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Meles Zenawi’s war with Somalia: A gimmick to divert attention from Ethiopia’s internal political crises

By Abdi Galgalo


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With the World focused on an imminent all-out civil war looming in Iraq and the Middle East at large, the warlords in the horn of Africa are gearing up to show the world the mother of all civil wars. Totally consumed by the Middle East crisis, the world has turned away from the Somalia crisis, an unfortunate development taken by Ethiopian government as a green signal to begin its adventure in Somalia. The U.S. is half-attentively pushing for a U.N draft resolution to allow foreign troops including Ethiopia’s in Somali, a recipe that may provide the full momentum for a grandiose disaster in the region.


The Union of Islamic Court (UIC) that has now controlled most of Somalia has brought unprecedented peace and stability to the Somali people after 15 years of mayhem. Despite its apparent success, the UIC has neither been supported nor has the weak interim government been encouraged to work with UIC to bring permanent stability in Somalia. The reason is simply that the West’s policy in Somalia is predominated by their Islam-paranoia. Meles regime is effectively exploiting this paranoia and has been distorting the reality to make the West believe that the UIC poses threat of terrorism. What Meles desires to get out of creating fear is to be elevated to the status of policing/caretaker of the horn region, for which he anticipates support from the West that gives him the capacity to extend the horizon of its tyranny beyond the borders of Ethiopia.


The tyranny under which the peoples of Ethiopia and the Oromo people in particular, are living defies the imagination. The brutal dictator of Ethiopia has gained notoriety for his violent suppression of dissenting voices, and the regime has been directly responsible to the genocide of the Anuaks, the Oromos, and other nations and nationalities of Ethiopia. This genocide is still ongoing. The minority regime of Meles Zenawi has managed to pull the wool over the West’s eyes while he was busy committing these atrocities. Genocide Watch and other widely-respected international NGOs have documented the genocide committed against the Anuak people of Ethiopia in 2003 by uniformed soldiers of the Ethiopian Defense Force . On the 2001’s World Conference against Racism, the genocide of Oromos and other people was also brought to the world’s attention by the Oromia Support Group. Other NGOs have also produced similar alerts.


The menace of the regime on the Oromo people has also been committed on the Sovereign territories of neighboring countries. The regime of Meles Zenawi is accustomed to violating the sovereignty of Ethiopia’s neighbors and uses its military power to intimidate neighboring governments into no reaction. It has been reported by various media that Ethiopian defense force has made frequent incursions since 1992 into Somalia and Kenya in pursuit of Oromo refugees that the regime alleges to be members and sympathizers of the Oromo Liberation Front (O.L.F) - a politico-military movment that enjoys support from the vast majority of Oromos. The Meles’ regime has cowed the Kenyan government to be complacent to the Ethiopian troop’s abuse of Kenyan citizens and in many instances, the Kenyan government has indeed cooperated in the rounding up and mistreatment of Oromo refugees in Kenya as well as Kenyans of Oromo descent. The Meles’ regime has gone as far as running the Kenyan court that was hearing the cases of Oromos. This testifies to the extremely aggressive nature of the Ethiopian regime in dealing with real or perceived dissidents that has clearly taken a form of ethnic cleansing. The regimes’ tyranny knows no national boundaries!


The Ethiopia’s interference in the Somali’s affair may come as news to those who have never known the existence of a terrorizing regime in Ethiopia. After denying for so long the eyewitness accounts on the presence of Ethiopian troops inside Somalia, Meles Zenawi has recently acknowledged the presence of his troops in Somalia. His own sham parliament members were as oblivious as the rest of the world to this activity of Ethiopian troops. In his usual and blatant way, Meles Zenawi, without consulting the parliament, has single handedly declared that his regime has finished preparation for official war with Somalia’s UIC.


The war-cry of Meles Zenawi is nothing but a gimmick to divert the attention of the Ethiopian public and international community from the real internal political tensions to an outside deliberately created problem. After falling from grace, the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is facing immense resistance both at home and internationally for its continual atrocities against the peoples of Ethiopia. With an increasing unpopularity in the West, the Meles is desperately seeking a cause that makes him the West’s lap-dog in order to receive the support he needs to thrive as a tyrant.


The fact of the matter is there is no tangible evidence that implicate the UIC as a threat to Ethiopia and the rest of the world. The UIC has given ample time for the world to realize their sincerity to bring peace and stability to Somalia. In a bid to show off their achievement, the UIC has recently invited U.S. authorities to visit the capital Moqadishu. Such a genuine gesture has been ignored and the U.S. backed U.N resolution is being drafted as we speak to lend ‘legitimacy’ to Meles’ regime invasion of Somalia to prop up the weak interim government. This news came few days after the Ethiopian regime declared its readiness to engage the UIC militarily. It seems that Meles Zenawi has once again succeeded in duping the West! Meles is not your average dictator- he also knows how to sucker the West.


The U.S., the U.N. and all concerned parties should be awakened to the fact the Meles Zenawi is deliberately trying to create chaos in the region hoping to emerge as a stabilizing force. When his undemocratic nature is unveiled, Meles is frantically trying to jump on the “war on terror” bandwagon by fabricating fear. This appears to be his last token to draw off cash from the West to finance further massacre of the peoples of Ethiopia, and his main targets-the Oromos. This will undoubtedly prolong the anguish of Ethiopians, the Somalis, and all the people in the region. At a time when the policies of the West is being resented by people in the Middle East, the last thing the West should be doing now is creating more regions that are desperate and resentful. After failing gravely in the Middle East, the West should finally wisen up on how they deal with troubled regions where tyrannical regimes have taken hold of peoples’ lives.


Abdi Galgalo is a graduate student in life sciences and can be reached at [email protected].



The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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