Ethiopia does not need to be involved in a war in Somalia

By Kahsay Berhe and Tesfay Atsbeha

August 12, 2006

It has been an Ethiopian Tradition for centuries, never to go to war as an aggressor against any other nation. Ethiopia defended herself against Egyptian (1875 and 1876), Italian (1886, 1895, 1896 and from 1935 up to 1941) dervish (1889), Somali (1964 and 1977) and Eritrean (1998 until 2000) invasions, but never invaded any country. While Ethiopia must always be prepared and never be taken by surprise by any invader, she has at the same time to maintain the tradition of not committing any aggression. It would be a futile attempt to give advice to the murderous and anti Ethiopian regime of Meles Zenawi against sending Ethiopian troops to Somalia. Nevertheless, we all Ethiopians including the armed forces should oppose any war against the Somalis in Somalia. This call has to be seen in the spirit of peaceful neighborhood and not mixed up with opinions expressed by anti-Ethiopian individuals and organizations.

Why should Ethiopians kill and get killed in Somalia? There is no rational explanation or justification for such a war of intervention. Who is interested in and hopes to benefit from such a war of intervention? Of course, Meles Zenawi as he has been sadistically spilling blood for more than 30 years would enjoy a carnage, hoping to please the American administration and exploiting the alliance against terror for American handouts and political support despite the heinous crimes Meles Zenawi is committing on the people of Ethiopia. Meles Zenawi may also entertain the hope to divert attention from internal problems. In fact, the Bush Administration has not yet openly called for an armed intervention in Somalia, but the possibility that the U.S. can give a green light to Meles Zenawi cannot be excluded.

The PFDJ regime with its short-sighted policy based on hatred towards Ethiopia is interested to see Ethiopia embroiled in war with Somalia and thereby create a favorable situation for itself to restart the war against Ethiopia. The Eritrean administration is principally opposed to the organization of political entities on the basis ethnicity and religion in Eritrea and it has claimed to have experiences of dealing with Afghan trained alien fanatic veterans. However, as if what affects Ethiopia would not in the long run affect Eritrea, Eritrea is supporting a religious political organization to inflict damage on Ethiopia. The Eritrean intervention in Somalia by arming the radical group, which is opposed to the TFG, shattered the chance of negotiation and reconciliation between the factions in Somalia to form a government of national reconciliation.

The history of the Meles Zenawi Clique, from its inception, is such that it has never solved any conflict peacefully. Hence, apart from the war against the military regime, the bloodletting in the armed conflicts of the TPLF and later EPRDF first partially and later absolutely controlled by Meles Zenawi against the TLF, TLFCC (later as part of EDU), against the Ugugumo and the Afar people, against the ELF, the EPRP, the OLF, the EPLF can explain the warmongering behavior of Meles Zenawi. Whenever he felt physically threatened, Meles Zenawi was used to shamelessly betraying his comrades-in-arms. However, Meles Zenawi, from a safe distance to the actual fighting does not hesitate to misuse the Army to cover up his perennial inability and insincerity to settle conflicts peacefully.

The claim by Meles Zenawi that he would, according to his propaganda minister, crush the Islamic extremists is simply rubbish. What for would Ethiopians crush Somalis in their own country, even if they succeeded in doing so? The answer by Meles Zenawi, a white lie of an evil as always, is to defend a secular (clan) representative transitional government so that Somalia would have a stable democratic regime and Ethiopia a friendly neighbor free of Islamic terrorists. Somalis sought help in Meles Zenawi’s court and chose Addis Ababa as a venue for solving their problems.  Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopia missed the chance to wholeheartedly help Somalis to create a central administration. The Somalis moved to neighboring Nairobi to carry out their duty of bringing peace to their country. In fact,Ethiopia could have trained tens of thousands of Somali soldiers for the transitional government during the two years since its formation, if Meles Zenawi had sincerely been interested in strengthening the Somali government and bringing peace and tranquility to the Somali people, before the Union of Islamic Courts came into the limelight. Now, it is too late.

The Somali transitional government cannot have an interest to make a garrison out of Baidoa and live under the protection of foreign forces and Ethiopia cannot afford to engage herself in an internecine war of attrition within Somalia to enable the transitional government control the whole country. Meles Zenawi has been causing so much bloodshed as near as right from the next door of the house of his parents and spreading death and agony all over Ethiopia for too long and he should not be enabled to export death and suffering to Somalia as well.

Nobody knows with absolute certainty that the Union of Islamic Courts is going to establish a Taliban like state in Somalia and provide terrorists with a safe haven and operational facilities for international terrorism. Although a political system which does not allow the separation of the state from religion, be it Islamic or Christian, is likely to end up in a dictatorship, Meles Zenawi, as a mass murderer, who is using the state to terrorize Ethiopians has no moral high ground to condemn any act of terrorism. The Somalis have, like the Ethiopians, their own national pride in wanting nobody to intervene in their internal affairs and therefore it is none of the businesses of Ethiopians to try to suppress the Union of Islamic Courts by force.

Yes, it is also almost impossible to rule out that the Union of Islamic Courts would pose a threat to Somalia’s neighbors. Even if one assumes the Union of Islamic Courts to be a potential threat to Ethiopia, the threat cannot be avoided by a pre-emptive attack. It has to be borne in mind that many Somalis have been brought up, with hatred towards Ethiopia, along with the history of the two major wars between Ethiopia and Somalia. Therefore, it is a blessing in disguise for the Union of Islamic Courts to be attacked by Meles Zenawi, unfortunately in the name of Ethiopia, as the Union of Islamic Courts can get more support from the Somali population due to the intervention of Ethiopia than in the absence of such an intervention. Under this situation, the transitional government is in the long run going to lose more than it can gain by its association with the Meles Zenawi regime.

Meles Zenawi, who is at war with Ethiopians, be it by his extra-judicial individual and mass killings, his ethnic based system of divide-and-rule, his policy of eroding Ethiopian sovereignty and his vile and fabricated accusations of opposition leaders and activists, defenders of human rights and journalists etc. is the worst enemy of the people of Ethiopia. Therefore, what we need is not making more of an enemy out of the Somalis whether invited by the transitional government or not, but getting rid of the worst enemy Ethiopia has ever encountered, Meles Zenawi, the butcher.

Published in: on August 11, 2006 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment