December 26, 2006

Somalia-Ethiopia Conflict

The world knows little about African conflicts and wars, and does not give them much attention, traditionally seeing them as something absolutely remote and irrelevant to events in other regions, much more peaceful and safe. Why should we care about Africa and those fighting there, many people wonder when they hear about another outbreak of violence or armed struggle in this or that part of the Black Continent. Only when the toll of victims reaches tens and hundreds of thousands, everyone wakes up and starts asking each other: “Where is it?”.

However, it is inherently wrong to think that Africa’s problems concern only Africans themselves. It is high time to forget that Africa is so exotic and so far, and to begin treating it as a huge region capable of becoming an enormous hotbed of instability, giving rise to issues which should be solved on time. For if they are not solved, it will become worse and more costly to solve them afterwards. This huge black hole called Africa will show its worth.

Situation in Somalia proves that statement quite well. Neighboring Ethiopia had to interfere urgently. Islamic regime in Somalia had all chances to become exactly what the Talib regime in Afghanistan became for the world. After September 11 attack, when it turned out that Afghanistan, so far from the U.S., was the foothold for terrorists, the world realized that the Taliban is not a regional issue. A global anti-terrorism coalition had to be created to solve it. It was already impossible to overcome the Talib regime with less sacrifices.

However, creating an anti-terrorism coalition headed by the U.S. was very costly. Afghanistan has the second coming of once defeated Talibs, and the “coalition of will” in Iraq proved that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So, the question arises: is there some other way to neutralize the threat spreading in the world? Ethiopia, in fact, is now showing this new way of solving the problems with radical Islamism and terrorism, which will replace the global anti-terrorism coalition -- slow, expensive, and out-of-date.

Perhaps, the world should thank Ethiopia for undertaking that dirty work, relieving great countries from the unpleasant necessity to gather, to summon UN Security Council, and to think what to do with Somalia’s Islamists, keeping in mind their own interests. And who would reproach Addis Ababa of double standards, of which great nations often accuse each other, if Ethiopia is fighting in Somalia for its own national security indeed?
Sergei Strokan

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