NY Times: US Staged Anti-Terror Campaign from Ethiopia

February 24th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

By Alisha Ryu’Nairobi |23 February 2007

Officials in Ethiopia are vehemently denying a report in The New York Times newspaper, which says that the U.S. military secretly used an airstrip inside Ethiopia to conduct attacks against Islamic militants in Somalia last month. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has that story from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

The New York Times report, citing unnamed U.S. officials, said that Ethiopia had, among other things, allowed the Americans to use an airfield in the east of the country as a staging ground for attacks against al-Qaida suspects and their Somali allies in neighboring Somalia.

The special adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Bereket Simon, tells VOA that the report, published Friday, contains little truth and called the article ridiculous.

The United States has acknowledged that it carried out two air strikes in early January near Ras Kamboni, an Islamist stronghold deep in southern Somalia near the Kenyan border.

But Simon says the American war planes did not fly there from Ethiopia.

“The U.S. has not used any airfields in Ethiopia to mount the air strikes. This seems to be a pure and simple fabrication,” he said. “If any of the U.S. officials has said this, it must be a person, who has no knowledge of the reality on the ground.”

Simon says that does not mean Ethiopia has not cooperated with the United States on counterterrorism issues. He says his country fully supports U.S. efforts to eliminate terrorist threats in the Horn of Africa.

“Any cooperation is most welcome, and we will continue to cooperate,” said Simon.

The New York Times report says that cooperation between Addis Ababa and Washington is much closer than previously reported, and largely clandestine.

In the campaign against al-Qaida and radical Islamists in Somalia in January, the report says, Ethiopian and U.S. militaries shared intelligence and information. Members of a secret U.S. Special Operations unit, deployed in Ethiopia, allegedly moved back and forth across the border to conduct ground operations in Somalia.

The report adds that the U.S.-Ethiopian alliance has deepened in recent years because both countries share a common goal – to root out Islamic radicalism inside Somalia.

In late December, Ethiopian troops, tanks and artillery helped Somalia’s secular interim government drive out a radical Islamist movement that had gained control of the capital, Mogadishu, and much of the south.

Since then, the government has struggled to stabilize the country, which has been without a functioning government for nearly 16 years.

Islamist insurgents have staged near-daily attacks against Ethiopian and government troops throughout southern Somalia. In Mogadishu, the relentless violence has killed and wounded hundreds of people and has caused hundreds more to flee to neighboring regions.

  1. Mesfin
    | #1

    I just copy and pest the following lines from the above article. Take a look at it be the judge.

    But Simon says the American war planes did not fly there from Ethiopia.

    “The U.S. has not used any airfields in Ethiopia to mount the air strikes. This seems to be a pure and simple fabrication,”? he said. “If any of the U.S. officials has said this, it must be a person, who has no knowledge of the reality on the ground.”?

    Simon says that does not mean Ethiopia has not cooperated with the United States on counterterrorism issues. He says his country fully supports U.S. efforts to eliminate terrorist threats in the Horn of Africa.
    “Any cooperation is most welcome, and we will continue to cooperate,”? said Simon.

    What I don’t understand is if Simon said that any cooperation is most welcome with the United States, why is that he is so furious about the news that United States uses Ethiopian airfields. What is the big deal about it? After all he said that “Any cooperation is most welcome, and we will continue to cooperate,” That is another evidence of Woyannes short sighted actions. They do crazy staff and refuse to take a full responsibly for their actions. Sometimes I feel like Woyannes have their own tiny world. What they do doesn’t give a sense often times. It so shame that these morons are running our country.

  2. Tigist
    | #2

    I agree with you on that Mesfin. The other Berket Simons statement that should be looked at is “If any of the U.S. officials has said this, it must be a person, who has no knowledge of the reality on the ground.”? Isn’t not a typical weyanne labeling? when someone says something that they don’t what to hear? Most Ethiopians already know that Meles and his faction call any one that dares to stand up against them Derge, Neftgna, radical and etc…It looks like this name calling is not only on Ethiopians. Bereket Simon basically categorized the American official as the official doesn’t know what he was talking about. In my opinion Berket Simon is the one who doesn’t know what he is talking about in very funny and broken English.

  3. terrara
    | #3

    Good God! What is the New York Times trying to say in this news? Yes the US has unmatched intelligence capability from the sky and unmatched military hardware but the fight against terrorists is not all about technology. If it was then Iraq would be at peace and the US would not be in the quagmire it is today.

    The reason the Somalia bound terrorist were routed and defeated is not because their fox holes were know by satellite or the C130 was used. If that was the case the US was owner of hundreds of C130 and Military satellites that can differentiate a pin in a haystack way before Ethiopian defense forces ventured in to Somalia. The terrorist were defeated and uprooted because Ethiopia’s determination to win the war as well as its military capability on the ground, not to mention majority of Somalis were also on its side. What kind of satellite can the US have used to tell the skirt wearing terrorist that includes the ranks of Shaibya and its amalgamated soup of hired mercenaries as well as the Arab militants apart from the peaceful Somalis? Nada!

    The US can take credit if it can use its immense economic power to bring lasting peace by helping the Somali government now. Let us give credit where it is due.

  4. Mesfin
    | #4

    Hey “terrara” fist of all your point is irrelevant to the main idea that is addressed on the New York Times under the title “US Staged Anti-Terror Campaign from Ethiopia” Second, it sounds like you are rushing to give credit to Woyanne for invading Somalia. Well, what you should know is no serious Ethiopian or international body is impressed by Meles decision to invade a lawless country Somalia. Meles exaggerates the treat of the UIS and paint them bigger than they really were for his evil purpose. Even after all that Somalia is in much chaos than it was a couple moths ago before the arrival of Woyanne solders. Now, we are receiving news that resembles Mequadisho with Baghdad. Well, my moron Woyanne that is nothing to brag about.

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