The Ethiopian premier’s points altogether extend credence to his supplementary claim that some unnamed forces want to incite a regional conflict.

By Andrew Korybko

Ethiopian Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Abiy Ahmed responded to questions from parliament on Tuesday about their country’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland over commercial-military port rights and Somalia’s furious reaction to that agreement. He made three solid points about his country’s intentions towards its eastern neighbor that deserve to be amplified since they powerfully counteract the popular but false claims that Ethiopia wants to “annex” its territory and/or destabilize it.

For starters, PM Abiy reminded everyone that these two nations are “bound by blood” after Ethiopian troops “died for the peace of Somalia”, which was a reference to its anti-terrorist activities there at Mogadishu’s invitation. If his country really wanted to destabilize its eastern neighbor, then it could have sat on the sidelines as it was being overrun by the “Islamic Courts Union” in the mid-aughts. Instead, it decisively intervened and continued providing support, thus proving its commitment to stability.


The Ethiopian Premier Made Three Solid Points About His Country’s Intentions Towards SomaliaThe second related point is that Ethiopia wouldn’t have recently trained Somalian military recruits at the Hurso training center if it intended to get into an armed conflict with that country. It simply doesn’t make sense why anyone would train their expected enemies to fight and kill their own troops. While Mogadishu’s furious reaction to the MoU was predictable, Addis didn’t expect it to warmonger over this issue, otherwise it would have come up with an excuse to stop training Somalian forces beforehand.

The third and final point is that PM Abiy emphasized Ethiopia’s commitment to shared regional prosperity, which he argued is embodied through the MoU. This is consistent with the preceding two points since it naturally follows that sacrificing one’s troops in the name of mutual security interests and then training their neighbors to carry out these tasks are considerable investments in that said country’s future. These would never have been made if Ethiopia didn’t sincerely want Somalia to prosper.

The Ethiopian premier’s points altogether extend credence to his supplementary claim that some unnamed forces (almost certainly an allusion to Eritrea and Egypt where the Somalian President recently traveled to secure support for his claims over Somaliland) want to incite a regional conflict. The best way to avert this dastardly divide-and-rule plot is for Somalians to dwell deeply on what he said about his country’s commitments to theirs that it backed up with the martyrdom of its own troops over the years.

If Ethiopia really wanted to create trouble for Somalia, all that it would have to do is withdraw its anti-terrorist forces and cut off bilateral trade, which would combine to destroy that country’s stability and leave it no hope of ever recovering from its previous status as a failed state. To be sure, Somalia is still struggling to comprehensively redevelop after its decades of civil war and terrorist insurgency, but the progress that it’s made up until this point wouldn’t have been possible without Ethiopia’s helping hand.

Somalia Should Negotiate A ‘Dignified Divorce’ With Somaliland As Soon As Possible” instead of continuing to delusionally think that it can reconquer that sovereign state and thus keep functioning as the “useful idiot” of those pernicious forces that want to divide and rule the Horn to their benefit. Everything that Somalia has achieved since its liberation from the “Islamic Courts Union” would be lost if it goes to war against Ethiopia, loses as expected, and Al-Shabaab exploits the resultant chaos.

Their leader mustn’t betray his fellow Somalians by warmongering against the one country that has done more for theirs than any other lest he risks a conflict breaking out by miscalculation and that worst-case scenario coming to fruition. Somalia should peacefully resolve its issues with Somaliland in order to focus entirely on defeating Al-Shabaab, after which the state can then devise mutually beneficial plans for helping its people reap some of the socio-economic dividends from Ethiopia’s accelerated rise.

(The article was first published on on February 8, 2024.)

Andrew Korybko 

Andrew Korybko

A Moscow-based American political analyst specializing in the global systemic transition to multipolarity.

Follow him @AKorybko