The Kenya-Ethiopia Defence Pact: Is Somalia a pawn?
Somalia and Ethiopia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations, before moving on to the more difficult question of setting the frontier. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed, left, introduces new Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, center, to his ministers. The United States objected to the inclusion of the Ogaden in Somaliland because Ethiopia had entered the war as an independent state and as.
The country's strategic location made the U. The essence of Siad Barre's foreign policy was Somali nationalism and irredentism, with a focus on uniting all Somali people under one flag. This policy constituted a major threat to Ethiopia's Ogaden region, where the vast majority of the inhabitants are Somalis. The policy also provided an opening for the Soviets, who had no inhibitions about pouring arms into Somalia in order to menace Ethiopia, America's main ally in the Horn Africa.
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As part of this process, the Soviets developed an air and naval facility in the port city of Berbera on Somalia's northwest coast. With a key communications' base in Asmara, the United States countered the Somali arms buildup with a major military assistance program to the Ethiopian regime of Emperor Haile Selassie.Somali Refugees: Ethiopian Camps
Armed clashes between Somalia and Ethiopia took place on a regular basis, mainly in the Ogaden region. It was in this area that the first test of American and Soviet air power took place, with Ethiopian F-5 American-built aircraft demonstrating superiority over the Somali Migs supplied by the Soviets.
This gave the Soviets an opening to become close to the Ethiopians in order to further undermine U. The Soviet aim was to use their friendship with both Ethiopia and Somalia to reconcile the two feuding powers as "Marxist brothers.
For Siad Barre, Somali irredentism was much more important than Marxist scientific socialism. The United State increased military and economic assistance to Somalia, and the U. Embassy in Mogadishu became one of the biggest American diplomatic missions in Africa.
Thus, Washington had to walk a fine line between the supply of defensive weapons to the Somali army, while parrying Siad Barre's constant demand for offensive weapons with which to attack Ethiopia.
Using offensive weapons purchased from Italy and other suppliers, Siad Barre attacked Ethiopia in the aftermath of the Mengistu takeover, hoping to take advantage of the disarray in the Ethiopian military. In order to counter Somalia's initial military successes in the Ogaden inEthiopia called for assistance from the Soviet Union, who financed the arrival of 5, Cuban troops. The Cubans helped defeat the invading Somali army.
The deployment of Fidel Castro's Cuban troops to both Ethiopia and Angola in the period was the major cause of the death of the policy of detente between the U. The Cold War had flared up again in Africa, and once again, Somalia was deeply involved.
Somalia and the United States: A Long and Troubled History - japancarnews.info
President Jimmy Carter reacted to this analysis by ordering the State Department to negotiate military base rights and facilities in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia and other Arab states surrounding the Persian Gulf said they wanted American protection from the Soviet threat, but preferred that U.
The logical alternative to bases directly in the Gulf countries was to have facilities in East Africa. Thus, between andthe U. With Berbera becoming a key component of U. This created yet another dilemma for U. Human rights groups in the U. There were efforts in Congress to cut off military assistance to Somalia.
These succeeded inso Washington had to maintain relations with Siad Barre solely through the supply of humanitarian and economic assistance.
During the second half of the s, Somalia sank more and more deeply into civil war and lawlessness, as various clan groups armed themselves in opposition to Siad Barre's murderous regime.
InSiad Barre's military had lost control of most of the country and was reduced mainly to defending Mogadishu. Throughout this period, the United States continued to maintain good relations with Siad Barre because of the overriding imperative of maintaining military access to Berbera. In mid, Iraq invaded Kuwait, setting off a major security crisis in the Persian Gulf. It was for such a contingency that the U. But in an irony of ironies, the American military suddenly found itself welcomed to the Persian Gulf and was able to base its fighting units inside Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in preparation for the fight to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.
The Kenya-Ethiopia Defence Pact: Has Somalia become a pawn?
By earlySiad Barre had been driven out of office and out of Somalia by his clan enemies, the Cold War had formally ended, and the Dergue regime in Ethiopia had been defeated and replaced by Tigrayan and Eritrean guerrilla armies. Unlike Ethiopia, where a new government was able to restore order and take control expeditiously, Somalia fell into a state of anarchy after Siad Barre's departure.
Barre went into exile in Nigeria, dying in Though supported by the international community, the TFG lacked the all-important on-the-ground support. Bya new grouping to counter the TFG was formed: This paved the way for the Ethiopian military invasion of Even though the US had backed the Ethiopian invasion, Ethiopia was also invading Somalia for its own ends.
In less than a decade Al-Shabaab has transformed itself to become more than a regional militant organisation.
The remaining 1, troops are shared between Djibouti and Sierra Leone respectively. Neither Kenya nor Ethiopia have hidden their preferences on Somalian affairs.
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The geo-politics, therefore, do not end with Ethiopia and Kenya; and they show no signs of subsiding. InKenyan founding father, President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, broke international protocols and insisted that Selassie would be the first international Head of State he would meet. The long history of the Kenya-Ethiopia Defence Pact remains as relevant today as it was at its first signing 60 years ago.
But what makes matters more complex is the fact that the Ethiopian-Somali conflict has decades of history, with acts of aggression and violations of human rights committed on both sides. It doesn't help that the United States has made the renewed conflict in Somalia part of its war on terror. American and Ethiopian intelligence agencies allege that the Union of Islamic Courts has connections with al-Qaeda.
Many Somalis, however, believe that the Courts had brought stability, peace, and progress to the country after 16 years of war and instability without a legitimate government. Such proponents lament that dissent has been limited to bumper stickers and conversations at coffee shops. They feel that if they say anything against the occupation, they will be labeled a terrorist.
Air Force for four years and was at one time stationed in the Middle East. With the Somali Institute for Peace and Justice, he helped organize two protests against the Ethiopian invasion in late winter and early spring. His efforts to make people aware about the conflict in Somalia, however, go beyond the political. They have become personal.
Taxes are going to fight terrorism, but we don't know who the terrorists are. He even says that he would have supported the Transitional Federal Government, had it shown any genuine concern for Somali people and efforts to develop and make progress in the East African country.
But he says that extremist factions in Somalia are limited, and he doubts whether an American-backed Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government occupation will lead to anything more than another weak, violent state and a newfound haven for outside terrorists. The Institute's other co-founder, Mohamed Hassan, agrees. We want them to know what is going on in Somalia and we want them to question our government's policy toward Somalia.
An outbreak of violence in late July alone drove more than 10, people out of the explosive capital city, according to the United Nations.