Sunday, 12 March 2017 01:31

Jammaludin Mustafa, The New Ethiopian Ambassador to Somalia is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In the first week of March 2017, just one month after its flagrant attempt to influence Somalia’s Presidential elections failed spectacularly, Ethiopia appointed a diplomat who hails from the Somali Region of Ethiopia as the new Ambassador to Somalia. For those not well versed in Ethiopia’s history of destabilizing Somalia, this could appear to be a friendly move designed to reel back from the diplomatic embarrassment Ethiopia reaped from its attempt to impose leaders on the people of Somalia as it has been doing for over three decades now.

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However, look deeper and this appointment is anything but friendly. The new Ambassador is from the Hawiye clan by lineage and by sending him to Somalia Ethiopia is trying to remind President Farmaajo of the clan card it can play against him should he continue to wave the sovereignty flag. This is coming two months after Ethiopia pushed a “no Darod President can rule Mogadishu” narrative. It is also a strategic retreat of sort, one which is forced by the fact that the chances of Tigrayan or non-Somali Ethiopian diplomats effectively implementing the divide and rule strategy of Ethiopia are now slim with the decisive rejection of Gabre and his puppeteering project in Somalia.

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The new government of Somalia and more importantly nationalist Somalis should understand this hostile move for what it is and must feel insulted. The new Ambassador has an intelligence background and may soon start implementing an active destabilization through local surrogates. The immediate aim of his deployment may be to make Mogadishu ungovernable so Ethiopia can show how valid its reading of Somali politics is to an international community increasingly wary of Ethiopia’s no so hidden negative agenda on Somalia.

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The government of Somalia should take this move as a menace and know that how they react to it will have a bearing on the next actions of Ethiopia. It must play the mind games Ethiopia is playing and must appoint and send a nationalist Somali with good grasp of Ethiopia’s own ethnic fault lines to Addis Ababa. Past Somali Ambassadors to Ethiopia more or less have worked as auxiliary Ethiopian intelligence officers and did not work for the interests of their country.

It must also closely watch the actions of the new Ambassador and must be prepared to expel him with the first signs of interference into the Somalia affairs. What the new government can’t afford is to disenfranchise the millions of Somalis who are sick and tired of being humiliated by a neighboring country whose project is to keep Somalia in perpetual turmoil. What the new government can’t do is to kowtow to the bullying of Ethiopia and start to engage in appeasement strategy which has proven to be futile for all the previous .

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