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Ethiopian military invasion as a Trojan horse in Somalia

Abdulcadir S. Hussein Ph.D.

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We have recently witnessed a great upheaval in Somalia, which is caused by the continuation of the usual cycle of war and destruction, only this time higher proportion of devastation than previously known by the Somali people. The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops backed by the heavily mechanized Ethiopian military armor have rapid "liberated" southern Somalia from the UIC.

However, some would argue that the brave, proud and fiercely independent Somali people would easily kick out of their country any military no matter how strong or armored if they are all on one side, but to convince the people to rally on only one side would be a great feat to accomplish.

The Ethiopian military armor has been brought in with the sponsorship of third parties acting on their own agendas. Some people argue the Ethiopian military is fulfilling their part of a global war on terror by engaging in a deadly struggle with the Somali Union Islamic Courts, and thus acting as a proxy for afore-mentioned third parties. But, the question is, what are the roles of the Somali political leaders in all of this? Are they pawns in the scheme of the global scenario acting on behalf of foreign powers?

Somali political figures from all sides, from all regions of the country are not accountable to the Somali people, due to the lack of real constituency in the country. To a foreign observer, Somalis are affiliated not by political values but by imaginary and unsubstantiated divisions known as clan loyalties represented by tribal, clan, or sub-clan leaders or traditional elders. However, a careful analysis reveals even the traditional elders represent not the people, but the furtherance of their own personal wealth and self aggrandizement.

It is only natural that the Somali people from around the globe align themselves with the deposed UIC according the afore-mentioned tribal lines and feel bitter and betrayed, or feel jubilant by aligning themselves with Ethiopian backed TFG forces.

As Somalis the young valuable lives we continually loose from all sides deserve to be remembered with honor and the overall trend of loss be reversed, instead of swelling their numbers with more of the same. Somalis of all backgrounds and in particular the political leaders should refrain themselves from the previously known paths of duplicating and adding to the suffering of the beleaguered Somali people by using their young as cannon fodder in futile conflicts.

Instead, the young people should be used for the reconstruction of their own country by providing them with real employment. Somalia needs rebuilding of the infrastructure, educational institutions and the health care systems. It is known that the country is asset rich, with large regions of arable land, thousands of kilometers of coast with rich marine resources, and unknown quantities of mineral and hydrocarbon deposits in large parts of the country. The question is again, what are the roles of the Somali political leader in all of this?
The President, Mr. Abdullahi Ahmed who is elected from the parliament of the TFG, selected in turn the Prime Minister Mr. Ali M. Gedi in accordance with Federal Charter. This nomination of the PM was far from transparent, and some allege that the Addis Ababa regime was behind this selection. The parliament, which is the most powerful institution of the TFG, is itself made up of a selection of a cohort of former and current warlords, remnants from Barre regime, and traditional elders or individuals supported by these.

How parliamentarians such as these could ever come up with the solutions of the enormous tasks of the reconstruction of the country, would be a legitimate question?

According to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr. Meles Zenawi the Ethiopian military will get back to their bases in their country as soon as they finalize their mission in Somalia. But according to his Somali counterpart the Ethiopian "friends" will stay in the country as long as they are needed.

Mixed signals indeed from mixed governments.

In the final analysis, how long will the Ethiopian military stay in Somalia depends not on the benevolence or otherwise of the Ethiopians, but on the accomplishment of global strategic and economic imperatives. General John Abizaid head of U.S. Central Command in the Middle East made a visit last month in Ethiopia. President Hu Jintao of China visited Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia earlier last year; it is foolhardy to think that Somalia is missing from the strategic planning of these superpowers, and utterly myopic to think in terms of the usual Somali tribal lines.

If and only if peace and tranquility returns to Somalia, the presence of Ethiopian military in the country would compound the fundamental and massive problems facing the Somali leaders in rebuilding their country. Assuming the Somali leaders are willing participants of the huge tasks needed for the reconstruction of their country, the utilization of the resources of the intellectual pool in the Somali Diaspora is only one factor among many in front of them.

Abdulcadir S. Hussein Ph.D
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
E-mail: [email protected]

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