Note: In ongoing commentaries, the author examines the Obama Administration’s policy in Africa.
Moral Hazard and Moral Bankruptcy
The concept of ‘moral hazard’ in politics may be used to explain a situation in which a government is insulated and immunized from the consequences of its risky, reckless and incompetent behavior. For instance, a regime that is heavily dependent on the safety net of foreign aid, sustained infusion of multilateral loans and perpetual supply of humanitarian assistance will behave differently if it were left to its own devices to deal with the consequences of a mismanaged economy, debilitating corruption and proliferating poverty. Many African regimes today simply avoid the demands of good governance, ignore the rule of law and commit gross violations of human rights in the belief that Western aid, particularly American taxpayer handouts, will always bail them out of their chronic budget deficits and replenish their empty grain silos. Stated simply, Western taxpayer dollars provide the fail safe insurance policy for the survival and persistence of failed regimes in Africa.
By shifting the risk of economic mismanagement, incompetence and corruption to Western donors, and because these donors impose no penalty or disincentive for poor governance, inefficiency, corruption and repression, African regimes are able to cling to power for decades abusing the human rights of their citizens and stealing elections. Western donors continue to bail out failed African states for two reasons. First, the iron fisted African dictators make excellent business partners. Recent Wikileaks cablegrams have documented that the most important objective for Western policy makers in Africa is to support a strongman who can guarantee them stability so that they can continue to do business as usual. Basically, they want a “guy they can do business with.” Second, Western donors believe that the few billions of aid dollars given every year to guarantee “stability” in African countries is more cost effective than helping to nurture a genuinely democratic societies in Africa. The moral hazard in Western policy comes not just from the fact that they provide fail-safe insurance to repressive regimes but also from the rewards of increasing amounts of aid and loans to buffer them from a tsunami of democratic popular uprising. As we have recently seen with Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubark in Egypt and Gadahafi in Libya, supporting “strongmen” in Africa will at best produce the illusion of stability, control and permanence for the West. But turning a blind eye to gross human rights violations and complicity in the denial of democratic rights to African peoples is irrefutable evidence of moral bankruptcy.
Obama’s Foreign Policy in Africa
In 2008, when then-Senator Obama was campaigning for the presidency, his advisor on Africa, Witney W. Schneidman, laid out the candidate’s fundamental policy objectives for Africa. Schneidman argued that “Barack Obama understands Africa and its importance to the United States” and “to strengthen our common security, we must invest in our common humanity.” Unquestionably, Senator Obama was a man of little talk and lots of action. He aggressively promoted human rights and accountability throughout the continent. He co-sponsored major legislation to help end genocide in Darfur (Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006), vigorously advocated for a no-fly zone in Darfur (not so in Libya today), secured funds to facilitate free and fair elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helped bring Liberian warlord Charles Taylor to justice and worked to develop a coherent strategy for stabilizing Somalia.
Senator Obama was a straight-talker. In 2006, he visited Kenya and “spoke truth to power” “about the corrosive impact of corruption.” He visited Kibera, Kenya, a 2.5 square kilometer tract of urban land and the second largest slum in Africa and home to an estimated 1.2 million people. He told the proudly delirious mass of poor people, “I love all of you, my brothers — all of you, my sisters”. He embraced the wretched of Kibera: “Everybody in Kibera needs the same opportunities to go to school, to start businesses, to have enough to eat, to have decent clothes.” After the 2007 Kenya elections, Senator Obama rolled his sleeves and for “18 months worked with the Kenyan leadership to help resolve the post-election crisis in that country.” He called out Robert Mugabe for stealing elections in Zimbabwe and condemned his gross human rights violations. In South Africa, he “demanded honesty from the government about HIV/Aids.” He went into “refugee camps in Chad, where he heard first-hand about the experiences of Sudanese women who had been forced from their homes and had their families torn apart, and worse, by Khartoum’s genocidal policies.”
In America, Senator Obama made a “strong effort to reach out to first, second and third generation Africans who have become American citizens to encourage them to be part of the effort that will elect Barack Obama president of the United States.” He actively sought the support of Ethiopians. His campaign specifically called on the “10,000 Ethiopian-Americans in Virginia to help turn that state blue on November 4th.”. On November 4, 2008, Ethiopian Americans came out by the tens of thousands and helped turn Virginia blue.
When Senator Obama became President, his “Africa Agenda” revolved around three basic objectives: 1) “accelerate Africa’s integration into the global economy”, 2) “enhance the peace and security of African states” and 3) “strengthen relationships with those governments, institutions and civil society organizations committed to deepening democracy, accountability and reducing poverty in Africa.” Over the past two years, what we have seen in Africa is a whole lot of deepening repression, human rights violations and corruption in Africa. We have seen very little “accountability, democracy building, the rule of law, judicial reform” and the rest of it.
Much to our dismay, upon becoming President Mr. Obama morphed from a “confrontor” to an accommodator of Africa’s notorious human rights violators. He began preaching and issuing moral pleas to “strongmen” in an effort to redirect them from their evil ways and be nice, and not nasty, to their peoples. From day one, President Obama began soft-pedaling. In his inaugural speech, his message to those stealing elections and committing crimes on their citizens was a bit disarming: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” We thought promising rewards to practitioners of corruption and deceit was rather odd; but we deciphered the hidden message: If Africa’s dictators unclench their fists and became nice, American taxpayers will lay some cold hard cash on their open palms. In other words, it is possible to buy off these dictators into becoming nice guys.
In April 2009, President Obama told the Turkish Parliament that the “choices that we make in the coming years will determine whether the future will be shaped by fear or by freedom; by poverty or by prosperity; by strife or by a just, secure and lasting peace.” He told them that “freedom of religion and expression lead to a strong and vibrant civil society” and “an enduring commitment to the rule of law is the only way to achieve the security that comes from justice for all people.” In July 2009, in Ghana, President Obama went on the rhetorical offensive and told Africa’s “strongmen” that they have been driving on the wrong side of history for so long that they are headed straight for history’s dustbin. “Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans [citizens and their communities driving change], and not with those who use coups or change Constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” In the same month, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, in a major speech at Georgetown University, announced that the Obama Administration’s approach to “putting our principles into action” meant demanding accountability in American global human rights policy. She warned the world that “we must be wary of the steel vise in which governments around the world are slowly crushing civil society and the human spirit.”
In December 2009, Secretary Clinton offered further enlightenment on U.S. human rights policy: “It is crucial that we clarify what we mean when we talk about democracy, because democracy means not only elections to choose leaders, but also active citizens and a free press and an independent judiciary and transparent and responsive institutions that are accountable to all citizens and protect their rights equally and fairly.” She said the “first pillar” of this policy is “accountability”, which means “governments [must] take responsibility by putting human rights into law and embedding them in government institutions; by building strong, independent courts, competent and disciplined police and law enforcement.”
In April 2010, U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson speaking at the Second Annual Africa Focus at Harvard University amplified on the meaning of accountability: “A key element in Africa’s transformation is sustained commitment to democracy, rule of law, and constitutional norms…. African countries need civilian governments that deliver services to their people, independent judiciaries that respect and enforce the rule of law, professional security forces that respect human rights, strong and effective legislative institutions, a free and responsible press, and a dynamic civil society.”
In May 2010, in a keynote speech at the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder railed against “corruption [which] weakens the rule of law, undermines the promise of democracy, imperils development and stability and faith in our markets.” In July 2010, Holder and Johnnie Carson, announced at the African Summit in Kampala, Uganda that the U.S. is launching a special Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative to catch and prosecute corrupt foreign individuals and institutions operating in the U.S.
Egypt proved to be a test case for President Obama’s policy in Africa. In June 2009, in a speech given at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, President Obama told the young people of his
unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose…. You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party.
In February 2011, when Egyptian students took the streets seeking to remove Mubarak after three decades of rule by state of emergency and replace it with a “government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people”, President Obama was visibly hesitant and wavering. He seemed to stand aloof and not with the young people of Egypt making history. He waffled on the issue of Mubarak’s departure from power and could only offer abstract moral exhortations against “violence” while calling for an “end to the harassment and detention” and the need to create a “process that is broadly inclusive of the Egyptian opposition.” Only after Mubarak took off for Sharm-el-Sheikh did President Obama step forward to take a stand: “For in Egypt it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” He was effusive in his praise of Egyptian youth: “It’s [Egypt’s] young people who’ve been at the forefront. A new generation, your generation, who want their voices to be heard….America will continue to do everything that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt.”
Backing Up Talk With Action
President Obama is a source of great pride for Africans on the continent and others scattered in the Diaspora. That pride carries with it extraordinarily high expectations for U.S. policy in Africa. His writings and speeches demonstrate that he is very knowledgeable, well-informed and passionate about Africa; and his African ties are deep, strong and genuine. His involvement with Africa dates back to his student days in the early 1980s at Occidental College in California protesting apartheid. Africans would like to seek qualitative changes in U.S. policy towards Africa.
The President’s Africa policy pivots on a strategy of “constructive engagement” of African “leaders”. One cannot clap with one hand alone. There is overwhelming evidence to show that most African leaders are only interested in clinging to power cushioned by the financial support of American taxpayers. They are not interested in engaging America on what matters most to Americans – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, accountability, transparency and the like. President Obama, on the other hand, has partners right here in the U.S. of A who are willing to engage him on issues of democracy, freedom and human rights in Africa. They are the tens of thousands of Ethiopians who helped turn Virginia blue for him; they are the multitudes of Nigerians in Ohio and Somalis in Minnesota and other Africans throughout the U.S. who opened their wallets, canvassed the precincts and stood in line for hours that cold November morning in 2008 to make Senator Obama President Obama. Democracy, freedom and human rights in Africa cannot be subordinated to the expediency of “engaging” incorrigible African leaders whose sole interest is in clinging to power to enrich themselves and their cronies. Like charity, we believe, constructive engagement should begin at home.
The weekly commentaries of the author are available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/
Alemayehu G. Mariam
The Tangled Web of Lies
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive,” said Sir Walter Scott, the English novelist and poet. It looks like the U.S. of A is really in a pickle tangled in a web of lies, deceit and diplomatic chicanery about its role and involvement in the 2006 invasion of Somalia by the dictator in Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi. The truth about the “fantastic Somalia job” (invasion), as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi called it, is now coming to light in the diplomatic cables acquired by Wikileaks, the organization dedicated to publishing sensitive documents from anonymous sources and whistleblowers. David Axe (Wired.com) citing Wikileaks cables last week argued that the U.S. had actually hired Zenawi to “do its dirty work” in Somalia. Axe wrote:
It was an off-hand compliment during a January 2007 dinner [the month following Zenawi’s full scale invasion of Somalia] meeting between Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, plus staff, and then-U.S. Central Commander boss General John Abizaid…. ‘The Somalia job was fantastic,’ Al Nahyan interjected… At the time of Al Nahyan’s comment, the dust was just settling from Ethiopia’s Blitzkrieg-style assault toward Mogadishu. Some 50,000 Ethiopian troops… had cut a bloody swath through the lightly-armed forces of the Islamic Courts Union…. Washington certainly had a motive to get involved in Somalia… Already with two escalating wars on its own plate, the U.S. was in no position to openly lead its own large-scale attack on Somalia. It’d have been far simpler to simply sponsor somebody else to do the dirty work. Enter Ethiopia…. All the same, evidence was mounting that the U.S. had played a leading role in the Ethiopian invasion. Journalists only strongly suspected it, but Abu Dhabi prince Al Nayhan apparently knew it for certain, if his praise of “the Somalia job” was any indication…. Today, U.S. Special Forces continue to target terrorists in Somalia. There are arguably more of them than ever, thanks in part to the botched Ethiopian invasion. ‘We’ve made a lot of mistakes and Ethiopia’s entry in 2006 was not a really good idea,’ U.S. diplomat Donald Yamamoto said in March.
Blowback and Plausible Deniability
There appear to be two parallel cover stories invented from the beginning to explain U.S. involvement (and alternatively, non-involvement) in Zenawi’s invasion of Somalia. The first story is that Zenawi presented the U.S. a fait accompli (done deal) to invade Somalia. The U.S. advised against such an invasion but reluctantly supported it after it became clear that Zenawi’s decision was irreversible. The second is what may be called “throw-Zenawi-under-the-bus” story. If there is a blowback on the U.S. from Zenawi’s invasion because of high civilian casualties, other humanitarian disasters or prolonged stalemate, the U.S. could simply dump the entire blame on Zenawi and claim plausible deniability. In other words, “Zenawi did it on his own. The U.S. had nothing to do with it. The U.S. advised him not to invade. Blame Zenawi.” The straight story is that the U.S. not only supported the invasion but was actually snagged into supporting the invasion by the clever, calculating and cunning Zenawi.
The available evidence suggests that Zenawi had been spinning his own web of deceit and lies to entangle the U.S. in a Horn war in 2006 for two purposes: 1) to ingratiate himself with the U.S. and panhandle for more aid handouts, and 2) effectively deflect criticism of his miserable human rights record in the aftermath of the stolen May 2005 elections. In the run up to the Somali invasion, Zenawi was facing withering criticism and condemnation for his massive repression, massacres of hundreds of unarmed protesters and jailing of nearly all the opposition leaders, independent newspaper publishers, civic society leaders and human rights advocates in the country. By the Spring of 2006, an unprecedented bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress to cut off aid to Zenawi unless he improved his human rights record. Zenawi clearly understood that significant American support was essential for the very survival of his repressive regime. Zenawi was also keenly aware of American obsession, fixation and preoccupation with Al Qaeda in the Horn. Zenawi calculated that if he could seduce and snag the U.S. in an invasion of Somalia by presenting himself as an “Al Qaeda Hunter in the Horn”, he could have the best of all possible worlds. He could make best friends for life with the U.S. and forever forestall any actions that could result in a cutoff of U.S. aid to his regime or other unpleasant diplomatic pressure.
The evidence suggests that to accomplish this objective Zenawi concocted “false intelligence” to entice the U.S. into supporting his invasion of Somalia by essentially sounding the siren call that will always catch America’s attention: “The Jihadists are coming!!!” On June 6, 2006, six months before the full-scale invasion that led to the siege of Mogadishu and one month before a small contingent of Zenawi’s troops were sent to defend the Somali “Transitional Federal Government” (TGF) in Baidoa, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman Cohen, who incidentally facilitated Zenawi’s takeover of power in Ethiopia in May 1991, shared an illuminating and well-informed insight:
Also, there are friends in the region, like the Ethiopians, who probably are feeding false intelligence about terrorists being hidden and that sort of thing, because the Ethiopians are deadly afraid of Moslem control and also they have their own Moslem problem among the Oromo ethnic group in Ethiopia. So they want to keep the Islamists out of power, and they will bring the U.S. into it, if they can.
By early Summer of 2006, former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, who advised the U.S. Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs on African matters, was quietly working behind the scenes to facilitate the invasion of Somalia and spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal the nature of U.S. involvement. By mid-July 2006, the die had been cast and the initial invasion of Somalia had occurred when Zenawi deployed a contingent of his troops to prop up the TGF. In the preceding weeks, Frazer was priming the diplomatic circles and mollifying world public opinion by claiming that while the U.S. does not support an invasion of Somalia, it will not allow the “disintegration” of the TGF by jihadists and will “rally” to support Zenawi if he were to invade.:
A confidential UN cable obtained by Human Rights Watch indicates that in a conversation with UN officials in June 2006, US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer noted that the situation in Somalia was ‘uncertain.’ According to the notes, she presented the view that Eritrea had stepped over the line and that Ethiopia viewed Eritrean action in Somalia ‘as tantamount to opening a second front against Ethiopia.’ Dr. Frazer’s best-case scenario was that the ICU and TFG would engage in dialogue; the worst-case scenario was the expansion of the ICU throughout Somalia and the disintegration of the TFG. Dr. Frazer noted that the latter scenario would have a major negative impact in the Horn and that the US and IGAD would not allow it. She allegedly expressed the view that while the US feared an Ethiopian intervention could rally ‘foreign elements,’ the US would rally with Ethiopia if the ‘Jihadists’ took over.
By mid-December 2006, less than two weeks before Zenawi fully unleashed his “blitzkrieg” on Somalia and rumbled into Mogadishu, Fraser was setting the propaganda stage to convince the world that jihadists were provoking an Ethiopian attack. The N.Y. Times reported on December 14, 2006, that Frazer “said that diplomatic and intelligence officials believed that the Islamists could be trying to provoke an Ethiopian attack as a ‘rallying cry for support’ to their side.” On December 27, 2006, just as Zenawi’s troops were storming through the desert to Mogadishu after capturing the strategic town of Jowhar ninety miles to the north, the U.S. State Department endorsed the invasion by declaring that Islamist forces were creating “genuine security concerns” for Ethiopia. U.S. State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said: “Ethiopia has genuine security concerns with regard to developments in Somalia and has provided support at the request of the legitimate governing authority, the Transitional Federal institutions.”
All along, the U.S. had been working quietly with Zenawi providing training and military aid in manifest anticipation of the Somalia invasion. The invasion deal was sealed on December 4, 2006, when General John Abizaid, Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), met with Zenawi in Addis Ababa on what was billed as a “courtesy call to an ally”. Following Zenawi’s invasion of Somalia three weeks later, it became clear that the “courtesy call” was actually “the final handshake” to go forward with a full scale invasion. On January 8, 2007, a little over a week after Zenawi’s troops had triumphantly captured Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, U.S.A. TODAY reported :
The U.S. and Ethiopian militaries have ‘a close working relationship,’ Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said. The ties include intelligence sharing, arms aid and training that gives the Ethiopians ‘the capacity to defend their borders and intercept terrorists and weapons of mass destruction,‘ he said. There are about 100 U.S. military personnel currently working in Ethiopia, Carpenter said.
Two weeks earlier on December 24, 2006, as heavy shelling and air strikes were directed at “jihadist” forces in border areas and the town of Beledweyne was being bombarded, Zenawi had described his decision to invade Somalia using almost the same words as the Pentagon. In a televised address Zenawi said, “Ethiopian defense forces were forced to enter into war to the protect the sovereignty of the nation and to blunt repeated attacks by Islamic courts terrorists and anti-Ethiopian elements they are supporting.”
By August 2007, Zenawi’s troops were bogged down in Somalia and the human cost was proving to be horrendous: Tens of thousands of civilians had died and over 870,000 Somalis had been forced to flee their homes in Mogadishu alone. By then, Somalia could only be described as “as one of the worst humanitarian situations in Africa.” The U.S. could see a huge blowback heading its way; it was time to take cover. Fraser did not blink once when she threw Zenawi under the bus. She said it was all Zenawi’s fault. On September 6, 2007, TIME Magazine reported:
But, as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer has said, Washington opposed the invasion of Somalia. ‘We urged the Ethiopian military not to go into Somalia,’ said Frazer last month. ‘They did so because of their own national-security interests.’ This version of events, contrary to a common perception that the invasion was backed or even initiated by the U.S., is supported by accounts of a November 2006 meeting in Addis between Meles and the then head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid. Sources from both sides relate that Abizaid told Meles he was ‘not allowed’ to invade Somalia, adding Somalia would become ‘Ethiopia’s Iraq.’ (An official in Washington disputes the precise language, but confirms the essence of the discussion.
Fraser repeated the same story line on February 12, 2008, when she told Newsweek Magazine:
We told them [Ethiopia] that they should not go in. Once they went in absolutely we had to try to assist them and the [Somali] transitional federal government, which had invited them in. We support the transitional federal government and its decision to ask the Ethiopians to assist them.
The web of lies and deception had come to a complete circle in late 2007, and the “fantastic Somalia job” had managed to create a grotesque theater of death and destruction throughout Somalia.
The Jihadists Are Coming!
As many of my readers are aware, I have written extensively on the illegal invasion of Somalia on a number of occasions. I will reference three columns that I wrote on the issue. On November 28, 2006, a month before Zenawi’s tanks “blitzkrieged” their way into Mogadishu, I wrote a column entitled, “The Jihadists are Coming!”, arguing that Zenawi had fabricated the Somali jihadist threat to deflect attention from his dismal human rights record and repression and to buy the good will and diplomatic support of the U.S.:
But the whole jihadist business smacks of political fantasy. It’s surreal. Mr. Zenawi says the Somali jihadists and their Al Qaeda partners should be opposed and defeated because they are undemocratic, anti-democratic, oppressive and authoritarian. The jihadists don’t believe in human rights and do not allow political or social dissent. They are fanatics who want to impose one-party rule, and do not believe in a democracy where the people elect their representatives. Duh!!! Has Mr. Zenawi looked at the mirror lately?
On October 2, 2008, in a column entitled, “The End of Pax Zenawi in Somalia”, I questioned whether the military effort to impose “Zenawi’s Peace” on the Somali people had finally collapsed:
The situation in Somalia has turned Code Red. Things are deteriorating very fast for Zenawi’s troops. The Al-Shabaab “jihadists” have taken over Southern Somalia, and are ravenously eyeing Mogadishu. It is no longer “hit-and-run” guerrilla warfare. It is capture-and-stay…. Zenawi’s forces are in full “strategic retreat” to Mogadishu. After nearly two years of intervention and occupation of Somalia, there are no signs of success; and an anniversary of total failure in the quicksand of Somalia awaits Zenawi this coming December. Could this be the end of Pax Zenawi in Somalia?
On November 3, 2008, I followed up with another column entitled, “The 843-Day War”, based on a systematic content analysis of Zenawi’s public statements, and laid out the intricately fabricated sophistry Zenawi had used to justify his invasion of Somalia. I concluded:
It appears Zenawi completely underestimated the insurgents and the Somali people and overestimated the military prowess of his troops. He really did not know the Somalis as much as he thought he knew them. He underestimated their resolve to fight a force that had invaded and occupied their country.
Unmitigated Catastrophe in Somalia
Perhaps there is nothing surprising about disclosures of use of deceit and trumped-up intelligence by the Bush Administration to justify a proxy preemptive attack on a shattered nation that presented no credible threat to the United States. The tragedy is that by the time Zenawi had announced his decision to pull out his troops by December 2008, Somalia had become an “unmitigated catastrophe.” According to Human Rights Watch:
In 2008 the human rights and humanitarian situation in Somalia deteriorated into unmitigated catastrophe. Several thousand civilians have been killed in fighting. More than one million Somalis are now displaced from their homes and thousands flee across the country’s borders every month. Mogadishu, a bustling city of 1.2 million people in 2006, has seen more than 870,000 of its residents displaced by the armed conflict.
Someone, someday will be held accountable for all of the crimes against humanity, and the Almighty committed in Somalia.
The fact of the matter is that Zenawi would never invade Somalia except with the blessing and full support of the U.S. He is too cunning, too calculating and too sly to invade Somalia all by himself and at the explicit and strong disapproval of the U.S., as it has been claimed by Frazer. It is interesting to note that the U.S. has never condemned Zenawi’s invasion of Somalia, despite protestations that the U.S. had strongly advised against invasion and warned Zenawi that “Somalia would be Ethiopia’s Iraq.” Suffice it to say that the story of the Somali invasion of 2006 is akin to two spiders spinning their webs to entangle each other and suddenly found themselves in the middle of a hornet’s nest.
On March 12, 2010, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Yamamoto said, “We’ve made a lot of mistakes and Ethiopia’s entry in 2006 was not a really good idea.” He did not clarify the nature of the “mistakes”. Could it be that it was “not a really good idea” because the U.S. was exposed as a not-so-silent partner in the outsourced invasion of Somalia? Or could it be that it was a mistake because the hired gun botched the Somalia job? Perhaps the U.S. still supports Zenawi to the hilt because he did and continues to do such a “fantastic job in Somalia”.
As they say, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” Well, it looks like Wikileaks is slowly lifting the curtain on the funny business the U.S. and Zenawi have been doing in the dark all these years.
RELEASE ALL ETHIOPIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS.
 See “Shell-Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu,” Human Rights Watch, Vol. 19, 12(a), August 2007, p. 22, fn. 63.
 Human Rights Watch, “So Much to Fear: War Crimes and the Devastation of Somalia,” December 2008, p.19