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Abstract

Introduction This article aims to critically analyze the possible implications of any future unification between the two states of Somalia and Ethiopia. This comes at a time of major political transition within Ethiopia, which began at the start of 2018. What emerged was a new leadership with an unprecedented governance style and new political views towards internal and external affairs—a great departure from Ethiopia’s former political scene over the past decades. Dr. Abiy Ahmed was elected as the prime minister of Ethiopia on April 2, 2018. Since coming to power, Dr. Abiy has put into force a new regional political strategy, which is already having an immediate impact on the political situation of the Horn of Africa. One of the first capitals visited as part of this political campaign was Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, where he met with Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, with whom he signed a communiqué . After returning to Addis Ababa, the prime minister delivered a speech to the Ethiopian parliament regarding the significance of this agreement on the future relationship between his country and Somalia. One of the more striking remarks was Abiy’s indication that he saw the prospects of the political integration of Ethiopia and Somalia in the future, under a single leadership. In light of his statement, this article will analyze the potential impacts of such unification on both parties, as well as the region. It argues any attempt at unification by the two states poses more challenges than opportunities and instead exacerbates the potential conflict.
Muhumed 1
Muhumed 2
Changing Relations between Somalia and Ethiopia:
Potential Risks on the Horizon
Abdinasir Hassan Muhumed
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
Nation003@gmail.com
Republic of Somaliland, Hargeisa.
Jully17, 2018
Introduction
This article aims to critically analyze the possible implications of any future
unification between the two states of Somalia and Ethiopia. This comes at a time of major
political transition within Ethiopia, which began at the start of 2018. What emerged was a
new leadership with an unprecedented governance style and new political views towards
internal and external affairs—a great departure from Ethiopia’s former political scene over
the past decades.
Dr. Abiy Ahmed was elected as the prime minister of Ethiopia on April 2, 2018.
Since coming to power, Dr. Abiy has put into force a new regional political strategy, which
is already having an immediate impact on the political situation of the Horn of Africa. One
of the first capitals visited as part of this political campaign was Mogadishu, the capital of
Somalia,
1
where he met with Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, with whom
he signed a communique
2
. After returning to Addis Ababa, the prime minister delivered a
1
Bibi lichauco. Ethiopian Airlines to land Mugadishu for first time in four decades.
Australia:Foreign Brief Geopolitical Risk Analyses. Accessed on November 2, 2018.
https://www.foreignbrief.com/daily-news/ethiopian-airlines-to-land-in-mogadishu-for-first-time-in-four-
decades/.
2
Harun Maruf Hassan. Ethiopia Somalia agree to Strengthen brotherly Relations. Washington:
VOA. Last updated on June 16, 2016.
https://www.voanews.com/a/ethiopian-prime-minister-visits-somalia/4441732.html.
Muhumed 3
speech to the Ethiopian parliament regarding the significance of this agreement on the
future relationship between his country and Somalia. One of the more striking remarks
was Abiy’s indication that he saw the prospects of the political integration of Ethiopia and
Somalia in the future, under a single leadership. In light of this statement, this article will
analyze the potential impacts of such a unification on both parties, as well as the region .
It argues any attempt at unification by the two states poses more challenges than
opportunities, and instead exacerbates the potential conflict.
Background of the argument
On June 16, 2018, the new prime minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed,
addressed the Ethiopian parliament in regards to his recent discussions with the president
of the Federal Government of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
3
Touching upon
the major points in the agreed-upon communique that emerged from their discussions,
Abiy not only reveled an agreement by Ethiopia to invest in four Somali ports ,
4
but also
went further and floated the possibility of future unification of the two countries ,
5
Among
the Somali people, these remarks by the PM were greeted by a mixture of worry, doubt
and controversy, particularly among Somali government officials, scholars, politicians,
6
3
Daily # Ethiopia News. “BREAKING Abiy Ahmed's Speech on Somalia & Ethiopia Unity |
Africa Unity | United Africa”. Filmed [June 2018]. You Tube video, 10:29. Posted [June 16, 2018].
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBorE2SfMLA.
4
Aggrey Mutambo, “Ethiopia seeks to legitimize port deals with Somalia,” Daily Nation,
accessed on June 16, 2018.
https://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/Ethiopia-Somalia-joint-port-deals/1066-4616104-
e7g12uz/index.html.
5
Daily # Ethiopia News. “BREAKING Abiy Ahmed's Speech on Somalia & Ethiopia Unity |
Africa Unity | United Africa”. Filmed [June 2018]. You Tube video, 10:29. Posted [June 16, 2018].
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBorE2SfMLA.
6
Awil Mohamed, “Shock therapy, suzerainty, hegemony or positive-sum game? Unlocking the
implication of Dr. Abiy’s strategy towards Somalia,” Ummadda Media Online, accessed on August 19,
2018.
Muhumed 4
civil society representatives, and even ordinary citizens. At the forefront of their analyses
and debate were two major questions that this article will seek to tackle. First, w hat are
the likely consequences of such unification for the actors involved, as well as those
affected by proxy—i.e. who benefits, and who loses out? Second, can we regard the
communique between the two states as proof that Ethiopia is honestly committed to
establishing brotherly relations with Somalia, or should we consider this an attempt by a
regional hegemon to extend authority over its weaker neigh bor?
In general terms, it seems clear that the foreign policy of Ethiopia’s new prime
minister marks a major break from those followed by previous administrations, including
Somalia, but also Eritrea and elsewhere. This is evident even in the tone and sty le with
which PM Abiy addressed his Somali counterparts. All of the speeches made during
Abiy’s trip to Mogadishu were beautifully composed and succeeded in touching the hearts
of the Somali people, to the extent that they pointed towards a movement away from past
animosities and towards renewed friendly relations.
7
As the PM put it in his speech at the
presidential house of Somalia: ‘I am not here to laminate the past, but to open a new
chapter, a new relationship, a new vision….,’ he said.
8
These statements by the PM can be interpreted as indicating genuine and honest
intentions on the part of the new Ethiopian administration to fostering friendly diplomatic
relations with the states of the region. This is evident “Dr. Abiy’s sudden readiness to engage
the Somali federal government as the absolute sovereign of the country provides Mogadishu with
a rare wiggle room and much-needed ammunition to finally repossess power from the clan based
https://www.ummaddamedia.com/shock-therapy-suzerainty-hegemony-or-positive-sum-game-
unlocking-the-implications-of-dr-abiys-strategy-towards-somalia-awil-ahmed/.
7
Mohamud Hassan. Abiy Effect and the Changing Fortunes in Somalia-Ethiopia Ties Relations.
Nairobi: The Star. Accessed on January 13, 2019.
https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/10/27/hassan-abiy-effect-and-the-changing-fortunes-in-somalia-
ethiopia-ties_c1840866.
8
Akram Video Productio. “WATCH: Dr Abiy Ahmed's Speech in Mogadisho, Somalia with
president farmaajo”. Filmed [June 2018]. You Tube video, 20:57. Posted [June 2018].
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhCEUTlWqZw&t=78s .
Muhumed 5
regional actors,” as Awil says.
9
As such, it could be said that never in the recent history of
the region has the possibility for the establishment peaceful and cooperative relations
between perennial adversaries Ethiopia and Somalia been so great. And if this were to
succeed, it would certainly contribute to the stability of the Horn of Africa region as a
whole.
10
However, what matters is not ideal political visions among leaders, but the very
political and practical nature with which such relations are actually formed. As I will argue
below, any possible unification between Ethiopia and Somalia will advantage the former
at the expense of the latter, due to the vast imbalances between the two states politically,
socially, economically and militarily. What is more, as Ghelawdewos Araia writes the two
countries have been enemies ever since Somalia came into existence, and such history
cannot be so easily wished away.
11
The political incompatibilities of Somalia and Ethiopia
Ever since Somalia emerged alongside Ethiopia as an independent African
nation in 1960, the two neighboring countries have never experienced friendly relations,
but instead suffered deep enmity and instability.
12
History recounts many turbulent
episodes.
13
with scholars tracing hostile relations between the two nations back to 1520s,
when Imam Ahmed Ibin Ibrahim al-Ghazi (also known as Ahmed Guray by Somali people)
9
Awil Mohamed, “Shock therapy, suzerainty, hegemony or positive-sum game? Unlocking the
implication of Dr. Abiy’s strategy towards Somalia,” Ummadda Media Online, accessed on August 19,
2018.
https://www.ummaddamedia.com/shock-therapy-suzerainty-hegemony-or-positive-sum-game-
unlocking-the-implications-of-dr-abiys-strategy-towards-somalia-awil-ahmed/.
10
Awil Mohamed, “Shock therapy, suzerainty, hegemony or positive-sum game? Unlocking the
implication of Dr. Abiy’s strategy towards Somalia.”
11
Ghelawdewos Araia PhD., “Understanding the Ethiopian-Somalia Relations & seeking
Permanent Solutions to the Conflict in the Horn ofAfrica African Idea, August 22, 2018,
http://www.africanidea.org/ethiopian_somallia.html.
12
Namhla Matshanda, “Ethiopia is mending relations with its neighbours under its new prime
minister, World Economic Forum, last updae Nov. 21, 2018,
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/how-events-in-ethiopia-will-influence-the-horn-of-africa/
13
ELSA Gonzalez Aime, “The security Issues Behind the Ethiopian Intervention In Somalia
2006-2009,” in State and Societal Challenges in the Horn of Africa, ed. Alexandra Magnolia Dias,
(Centro de Estudos Internacionais: Lisboa, 2013), 32.
Muhumed 6
declared war against Ethiopia.
14
Within the heyday of the post-colonial geopolitical
environment, this included the costly and ultimately failed war of expansion by the Somali
military regime against Ethiopia in 1977, in which it sought to incorporate the Ogaden into
a ‘Greater Somalia’.
15
From that time onwards, the two countries sought to destabilize each other
through proxy conflict and support for each other’s armed opposition forces, but, following
the collapse of the Somali central government in 1991, Ethiopia was given freer rein to
intervene in Somalia’s political affairs. The most prominent example is the invasion
Ethiopia undertook in Somalia between 2006 and 2009, when Ethiopia sent troops into
Somalia to topple the Islamic Courts Union that was spreading what was perceived as a
religious form of authority throughout the country. Both the Somali people and Ethiopians
claim to possess the Ogaden (Hawd and Reserve Area) , which currently is considered
Ethiopian territory under international law, which was the source of the above-mentioned
conflict in the mid-1970s. Their ongoing dispute over these borders indicates and defines
their hostile relations.
16
The two states have followed two different historical trajectories since the end of
the colonial period, but particularly for the last three decades. Ethiopia is strong and
centralized state (despite its federal structure) that has adopted and been performing
functional statehood and governance, while Somalia has suffered through anarchy for the
past three decades.
17
Ethiopia’s stability has allowed for it to develop institutionally,
militarily and economically, adopting ‘a planned economy’ with an annual economic
growth rate of 10.3% in 2015,
18
as reported by the World Bank, while Somalia lingers
14
Ghelawdewos Araia PhD., “Understanding the Ethiopian-Somalia Relations & seeking
Permanent Solutions to the Conflict in the Horn ofAfrica African Idea, August 22, 2018,
http://www.africanidea.org/ethiopian_somallia.html.
15
‘Ibid’.
16
Napoleon A. Bamfo, “Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2006” African Journal of Political Science
and International Relations,” Vol. 4(2), no. 6CF25F040663 (2010):56.
17
Ghelawdewos Araia PhD, “Understanding the Ethiopian-Somalia Relations & seeking Permanent
Solutions to the Conflict in the Horn ofAfricaAfrican Idea, August 22, 2018,
http://www.africanidea.org/ethiopian_somallia.html.
18
. World Bank Group. Fourth Ethiopia Economic Update: Overcoming Constraints in the
Manufacturing Sector. Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2015. Accessed on September 11, 2018.
Muhumed 7
behind with a paltry growth rate of 2.5%.
19
Additionally, the difference in population size
between the two nations can be seen as a very telling indicator of the imbalance in power.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, boasts a population of 99.4 million,
20
alone making up 8.3% of the population of Africa, thus outnumbering Somalia’s estimated
12.3 million people by a factor of eight.
21
Somalia is, in effect, a collapsed state which is rebuilding. Currently, its
government is still grappling with efforts to merely consolidate control of the capital city of
Mogadishu, and, when it comes to the building of institutions and legal frameworks,
everything has had to begin from zero since the federal government was inaugurated in
2012.
22
Unlike Ethiopia’s heavily planned economy, Somalia remains a highly ‘informal
economy’ due to the absence of national central governance.
23
In short, Somalia in reality
continues to be politically anarchic, experiencing poor governance (or, in many places,
its absence), poverty, economic stagnation and clan conflict,
24
while Ethiopia has been
enjoying peace, growth and development across most livelihood and institutional
indicators.
25
http://hdl.handle.net/10986/22802
19
John Randa and Catherine Ngumbau. Somalia Economic Update, July 2017: Mobilizing Domestic
Revenue to Rebuild Somalia. Nairobi: World Bank Group, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2018.
http://hdl.handle.net/10986/28112.
20
‘Ibid’
21
Economic Commission for Africa. The Demographic African of African Country. Addis Ababa:
United Nation Economic Commission for Africa, 2015. Accessed on Sebtember 12, 2018.; UNFPA.
Population Estimation Survery2014. Nairobi: UNFPA Somalia, 2014. Accessed on September 12, 2018.
https://somalia.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Population-Estimation-Survey-of-Somalia-PESS-2013-
2014.pdf
22
Ahmed Ali Kheyre M. PhD, “Somalia: an overview of the history and current situation,”
Research Gate, SSRN Electronic Journal, (April 2016):1-2. 10.2139/ssrn.2771125.
23
Napoleon A. Bamfo, “Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2006” African Journal of Political
Science and International Relations Vol. 4(2), pp. 055 -065, (2010):56.
24
Index Mundi. Ethiopia vs. Somalia. Charlotte: Index Mundi online. Accessed on January 18,
2019.
https://www.indexmundi.com/factbook/compare/ethiopia.somalia.
25
The World Bank. The world bank in Ethiopia: Overview. Washington: World Bank, 2019.
Accessed on January 22, 2019.
https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview .
Muhumed 8
Nevertheless, Ethiopia has in recent years experienced some cracks in its
governmental edifice, and has yet to address certain fundamental development
challenges, such as in the areas of employment and poverty reduction. Therefore, if
unification and integration were to happen, Ethiopia would struggle to cope with the
incorporation of such a dysfunctional polity as Somalia, where both the government and
society have suffered extreme levels of destruction, where the meaning of nationhood
and governance remains highly contested and in need of rehabilitation, and where high
levels of unemployment exist. At the same time, if the two countries agreed to fully unite
and create a singular state, Ethiopia’s power and demographic advantages mentioned
above would allow it to dominate its Somali counterparts, leading to the Ethiopianization
of these populations and the absorption of the Somali state.
26
Within this hierarchical and
imbalanced system, the Somali people would lose effective ownership of their coastal
areas, and especially their ports, while all the best employment opportunities would be
taken by Ethiopians. At stake would not only be the share of economic spoils, but the very
integrity of the Somali political identity itself.
As the experience of the Somali region of Ethiopia has shown, Somalis and
Ethiopians facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles to living together successfully and
peacefully in one country. Taking into consideration the situation of Ethiopia’s various
ethnic groups more generally, we find a situation of recurrent conflict, dispute and tension,
especially between the Somali and Oromia regions
27
. Here, volatile relations have only
been exacerbated by recent political changes, both those at the end of the former PM’s
tenure, when protests erupted and spread into interethnic conflict displacing around 1
million people, and upon the ascension of Abiy Ahmed in 2018, when leadership
transformation upset existing political arrangements and stoked fear.
28
This included the
26
Awil Mohamed, “Shock therapy, suzerainty, hegemony or positive-sum game? Unlocking the
implication of Dr. Abiy’s strategy towards Somalia,” Ummadda Media Online, accessed on August 19,
2018.
https://www.ummaddamedia.com/shock-therapy-suzerainty-hegemony-or-positive-sum-game-unlocking-
the-implications-of-dr-abiys-strategy-towards-somalia-awil-ahmed/.
27
Tadesse, Bamlaku & Gelaw, Fekadu, “The Sources of Ethnic Strives and Tensions among the
Issa-Somali and Ittu -Oromo Pastoral Communities of Eastern Ethiopia,” (2013):1.
28
OCHA. Ethiopia: Conflict displacement Situation. (New York: Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, accessed on August 28, 2018).
Muhumed 9
reported violent killing of around 40 Somali civilian business owners in the Oromia region
in September, in which those committing the vicious murders unashamedly dancing over
the bodies—thus speaking to the embodied animosities that still simmer among
populations that have been living side by side for hundreds of years without integrating.
29
The unification of two previously separate countries would represent a systemic political
shock of far greater magnitude and significance, meaning that it would be hard to imagine
an Ethiopian-Somali federation leading to anything but conflict.
The Somali Region of Ethiopia (the Ogaden) is thus a major test case for the
possibility of any unification of the two countries and its likely implications, According to a
Chatham House report, there remains deep discontent among influential parts of the
Somali population with the idea of being part of the Ethiopian state, to the extent that the
ONLF, a liberation movement, continues to fight for the freedom of the region.
30
This conflict is the result of an unresolved historical grievance, in which the British
Empire ceded the Ogaden region to Ethiopia in 1954, against the wishes of the local
population.
31
When Somalia became independent, the Ogaden thus became part of a
border dispute, with successive Somali states seeking to regain the territory fr om
Ethiopian possession.
32
Exemplary of this sentiment of Aden Abdullah Osman, Somalia’s
former president, who in 1963 remarked Ethiopia has taken possession of a large portion
of Somali territory without the consent and against the wishes of the inhabita nts.’
33
It is
https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ethiopia-_conflict_displacement
_situation_report_0.pdf
29
Faisal Roble, “Roots to the Somali Massacre: Challenging False Narrative,” Wardheernews,
last modified September 27, 2017.
http://www.wardheernews.com/roots-to-the-somali-massacre-challenging-false-narrative/
30
Healy Sally. Conflict in the Ogaden and Its Regional Dimension. London: Chattam House,
2007. Accessed on August 28, 2018.
https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Africa/310807ogaden.pdf
31
Ibrahim Rashid, Last Century & the History of Somalia (Nairobi: SCRIBD, 2011), 22.
32
Napoleon A. Bamfo, “Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2006” African Journal of Political
Science and International Relations Vol. 4(2), pp. 055 -065, (2010):56-57.
33
Daniel Kendie, “Towards Resolving the Ethiopia-Somalia Disputes,” W Westren Machigan
University, (8-2007):2.
Muhumed 10
this region that caused the war that broke between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977.
34
Therefore, it is not wise and rational for the Ethiopian leader Abiy to simply say ‘Somalia
and Ethiopia can be united.'
The possibility of exacerbating conflict between ethnic groups not only haunts
local politics, but also risks undermining the peace and security of the entire Horn of
African region. Drastic integration and the ethnic tension and nationalism that it creates
may very well cause the new Ethiopian empire to collapse, as its ethnic divisions are
already causing instability. Whatever positive thinking and beautiful words towards the
idea of unification that the PM may currently harbor, such as those anticipating the
possibility of closer ties, brotherly affection, and respect, what history has taught us is that
opposite is more often the case—namely, conflict, warfare, genocide, and national
destruction.
Case in point here is the former Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was created in 1918
under the banner of ‘Brotherhood and Unity’, seeking to bring together the Southern Slavs
of Europe—the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes—plus Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro
and Macedonia.
35
While the project was disrupted by the second world war, its
reestablishment as the Socialist Federal of Yugoslavia in 1945 was accompanied by more
intense efforts to unify nations and peoples, out of the vision that such divisions could be
transcended. After the death of the country’s most influential leader, Josip Tito, in 1980,
the weaknesses of the project became apparent, and the state began to collapse. Ethnic
tension rose and the state disintegrated through the onset of fighting, which erupted into
an all-out civil war which lasted three years and claimed the lives of 600,000 Bosnians,
25,000 Serbian Bosnians and 8,000 Croats.
36
Such a cautionary tale is useful for Ethiopia,
where although an act of unification may get off the ground through the charismatic
34
Napoleon A. Bamfo, “Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2006” African Journal of Political
Science and International Relations Vol. 4(2), pp. 055 -065, February 2010 (2010):57.
35
Natilie M Small, “The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is founded
1919,”Thenagain, 2016.
http://www.thenagain.info/WebChron/ EastEurope/ Yugo King dom.CP.html ).
36
Simon Andrew, “The death of Tito: The death of Yugoslavia,” The View East, July 27, 2011,
https://thevieweast.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/the-death-of-tito-the-death-of-yugoslavia.
Muhumed 11
leadership of Abiy Ahmed, the fate of this union may become so tied to the personality of
its creator that it might collapse afterwards.
A major cause behind the dispute was a rise in ethno-nationalism, which Dejan
Marolov attributes to what he calls historical “conditionality.’ The different ethnic groups
of Yugoslavia were originally from two different empires with different civilizations: those
in the south from the Ottoman Empire and those in the north from Austro -Hungarian
Empire. It is also important to note that these people believed in different religions, namely
Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and Islam.
37
Even amongst the southern communities,
divisions within the same (Slavic) ethnic groups occurred as a result of differences in
religion and/or language between the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
38
Tone Zwaan (2012) sums up the ethnic nature of the Yugoslav conflict as follows:
‘Serbs fighting Muslim Bosnians and Croats, Croats fighting Serbs and Muslim Bosnians,
Muslim Bosnians fighting Croats and Serbs’. Such ethnic divisions and the conflict it
created calls for national self-determination for the various communities of 24 million
people living in Yugoslavia. In the end, those people who came together in search of the
dream of brotherhood and unity found themselves divided into seven independent
states—the six pre-Yugoslavia nations of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, as well as Kosovo, which seceded from
Serbia.
39
Ethiopia, with a population of 90 million, in a region where the ethnic politics are
some of the most complex and fractious in the world, seems even more likely than
Yugoslavia, with its 24 million people, to collapse as a result of such social factors .
As with Yugoslavia, Sudan has gone through a similar ethnically-charged division.
What was once a single state as recent ago as seven years, is now divided into two
countries, the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of the Sudan, following South
37
Dejan Marolov, “The Reasons for the Collapse of Yugoslavia,” International Journal of
Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR) 12, no. 1, (2013): 252.
38
Elizabeth Caliendo, “The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is Founded in 19,
Webchron, last modified November 18, 2018,
http://www.thenagain.info/WebChron/EastEurope/YugoKingdom.CP.html.
39
Tone Zwaan, “Crises and Genocide in Yugoslavia 1985 -1995,” in The Holocaust and Other
Genocides, ed. Barbara Boender (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012), 122-136.
Muhumed 12
Sudan's withdrawal from Sudan in 2011.
40
This also has its basis in history. Sudan’s
northern population experienced a divergence as early as the 7 th century, when Muslim
Turko-Egypt created a demographic and religious shift in which the population became
more Arabized, and where much of the population were converted to Islam. By the 14th
century, the northern Sudanese had been largely transformed Muslim Arabs, whereas
what is today South Sudan remained outside of such changes, as a mostly African and
Christian society.
41
When it comes to more recent history, the north and south, which achieved
independence as part of a single nation-state, experienced a tumultuous relationship, full
of conflict and resistance. Within the post-colonial set-up, the north dominated the south
politically, economically, and socio-culturally, and used this dominance to put pressure
on the south as a form of control. For example, in 1994, the northern-led government in
Khartoum bombed southern land, resulting in the death of hundreds of people and
displacing hundreds of thousands more.
42
Therefore, apart from the other precipitating
causes of the violent separation of northern and southern Sudan, including external
interference and resource conflict, this paper argues that there is deep cause: ‘clash of
civilizations’ as a historical conditionality. This paradigm, which is the result of a cleavage
between irreconcilable cultural and religious identities,
43
can make integration between
communities within a singular political system all but impossible.
Conclusion
In conclusion, this analysis has argued that any possible unification between
Somalia and Ethiopia is highly likely to worsen the situation of both countries. In both the
40
Marina Ottaway and Mai El-Sadany, “Sudan: From Conflict to Conflict,” Carnegie Endowment
for International Piece, last modified May 16, 2012,
http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/05/16/sudan-from-conflict-to-conflict-pub-48140.
41
Girma Kebbede, “Sudan: The North-South Conflict in Historical Perspective,” Contributions in
Black Studies, 15, no. 3, (1997): 1.
42
Girma Kebbede, “Sudan: The North-South Conflict in Historical Perspective,” Contributions in
Black Studies, 15, no. 3, (1997): 1.
43
Giorgio Musso, “ From one Sudan to two Sudan,” ISPI, no. 40, (2011):26.
Muhumed 13
former Yugoslavia and the previously united Sudan, religious and ethnic differences
proved too insurmountable and divisive to allow the countries to integrate politically,
economically, and socially. Instead, these differences served as a basis for violent ethno-
nationalist political mobilization in which many lives were lost and secession became the
only option. For Ethiopia, which claims Christianity as its dominant religion, to blindly unite
with the almost exclusively Muslim population of Somalia, without taking into account the
fate of similar attempts at unification, and without properly factoring in the history of
hostility and war between the two populations, can only be seen as a political gamble or
folly with very small odds of success, and great potential for violent failure.
Therefore, in this author’s opinion, there is no better choice for Somalia than to
remain independent from Ethiopia, and to enjoy the sovereignty that it has fought to
maintain. Somalia has been paralyzed enough by state failure and clan conflict over the
past 28 years as it is—and simply being incorporated into another state will not solve
these problems, but will only add more political obstacles. Uniting with Ethiopia will merely
increase the radicalization of ethnicity and religion, leading to a new kind of conflict with
ethnicity at its heart, making it all the more difficult to bring lasting peace, stability and
statehood to Somalia again. What Somalia needs is the true freedom and local leadership
to undergo the long and arduous indigenous processes of nation-building and institutional
development, not dependent subordination to a larger power.
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Muhumed 14
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Chapter
Full-text available
The relations between Ethiopia and Somalia have known turbulent episodes in recent history. The deployment of Ethiopian troops in Somalia in 2006 can be understood as a new phase in their relations, but one with historical roots. It implied a change from the relative peace between the two countries since the end of the Cold War and the start of a conflict dissimilar to previous wars between the two states. It is widely acknowledged that Ethiopian troops have regularly crossed the frontier during peacetime to police the border area, especially to fight armed movements and to secure the Ethiopian state. But this was not something overtly admitted by the Ethiopian government in 2006, until Meles Zenawi openly deployed his troops in Somalia with the tacit support of the international community. Since then, their presence has been virtually constant, though two phases can be discerned: from December 2006 to January 2009, and from November 2011 until the present. This chapter will focus on the securitization process in Ethiopia that permitted the deployment of Ethiopian troops in Somalia between 2006 and 2009, in an attempt to go beyond the traditional understanding of security, with its focus on the military sector and its problem-solving approach. The chapter is not so much about the war as on the securitizing speech acts on the threat posed by the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), the securitization of this issue, the political context in which it happened and some of its consequences for Ethiopia.
Article
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Since July 9, 2011, South Sudan is an independent country. The split of Sudan was probably the only possible outcome of a long history of marginalization, oppression and war, but will it be enough to create a stable and durable peace? Separation in itself doesn’t seem to fully address the people's claim for a more equitable and representative governance. While the North is trapped by a combination of armed uprisings and economic crisis, with the "Arab spring" looming at a not-too-distant horizon, the South is faced by the huge challenges of state-building and by the need to establish a full sovereignty after having attained formal independence
Article
Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in late 2006 may go down in history as one of the most daring if not imprudent strategic decision any African government has made on its neighbor. Ethiopia's actions to invade Somalia gets more perplexing, considering it seemed unprovoked and should have been more circumspective given Ethiopia's own history as a victim of unprovoked invasion by Italy and its myriad internal economic challenges. Even if Ethiopia' s goal of going into Somalia had been purely humanitarian, the nearly two decades of instability there and the history of irredentism and distrust between the two countries should have given Ethiopia pause to be prudent. Although not without precedent, it is still unusual for one African country to invade another country on the scale Ethiopia did and fight a war that was guaranteed to be bloody. Self-defense, which Ethiopia claims as reason for its military action, raises doubt and compels an examination of the real motives for its actions in Somalia. This study explores what these motives could have been. Using historical evidence and those from contemporary sources, the study catalogs the violence that followed the invasion and how Ethiopia's action aggravated Somalia's endemic social and political ills. Ethiopia's actions in Somalia could not have accomplished their objectives given the fact Somalia has plunged deeper into anarchy since the invading troops left its soil. It has also been costly both to the invader and the invaded. Other African countries can learn an invaluable lesson from Ethiopia's experience not to start an audacious incursion into foreign territory without an unimpeachable reason.
WATCH: Dr Abiy Ahmed's Speech in Mogadisho, Somalia with president farmaajo
  • Akram Video
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Understanding the Ethiopian-Somalia Relations & seeking Permanent Solutions to the Conflict in the Horn of Africa
  • Ghelawdewos Araia
  • Phd
Araia, Ghelawdewos PhD. "Understanding the Ethiopian-Somalia Relations & seeking Permanent Solutions to the Conflict in the Horn of Africa." African Idea, August 22, 2018, http://www.africanidea.org/ethiopian_somallia.html.
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Ethiopia Somalia agree to Strengthen brotherly Relations. Washington: VOA. Last updated on
  • Harun Hassan
  • Ma'ruf
Hassan, Harun Ma'ruf. Ethiopia Somalia agree to Strengthen brotherly Relations. Washington: VOA. Last updated on June 16, 2016. https://www.voanews.com/a/ethiopian-prime-minister-visitssomalia/4441732.html.
Abiy Effect and the Changing Fortunes in Somalia-Ethiopia Ties Relations. Nairobi: The Star online
  • Mohamud Hassan
Hassan, Mohamud. Abiy Effect and the Changing Fortunes in Somalia-Ethiopia Ties Relations. Nairobi: The Star online. Accessed on January 13, 2019. https://www.thestar.co.ke/news/2018/10/27/hassan-abiy-effect-and-the-changing-fortunes-in-somalia-ethiopia-ties_c1840866