The human rights watch issued reports urging Ethiopia to stop violations of the laws of war. The government was accused of displacing thousands of civilians in the eastern Somali region in an effort to clamp down on separatist insurgent movements. The report blamed the military of burning homes and property and arbitrary arrests to the people suspected to be relatives of Ogaden National Liberation Front members (Human Right Watch July 4th 2007). Ethiopia is at the front of the American-led war on terror being at a strategic point first next to Somalia and neighboring Sudan.
It also shares a border with Eritrea thus in the middle of three countries prone to harboring terror activities consciously or otherwise. Ethiopia is the greatest recipient of American aid amounting to half a billion dollars on a yearly basis in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition it receives military aid in both software and hardware. Not surprisingly the United States did not condemn Ethiopia’s military entry into Somalia to fight the Islamist who wanted to unseat the president of the Somalia Transitional Government (Connors Will 2007).
Ogaden Ogaden is a disputed territory inhabited by Somalis. There was an irredentist attempt sometimes in history when Ethiopia and Somalia had a military confrontation. The organization of African Unity intervened and the sovereignty of Ethiopia was respected. The organization of African unity as its conviction maintained that countries should respect the borders drawn by the former colonial masters. Somalis in Ethiopia were arguing from the OAU charter on the basis of self determination.
The Ogaden region has roughly 4 million people (Connors) and the Ethiopian government is now keen to pay attention to the predominantly Muslim region. This may have been precipitated by two issues. The first one is the region may be a launching ground for Islamic fundamentalists from Somali. Secondly there are prospects of oil in the Ogaden region and so the Ethiopian government is keen not to lose the region. The government is keeping stories from Ogaden as secretive as possible for reasons not well established. Disputes
Ethiopia has been at the center of disputes with its neighbor Eritrea and Somalia. However the bitterness with Eritrea was half solved when the two antagonists consented to go by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commissions’ border markings of 2002. Despite this neither of the two responded to a November 2006 EEBC Demarcation Statement. There is a UN Peace Keeping Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea monitoring the 25km-wide Temporary Security Zone since 2002 in Eritrea. This has however met resistance from the Eritrea government which interprets this as mockery to her sovereignty.
The crisis with Somalia is based on the Ogaden Somali-speaking population which has been waging an irredentist war. The thin separation line made by the colonial power Britain proves meaningless as a border between Ogaden and Oromo’s animosity. In January 2007 Ethiopia unilaterally set foot in Somalia ostensibly to fight the Union of Islamic Courts. In Mogadishu this Union was determined to overthrow the transitional federal Government of Somalia and Ethiopia claimed that the takeover by the courts would threaten its security. A brief history
Ethiopia was subjected under brief occupation by the Italians in the course of the World War II with Emperor Haille Sellasie in power. The occupation which lasted for five years was driven out by the emperor’s forces with assistance from the United Kingdom. This strengthened the regime of emperor Sellasie which continued in power until the Derg socialist overthrew him in 1974. The socialist regime operated amid social political and economic hardships until its overthrow in 1991 by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front EPRDF.
The EPRDF came up with social and political reforms establishing a federal system of government. Emperor Haille Selassie’s regime was credited for playing a pivotal role in the history of Pan Africanism alongside other African leaders like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Sekou Toure, Ahmed Ben Bella among others. His contribution was credited with the hosting of the organization of Africa Unity in Addis Ababa. He managed to use diplomacy to bring together two polar sides to the idea of an African Organization References Connors Will.
Why We Don’t Hear About the Conflict in the Ogaden Dispatches Sep 5th 2007. Retrieved August 9th 2008 from www. slate. com Economic Intelligence Unit. Democracy Index 2006, Retrieved August 9th 2008 from www. economist. com/media/pdf Freedom House Countries at Crossroads 2007: country Report-Ethiopia Retrieved August 9th 2008 from www. freedomhouse. org/uploads/ccr Human Rights Watch Ethiopia: Crackdown in East punishes Civilians July 4th 2007 New York Retrieved August 9th 2008 from www. hrw. org/english/docs Mockler, Anthony (1984).
Haile Selassie’s War. New York: Random House. Reprint, New York: Olive Branch, 2003. Ofcansky, T and Berry, L. (1991). Ethiopia: A Country Study. Edited by Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Pankhurst Richard (1999) Italian Fascist War Crimes in Ethiopia: A History of their Discussion from the League of Nations to the United Nations (1936-1949) in Northeast Africa Studies 6. 1-2 p 116 Sudan Tribune British MPs Hail Democratic Process in Ethiopia November 1st 2006. Retrieved August 9th 2008 from www. sudantribune. com