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Defending national security and peace

Editorial Ethiopian Observer

“Then we traveled thence by sea for fifteen nights and arrived at Mogadishu . It is a town endless in its size. Its people have many camels, and many sheep. Its people are powerful merchants. In it are manufactured the cloths named after it which have no rival and are transported as far as Egypt and elsewhere” January AD 1331. ( Ibn Battuta In Black Africa, S. Hamdun & N. King, p. 16)

Somalia has since the overthrow of Said Barre lacked a legitimate government worth its name representing it as a country in the international community. Though the problem of Somalia is deep-rooted as to its constellation of various clans and composition of two different colonized regions (British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland) being brought under one umbrella, the state of Somalia is more homogeneous in regard to language and religion more than to many African countries. Simply put the later qualities were enviable for nation building and prosperity. However, with the rising of Cold War politics and dictatorial upsurge of the elites around Siad Barre known for his clan mentality and his megalomaniac ambition of creating “Greater Somalia” to unite the five Somalis into one, i.e., the Somalis in Kenya, Ethiopia (Ogaden) and Djibouti to the already existing two, triggered creating havoc and destruction among our brothers and sisters in Somalia. Wars were waged against Ethiopia to occupy and incorporate the vast region of Ogaden both during 1964 and 1977. This war mentality has instilled the mentality of our neighboring country and the illusiveness in reinstating animosity along with the attachment to the “unbelievers” and thereby appealing to their own extremists to fight Ethiopians. However, the hospitality of Ethiopians during the trying times for Somalis beginning from 1990s to 2000s is evident during the mass exodus of Somalis through Ethiopia to various countries in the world.

The enormous suffering of Somalis is a matter urgency to resolve their problems and find out ways of descent living together as a people not only to us Ethiopians as neighbors but to the whole world. During the 1988-1990 civil war in Somalia , fifty to sixty thousand people were killed not to mention the barbarity of the trigger-happy squads and militias, which in the absence of a central government and the state has literally terrorized and plundered for the last 16 years. It is tragic to see that internecine war among Somalis should continue unabated while the world is watching the rise of Taliban-like extremists take root in East Africa .

Even though there is a legitimate government recognized by the World and Regional Bodies such as UN, AU and IGAD, no measures were taken to defend its authority through diplomacy engagements, sanctions or direct interventions to give hope and possibilities for the peace loving people of Somalia . All countries that have committed themselves to help the transitional federal government (TNG) of Somalia have to show their expediency and solidarity through concerted efforts to establish a working government and avoid jeopardizing the regional peace and security of the Horn of Africa and Middle East .

Ethiopia as a front side country in the Horn of Africa cannot idly substantiate its policies on wait and see till the Horn of Africa is stained with bloodbath by the Islamic fundamentalists, who have declared jihad on Ethiopia and trying to occupy Ogaden. The consequences of religious extremists at the helm of power have been shown earlier to serve as safe heavens for harboring terrorists, generating suicide bombers and educating reckless individuals bent on converting people according to their own way of religious dogma. This dogma of the fanatics has no room for tolerance of other beliefs or ideologies beyond their boundaries not to mention of their own as uttered by the Islamic Courts (person not praying five times should be punished).

The irony of this extreme type of religious fundamentalism is that sources of income, wealth, logistics, armaments, etc. are provided by those, who in the perverted phrase of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, work against the their own long-term interests. There are wealthy people in our region who caring less for the poor are arming them in the fight against the “evils” and “unbelievers”, there are also some who call themselves “coalition of the willing” such as Isaias Afeworki, who ride on the bandwagon of the global fight against terrorists but is arming terrorists to destabilize Ethiopia and the region including the Sudan, Chad, etc. Frustrated by the defeat at the hands of the brave Ethiopians, Isaias wanted to create a new third front at the South Eastern part of the country so that his attempt of three-pronged insurgency including the northern part along Eritrea and the central part would materialize. The central part in Quara of mercenaries along with his advisors has recently been annihilated without any herald evidently remaining for Asmara ’s news and stratagem. The third front created by Asmara is very serious as this step of sending arms violates the arms embargo imposed by the UN (See Resolution 1474, 2003 http://www.womenwarpeace.org/somalia/docs/res1474.pdf).

Ethiopia following the spirits and charters of the UN, has tried both through IGAD, AU and UN to find solutions for this war torn country, where its citizens have been suffering for so long and so many. Ethiopians have been trying sincerely to mediate peace and stability in Somalia so that both neighbors live and prosper on mutual respect and integrity. However, the threat and declaration of jihad against Ethiopia by the irresponsible fanatics do not deter us from safeguarding our national security and peace. Any threat or aggression to violate the integrity of our Ethiopian territory and integrity by any extremists or their messengers is going to be dealt by the combined forces of resistance of the Ethiopian peoples.


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