HEADLINES:

US doesn't need Ethiopia in its war on terror in the Horn of Africa

0
Monday May 08, 2017 - 22:19:30 in Articles by Super Admin
  • Visits: 2736
  • (Rating 4.5/5 Stars) Total Votes: 2
  • 1 0
  • Share via Social Media

    US doesn't need Ethiopia in its war on terror in the Horn of Africa

    Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the Middle East and Africa to "reaffirm key U.S. military alliances" and engage with strategic partners." Mattis only visited the tiny nation of Djibouti in the Horn of Afri

    Share on Twitter Share on facebook Share on Digg Share on Stumbleupon Share on Delicious Share on Google Plus

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the Middle East and Africa to "reaffirm key U.S. military alliances" and engage with strategic partners." Mattis only visited the tiny nation of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa where the U.S. maintains its largest military base. Ethiopia was conspicuously absent from the "strategic partner" lineup.

In September 2014, Barack Obama underscored the vital importance of Ethiopia in the U.S. war on terrorism. He noted that cooperation with Ethiopia "is making a difference” and that the "partnerships that we have formed with countries like Ethiopia are going to be critical to our overall efforts to defeat terrorism.”

 

In July 2015, during his state visit, Obama called Ethiopia an "outstanding partner” in the fight against terrorism in the Horn and a "key partner” in resolving the crises in South Sudan. He praised Ethiopia for being "a major contributor to U.N. peacekeeping efforts”, and for its unique role in "contribut(ing) more (peacekeeping) troops than any other country in Africa.”

 

The Mattis visit to Djibouti comes as the U.S. intensifies its military pressure on al-Shabaab, the terrorist group in Somalia with ties to al-Qaeda, which has been fighting for over a decade to establish an Islamic state and force out African Union peacekeeping troops.  

Late last month, President Trump ordered airstrikes against al-Shabaab and approved a Department of Defense proposal "to provide additional precision fires” to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces.  

U.S. military command for Africa (AFRICOM) announced last week that a contingent from the 101st Airborne Division has been deployed in Somalia, the first since 1994, to assist the Somali government with logistical and training support.

In 2017,  there have been no public statements by the Trump administration on Ethiopia’s frontline role in the fight against terrorism.  There has been no mentioned Ethiopia as ally or "strategic partner”, and no acknowledgment of Ethiopia’s role in maintaining regional stability. There has been no hint of re-opening the U.S. drone base, closed down in January 2016, used to surveil and launch strikes on al-Shabaab.  Mattis’ Djibouti visit, conspicuously avoiding Ethiopia, could suggest that the Trump Administration may not view Ethiopia as an indispensable counterterrorism partner in the Horn.  

The only palpable evidence of any link between the ruling regime in Ethiopia and the Trump administration appears to be vague assurances by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in February asserting, "Ethiopia is one of the strategic allies of the US in the region in peace and security and the relationship will continue under the new Trump administration.” In 2007, Inhofe zealously opposed legislation designed to promote democracy and human rights in Ethiopia.

In January, the Ethiopian regime showed its deep concern over potential changes in U.S. policy under the Trump administration by hiring SGR Government Relations, Lobbying (Washington, D.C) at a cost of $150,000 per month (for a total contract price of $1.8 million). In my letter to Trump, I argued that it made no sense for a regime whose population, some 20 million of them, is facing dire famine to spend nearly $2 million on lobbying.

Is the Trump administration signaling that Ethiopia is not a "key partner” or "critical to our overall efforts to defeat terrorism” in the Horn region?

One of the four questions on Africa the Trump transition team posed to the State Department in January may offer a glimpse into Trump’s Horn policy: "We’ve been fighting al-Shabaab for a decade, why haven’t we won?”  This manifestly simple question is pregnant with profundity.

When the regime in Ethiopia invaded Somalia in January 2007, then-leader Meles Zenawi declared that it could "take a week or a maximum of two weeks” to wipe out the Islamists, "stay there for a few days to help the transitional government in preserving stability then pull out our troops.”  The "Islamists” were "wiped out,” only to be replaced by the murderous al-Shabaab.

Ethiopian troops left Somalia in January 2009 leaving a good part of that country tightly in the hands of al-Shabaab and sundry other Islamist insurgents.

In 2014, 4,300 Ethiopian troops returned to Somalia as part of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In the summer of 2016, Ethiopia began to withdraw some 3,000 non-AMISOM soldiers out of south-central Somalia following mass uprising against the ruling regime in various part of Ethiopia.  Al-Shabaab swiftly recaptured and consolidated its control over a number of towns held by the departing Ethiopian and AU soldiers. Despite military pressure, al-Shabaab continues to attack AU bases and carry out suicide bombings.

The cost of fighting  al-Shabaab has increased from an annual $300 million in 2009 to $900 million in 2016. The African Union (AU), which has 22,000 troops deployed in Somalia drawn from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti, is scheduled to complete its mission by 2020.

President-elect Trump accused Obama of "losing the war on terrorism” and pledged to "bomb the hell out of ISIS” and other terrorist groups and armies. On April 14, Trump authorized dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal on ISIS targets in Afghanistan. Is al-Shabaab next?

The Trump administration would be wise to delink its counterterrorism strategy from the Ethiopian regime, which barely clings to power by a state of emergency decree. Ethiopia’s involvement in the domestic affairs of Somalia has made the military and political situation in Somalia worse, and resulted in documented large-scale war crimes and human rights violations. Ethiopia’s involvement is arguably the principal galvanizing cause for the radicalization  of large numbers of Somali youth flocking into the of al-Shabaab and other militant Islamic groups.

The Ethiopian regime has long been a beneficiary of U.S. aid largesse for its counterterrorism cooperation. But Ethiopia’s counterterrorism role has been more self-serving. If not, "We’ve been fighting al-Shabaab (with the full support of Ethiopia) for a decade, why haven’t we won?”   

Alemayehu (Al) Mariam is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, a constitutional lawyer and Senior Editor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Share on Social Media

Ethiopia Working to Resolve Eritrea-Djibouti Impasse

Ethiopia Working to Resolve Eritrea-Djibouti Impasse Full Article

 

President Farmajo to discuss diplomatic presence, stability of the Horn and regional economic integration with H.E Afwerki

President Farmajo to discuss diplomatic presence, stability of the Horn and regional economic integration with H.E Afwerki Full Article

 

Abdi Iley Apologises To The People Of Ethiopia's Somali Region Over Rights Abuses

Abdi Iley Apologises To The People Of Ethiopia's Somali Region Over Rights Abuses Full Article

 

Ethiopian & Eritrean Leaders Meet For First Time In More Than 2 Decades

Ethiopian & Eritrean Leaders Meet For First Time In More Than 2 Decades Full Article

 

Ethiopia to start extracting crude oil tomorrow

Ethiopia to start extracting crude oil tomorrow Full Article

 

Abiy says 'New Year' will be celebrated in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights

Abiy says 'New Year' will be celebrated in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights Full Article

 

U.S. to send FBI experts to investigate Ethiopia bomb blast

U.S. to send FBI experts to investigate Ethiopia bomb blast Full Article

 

Several people killed in blast at rally supporting new Ethiopian leader

Several people killed in blast at rally supporting new Ethiopian leader Full Article

 

Massive rise in Islamist militant attacks in Africa

Massive rise in Islamist militant attacks in Africa Full Article

 

A PEACEFUL RALLY (DEMONSTATION) TO SUPPORT ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER DR. ABIY AHMED TO BE HELD ON MESQEL SQUARE, ADDIS ABABA ON SATURDAY JUNE 23 2018

A PEACEFUL RALLY (DEMONSTATION) TO SUPPORT ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER DR. ABIY AHMED TO BE HELD ON MESQEL SQUARE, ADDIS ABABA ON SATURDAY JUNE 23 2018 Full Article

 


Leave a comment

  Tip

  Tip

  Tip

  Tip

  Tip


Somalia:Terrorists receive 52 million dollars in Mogadishu annually.

Waagacusub.net - It has been known that Al-Shabab receives 52 Million dollars annually from Mogadishu. It gets from commercial companies, and public as taxes (zakawat)

Chinese oil companies behind unlawful "extradition" of a Somali to Ethiopia

Waagacusub.net - A Chinese oil company was involved in the smuggling of a former Somali rebel officer, Colonel Abdikariim Sheikh Muse, to Ethiopia because his organization of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) was against oil and mineral exploration in Ogaden of the southeastern Ethiopia by China.

Journalist Alasow "Somalische Minister houdt Amsterdamse rechter vals bewijs Voor"

Volgens de rechter zou de minister hebben aangetoond dat afpersingspraktijken van Somalische journalisten een bekend probleem zijn en stelde de bewindsman daarmee een ernstige misstand aan de kaak. Dat is een kwestie van algemeen belang en de minister moet daarover in de openbaarheid kunnen treden, overwoog de rechter.

Somalia:List Document retrieved from house of AlShabaab leader

Waagacusub.net– An American unmanned drone launched a missile attack on one of Alshabab's most cold-blooded leaders on Sunday, 30 July 2017 in southern Somalia. The drove attack killed a man, who is dubbed the cruelest terror mastermind in the Mogadishu's history.

Somali President true scandal "violation of law"

Waagacusub.net - The presidency of Somalia's Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo is only eight months old but already his administration faces its first crisis - and it is one of their own making.

Somali Prime Minister welcomes high-level Eritrean delegation in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire received a high-level delegation from Eritrea including foreign minister, H. E. Ahmed Saleh and adviser to President of Eritrea, Mr. Yamane Gebreab, who are on an official visit to Somalia at the invitation of President of the Somalia, H. E Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo). Full Article

 

Somalia: President expected to travel to Burundi while half a million suffer from flooding

Waagacusub.net- President Farmajo is expected to travel to Burundi on Saturday ahead of the CECAFA U-17 finals on Sunday while close to half a million people in the country are affected by severe flooding. Full Article

 

Press Release by Ministries of Information of Regional States of Federal Republic of Somalia

Today, 21/04/2018, Ministers of Information of five (5) Regional States of Federal Republic of Somalia, namely Puntland, Jubbaland, SouthWest, Galmudug and Hirshabelle were invited to Multi-Stakeholders Safety of Journalists Forum in Mogadishu whereas Regional States of Somalia and Independent Journalist Organisations were given no meaningful task or function. Full Article

 

Ugandan President warns against oral sex because 'the mouth is for eating'

Waagacusub.net - Strangely, there are few topics more controversial than sex. Full Article

 

PM KHEYRE USELESS AND COSTY OVERSEAS TRIPS.

PM KHEYRE USELESS AND COSTY OVERSEAS TRIPS. Full Article

 

Abiy says 'New Year' will be celebrated in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights

Abiy says 'New Year' will be celebrated in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights Full Article

 

Massive rise in Islamist militant attacks in Africa

Massive rise in Islamist militant attacks in Africa Full Article

 

Argentina Cancels Israel Match After Messi Protests Over Palestinian Killings

Argentina Cancels Israel Match After Messi Protests Over Palestinian Killings Full Article

 

Xildhibaan Cabdiweli Qanyare oo ka digay Fadwooyinka Beenta ee wadaadada Qaar?

Xildhibaan Cabdi weli Maxamed Qanyare ayaa wax laga xumaado ku tilmaamay Wadaadada ku fadwoonaya Xildhibaanada iyo Siyaasinta mucaaradka, isagoo oo tilmaamay in hadaan Siyaasada laga heshiin oo madaxda aqligooda soo noqon aay imaan karto Hurumar la,aan Amni xumo,laalush iyo is qabqabsi joogta taaso lagu maareyn karin siduu hadalka u dhigay wadaadada la soo kireestay ee beenta fadwooda. Full Article