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The day and week I am sure Ethiopia could let their great ally decide, considering that both sides has been arming and preparing themselves during the fall. The union of islamic courts got their guns from the middle east and their training from Eritrea. Or so claimed a UN report sometime around november.

Something I should add, is that in my view there is little reason to overthrow these governments to get their natural resources as the US (or anyone else) can buy them for shiny guns. The horn of Africa is home to some of the planets poorest countries in measurements such as food/capita. Their governments are poor and weak and no where near the mid-eastern ones. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea was part of the moral support section of the coalition of the willing. Ethiopia got the price of US backing. For now.

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 19th, 2007 at 10:09:20 PM EST
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...there is little reason to overthrow these governments to get their natural resources as the US (or anyone else) can buy them for shiny guns.

No doubt.  Oil being fungible, I always understood the US wanted control over the resources instead of appropriating itself of them outright.

After absorbing the information from the commenters here, I believe I have answered my own questions.  I conclude the US is not intent on taking over what appears to be a limited reservoir in Somalia.  I take the US's paranoid claims at face value:  It is all about preventing Al Qaeda from getting a foothold.  But that does not negate that an underlying reason has to do with the overall security of oil routes, spillover into neighboring countries and possible impact on the wider middle east.

Furthermore, I agree that US and Ethiopian actions (aside from being illegal under international law) might have the opposite effect of fomenting (instead of discouraging) radicals.  Kind of like Iraq:

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, must have been studying the magnificent successes of the U.S. preemptive invasion of Iraq and Israel's recent foray into Lebanon. He has clearly decided to emulate them. His argument is exactly that which was given by George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert. We must attack our neighbor because we have to keep Islamic terrorists from pursuing their jihad and attacking us.

In each case, the invader was sure of his military superiority and of the fact that the majority of the population would hail the attackers as liberators. Zenawi asserts he is cooperating in the U.S. worldwide struggle against terrorism. And indeed, the United States has offered not only its intelligence support but has sent in both its air force and units of special troops to assist the Ethiopians.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 at 03:47:43 PM EST
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Furthermore, I agree that US and Ethiopian actions (aside from being illegal under international law) might have the opposite effect of fomenting (instead of discouraging) radicals.

Well of course: there's nothing these people are good at except fomenting radicals. They need them in order to survive, in the same way  that the crazy Israelis need the crazy Palestinians and the men of violence in Northern Ireland needed each other. Their power comes from the existence of a simple enemy. Without them they would have no reason to exist.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 at 03:51:23 PM EST
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Just like Bushido, the armchair warrior:

Once, a group of travellers were on a perilous journey, in the course of which they had to cross a river. Unluckily, their guide forgot the location of the bridge, so the party had to ford the river, which, at the place they then found themselves, was shallow but very wide. After several minutes of wading through the icy water, the travellers began to grumble, "This guide is worthless! Let us abandon him and find another!" Sensing the discontent of his charges, the guide cleverly led them into a deeper part of the river [my comment: any resemblance to the current troop "surge" in Iraq is purely coincidental, mind you], where the current was stronger and the footing more treacherous. "Help us!" the travellers cried. "Esteemed guide, do not abandon us!"

The unenlightened believe it to be the height of felicity to have no enemies. The armchair warrior knows, however, that only a steady supply of enemies can assure him the loyalty of his friends. When so-called wise men warn him that in rashly slaughtering his enemies he is merely manufacturing more of them, he smiles.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 at 04:02:02 PM EST
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