Sunday, April 29, 2007
Ethiopia's current population is about 77 million according to the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (click on the figure below for details). This means Ethiopia's population has more than tripled in the last 40 years.
I am not sure what the current population growth rate for Ethiopia is. Whatever it is, it is way too high. With the way things are going in Ethiopia (politically/ economically/ socially), one does not have to be a rocket scientist to predict that the country will be in far worse predicament (politically/ economically/ socially) in the year 2050 with a population size that is double its current size. This population explosion is the number one problem that is facing Ethiopia today bar none.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Good hearing from you once again. In the last conversation we had under the thread "
There are many reasons why Meles' invasion of
Secondly, the main motive for orchestrating the invasion by Meles was to distract from his troubles at home and not to deny terrorists a haven in
And last, but not least, there were and there continue to be external actors in
Your comparison of the consequences of Ethiopian withdrawal from
First of all, the American intervention in Iraq, although world public opinion was against it and a vocal minority in the US opposed it, it was fully debated by democratically elected representatives of the American people in the US Congress and the legislation authorizing the intervention had received a super majority (more than two-thirds) support in both houses of Congress. On the contrary, the Ethiopian government is an illegitimate regime in the eyes of a majority of its own citizens. The illegitimate parliament supposedly conducted a debate on the merits of military intervention in Somalia, but the outcome was never in doubt. But the
Although there now is a consensus that the American intervention in
Yes, the war in
For the reasons I mentioned above and the arguments I have made earlier on this blog, the Ethiopian military has no business being in
Unilateral and immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian troops will not make the security situation in Somalia any worse than it is now with Ethiopian troops stationed there. Yes, if Ethipian troops immediately and unilaterally withdraw, Meles' ego will be deflated a bit, but so what? Anyways, what is mostly bad for Meles is usually good for Ethiopia! As to terrorists making Somalia a safe haven, I do not believe Ethiopia's invasion has made much difference. In fact, an argument can be made that the intervention may have emboldened the terrorist elements of the Islamists and, in the long-term, may have made things worse than they were before the invasion.
This is a reply to Michael from Germany for the comments he wrote under the posting: "Get out of Somalia".
Sunday, April 15, 2007
I take no pleasure in saying "I told you so", but the Meles regime needs to be told so. Still, however illegitimate the regime might be in the eyes of many Ethiopians, the regime is the sole custodian of Ethiopia's foreign policy at this time and I would like to see the regime correct its arrogant and foolish ways and do the right thing by withdrawing all Ethiopian military personnel out of Somalia immediately and by stopping its interference in Somali internal affairs! Of course, Ethiopia, being Somalia's most important neighbor should keep an eye on developments in Somalia and try to effect changes there in a way which respects the sovereignty of Somalia.
This latest Meles Zenawi's reckless adventure is superbly analyzed by Dr. Michael Weinstein of the PINR. I recommend that you read his latest analysis of the situation in Somalia. In case you don't have the time to read the whole article, here is an excerpt:
The conflict in Somalia is seized with a tense stasis, as domestic and external actors are trapped in the consequences of decisions that have brought about the present and unintended configuration of power and interest.
Having engineered the conventional military defeat of the I.C.C., Addis Ababa and Washington now face a militant Islamist insurgency, an overt Hawiye opposition and an I.C.C. political wing backed by Eritrea. The T.F.G. remains weak and unpopular, the Europeans are becoming disenchanted with the T.F.G., Uganda is out on a limb, Kenya is out of action, potential contributors to AMISOM are lying back, and the regional and international players are divided on the definition of reconciliation and the advisability of an Ethiopian withdrawal. There are no honest brokers -- every actor is compromised -- and the domestic players will only pursue reconciliation on their respective terms.
That Addis Ababa and the T.F.G. attempted forced disarmament testifies to the deterioration of their positions. That their effort failed reveals both the deep cleavages in Somalia's political community and a broad support of resistance against foreign occupation.
The stasis that has followed the two waves of armed conflict in Mogadishu is tense and precarious. When the actors in a conflict are frozen into hostile positions, one of them eventually makes a move to break out with unforeseen consequences. Although it is impossible to forecast when the next big move will come and who will make it, it is clear that the twin pillars of the Western powers' policy -- "genuine" reconciliation backed by military protection of the T.F.G. by AMISOM -- are crumbling. Yet without those supports, the Western powers -- now more divided than before -- face a policy void, leaving Somalia to continue to devolve and fragment, and regional actors backed into corners of their own making.
Monday, April 09, 2007
In the comments section under the "Ethiopian Naming System" posting a few weeks ago, one of the commentators opined the following regarding the north/south reference I had made in the posting:
...the talk of "north" and "south" is of course imprecise in view of how people over the centuries have settled, inter-married, traded or warred. I am certain Fikru’s caption "A Southern Perspective on Ethiopian Current Affairs" is simply an attempt to enrich our conversation and not to create a superficial distinction.No, I beg to differ with the gentleman; the reference to "A Southern Perspective" in the caption of this blog is not an attempt to create a superficial distinction between the Ethiopian north and south. I believe the north-south divide in Ethiopia is real and it is one of the main driving forces behind the current political struggle underway in the country. Let me explain.
Ethiopia, like many countries around the world, is made up of dozens of cultural groups who have unique customs of their own and lumping these cultural groups in two groups as I did in the posting mentioned above risks oversimplifying the complex nature of ethnic affiliation and self-identification. Broadly speaking, however, I think it is fair to say that there exists an observable north-south cultural divide in Ethiopia which results primarily from the linguistic groups that dominate the two geographical areas: the north being dominated by speakers of Semitic languages and the south by speakers of Cushitic languages.
In the last century or so, this cultural divide has been roughly matched by a concomitant political divide which has generally made northerners "the rulers" and southerners "the ruled". So, when I use 'north'/'northerner' or 'south'/'southerner' terminologies in a generic sense in the Ethiopian political/cultural context, as I did in the above mentioned posting, it is to reflect this reality.
Often times on this blog I use the term "South" to refer to the region called Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR) of today's Ethiopia and the term "Southerners" to refer to the people who inhabit this region. In this context, "South"/"Southerners" does not include Somalis, Oromos and other people from the south since they have their own separate regions. As I have suggested previously on this blog, the SNNPR is an artificial region that is created by the current regime without the consent of the people of the region, and its viability may not last beyond the life time of the regime. However, the SNNPR is a real place at this moment in time and I will make use of the terminology as long as the region exists.
This brings me to the reason why I chose the caption "A Southern Perspective on Ethiopian Current Affairs" for this blog. The reason is simple: it is to emphasize to the reader that this blog attempts to give a perspective (one among many) on Ethiopian affairs that is authentically Southern/southern, i.e. a perspective from folks who were born and raised in today's Southern Ethiopia. This is not to say that the opinions offered here are uniquely Southern/southern, which in most cases aren't, and that the opinions expressed here are representative of Southern/southern Ethiopia, which is not the claim. It is also not an attempt to suggest that non-Southern views are not entertained on Enset blog (they are most certainly welcome). I just feel that there is a need to accentuate Southern/southern perspective in the Ethiopian political ideas market place -- thus the caption.
Today's Southern Ethiopia and the greater southern portion of the country is home to diverse people groups and it would be ludicrous on my part to suggest that the perspective offered on Enset blog is anything but a sample among the many Southern/southern perspectives out there. I would like to think, however, that the views expressed here are a more sound and representative sample of Southern/southern perspectives than what one can find else where on the net. I am sure you will understand my bias on this :)
True, like the gentleman I quoted at the top said, people from the north and south have intermingled with one another in different ways for centuries and a simple distinction such as the one I employed may not give a complete or accurate picture of the complex relationships that exist among the diverse groups of today's Ethiopia. It is also worth noting that groups from the north and the south actually have more cultural things in common with one another than they have differences as the similarity of the naming systems they use amply illustrate.
Friday, April 06, 2007
The "court ruling" from the political trial of the unjustly imprisoned CUD leaders and others a couple of days ago has sent a chilling message to Ethiopians that Meles Zenawi is not interested in sitting down with his political opponents to address the political crisis in the country. I suppose Meles feels pretty good about his track record of locking up his political opponents since he has experienced little or no erosion to his hold on political power that he has convinced himself he has total control to do what he pleases.
Since 1991, Meles has incarcerated many of his opponents with impunity. Just take a look at a very short list of his political opponents that he has incarcerated since 1991: Abera Yemaneab, Asrat Woldeyes, Mekonnen Dori, Taye Woldesemayat, Seye Abraha, Abate Kisho, etc... What price did he pay for allowing these compatriots to rot in his jails? Practically nothing!
So Meles figures he can do more of the same with marginal threat to his hold on power, and he calculates that the end result of incarcerating the CUD leaders will be more or less the same. Meles may wish to continue to delude himself that he can continue in this reckless path he is on without consequence, but I believe he has miscalculated this time around and he needs to consult history books to figure out why he is overplaying his hand.
I am afraid the "court ruling" of two days ago has pushed the country further towards the road of violent confrontation