Posts Tagged With: Ethiopia

It was too good to be true

It turns out Ethiopia’s much publicized ‘withdrawal’ of its troops from Somalia is after all just a tactic. Although it has apparently withdrawn some of its troops from some hotspots like Mogadisho, it nonetheless continues to have its troops present, conquering ever more towns and cities in Southwestern Somalia previously held by the various insurgent groups. The news coming out of Gedo and Baay region confirms that Ethiopian troops have indeed took Bardheere and Diinsor towns in Gedo and Baay respectively, in an effort to bolster the strength of its newly reincarnated warlord tool,Barre Hiraale. 

More insidiously, however, is Meles Zenawi’s tactics of re-arming warlords who were driven from power by the Union of Islamic Courts first, then by the insurgency that ensued in the past two years. This is the tactic Ethiopia was using in Somalia throughout the 1990s. In fact, Ethiopia armed Abdullahi Yusuf in the 1990s in order to fight the previous Islamists movement before the Union of Islamic Courts, which was Al-Itihad, who coincidently was led by Sheikh Aweys Dahir at the time as well. It wasn’t until 2004 after the creation of the Transitional Federal Government in Nairobi that Ethiopia eased its arming of warlords favorable to its goals in Somalia. But its effort to eliminate or destabilize entities which seek to bring law and order continued. 

Now with the emergence of Al-Shabab/UIC more strong than before it went to eliminate in 2006, Ethiopia is once again re-arming criminal warlords, who use such Islamic-sounding names like Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaca – giving the false impression of ‘moderate Islamists’ fighting Al-Shabab, which really is a front for clan-based warlords who are willing to continue Ethiopia’s stated goal of anarchy in Somalia. For Meles Zenawi, all of these tactics are an effort to cultivate an environment of lawlessness and instability that is ungovernable for any entity hostile to his goals in Somalia and the disputed region of Ogaden. Perhaps Somalia is condemned to anarchy for life. Yet I don’t understand why Somalia’s lawlessness and instability serve Ethiopia better because it doesn’t make sense to burn your neighbor’s house, does it?

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of Horn Politics

Following Somali politics is like baby-sitting a five-year old toddler with hyperactivity. Just in the past two weeks, Somalia has managed to get another first, one-of-a-kind accomplishment: two ‘prime ministers’ for about a week despite the fact that this so-called government is under Ethiopian military occupation and controlls nothing more than couple of neighborhoods in Mogadisho and Baydhabo (Baidoa). As it happened, warlord ‘president’ Abdullahi Yusuf ‘appointed’ a new prime minister in defiance of ‘parlament’ because the current one, Nur Hussein,  has been doing too much peace negotiations with the various clan, nationalist, and religious oriented opposition groups who have been waging Iraqi-style insurgency against his Western/AU/UN backed fantasy-government.

In fact, two years ago this week, the Ethiopian military invaded Somalia with the backing of Washington and the European Union in order to get rid of Somalia its little, six-month old return to peace under the Union of Islamic Courts. Just has been the case everywhere else, the term “Islam” in the Union of the Islamic Courts’ name  brought up end-of-the-world vision for Washington and immediately dispatched CIA, not-so covert operation aimed at removing the Union of Islamic Courts, who were widely acknowledged for bringing peace and stability to the country. Instead of dealing with the Courts directly, the brilliant minds behind US foreign policy makers decided to fund warlords, who have been committing egregious atrocities against the Somali people since 1991. The strategy, like all evil-intentioned ones, backfired spectacularly. The Union of Islamic Courts, with the help of the business community and the civilian population, defeated the warlord alliances backed by the CIA in June, 2006. Six months of peace and order returned to the country. Of course this was overlooked and the UIC’s heavy sharia enforcement was focused on in the preparation of foreign invasion. The international press had a significant contribution in demonizing the Union of Islamic Courts (not that the UIC were angels), and lionizing warlords, thugs, US-backed Ethiopian invasions, and propping up bunch of murderous warlords as politicians.

Fast-forward two years later, the fantasy-government invented by the West for Somalia has essentially collapsed (not that it existed in reality in the first place). The tolerable Union of Islamic Courts has turned into a hardcore movement, Al-Shabab. The already catastrophic humanitarian mess has turned into a shitty humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of Somalis are being fed by U.N. food aid, while hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people are internally displaced into refugee camps. And piracy of the coast is thriving more than ever. With all of this mess, could there be any good news? Perhaps.

‘Prime Minister’ Nur Hussein, the one the ‘Somali Parliament’ approved, and his warlord ‘president’ Abdullahi Yusuf have been fighting over how to deal with the insurgency, the Ethiopian occupation, and the various other problems facing the country. To his credit, Nur Hussein, who is not a warlord, has been proactive in trying to negotiate an inclusive peace deal that includes the removal of foreign forces, particularly Ethiopian, from Somali soil. Warlord Abdullahi Yusuf, who has benefited from the blood and treasure of Ethiopia and the West, inexorably refuses to deal with anyone who’s interested in peace and reconciliation. Two weeks ago, Warlord Yusuf tried his last trick by first announcing his intentions to get rid of Nur Hussein, which he did not have the power to do so because it’s the parliament that can remove the PM. The parliament unanimously approved the continuation of Nur’s leadership, a blow against Yusuf’s thuggish rule. Despite pledging he would stick by the parliament’s decision, Yusuf, like all tyranical warlords, announced one of his henchman as prime minister. Everyone laughed at him, including his staunchest allies – Ethiopia, the US, and the African Union.

The AU and Kenya followed with a la carte sanction against Yusuf and his thug friends personally. Perhaps this was the silver lining. Or Warlord Yusuf simply knew it was time to go, saving his octogenarian head from certain beheading. He announced his resignation today, Dec. 29 2998, from the presidency ‘he was entrusted’ with, as he said in his announcement to the parliament in Baydhabo. He immediately flew to pirate den in Puntland, where now it will be more easy to cash in for the piracy ransom he has cultivated during his tenure. I, for one, think this is a good news. It sure won’t fix Somalia’s mess, but perhaps it will start a trend – a hopeful one where warlords are left in the pages of history rather than propped up as politicians. Ethiopia “announced” more than a month ago that it will withdraw all of its troops from Somalia by the end of 2008. Two days before the year is up, they’re still there. In the past few days, they’ve magically extended the deadline to leave Somali soil to, gasp, Jan. 5, 2009. Make up your mind, Zenawi. 

With Warlord Abdullahi Yusuf and Ethiopian occupation out of the picture, Somalia’s future, contrary to the ill-informed Western press’s favorite soundbite, is more bright today than it was yesterday. That doesn’t say a lot, but it sure won’t be worse than it was during the past two years under Warlord Yusuf and Ethiopian military occupation, as so-called ‘security/terrorism experts’ and ‘foreign correspondents’ love to invoke how Al-Shabab will take over, and obliterate everyone. No one knows what will happen in Somalia, but the departure of Abdullahi Yusuf and the Ethiopian military is a good thing all around. May 2009 be the year peace and stability returns to the Horn. 

Happy New Year, nomads.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Could it be The One?

Over the weekend, a long overdue cease-fire agreement was signed in Djibouti by representatives of the ‘Transitional Federal Government’, Ethiopia, and some of the opposition groups. I say ‘some’ because Al-Shabab did not participate, the most important group fighting on the ground. So the effect of the cease-fire is hardly comprehensive until all the elements from the Union of Islamic Courts agree to the truce. It is the first time the TFG and its head warlord Abdillahi Yusuf agreed to have Ethiopian troops leave the country before any further cooperation. Despite the breakthrough agreement, the wording of the document is so vague that there is no deadline for Ethiopian troops to leave the country because the agreement only calls for a ‘timeframe’ of 120 days for Ethiopia to pull out its troop, provided that the African Union troops are in place before Ethiopia fully withdraws, but in the meantime Ethiopian troops will only ‘leave’ certain locations around the country, including Mogadisho. 

Of course Al-Shabab does not accept any presence of foreign troops, most of all Ethiopian, whether inside the cities or otherwise. Now the question has to be asked: is this the agreement that leads to peace for Somalis? I doubt it. But could it possibly, maybe, perhaps start the process of reconciliation and unity government as the truce calls for? I would like to think so. However, let us not forget that there are people, very important people, who would do anything to prevent Somalia from getting stability: these people include warlords, war profiteers, regional foes (who need Somalia to stay as it is), and of course qabilists (clan-mongers). 

Another question that needs some pondering is why did the TFG/Ethiopia have agreed to this cease-fire now? Could it be that they’re also watching the elections in the U.S. with Obama favoring to cut support for these gangsters in the Horn if he wins? Or has Meles Zenawi realized he can’t win against an insurgency (how did Eritria work out, by the way) determined to cut his knees in Somalia? Perhaps that might be the case. Or it could just be another shrewd move on the part of Abdillahi Yusuf to buy out some of the “moderates” (i.e. warlords like Hussein Aideed and self-centered clan leaders) with plenty of cold, hard cash because his mandate to rape Somalia and rob the international donor’s money, will run out within 10 months? Unless I see otherwise, I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter because as long as Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf and his fellow warlords both in the TFG and in the opposition, are the automatic default representatives of Somalia in the international community’s eyes, nothing will change in Somalia. I suggest it’s time all the warlords in Somalia are arrested and prosecuted for starter.

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The World’s Most Utterly Failed State, The Economist profiles

I’m not one to be accused of liking the The Economist, but I’m quite pleased to see a level of understanding about the geo-political conflict in Somalia this article manages to achieve, unlike most media outlets. For the very first time, I think, a representative of the ‘international community’ actually mentioned the need to put the warlords on trial for war crimes instead of giving them legitimacy and support to fix the chaos they’ve been perpetuating for the past 18 years. 

What the world seems to have convinced itself is the theory that Warlords are politicians. Look at the mess Somalia has been in for the past 18 years – Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf, Mohamed Qanyare, Musa Suudi Yalahow, Usman Ali Aato, etc. These are the people who are the main cause of Somalia’s misery. These are the same people that the U.N./U.S. were spending millions of dollars and human lives to capture in the 1991-1994 Operation Hope. Instead of the UN prosecuting these warlords for killing many U.N. soldiers and personnel, they’ve recognized them as the representative of the Somali people. Remember the images of U.S. rangers’ corpses being dragged through the streets of ‘Disho? The same warlords who were behind those killings were getting cold, hard cash from the C.I.A in suite cases in 2006 during the fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and Mogadisho warlords. Warlords lose, Somalia gets a semblance of law and order, warlords flee to neighboring countries (some are even arrested for war crimes in Kenya – but you know how the story ends), and Somalis start to feel hope for the future. Then it all comes down crashing through internal mismanagement of the Union of Islamic Courts, but mostly from external forces’ willingness to make sure Somalia does not get what it deserves: the U.S., the United Nations, and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia collude to re-empower the despised warlords once again to give Somalis more hell. 

It’s ironic that the United States is willing to prosecute a 15-year old fighting alongside his Taliban-father for injuring a single Marine, but is more than happy to not only prosecute the killers of 18 U.S. Rangers in 1993 in Mogadisho, but actually reward them handsomely with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars. They call that an ”oversight’ of sorts. 

The Economist is the first international publication to call Abdillahi Yusuf “Warlord President” and also put the Transitional Federal Government in quotation. I think we’re moving in the right direction finally, no? 

via Spreading piracy highlights Somalias failure | The worlds most utterly failed state | The Economist.

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hypocrites

The Sudanese president is so bad that the useless International Court is charging him with ‘genocide.’ Oh how noble! Conveniently propping up charges based on the interviews of rebel leaders, who I may add are part of the ‘genocide’, is exactly how to show the barbaric “arabs” they cannot get away with ‘genocide’ against the ‘black Africans’. Isn’t ironic how one race is divided into two races just using language? It baffles me to see how even educated people have come to believe that the conflict in Sudan is about “Arabs” ethnic cleansing “Black Africans.”

Note that the people from Darfur are “Black Africans,” not just Africans or Blacks, as where every Sudanese from the North is “Arab.” I know I’m not Arab because every Sudanese person I meet believes I’m Sudanese so I can only conclude that people from Sudan can only be black, not Arab. Furthermore, my former colleague from Darfur and my college mates from khartoum seem just plain black to me. They both speak Arabic. Yet looking at the ‘news’ it is impossible not to see the imaginary creation of a new race in Sudan. 

Remember when they use the terms ‘Arab’ for Northerners (associated with the ethnic cleansing of the genocide) and ‘Black Africans’ for the Darfuris even though both look the same (beside some skin shade differences), speak the same language, and practice the same religion (for the most part – a percentage of Darfuris have been converted to Christianity by missionaries since the conflict started in the early 1980s) because these terms denote the imaginary arab vs. non-arab narratives that have been created by the Western press. 

I’m not defending Omar Al-Bashir’s role in the conflict – after all, the Darfur conflict was already in progress before he came into power – but I find it criminal to single out Omar Al-Bashir for genocide when Meles Zenawi is doing the same thing in Somalia, Ogaden, and to the rest of non-Tigre population of Ethiopia. If that is too much for the noble-intentioned West, how about the warlord thugs they’re paying millions of dollars (in hard cash no less) in Somalia? I’m sure they can manage that, no?

Categories: East Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cliff Hanger, Again!

The U.S. strike in Somalia on Thursday killing Aadan Ayro will leave us another cliff hanger for the “peace” process initiated by the U.N. and is supposed to take place ten days from now. Indeed, the TFG and Meles Zenawi are celebrating but does that make them the winner? Al-Shabaab is going to replace Ayro faster than they can clean up the after-party but the question is, why is the U.N. wasting money on these warlords and thugs of the TFG? And for that matter, why is there a “peace” conference when the head of the TFG already declared “The Prime Minister can go and talk to them but none of their demands will be accepted under any circumstances” regarding the Alliance of the Re-liberation of Somalia (the opposition)?

The sad fact is Somalia is doomed and no outside help or interference will fix it. Think about it: there have been over 16 “peace conferences” since 1991 held in various countries but none of them have resulted in anything, except more powerful warlords and thugs. On the other hand, the Union of Islamic Courts got one chance and they blew it on frivolous things like banning television, movies, hairstyles, and threats of war against Ethiopia for Ogaden. So if the “secular” front produces only tribal thugs and warlords and the religious front produces only egomaniacs bent on instituting Taliban-style government on populous that have always been moderate, what is left for Somalia? More cliff hangers, perhaps?

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Palestine of Africa

I’m sitting in the library of my school, very comfortable with music blasting from my laptop through my bluetooth headset wondering when I want to go eat something. Yet someone in Somalia that I know is starving, sick, or displaced by fighting. At this moment a lot of thoughts are going through my head – from regret, shame, sadness, to flat-out anger. I know I can’t do anything for those that are suffering in Somalia – former friends, schoolmates, neighbors – while I’m enjoying my life and its privileges here, yet I’m haunted and saddened by these facts. How can I wonder about when and what to eat while knowing someone that I’ve known in my previous life is unable to find anything to eat, much less than decide when and what to eat?  

Like the people of Palestine, Somalis are being punished for being human beings. Like Palestinians, they’re being occupied, denigrated,  killed, raped for being a human being. For more than a year, Somalis have been suffering under the transgression and genocide-intended occupation of Ethiopia with tacit and military support of the Great Democratizer THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Report after report, every humanitarian organization in the world has declared Somalia as the worst man-made (of course by USA) humanitarian disaster in the past 15 months- worst than Iraq (USA again), Sudan and Congo, thanks to Mr. George W. Bush.  How can someone do these horrible things and claim to be the follower of Jesus (Peace be with Him)? How can a human being do this to millions of people and sleep at night? How can he? 

Moreover, only one country in THE WORLD has spoken against Ethiopia’s illegal transgression and occupation of a sovereign nation since the invasion and that was Italy, I believe (I could be wrong). As reported by aid agencies, two million Somalis live on hand-out from humanitarian aid – that is about 25% of the whole country. And if I’m doing the math correctly, some 80% of the population of the capital city Mogadisho have either been internally displaced or murdered by an “internationally recognized troops.” Yet only few media outlets are reporting this catastrophe caused by George W. Bush and Meles Zenawi. Why? Why has the press turned its back on its duties? Why aren’t we seeing images of children with bloated-stomachs hanging from their mother’s dry breasts? Why hasn’t anyone and I do mean anyone report this injustice being done to the people of Somalia? Perhaps the world has had enough of Africa’s sufferings. It is a shame.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Reality Check, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Shame

It has been over a week since Kenya’s elections were held and Kenya is still burning. In my previous post, I worried that the infant violence at the time (Dec. 30) would last longer or even evolve into tribal or civil war. At this moment, part of my worry has largely become true – tribal war is now threatening Kenya’s statehood. Let me be clear: I was not predicting or expecting the violence to evolve into a full-blown tribal war and I am certainly not saying now ‘I told you so,’ but the fact is, Kenya is now more close to civil war than it had ever been.21307097.jpg21329471.jpg21329735.jpg21308443.jpg21305333.jpg21307069.jpg21307261.jpg21308613.jpg21329419.jpgNY Times/AP

Like so many third world countries, Kenya was never a “prosperous” democracy as The Associated Press erroneously refers to in its infinite dispatches. However, Kenya was one of the most stable countries in Africa, certainly in East Africa. And like so many countries in East Africa, tribal animosities is just below the surface. It is only matter of time before that acid filled bottle of tribal animosities blows up with vengeance. It has happened in Kenya’s neighbors like Somalia and Sudan – and will certainly happen in Ethiopia as the majority Oromo and Amhara are being oppressed by Meles Zenawi.

I fear Kenya has reached its boiling point on Dec. 30, 2007 when the Electorate Commission of Kenya deliberately and knowingly declared the losing candidate, Mr. Mwai Kibaki the winner instead of the guy who people chose. At the time, I really believed Kenyans would swallow another blatant robbery of their votes, and for the sake of their country, look the other way, but apparently not this time. This anger and outrage has come to a full circle and it took over forty years – much, much longer than its neighbors. Needless to say, the anger and hatred toward the ruling Kikuyi tribe is in full display ever since Dec. 30, 2007. And for that matter, the over 300 people killed, maimed, or burned so far have largely been poor Kikuyis, a la Rwanda 1994. It is beyond comprehension to see women and children being burned alive in a house of worship in 2008.21352353.jpg

21314627.jpg21315329.jpg21329197.jpg213291971.jpg21352699.jpg21330109.jpg04kenya01_600.jpg21352361.jpgNY Times/AP

Yesterday I saw a young man with a machete in Nairobi being interviewed on TV and when asked, “Why are you doing what you’re doing?,” he said, “We have had enough! Then he continued, “Now I’m willing to die for what I believe.” I just hope what he is willing to die for is a better, stable, prosperous and united Kenya – not killing his fellow Kenyans.21315467.jpg

Otherwise, it would be a shame to see this magnificent and beautiful country descend into civil war.

Categories: Africa Related, Corruption, East Africa, Elections | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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