Somalia A New Approach

Posted on 11/07/2010


 Ethiopia remains poised—and apparently willing—to attack and destroy any hostile regime that emerges in southern Somalia. Satisfaction of Ethiopia’s national security concerns is therefore vital to maintaining regional stability.
Ethiopia is currently pursuing a buffer zone strategy that involves the creation and support of proxy militias (including ASWJ) in the Somali regions of Gedo, Bay, Bakol, and Hiran. The United States will have to monitor the situation closely for changes in the Ethiopian posture. In particular, Washington must be poised to dissuade Ethiopia from reinvading Somalia in response to a Shabaab capture of Mogadishu. Reinvasion would only recreate the insurgency dynamic, unify fractious Shabaab elements, and strengthen the movement’s public standing. Ethiopia has a national security imperative to keep troops engaged on its border, but the United States should encourage the UN Security Council to hold Ethiopia accountable for any preemptive incursions into Somali territory.
Ethiopian cooperation is critical to the pursuit of U.S. strategic interests in the region, but anti-U.S. sentiment in the Horn is closely linked to the perception of U.S. Complicity with Ethiopian human rights abuses in Somalia and Ethiopian abuses against ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden region. The United States’ ability to successfully pursue its counterterror objectives depends on resolving that dilemma.

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