11
Comment from: Somali Patriot [Visitor]
Somali Patriot

terrorist noo where you can hide, terrosit you are criminals.
Dont hide innocent homes TGF S Somali Transitional Federal Government they hunt you down terrorist. Somalia is free nation peaccful nation.

03/06/08 @ 04:20

rebtel

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