London, 17 January 2010 (Somalilandpress)Your article “Violence, fear and confusion: Welcome to the Horn of Africa” (World News) implied Somalia was at peace before Ethiopia’s intervention in 2006. Assumptions used to criticise Ethiopia in relation to the instability are unfounded and fallacious. Lack of peace and stability in Somalia date from the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991.
The instability in Somalia is the result of lack of a state structure and responsible government since that time. Ethiopia has assisted the political forces in Somalia to find a solution, and from the outset Ethiopia has called upon the international community to help. The two transitional governments of Somalia are the result of a protracted political dialogue and it is ridiculous to conclude that these governments are the making of Ethiopia. Furthermore, it is an insult to the Somalis who have been engaged in these negotiations.
The intervention of Ethiopia in Somalia was not, as claimed, initiated by the US. Ethiopia acted in response to a threat to its national security. The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) declared a jihad against Ethiopia and promised that its acolytes intended to establish a caliphate government in Addis Ababa. The ICU had assassinated officials in Ethiopian border towns, terrorised civilians and destroyed public and private property. The attempt to relate the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea to the instability in Somalia is misleading.
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Ethiopia’s concern at what is happening in Somalia is genuine as the two countries share a 1,300km border. The interventions of Eritrea, which has no common border with Somalia, are dangerous and opportunistic.