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Analyst say Eritrea does not support al-Shabab

Western Think Tank says Eritrea does not support al-Shabab

In mid-October, Kenya invaded Somalia, in violation of the Security Council's Resolution 1725, and Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter. Despite the Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed opposing the invasion of his country[1], Kenya has not been sanctioned for their military intervention that mimics Ethiopia's disastrous failed invasion and subsequent occupation between 2006-2009.

Instead of the media focusing on the thousands of Kenyan troops pouring into Somalia and the havoc this is causing on Somali civilians, various media outlets are airing reports made by a Kenyan officer who suspiciously alleges Eritrea, a nation situated hundreds of miles away and one that shares no common borders with southern Somalia, is arming al-Shabab, a rag-tag rebel group that came into existence as a direct result of Meles Zenawi's catastrophic miscalculation in Somalia.

However,  EJ Hogendoorn, Crisis Group's Horn of African analysts based in Nariboi told the New York Times a few days ago that the recent "accusations of Eritrean involvement should not be taken at face value."[2] and suggests increasing regional involvement of nations, including Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, as the cause of such accusations. Moreover, Ali Mohamud Rage, who is al-Shabab's spokesperson, informed the New York Times that these unfounded accusations coming from this Kenyan officer  have “nothing to do with Eritrea,”[2] and went on to say: “We take our weapons from the African Union.[2]

 A recent investigative report presented by Wired news agency supports al-Shabab's spokesperson's claims and shows how U.S. unintentionally is arming both sides of the conflict, by providing Ugandan soldiers with weapons who sell their excess weapons to Somali intermediaries and they in turn sell it to al-Shabab fighters.

The problem is, the Ugandan army withholds most of the peacekeepers’ $550 monthly paychecks, keeping the money in bank accounts in Uganda accessible only by the troops’ families. Considering “limited shopping opportunities for embattled AMISOM troops, you would think that makes sense to keep their money at home,” Pelton wrote. “Except that the AMISOM payment debacle leaves thousands of troops surrounded by tons of weapons with no way to buy even ’small small’ things like personal items, sweets or mobile phone recharges to call home.”

So the Ugandans sell their excess weaponry to intermediaries who then sell it on to al-Shabab. And to keep up their racket, the peacekeepers make sure to shoot at every opportunity, burning through “an extraordinary amount of ordnance” to justify continued arms shipments from Washington.

How bad is it? “In April of 2011 the U.N. determined that 90 percent of all 12.7 x 108 millimeter ammunition [in Mogadishu] was from an AMISOM stock created in 2010,” Pelton revealed. “An RPG captured from al-Shabab was analyzed and determined to have been delivered by DynCorp to the Ministry of Defense in Uganda. The contract was to supply weapons and ammunition to the Ugandan forces in Mogadishu.” - see, "U.S. Weapons Now in Terrorist Hands", by David Axe, August 2, 2011

Indeed, its been well documented that the vast majority of arms entering Somalia continue to come from Ugandan troops, Ethiopia and troops from the Transitional Somali Government (TFG). According to the Somali Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), the primary sources of weapons entering Somalia come from the TFG and Ethiopia.

'Eighty percent of ammunition available at the Somali arms markets was supplied by TFG and Ethiopian troops,' Kumalo said in the written text of his remarks to the Security Council. - By Louis Charbonneau, May 28, 2008 - Reuters - AlertNet 

Since Kenya is among the world's most corrupt governments[3], where bribes and favors are the norm, one has to seriously consider this lone officer may have been payed off by Ethiopian officials to blame it on Eritrea so Ethiopia's war strategy of starving Eritreans through economic sanctions can bare fruit. Even if he wasn't bribed, this recent bizarre flights this lone Kenyan officer claimed to have seen and made public via his Twitter account are likely nothing more then the common Ethiopian flights that illegally enter Somalia to deliver weapons, bombs and ammunition to rebel factions that support Ethiopia's despot as the SEMG has well documented.

The monitoring committee received details of some 25 military flights by Ethiopia into Somalia and knew that Ethiopian troops had brought military equipment into the country to arm 'friendly clans,' Kumalo said. - By Louis Charbonneau, May 28, 2008 - Reuters - AlertNet

In reality though, this accusation coming from this officer is intended largely to divert attention from Kenya's illegal invasion of Somalia and to aid the increasingly belligerent Ethiopian despots' war strategy of trying economically strangle Eritrea by imposing heinous economic sanctions against Eritrean civilians through the UN Security Council. To get a better understanding of this hypocrisy, imagine someone breaking and entering your house and instead of your local media focusing on the intruder of your home and the destruction this is causing, they focus on allegation made by the house intruder himself and his wild claims of a distant neighbor possibly arming the people of a house he just intruded. It seems the mere fact of illegally invading another sovereign nation, which is the highest crime imaginable against any sovereign state, doesn't register too well among a few Horn of African states.

Mark Twain once said: "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Indeed, this quote holds evident today, with some western diplomats calling this alleged allegation of Eritrean support of al-Shabab as the equivalent of U.S.' accusation of Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction[4].  Eritrea strongly condemned al-Shabab and has described this rebel group causing a policy of disintegration in Somalia[4]. But because Eritrea's online media capacity is weak and almost non-existent in many cases, news of Eritrea speaking critically of al-Shabab are hardly circulated online or ever cited. As a result, Ethiopia has been capitalizing on this by regularly making sensational and wild accusations with the hopes of a broad negative perception of Eritrea is created online, which has real world implication, since much of the world's information of any given topic largely comes from the web these days.

Despite all these politically motivated accusations being loosely thrown around, there hasn't been a single credible evidence to support their claim. On the other hand, all independent and credible regional analysts have on numerous occasions stated Eritrea does not support Al-Shabab. For example, Mr. EJ Hogendoorn stated, "There is very little evidence to suggest that Eritrea has, or is currently, supporting al-Shabab."[5] He further added in late 2010 that: "There is essentially no concrete evidence that Eritrea continues to supply or assist Al Shabab over the past year and a half." [6] Even the former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr. Donald Yamamoto,  was secretly informing his superiors that Eritrea's role in Somalia is likely "insignificant."[7]", essentially, contradicting and debunking every public statement he ever made about Eritrea and its role in Somalia to the media.

A recent Reuters interview with Somalia's weak TFG uncovered the Somali premier stating of holding "informal talks with al Shabaab". Knowing the TFG wouldn't say a word without U.S. approval, this can only mean U.S. officials are likely behind the scenes facilitating an all inclusive government which includes al-Shabab and TFG members, which would then raise questions of what's the purpose of all these wars if the end result was to work with them all along? Additionally, why demonize, attack and sanction Eritrea for bogus, Ethiopian concocted allegations (as part of its war strategy against Eritrea) of arming a rebel group USG secretly is talking with to form a new Somali government?

"We don't have formal talks with (al Shabaab) but here and there we talk to them and maybe there is some willingness from some of them to lay down their arms and negotiate," - Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told Reuters.

Aside from the fact that al-Shabab is just one of various rebel groups operating in central and southern Somalia, they have become the convenient boogyman for regional dictators to gain political favors and lucrative aid packages by exaggerating the capacity of this group to play on USG' Islamist paranoia. The reality of the situation in Somalia is more complex than just one small, disorganized rebel faction. Today's Somalia faces regional secessionists movements such as Somaliland and Jubaland, as well as a weak and corrupt government that has no support among its people, dozens of rivaling warlords, pirates, armed bandits with no political ties, deep clan and sub-clan divisions, and Ethiopia's continued destabilization efforts, which has invaded Somalia no less than three separate occasions since 1993. All these factors have contributed to Somalia's instability. In Ethiopia's case, Zenawi continues to play a spoiler role by fragmenting and dividing Somalia based on regions in order to prevent a strong, unified Somalia from forming and likely  raising the issue of the Ogaden, a disputed Somali territory given to Ethiopia by the British in 1948.

Even with a tragedy taken place in Ethiopia's Somali inhabited areas, western media and USG officials continue to ignore and politically shield the Ethiopian despot, even as many western sources and activist are increasingly describing the Ogaden as being the largest ongoing genocide in the world, where reports are indicating thousands of civilians are being killed, tortured and raped by Ethiopian security forces and tens of thousands of Somali-Ethiopian civilians from the Ogaden continue to flee into Kenya and Somalia to escape Zenawi's "scorched Earth" policy. Over the years, Zenawi's growing paranoia with the ONLF has turned much of that Ethiopian region into a giant prison, where all NGOs, international observers, reporters and even red cross staff are banned from operating.

Related Reading:
 1) The terrorism stock market: Ethiopia and al-Shabab
 2) Eritrea condemns al-Shabab - Uganda supports Eritrea

                                                     Pictures courtesy of Amin Amir
Both Ethiopia and Kenya have invaded Somalia - Photo Amin Amir
Meles Zenawi's secret genocide in the Ogaden - Photo: Amin Amir
Meles Zenawi conducting crimes against humanity in the Ogaden

While 14 million Ethiopians starve, Zenawi continues to buy arms
"The Ignored Ogaden Genocide"
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Analyst say Eritrea does not support al-Shabab Reviewed by Admin on 5:23 PM Rating: 5


  1. First and foremost, excellent article and well sourced!

    There is no "proxy war" in Somalia. Both Ethiopia and Kenya have illegally invaded Somalia in violation of the Security Council's Resolution 1725, and Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter. Had there been any creditably among the UN security council, both Ethiopia and Kenya should be sanctioned for invading another UN member state. Instead, we are being told of a ridiculous "proxy war" between Eritrea and Ethiopia, even though one can't call Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia a "proxy", as it's a direct military intervention that cost the lives of 20,000 Somalis and displaced 1.5 million Somali citizens and gave birth to a weak, rag-tag rebel group called al-Shabab.

    Eritrea, on numerous occasions, have condemned Ethiopia's latest favorite boogeyman called al-Shabab, a group that fights among each other and has a major drug addiction of Khat among its rank-and-file foot soldiers (some threat they are). They themselves have threatened Eritrea with war (again, all talk but no bite, as they are a toothless weak rebel group). This rebel group is weak, disorganized and is not popular among Somalis. Yet Ethiopia and now Kenya (since elections are coming up for their tyrant) are using this weak group to nickle and dime Washington for aid and for political favors. In Ethiopia's case, Ethiopia's dictator now receives more aid than any country outside of war-torn and US occupied Afghanistan(4 billion worth). And since Ethiopia's tyrant is at war with Eritrea (heck, he occupies Eritrean territory, therefore, it's a war he wants to linger on), so he's asking US officials to economically sanction Eritrea. It's the most ridiculous untold story in the 21st century. Here you have to dictators invading another country, then the media focusing on their wild accusations of a country hundreds of miles away of allegedly arming a rebel faction in a different country they don't belong to. What makes it worse is no one seems to care that they have invaded another sovereign state, in violation of all international laws, and one that merits the highest and stiffest of sanctions. But because America, particularly Susan Rice, continues to sheild Ethiopia's genocidal tyrant, they are trying to sell us a story of Eritrea being the problem, and not the repeated and disastrous failed invasions of Ethiopia and Kenya.

  2. A Kenyan officer starts a rumor via his twitter account, the next person recycling that content treats it as a "possible scenario", and the next as a fact. Welcome to the horn of Africa, where failed states invade other failed states and blame distant countries for their troubles.

    No doubt this is an Ethiopian plot created in AddisWood, where fake dramas and stories about Eritrea are propagated via sketchy regional officials looking for cash.

  3. @anonymous Im Eritrean
    That's your daydream and not gonna happen.PIA is the majority's favourite and best choice for the country,stop your nonsense and acting as if you was Eritrean.

  4. The Eritrean ppl and it's government are doing every thing they can, to breake the cicle, of dependencey in foreing coutries'Aid.In addition rebuilding a country that was hurt for so long because of war among other things.They are also trying to work with neighbors to bring peace in the region so every body can benefit and grow together.So they don't have to wait for the out side countries to come and help fix the problem what ever problem might be.While Africans,them selves can fix they problem if they are equipped with the right tools.

  5. don't worry hake senqena
    Awet Nahafash

  6. @anonymous above... indeed "haki sinkina".we believe truth prevails, and it does!!

    wetru AWET NI HAFASH.


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