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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Baidoa mysteries

Somalia: The Baidoa mysteries 4 Nov 4, 2006, 11:39
On Friday, 28 July 2006, member of parliament (MP) and former speaker of the Somali parliament, Abdalla Deero Isaaq, was murdered just as he had stepped out of the main Mosque in Baidoa after the weekly congregation of the Friday prayers. Despite that crowded scene of so many worshippers nobody saw the killer(s). The transitional government (TFG) of premier Ali Mohamed Geedi was facing a challenge of no vote of confidence in parliament the next day. It survived. Again, on Monday, 18 September 2006, the TFG was seeking a confidence vote in parliament after a major reshuffle following dismissal of Geedi’s previous government by president Abdullahi Yusuf.
The president addressed parliament just before voting would begin and left the hall. As his convoy of escort vehicles moved, one of them that must have had been secretly dynamited exploded, killing about a dozen of people and wounding many others, majority of them members of the presidential guard and also including a Ugandan national. The explosion also destroyed a number of motor vehicles that were at stationary outside the make shift parliament hall. No doubt the act was an assassination attempt on the life of the president who escaped unhurt. And again nobody saw the perpetrator(s) in such broad day light.
Despite such disastrous situation, premier Ali Mohamed Geedi remained seated undisturbed and managed to prevail over the parliament to vote on his government and won. This was, however, after so many MPs had left the hall in order to see the extent of the disaster and were replaced by many outsiders of non-MPs who might have been pre-arranged, they rushed into the hall and raised their hands in favour of government when a vote of show of hands was taken, as has been complained by very credible personalities among the MPs.

The scenario of the Baidoa Mysteries shows an orchestrated pattern of expertly executed assassinations and attempted assassinations so that each time Geedi’s TFG is in constitutional crisis, it wins by deceit or by intimidation. To be valid, however, this rationale must stand the test of answering the following two conundrums:

1. Who could be the expert executor(s) of such hideous crimes without leaving any clues of their identit(ies)? Somali personnel formerly trained for such operations are no longer around. They were among the first to leave the country at the collapse of state authority, more than a decade and a half ago. To the best of my knowledge, the only likely ones are Ethiopian agents who are freely around and mixed up with the TFG affairs.

2. Could the Ethiopians ever contemplate assassinating Abdullahi Yusuf?

The Ethiopians unreservedly supported Abdullahi Yusuf to win the Somali presidency by manipulating the IGAD sponsored conference for a number of reasons including: a) Among all its Somali clients, Abdullahi was the only one who had the chance of winning and, therefore, the only one worthy of their investment; b) Abdullahi had demonstrated his aversion to Islamic principles whether because of his personal nature, or by design vis-à-vis his relations with the Tigre-led Ethiopian officials.
However, the Ethiopian investment in Abdullahi Yusuf was only for a short term. By the same token, Abdullahi’s association with Ethiopia, although it has irreversibly already cost him the trust of the Somali people may not be perpetual either.

The short term for the Ethiopian investment in Abdullahi Yusuf has almost come to its end. Abdullahi is not easily manipulateable animal. His relations with the Ethiopians was forged, in the first place, during the Mengistu regime. They could not, however, continue putting up with his rigidity and he was locked-up and indefinitely detained until the fall of that regime. And secondly, despite close association with the Ethiopians, after all Abdullahi wants a Somali government of his own choice to be in place. The Ethiopians want a Somali government of their choice or none of it. The convergence of interests between Abdullahi Yusuf and the Ethiopians ends there as far as the latter is concerned.

On his part, Abdullahi Yusuf still needs the Ethiopians, because he wants to impose his will and authority on the Somali people under cover of foreign forces instead of reconciliation and compromises. The only feasibly available foreign forces are the Ethiopians. Any other forces, even if available, would need prior funding, which may not be easily forthcoming. The Ethiopians would want funding too for the deployment of their forces, but that is dispensable when it comes to their deployment in Somalia. Because their forces in the Somali and Oromo regions never ever have full budgets or no budgets at all, apart from their military equipment and uniforms. They have been living upon the resources of the conquered peoples since the Menelik era. So, any such deployment will only be an increased extension of those forces already in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Abdullahi knows the Ethiopians well as much as they know him too. He wants their forces to come through IGAD and AU so that he may ask them to leave if and when it suits him. This is also ok with the Ethiopians, but only as a short term, because they want to come to Somalia with legitimacy if at all possible, but for their geopolitical interests.

Abdullahi Yusuf wants power to govern Somalia that may run counter to Ethiopia’s geopolitical interests. Ali Mohamed Geedi's priority is to fulfill the wishes of his sponsors.

According to a statement by Geedi’s representative in Addis Ababa during a recent BCC interview, Geedi’s TFG must have had already given a carte blanche for Ethiopian forces to enter Somalia at their whims even before the parliament’s approval, during the TFG’s seat in Jowhar. Even Abdullahi Yusuf might not have been made aware of the exact nature of that agreement. The only release of it made public was that of co-operation between the two countries. Abdullahi Yusuf also confided in some MPs that the entry of Ethiopian forces into the country during last July was without his knowledge. Abdullahi is not a man given to tolerate such double crossing.

Abdillahi Yusuf made a big mistake when he accepted Ali Mohamed Geedi, a man chosen by Ethiopia and appointed him as his prime minister. Had he not done that he would remain their only (Ethiopians) best Somali connection.

Therefore, the answer to the 2nd question: above "Could the Ethiopians ever contemplate assassinating Abdullahi Yusuf ?" Is yes! Geedi is more useful to them now onwards and they must liquidate Abdullahi Yusuf before he sacks Geedi. Ethiopian military presence in Somalia already exists in abundance. And if the attempted assassination succeeded they would have immediately exerted their authority and intimidated the parliament to elect Geedi to the Somali presidency. Geedi would then in turn appoint another Ethiopian supplicant as premier.

Abdullahi Yusuf is no doubt quite savvy of these Ethiopian mischief’s, but he is most unlikely to divulge a word of it. He is given the stamina for such endurance. He has already pretended suspecting Al-Qa'eda and terrorism at large and is expected to stay on that course. Other TFG officials have given contradictory statements about the last incident. The most plausible of these is that of the minister of the interior, Hussein Aideed, according to his interview with the Xog-Ogaal Newspaper of Wed. 19 September 2006, p.2, and quote as per translation from Somali"

"Investigation is in progress to find out who was behind this act. Up to now the government cannot accuse any body until the investigation is concluded."

Jama Mohamed GhalibE-mail: http://beta.blogger.com/


Friday, November 03, 2006

New Ethiopian arm general defects to opposition front

Nov 3, 2006 (PARIS) — A high ranking officer defected from the Ethiopian troops stationed near the Eritrean border. He joined a rebel group operating in the northeastern of the country, a press release said. Brig-Gen Gebru Ayele Belatchew, commander of 8th Mechanized Brigade of 108 Army Division based in Bademe — the controversial village in the Ethiopia-Eritrea war — joined the rebel Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF), on 27 October. The EPPF announced the defection in a press release in Amharic published by the front’s website on 2 November. The statement said several Ethiopian soldiers, members of the 26th Army Division, have also joined the EPPF forces during this week, without elaborating. At the end of the first week on last August, more than 150 Ethiopian troops have deserted, following Brig. Gen. Kemal Geltu, an army general who defected to Eritrea. Ethiopia confirmed the defection of Gen. Geltu, who was the commander of the 18th army division. One month later he was followed by Brig. Gen. Hailu Gonfa and Colonel Gemechu Ayana. All of them joined the Oromo Liberation Front. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi justified these recent defection the ranks of the army by fears from reform programmes aiming to purge the army from disloyal elements. “At a time when final preparations were made to purge the institution and make it a place where only those loyal to the constitution can participate, there were situation where some individuals who did not like the process fled before the purge was carried out.” Meles said on 1 October. Eritrea’s information ministry web site Shabait, which generally confirms such defections, did not release a statement on the desertion. "

Ethiopia plotting to attack

Ogaden on line
Nov 03, 2006

An in depth discussion some of our reporters have had with knowledgeable sources both within the East African intelligence community as well as the horn of Africa political pundits revealed that Ethiopian intelligence agents are poised to strike targets within Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

A source close to the Ethiopian ruling clique who requested anonymity indicated that attack plans are in advanced stage. This unnamed source claimed that the first phase of the plan advocates world media blitz by the Ethiopian rulers to dehumanize the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). The objective he adds is to portray the UIC as a 'threat' to Ethiopia, neighboring countries and to the world community at large. The source claims the fact that the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr. Meles Zenawi, has given plethora of interviews to the world press about the 'threat' posed by the UIC is a testament to the implementation of the plan in question.

The anonymous source says that the next phase begins if and when the media blitz succeeds in creating a negative image of the UIC in the minds of both the regional governments such as Kenya, which was thinking of normalizing relations with UIC, and America, which is at the forefront on the war on terror.

According to this source phase two of the plan instructs Ethiopian intelligence agents and Somali mules in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia especially at the head quarters of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), to bomb 'prominent' targets in these countries so the world community will blame extremists within the UIC.
A high-ranking official at the Ethiopian prime minister's office, who swore our reporter in Addis Ababa to an absolute secrecy, confirmed the outlines of the attack plan as claimed by the anonymous source.

The high-ranking official said that the heads of the Ethiopian military objected to the implementation of this plan, as they were apprehensive of it backfiring. However he adds that the head of the Ethiopian intelligence as well as the prime minister insisted that Ethiopia has at last a chance to get carte blanche from the Americans to reshape the Somali landscape while the UIC is still the prominent force in Somalia.

These anonymous sources who were interviewed by our reporters all claim that once phase two is implemented, the Ethiopian government is expected to take a leading role in exposing who actually carried out the attacks. The same sources say that the Somali mules are to be exposed by their Ethiopian intelligence masters. The idea they claim is to show the UIC link to these attacks if and when they happen.

They also add that Somali refugees in Addis Ababa are to be rounded up and some, especially those from the Hawiye clan, tortured to claim that they were behind any attacks that take place in Addis Ababa. The refugees are to be couched they say to claim that they were members of the UIC and were instructed to attack Ethiopian targets by the Supreme leader of the UIC Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is on the US terror watch list.

When asked why would Ethiopian officials want to engage in such a risk business of possibly being exposed while also maiming and killing its own citizens and those of Somalia and Kenya?

All sources agreed that the current Ethiopian leadership appear convinced that this is the only way to gain both military funding as well as moral support to confront the UIC in Somalia in the name of fighting 'terror'.

These sources all agree that the current leadership inherently believes that this is the only way to convince the world community to allow them to get involved in Somalia militarily. They say that the failure by the Ethiopian trained and American intelligence funded warlords to defeat the UIC has created doubts whether any Somali allied with Ethiopia will be able to restore Ethiopian influence over the Somali nation.

When asked whether Ethiopian intelligence with the blessing of the current leadership have implemented such a plan before? The sources all nodded yes in agreement. The high-ranking official from the prime minister's office pointed to the mysterious bombings in Jig Jiga in late spring and early summer this year. Late last spring and early summer was a time when the Ethiopian leadership and its military felt demoralized having failed to succeed in their stated and widely publicized military campaign to uproot Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) fighters from Ogaden.

Instead of uprooting ONLF from Ogaden, ONLF in fact succeeded to cause heavy military casualties. ONLF also succeeded in killing almost all the high ranking Ethiopian military officials, including general Mulugeta – a close relative of Mr. Zenawi, in the Ogaden region through a successful strike it carried out against a helicopter transporting them to an official meeting in the town of Gebo Gebo.

These anonymous sources claim that the Jig Jiga bombings were carried out to drawn out any possible world press reporting of this great military loss. It was also meant to make Ethiopia look like a victim of 'terror' albeit one it has created with its own hidden hands. Furthermore it was meant to distract Ethiopian public attention away from the government's failure to achieve its stated objective in Ogaden.

As if he wanted to draw our reporter's attention, one of the anonymous sources sarcastically asked them about the bombings at the TFG parliament headquarters in Baidoba. Without directly putting the blame on Ethiopia but giving a hint of who might, this source discussed the political events on the ground at the time.

He said that at the time of this tragedy, the president of the TFG was reluctant to endorse the arrival of more Ethiopian troops in Baidoba. Furthermore this source claimed that the TFG and the UIC were actually narrowing their differences, which alarmed the Ethiopian leadership.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Somalia at a critical juncture

Somalia At A Critical Juncture, A Status Report From Inside The Somali Parliament
Where were we yesterday?

1. Transitional Federal Institutions were established (TFI) in Kenya in 2004.

A) Despite well known deficiencies in the system in which the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was created, most Somalis embraced it as a first step in the right direction toward a beginning of a long reconciliation process for our nation and for our people. One needs not to dwell on how the TFG was created in Nairobi. History has already recorded who, what, when, why and how the TFG was established.

B) Political wrangles began inside the TFG soon after its inception. TGF failed to take advantage of the short lived momentum it had enjoyed at its inception. The introduction of controversial policies divided the Parliament. Soon afterwards, the Parliament relocated in two different cities.

2. Badio was chosen as the temporary seat for the TFG to begin the reconciliation process.
A) In February, 2006, the Parliament Speaker and the President -in Aden declaration- agreed to reconvene the entire parliament in one location for the first time. Many Somalis again became hopeful that some sort of progress could be achieved as result of this agreement.

B) International recognition poured in to support the existence of TFG. Arab league, AU and EU have all expressed and provided political, economic and diplomatic support to the TFG and hailed the reconvening of the parliament for the first time in Somali soil as a success.

C) The TFG failed to deliver on its promises. One of the possible reasons for this failure is lack of vision. A nation is as good as the vision of its leadership. Lack of a clear vision could lead to chaos and confusion. One other possible reason for this failure is the lack of government priorities; one cannot start building a home from the roof. One must first lay down the foundation. The missing foundation was the reconciliation process which was the only mandate the TFG carried as its name transitional had indicated. You cannot transition from the first phase without building a broad consensus and harmony in order to move to the second phase. The greatest TFG setback occurred when the TFG failed to gain the confidence of Somali people whom it claimed to represent.
Where are we now?

3. The end of an era for Somali Warlordism.

A) To the surprise of everybody, all warlords disappeared from the streets of Mogadishu. Jowhar, Kismaio and Beletwein and their surroundings areas after confrontations with a new entity which became known as Union of Islamic courts (UIC). The UIC overpowered all the warlords and immediately restored long awaited law and order to all of the territories under its control in matter of days. This brought sigh of relief with simultaneous celebrations and greetings across Somalia, from Hargesa, to Bossos, from Beletwein to Kismaio. The Somali people have exchanged congratulatory notes in support for the UIC which they have rightfully termed as unexpected miracle from God.

B) TFG was caught off guard by the overwhelming support of the Somali people for UIC. TFG first jubilantly supported the UIC as a Public Uprising organized to uproot what it called the long standing obstacles of peace in the capital Mogadishu. The TFG reiterated that it was these warlords who prevented it to permanently relocate to Mogadishu in the first place. The Public Uprising view is still widely shared by many Somalis across the globe.

C) It is in this period, while war was still raging in Mogadishu; the Parliament passed a controversial resolution with a narrow margin allowing foreign peace keeping force to enter the country.

D) Then the TFG, to the surprise of many Parliamentarians, made 180 degree turn and called the UIC international terrorists designed to destabilize not only Somalia but the entire region. The UIC vehemently denies this accusation stating that the government had it right the first time when it referred the UIC as Public uprising.

4- UIC succeeded in restoring law and order in Mogadishu and other areas under its control.

A) Mogadishu International Airport became operational for the first time in 11 years.

B) Mogadishu Port became operational for the first time in 11 years.

C) Safety, sense of normalcy and security has returned to the entire population of Mogadishu. Women and children can go around the city while conducting their daily businesses without fear of rape, killing, kidnapping and roadblocks. These roadblocks were manned by roaming gangs and ruthless militia who exhorted money from the poor, the powerless and ordinary citizens.

D) UIC had called for dialogue with the Transitional Federal Government and recognized its existence and held peace negotiations with TFG twice so far and had promised more dialogue with TFG in the future.
Where should we be tomorrow?
5- Federal Parliament should consider the venue of dialogue and reconciliation as its guiding force and the means to re-establish trust and respect among Somali people.

A) It is paramount that the negotiation process started in Khartoum between the TFG and UIC be continued. The Federal Parliament should serve as neutral catalyst to pull the parties together. The Parliament insistence to move forward with the August 31 2006 meeting, led to the last successful face-to-face peace negotiation between TFG and UIC. The Parliament needs to continue to facilitate the negotiation between the TFG and UIC.

B) As the civil conflict between Warlords and UIC has now ceased, the presence of international peace keeping force is no longer needed. Federal Parliament ought to reconsider the presence of International peacekeeping in Somalia.

C) The Federal Parliament should establish an independent Commission to investigate assassination attempt against the President. The Somali people need to know who truly is behind the assignation attempt without resorting to any unsubstantiated rumors, agenda driven innuendos and politically motivated finger pointing.

D) The Federal Parliament must conduct all of its constitutionally mandated activities in transparent manner. Every important issue impacting our nation must genuinely be debated and voted in a crystal clear manner. The interest of Somali people should be our primary concern, everything else must be considered as secondary. In order to safe guard already shaky public trust in this institution; there must be concrete system of accountibity. The Federal Parliament should investigate and expel from the chamber any member who is caught violating the anti corruption laws.

E) The Federal Parliament should appeal to the international community (AL, AU, EU, UN and Somali Contact Group) to facilitate genuine dialogue and peace settlement negotiations between UIC and TFG. The International Community should engage directly with Somali intellectuals both inside and outside the government who know and understand the needs of their country and people better than their neighbors. The International Community must be careful not to repeat the Congo Democratic Republic (CDR) syndrome on Somali soil whereby multiple neighbors fought proxy wars for years in which thousands of Congolese citizens perished.

F) Members of Federal Parliament must take their mandates very seriously.

- The mandate to bring the Somali people together through peaceful dialogue and reconciliation and not through the threat of gun.

- The mandate to check and balance the actions of the TFG vs. Federal Charter.

- The mandate to uphold and defend the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Somali Republic as stipulated in Federal Charter.

-The mandate to look after our nation long term interest instead of short term personal/tribal gains.

- And the mandate of our oath to assist our beloved Somalia come out of this long and tragic civil war with its heads high, with its dignity and pride still intact, with peace within itself and with its neighbors.

Better days are yet to come and keep hope alive.

Asha Ahmed Abdalla
Member of Transitional Federal Somali Parliament of Somali Republic
Badioa, SomaliaE-mail: Asha_Somali_Parliament@yahoo.com

Meles Declares war on oromo in his speech at the parliament

By: OLF Division of Information

October 31, 2006 - Meles Zenawi has confirmed that he is going to embark on a new war against the Oromo, in his speech last week at the TPLF/EPRDF dominated parliament. Meles attempted to portray OLF as an enemy of Ethiopia and his party as its savior. It is obvious that Meles’s intention is not to save Ethiopia. The intention is to unleash a new wave of terror on the Oromo, for which the speech is a dress rehearsal. The declaration is cleverly crafted to quash the Oromo struggle by isolating it from the struggle of other peoples for freedom and democracy. Everyone knows that Ethiopia’s unity can be sustained only when equality of nationalities are based on free will and mutual respect not through the domination of the majority by the minority. The TPLF has proved that it has no moral ground or the ability to guard Ethiopia’s unity by what it has been doing in the last 15 years. TPLF has wounded every one. There is no nation or nationality that escaped TPLF’s repression in the last 15 years. Arresting, shooting and killing protesters in broad daylight, pitting one nationality against another, fanning inter-religious strife, and harassing dissenters cannot serve Ethiopian unity. The cement of is justice, freedom and democracy. Unity of Ethiopia will not be guarded by the wishes of the TPLF but only when the rule of law is respected and people are given a chance to live free and in peace. Criminalization of dissent cannot serve the cause of unity. Meles Zenawi has publicly stated before his rubber-stamp parliament that it is a crime to be a member or supporter of OLF. One thing that is for sure is that: his threats will fail by the Oromo people’s struggle. The regime will not live long enough to carry out its threats. The OLF will not abandon its objectives to fight for the rights of the Oromo people nor do the Oromo people give up their struggle for freedom simply because the head of a minority and illegitimate government which has been destroying their livelihood has said so. They should get more organized and get rid of this tyrannical regime. The TPLF fears the OLF because if the Oromo become masters of their destiny, the TPLF will be unable to rob Oromia’s wealth to sustain itself on power. That is why Meles Zenawi, in his address to the last TPLF congress which by the way looked eerily like the last meeting of the Soviet Communist party, made a special appeal to the Youth of Tigray. He called on them to vigilantly protect his regime. He urged them to rally behind his dying regime out of fear that the end of TPLF hegemony would herald a loss of opportunity for Tigreans, which is a total none sense. The end of tyranny leads to the blossoming of opportunity for all. Tyranny can only be overcome only through struggle. And struggle entails sacrifices. The Oromo and all the youth in Ethiopia should answer Meles by demonstrating their readiness to pay the ultimate price to regain their people’s rights. Meles is threatening some and pressuring other Oromo opposition parliamentarians to denounce OLF. This shows that the Oromo struggle is going from strength to strength and this is not lost on Meles. Following Meles’ declaration a new war between EPRDF and the Oromo and other people is imminent. One thing is certain: this time the war will be concluded with the victory of the Oromo and other people. Victory to the Oromo people!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Zenawi vows to kill and jail opposition supporters in Oromia

By Qeerranssoo Biyyaa
October 30, 2006 — In his recent speech in parliament, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi threatened for an increased campaign in Oromia State to imprison and severely deal with opposition supporters and members. He said, “The number of people imprisoned in Oromia is increasing because they are the supporters and members of Oromo Liberation Front. To be a member of Oromo Liberation Front is strictly forbidden and it is a punishable criminal act”.
Because of growing protest in the country, in May 2005 he went on the BBC and the Ethiopian Television promising the same people he is incriminating today that his government is ready for a dialogue with the Oromo Liberation Front. That was a piece of rhetoric to disorient and freeze public detest for his fascist system. Some also say that his interest to isolate and talk with OLF, then, was intended to pity OLF and CUD supporters against each other to buy himself more time in power.
The implications of the speech
There is nothing inherently new about this speech by Zenawi. Since 1991 people are used to his threatening and intimidating speeches whenever he faces strong popular uprising. After and in the run up to elections in 2005, for instance, he used some strong words and phrases intending to govern by fear. You may look at such words in the following sentences: “anyone trying to subvert the constitutional order, will be crashed in the buds. Once the red line is crossed, the only option we have is to fight and all that happens in such circumstances will happen”. By ‘red line’ he meant intense protest and demand for freedom. The laws of war, and not civil laws, he asserted, would judge protests crossing his imaginary red line. Amazingly, Meles threatens the people he leads more than Eritrea with which he went to war, and now on cold war.
Meles did not just stop at his words. He did kill in hundreds according to the current inquiry into the excessive use of power by government to squash opposition. Thousands are behind the bar because of opposition membership and support as you read. In essence, the pattern in Meles speech suggests some ensuing enhanced persecutions of the Oromo people.
Secondly, deconstructing Meles speeches just reveals his true fascist or nazi nature. When compared to the 1995 constitution that his government drafted, his speeches show how he and his ruling minority elites are above the constitution itself. This is not new too. He has always been above the law. Coming to the point of his threatening the Oromo population with more killings and imprisonings, we see that chapter 4 and 5 of the 1995 Ethiopian constitution provides for the protection of basic human rights and democratic rights. In these rights are included the right to life, movement, association and assembly, inter alia. Whatever good provisions there are in that constitution, none is guaranteed or implemented as the constituion is in reality the personal document for the prime minister and other ruling elites to quote from only to justify that the violations they are carrying out are in line with what they themselves call “the constitutional order”.
Always before the Meles security forces crackdown on the Oromo, and for that matter anyone else, his elites will go into schools and homes and place some hand grenades, false documents plotting to overthrow the government. Later, one of his commanders or himself appear on TV and say that we have searched the houses of this and that group and found weapons and documents that are to be used to subvert ‘the constitutional order’. But when the government subverts ‘the constitutional order’ this is protecting the ‘constitutional order’, not violating it, which it actually is. The regime suffers from cycles of such blatant lies in justifying its own versions of fascism and nazism.
Sometimes the tricks in implementing Meles speeches and plans are so bloody and gruesome that the regime itself explodes bombs on private hotels and blames it on oppositions such as Oromo Liberation Front. Or even it bombs city buses and taxies on highways to terrorise the public at the end of which no perpetrator is traced. Lives of people are dashed for no reason. For people in Oromia sate or in Ethiopia in general these tricks are commonplace discussed amongst us around coffee tables. But my intention in deconstructing Meles Zenawi’s speeches and his actions is to share this grassroots discussions and experiences with readers in writing.
Reactions from the West
a) The European Union Europe through its European Union Election observers like Anna Gomes has already discovered the destructive behaviours of Meles Zenawi’s regime to initiating a peaceful democratic transition involving all oppositions. Of course, Gomes and her team deserve applauses for that. They have seen opposition leaders and supporters being jailed and they reacted rightly by having EU to deny monetary aid to the regime that is only a killing machine. Some EU diplomats in Ethiopia have also witnessed these harsh realities happen to themselves. Recently alone two EU diplomats were chased away. About the EU observers report, Meles himself has written 3 letters to a government newspaper in 2005 insulting and critising individuals and EU press releases on Election fraud. These encouraging efforts must continue on the EU side for helping resolve the political standoff in Ethiopia.
b) The United States of America
The U.S.A like Europe understands the despotic nature of the Ethiopian government. Nevertheless, U.S.A has never substantially reacted in support of the interest of the Ethiopian peoples for freedom and democracy. It has recently pumped into the regime a little more than $ 600 million in aid. The U.S.A has given this huge amount of fund to the Ethiopian government with no considerations of directly taking the funds to people who need it desperately. It goes through the government as usual if at all it goes. And when it goes, it goes selectively to EPRDF supporters only. And local cadres will scoff at opposition supporters as, ‘let OLF or CUD… give you bread’. The U.S.A has not also set criteria whereby the regime will be committed to democratic as well as human rights.
Both in the diaspora and at home the Ethiopian people have held a series of rallies protesting continued US support for Meles regime. The rallies have taken place in the cities of the United States of America and in front of the Capitol. So, U.S.A can’t pretend not to have seen or heard it. All who follow political development in Ethiopia know this. So, what the U.S.A is actually doing is blindly follow its own interests in the Horn of Africa in coalition with the unpopular regime in Addis Ababa/Finfinnee. In doing that, USA will not only encourage undemocratic minority rule in Ethiopia and more arrogant speeches and ensuing persecutions from Meles, but also it will continue to see the majority of the Ethiopian public die, go to jail, and starve in the hands of the regime. It will also stand in the way of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) to initiate a national comprehensive dialogue to solve longstanding Ethiopia’s political problems. U.S.A’s continued silence might also gradually make US unpopular to the majority of Ethiopians who used to love it, at least the love showing in people’s filling of diversity visa lottery (DV) every year.
* The author is based in Ethiopia. He can be reached at meettaa@gmail.com

Wayane is about to detonate its most deadly political bomb

I felt compelled to write this short article after listening to an eyewitness video clip posted on Ethiopian Media website (http://www.ethioforum.org/) regarding religious conflicts that reportedly took place in the Jimmaa and Ilu-Abbaa-Boora zones of Oromia. I will briefly summarize the major political patterns demonstrated by the wayane regime in the last 15 years in order to put into context the current political developments unfolding in Ethiopia, including this unprecedented religious conflict.
For any objective observer patterns in wayane's political behavior in the last 15 years indicate one basic fact, i.e. their strategy for ensuring endless dominance on Ethiopian state machinery is solely based on the infamous old approach of divide and rule, historically used by colonialists and later widely adopted by minority regimes across the world. During the heydays of the wayane regime in the 1990s, the wayane political elites cleverly charted out every conceivable lines along which the Ethiopian society can be partitioned. The first easy pick was to capitalize on the historic inequalities and repressions perpetrated by successive Ethiopian governments, chiefly directed at the peoples of the South. They cleverly manipulated these genuine grievances to pit the two largest ethnic groups (Oromo versus Amhara) against one another. Encouraged by wayane's rhetoric of correcting the historical injustice, the oppressed nations and nationalities immediately moved to demand for their legitimate places in the political life of the country. As this was not the intended outcome of the wayane tactics, the regime was forced to tone down its original rhetoric, forced to expel independent political organization, from the transitional government and forced to put cap on what the wayane-made ethnic organization (PDOs) could demand for their peoples. These measures hinted the first sign as to what the wayane regime is all about. It sent a shockwave across the files and ranks of the PDOs leading to expulsions or otherwise voluntary departure of well-versed members of these organizations, essentially turning these organizations into collections of opportunistic individuals who go to any length to please the regime and virtually out of touch with the aspirations of their respective peoples. Failing to rally the mass, these incompetent PDOs, ruling the regions, unleashed terror on their own people further alienating the mass. Unable to effectively function, the PDOs finally resorted to producing inflated statistics about their governments' performances, falsely claiming an unprecedented popularity of their governments. This led the wayane elites to believe that their tactics were working and their regime is comfortably seated and is ready to take on the next challenge.
Without carefully validating the reports filed by the PDOs, the wayane elites foolishly embarked on their next move, which was aimed at gaining more trust from their Western financiers--- earning the much needed international legitimacy. It is a common knowledge that the Western nations have been unconditionally supporting the wayane regime, solely basing their logic on the carefully worded promises made by the regime about its commitments to democratizing Ethiopia. The wayane felt that it is time to move beyond mere promises to showing something tangible in order to secure continued support from the West and also to counter accusations from opposition groups about its undemocratic practices. To this end, the wayane elites carefully planned which opposition political organizations it would allow to participate in the 2005 elections and how much room it will allow for these organizations to maneuver. For obvious reasons, it picked the opposition groups that draw much of their supports from the Amhara ethnic group, without knowing the depth of public detest for its policies among non-Amhara ethnic groups. It also decided to use the Addis Ababa city election as its showcase, taking a well-calculated risk of loosing significant seats to the opposition in return for well-executed showcase that would secure Western confidence. Every step of the plan was wrong, as it was based on false reports filed by PDOs about the level of support the regime enjoyed among various ethnic groups. What happened in the aftermath of the 2005 elections is a too recent an episode and doesn't need to be elaborated it here.
Panicked by the results of the elections, the wayane picked up its old dividing tactic all over again, but this time around, they took it further by bring in the interhamwee rhetoric. It is aimed at separating the people of Tigray from the opposition groups on the one hand and to scare the world about the possibility for interhamwee style genocide in Ethiopia if the wayane regime is removed from power. In a nutshell, they wanted to tell the world that the current regime is indispensable as the only regime that could play a balancing act between peoples of varying interests. They even went on charging the opposition leaders with ridiculous crimes as serious as treason and genocide to proof their claims. These measure finally brought to light what kind of beast the wayane regime is.
The opposition groups quickly realized what this regime has in store for the country and promptly moved to counteract its plans. They made a great deal of compromise and created a broad alliance, AFD, to seal the cracks the regime sought to exploit for its malicious agenda of pitting ethnic groups against each other.
On its part, the regime appeared to have realized that the newly created understanding between various political organizations has effectively killed its old tactic and thus appeared to have embarked on yet another poisonous tactic with far reaching consequences. First, it jumped onto Somalia's internal affairs in order to secure its position in the so-called "War on Terror ". In order to justify its actions in Somalia, the regime appeared to have decided to create connections between developments in Somalia by manipulating the delicate balance that existed between various religions in Ethiopian for centuries. Eyewitness reports coming from the fields reports on that in the religious conflicts that reportedly occurred in the Oromia zones of Jimmaa and Ilu-Abbaa-Boora some of the perpetrates of the alleged crime were in army uniforms (listen to video eyewitness report posted on: http://ethioblogger.net/index.php?blog=8&title=a_4808_a_4843_a_4756_a_4656_a_4651_a_466_4846&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1).
Given the behaviors of this regime (highlighted above) and its recent adventure in Somalia, it is highly probable that the regime is behind such crime. No one in his/her right mind would underestimate the ramifications of such mindless acts. Therefore, it is high time that all political organizations and religious groups raise their voices against such acts before things get out of hand. If not cut short, it will be the deadliest political bomb used so far in Ethiopia and the region.

By Lammii Biyyaa

Addis, Islamic Courts edge closer to open war

Addis, Islamic Courts edge closer to open war
The East African/Special Correspondent

That Ethiopia and the Somali Islamists are headed for a military conflict was confirmed last week by Ethiopia's president, Meles Zenawi, who declared that his country was "technically at war" with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).
Last week, media reports detailed Zenawi's vow to "crush" the UIC. However, while UIC might not be a match for Ethiopia, the reality on the ground will demonstrate that an all-out war with the Islamists will place Zenawi's regime in a perilous position.
Ethiopia's confidence arises from its perceived military advantage over the Islamists. According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the Ethiopian National Defence Army is estimated to have between 120,000 and 150,000 troops. It is the best equipped military machine in the Horn of Africa, boasting of massive stocks of military hardware that includes old but still serviceable Soviet made T-55 battle tanks, heavy artillery, multiple rocket launchers and towed howitzers.
And though the country's military spending has dropped from close to $1 billion a year during Mengistu Haile Mariam's reign to slightly over $405 million today, it still outstrips its neighbours. As an ardent backer of the United States' counter-terrorism strategy in the region, Ethiopia has been getting substantial US assistance in terms of training, logistics, transport and direct sales of military hardware.
With such preparedness, US counter-terrorist strategists believe the Ethiopian forces might be just what the region needs to check the ambitions of the radical elements within UIC.
Unfortunately, other factors might come into play to destabilise Ethiopia's campaign against the UIC. For one, an Ethiopian war against the Somali Islamists would involve many interested players. Already, there is a growing perception among Muslim countries interested in the conflict that Ethiopia, half of whose population of 77 million are Christians, is leading a US-backed Christian assault against a Muslim country. Muslim countries such as Libya, Egypt, Iran, Yemen, Djibouti and to some extent Saudi Arabia have shown more than a casual interest in supporting the Somali jihadists, if reports emanating from US experts on the region are to be believed.
Zenawi has ruled out firing the first shot. Addressing the press last week, the president talked of his country's restraint, saying the Islamists "will have to force us to fight." But even as he said this, reports showed that hundreds of Ethiopian troops were in Somalia digging trenches at Daynunay, the Transitional Federal Government's military camp outside Baidoa.
This seemed to have encouraged Ethiopia's arch-enemy, Eritrea, which has reportedly opened a new anti-Ethiopian front by supplying the jihadists with arms. Further evidence that Eritrea is spoiling for war with Ethiopia came when the latter moved 1,500 troops into a UN demilitarised zone close to its border with Ethiopia. Seemingly, a war with the Islamists might just be what Eritrea is waiting for and – going by the outcome of the 1998-2000 conflict, which did not have a decisive winner – there is no guarantee that Ethiopia will be victorious this time round.
A war with Somali Islamists could also open new internal battle fronts in Ethiopia. Last week, the leader of the Islamic radicals in Somalia, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, urged Ethiopians to revolt against Zenawi's regime. The country's significant Muslim population might not necessarily heed the call, but give encouragement to groups long engaged in an internal war with successive Ethiopian governments.
One such group is the Oromo people, whose population – standing at 30 million – constitute half of the country's population. Colonised in 1887 by Menelik, an Abyssinian king, the Oromo have never given up the struggle to liberate their territory, Oromiya. According to Jane's Defence Weekly, their biggest military wing, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), is the most robust armed insurgency in Ethiopia. Although it has remained relatively ineffective and has never posed a serious threat to the Ethiopian government, OLF has sustained a low-level guerilla campaign against Ethiopian security forces since it was formed.
Zenawi needs to appreciate the danger posed by real and potential fundamentalists inside Ethiopia. For instance, Jane's Defence Weekly says, another armed group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), not only remains dedicated to self-determination of the Ogaden region – an arid area that is home to four million Ethiopian Somalis – but has also ganged up with radical Islamists in the past. The weekly says that over the years, ONLF has established links with the Al-Ittihad al-Islami, one of the Somali Islamist groups reportedly active in Puntland, which has been accused by the US of being a terrorist organisation.
Many other opposition groups in the country – especially from Afar, Oromiya and Ogaden – operate either as armed militias or as affiliates of armed groups.
Besides the OLF and ONLF, other groups are Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front, Benshangul Liberation Movement, Ogaden National Liberation Front, Sidama Liberation Front, Tigrayan Alliance for National Democracy and the United Oromo Liberation Front.
Analysts say the fact that all these groups have decided to take up arms against Zenawi's regime is testimony to the regime's oppressive style of governance.
Zenawi's regime might have overlooked these scenarios as it seeks to protect President Abdulahi Yusuf's weak government while engaging in a US-proxy war against alleged terrorists within the UIC.

Map of oromia

Map of oromia