Spare our Soldiers from Somalia


Haile B.06/24/09

Two years ago Ethiopia went to Somalia because of the eminent danger posed by the extreme Islamist group in Somalia. This group had declared Jihad on Ethiopia. It had repeatedly shown its intention to harm Ethiopia by training anti-Ethiopian gorilla fighters and working hand-and-gloves with Isayas of Eritrea.

Al-Shabab is a threat to the international community because of its link to the known terrorist group that destroyed the Twin-towers of the United States and bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania among a few to mention. 

Ethiopia, in my opinion, has agreed to withdraw and painfully accepted the elected president of Somalia so peace will shine on Somalia at last. The President of Somalia caved to the Al-Shabab request and accepted the Sheria Law to be the law of the land. Al-Shabab has refused to accept that and continue to kill the most valuable and intellectual Somalis through out the country. The recent killing of the police chief, the security minister and the former Somalia ambassador to Ethiopia are a few examples.

When Ethiopian lent its support to the TFG a couple of years ago, it was considered by some countries as invader. Even the current Somalia president viewed Ethiopia an invader then. I believe  people learn from the past. The current president, after having stayed in Eritrea, was able to understand who his true friends were. Even though he is now asking Ethiopia to help him save his government, Ethiopia should think twice before jumping the gun.

I fully agree with the statement made by Mr. Bereket Simon that the problem in Somalia is not the problem of Ethiopia alone but also the problem of the international community; therefore, the later has the capacity and an obligation to save a country from chaos, anarchy, and lawlessness.  It is a public knowledge that millions of Somalis are displaced, killed, and some amputated. The terrorist are showing their intentions to spread their viruses in neighbouring countries.  Some peace loving East African countries are nerves while others such as Isayas are exhilarated. 

Somalia survived without a functioning government almost for two decades.  The United Nations saw Somalia as aliens; hence, it failed to provide supports needed to establish a strong functioning government.  I believe that the Head of the United Nations may someday be held responsible for allowing the killing, gruesome amputations,  and the suffering of innocent Somalis at the hands of Al-Shabab. The UN has not lived up to its expectations when it comes to Somalia. When Ethiopia was in Somalia with the invitation of the TFG, there was a light at the end of the tunnel but the United Nations has failed miserably to reach the light. It failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Had it had supported the TFG financially and materially, we would not have lost so many innocent lives. I sometimes wonder if the UN is just a symbol. What is happing in Somalis is preventable. What we are lacking is the will to act humanely and responsibly.  It is time for the UN to act now.

 If the UN fails to act, should Ethiopia intervene upon the request of the Somalia parliament and the president? What would happen if no support is provided from Ethiopia and international community? How does life look under Al-Shabab? Who would be the leader of that country? What will be the ambition of that leader? From the past behaviour, we can predict the future.  If Awery becomes the leader of Somalia, he may strengthen his relationship with anti-Ethiopian and anti-western elements and countries. That means, he would allow creating bases to train suicide -bombers, terrorists, and gorillas. He will realize his dream of greater Somalia that means, he will attempt to annex Ogaden, part of Kenya, and Djibouti. The horn of Africa may fall into turmoil.

Is the international community spared? Not really. The Afghanistan story is a great lesson to the United Nations. The Afghans were forgotten and ignored by the international community for a long time. As a result they became the hot-beds of terrorists.  The Ignorance of the Western nations cost them trillions in fighting terrorists.  These days, the West is spending billions of dollars every year to secure their essential services such as water, electric, gas, historical sites, main bridges, etc. This was unheard of prior to the twin towers bombing.

Somalia is becoming Afghanistan. Ignoring it will cost  the West more than ten folds of what they have spent to fight and prevent terrorism in the past few years for the following reasons:

1.      Terrorists are able to take advantage of the technology to communicate easily and efficiently;

2.      Giving them a space to train would encourage them to do whatever they like;

3.      The training is happing in a county where many children are illiterate and cannot reason the good from the bad. They can be easily brain washed making it a breeding ground for suicide-bombers;

4.      Somalia is placed in a critical coastal line where it can disrupt the international trade sea route;

5.      Anti-Western countries such as Eritrea, Iran, and others may use Somalia as a proxy and a training site for terrorists;

6.      Anti-Ethiopia elements may be trained in Somalis to cause economic distraction, assassination, and killing of civilians.  I wouldn’t be surprised, if the newly formed Ginbot 7 traveling from one western city to another encouraging  their supporters to raise money, hoping that one day they would have bases in Somalia.

I strongly believe the international community should stand in unison and say “enough is enough” and do the right thing supporting the legitimate transitional government of Somalia. By supporting it, every one benefits specially the children, women, and elderly  of Somalia.

Ethiopia should not intervene by the only invitation of the Somalia government. Even if the international community gives Ethiopia its blessings, Ethiopia should avoid from committing more than its share. The international community support should include military, finance, and logistic.  Indeed, if Ethiopia moves in to Somalia, Al-Shabab may use Ethiopia as scapegoat and mobilized the uneducated young Somalis to fight our soldiers.  Preferably Ethiopia should avoid sending out soldiers but provide security, logistic, and financial support.

Be it, if Al-Shabab takes power and attacks Ethiopia, Ethiopia does not need the blessing of the international Community. Al-Shabab knows very well how disciplined and highly trained  Ethiopian soldiers are, I doubt if it tries to instigate war unless its leaders want to induce their own suicide. Al-Shabab might cause more damage to the Western Interest than Ethiopia. The question to the international community is, would you proactively engage to disengage Al-Shabab or would you take your chances and see what Al-Shabab can do?