It’s Not Us-It’s Them, Say Ethiopians

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia accused United Natins forces of exaggerating the humanitarian and security issues in Somalia to make it appear as though Ethiopians were the responsible party for problems in that nation. At the beginning of the year, Ethiopia, in conjunction with some American forces, invaded Somalia which was a center of fundamentalist Muslims who ruled the nation on the basis of Sharia law. the Ethiopian army readily defeated the Somalians with great loss of life on the part of Muslim soldiers. Ethiopian soldiers then occupied areas of Somalia which eventually led to attacks by Somalian Islamic rebels. The African Union has only deployed 1,600 of the promised 8,000 who were to help ensure security in Mogadishu and the surrounding areas. The Ethiopian president denied his troops fired on civilians or committed any atrocities as charged by certain members of the western media. There is considerable evidence Ethiopian forces denied access to humanitarian aid in parts of eastern Ethiopian which contains a large Muslim minority in the mainly Christian nation.

The United Nations estimates at least 1.5 million people have been displaced since the Ethiopian invasion. The Islamic government which had established the semblance of law and order prior to arrival of Ethiopian forces undoubtedly was mouthing the rhetoric of violence, but there is scant evidence it actually carried out any violent actions. There is no question imposition of Sharia law angered many moderate Muslims. The reality is the presence of a Christian Ethiopian army in a basically Islamic society, a situation leading to conflict and violence. Hopefully, the African Union can put together an armed force to replace the Ethiopians, but that probably will not occur within the coming months.