The Ethiopian government said that the UN had failed to stop Eritrea
from sending troops and armor into the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), which
separates Eritrea and Ethiopian military positions. The action Ethiopia
criticized is old news. It took place last fall when Eritrea sent 1500 troops
and 14 tanks (a company) into the TSZ. Initial reports said that Eritrea had
sent 10,000 soldiers (troops backed by militia organizations). That proved to
be incorrect. However, Eritrea did send a significant number of forces into the
demilitarized zone and the UN did not force Eritrea to pull out. Ethiopia
complained when the action took place - so why is Ethiopia complaining now?
Eritrea has spent the last ten weeks accusing Ethiopia of "aggression" and
"imperialism" for attacking the Islamic Courts in Somalia. Ethiopia did indeed
attack the Islamic Courts militia and dealt the Islamists a huge defeat. This
was also a huge defeat for Eritrea, which backed the Islamic Courts. The
Ethiopian complaints call attention to Eritrean military violations of a ceasefire
and demilitarization agreement. However, in the larger context, this could be a
diplomatic signal that Ethiopia is once again interested in resolving the
border dispute with Eritrea. Ethiopia may believe it is in the politically
superior position after its victory in Somalia.
16, 2007: Hundred of people belonging to the Borana and Gabra tribes have
fled across the border into Kenya. These Ethiopian tribes are
cattle-herding pastoralists. In the past they have clashed over pasturing
rights. This is the same kind of fighting that has torn Darfur apart, and is
common throughout the semi-arid Sahel region (the stretches across Africa, just
south of the Sahara desert.) However, in this case, both tribes are herders,
and both are ethnically related. In Darfur, it's Arab herders versus black
15, 2007: T the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a rebel group operating in
Ethiopia, claimed that 33 people died in the "inter-clan" fighting. The OLF
statement said that the Ethiopian government provoked the fighting between the
13, 2007: There was an outbreak of tribal fighting in Ethiopia's Ogaden desert
region. The clash involved the Borana and Gabra.
10, 2007: The Ethiopian government asked the government of Turkey to consider
providing troops to serve with a peacekeeping force in Somalia. Ethiopia
intends to withdraw its troop units in Somalia by the end of March 2007.