The Relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia is marred by
distrust, animosity and war. Suspicion of neighbouring expansionism
and political extremism is deeply rooted in both countries.
One of the main conflicts was boundary disputes over the Ogaden
regions and it goes back as 1948 where the land has been granted
to Ethiopia by Great Britain. Somali disgruntlement with this
decision has led to the 1964 and 1977 invasion attempts of
Ethiopia with the hopes of taking control of the Ogaden to
create a Greater Somalia.
The Conflicts between Ethiopia and Somalia are not limited
to the 20th-21st Centuries. Wars between Somalia, or its precursor
Islamic states, and Ethiopia, stretch back to the15th century.
For example, Ahmed Gurey "the left handed' was a 15th
Century Islamic leader popular in Somali culture for his jihad
against the Ethiopians during the rise of the Adal Sultanate.
Therefore, painful living history, oral and cultural traditions,
long-standing ethnic divisions and sectarian differences lay
between the two nations and continue to fuel the conflict.
Today Ethiopia is on Somali soil, supporting the weak Transitional
Federal Government (TFG). No doubt that this brings back memories
of enmity and tension between the two closely related people.
Nonetheless, most Somalis are suspicious of Ethiopia and view
it as an invading force and an infringement to their sovereignty.
There are rumors circulating of Ethiopia wanting future access
to the sea by open boarder relations with the TFG and American-European
hidden economic and political interest in the country. But
these are only rumours which cannot be substantiated. Somalis
should not allow themselves to be consumed on unknown matters
that may hinder their forward progression to peace and nation
circumstances shows that Somalis have two choices after the
Islamic Courts Union (ICU) have been defeated by the (TFG)
backed Ethiopian troops. The first choice is characterized
by hope and compromise in effort to create a lasting peace
and security in the country once and for all. The second is
the usual xenophobic and self-destructing choice that has
left the country in anarchy and disorder and made it "the
poster child for the concept of failed states."
choice; whether one agrees or disagrees with the US-Ethiopian
intervention; all concur that the fragile TFG must be made
to work, lest Somalia fall back into a state of collapse and
chaos. The current situation in Somalia presents the best
opportunity for peace and nation-building in the 16 years
of lawlessness and bloodshed. Despite minor differences within
the clan politics and US-Ethiopian presumed interests; Somalis
need to focus on their own interest and support the TFG in
hope of establishing a functional government that is inclusive
and represents all aspects of Somali society.
choice for Somalis is to; ignorantly and out of unreasonable
fear, fight and protest for the immediate departure of Ethiopia
and upset the deployment of international aid and troops.
This will in fact undermine the peace process, weaken the
TFG's ability to govern and close the only "window of
opportunity" that has been left open from the current
circumstance. Thus further isolating Somalia from the international
scene and cause it to fall back to the mayhem and clan divisions
that plagued the country for the past decade and half. Clearly,
this option is no ones first choice but almost everyone's
By: Ahmed A Kamil