Bush’s Ethiopian allies invade Somalia again

During the regime of George W. Bush in the USA, he helped his dictatorial Ethiopian ally Meles Zenawi to invade Somalia. The results: massive destruction; a humanitarian disaster worse than in Darfur in Sudan; many dead civilians; cruelty; rape; hunger, both among Somalis and Ethiopians.

A few months ago, the Ethiopian government, in a concession to reality, withdrew its troops from Somalia.

Now it seems that the Ethiopian military dictatorship considers once again that dead Ethiopian soldiers and dead Somali civilians because of war and dead Ethiopian civilians because of paying for war, do not matter as much as the will to commit aggression again. And what does the new Obama administration in the USA think about this?

From Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu, Somalia):

Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Reach in Balanbal Town in Central Somalia

13 June 2009

Balanbal — More Ethiopian troops with several battle wagons have reached in Balanbal town in Galgudud region and made military bases in the west side of the town in central Somalia, witnesses told Shabelle radio on Saturday.

Reports from the town say that the Ethiopian troops entered in the town yesterday afternoon and stationed in outside the town for the second day by not having talks with the people and residents in the town.

Balanbal is a town in Galgudud region in central Somalia which is 28 kilometers in border between Somalia and Ethiopia and there is comment from the administration of the town except that they have no idea for the grounds the troops came in the town.

Independent reports say that the Ethiopian troops were from the border between Somalia and Ethiopia specially the side of the Galgudud region before reaching Balanbal town. But independent reports say that the Ethiopian troops will be staying in the town for coming days.

It is the first time that the Ethiopian troops reach in Balanbal town and it is also unclear why the Ethiopian troops came in the town since they left the country in the early this year.

Will raped Somali refugee be expelled from Britain? Here.

US sends weapons to Somalia: here.

14 thoughts on “Bush’s Ethiopian allies invade Somalia again

  1. Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

    Somalia: Ethiopia Forces Cross Into Country Again

    13 June 2009

    Balanbale — Ethiopian forces with heavy armored vehicles have crossed into Somalia today by entering the border town of Balanbale in Galgadud region of central Somalia, according to eyewitnesses and residents

    Reports from the town say the forces are armed with ten army vehicles and they have taken positions in parts of the town.

    “The Ethiopian are heavily armed and alerted and they taking positions in the town in the western side of the town” said an elder in Balanbale.

    The Ethiopians didn’t anything yet and they didn’t speak to the Somali officials in the border town as other sources told Shabelle.

    Ethioipia withdrew its forces from Somalia earlier after two years of presence which was largely marred by deadly attacks from Islamic insurgents who were opposing their presence there.


  2. Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

    Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Return Back in Bakol Region

    19 June 2009

    Elberde — The Ethiopian troops who reached in Elberde town in Bakol region yesterday have returned back from it after having talks with the elders in the town, witnesses told Shabelle radio.

    Reports say that the Ethiopian troops with officials poured in parts of Bakol region and had met with the elders and people of the Elberde town for several hors and lately went back from it.

    It is unclear why the Ethiopian troops arrived there yesterday. But some reports say that they came the town to meet and talk to the people and elders of the town and it is not known what the Ethiopian troops and elders discussed so far.

    We contacted to the elders who met with the Ethiopian troops and asked some thing about the meeting but they declined to comment on it.

    How ever, it is not the first time the Ethiopian troops come in parts of Bakol region in Southern Somalia and talk to elders and people.

    But the step comes as the former administration of transitional government in Bakol region is away from there.



  3. Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

    Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Start Searching Activities in Central Region

    22 June 2009

    Jawil — The Ethiopian troops in Kala-beyrka intersection in Hiran region have started to search the traffic traveling between the Somali region in Ethiopia and central Somalia, witnesses told Shabelle radio on Monday.

    Some of the drivers who travel on the street between the central regions of the Somalia and the Somali region in Ethiopia said that the Ethiopian troops in Kala-beyrka intersection about 30 kilometers north of Beledweyn town started to search the traffic including the lorries and passengers

    “The Ethiopian troops in Kala-beyrka intersection search all the traffic including the Lorries for several hours. They bring all things down from the vehicles and then search the passengers. There are three places which the Ethiopian troops search the traffic and people,” one of the drivers said.

    The people and drivers in Beledweyn town expressed concern about the searching activities that the Ethiopian troops started in Kala-beyrka intersection in Jawil village in Hiran region.

    The Ethiopian troops’ searching action seems to be protecting the possibility to transport military supply to the guerillas fighting with the Ethiopia and attacks against them in the country.


  4. Kenya: Our Military Has No Business in Somalia

    Daily Nation, 25 June 2009


    Nairobi — The proceedings and outcome of the National Defence and Security Council meeting chaired by President Kibaki on Wednesday must, of necessity, remain secret.

    Issues to do with national security cannot be expected to be shouted from the rooftops, and so we have to go with the bland communiqué delivered by Internal Security minister George Saitoti — that Kenya has no intention of sending troops to Somalia.

    But the urgency with which the meeting was summoned belied the minister’s reiteration that Kenya doesn’t interfere in internal affairs of other nations.

    What is clear right now is that this country faces one of the greatest security threats since the Shifta war of the 1960s. We face threats from a militia, Al-Shabaab, which is suspected to have links with the notorious international terror group, al Qaeda, and which is about to overrun the popularly elected, but spineless government of Somalia.

    What happens in Somalia is bound to affect us one way or the other. We share a long, porous border, and we lean towards the Transitional Federal Government, whose policies are attuned to our own.

    But that is as far as our relations should go. There is no doubt that the Somali government requires urgent help in the form of money and material. There is no doubt that if the international community does not rush to its aid, it will fall.

    That is what the transitional government is pleading for — urgent military assistance. It should, and must, receive that assistance if it is to survive.

    But it is also our strong conviction that Kenya should not send men to fight, and die, in Somalia. This is not dictated by cowardice, but by dispassionate self-interest. Not only is our common border insecure; we also share a high proportion of indigenous Somalis who live in the districts bordering Somalia.

    It would be impossible to police adequately movement between the two countries, making us vulnerable to infiltration by suicide bombers and the like. Should we be hot-headed enough to send our troops across, we may continue paying the price for a long time — even if Al-Shabaab are finally routed.


  5. East Africa: Kenya Would Do Well to Keep Off the War in Somalia

    Paul Goldsmith And Abdi Umar

    East African, 29 June 2009


    Nairobi — Naturally, threats to bring down glassy skyscrapers and demands that Kenya withdraw security forces patrolling the border evoke public alarm.

    Sometimes an ostensibly negative and emotionally charged development can flip over into a moment of analytic clarity.

    The Al Shabaab surge in Mogadishu may be such a moment, at least we hope so, for those charged with formulating Kenya’s foreign policy.

    Post-Barre Somalia has been a complicated crucible of ethnicity, ideology, dire material conditions, and predatorial behaviours geared to micro-to-macro political economies of war.

    Add the reverberations of global jihad to this mix and the 18-year old conflict reduces to a clutch of familiar cliches: failed state, clan, warlord, Wahhabi networks, Islamist insurgents, terrorist safe haven, humanitarian crisis, battered civilians and IDPs.

    This narrative begs to differ.

    Nicholas Naseem Taleb traces what he labels the “narrative fallacy” to the human proclivity for reducing complex phenomena to simple patterns. The narrative fallacy is a function of “our vulnerability to over-interpretation and our predilection for compact stories over raw truths.”

    Narratives are powerful but their margin of fallacy increases apace with the volume of information. This dovetails with, as two scholars of Africa have noted, the role of information as more crucial in disordered societies.

    In respect to this role, there is information that can be used to falsify the conventional story.

    Is Somalia a disordered society, generating an overflow of turbulence roiling what was already a disorderly region; or is it a case of forces within the disorderly region sustaining the disorder following out of the collapse of the Somali state.

    Both hypotheses have merit. More significant is the fact that, for the insurgents, external interference is the problem.

    Never mind the obvious contradictions, this is the source of the sabre-rattling rhetoric accompanying the latest Al Shabaab surge.

    Threats fill the air as another in the series of governments cobbled together outside the country’s borders bites the dust.

    Cheeky demands about pulling back your troops raise the pulse and resurrect bad memories. But it helps if we disagggregate the raw truths and fallacies at work.

    The first falsehood is that Somalia is an ‘ignored’ crisis. On the contrary, hardly a month passes by without some high level discussions on Somalia in the United Nations, the Contact Group on Somalia, the IGADD meetings, the African Union, and the Arab League. Under the AU banner, foreign troops are embedded inside Somalia, supported, at arms length, by a phalanx of international organisations.

    Over the last week, meetings have been held between the Foreign Minister of Egypt and Eritrea, Yemen has called upon a meeting with the Gulf Arabic states, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been making speeches, the United States has made statements, and held a meeting of the TFG and Somaliland in Washington.

    The British ambassador to Ethiopia has made a trip to Hargeisa.

    The Chinese, Indian, German, French, Russian, American, and British navies trawl the sea, a permanent American military mission observes from bases in Djibouti and Mombasa, NATO planes patrol along the coast, and unseen hands finance an “insurgency,” while the UN organises myriad peace conferences.

    State-funded British, American, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, and Russian (they’re back) broadcasting services beam out high quality signals offering their take on the “Somali crisis” to the millions of nomads.

    Somalia turns a whole load of assumptions on their head, and is home to the most sustained piece of double speak on the planet today.

    Not ignored, but rather, wilful ignorance characterises this crisis where actors and their proxies do their best to conceal their real motives, no side wants to display its hand, while once again brute force is displacing alternative methods for resolving the unsatisfactory stalemate.

    The spokesperson for the African Union forces in Mogadishu repeatedly talks about the need to support the “legitimate government” of Somalia.

    The Kenyan Foreign Minister speaks about the urgent need to defend the “legitimate government” of Somalia. The so-called insurgents repeatedly say they not recognise any government in Somalia, and consider the AU forces a brutal external occupying force. What is the reality, and what is “legitimacy” in this context?

    The Somalia government claims to be democratically elected, based on supervised selections held at international conventions paid for by the usual four or five Western donors, plus the occasional token input by an Arab regime in the capitals of Kenya, Ethiopia or Djibouti.

    At the end of these lengthy proceedings, one is declared president and a retinue shares out ministries, others are named Commissioners for various provinces, or head nonexistent departments.

    The real problem begins when the president decides or is induced to go home and rule like other presidents. Unfortunately, the new president ends up becoming irrelevant to the realities unfolding on the ground zero of Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Baidoa. This class of political actors tends to be out of touch with the reality back home — and as we are now witnessing, quick to desert.

    The Ministers are content to earn ‘salaries’ for governing from a distance, while demanding an army, police, and now navy paid for by others.

    Sixteen governments later, the wonder is that the “international community” and the African Union are so eager to fall into this trap. Now Kenya is being put on the spot, voices in government and the press advocating intervention in circumstances where battle-hardened Ethiopia failed.

    Somalia’s Al Shabaab insurgents control entire provinces, all the way from Lamu on the Kenyan border to Mandera. The insurgents have been our neighbours for over a year, controlling every town, and imposing government on the people. None except their salaried and uniformed personnel are allowed to carry arms. The beleaguered “government,” in contrast, has never extended its authority beyond the battered blocks around the heavily fortified Villa Somalia where the internationally recognised president depends on 4,000 AU troops to ensure his physical survival.

    It seemed that the IGAD-Western alliance had finally got it right.

    But the former Islamic Courts Union chair, Ahmed Sheikh Sharif, has let everyone down. Somali’s are now saying it’s the Abdullahi Yusuf government without Abdullahi Yusuf.

    Brute force is once again displacing other methods for resolving the unsatisfactory stalemate. Unfortunately, the MoU conceding to Kenya rights to part of the Somalia’s offshore zone enraged even TFG supporters–implicating the Kibaki part in the larger conspiracy.

    Another more positive fact deserves emphasis: through a long and costly process of trial and error Kenya actually solved its Somali problem. The scrawny alley cat is proving to be more formidable than the lion that was once the Somali state and of course each party has to do what it has to do.

    Moreover, each player in this game has taken on voluntary a role in the region’s conflicts, and military intervention is not in Kenya’s docket.

    At different times, the Ugandan middle classes, the rich Tanzanians, the royalist Ethiopians, the fleeing Rwandese, the elite of Southern Sudan have all left their legacy and capital in Nairobi.

    It has benefited further by being a cool place next to all the fighting in Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, revolutionary Ethiopia, an oasis for the aid fraternity where business could be carried out, where money could be banked, where logistics could be organised.

    By keeping out of the fray, Kenya was able to play host to aid organisations working in venues as far as Congo.

    By keeping out of the fray, by talking to all sides in combat all the time, Kenya could host the northern and Southern Sudanese in their talks.

    By being neutral and keeping out of the fray Kenyan could attract all the warlords and sundry and host them in their inconclusive talks without itself becoming a factor in the talks.

    True, the Harakat al Shabaab extremists are scary and the situation is pregnant with unknown unknowns. The military option, in this instance, is lose-lose, and the prospects of war is generating considerable angst within Kenya’s Somali community.

    For a number of weeks now, a creeping campaign demonising Somalis living in Kenya, caring little for facts, threatens to negate several decades of progress.

    After four decades of being treated as a fifth column, Kenyan Somalis have a right to be afraid–very afraid, and have tried to keep under the radar as they prayed that the ill wind would blow itself out.

    Curiously, like the TFG president, the alley cat has got the tongues of North Eastern Province MPs and civil society, despite their obvious interest in these affairs. It took Yusuf Haji, the Kenyan Defence Minister, to set the narrative straight.

    In his interview with Harun Maruf of the VoA on June 24, he said Kenya had its own large Muslim population and did not feel threatened by the rise or non-rise of a Muslim state on its borders; for while it would defend its own territory, it had no interest in deciding regimes for its neighbours, but was willing to live and let live.

    Hassan Aweis Dahir responded in a similar tone.

    It is Kenya’s interest to continue the demilitarisation of its northern region and refuse to be drawn into fighting for one group or another. Kenya’s strength is soft power: the Foreign Minister should mobilise the country’s Muslim ulama to sort out the problem with Quranic Aya and Hadith.

    Reported by Paul Goldsmith and Abdi Umar. Paul Goldsmith is a researcher based in Meru, while Abdi Umar is a consultant on pastoralist issues in the Horn of Africa


  6. Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)
    Somalia: More Ethiopian Troops Reach in Kala-Beyrka Intersection

    Hassan Osman Fantastic

    25 July 2009

    Baladweyn — More Ethiopian troops with many battle wagons have reached in Kala-beyrka intersection in Hiran region, witnesses told Shabelle radio on Saturday.

    residents confirmed that many Ethiopian troops poured into parts of the region in central Somalia adding that they made a militery bases there in central Somalia.

    the people in the region expressed concern about the Ethiopian troops who returned in parts of Jawil village specially Kala-beyrka junction in Hiran region where was abase for the Ethiopians earlier.

    it is unclear the reason of the Ethiopian troops’ arrival in the region once again and their arrival comes as many other Ethiopian troops entered in Balanbal town in Galgudud region.


  7. Ethiopia: New Election Code Sparks Furore

    Omer Redi


    8 December 2009

    Addis Ababa — Opposition parties are troubled by what they say is government’s strategy to keep them out of the general elections in May 2010.

    They accuse the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of harassment. This includes arrests, obstruction of public meetings, and even murder. A recent binding document called Elections Code of Conduct for Political Parties, and lamented by opposition parties as a government weapon to delay election complaint procedures and punish disputes, is seen as part of the harassment.

    Major opposition parties like the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), for example, allege this ‘nuisance’ is part of EPRDF’s strategy to stop opposition members from running in the elections.

    But senior EPRDF and government officials say they are not aware of such harassment, only the arrest of suspected criminals regardless of their affiliation.

    “When elections approach, the government activates different strategies to incriminate our candidates, to discourage them from running in the elections,” said Professor Beyene Petros, deputy chairman of organisational affairs at the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (FDDE), a coalition of eight opposition bodies.

    “Twenty-four of our potential candidates are facing various forms of harassment, including imprisonment,” Petros alleges. Earlier, other parties accused the EPRDF of arresting 450 members to discourage them from running in the May elections.

    They allege imprisonment and harassment are part of the ruling party’s strategy to claim a landslide victory.

    Petros views the new code as the government’s instrument to criminalise dissent. Architects of the code, the EPRDF and three opposition parties – the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), All Ethiopia Unity Organization (AEUO) and Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) – say it is a binding document by which everyone competing in the national and regional elections in May 2010 has to abide.

    Other parties allege that the EDP, AEUO and CUDP are ’embedded’ with the government and cannot represent opposition views.

    “These are not genuine oppositions,” the FDDE said in a statement after the signing of the code by the four parties. The code sets out campaigning, voting and party symbol guidelines, as well as how to deal with intimidation and violence, abuse of office and corruption. It includes the setting up of an inter-party council to handle disputes among parties.

    It states that political parties are expected to file complaints to the inter-party council, while maintaining the right to take cases to electoral executives or the judiciary. But this has to come after an attempt to resolve disputes between disputing parties. “Any party with a complaint that another party breaches the code shall first attempt to resolve the dispute in talks with the accused party,” reads the code.

    Petros says this creates more hurdles in procedures of dealing with complaints. It also duplicates the roles and mandates of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and the judiciary.

    The four parties that developed the code say this document will become part of Ethiopia’s electoral law. And FDDE leaders argue it is unnecessary, as the country already has an electoral law crafted by NEBE.

    The signatories said the new code, particularly the part providing for an inter-party council, would help make the elections free, fair and peaceful.

    Some experts view this code as just a good start. “The initiative is very good,” Gebremedhin Siomn, dean of the Addis Ababa University School of Journalism, told IPS. “But the main issue is whether the elements of the code will be observed by all parties.”

    Of the more than 90 registered political parties in Ethiopia, nearly 30 – including the FDDE – rejected the new code when it was presented to them by the NEBE for approval.

    They argued that a code crafted and signed by four parties was not legitimate to govern more than 90 parties. “The architects have gone beyond their mandates in crafting the code, which should have been done by NEBE, if need be,” the other parties said.

    But Gebremedhin argues that regardless of whoever developed the code, the main question should be whether it addresses key issues or not.

    Petros says none of the issues the opposition parties tabled for discussion with the EPRDF following the violence in the aftermath of Ethiopia’s elections in 2005 are addressed by the code.

    “The key issues were independence of electoral board members and of the judiciary, as well as the discipline of electoral officials the government assigns at regional, zonal and district levels,” he told IPS.

    But 65 parties have signed the code, according to NEBE. Yet Petros maintains the government has already started harassing opposition candidates, and fears this will be worsen when the code is written into law. “This will only diminish the narrow political space in Ethiopia,” he told IPS.

    An assessment by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, a ranking of African countries according to governance quality, has ranked Ethiopia poor in terms of governance.

    Ethiopia scored below the continental average in three of the four categories: Safety and Rule of Law, Participation in Human Rights, and Human Development. Though the East African nation has scored above the continental and regional averages on the fourth category – Sustainable Economic Opportunity – overall it stood 37th out of 53.

    Its score in the Participation and Human Rights category is even worse. The country scored 35.2 out of 100, and stood 42nd in this category, which rates political participation, strength of democracy, free and fair elections as well as electoral self-determination. Petros said the report is “an underestimate of the realities in Ethiopia”, particularly in relation to elections and human rights.

    Arrests of opposition party members continue in the run up to the elections. “These jailings are to stop our members running in elections,” said Gizachew Shiferaw, deputy chairman of the UDJ. “It has become a strategy for the ruling party.”

    Government persistently denies these accusations.

    Bereket Simon, chief of the government’s Communication Affairs Office, said the allegations were unfounded, and those arrested were suspected criminals.

    “Nobody has been imprisoned or killed for political activity,” he said. The government’s preliminary investigation indicated they were engaged in real crime, Simon said.

    Nevertheless, Asfaw Angatu, an MP from the opposition Oromo People’s Congress (OPC), told IPS that in the week in which the government denied accusations, about 18 of their members preparing for the elections were arrested.

    “I wonder why our members are always crime suspects it is just that EPRDF realised we will win the elections and want to discourage our candidates,” Angatu said.

    Critics say the EPRDF will easily win the 2010 elections, and opposition parties agree. Many feel government harassment will prevent their members from contesting. But government strongly rejects these claims, saying the opposition is trying to discredit the electoral process, because they realise they have no chance of winning.

    Opposition parties say they will continue to appeal, despite a government statement that it “can’t release criminals just because they are opposition members”.

    The last time Ethiopia held general elections was in May 2005. The polls were followed by deadly violence sparked by allegations that the EPRDF rigged the vote. Almost 200 people were killed. The new code is expected to be debated in parliament in a few months time.


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