The Secret Relationship between Ethiopia and Alshabaab
Preempt the threat posed by Soviet Union to US interests: “You may have to sell” intervention or military action abroad Huntington wrote, “in such a way as to create the misimpression that it is the Soviet Union that you are fighting. That is what the United Stated has done ever since the Truman Doctrine.” The Kenyan troops’ attack last month on the Alshabaab controlled Juba Region in Southern Somalia has unveiled many hitherto sold ‘misimpressions’ and concealed dirty secrets of the Ethiopian regime in Southern Somalia.
The Ethiopia regime which had almost convinced the international community that they’re fighting in Somalia ‘International Terrorists’ that support the Alshabaab group was expected to back and wholeheartedly support the Kenyan army’s invasion of Juba Region. The stated aims of the Kenyan invasion of the Alshabaab controlled territory in Juba region was spelled out clearly by the Internal Security Minister of Kenya, Mr. George Saitoti, who said: “Our territorial integrity is threatened…It means we are now going to pursue the enemy, who are the Al-Shabab, to wherever they will be.” The Kenyan invasion comes after a spike of kidnappings of tourists believed to be orchestrated across the border on the Somalia side, which the Alshabaab militants who controlled the area threatened Kenya many times in the past.
Whatever the aims and objectives of the Kenyan invasion, under no circumstances was the Ethiopian regimes expected to foil the Kenyan attack –through the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) Mr. Sheekh Shariif (who seems now to have reckoned) and other members of his government, since Alshabaab as Ethiopia claimed before was their enemy.
The Ethiopian strategy and gameplan was frustrated when the Kenyan government understood and shoved them aside the designs of Ethiopian regime through the pronouncement made by the delivery boys of the plan, some members of the TFG cabinet. Most of the international community had also supported the step taken by Kenya which severely disadvantaged Ethiopia. Mr. Shariif’s last minute turnaround argument was that he was not ‘consulted’ with the Kenyan invasion and therefore he did not give the go ahead to it as was his duty as president of Somalia. This is, of course, not true as we know that thousands of Somali troops were trained in Kenya and were ready to act against the Shabbab control of Jubba Land. After the Ethiopian game-plan through the Shariif government was unmasked, Ethiopia resorted to other measures just to frustrate the Kenyan invasion, such as accusing other entities of involvement in the conflict.
To the surprise of everyone, we heard unexpectedly news of three plane-loads carrying arms to Alshabaab which had landed in Baidoa, Somalia.
This announcement was first made to the media by a member of the Somali Parliament, Mahamud Abdulla, who claimed that he personally “witnessed over 10 vehicles from Baidoa airstrip enter a building in the area over the weekend”. Mr. Abdulla later said: “We request from the international community to take action against Eritrea for the support it provides to terrorist group Alshabaab.”
This was followed by the unexpected statements denouncing the Kenyan invasion made by the Somali president Shariif Ahmed on October 24 when he said: “We have asked Kenya to assist the Somalia government in training and supporting the Somali army but not to intervene in Somalia,” and asked the Kenyan troops to withdraw from Somalia. President Shariif’s claim that Kenya was ‘invading’ Somalia and violating the territorial integrity of Somalia while he was himself ‘protected’ in his presidential compound by foreign forces is preposterous, knowing to everyone that Shariif government controls few blocks in Mogadishu. However Kenya, having quickly understood the noise coming from Mr. Shariif Ahmed was originating from Ethiopia, and dispatched immediately a delegation to Addis Abbaba.
Few days later, the Ethiopian backed pseudo-religious group Ahlu-suna- wal-jameeca that controls most of the middle regions of Somalia’s Galgadud province claimed that they have fought with ONLF army that landed on their territory from the Indian Ocean and handed them over to Ethiopia. On air and sea a ready-made ‘misimpression’ of Eritrea was created by Ethiopia to try to fool those who were not familiar with their plots.
Ethiopia’s plan was to link to Eritrea the war in the Juba region of Somalia between the Kenya troops and Alshabaab and to drag Kenya into quagmire with Eritrea in order to frustrate the whole operation. Ethiopia resorted to this tactic when they couldn’t to stop the Kenyan attack on Alshabaab by other means.
The international community was confused by the agenda behind Ethiopia’s reasoning in its attempt to obfuscate the Kenyan attack on Alshabaab. Alshaab as we know use the Juba region in general and the revenues they raise from the port city of Kismayo in particular as a cash cow to finance their wars. The Shariif administration was therefore expected to support the Kenyan invasion. But unfortunately, such are the ordering of things in Somalia these days, that every step the Somali government takes must first be ‘consulted with Ethiopia’. And Ethiopia was always against the expulsion of Alshabaab from the Juba Region of Somalia.
We know now for fact, according to revelation made by Wikileaks recently, that Ethiopia put heavy pressure on Kenya and tried them to stop training the Somali forces in their territory which were destined to capture the Juba region from Alshabaab. Ethiopia had used Shariif Ahmed for this plan. The Shariif had in the past tried all his powers of persuasion to stop the forces which were trained in Kenya for Prof. Mohamed Abdi Gandhi’s Azania regional administration from entering Somalia and taking control of the Juba region.
How did the international community reply to the allegations against Eritrea?
Although the major powers have not dismissed the groundless accusations against Eritrea outright, yet they have not done as Ethiopia wished: to jump the gun on Eritrea immediately.
Some in the international media had even speculated that Ethiopia was probably behind the arms shipment to Somalia and put the blame on Eritrea, expecting the international community to buy this story and take action against Eritrea by further tightening the illegal sanctions placed on that country. But such claim was not taken for grant knowing the recent Wikileaks revelations that Ethiopian regime was behind the bombings in Addis Ababa on September 16, 2006 which were, by that time, blamed on Eritrea and OLF.
The hidden relationship between the secret services of Ethiopian regime and Alshabaab group, particularly those in Juba region of Somalia, will be known to the world one day, hopefully very soon. However the Jubba Landers or the Azanians, knew them for a long time. Many Somalis are now finding out the nature of the secret and dirty relationship between Ethiopia and Alshabaab as a result of the Kenyan invasion. By befriending groups in Somalia that Ethiopia considers to be anti ONLF, the regime in Addis is having nightmares about the ONLF as they see their fingers everywhere even though the ONLF may not have anything to do with those areas Ethiopia is searching for them.
The policies the Ethiopian regime pursues in Somalia are based on age-old divide and rule colonial methods and do not have any ideological inclination or orientation to it. The groups they occasionally support in Somalia whether they are extremist Salafis or Sufis does not really matter to them as long as they are preventing, at local level, the establishment of unified Somali state. To them, whether the person implementing this policy is a so-called ‘moderate’ Shariif Ahmed or a hardline Sh. Daahir Aweys is not important.
The Ethiopian regime uses any group that it can recruit to implement its policies of colonialism, injustice, and expansionism in the Horn of Africa, to hunt and pursue those that are against its scorch earth policies. The delivery boys of Ethiopia’s agenda can be members of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG), regional administrations in Somalia, Ahlusuna waljameeca, Alshabaab, or even some members of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).