Campaign for Change
U.S. Plans Against Venezuela
Washington, Democracy & Haiti
U.S. & the Somalia Invasion
No New Nukes Victory
Korea, America & War
"Anti-Terrorism" Law Expansion
Rehabilitation of Bush
Honeywell Lock Out
The "Golden Rule"
Lawrence S. Wittner
Beyond Gay Marriage
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Sense & Sentimentality
Savage Imperialism 3
How to Create Jobs
The Pick Up Artist
Bread and Puppet Theater
Zaps - 02/11
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
U.S. Gets Ethiopia to Invade Somalia
By mid-2007, the 50,000 Ethiopian troops that invaded Somalia in late 2006 found themselves increasingly bogged down, facing much fiercer resistance than they had bargained for as Somalis of all stripes temporarily put aside their differences to stand together against the outside invader.
Then U.S. Under Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer insisted that, prior to the invasion, the United States had counseled caution and that Washington had warned Ethiopia not to use military force against Somalia. Frazer was a close collaborator with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Frazer tried repeatedly to distance the United States from responsibility for the Ethiopian invasion in a number of media interviews she gave at the time.
But one of the released WikiLeaks cables suggests a different picture, one that implicates Frazer in pressing Ethiopia's President Meles Zenawi to invade its neighbor. The content of the cable is being widely discussed in the African media. It exposes a secret deal cut between the United States and Ethiopia to invade Somalia. If accurate, the cable suggests that Ethiopia had no intention of invading Somalia in 2006, but was encouraged/pressured to do so by the United States, which pushed Ethiopia behind the scenes. Already bogged down in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time, the Bush administration wanted Ethiopia to invade Somalia with an eye to crushing the Union of Islamic Courts, which was gaining strength in Somalia at the time.
During the invasion there was little doubt that the Ethiopian military incursion was "made in Washington." Like so many other WikiLeaks cables, this one merely puts a dot on the "i" and crosses the "t" on what was generally known, although it does give specific information about Jendayi Frazer's involvement in the affair.
According to the cable, as the main U.S. State Department representative in Africa, Frazer played a key role, spearheading what amounted to a U.S.-led proxy war in conjunction with the Pentagon. At the same time, Frazer was laying the groundwork in the U.S. media, both for the invasion and for a cover-up, claiming that, although the U.S. did not support the Ethiopian military action, she could understand "the Somali threat" and why Ethiopia might find it necessary to go to war.
Frazer spread rumors of a possible jihadist takeover in Somalia that would threaten Ethiopian security. Turns out that media performance was little more than a smokescreen. The U.S. military had been preparing Ethiopia for the invasion, providing military aid and training Ethiopian troops. On December 4, 2006, CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid was in Addis Ababa on what was described as "a courtesy call." Instead, the plans for the invasion were finalized.
At the time of the Somali invasion, Zenawi faced growing criticism for the wave of repression he had unleashed against domestic critics of his rule, including mass arrests, the massacre of hundreds of protesters, and the jailing of virtually all the country's opposition leaders. By the spring of 2006 there was a bill before the U.S. Congress to cut off aid to Zenawi unless Ethiopia's human rights record improved. His human rights record, by the way, has not improved. Given how the U.S. and NATO view Ethiopia's strategic role in the "war on terrorism" and the scramble for African resources, Western support for Zenawi has only increased in recent years.
In 2006, dependent on U.S. support in face of a shrinking political base at home—and against his better judgment—Zenawi apparently caved to Frazer's pressure.
This was not the first time Frazer had tried to instigate a U.S. proxy war in Africa. Earlier, as U.S. ambassador to South Africa, she had tried to put together a "coalition of the willing" to overthrow Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, an initiative that did not sit so well with South Africa's post-apartheid government and went nowhere.
The 2006 war in Somalia did not go well either for the United States or Ethiopia. Recently a State Department spokesperson, Donald Yamamoto, admitted that the whole idea was "a big mistake," obliquely admitting U.S. responsibility for the invasion. It resulted in 20,000 deaths and, according to some reports, left up to 2 million Somalis homeless. The 50,000 Ethiopian invasion force, which had expected a cake walk, instead ran into a buzz saw of Somali resistance, got bogged down, and soon withdrew with its tail between its legs.
The political result of the invasion was predictable: the generally more moderate Union of Islamic Courts was weakened, but it was soon replaced in Somalia by far more radical and militant Islamic groups with a more openly anti-American agenda.
As the situation deteriorated, in an attempt to cover both the U.S. and her own role, Frazer then turned on Zenawi, trying to distance herself from the fiasco using an old diplomatic trick: lying. Now that the invasion has turned sour, she's changed her tune, arguing in the media that both she and the State Department had tried to hold back the Ethiopians, discouraging them from invading rather than pushing them to attack. The WikiLeaks cable tells quite a different story.
In 2009, the Ethiopian forces withdrew, leaving Somalia in a bigger mess and more unstable than when their troops went in three years prior. Does there seems to be a pattern here?
Rob Prince is publisher of the online Colorado Progressive Jewish News.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.