The United States occupation of Iraq and all its implications squarely rests on George Bush and the public is informed daily on the casualties of this occupation and its cost to the tax payers and the 2008 election will much be determined on who will bring the troops back home safely.
Today is the first anniversary of occupation of Somalia by "Ethiopian" soldiers and in direct opposite to the occupation of Iraq, let alone the public the so called parliamentarians do not now the number of "Ethiopian" soldiers who died in this adventure and where the money is coming for this war, and how much this occupation has cost so far?
We have not heard debate in the Ethiopian "parliament" similar to the USA Congress to fund the war and this surely proves that this money is not coming from tax payers of Ethiopia and it is probably tied up with the so called counter terrorism agreement with the USA administration.
Do we have the names of the dead ? Is that also a military secret like most things in Somalia? Can anyone tale me how many Somalis were killed? we are hearing sometimes hundreds of dead Islamic fighters and does anyone believe that Somalia is much stable and is free of "terrorists" than it were a year ago?
It is in fact the opposite. After one year of illconceived adventure the Islamists have many Somalis on their side fighting for their "national" pride and one thing this occupation did is to bring all Somalis together.
The impact of this occupation for the future instability is great. Somalia either will go to the 1990s clan fight or Islamists will capitalize on the current Somali nationalism and rally the people and establish an Islamic state hopefully which has no ambition for neighbores territories.
I have no doubt, like the Hamas of Palestine and Hezbollah of Lebanon tested in war times they will also be popular in Somalia. However, the Somali Islamists should not miscalculate and call for Jihad on neighboring countries especially Ethiopia encouraged by outsiders who are now only giving lip service to their resistance.
The "Ethiopian" army unceremonious departure by next year will be filled possibly by India and Muslim countries to stop the killing and Somalis have to be ready to live with the Islamists and the Islamists have to realize their dream in their own territory and declaring "jihad" across the border against Ethiopia will sabotage Ethiopian people struggle for freedom and equality and be an excuse for the dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawi to stay in power.
Ethiopians are true friends of Somalia and the hundred thousands of Somalis displaced by war never felt as foreigner living in Ethiopia and no matter who comes to power in Somalia that should be the foundation of our future relationship.