Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Get Out of Somalia!

By Ephrem Madebo

In May 2003, President George Bush addressed the world from the Aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and said the following: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country”.

Today (Tuesday May 15), four years after George Bush’s speech, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi addressed reporters from Menelik Palace and said the following: The "organized resistance" of the Islamists had now been broken. Things have improved significantly in Mogadishu”

The United States and Ethiopia may be countries of different political and economic significance, but the public lie and the rhetoric by their two leaders are the same. When political leaders are determined to carry on their personal agenda, they take no notice of reality, they ignore the lessons of history, and pay no heed to the difference between military power and the people’s power. Historically,humanity has witnessed great armies decisively defeat another army, but no one has ever heard any army defeating the will of the people. If Military power by itself was a means to an end, Alexander the Great’s Macedonia would have been the largest country of the world, the northern expansion of the Moors could have ceased the existence of Churches in Europe, or Adolf Hitler could have ruled Europe at least for the duration of the war.

The inability of mighty US to heal its own mess in Iraq could have given a clear lesson to the Ethiopian aggressor not to plunge his poor nation in to the internal affair of another country. Both President Bush and PM Meles sent their military forces to another country in the pretext of protecting the interest of people in those countries. Well, a good cause, but not quite true. When one uses force to change the status quo, the changed state of affair of the entity should by no means be worse than the status quo. In Iraq, more Iraqis died after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and in the last16 years, more Somalis died in Mogadishu after the recent Ethiopian led military surge. Both Iraqis and the people of Somalia are fighting the presence of foreign forces on their land.

AU Commissioner Oumar Konare, and US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Fraser, warn that the Ethiopian forces must stay in Somalia until the AU force jumps in, an incident that could take months. In December 2006, the Ethiopian PM told the world that his forces will withdraw from Somalia within weeks, but more Somalis and Ethiopian soldiers were killed after the Prime Minister’s promised withdrawal timetable. Ethiopia is a poor country with multiple social and economic problems; it can not afford a continued proxy war, more over, Ethiopia should be a responsible peaceful neighbor to all. Our history in Congo and Korea shows that we died for the freedom of others. We Ethiopians should not die to just kill Somalis, if we have to die; we should die to give them new life. As of now, the Somalis don’t see it that way; therefore, the Ethiopian force must withdraw from Somalia starting today. Mr. Prime Minister, you are the one who sent the Ethiopian troops to Somalia, please call them back immediately and unconditionally.


Anonymous said...


It seems your political views and your opposition to the current regime factors heavily in your analysis of current the somali situation than any factual in-depth threat analysis and response. To that effect, drawing parallels between somalia and iraq in all shapes and forms have become all the rage.

Somalia may eventually degenerate and become an iraqi-like crisis or it may not. It remains to be seen.
But one thing is indisputable--Ethiopia's sphere of influence has greatly expanded beyond its borders. Not necessarily a bad thing I say, borders are artificial
designations. It's all about sphere of influence.

Ephrem Madebo said...

Influence by itself is not a bad thing; I am not opposed to influence. If Ethiopia stabilizes Somalia and changes the current state of lawlessness, this will be a positive influence that we, Somalis, and the entire human race would applaud. To stabilize Somalia, we need the support of the Somali people. This is not what Ethiopia is doing in Somalia now. Ethiopia is fighting a proxy war, a war that Americans lost in Iraq and don’t want to repeat in Somalia. Ethiopia’s influence in Somalia is negative, the Somalis don’t like it and they are fighting us. Is this the kind of influence one would like for his/her country?

Anonymous said...

Is it not interesting that two weeks into his campaign in Somalia, Meles was declaring his intention to exit UNLESS someone paid for the costly intervention? The World Bank quickly released some $75 million dollars. He is once again using his threat tactic--only this time it is ten times the previous sum and all in the name of "protection of basic services."

Is it not interesting to hear commendations for Paul Wolfowitz's humanitarianism during his brief tenure and yet when he visited Ethiopia he ended up preaching "political harmony" and not human rights or good governance? His subsequent decisions would show Wolfowitz was more interested in fulfilling US foreign policy objectives at the expense of human rights.

Is it not ironic that Wolfowitz demanded that Bank Governors also share the blame for his blunders or else he won't resign? And in the end he was forced to resign in disgrace without any of his "conditionalities" met (pun intended)! That is the price of cockiness.

Now turn for a moment to the darling of the Bank/US, Meles, and see his dealings with jailed Opposition leaders. Meles is putting up a good show in the hope of presenting himself as a humanitarian. His arrogance is unbound. Like Wolfowitz, he is demanding that Opposition leaders admit to some guilt for their imprisonment (?). And he has gained the backing of US Ambassador Yamamoto in this. I don't think Meles realizes he cannot continue to barter the lives of Ethiopian soldiers and the welfare of the nation for filthy lucre and his insatiable appetite for power. Sooner or later, his sins will catch up with him.