Ethiopia, in addition to heeding the call of the legitimate Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia for support, was facing a clear danger from UIC forces. UIC has repeatedly declared jihad against us, fomented instability by allowing in destabilizing forces from Eritrea, assisted anti-peace elements like OLF and ONLF (equipped by Eritrea) in carrying out attacks in Ethiopia, and fanned the defunct concept of “Greater Somalia.”
UIC has not only fielded Sh Aweys as its leader, responsible in the 1990s for the bombing spree in Wabe Shabele and Ghion Hotels in Addis Ababa and Ras Hotel in Dire Dawa and for the assassination attempt on the life of our late Minister of Transport and Communication Dr. Abdulmajid Hussein under the guise of the then Al Itihad Al Islami, but also boasted of extremists like Ayro and Fazul Mohammed, responsible for the bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and Tanzania and of a hotel in Mombasa and for the failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli El Al airline in Mombasa, where hundreds of innocent people lost their lives.
Dislodgement of UIC from power did not “open the door to another period of mayhem” as The Japan Times Jan. 12 editorial, “Opportunity in Somalia,” suggests. It instead has not only given Somalis a golden chance to boldly institute a dialogue for reconciliation based on broad consultation among the various groups in its society but also paved the way for the international community to assist in the monumental task of reconstruction.
Ethiopia does not have any intention to stay in Somalia. Deployment of an African stabilization force is taking root with Uganda offering 1,000 soldiers. Senior government officials are visiting several African capitals to garner support for more troop commitments, as is the Kenyan foreign minister on behalf of IGAD. There are encouraging signs that others will follow suit. It is vital that financial and logistic contributions for deploying these forces be made available from the international community. The success of this endeavor is crucial for helping Somalia rejoin the community of nations and getting the whole region to refocus on the fight against poverty.
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