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The Audacity of the Ethiopian Occupation in Somalia

By. Dr. Omar N Mohamed 

January 03, 2008


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From the time Immemorial, The Ethiopian kings, (Menelik and Haile Selassie etc), the Marxist leader, Mengistu Haile Meriam and the TPLF leader –turned into Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi tenaciously sought to occupy the coastal areas of Somali and control the Somali tribes. They tend to have common views about the Somalis.


The hostility of the Ethiopians to the Somalis is based on: religion, greed, annexation of regions; desire to control Somali tribes, ambition to occupy the coastal areas of Somalia. and plans to crush the dream of Greater Somalia.

There is no difference among Ethiopian rulers when it comes to tackling with the Somalis. Ethiopian rulers believe that brutality and humiliation is key weapon to subdue the Somalis. Divide and rule is the second weapon in their choice particularly in the current era of warlords in Somalia. They (Ethiopian Rulers), keenly aware of the geopolitics of the world, play their cards properly and shed the crocodile tears while at the same time resulted in mayhem and to devastate the Somalis.

The perpetual turmoil and devastation in Mogadishu at the current time is spearheaded and tactically engineered by Meles Zenawi and tacitly approved by Bush Administration.


From a historical perspective in 2007, Meles Zenawi torched the same village and towns in Ogadenia that Haile Selassie burned in 1950s and 1960s (The latter was documented in the Ogadenia Refugee Memorandum of August, 1963).

Under the watch of the world community, the Ethiopians used Phosphorous Artillery shells in many areas in Mogadishu that incinerated every thing that was hit. The manner and the method of bombardment that Mogadishu went through (in 2007) a year long occupation is similar to that Ogadenia villages experienced currently and decades ago.


Brief chronology of the history of the Somali Demise Executed by Ethiopian Rulers.


It is true that The Abyssinian kingdom played a cardinal role during the Berlin Conference and the partition of Africa by the European Colonizers in 1884. Somalia at that time was dissected into five areas under different colonial powers.

It was Jan 1887 when King Menelik occupied Harar.

In 1948 The British Military Administration handed Ogadenia to (then part of western Somali) to Ethiopia

In Feb 1955 The British finally handed over Haud and Reserve Area (then part of western Somalia) to Ethiopia rewarding their help and contribution to crush the Mahdist uprising in Sudan.

Ethiopia attempted to block the UN deliberation of Somali Independence in 1947 as Ambassador Mohamed Sharif indicated in his article: “The Underlying Reasons for the Invasion of Somalia Posted on Aljazeera”.


Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 1964 when the country was only 4 years old.

Ethiopian trained and equipped every warlord including Yussuf on condition that they perpetuate the Somali demise and facilitate the Ethiopian occupation.


The Union of Islamic courts began to control Mogadishu in June 2006 and liberated Mogadishu residents and many parts in the southern regions from the misery and the grip of the warlords.

Within 3 weeks, a heavily equipped Ethiopian military crossed into Somalia.

Ironically, on Christmas Eve of 2006, when southern Somalia was in relative peace and order under the Rule of Islamic courts, the Ethiopians invaded Somalia with tacit approval and support of  the Bush Administration . They captured most of the southern regions of Somalia. This was a preemptive strike where Meles and his Tregrenya army claimed that the Ethiopia’s strategic interest was endangered by the Union of Islamic Courts

There followed the footing of ineffective puppet government under the protection of the Ethiopian Tanks and strangely supported by UN, African Union, US & EU


The Other pieces of the Puzzle


After skillfully working through the UN, and with support of US, Ethiopia annexed Eretria and got an access to Msawa and Assab sea ports since 1950s.

Things have drastically changed when Eretria, after gaining independence, became an arch enemy of Ethiopia in 2000 and the two countries fought a devastating war.


Djibouti was a French colony for over 100 years. The French, through the rail line, facilitated the import and export of Ethiopian commodities to arrive and leave, through the port of Djibouti without hindrance. After Djibouti got its independence in1978, the new Republic of Djibouti continued to have good relations with the Ethiopians and commodity flow continued without any disturbance. Both of the two countries mutually benefited from it.




There are three events driving veraciously the Ethiopian desire to control Somalia:

First, Ethiopia lost both Assab and Mussawa ports of Eretria .Eretria became an arch enemy of Ethiopia after Eretria got independence and had war with Ethiopia in 2000.

Secondly, The Djibouti president, Mr. Geelle, realized that Ethiopians are not paying their imported/exported dues in hard foreign currency and are reluctant to do so.

He decided to privatize the functioning of the port to Dubai International and that gave the tiny Republic an advantage to say no without triggering their giant neighbor’s hostile reaction. Hence, they can control their resources properly without triggering the impulsive actions of the Meles.

Thirdly, Meles thought that he would bring Chinese Petroleum companies to Ogadenia .To satisfy the American companies, he could facilitate-US Petroleum Companies- to carry out exploratory activities in Somalia since the Puppet TFG in Baidabo is in his hands and had a leeway to control the Regional Government of Punt land.

The final seal to his war mongering strategy was facilitated by the missteps of the Union of the Islamic Courts and the Ignorance of the Bush Administration.


Why Meles Zenawi is so adamant to occupy Somalia?


In addition to the above stated reasons, Meles was trained, equipped and supported by Siyad Barre in 1980s (Late President of Somalia). During his stay in Somalia, he learned the Somali tribes and realized that unlike Ethiopians, many Somali are devoid of nationalistic aspiration. Somalis are inclined to be more loyal to their tribes than their national interest and tend to be culturally more nomadic in their psyche and thinking. Nomad’s own lands is where it rains the most. In part he was also driven by the notion of getting an outlet to the sea ports.


According to Mr. Zenawi calculation, this was over 16 years of investment where he supported or in part created the warlords in Somalia. With clanism seeping deep in to the fabric of the Somalia people, and Geopolitics in his favor, he made the move to occupy Somalia while it was in its worst disintegration

This sketch below depicts the role Ethiopia played to box Somalia to its worst disaster and



Historically, Ethiopians never defeated the Somali warriors. This could be reflected from the 1964 border clash, the 1977 war and the Union of Islamic courts war.

Keenly aware of the Geopolitics of the world, Ethiopia always played a victim card and sought an outside help.


It was 1978 when the massive military supply from the Soviet Union with highly trained soldiers from Yemen, E. Germany and Cuba drove back the victorious Somali Army inside Ethiopia. This gave the upper hand to the Ethiopians.


Ethiopia got golden opportunity when Col Abdillahi Yussuf fled to their country after a failed coup of 1978. After the collapse of Somali Government in 1991, Ethiopia trained every warlord from Somalia.


Why Abdillahi Yussuf is closer to Ethiopia than any other war lord?


History will tell. But, to my humble opinion, Col. Yussuf has the characters of an Ethiopian Dictators:-. His brutality, his perseverance, his clannish knowledge, his obsession to lead, his indifference to the demise of his people and his lack of any Somali Nationalistic aspiration.

These cumulatively convinced Ethiopians to invest in him more than any other warlord.

There are many unknown contracts between him and the Ethiopians that may haunt the Somalis for generations to come.


Why the Americans allowed Ethiopia to invade and occupy Somalia?

1-Ignorance or ideologically driven venue or both. Maybe, they did not know the historical conflicts between the Ethiopians and the Somalis or the neoconservatives of Bush administration decided that Ethiopia can do the dirty work.

2- Revenge- Maybe it was a deliberate and well calculated to avenge the black hawk helicopter tragedy in the 1990s where over 1000 Somalis and 19 American service men were killed.

3-Or may be as Buri M Hamza stated in his article “ The Aftermath of Ethiopian Invasion on HOL”  that “ Meles Zenawi has managed to fool the US Administration and dupe these into another embarrassment”.


While the Ethiopian occupation is almost achieved, the demise of the Somalis started. Somalis are under the occupation of brutal third world country. They did not see any help coming from US, the Europeans or the Muslim Countries that alleviate their plight and tragedy. Somalis do not have a single African country that recognizes the Somali plight. Somalis in abroad are now realizing the magnitude of the problem, but organizationally are in disarray.


Finally the UN says that the persistent fighting between the TFG & Ethiopian forces on one side and insurgents on the other side has created the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.

In response to this, Meles says “There has not been any indiscriminate firing on our side because it could be completely suicidal for us”

Ironically many UN and European agencies recently stated that Ethiopia used incinerating phosphorous Artillery shells to the civilian residential areas.


It is awfully painful to see Somalia being cornered by the Ethiopians and the Kenyans with the help of the Americans. Two million internally displaced, mainly women and children are on the verge of starvation.

Somalis assets are pillaged or destroyed by the Meles forces under the disguise of war on terror.

Somalis are under constant humiliation and derision with no way out


To many Somalis, the war on terror means: ETHIOPIA PROSPER; SOMALIA SHIPPED TO THE DARK AGES.



Dr. Omar N Mohamed 
E-mail: [email protected]

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