Friday, October 28, 2016

Ethiopia denies Somalia troop withdrawals linked to unrest at home | News24


2016-10-27 07:50



Addis Ababa - Ethiopia on Wednesday denied that a string of withdrawals of troops from towns in Somalia were connected to the state of emergency declared in response to nearly a year of anti-government protests.
Government spokesperson Getachew Reda insisted the removal of troops from a string of Somali towns -including at least three since Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency on October 9 - was to do with the "financial burden" and "lack of support" rather than the need for more troops at home.
"It has nothing to do with the state of emergency," Reda told a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa.
"We have been making a very conscious and responsible decision to evacuate our forces from many parts of Somalia. We cannot remain there indefinitely."
Reda said the domestic challenge represented by the unprecedented months of sometimes deadly anti-government protests was not "enormous enough for us to shift our policy in Somalia".
Fate 
Ethiopian troops deployed to fight Shabaab militants in Somalia have left towns in the western Bakool and Hiraan regions in recent weeks, allowing the insurgents to immediately reclaim them.
Most recently, Tiyeeglow in Bakool region was abandoned on Wednesday and hours later Shabaab fighters moved in.
"We were informed about the pullout of the Ethiopian troops and this morning they have proceeded with their plan to vacate the town," said Abdulahi Moalim Hassan, a security official in Hudur, the nearby district capital.
"We are not sure about the fate of Hudur as well," he added. "People are worried and they are not relying on the Ethiopian troops anymore."
Reda said the withdrawn troops were not from Ethiopia's 4 400-strong contingent of the internationally-funded African Union peace-enforcement mission, Amisom, but rather were some of the "few thousands" deployed in Somalia unilaterally for which his government is "paying all the expenses".
"These troops are not under Amisom and unfortunately are not being helped in their efforts to assist the Somali national army," said Reda.
He said Amisom troops were not affected and neither were all non-Amisom forces being withdrawn.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Shabaab 'takes Somali town' after Ethiopia troop pullout | Daily Mail Online

Fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group said Sunday they had retaken control of a town in central Somalia after hundreds of Ethiopian troops serving with the African Union's AMISOM force withdrew.
It was the third time this month that the Islamist group moved into a town in the region after the departure of Ethiopian forces.
Al-Shabaab said on the smartphone app Telegram that their fighters had "stormed the town (of Halgan) soon after the enemy pulled out" on Sunday.
Somali security forces guard the site of a suicide blast in Mogadishu in August 2016

Somali security forces guard the site of a suicide blast in Mogadishu in August 2016 ©Mohamed Abdiwahab (AFP/File)
"The brave fighters of Islam have taken full control of the town, the Islamic flag is waving over the station and the district headquarters," the statement added.
After leaving Halgan together with Somali army soldiers, situated at a key junction on the road to the capital Mogadishu, the Ethiopian troops headed towards the provincial capital, Beledweyne, according to several sources.
"The Ethiopian soldiers pulled out of Halgan town this (Sunday) morning. We are getting (reports) that they have destroyed their bases and trenches around the town before heading for Beledweyne," said Mohamed Nur Adan, a security official in Beledweyne.
"The Ethiopian soldiers vacated their bases this morning, we saw them heading towards Beledweyne. There were tanks and big trucks in their convoy," witness Osman Adan told AFP by phone.
Halgan, situated about 70 kilometres (40 miles) from Beledweyne, came under assault from the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab in June.
The Islamists then attacked the Ethiopian army base with a suicide car bomber and gunmen. Scores were reported killed on both sides, however casualty numbers are impossible to verify.
The fall of Halgan is likely to increase pressure and attacks on AMISOM forces in Buloburde, which is the second largest town in the central Hiran region.
Earlier this month hundreds of Ethiopian troops pulled out of El-Ali -- also in the Hiran region -- after also withdrawing from nearby Moqokori.
Shabaab forces moved back in to both towns after the Ethiopians left.
No explanation has been given by the Ethiopian military or AMISOM.
The Shabaab was forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, five years ago but continues to carry out regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in its battle to overthrow the internationally-backed administration.
Somali security forces patrol the scene of a suicide car bomb blast in Mogadishu in August 2016

Somali security forces patrol the scene of a suicide car bomb blast in Mogadishu in August 2016 ©Mohamed Abdiwahab (AFP/File)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

US escalating covert war in Somalia - World Socialist Web Site


By Jordan Shilton 
17 October 2016
The Obama administration has covertly deployed hundreds of US troops to Somalia to wage a secret war in the impoverished East African country alongside private contractors and soldiers from African allied states, a New York Times article revealed Sunday.
Under the pretext of protecting US and African troops from terrorists in the al-Shabaab Islamist militia, the Obama administration has authorized the use of air strikes in the country.
As the Times bluntly noted, the mission, which is referred to in military circles as the “Somalia campaign,” has several hundred troops in the country at any one time and is “a blueprint for warfare which President Obama has embraced and will pass along to his successor. It is a model the United States now employs across the Middle East and North Africa—from Syria to Libya—despite the President’s stated aversion to “boots on the ground” in the world’s war zones.”
The revelation, coming just days after government officials informed the public that the US had launched missile strikes in Yemen, demonstrates that the Obama administration has dragged the American people into yet another war without even a semblance of public debate.
The Somalia operations come on top of large-scale military interventions in Afghanistan, where US military forces have been waging war since 2001; Syria, where Washington is backing Islamist extremists to overthrow the Russian-backed Assad regime; and Libya, where US Special Forces have been deployed and air strikes have been carried out since August under the pretext of targeting the Islamic State.
In total, the Times notes that the US military has carried out air strikes in seven countries this year and special forces operations in “many more.”
The US is waging war in Somalia in support of the shaky Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which barely controls territory outside of the capital, Mogadishu. The regime was only able to establish itself following a brutal US-backed invasion by neighboring Ethiopia and thanks to ongoing support from African Union (AU) soldiers.
Between 200 and 300 US Special Forces under the control of Africom (African Command) collaborate regularly with Somali National Army units and soldiers from Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and Kenya to plan and conduct ground operations against al-Shabaab.
According to Obama’s semi-annual briefing to Congress on foreign military operations, the US forces are not only present to target al-Shabaab, which is aligned with al-Qaida, but also to provide “advise and assist” support to regional counter-terrorism efforts. This has been one of the favored formulations to justify the deployment of US soldiers to war zones around the world, such as in Iraq, where the alleged advisers frequently operate on the front line in fighting against ISIS.
Africom has repeatedly dismissed reports that its frequent air strikes, including at least 13 this year, have led to civilian casualties. In one of the most recent incidents Africom denied claims by officials in the autonomous region of Galmudug that a US drone strike killed 22 local soldiers and civilians last month in the city of Galkayo.
Even strikes authorized to support offensive operations launched by Somali forces in conjunction with US soldiers are routinely labelled as “self-defense” actions.
Significantly, the US forces are not only fighting but also engage in joint interrogation sessions with Somali forces. Ominously recalling the methods employed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where US troops worked hand-in-glove with local authorities guilty of torture and abuse of prisoners, the Timesmerely noted in passing that after such sessions, US forces hand over prisoners to be interned in Somali prisons.
The suggestion that the US war in Somalia is defensive is absurd. Control over the strategically-important country, which lies adjacent to some of the most important sea lanes in the world for the transportation of oil and other commodities, is seen as essential by the US ruling elite if Washington is to retain its global hegemonic position.
The Times’ attempt to cast the catastrophic conditions in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government for over two decades, as the result of the actions of the al-Shabaab Islamist militia is highly disingenuous. In truth, the US bears chief responsibility for the more than a quarter century of bitter fighting and endemic poverty that has gripped the strategically-located country in the Horn of Africa.
In 1991, Washington withdrew its longstanding support for the regime of Siad Barre, leading to its collapse. It then seized on a famine crisis to legitimize the deployment of 30,000 troops to the country in a bid to establish a US client regime. After the Battle of Mogadishu, in which 18 US soldiers were killed, President Clinton withdrew the troops.
But the US withdrawal did not mean it remained on the sidelines. In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration established the first permanent US military base in Africa in neighboring Djibouti, from where air strikes and drone operations have been flown.
In 2006, the US played a key role in backing an Ethiopian invasion to topple the moderate Islamic Courts regime, which had ousted the US-backed TFG. The ensuing fighting killed tens of thousands, and the brutality of the Ethiopian occupiers fueled increased support for al-Shabaab. The invasion included more than a week-long shelling campaign against Mogadishu, which reduced large parts of the capital to rubble and turned hundreds of thousands into refugees. US air strikes and naval bombardments were organized to back Ethiopia’s military operations.
After capturing Mogadishu and reinstating the TFG, the Ethiopian force was supplemented by troops from Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti and Burundi under the auspices of an African Union “peacekeeping” mission.
US “advisers” were in Somalia almost without interruption from 2006. It only came to light in 2014 that around 120 US soldiers had been operating there since 2007, first alongside the Ethiopian invasion and later as part of the AU mission.
US operations in Somalia are only part of a vastly expanding array of military deployments organized by Africom across the continent.
In an annual briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee, it was noted earlier this year that in fiscal year 2015, Africom “conducted 75 joint operations, 12 major joint exercises, and 400 security cooperation activities.” As well as its permanent military base in Djibouti, the US military has drone bases in Uganda, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Niger.
The dramatic expansion of US military activity in Africa since Africom was established in 2007 reflects Washington’s determination to subjugate the resource-rich continent, consolidate its geostrategic and economic hegemony and block the emergence of its rivals in Africa, above all China but also the European imperialist powers, which are seeking to reestablish domination over their former colonial possessions.
The ever more aggressive character of the operations conducted by Africom was demonstrated earlier this year with the appointment of General Thomas Waldhauser as its new commander. The four-star Marine Corps general has led US operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
During an appearance in front of the Armed Services Committee, Waldhauser vowed to expand the “war on terror” throughout Africa and stated he would request the authority to carry out targeted killings without presidential approval.
One area of major focus for Africom is the Sahel region south of the Sahara. US forces have been deployed to Cameroon and Niger, where they have been engaged in training the country’s armed forces using the pretext of combatting the terrorist group Boko Haram.
The Intercept reported two weeks ago based on secret documents obtained via a Freedom of Information request that the Obama administration is planning to spend an additional $100 million to establish a new drone base which will be capable of hosting MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are larger and considered more lethal than the notorious Predator drones used to rain death and destruction down on thousands throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Just days before the Times revealed the covert operations in Somalia, the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes confirmed that a fleet of F16 fighters have been deployed in Djibouti since July in preparation for a possible “crisis response” mission in South Sudan.
The country, which gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 with Washington’s backing, has substantial energy resources and is crucial to the US strategy of preventing expanding Chinese influence. But it has been gripped by civil war almost since its independence.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ethiopia withdraws from Somalia el-Ali in Hiran region

  • 7 hours ago
  •  
  • From the sectionAfrica



Ethiopian soldiers ride an army vehicle on their way to Mogadishu, 28 December 2006.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionEthiopia deployed its troops to Somalia to strengthen the weak UN-backed government


Ethiopian troops fighting militant Islamist group al-Shabab have withdrawn from a key military base in central Somalia's Hiran region, residents say.
Al-Shabab fighters have taken control of el-Ali village following the withdrawal, the residents added.
Ethiopian forces had destroyed the base before abandoning the area, a radio station run by al-Shabab said.
The troops withdrew after the base came under artillery fire, a Somali security official said.
Ethiopian has not commented on the withdrawal.
In recent weeks it had also withdrawn its forces from the nearby town of Moqokori, AFP news agency reports.
In June, al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, said it had killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in an attack on a base in Halgan town, also in central Somalia.
The withdrawal from el-Ali has made a large and strategic area vulnerable to occupation by the militants, reports the BBC's Ibrahim Aden from the capital, Mogadishu.



Al-Shabab fightersImage copyrightAP
Image captionAl-Shabab militants say they attacked an African Union base in central Somalia


Some Ethiopian soldiers are in Somalia as part of a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) force while others are there as a result of a bilateral deal with the weak Somali government.
The Ethiopian soldiers in the AU mission are responsible for securing Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions but are also present in Hiran, which borders Ethiopia.
Somali security official Abdirisak Moalim Ahmed confirmed to AFP news agency that al-Shabab had occupied el-Ali, and the Ethiopian troops had headed for the regional capital, Beledweyne, about 70km (43 miles) away.
Most traders had fled the village following its seizure by al-Shabab, resident Osman Adan told AFP.
Ethiopia has a long and porous border with Somalia, and has been anxious to stop the infiltration of Islamist militancy into its territory.
Earlier this week, a state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia itself to quell the worst unrest in the country since the government took power in 1991.
Opposition groups in Ethiopia are demanding more political and economic rights, accusing the government of being repressive.
The government has blamed the unrest on "terrorists", accusing them of trying to break up the East African state of more than 86 million people.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently visiting Ethiopia, where she called on the government to allow protests, Reuters news agency reports

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ethiopia base in Somalia attacked by al-Shabab

  • - BBC News9 June 2016
  •  
  • From the sectionAfrica


Al-Shabab fightersImage copyrightAP
Image captionThis is the first time al-Shabab has attacked an Ethiopian-run base in Somalia


Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab says it has killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in an attack on an African Union base in central Somalia.
The AU mission (Amisom) says it repulsed the attack, killing 110 militants.
Residents in Halgan told the BBC they had heard a huge bang followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire.
Amisom supports the government as it fights to regain control of the country from al-Shabab.
In a series of tweets it has said its soldiers, alongside troops from the Somali army, "drove back the attackers who are now on the run with the joint forces in pursuit".
Ethiopia has denied that any of its soldiers were killed.


Map of Somalia - updated September 2015


It is not possible to verify the various claims about how many people were killed.
Somali Security Minister Abdirizak Mohamed Ahmed told state-owned Radio Muqdisho that officials had counted the bodies of 240 militants outside the base.
He said that nine Amisom soldiers had lost their lives.
He said that the attackers had driven a car bomb into the base.
Ethiopia is one of five countries contributing troops to the 22,000-strong mission and this is the first time an Ethiopian-run Amisom base has been attacked.
Halgan, 260km (161 miles) north of the capital, Mogadishu, is part of the area of Somalia patrolled by Ethiopian soldiers.


Attacks timeline

2016

  • 21 April: Six Ethiopian troops killed in blast in Bay Region
  • 22 February: 15 Ethiopian troops dead in clashes in Lower Shabeelle
  • 15 January: Scores of Kenyan troops killed in an attack on base in El Adde

2015

  • 1 September: More than 20 killed in suicide attack on base in Janale, including at least 12 Ugandan troops
  • 26 June: At least 50 Burundian troops killed in attack on base near Mogadishu

2011

  • 20 October: 70 Amisom and Somali troops killed in clashes in Mogadishu

In January, al-Shabab targeted a Kenyan base in el-Ade, southern Somalia.
It said it had killed more than 100 soldiers but the Kenyan authorities have not confirmed the death toll.
Al-Shabab has also attacked Amisom bases run by troops from Burundi and Uganda.

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.