Monday, September 27, 2010

Meles Zenawi's Policy In The Ogaden Exposed!

Andrew Koriri
(Sub-Sahara Africa Security Analyst)

On the night of September 21, 2010, less than a week after hundreds of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) armed fighters trained by Eritrea trespassed through Somaliland and entered into the Somali Region of Ethiopia (Ogaden), Senior Ethiopian Government officials were in Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa) to receive an “ONLF” delegation led by Engineer Salahadin Ma’ow Sh. Abdirahman. In the coming few days, most likely in the first week of October, the “ONLF” faction that chose peace with Ethiopia will hold conferences inside the Ogaden region. The plan is to organize one such conference in Gari’goan, a place of symbolic value for the ONLF, as it is where its first conference was held after the fall of the Dergue regime. This will be followed by a large meeting with the ‘people’ in Kebri-Dahar to brief on the outcomes of the Gari’goan conference.

In June 2010, The Ethiopian Government also signed a peace deal with the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF), a defunct Islamist front with no armed presence in the region. The group’s leader Sheekh Ibrahim is now in the capital of the Somali regional State - Jigjiga, but there has been no change for the better in the security situation of the region since his group signed the peace deal. In fact, it got worse with clashes between the Government forces and the ONLF rebels becoming more frequent and more intense. In the month of September alone, Ethiopia claimed to have killed over 120 rebel fighters, while the ONLF on its part issued a series of military communiqués in which it claimed to have killed several hundreds of Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF).

Because it is clear that foes do not turn into trusting friends overnight - over a span of a week in this case, it is obvious that Engineer Salahadin is not the man who sent the three hundred fighters into the region. In fact, only two months ago, the Engineer was in negotiation with an Ethiopian delegation in the United States of America; which tells us that he is not also the man who commands the rebel fighters who are fighting inside the Ogaden region.

This brings several questions.

(1) If the new ‘ONLF’ group can’t silence the guns that are blazing in the region, what peace can they offer?
(2) Could it be the case that they have a strong public appeal and hence can offer political capital to the Ethiopian Government in its fight against ONLF, or the ‘faction that still refuses to negotiate’, as the government likes to describe the ONLF led by Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman (the man who is known to be the bona fide leader of the ONLF)?
(3) If the peace deals with UWSLF didn’t help the situation on the ground, why does the Ethiopian Government continue to engage in yet another peace deals with groups that are unlikely to have a real impact in how things are going on the ground?
(4) What does Ethiopia hope to achieve with these ‘peace’ deals?
(5) What repercussions will it have for the ONLF that is not part of this deal?

Meles Zenawi’s Mindset and two-pronged Strategy

Prime Minsiter Meles Zenawi made a telling interview on August 11, 2010 in which he delved in depth into the clan system of the Ogaden community and basically drew a line between sub-clans he said are fighting him and those he labeled as either friendly or negotiating. It was a wrong generalization and it drew the ire of the ONLF which immediately issued a press release accusing him of inciting genocide against one particular sub-clan under his rule. It was an embarrassing interview in which the Ethiopian Prime Minister appeared more like a traditional leader of a clan entity than a political leader of a multi-ethnic state. The whole interview has been a catalogue of outbursts which led many to raise questions over the Prime Minister’s political sanity. But the utterances could help us read the mindset of Mr. Meles and why vain peace deals have become the vogue in Ogaden.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi knows that these peace deals will not yield military dividends in the form of weakened operational capacity of the ONLF. However, he counts on them leading to further divisions among the support base of the ONLF- the various Ogaden sub-clans. He hopes this would translate into a growing pressure on ONLF leadership to acquiesce to his demands. Therefore, he sees these peace projects as worthy investments. There are also some analysts who see this process as a public relations exercise designed to woo back petrified international oil companies into the region. It could also be part of a larger scheme to give the façade of readiness to attend to the concerns of the international community who continue to voice concerns over human right violations in Ethiopia in general and mainly in Ogaden.

The Utility of ‘Turns’

Throughout the history of mankind, converts have been used to show the superiority of one’s religion, idea or system. ‘Turns’ are a vital expression of triumphant power, proof that a cause is convincing and potent. So, by fronting ‘ex-ONLF’ men who have discarded their ‘wrong’ ideologies, the regime in Addis Ababa hopes to show that the ONLF is pursuing a lost cause. That is also another reason why it is imperative to import men from the Diaspora; men who may or may not have anything to do with ONLF, and parade them to the local and international media to prove the quandary in which the ONLF is in.

This writer is reliably informed that there is only one man who ever had any contact with ONLF in any capacity in the entire ‘ONLF’ delegation that landed at Bole on September 21, 2010. The leader of the delegation, Engineer Salahadin Ma’ow, was a member of the central committee of the ONLF before he was ousted in 2004 along with the late Dr. Mohamed Sirad Dollal, later killed by the Ethiopian army in 2009. Therefore, while he is a ‘Turn’ in the sense that he was a member of the ONLF in the past, he may not be a very useful ‘turn’, as he was in the cold for a while. This will damage the potency of the message of ‘peace’ Salahadin may espouse in the coming days.

It is instructive to note that there is no single member out of the serving 51 members of the central committee of the ONLF who is part of this peace deal. Likewise, not a single military commander of the ONLF has yet to surrender and join this group. It is therefore highly unlikely that events on the ground will be affected by the ongoing processes. None of the Diaspora contingent who morphed into ‘ONLF’ representatives overnight has a recognizable public standing and hence are unlikely to influence the opinions of the majority of the Ogaden people.

The role of local Militias in the fight against ONLF.

From 2007, the Ethiopian government started to arm local militias against the ONLF. In addition to the useful intelligence information they bring in, the local militias known as Liyu Police (Special Police) are mainly formed to thwart international criticisms of the Ethiopian military and to paint the conflict as internal civil war in the region. The Liyu Police offer little resistance to the ONLF as they are poorly trained and are largely urban and semi-urban school drop-outs with little motivation to fight. Their main use is the cover they provide for the Ethiopian army in its handling of the conflict.

Meles follows a two-pronged strategy in dealing with the ONLF menace: divide and weaken the ONLF through series of ‘peace deals’, and intensify the use of local militias in the fight alongside the national army, to insulate the army and himself from any accountability. He will likely continue to rely more on the second one, which is arming local militias; after the current phase of the ‘peace deal’ is finalized and the fanfare dies down.

The conflict in the region will continue to claim more lives on both sides and shows no sign of ending. The Ogaden conflict is a political one which lingered on for a long time and it can only be ended with a political solution. The current peace deals signed by the Ethiopian Government and various groups with no military and political clout in the region will not help in advancing genuine peace and reconciliation in the region. In fact, it will do more harm as it will undervalue the meanings of peace deals.

1. The Ethiopian Government must realize that staged peace pranks are not substitute to genuine peace agreements. The conflict in Ogaden can only be resolved when real actors came face to face and discuss real issues. It must agree to unconditional negotiations with ONLF in a neutral country and in the presence of international mediators, as this is consistent with all known models of conflict resolution in the world.

2. The ONLF must prepare itself to make painful concessions if and when such an international negotiation is organized. It must see the armed struggle only as a means of bringing the Ethiopian Government to the negotiating table and should not be influenced by any outside forces in taking decisions about peace.

No comments:

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

About Us

The Foundation is dedicated to networking like-minded Somalis opposed to the terrorist insurgency that is plaguing our beloved homeland and informing the international public at large about what is really happening throughout the Horn of Africa region.

Blog Archive

We Are Winning the War on Terrorism in Horn of Africa

The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

Terror Free Somalia Foundation