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African’s New Proxy War-Which Side Is Somaliland On?
According to war definitions a proxy war is a war where two powers use third parties as a supplement or a substitute for fighting each other directly or a superpower fights with less. Proxy wars might be prevalent during the Eastern block and Western Cold War, but in this new Millennium, America and its adversaries are already in bitter proxy wars in many fronts, take as an example what is happening in the Middle East today, the last July’s war between Hezbollah militias and Israeli forces demonstrated the kind of proxy war that possibly America and Iran are engaging in that region.
Unlike African’s last proxy wars that were fought in the last decade or so, like ‘the second Congo War’ which neighboring countries used third party armed irregular groups to do the job for them., Ethiopian’s purported invasion in Somalia is beginning to evolve into a new proxy war between Ethiopia and its arch-foe Eritrea, its northern neighbor-and this is well-documented in a UN report that is warning the proxy war between Ethiopia and Eritrea could ‘ignite a regionally-destabilizing conflict in Somalia.’
This African’s projected proxy war between Ethiopia and Eritrea won’t be analogous to those fought in Africa before, because as many regional experts argue, it will be a lot bitter and those envisaging an Islamic state on Muslim soil, wherever they might come from, will definitely join in the war in attempt to help the Somali Islamic Courts Council to succeed its prime agendas; driving the Ethiopian forces in Baidoa out and turning Somalia into ‘Islamic state’, a state that America and its allies in the region on the so-called ‘the war on terror’ can not watch it fledgling without bring it to halt and doing everything that can derail the efforts of establishing of would-be African’s first Islamic state after the Sudanese’s Islamic Charter Front, led by Hassan Al-Turabi -Sudan’s Islamic movement leader failed to entrench such a state more than a decade ago.
The evidence of this new proxy war, however; has already being seen in the latest show down between Eritrea and Ethiopia which both have being accused of arming the opposing sides in Somalia. Despite of the White House’s calls on both Ethiopia and Eritrea to stay away from Somalia’s divisions, many Washington’s inner circles perceive Ethiopian’s position on Somalia as pre-emptive action to prevent ‘future terror attacks’ from Somalia and as a partisan of ‘counter terrorism’ efforts. This is one of the reasons that the Bush administration is adamant in endorsing “the insertion of a regional peacekeeping force” in the UN resolution that prohibits arms for Somalia, as John Bolton –the out going US ambassador to the UN told reports after he circulated an amended draft calling for the SICC to “to cease any further military expansion and reject those with an extremist agenda or links with international terrorism”, a draft that strongly rejected by the SICC and the speaker of the beleaguered parliament in Baidoa, while the TFG has welcomed it as sign of American’s commitment in helping the TFG to survive against the Islamist tide waves that rising from Mogadishu shores.
In the Horn Africa’s current war drum beats and Ethiopia’s latest incursions in Somalia are also widely considered as a war between Ethiopia and America on one side and their enemies ‘Islamists backers’ on the other. Many regional experts believe that Ethiopia’s movements in Somalia are opening of salvo of American’s Mogadishu assault on Somali Islamic Courts Council. And as the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi’s recent claim that ‘Somali Islamists’ are threat to his country’s security and his long time anticipated revelations on his government’s readiness for war with SICC, and the necessary preparations for war in which he said were in placed, all confirm how the EPRDF government in Addis Abba means a war with the SICC and its main suspected backers in Somalia.
Zenawi’s reasons to infiltrate Somalia might not be hard to fathom, but Eritrea’s apparent rescue for Somalia’s new powerful militia that confronts Ethiopian’s long time ally, President Abdillahi Yusuf and his largely powerless government says all that Somalia is indeed the new battle ground for African’s latest proxy war and the arrival of a new kind of war that Somalis will definitely suffer with its consequences, despite of the claims made by some Somalis who believe that a war with Ethiopia, Somalia’s traditional rival, could once again produce the renaissance of Pan-Somalism in all Somali regions in the Horn of Africa and the return of the ceased Somalis and Ethiopians abhorrence and hostilities.
Nevertheless, the inevitable war between the TFG government led by notorious and ailing warlord who knows nothing but how to stick with his imposed presidency on Somalia by all means possible, and the well armed Mogadishu’s new purportedly foreigner infiltrated and highly militarized Islamic ideologists will shed a light on how the UN and the American administration are really honest with their amended resolution 733 that is calling for ‘partial’ lift of weapons embargo on Somalia and the statements reiterating on both Ethiopia and Eritrea to stay out of Somalia’s rivals. Even though some might suggest that what the Bush administration has being calling for was no more than political coating on its real policies on the new power that emerged from its persisted and failed policies it supported with the warlords that ruined Somali lives for years.
And now the American’s new UN draft resolution that calling for a partial lift of the arms embargo on Somalia and the call for the approval of so-called peace keepers for Somalia, at a time Somalia virtually past the time it needed such forces that could make a peace and disarmament as honest broker adds to the speculations that America is in favor of Ethiopian’s position, and that is why Somalis say America has sought a token for Meles Zenawi at the UN so that he can execute his plans for a war with the SICC, a war that has been going on quietly before the amended resolution 733 of 1992 was tabled. According to diplomat sources that allege Meles with a UN resolution allowing his troops to enter Somalia, it will mean all out war and this would lead the over run and the overwhelm of the besieged TFG that is confined in Baidoa town and its surroundings as a result of its failure to gain legitimacy from the people it claims it represents.
But going back to some of the statements already made by the White House officials that enlightens how America is allied with Ethiopian’s so-called ‘prevention of terror threat from Somalia’s Islamists’ when the US Department’s Jendayi Frazer was asked what their administration makes of the Ethiopian’s incursions of Somalia, he replied in approvable tone “Ethiopia is saying that some dissidents are working with Islamist groups, and that is a pre-emptive action they are taking, by sending some people inside Somalia to protect their border.” May be this insinuates how America sees Ethiopia’s actions in Somalia, no wonder then why some Somalis also see this as American’s approval for Zenewi’s ‘the right to invade Somalia’ as a pre-emptive as Mr. Frazer puts it.
Whatever the real policy that Meles Zenawi’s allies might adopt in dealing with the new power in Mogadishu, whether that is to accept and negotiate directly or indirectly with this unwavering authority that is matching from the shores of the Indian Ocean towards the TFG’s isolated Baidoa town, the UN Security Council’s support of American’s draft resolution that is calling for the lift of arms embargo and the ‘protection’ of the TFG with foreign troops is nothing but a provocation of a war that will flame the region and prolonging the war that destroyed much of Somalia.
This new serious proxy war in Somalia, however; will not have a boundary that will limit it to the areas the warring groups are facing each other, but it could erupt into a war that spreads cross the defined borders of Somalia and Ethiopia and beyond. And whether that happens or not, it is worth questioning; where does this proxy war involved by various governments leave Somaliland if its closest ally in the region, Ethiopia, is propping the defense of the TFG from imminent attack by the “Somali Islamist ragtag”?
There are the serious questions that Somalilanders need to seek their answers, questions like; where does Somaliland’s Rayale government stand on this new worrying conflict? Is Somaliland one of the beneficiaries if this war Meles said they have prepared for is waged by either side, What does exactly Somaliland government summon the warring groups to avert a disastrous situation that could affect Somaliland on one way or the other?
Other questions that need to be addressed to the authority in Hargeysa are; since the amended UN draft resolution 733 reaffirms ‘its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the unity of Somalia, ” along the fully support of the TFG, is Somaliland a part of the group that benefits the lift of arms embargo, the TFG and its allies, if not, then which side Somaliland is counted into?.
If as far as countries of Iran and Syria are accused of meddling Somali politics and arming the SICC, as part of their proxy war that they are engaging with the Americans, which side is Somaliland on this unavoidable and unnecessary proxy war? What are the hidden policies of Rayale’s government on this crucial time that Somaliland is so imperceptible on the Horn’s political stage, let alone militarily?
These are some of the questions that Somalilanders should know their answers in order to stand with their government in support of their country’s interest, otherwise the people of Somaliland will remain in a limbo, at a time a clear policy on what is happening at Somaliland’s door step is so vital. The current hostilities between the SICC and the TFG’s allies clearly spells out the Bush’s infamous rhetoric “Either you are with us or against us,” so there is no room for neutralist in this situation.