October 1, 2008:
The US is once again
encouraging Ethiopia to "fully implement" the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary
Commission decision. That is code for giving the disputed Badme area to
Ethiopia is getting tired of
maintaining over 5,000 troops in Somalia. While the U.S. provides cash to pay
for this, this force suffers dozens of casualties a month, and this is not
popular. To a certain extent, Ethiopia is forced to remain in Somalia until
some kind of government is established. But a Somali government seems unlikely
in the near future, and there is the threat of an Islamic religious
dictatorship being set up. This would be trouble for Ethiopia, because the
Somali Islamic militants are intent on conquering parts of Ethiopia occupied by
ethnic Somalis (mainly the province of Ogaden). Ethiopia cannot allow this (if
only because it is very unpopular inside Ethiopia), and is stuck in Somalia.
Appeals to the UN to supply a larger force of peacekeepers goes unanswered.
There is a global shortage of peacekeepers, and Somalia is at the bottom of
everyones list of places they are willing to send their peacekeepers.
September 28, 2008: A bomb detonated in
front of a hotel in the Ethiopia town of Jijiga (Ogaden region) was killed
three people. The Ethiopia government said that it suspected that members of
the Ogaden National Liberation Fron (ONLF) set off the explosion.
September 21, 2008: After Eritrea's
brief border war with Djibouti, France reinforced its garrison in Djibouti. Now
comes word that the French military - which is going through a down-sizing and
restructuring program-- will not close its Arta Plage training area in
Djibouti. The French may have kept the "desert commando school" anyway, but the
diplomatic message is clear: France stands behind Djibouti.
September 20, 2008: Ethiopia is
landlocked. Since it lost control of Eritrea, one of Ethiopia's goals has been
to secure a route to the sea. The two Somali "statelets," the Somaliland
Republic and Puntland, both have access to the sea, which is one reason
Ethiopia generally supports the separatist areas. For several years Ethiopia
and Kenya have discussed improving trade and transportation links. Kenya would
like to improve its own port of Mombasa. Kenya has also talked with the
Government of South Sudan (which, if it became a separate country, would also
be landlocked). Recently Ethiopia and Kenya announced they would build a
"transportation corridor" from Ethiopia through Kenya to Kenya's new Port Lamu
complex (up the coast from Mombasa).The agreement is another indicator that
Kenya and Ethiopia see each other as "strategic allies" in the Horn of Africa.
Both are non-Moslem nations confronted
with hostile Islamic neighbors.
September 3, 2008: A terror bomb went
off in Addisa Ababa's main bus station and killed four people. 24 people were
Djibouti turned over 26 Eritrean
soldiers to the Red Cross. Five of the 26 Eritreans were wounded and captured
in the June 10 firefight between Eritrea and Djibouti. 21 were classified as
"conscript soldiers" who later surrendered to Djiboutian forces - which is a
scrubbed way of saying the Eritreans deserted.