Ethiopia: Surprise Solution for the Somali Pirate Menace


December 29,2008: Ethiopian invited a group of Puntland government leaders and tribal elders to come to Ethiopia to discuss matters of mutual interest. One solution for the Somali pirates would be a few thousand Ethiopian peacekeepers clearing out the port towns and villages the pirates use as bases. Ethiopia isn't eager to do anymore peacekeeping among Somalis, but will do so to control border security (a lot of Somalis live in Ethiopian border areas), or secure its access to the sea. Ethiopia uses ports in Djibouti for all its imports and exports, and the growing Somali pirate menace is making that seaborne trade more expensive and less reliable.

December 28, 2008: the U.S. is being cagey about placing heavy sanctions on Eritrea. Eritrea's role in stirring Somalia's chaos is only one reason. The brief but ugly border fracas between Eritrea and Djibouti signaled a new level of belligerence by the Eritrean government. Rumors of internal troubles within Eritrea make "tailored sanctions" attractive if the U.S. concludes the internal frictions make the current regime more vulnerable to economic and political pressure. That's tricky diplomacy. Eritrea has earned its reputation as a "hard case" resistant to international political pressure and sanctions regimens. That said, the "hard case" may be dealing with internal fissures.

December 20, 2008: The Ethiopian government said that it planned to have its peacekeeping troops out of Somalia by the end of 2008. Ethiopian military units are reportedly preparing supply points along the road from Mogadishu to Baidoa (in Somalia).

December 16, 2008: An Eritrean rebel website reported that one of the "big gripes" among Eritrean military commanders and senior government officials is Iseyas Afawarki's insistence on personally selecting "government administrators" and military commanders for Eritrea's "administrative zones." The rumors are just that, rumors, and there is a lot of speculation about what is going on, but the gist of the beef is Afawarki's making leadership selections based on personal loyalty. Eritrea is a complicated place. Tribe, clan, and region play significant social (and hence, political) roles. Afawarki may have jailed "too many cousins" or neglected to balance regional and clan appointments -- again, that's speculative, but don't dismiss it a a source of aggravation.   Eritrea is also a "military society" that values soldier skills and physical courage. Cronyism undermines military effectiveness-- and Eritrea's "tough case" warriors know it.

December 14, 2008: Eritrean rebel sources claim that the Eritrean government is dealing with a "military mutiny." Rumors started circulating as early as December 8 that Eritrean air force officers had decided to oppose the government. Afawarki has supposedly held a series of meetings with military commanders since the mutiny rumors began.

December 1, 2008: The Ethiopian government accused Eritrea of supporting Somali Islamist rebel attacks on forces loyal to Somali's Transitional National Government and of attacks on peacekeeping forces in Somalia. Ethiopia is preparing to withdraw its forces from Somalia. Somalia has its own extensive troubles, but it is also a battlefield in Ethiopia's and Eritrea's proxy war.


Article Archive

Ethiopia: Current 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close