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Ethiopia Says It Is at War With Somalia

Ethiopia said its involvement in Somalia is part of self-defense because of what the government called a repeated declaration of jihad on Ethiopia by the Islamists in Somalia

Bereket Simon is advisor to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. For the first time, he said Ethiopia has declared war on Somalia.

“Technically, we are war with Somalia. Everybody knows it is them who declared jihad on Ethiopia. So technically speaking, we are at war with them based on their declaration of war. Now, we have asserted our rights to defend ourselves,” he said.

Simon rejected suggestion by some that Ethiopia’s war in Somalia was an attempt to divert attention from the country’s economic and political problems.

“Fortunately we have a government that gives priority to its internal affairs. At now time this country had such a government that focuses on creating an enabling atmosphere for its own people and creating good things here at home. We believe poverty is the main enemy of our country and we are working on it. We have registered about 10 percent growth of the last four consecutive years. And I assure you the internal situation is very good and stable apart from some hiccups here and there,” Simon said.

Ethiopia has also been criticized for having a history of destabilizing Somalia. But Simone blamed Somalia for past wars between the two countries.

“The reason for the two previous wars was the expansionist attitude of the Somali government who wanted to take part of Ethiopia to be incorporated with the greater Somalia they had in their mind. Nevertheless, this is a new government which doesn’t have an qualm with the Somali people,” he said.

Simon described the situation in Somalia as chaotic, and he said Ethiopia as a neighboring country is only interested in seeing Somalia stabilized again.

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