Blundering Into Somalia Yet Again

January 3rd, 2007 Print Print Email Email

01/02/07 “Lew Rockwell” -- — Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia under cover of the Christmas holiday was a blatant aggression that is likely to widen the arc of conflict across the dangerously turbulent Horn of Africa. It also marks the opening of a new front in Washington’s war against Islamic militants and reformers.

Claims by Ethiopia that Somalia, a nation without any real military forces, threatened its border were as fanciful as assertions by Washington and Addis Ababa that the so-called “transitional government” they had installed in the town of Baidoa represented anything more than its own well-paid members.

The US-backed and financed Ethiopian offensive was clearly designed to crush the first stable government strife-torn Somalia has had in 15 years of civil war and anarchy. The new Islamic regime, known as the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), recently managed to bring law and order to much of southern and central Somalia. In the north, a secessionist group has proclaimed something called independent “Puntland.”

The Union of Islamic Courts ended Somalia’s long civil war by crushing local warlords who were being armed and financed by the CIA. The US claims the Islamic Courts is a second Taliban-style movement containing “terrorists” involved in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa who will turn Somalia into a hotbed of anti-American subversion. The UIC denies these allegations.

More important, under the Bush/Cheney Administration, any movement that has the audacity to call itself “Islamic” immediately becomes a target of American hostility. The embarrassing total defeat of US-backed Somali warlords by the Islamic Courts militia led directly to Washington’s decision to press Ethiopia to invade Somalia.

Ethiopia has one of Africa’s more powerful, well-trained armed forces with over 1,300 tanks and a modern air force that are now increasingly equipped and aided by the United States.

The repressive regime of strongman Meles Zenawi seems the antithesis of President George Bush’s calls for democracy, but has become a primary ally of Washington that is seen as a bulwark against Islamic forces in Africa. Washington has quietly supported Ethiopia in its long border war against its bitter foe, Eritrea. In recent months, the Eritrea has become an important supplier of small arms and munitions to Somalia.

Somalia’s ragtag Islamist militias are helpless against Ethiopian tanks, artillery and attack aircraft. Ethiopia’s army could quickly occupy all of Somalia, but it would then be very hard-pressed to protect its long, vulnerable supply lines against attack by Somali guerilla forces.

Ethiopia has enough men to wage a two-front war against Somalia and Eritrea, but a prolonged conflict would seriously undermine its fragile economy. Accordingly, Ethiopia’s likely strategy is to protect the western-imposed rump regime in Baidoa and launch attacks to prevent the UIC from consolidating power. But involvement by traditional enemy Ethiopia will undoubtedly further inflame Somali passions and strengthen the Islamic Courts. The latest war in the Horn of Africa could easily widen into a wider conflict that involves Eritrea, strife-torn regions of southern Sudan and Uganda, and northern Kenya, which has many ethnic Somalis.

Equally important, prolonged war with Somalia could open fissures in unstable, multiethnic, multi-religious Ethiopia. Though usually depicted as a Christian nation, at least 50 percent of Ethiopians are Muslim, and 35″“40 percent Christians. Ethnic Amhara and Tigrayans comprise 32 percent of the population, while long-oppressed, rebellious Muslim Oromo in the south account for over 40 percent.

Ethiopia’s Muslims have long sought a voice in their nation’s affairs but were brutally repressed by Ethiopia’s royalist, Marxist, and now, the Tigrayn regimes. Conflict with Somalia could re-ignite the Oromo independence movement and lead to the splintering of Ethiopia, producing a reverse mirror image of ethnic-religious strife between Sudan’s northern Muslims and southern Christians and animists.

Ethiopia’s war against Somalia presents a more dangerous regional threat than an Islamic-run Somalia. The Bush/Cheney Administration is again showing its reckless ignorance and arrogance by charging into a tribal conflict, as it did in Afghanistan and Iraq, about which it knows nothing. Once again, Washington’s “cure” will be shown to be far worse than the disease it claims to address.

What Washington should be doing is talking to leaders of the Islamic Courts to ensure Somalia is not used as a new base for al-Qaeda operations. This is a fair request that can be sweetened by offers of financial support and assurances the Ethiopians will be leashed. But this appears too subtle for the administration’s ham-handed crusaders who have already blundered into two lost wars and are now courting a third.

  1. Mesfin
    | #1

    Meles is obviously in confusion. He gets into Somalia thinking that the war would help him to divert attention from his internal political problems. He exaggerates the Somalia issue and paints the Islamic courts as big monsters in the horn of Africa. If the Islamic courts were big monsters, as Meles wants us to believe, how come they go away with in a week? The answer is they were not a big treat to begin with. Meles just want to use them to divert attention. But, the war is not going to help Meles, because he doesn’t even have the money to keep the Woyanne solders there for so long. Even if he does, the Woyanne solders will be liability for the Somalia peace instead of being assets. That is why I believe that Meles is in a state of confusion. He is like a typical criminal who is committing more and more crimes to cover the original crime he committed. I see him going down, and trap him self all the way.

  2. | #2

    kkkkkkkkkkkk. wey mesfin. yhun esty alu ababa jahnuhy.yehun esty.

  3. Solomon
    | #3

    Mamo kilo you laugh? what expect from kile ?

  4. Mesfin
    | #4

    Hi MAMO you are back… all you could do is one line of kkkk… I feel sorry for you. No wonder Meles has been using you and yours alike as biological elements for his evil agenda. Did you notice that you never even try to make a point and convince us. The reason is so simple, it just because you are not capable of such a thing.

    Hey brother MAMO when I respond to your none sense, it is with two main goals. First, I see you as a brother in the darkness and I don’t mind to give you hand, so you can see the day light. I will try to keep it simple like 1+1=2. I know that you don’t seem to realize either 1 or 2, but I don’t mind to start from scratch. The second goal is you are a typical Woyanne, and I intend to use you as biological element to demonstrate how a Woyanne thinks. It is because I believe the more people know how Woyanne thinks; the more interested they will be to get rid of it. But, hey, unlike Meles, when I use you as biological element, you are not going to die. Is that fair enough? Let me know ok!

  5. | #5

    what can i do folk’s.i a’m very happy that we won da war agenest u neftghena also shabya plus icu e.t.c..what ever u call u self.u all nothing but WEROBELA .so don’t get mad if i’m laugh’n at u azzzzz.for rell who is da man know? ha.we chass’d u like rabit .MEDERE YE INTERNET me da son of king meles since i’ll kik u behind.ohh.ohhh..LONG LIVE EPRDF.

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