Tuesday, August 1

taken for a ride

A Somali civil war with Ethiopian players and / or an Ethio-Somali conflict along with a destabilized Horn of Africa serve the interests of both Somalia's new religious warlords and Meles Inc. rather neatly.

Both have now acquired the 'worthy' opponents of their dreams (and everyone else's nightmares) to justify and excuse all of their myriad crimes - past, present and future - while they fortify and refortify their respective revolutions.

No one else benefits except for the web of aggressive international mayhem that is attempting to hijack Islam (arms dealers and Swiss bankers too). Ethiopians and the donor patrons of Meles Inc. are, in turn, unwillingly and quite willingly being forced to go along for a ride that will end badly ...

... that is except for the top ranks of Ethiopia's Revolutionary Feudal Aristocracy and Somalia's Revolutionary Islamist Warlords. The War on Terror and Ethiopia's future will certainly be damaged.

The comparison that Meles Inc. wants the US to make is with the just American efforts on terror and with the just Israelis efforts against Hezbollah and Hamas. With Ethiopia supposedly firmly on 'Team America', so to speak, all the bothersome noises about elections, human rights and sanctions are expected to end in Washington and Brussels.

Actually, Meles Inc. wants the connection to be made specifically to itself and not to Ethiopia at large. That way, non-regime actors in the opposition whose interests also coincide with Washington as well and who are more reliable allies, will be viewed with suspicion. Meanwhile, a flood of unaccounted for aid from American taxpayers may flow in.

The comparison that the Islamist Warlords wants made is with the same world events. Opposition from the convenient and traditional Ethiopian boogeyman will hopefully translate into cash from all over the Middle East and respect from the same quarters. The invasion was a gift to the Islamist Warlords starved for attention, excuses and arms while the jihad that was declared is a gift to a Meles Inc. in dire need of the same things.

What do the Islamist Warlords want? Well, they want to take over first Southern Somalia, then Northern Somalia & Puntland, then Eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti and Northeastern Kenya. That is all familiar - but in tune with the Islamist movement they want to help take over the world - seriously, they do.

Somalia's current non-government is in their way, their weakness, isolation and Ethiopia is also in their way. Despite popular images and the reality of fractitious Somalia, the North is at peace and the rest has no recent history of religious fervor. Somalia's Civil War has previously been more about clan rivalry than anything else.

Now the Islamists for the first time can say they speak for Somali nationalism wrapped up in religion as well. What the rest of the world and potential supporters might never have noticed is suddenly a religious issue. That suits Meles Inc. just fine - although it wants to control only all Ethiopian lives and souls worldwide, it needs a pretext for treating them all badly in the name of stability.

Militarily in the initial stages of any conflict or even a sitzkrieg, Ethiopian forces that are relatively professional and well supplied will emerge dominant. Over the length of the short term however, it will cost Ethiopia a whole lot of money to maintain an army in Somalia and it is not clear if aid will pay the bills. Even more will be the focused enmity of potential supporters of the new warlords that heretofore either ignored Ethiopia or just occasionally tried to hurt her when convenient.

Indeeed whereas Israel suffered years of provocation and actual military invasion from Lebanon before taking action against Hezbollah, Meles Inc. is acting with no provocation except for disapproval of the winner in the bloody game of Somali politics. Imagine trying to defend that stance in the UN - if it is even noticed there.

Even just pre-emptive wars must have a rational pretext but none can be seen in this conflict.

The major factor in religious friction in Ethiopia (the little there is) is the government itself who rules by tribal, and when convenient, religious divide and rule. The terrorist acts supposedly carried out from Somalia have been blamed over the past years on Haile Sellassie & Dergue loyalists, allegedly genocidal members of the opposition, hooligans and Eritrean agents just to name a few - when convenient Somali's Islamists joined the musical chairs blame game of Gibee propaganda.

Not that the new warlords wouldn't do such a thing mind you - but they haven't yet and you can't just start wars like that. When a regime's rule is predicated on keeping a country poor, weak and divided against tens of millions of internal opponents - starting external conflicts is a design for short term gain from possible American aid and silence on human rights in exchange for how the conflict will leak back in the future.

The failed state dependent on international largesse that Meles Inc. has purposefully created in Ethiopia can't sustain any foreign adventure on its own. Even if general bad feelings from the new warlords had translated into some action, Ethiopia is not rich and secure like the America that can act, almost at will, in Iraq or Afghanistan. America certainly had far more provocation from Al Quaeda and Saddam than the fevered propaganda of Meles Inc. would put on the warlords.

Sticking the collective Ethiopian neck out for the right to oppress Ethiopians while having someone pay for it all serves the regime but no one else including the would be paymasters. It all may work and hold together this week or next month but as the seasons are counted this will prove to be a disaster and a move that strengthened the Islamist warlords beyond measure.

Former Ambassador Herman Cohen agrees that Meles Inc. routinely makes up stories about Somali and Sudanese terror links to silence American criticism on all fronts. No one in Washington except for folks in Congress and the Ethiopian diaspora seems to take a democratic face for Meles Inc. seriously so the Islamist victories are seen as all that is needed to shut down H.R. 5680 where millions in lawyer, lobbyist and private investigator fees failed.

No doubt some feeble attempts will be made to link the conflict to Ethiopian nationalism just as Mengistu did when Somalia invaded in 1977 and Meles did when Eritrea invaded in 1998. Both sincerly espoused their beliefs in the illegitimacy of Ethiopia until it could become a useful tool to pretend otherwise.

Just as Stalin temporarily invited Mother Russia and the Church into the Soviet space in 1941 when Hitler invaded - watch for calls now from the Gibee to duty for Mother Ethiopia to come out and pictures taken with religious figures. This will also seem like a good moment for all 'Good Ethiopians' to rally to the flag that the PM sincerely described as a rag.

No one will take any of this seriously but it will be just another excuse to shed blood amidst the 70 million in the opposition and to terrify them with another set of excuses. More excuses are needed you see as the careful though transparent propaganda buildup of the first fourteen years of revolutionary democracy came crashing down when Ethiopians and the opposition decided not to play their part in the fake election.

In the same way the Islamist Warlords can now kill people who dance at weddings and watch soccer on TV confident that nationalism will, at least on the surface, bind the will of Somali's to resist them while serving as a fundraising pitch in the radical Islamic world.

Meles Inc. started this war at this time to ensure that it remain in power right now and perhaps for the next few years more - while any general Ethiopian interest in perhaps waiting to be attacked or at least provoked before invading - or even checking to see how the cost will be paid, was decided.

American taxpayers will pay with cash and Ethiopian ones will pay with blood and the last birr squeezed from their bodies if it all goes according to plan. As far as American interests are concerned it should be made clear that the long term and short term interests of Meles Inc. are in INSTABILITY.

That way the top ranks of Meles Inc. can do whatever they want to whomever they want with no consequence and an indefinite place in power. If the Horn of Africa, or Somalia or Ethiopia come tumbling down be assured that those top ranks have golden parachutes to escape to riches in the West that few corporate CEOs ever dreamed of.

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