The United States distanced itself from Ethiopia’s military involvement in Somalia but helped to provide intelligence to Ethiopian government during its military operation in Somalia, Ethiopia’s Premier Meles Zenawi has revealed.
Zenawi said on Friday the Ethiopian soldiers did not receive any logistical aid from the United States and the country suffered from bad media publicity during its military campaigns in Somalia to rid the country of terror elements.
“We would argue from an Ethiopian perspective that our military operation in Somalia has been highly successful. We did not think the Al Shabab offensive would bean isolated act,” he told a news conference late on Friday.
He said the Somali military offensive was in Ethiopia’s interest especially given the country had tried to live with the risk the Islamist fundamentalists in Somalia posed to its national security and stability interests and the surge from its Eritrean foes.
Meles said he had finally destabilized the roots of the radical Somali militant groups like Al Shabab and his military offensive there had given rise to the change of political tact by former radical Islamist leaders, who have now taken power in Somalia.
The military offensive, he said, had slowed down the military surge from the radical Islamist movements which believed nobody could stop them from destabilizing the country and had also slowed down Ethiopia’s internal opposition to his rule.
“This was a combined strategy and the tip of that strategy was Al Shabab, two years after the intervention, we can say the conspiracy has been successfully foiled. The elements of destability in that country are now weaker,” Zenawi said.
The United States knew in advance, of Ethiopia’s plan to move into Somalia to flush out radical Islamist movement leaders which had at one time declared a jihad, an Islamic holy war against Ethiopian interests, before the military intervention.
“Our objective was not to kill off all jihadists. The objective was to militarily weaken them and prove to them that they cannot ride the Shabab horse to power and that Ethiopia would not convey it. We have been successful against the Shabab,” the PM said.
He said there was no indication or evidence that the new Somali President was a terrorist but his former allies were terrorists. He cited Daud Aweiss, who had been listed by the US as a wanted terrorist and a member of the Al Qaeda network.