Ethiopia: War as a Diversion


November 16, 2005: Ethiopia has "hardened" the town of Zalambessa (near the Eritrean border). This may not be new news, as reports of trench and bunker building in the area have been circulating since this past Spring. Zalambessa is east of the town of Badme, which is at the center of the Ethiopian-Eritrean disputes. Ethiopia may be letting outsiders see the defensive preparations in Zalambessa since it demonstrates "the will to fight." A western reporter said he noticed few troops in Zalambessa but the defensive works were extensive. It is feared that the Ethiopian government will welcome another round of war with Eritrea, to distract people from domestic problems with vote rigging.

November 15, 2005: Parliament agreed to an independent inquiry into the violence surrounding the recent voting demonstrations. The government has agreed that too much force was used, and said it would buy water cannon and other non-lethal anti-riot weapons.

November 11, 2005: The UN believes that Eritrea and Ethiopia are edging toward "devastating hostilities." While Eritrea is at fault for denying UNMEE (UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea) helicopters flight rights in the Tempoaray Security Zone (TSZ), it was Ethiopia's refusal to accept the international boundary commission's decision to give the town of Badme to Eritrea that is the cause of current friction. In addition, most UNMEE night time ground patrols had been halted because of Eritrea's ban on movement.

November 10, 2005: Ethiopia released 2,400 people that had been arrested during demonstrations against government manipulation of last May's vote. However, 24 journalists and opposition leaders are being held on treason charges, and another 40 were just arrested on the same charges.

November 8, 2005: A week of protests against government vote manipulation last May left at least fifty dead, hundreds injured and over 5,000 arrested. The government won't admit that it cheated, and the opposition parties will settle for nothing less than a new, and clean, vote. This puts the current government in a bad position, because if they admit their guilt, they could be prosecuted and punished. Which goes to show you how hard it is to establish democratic government.


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