Friday, January 05, 2007

Somalia-Ethiopia Relations: Then, Now, and in the Future

Shaky relationship: Somali region of Ethiopia wanted to separate and join its culturally, religiously, physically, linguistically similar neighbor Somalia; and Ethiopia crushed the separatists movement.

1977 - Somalia invades Ethiopia's Ogaden region.
1978 - Somali forces defeated with massive help from the Soviet Union and Cuba.
1988 - Ethiopia and Somalia sign a peace treaty.

BAD relationship: Holy War between Ethiopia and Somalia. Ethiopia does not want crazy terrorists as neighbors - Ethiopia didn't mind having pirates and poor people as neighbors, but terrorists are unacceptable...not because America says so. Ethiopia is totally independent of the US...totally.
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.
2004 August - New transitional parliament inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
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.
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. A political stand-off emerges between the Islamic Courts and the transitional government based in Baidoa.
2006 September - Ethiopia denies that its troops have crossed into Somalia to support the transitional government in Baidoa.
2006 October - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urges Eritrea to pull back the troops it has moved into the buffer zone on the Ethiopian border. The UN says the incursion is a major ceasefire violation.
War of words between Ethiopia and Islamists controlling much of Somalia. Prime Minister Meles says Ethiopia was "technically" at war with the Islamists because they had declared holy war on his country.
2006 November - A UN report says several countries - including Ethiopia - have been violating a 1992 arms embargo on Somalia by supplying arms to the interim government there. Ethiopia's arch enemy Eritrea is accused of supplying the rival Islamist administration.

Worse relationship: "But here the Ethiopians are hated more. You see - this is Somalia not Ethiopia. You do not have a right to come to another country and destroy civilians and say you are doing it to protect your own country." ~Somali peace activist.
Ethiopia is no longer trusted by Somalia and Somalians. There will be a longer war - one the Ethiopian army will not be able to "crush" as Meles proudly claims. Within the next 10 years, there will be a longer sporadic more painful war - one similar to the one the US is facing with Iraq.