The illusive so call peace with ONLF (Ogaden National Front), and the government of the genocidal regime of Melese Zenawie of Ethiopia claimed has liberated all the prisoners of ONLF proved farce. In reality the true ONLF is still fighting the regime. The so called “ONLF” that strike a peace deal with Melese Zenawie is the proxy movement made and prepared by dictator for local and international consumption to prove that the war and the genocide in Ogaden region is finished. This game is to assure the international oil drillers the safety of the regions. The resent declaration of the True ONLF from Landon and the continual imprisonment of its member the Canadian Ethiopian Bashir Makhtal who was betrayed by the corrupted Kenyan police and given to Melese Zenawie proved and divulgated the reality.
Whenever any dictatorial regime declares peace with anybody that means the war continues. It is proved in Somalia and with his Brother in Arm Eritrean Shabia.
The true lasting peace will come when the genocidal regime of Melese Zenawie is swept away by Human social Tsunami that blow the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali. The recent Bashir Makhtal’s letter smuggled out from the most notorious African prison describes his anger on the Canadian government letting him languish since he is black and African. The Canadian in prison proved that the federal government in Ottawa plays double standard at home and with Ethiopian regime.
The letter, which was smuggled out of an Ethiopian jail, will be released at a news conference in Ottawa 22 January, 2011, a Memorial Day Makhtal’s rendition by the Kenyan corrupted official to Ethiopia dictator repeating the same crime they committed with that of the Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan PKK to Turkey.
“I am writing to tell my fellow Canadian citizens that I am a hostage for an African country which receives millions of dollars of the taxes you paid from our government as humanitarian aid.” (Mikhtal’s Prison Letter)
This will not solve the “Somali Question» neither in Kenya nor in Ethiopia like that of the “Kurd national Question “. In both cases the war and the killing continue.
The Kenyan ICC Killers are known for putting oil on the fire so long as they are paid. Their time has come to face The Hague to International Justice for the Crime against humanity for the mass killings they committed against the innocent Kenyan in 2007 election.
Makhtal was condemned a life sentence in a prison in Addis Ababa refusing the deal he was offered by Melese Zenawie regime to denounce ONLF. He was charged with multiple counts of terrorism for allegedly being a ringleader with the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
The Ethiopian dictator punishes families to three generation for the role of his father Makhtal’s grandfather, Makhtal Dahir, was one of the co-founders of the organization.
In his letter Maihtal understood that being born in the Horn of Africa makes you any way guilty for generation at home and in Diaspora:-
“I am an innocent civilian on the death row … I am guilt(y) by birth,” he writes.
Makhtal had returned to Africa and started a successful second hand clothing business in 2002, where he got caught while running from the invading Meles Zenawie regime on Somalia Kenya border in 2006 fleeing with all the refugees.
The Kenyan corrupted police, the day before his court appearance, sold him to the Ethiopian regime. The day the tribunal he found himself on the way to Addis Ababa. The Ottawa government did not act at all while other nationals are being freed son after.
Makhtal explains his ordeal in the notorious prison in the following wise: _
“I share a room with real criminals, rapists and murderers with whom I share the same fate — death. I lost my optimism that one day I will walk free, and my dream to join my beautiful wife, a heartbroken, innocent lady is not there anymore. I am in mourning for my previous free days and my stolen future.”
O.N.L.F Position Statement On So-Called “Peace Deal” With UWSLF
Friday, 30 July 2010 15:53 Ogaden Online
The Ethiopian regimes so-called “peace deal” with the Ogaden branch of the now defunct Al-Itihaad Al-Islaami (AIAI) organization known as the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF) has no impact on facts on the ground in Ogaden and represents an attempt by the regime to promote the idea that a non-existent peace process is underway in Ogaden.
The so-called UWSLF was created to act as the Ogaden chapter of the AIAI organization. Its ideology and methods were counter to the interests of the people of Ogaden and were therefore rejected by the people. USWLF assisted by external elements sought to establish a functioning presence in Ogaden during the last few years but failed to do so. When UWSLF sponsors ceased to provide financial and material support for the AIAI affiliate, the leadership of the UWSLF was left with no option but to surrender to the Ethiopian regime. The regime saw this as an opportunity to forward the impression that it was pursuing a legitimate peace process and making significant security gains in Ogaden in order to alleviate the fears of potential investors in the oil sector and also out of increasing concern over persistent accusations that the regime is engaged in collective punishment, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ogaden.
Promoting a fictitious peace process with actors having no impact on facts of the ground in Ogaden, and potentially other conflict areas in the future, is also part of the regimes strategy to deviate attention from the most recent stolen election in Ethiopia in which the regimes ruling party and its allies illegitimately secured 545 out of 547 seats in the national assembly.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) wishes to make clear to all interested parties that the UWSLF has no constituency in Ogaden nor does this so-called “peace agreement” with the Ethiopian regime impact in any way facts on the ground in Ogaden. The ONLF wishes to further affirm that any legitimate peace process aimed at reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting political settlement to the conflict between the people of Ogaden and successive Ethiopian regimes can only be achieved through an internationally mediated process, taking place in a neutral venue.
The Ethiopian regime continues to refuse international mediation of the conflict and has therefore pursued bogus so called “peace agreements” with entities that are either non-existent or have no constituency in order to create the impression that there is a peace process underway in Ogaden.
The ONLF wishes to affirm once again that there is no peace process underway in Ogaden and that statements to the contrary by the Ethiopian regime are a diversionary tactic by the ruling Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) party.
Ethiopia: Zenawi Govt calls EU MP Ana Gomes “Stupid” for a hearing on Ogaden conflict
Ms. Ana Gomes has reappeared, not unexpectedly. She was the highly controversial head of the EU Electoral Observer Mission to Ethiopia in 2005 whose behavior and less than balanced relationship with opposition leaders and parties led to a formal complaint by the Government. Ms. Gomes has been active on a number of occasions in recent years on behalf of violent opposition movements in the Diaspora, particularly Ginbot 7. Now with the election coming up she is looking for the limelight again. This week, as a European Member of Parliament, she was hosting and opening a “hearing” on “Human Rights and the Security Situation in the Ogaden”, in collaboration with the Organization of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples, a collaboration which, by definition, demonstrates Ms. Gomes’ ignorance of the political situation in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State where Ogaden Somalis are represented and participate in government. This week Ms. Gomes has been in London where she addressed a meeting organized by Third World Solidarity. It appears that Ms. Gomes and the Eritrean Government have something of a common agenda. Whether they are working together as some allege, is beside the point. Most of those at the meeting were former Derg members or supporters guilty of crimes against the people of Ethiopia. The organizers claimed the meeting would be attended by MPs but none of those listed actually attended. One person who did attend was a lady who is persona non grata in Ethiopia because of the dubious disposal of property from the Russian Embassy in Ethiopia in the early nineties. In a few weeks time, in early April, Ms. Gomes apparently plans to be in Washington to deliver a “keynote speech” at an opposition organized conference on Governance, Peace and Security and Development. No doubt Ms. Gomes will also surface at other meetings before the election on May 23rd. It would be difficult enough to accept this sort of deliberate effort to interfere in the electoral process by an outsider even if Ms. Gomes actually knew anything about the reality of politics in Ethiopia. Ms. Gomes, however, does not as she comprehensively demonstrated by her naïve, and frankly stupid, performance as head of the EU Electoral Observation Mission in 2005. Her recent efforts show she has not become any more sensible, or knowledgeable.” SOURCE: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ana Gomes hosts EU hearing on Ogaden, Ethiopia crisis
Human Rights and Security in Ogaden: European Parliament Film screening (excerpts): Silent Cry Ms. Ana-Maria Gomes, MEP Mr. Marino Busdachin, UNPO Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed, African Rights Monitor Ms. Xasan Ruqiyo, Ogaden Communities & Civil Society Association The hearing, whose topic is “Human Rights and Security Situation in Ogaden,” will be opened by Ms Ana Gomes MEP, who is chairing the event, and Mr. Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of UNPO. Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed, from African Rights Monitor, and Ms. Xasan Ruqiyo from the Ogaden Communities & Civil Society Association will be speaking on behalf of Ogaden. There will also excerpts from a film, Silent Cry, a grassroots documentary produced by British students, reporting the lives of Somali refugees from Ogaden. These stories were discovered accidentally when the students, visiting Nairobi on vacation, met Omar, a taxi driver who shared with them his personal tragic story. The students then went to the Ifo Refugee Camp, in Northern Kenya, where they interviewed several refugees, including victims of rape and torture. Ogaden is a region in eastern Ethiopia with a majority population of Somalis. The Ethiopian government has waged a long-term war against the Ogaden, suppressing the region and its people. Years of neglect and war have left Ogaden in a state of turmoil, and human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government are commonplace. There is limited infrastructure, and due to Ethiopia’s corrupted federal structure, no political power on the part of the people of Ogaden to develop the area. The hearing is sponsored by Ms Ana Gomes, MEP from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu) of the European Parliament in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
An Open Letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Justice Navanathem Pillay
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Madame High Commissioner,
Advocates of justice around the world are thrilled at the strong action the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court has taken in issuing a warrant for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan, resulting in
finally holding him accountable for the atrocities being committed in Darfur over the last six years. Under
al-Bashir’s leadership, millions of Sudanese from Darfur, as well as from Southern Sudan, have suffered
inconceivable harm, injustice and hardship.
The action that the International Criminal Court has taken in this situation has restored hope to peace and
justice loving people, affirming that international human rights law not only exists on paper, but in reality.
It also sends an important message to perpetrators throughout the world that impunity for their crimes is not
assured forever; which may be a primary reason that one of the first leaders to defend Omar al-Bashir and
condemn the warrant was Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, whose government has also been
implicated in a pattern of widespread perpetration of serious human rights atrocities in Ethiopia and in
Somalia. He and those within his government may be keenly aware of their own vulnerability to similar
actions by the ICC in the future that could upend a deeply entrenched system of government-supported
impunity that has protected perpetrators from any accountability.
I first became knowledgeable regarding the abhorrent human rights situation in Ethiopia when Genocide
Watch and Survivors Rights International were called by the head of the Anuak Justice Council, Obang
Metho, (now the leader of the newly formed Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia) to investigate the
brutal massacre of 424 Anuak carried out in Gambella, Ethiopia in December of 2003. The Anuak are a
tiny, dark-skinned ethnic group who live in a remote section of southeastern Ethiopia.
Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and civilian militia groups from another ethnic group utilized a
prepared list to target Anuak leaders, many of whom were opposed to the government’s plan to exclude
them from any involvement in the drilling for oil on their indigenous land. As militia groups chanted,
“Today is the day for killing Anuak,” both the military and militias used machetes, axes and guns to kill the
unarmed victims, frequently raping the women while chanting, “Now there will be no more Anuak
Extra-judicial killings, rape, disappearances, destruction of livelihood and the displacement of thousands of
Anuak continued into late 2005 before finally subsiding when the same Ethiopian National Defense Forces
were moved to the Ogaden area of southeastern Ethiopia and into Somalia where similar atrocities were
and still are being committed. A subsequent investigation of the Anuak massacre by Genocide Watch and
Survivors Rights International to determine who was behind the human rights crimes, documented the
existence of a plan called “Operation Sunny Mountain,” that could be traced to originating at the highest
levels within the central government of Ethiopia.
As a result of our investigation and based on our experience in international law and genocide, we
concluded that the killing of the Anuak in Gambella, Ethiopia, fit the definitions of genocide and crimes
against humanity. Human Rights Watch also conducted two investigations of their own and determined that
the crimes against the Anuak meet the stringent definition of crimes against humanity.
Most of the perpetrators in their report and in ours have never been brought to justice under the Ethiopian
justice system due to the failings and corruption of that system. Despite the violation of international law,
not only has no one has been held accountable for these crimes which occurred over five years ago, but
worse than that, such crimes continue in other places in the country.
Only some of these cases have been investigated by respected international human rights organizations, but
where they have, findings consistently point to the involvement of the Ethiopian government in the inciting,
the empowerment or the perpetration of crimes against humanity, war crimes and even genocide, often
justified by them as “counter-insurgency.”
In light of these facts, I would strongly urge you to initiate an investigation of the situation in
Ethiopia based on your proprio motu powers as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
We believe that your investigation is justified due to the culture of impunity that exists within Ethiopia.
Extensive documentation is available to examine the violations, most of which has been compiled in
independent investigative reports completed by international human rights organizations. We also believe
that the Ethiopian people have been waiting long enough for genuine justice and relief from the harsh
oppression and brutal tactics committed by a government that purports to be a partner in the War on Terror,
while terrorizing their own people. Addressing the EPRDF regime, friendly to Omar al-Bashir, may bring
greater stability to the entire Horn of Africa.
We are willing to provide assistance to you in carrying out this task because we, in Genocide Watch, and
other human rights organizations are determined to pursue justice, even long after violations have occurred,
as part of our mission. Investigative reports, contacts and other information can be provided should you
I thank you for the excellent work you are doing in combating impunity, the enemy of justice. Perpetrators
of crimes against humanity must not be allowed to walk free. Genocide Watch will continue to do its part,
collaborating with others, in pursuing additional ways to make such crimes carry a heavy penalty. One way
is to work with domestic governments to make sure that those Ethiopians who have committed these crimes
do not gain access to entry into western countries, something that is now supported through new legislation
in many of the western countries. Additionally, in Canada, Europe and in the US, there are now laws giving
authority to these governments to prosecute human rights perpetrators found within their new countries of
residence should admissible evidence be found to charge them. The western countries should no longer act
as a haven for such criminals.
Thank you for your consideration of this request for the initiation of an investigation of genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes in Ethiopia. We look forward to hearing from you.
(Ogaden Online) — Reports reaching the Ogaden Online service desk from the city of Diridhaba in the province of Shiniile confirm the existence of a recent pitched battle that took place between the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) troops stationed in the area and the local population.
It is reported that towards the end of last week, the civilians held an area-wide demonstration to protest the recent confiscation by the Woyanne militia of a fertile agricultural land estimated at 60,000 hectares. Reliable sources within the TPLF and in Addis Ababa intimated that the land was clandestinely sold to a Chinese consortium
Eyewitnesses reported that the TPLF troops, instead of letting the citizens vent their bent up anger and frustration through the peaceful demonstration, started shooting everyone on sight. Ogaden civilians, once they realized what was going on, immediately dispersed. However, Ogaden Online reporters in the area confirmed that instead of waiting out the TPLF troops to return to their barracks, as used to be the norm, the residents, many of whom were nomads who have firearms for protecting their livestock from wild animals in the area, went back to their homes and came back armed and ready to fight the TPLF gangs.
Eyewitnesses reported that the TPLF troops were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of armed civilians from all corners of the city. As a result, the TPLF troops were quickly overrun by the local civilians. It is reported that the TPLF militias left five of their dead in the area and went back to their barracks. The casualty figured from the Woyanne side is unknown.
The civilians were said to have lost one, but there are many injuries sustained by the civilian side. The city is still tense. There are reports that the TPLF militias have consulted with their bosses inAddis Ababa on what to do next. It is said they are awaiting further instructions. Many of the civilians are said to have sworn that rather than vacate their fertile land, they would die facing off the TPLF militias and any other group that attempts to confiscate their land.
2010-03-12 05:41:31 GMT2010-03-12 13:41:31 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Soldiers of Somali government forces take position at the frontlines of the fighting with Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, Somali, March 11, 2010. At least 30 people were killed and 83 others injured Thursday as fierce fighting continued between Somali government forces backed by African Union peacekeeping troops and Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, medical sources said. (Xinhua/Ismail Warsameh)
Soldiers of Somali government forces run for cover at the frontlines of the fighting with Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, Somali, March 11, 2010. At least 30 people were killed and 83 others injured Thursday as fierce fighting continued between Somali government forces backed by African Union peacekeeping troops and Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, medical sources said. (Xinhua/Ismail Warsameh)
Soldiers of Somali government forces take position at the frontlines of the fighting with Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, Somali, March 11, 2010. At least 30 people were killed and 83 others injured Thursday as fierce fighting continued between Somali government forces backed by African Union peacekeeping troops and Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, medical sources said. (Xinhua/Ismail Warsameh)
MOGADISHU, March 11 (Xinhua) — At least 30 people were killed and almost 83 others were wounded Thursday as the fierce fighting continues between Somali government forces backed by African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops and Islamist insurgent fighters in Mogadishu, medical sources said.
The fighting which erupted on Wednesday resumed in the early hours of Thursday morning after it briefly stopped overnight with both sides claiming successes.
“As many as 30 people were killed, 12 of them in one area in the north of Mogadishu while we have picked almost 83 wounded people including 35 children mainly in the northern districts of Mogadishu,” Ali Muse, head of local ambulance service told Xinhua.
Heavy artillery and intense gunfire was heard around the battle areas in the north of Mogadishu where witnesses said several shells landed in residential neighborhoods.
Families in residential pockets in the north began fleeing their homes to join hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians on the outskirts of coastal Indian Ocean city of Mogadishu.
Somali government military commanders as well as insurgent fighters have claimed to have achieved ground from the other side but that cannot be independently verified as the battle still rages in north Mogadishu.
The latest upsurge in fighting comes as speculation intensifies of a major government offensive to retake the capital from rebels who control more than half of the restive coastal city.
Somali government controls only parts of the capital Mogadishu while Islamist groups rein over large swathes of territory in the south and centre of war-ravaged horn of African nation.
The U.S. pledged to support Somali government plans to wrestle control of Mogadishu from Islamists who are poised to oust the weak but internationally recognized government of Somalia.
Somali official tells residents to flee battle zones as fighting flares for a third day
By Mohamed Olad Hassan, AP Friday, March 12, 2010
Somali official to residents: Flee battle zones
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Fighting erupted in Somalia’s capital for the third straight day Friday in some of the worst violence in nearly a year, as government-backed troops shelled the front lines of rebels trying to advance into government-held territory.
Mogadishu’s mayor warned residents to flee the fighting, which is expected to intensify in coming weeks after the government launches a long-awaited offensive against Islamist insurgents.
Emergency officials say at least 50 people have been killed and nearly 150 wounded in fighting in the Somali capital on Wednesday and Thursday. At least two more people were killed in fighting Friday, a resident reported. At least six were wounded, emergency officials said.
Rebels advanced to as close as 1 mile (2 kilometers) from the government-held area on Thursday, but have since been pushed back several blocks.
Mogadishu Mayor Abdurisaq Mohamed Nor told citizens to move at least a couple miles (kilometers) away from battle zones. Residents in Mogadishu are often caught in crossfire or are hit by off-target munitions.
“The ongoing fighting is not part of our planned major offensive, but there is possibility that it can follow, we urge the civilians to flee from the battle zones,” said Nor “This time your suffering will not last much longer. We will finish the rebels off.”
A resident, Mohamed Abdi Haji, said that about 200 insurgents aboard a dozen gun-mounted vehicles moved into his neighborhood and drove toward the presidential palace. Government soldiers and African Union peacekeepers fired barrages at the militants and forced them to retreat, Haji said.
Somalia: Africom’s First War
Friday, 12 March 2010, 5:13 pm Opinion: Rick Rozoff
Africom’s First War: U.S. Directs Large-Scale Offensive In Somalia
Over 43 people have been killed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu in the past two days in fighting between Shabab (al-Shabaab) insurgent forces, who on March 10 advanced to within one mile of the nation’s presidential palace, and troops of the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government. The fighting has just begun.
The last ambassador of the United States to Somalia (1994-1995), Daniel H. Simpson, penned a column for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on March 10 in which which he posed the question “why, apart from the only lightly documented charge of Islamic extremism among the Shabab, is the United States reengaging in Somalia at this time?”
He answered it in stating “Part of the reason is because the United States has its only base in Africa up the coast from Mogadishu, in Djibouti, the former French Somaliland. The U.S. Africa Command was established there in 2008, and, absent the willingness of other African countries to host it, the base in Djibouti became the headquarters for U.S. troops and fighter bombers in Africa.
“Flush with money, in spite of the expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense obviously feels itself in a position to undertake military action in Africa, in Somalia.” 
Fulfilling its appointed role, the New York Times leaked U.S. military plans for the current offensive in Somalia on March 5 in a report titled “U.S. Aiding Somalia in Its Plan to Retake Its Capital.” (Note that the Transitional Federal Government is presented as Somalia itself and Mogadishu as its capital.)
The tone of the feature was of course one of approval and endorsement of the Pentagon’s rationale for directly intervening in Somalia at a level not seen since 1993 and support for proxy actions last witnessed with the invasion by Ethiopia in 2006. The report began with a description of a military surveillance plane circling over the Somali capital and a quote from the new chief of staff of the nation’s armed forces, General Mohamed Gelle Kahiye: “It’s the Americans. They’re helping us.”
Afterward “An American official in Washington, who said he was not authorized to speak publicly” – a hallmark of the American free press – was, if not identified, quoted as maintaining that U.S. covert operations were planned if not already underway and “What you’re likely to see is airstrikes and Special Ops moving in, hitting and getting out.” 
The New York Times also provided background information regarding the current offensive:
“Over the past several months, American advisers have helped supervise the training of the Somali forces to be deployed in the offensive….The Americans have provided covert training to Somali intelligence officers, logistical support to the peacekeepers, fuel for the maneuvers, surveillance information about insurgent positions and money for bullets and guns.” 
Four days later General William (“Kip”) Ward, commander of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In his introductory remarks the chairman of the committee, Senator Carl Levin, reinforced recent American attempts to expand the scope of the deepening Afghanistan-Pakistan war, the deadliest and lengthiest in the world, to the west and south in stating that “al Qaeda and violent extremists who share their ideology are not just located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region but in places like Somalia, Mali, Nigeria and Niger.” 
In his formal report Ward pursued a similar tact and expanded the Pentagon’s “counter-terrorism” (CT) area of responsibility yet further from South Asia: “U.S. Africa Command has focused the majority of its CT capacity building activities in East Africa on Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, which – aside from Somalia – are the countries directly threatened by terrorists.” 
He also spoke of the current offensive by “the transition government to reclaim parts of Mogadishu,” stating “I think it’s something that we would look to do and support.” 
Senator Levin and General Ward included eight African nations in the broader Afghan war category of Operation Enduring Freedom, countries from the far northeast of the continent (the Horn of Africa) to the far west (the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea). The U.S. military has already been involved in counterinsurgency operations in Mali and Niger against ethnic Tuareg rebels, who have no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda, not that one would know that from Levin’s comments.
In between South Asia and Africa lies Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula. The New York Times report cited earlier reminded readers that “The United States is increasingly concerned about the link between Somalia and Yemen.” Indeed as Levin’s comments quoted above establish, Washington (along with its NATO allies) is forging an expanded war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and into Africa. 
That extension of the South Asia war has not gone unobserved in world capitals, and earlier this year Russian political analyst Andrei Fedyashin commented: “Adding up all four fronts – if the United States ventured an attack on Yemen and Somalia – America would have to invade a territory equal to three-fourths of Western Europe; and it is hardly strong enough for that.” 
Strong enough or not, that is just what the White House and the Pentagon are doing. The only other objection that can be raised to the above author’s description is that it too severely narrows the intended battlefront.
In the past six months Somali troops have been sent to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda for combat training and “most are now back in the capital, waiting to fight.”
In addition, “There are also about 5,000 Ugandan and Burundian peacekeepers, with 1,700 more on their way, and they are expected to play a vital role in backing up advancing Somali forces.” 
Last October the U.S. led ten days of military exercises in Uganda – Natural Fire 10 – with 450 American troops and over 550 from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The U.S. soldiers were deployed from Camp Lemonier (Lemonnier) in Djibouti, home to the Pentagon’s Joint Task Force/Horn of Africa and over 2,000 U.S. forces. The de facto headquarters of AFRICOM.
At the time of the maneuvers a major Ugandan newspaper wrote that they were “geared towards the formation of the first Joint East African Military Force.” 
In addition to using such a multinational regional force in Somalia, the U.S. can also deploy it against Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in Uganda, Congo and Sudan, and could even employ it against Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Sudan, along with Somalia the only nations on the African continent not to some degree enmeshed in military partnerships with Washington and NATO. (Libya has participated in NATO naval exercises and South Africa has hosted the bloc’s warships.) 
Earlier this month the Kenyan newspaper The East African divulged that “American legislators are pushing for a law that will see another phase of military action to apprehend Lord’s Resistance Army rebels.”
The news source added that the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Bill adopted by the U.S. Congress last year “requires the US government to develop a new multifaceted strategy” and as such the new bill under consideration “will not be the first time the US government is providing support to the Uganda army in fighting the LRA.
“The US has been backing the UPDF [Uganda People’s Defence Force] with logistics and training to fight the rebel group.” 
Last month it was announced that the U.S. Africa Command has dispatched special forces to train 1,000 Congolese troops in the north and east of their nation, where Congo borders Uganda.
Former U.S. diplomat Daniel Simpson was quoted above as to what in part is Washington’s motive in pursuing a new war in and around Somalia: To test out AFRICOM ground and air forces in Djibouti for direct military action on the continent.
A United Press International report of March 10, placed under energy news, offered another explanation. In a feature titled “East Africa is next hot oil zone,” the news agency disclosed that “East Africa is emerging as the next oil boom following a big strike in Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin. Other oil and natural gas reserves have been found in Tanzania and Mozambique and exploration is under way in Ethiopia and even war-torn Somalia.”
The region is, in the words of the Western chief executive officer of an oil prospecting firm, “the last real high-potential area in the world that hasn’t been fully explored.” 
The article added: “The discovery at Lake Albert, in the center of Africa between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is estimated to contain the equivalent of several billion barrels of oil. It is likely to be the biggest onshore field found south of the Sahara Desert in two decades.”
It also spoke of “a vast 135,000-square-mile territory in landlocked Ethiopia that is believed to contain sizable reserves of oil. It is estimated to hold 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as well.”
And, more pertinent to the Horn of Africa:
“A 1993 study by Petroconsultants of Geneva concluded that Somalia has two of the most potentially interesting hydrocarbon-yielding basins in the entire region – one in the central Mudugh region, the other in the Gulf of Aden More recent analyses indicate that Somalia could have reserves of up to 10 billion barrels.” 
Washington’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are also deeply involved in the militarization of East Africa.
On March 10 NATO extended its naval operation in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, Ocean Shield, to the end of 2012, an unprecedentedly long 33-month extension. On March 12 “Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 will take over missions from Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for the four-month assignment. The change will increase NATO’s contribution from four ships to five ships….” 
At the same hearings of the Senate Armed Services Committee that AFRICOM commander William Ward addressed, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, America’s Admiral James Stavridis, “noted that 100,000 NATO troops are involved in expeditionary operations on three continents, including operations in Afghanistan, off the coast of Africa, and in Bosnia.” (Evidently Kosovo was meant for Bosnia.)
Stavridis, who is concurrently top military chief of U.S. European Command, said “The nature of threats in this 21st century [is] going to demand more than just sitting behind our borders.” 
He also said he finds “Iran alarming in any number of dimensions,” specifically mentioning alleged “state-sponsored terrorism, nuclear proliferation and political outreach into Latin America.” 
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently returned from Jordan and the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain where he pressured both nations to support the war in Afghanistan and Alliance naval operations.
NATO’s top official said [on March 9] that he has asked Jordan and Bahrain to contribute to alliance naval operations fighting terrorism and piracy in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden, as he ended a visit to the two countries. NATO is keen to improve cooperation with Arab and Muslim states, seeing them as important allies for a number of missions, including the all-important deployment in Afghanistan.” 
Regarding the Western military bloc’s almost nine-year Operation Active Endeavor in the entire Mediterranean Sea and its Operation Ocean Shield in the Gulf of Aden, Rasmussen said, “We would very much like to strengthen cooperation (with Bahrain and Jordan) within these operations.” 
While in Jordan he was strengthening military ties with NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – and in Bahrain firming up the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative aimed at the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have military personnel serving under NATO in Afghanistan.
In late February a delegation of the 53-nation African Union (AU) visited NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.
“NATO continues to support the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through the provision of strategic sea- and air-lift for AMISOM Troop Contributing Nations on request. The last airlift support occurred in June 2008 when NATO transported a battalion of Burundian peacekeepers to Mogadishu.” 
On March 10 AMISON deployed tanks to prevent the capture of the Somali presidential palace by rebels.
The North Atlantic military bloc, which in recent years has conducted large-scale exercises in West Africa and inaugurated its international Response Force in Cape Verde in 2006, also supports “the operationalisation of the African Standby Force – the African Union’s vision for a continental, on-call security apparatus similar to the NATO Response Force.” 
In May the European Union, whose membership largely overlaps with that of NATO and which is engaged in intense integration with the military bloc on a global scale , will begin training 2,000 Somali troops in Uganda.
Brigadier General Thierry Caspar-Fille-Lambie, commanding officer of French armed forces in Djibouti, said “the Somali troops will be trained with the necessary military skills to help pacify and stabilize the volatile country.”
He issued that statement “at the closing ceremony of four-week French operational training of 1,700 Ugandan troops to be deployed” to Somalia in May. The French ambassador to Uganda said “The EU troops shall work in close collaboration with UPDF to train Somali troops.” 
The 2,000 soldiers to be trained by the EU will represent a full third of a projected 6,000-troop Somali army.
The U.S.-NATO-EU global triad plans an even larger collective military role in the new scramble for Africa. On March 4 and 5 a delegation from AFRICOM met with European Union officials in Brussels “seeking EU cooperation in Africa,” specifically in “areas where cooperation could be possible, notably with the soon-to-be-launched EU mission to train Somali troops.” 
Tony Holmes, AFRICOM’s deputy to the commander for civil-military activities, said “Somalia, that’s an area where we’re going to be doing a lot more, the European Union is already doing a lot and will be doing more….
“Somalia is very important for us. The European Union is involved in training Somalis in Uganda and that’s something we might be able to work closely with to support.”
The AFRICOM delegation, including Major-General Richard Sherlock, director of strategy, plans and programs, also discussed “counter-terrorism cooperation with the EU in the Sahel region, notably in Mauritania, Mali and Niger…” 
In late January the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, said “that the Alliance is in discussion with a Gulf state to deploy AWACS planes for a reconnaissance mission over Afghanistan in support of its ISAF mission and also for anti-piracy off Somalia.” 
To demonstrate that NATO’s anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia has other designs than the one acknowledged, early this year a NATO spokesman announced that the bloc’s naval contingent in the Gulf of Aden “now has an additional task” to intervene against a fictional deployment of Somali fighters across the Gulf to Yemen.
The spokesman, Jacqui Sheriff, said “NATO warships will be on the lookout for anything suspicious.” 
As though Somali al-Shabaab fighters have nothing else to do as the U.S. is engineering an all-out assault on them in their homeland.
Five days after the New York Times feature detailed American war plans in Somalia, the Washington Times followed up on and added to that report.
U.S. operations are “likely to be the most overt demonstration of U.S. military backing since the ill-fated Operation Restore Hope of 1992….”
“Unmanned U.S. surveillance aircraft have been seen circling over Mogadishu in recent days, apparently pinpointing insurgent positions as the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] marshals its forces. U.S. Army advisers have been helping train the TFG’s forces, which have been largely equipped with millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. arms airlifted into Mogadishu over the last few weeks.”
The newspaper report further stated: “It’s not clear when the offensive will start. The word on the street is sometime in the next few weeks….”
Timeline: Somalia (BBC)
A chronology of key events:
600s – Arab tribes establish the sultanate of Adel on the Gulf of Aden coast.
Somali capital, Mogadishu, in more peaceful times
Emerged as Arab settlement in 10th century
Bought by Italy in 1905
Capital of independent Somalia from 1960
Estimated population: 1 million
1500s – Sultanate of Adel disintegrates into small states.
1875 – Egypt occupies towns on Somali coast and parts of the interior.
1860s – France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.
1887 – Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland.
1888 – Anglo-French agreement defines boundary between Somali possessions of the two countries.
1889 – Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia, later consolidated with territory in the south ceded by the sultan of Zanzibar.
1925 – Territory east of the Jubba river detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian protectorate.
1936 – Italian Somaliland combined with Somali-speaking parts of Ethiopia to form a province of Italian East Africa.
1940 – Italians occupy British Somaliland.
1941 – British occupy Italian Somalia.
1950 – Italian Somaliland becomes a UN trust territory under Italian control.
Parliament in ruins: War devastated much of Mogadishu
1956 – Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.
1960 – British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia; Aden Abdullah Osman Daar elected president.
1963 – Border dispute with Kenya; diplomatic relations with Britain broken until 1968.
1964 – Border dispute with Ethiopia erupts into hostilities.
1967 – Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman Daar in elections for president.
Drought and war
1969 – Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power in coup after Shermarke is assassinated.
Muhammad Siad Barre backed ‘Scientific Socialism’
Born in 1919
Led military coup in 1969; overthrown in 1991
Died in Nigeria, 1995
1970 – Barre declares Somalia a socialist state and nationalises most of the economy.
1974 – Somalia joins the Arab League.
1974-75 – Severe drought causes widespread starvation.
1977 – Somalia invades the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
1978 – Somali forces pushed out of Ogaden with the help of Soviet advisers and Cuban troops. Barre expels Soviet advisers and gains support of United States.
1981 – Opposition to Barre’s regime begins to emerge after he excludes members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions, which are filled with people from his own Marehan clan.
1988 – Peace accord with Ethiopia.
1991 – Mohamed Siad Barre is ousted. Power struggle between clan warlords Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed kills or wounds thousands of civilians.
Somaliland breaks away
1991 – Former British protectorate of Somaliland declares unilateral independence.
UN force sent to quell violence suffered losses, left in 1994
On This Day 1992: American marines land in Somalia
On This Day 1993: US forces killed in Somali gun battle
1992 – US Marines land near Mogadishu ahead of a UN peacekeeping force sent to restore order and safeguard relief supplies.
1993 – US Army Rangers are killed when Somali militias shoot down two US helicopters in Mogadishu and a battle ensues. Hundreds of Somalis die in the battle depicted in the film “Black Hawk Down”. US mission formally ends in March 1994.
1995 – UN peacekeepers leave, having failed to achieve their mission.
1996 – Warlord Muhammad Aideed dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.
1998 – Puntland region declares autonomy.
2000 August – Clan leaders and senior figures meeting in Djibouti elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of Somalia.
Fighting in 2002 led Somali civilians to seek safety in Kenya
2000 October – Hassan and his newly-appointed prime minister, Ali Khalif Gelayadh, arrive in Mogadishu to heroes’ welcomes. Gelayadh announces his government, the first in the country since 1991.
2001 April – Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, announce their intention to form a national government within six months, in direct opposition to the country’s transitional administration.
2001 August – UN appeals for food aid for half a million people in the drought-hit south.
2004 August – In 14th attempt since 1991 to restore central government, a new transitional parliament inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
2004 peace deal: Factions agreed to set up new parliament
2004 December – Tsunami waves generated by an undersea earthquake off Indonesia hit the Somali coast and the island of Hafun. Hundreds of deaths are reported; tens of thousands of people are displaced.
2005 February – June – Somali government begins returning home from exile in Kenya, but there are bitter divisons over where in Somalia the new parliament should sit.
2005 November – Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu. Gunmen attack his convoy, killing six people.
2006 February – Transitional parliament meets in Somalia – in the central town of Baidoa – for the first time since it was formed in Kenya in 2004.
Sheikh Aweys: His Islamic militia controlled Mogadishu
2006 March and May – Scores of people are killed and hundreds are injured during fierce fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu. It is the worst violence in almost a decade.
2006 June-July – Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords.
Ethiopian troops reported in Somalia.
2006 July-August – Mogadishu’s air and seaports are re-opened for the first time since 1995.
2006 September – Transitional government and the Union of Islamic Courts begin peace talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Somalia’s first known suicide bombing targets President Yusuf outside parliament in Baidoa.
2006 October – About 35,000 Somalis escaping drought, strict Islamist rule and the possibility of war have fled to Kenya refugee since the start of 2006, the UN reports.
War of words between Ethiopia and Somalia’s Islamists. Premier Meles says Ethiopia is “technically” at war with the Islamists because they had declared jihad on his country.
2006 December – UN Security Council resolution endorses African peacekeepers, specifies that neighbouring states should not deploy troops. Islamist leaders react by saying they will tackle foreign forces as invaders.
Ethiopian troops, government forces routed Islamist militias
Ethiopian and transitional government engage the Islamists in battle and soon put them to flight.
2006 December 27 – African Union, Arab League urge Ethiopia to pull out its troops. UN Security Council fails to agree on a statement calling on foreign forces to withdraw.
2006 December 28 – Joint Ethiopian and Somali government force captures Mogadishu.
2007 January – Islamists abandon their last stronghold, the port town of Kismayo.
President Abdullahi Yusuf enters Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004.
US carries out air strikes in southern Somalia which it says targetted al-Qaeda figures, and which reportedly kill an unknown number of civilians. It is the first known direct US military intervention in Somalia since 1993. The strikes are defended by President Yusuf. They are condemned for killing innocent civilians.
Interim government imposes three-month state of emergency.
2007 February – UN Security Council authorises a six-month African Union peacekeeping mission for Somalia.
2007 March – African Union peacekeepers land at Mogadishu amid pitched battles between insurgents and government forces backed by Ethiopian troops. The Red Cross says it is the worst fighting in 15 years.
Humanitarian crisis grows
2007 April – UN says more than 320,000 Somalis have fled fighting in Mogadishu since February.
Hundreds of people are reported killed after several days of fierce clashes in the capital.
2007 May – The World Food Programme says a resurgence of piracy is threatening food supplies.
2007 June – A US warship shells suspected Al-Qaeda targets in Puntland.
Prime Minister Ghedi escapes a suicide car bomb attack on his compound.
Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi visits Mogadishu, pledging to withdraw his troops once peace takes hold.
2007 July – National reconciliation conference opens in Mogadishu and comes under mortar attack. Islamist leaders stay away from the talks.
Refugee exodus grows amid an upsurge in violence.
2007 August – Human Rights Watch accuses Ethiopian, Somali and insurgent forces of war crimes, and the UN Security Council of indifference during the recent conflict.
New opposition alliance
2007 September – Opposition groups form a new alliance to campaign for a military and diplomatic solution to the Somali conflict. They meet in Asmara, Eritrea.
2007 October – Ethiopian forces fire on demonstrators in Mogadishu protesting at the presence of what they call foreign invaders.
Heaviest fighting in Mogadishu reported since April. Ethiopians move reinforcements into the city.
CRACKDOWN ON PIRACY
French commandos snatch pirates in Somalia as foreign navies begin their fight-back
Aid agencies warn a catastrophe is unfolding in Somalia.
2007 November – Government shuts down Radio Shabelle, Radio Simba and Radio Banadir.
UN special envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah describes Somalia’s humanitarian crisis the worst in Africa, suggests using international justice to curb the violence.
Nur Hassan Hussein, also known as Nur Adde, sworn in as new prime minister.
Number of Somali refugees hits one million, with nearly 200,000 fleeing the capital in the past two weeks, the UN reports.
2007 December – Ethiopian troops leave key central town of Guriel.
2008 January – Burundi becomes the second nation to contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force, sending 440 soldiers to Mogadishu.
2008 March – US launches missile strike on southern town of Dhoble targeting suspected al-Qaeda member wanted for 2002 bombing of Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya.
Islamist-led insurgency continues to spread.
2008 April – EU calls for international efforts to tackle piracy off the Somali coast after a series of hijackings and attacks on vessels.
2008 April – US air strike kills Aden Hashi Ayro, a leader of the Al-Shabab insurgent group.
2008 May – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says he will keep troops inside Somalia until “jihadists” are defeated.
The UN Security Council unanimously votes to allow countries to send warships into Somalia’s territorial waters to tackle pirates.
2008 June – Government signs three-month ceasefire pact with opposition Alliance for Re-Liberation of Somalia.
The deal, which provides for Ethiopian troops to leave Somalia within 120 days, is rejected by Islamist leader Hassan Dahir Aweys, who says Union of Islamic Courts will not stop fighting until all foreign troops have left country.
2008 July – Head of the UN Development Programme in Somalia, Osman Ali Ahmed, killed by gunmen in Mogadishu.
2008 September – Somali pirates’ hijacking of a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks prompts widespread international concern. The US and other countries deploy navy ships to Somali waters.
2008 October – Nato agrees to despatch a naval force to patrol to waters off Somalia by the end of 2008, in an effort to control piracy.
A wave of coordinated bombings across the self-governing and relatively peaceful regions of Somaliland and Puntland, in Somalia’s north, kill at least 27 people.
2008 November – Somali pirates hijack an oil-laden Saudi super-tanker and demand a 25m dollar ransom for its return.
2008 December – Ethiopia announces plans to withdraw all forces by end of 2008.
President Abdullahi Yusuf tries to sack Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein over his attempts to draw moderate Islamists into the government. Parliament declares the dismissal unconstitutional and passes a vote of confidence in Mr Nur. Mr Yusuf resigns.
2009 January – Ethiopia completes the withdrawal of its troops. Fighters from the radical Islamist al-Shabab militia take control of the town of Baidoa, formerly a key stronghold of the transitional government.
Meeting in neighbouring Djibouti, Somalia’s parliament swears in 149 new members from the main opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia. It elects a moderate Islamist, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, president, and extends the transitional government’s mandate for another two years.
2009 February – President Ahmed selects Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as prime minister. Mr Sharmarke, a former diplomat, is widely seen as a bridge between Islamists within the Somali government and the international community.
2009 May – Islamist insurgents launch onslaught on Mogadishu.
2009 June – Somalia’s security minister and more than 20 other people are killed in a suicide bombing at a hotel in Beledweyne, north of the capital Mogadishu.
President Ahmed declares a state of emergency as violence intensifies. Somali officials appeal to neighbouring countries to send troops to Somalia, as government forces continue to battle Islamist insurgents.
2009 September – Al-Shabab proclaims allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
2009 October – Al-Shabab wins control over the southern port city of Kismayo after defeating the rival Hizbul-Islam Islamist militia, which withdraws to villages to the west. At least 20 are killed and 70 injured in fighting that threatens to spread to the rest of the Islamist-controlled south.
2009 November – Pirates seize a supertanker carrying oil from Saudi Arabia to the US, one of the largest ships captured off Somalia. The Greek-owned Maran Centaurus was about 1,300km (800 miles) off Somalia when it was hijacked.
Kidnappers released journalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan after 15 months in captivity.
2009 December – Al-Shabab denies being behind suicide attack that killed 22 people in Mogadishu, including three ministers.
2010 January – Al-Shabab declares it is ready to send fighters to support Islamist rebels in Yemen.
2010 February – Al-Shabab formally declares alliance with al-Qaeda, begins to concentrate troops in southern Mogadishu for a major offensive to capture the capital.
An Associated Press reporter in Mogadishu said the fighting is the heaviest since last May, when insurgents trying to topple the weak, U.N.-backed government launched massive attacks.
Residents fleeing the city said many of their relatives and neighbors are trapped in the war zone.
“My husband and six of my relatives and some of my neighbors are trapped inside their homes … by mortars and bullets flying every where,” said Dahabo Duhulow, a mother of six.
An Associated Press photo showed red couches piled high on a wooden, donkey-pulled cart as two Somalis helped propel the cart forward.
With his 2-year-old son clasped to his chest, Adow Yusuf Da’ud said that he had walked three hours through dangerous streets to escape the fighting.
“During the day and during the night, the shells were raining down into our residences,” Da’ud said. “We had to walk through the danger to escape. my oldest son is still there to take care of the house and the property”
More than half of those living in Somalia’s seaside capital have fled. Those remaining are mostly too poor to move or fear being attacked as they leave. Compounding their dilemma, an Islamist group issued a series of demands at the beginning of the year that caused the U.N.’s World Food Program to pull out of much of southern Somalia. Soon families fleeing into the countryside may find nothing to eat.
Neither the Islamists or the U.N.-backed government can take and hold enough ground for a decisive victory.
The government is supported by around 5,300 African Union peacekeepers, whose tanks and armored vehicles help them to outgun the insurgents. The insurgents favor mobile hit-and-run attacks, using snipers and mortar fire to make it hard for the government’s poorly trained and irregularly paid soldiers to hold their position.
The government hopes to break the stalemate with an upcoming offensive, but its launch has been delayed by problems that include inadequate equipment and training. There has been a surge in fighting since the beginning of the year, when the offensive was first being publicly discussed.
Even if the government push succeeds, few Somalis trust an administration that has failed to deliver even a semblance of services or security more than a year after it took power.
The arid Horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government since the overthrow of a socialist dictator in 1991. Its civil war, which began into clan warfare, has morphed in recent years into a fight between an administration favored by the international community and an Islamist insurgency backed by hundreds of newly arrived foreign fighters.
Ogaden Crisis in Ethiopia: Forgotten crises to watch in 2010
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:02
An Ethiopian woman holds her malnourished child in a hospital in the eastern region of Ogaden which borders Somalia, Jan. 16, 2006. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens The humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region is worsening, yet the Ethiopian government continues to deny aid agencies access. Ogaden is mainly populated by Muslim Somali-speakers. The area does most of its trade with Somaliland, Somalia and the Middle East, rather than the rest of Ethiopia.
Formed in 1984 amid a resurgence of separatist sentiment in the Ogaden region, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) is rebelling against the central government in a sporadic armed conflict. The true picture of the humanitarian crisis in Ogaden is faint but according to Amnesty International’s 2009 report, both government forces and ONLF fighters perpetrated human rights abuses against civilians.
An Ethiopian woman holds her malnourished child in a hospital in the eastern region of Ogaden which borders Somalia, Jan. 16, 2006. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens
Last year’s drought destroyed crops and pastures, and water became scarce for the mainly pastoral communities there.
“The aid community in Ethiopia is deeply concerned (by) the denial of access to the people affected by the conflict and the worst drought in the region,” said an aid worker who declined to be named. The aid worker said the Ogaden crisis is not only forgotten but “hidden by the government”.
Analysts say Ogaden’s fate is tied with the situation in neighbouring Somalia, largely controlled by Islamist and extremist rebels, and Eritrea’s border dispute with Ethiopia – both crises that seem far from over. More Background
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has been fighting a long-running insurgency against the Ogaden Map Ethiopian government, seeking more autonom Ogaden Mapy for the underdeveloped, ethnically Somali Ogaden region. Troops accused of burning homes, displacing thousands Rebels accused of rights abuses Government restricts media and aid agency access to the region
Ethiopian forces launched a major assault against the ONLF rebels – who have been fighting since 1994 – after they killed 74 people in an attack on a Chinese-run oil exploration field in April 2007. The government says the ONLF has been defeated, but its fighters continue to launch sporadic attacks.
U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch has accused the government of human rights abuses in its response to the insurgency, claiming it has burnt homes, confiscated livestock and arbitrarily detained civilians. Officials deny rights abuses in the Ogaden region, saying the rebels are the ones perpetrating crimes against civilians.
The government expelled aid workers from the region in the latter part of 2007, amid growing concerns about the scale of the humanitarian crisis facing its people. Although some have since been allowed to return, the army continues to impose severe restrictions on both media and aid agencies.
Ethiopia Delayed election in Ogaden due to ONLF Military Control.
Electoral registration to begin Saturday in Ethiopia
Saturday 9 January 2010 03:00. Printer-Friendly version Comments…
January 8, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – voter registration for the upcoming Ethiopian elections will begin tomorrow Saturday across the country, the Office of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced today.
The general election in the Horn of Africa nation is scheduled for May 2010. The Ethiopian government has repeatedly guaranteed its commitment to conduct a fair and democratic election, but the opposition speaks about intimidation and harassment against them.
The head of the electoral board, Tesfaye Mengesha, said on Friday that 41,361 polling stations are prepared to register voters however he underlined that the registration in the troubled Ogaden will not begin now, the official ENA reported today.
Tesfaye said NEBE directed to open the polling stations for voter registration on Saturday adding they are provided with the necessary materials and the staffs are trained to accomplish their job.
It has further called on political parties taking part in the elections to assign their representatives at polling stations as of Saturday.
Tesfaye also urged to inform public observers and party representatives to be on duty at polling stations to observe the registration process. He also called to notify the voters about the registration day and time.
ETHIOPIA-Meles Zenawi’s latest “Intellectual for Hire” Exposes Himself
by Ogaden Info on 26/12/09 at 3:39 pm
On my flight back from London, UK, I decided to catch up on my reading and began by going through some articles that were compiled for me by a friend. It was amongst the pile that I found the piece on Somalia by J. Peter Pham; it turned out to be yet another lazy analysis. I say lazy because his entire piece was a patching together of “cut and paste” paragraphs collected from various dubious self-serving sources. Pham´s incoherent piece was an elaborate apologia for Meles Zenawi, the only terrorist lurking in the Horn of Africa, who bears full responsibility for the carnage in Somalia. Pham has become one of the most vocal apologists for the minority regime in Ethiopia and his latest “cut and paste” piece is a regurgitation of the regime´s often heard narration (tantrums), as it scrambles to get itself out of yet another self-created quagmire.
Those of us who have been observing development in the Horn region know Meles Zenawi´s modus operandi. This latest piece by Pham is a desperate and transparent attempt to divert attention away from the ill-advised, illegal and immoral US-backed Ethiopian invasion and 2-year occupation of Somalia, and international crimes committed by Meles Zenawi´s regime in Somalia. Sanctioning Eritrea (for not toeing Washington´s line on Somalia) is supposed to give Meles Zenawi a respite from his self created quagmire. For Pham and his cohorts, blaming Eritrea is somehow supposed to absolve Meles and those responsible for the crimes committed in Somalia. It may take time, but sooner or later, Meles Zenawi and his handlers will pay for the destruction of Somalia and the deaths of thousands of innocent Somalis. It is Meles Zenawi´s hands that are drenched with the blood of Somalis, not Eritrea´s. Pham is barking up the wrong tree.
My first instinct was to ignore the dishonest individual and his “cut and paste” propaganda piece, which he attempts to pass of for an intellectual analysis on Somalia. But since there may be some lawmakers who might take his statements for fact and believe his misinformation, once in a while, as we have done in the past, it’s important that Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis, as citizens of the Horn, call him out and expose his hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty. This ordained Catholic priest (a credential rarely mentioned in his articles) has traded his priestly collar for a “falfalina” (bow tie), and replaced the morals and teachings of the Catholic Church, with lies and deceptions in his new found (much more lucrative) vocation as a hired gun (or is it hired pen). This embedded priest exposes the ugly side of academia and how much US Foreign Policy is damaged by self serving, morally bankrupt operatives such as Pham who have no qualms about deceiving the US public and lawmakers in order to advance their own illicit (often illegal) agendas.
Horn residents are not surprised by J. Peter Pham’s latest piece in defense of Meles Zenawi and the minority regime in Ethiopia. One of the “intellectuals for hire” that has provided the minority regime political shield in Washington with “testimonies in Congress”, Pham has deliberately lied to, and misled, lawmakers and the American public with is faulty analysis on Somalia, Somaliland, the UIC and more. Pham´s thinking is not just beyond the pale, it´s willfully dangerous and evil. This self appointed “expert” on Africa believes his brief stint as a “Vatican envoy to East Africa” gives him the credentials to write at will, without providing a single shred of evidence to support his far fetched assertions. “Cut and paste” paragraphs fit together to fit Meles Zenawi´s narratives will not cut it. Distorting the facts, omitting the truth and fabricating lies is not a Christian thing to do…as a former priest, he ought to know better.
It is no secret that Pham is closely associated with the conservative neocolonialist cartel; a dubious alliance of fundamentally different and even ideologically opposed religious and political factions such as the coalition of evangelical Christians (also known as the New Christian Right) and the aggressive political ideologues commonly known as the Neoconservatives who have launched an unprecedented evil campaign against Eritrea for the last 10 years in order to advance their hegemonic agendas in the region. Pham is also closely associated with Joseph Greibosky, the author of several erroneous reports on Eritrea and Iran and whose organization, the Institute for Religion and Public Policy, enjoyed a lucrative arrangement-to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars –with the Bush Administration´s State Department.
As a consultant for U.S. intelligence agencies who has helped place former students in intelligence positions, Pham knows a thing or two about that industry and its connections in Somalia. Pham, more than anybody else, knows that Eritrea has no interest in destabilizing Somalia. Despite what Jendayi E. Frazer and her cohorts purport, neither she, nor her hired guns have been able to provide any evidence to back up their evil allegations against Eritrea. It has been almost three years since Frazer and her accomplices fabricated the outlandish UN reports on Somalia, and to this day, neither Frazer nor her accomplices(Ethiopia, Kenya and the illegitimate TNGs), or any other independent party has been able to substantiate its contents-none. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN Envoy for Somalia for Somalia, has admitted as much.
Pham, who in a recent Washington Post article had the audacity to preach to President Barack Obama about the law, continues to justify Meles Zenawi’s lawlessness and belligerence in Somalia and numerous violations of international law and over two dozen UN Security Council resolutions. Exposing his bias and pro-Ethiopia stance, distorting the facts and deliberately omitting from his latest piece, the Final and Binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) which was delivered on 13 April 2002, which unequivocally awarded Badme, the casus belli for the 1998-2000 border conflict to Eritrea, Pham attempts to divert the issue by mentioning the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC), a body that chose to address an issue in 2005 that was outside of its Algiers Agreement mandate.
Had Pham done his homework, instead of parroting Meles Zenawi’s tantrums, he would have known that the Algiers Agreement, in addition to the EEBC and EECC, also called for the establishment of a Commission by the African Union and the Secretary General of the United Nations, whose mandate was to investigate the origins of the conflict. The African Union, now an appendage of Menelik Palace has yet to fulfill its obligations under the Algiers Agreements-ditto for the UN. Ethiopia continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, in violation of international law.
A look back at the troubled relations between Ethiopia and Somalia – made worse in recent years by Ethiopia’s deep distrust of Somalia’s Islamist groups.
19 May 2009
Somali eye-witnesses report that Ethiopia troops are digging into positions near the border, following advances by Islamist fighters. Ethiopia denies the claims.
15 January 2009
Last Ethiopian troops leave Mogadishu.
28 November 2008
Ethiopia announces that its troops will leave by the end of the year.
21 November 2008
Ethiopian troops supposed to start pull-out under peace deal but no sign of withdrawal in Mogadishu. At least 15 people killed in Islamist attack on the capital.
15 November 2008
President Abdullahi Yusuf admits that his Ethiopian-backed government only controls parts of Mogadishu and Baidoa.
26 October 2008
Government and moderate Islamists promise to implement a ceasefire and say Ethiopian troops will start to leave.
Islamists stage frequent attacks on Ethiopian and government forces. Hardliners refuse to take part in peace talks unless Ethiopians agree to leave Somalia.
1 January 2007
Somali government troops, supported by Ethiopian troops, seize the southern port of Kismayo – the last remaining stronghold of the UIC
28 December 2006
Ethiopian-backed government forces capture the capital, Mogadishu, hours after Islamist fighters flee the city.
Ethiopian and Somali government troops take control of Jowhar, a strategic town previously held by the Islamists.
Forces loyal to the transitional government are reported to have taken control of the town of Burhakaba from the UIC. Other areas of southern and central Somalia are also said to have fallen under heavy assault from Somali and Ethiopian troops. Retreating Islamist militias are attacked by Ethiopian jets for a third day.
Ethiopian aircraft bomb Mogadishu airport.
Ethiopia for the first time admits its forces are fighting in Somalia, saying it has launched a “self-defensive” operation against Islamist militiamen. Fighting spreads across a 400km front along the border.
Islamic courts give Ethiopian troops one week to leave Somalia or face a “major attack”.
Islamic courts say they have engaged in battle with Ethiopian troops for the first time – south-west of Baidoa.
Ethiopia’s parliament passes a resolution authorising the government to take all legal and necessary steps against what it terms as any invasion by the UIC.
Eyewitnesses say Islamist fighters ambushed an Ethiopian convoy near Baidoa, blowing up a truck. The UIC claim some 20 Ethiopians died.
The Islamic courts say Ethiopian forces shelled the northern town of Bandiradley and it ambushed an Ethiopian convoy near Baidoa
Ethiopian Prime Minster Meles Zenawi says Ethiopia is “technically at war” with the UIC.
18 September 2006
Somalia’s interim President Abdullahi Yusuf survives an assassination attempt.
The Islamic court leadership orders a “holy war” against Ethiopians in Somalia.
A column of Ethiopian trucks, more than 100-strong and including armoured cars, are seen crossing into Somalia. Ethiopia only admits to having military trainers in the country helping the interim government.
The Islamic courts take control of the Somalia capital, Mogadishu, from rival warlords and go on to gain territory in much of southern territory.
Long-time Ethiopian ally and warlord, Abdullahi Yusuf becomes Somalia’s interim president making Baidoa his base.
Ethiopian forces defeat Islamist fighters in the Somali town of Luuq.
Somalia descends into civil war between rival clan warlords.
Peace accord signed.
1964 and 1977
Two wars fought over Ethiopia’s Somali-inhabited Ogaden region.