College Papers

I. villages in that area. The Ogaden Somali’s

I.
TITLE: OGADEN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT FROM ETHIOPIA

 

II.
INTRODUCTION/ BACKGROUND

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            Ethiopia
is located in the continent of Africa, it is the 27th largest
country in the whole world with a total area of 1,104,300 square kilometers
covering 1,000,000 square kilometers of land and 104,300 square kilometers of
water. It was founded as a distinct and original nation in 1855. Its population
is 93,815,992, with a density of 94 people per square kilometer. People in
Ethiopia are called Ethiopians. It shares land borders with five countries
namely, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Kenya.

            Ogaden on the other hand is an arid
region in Ethiopia, wherein its land or soil is too dry or barren to support
vegetation. Among Ethiopia’s five land borders, Ogaden lies at the barren plain
between the Somalia and Ethiopia border. Its area covers 327,068 square
kilometer of Ethiopia. As of 2016, its population is 8,149,000.

            In the early history, during the 16th
century, Ogaden Somali whom developed its own Adal Kingdom, a multi-ethnic
medieval Muslim state, and Abbysinia known as Ethiopia at present had an
ongoing conflict since the 14th century. During those times Ogaden
Somali people were independent and powerful to the extent that most of
Abbysinia or Ethiopia’s territory was under their control. This continued until
colonial forces from overseas came to Africa and started arming the Ethiopian
chiefs. Using the arms and support provided by the colonialists, the Ethiopians
started raiding Ogaden Somali villages in that area. The Ogaden Somali’s
resisted the intrusion of the Ethiopians in their territory in which they were
successful in preventing their advance. Even though their campaign was to
conquer the rest of the Ogaden Somali failed, the colonial powers still
recognized its claim over the Ogaden Somali-land and signed treaties with them.

            From 1896-1948, Ethiopia waged
constant wars against the Somalis but failed in trying to get Ogaden. But in
1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia along with Ogaden and other territories in the
area. Then in 1941 the British defeated Italy and administered Ogaden for eight
years until the British transferred part of Ogaden which is the Jigjiga area –
its capital, to Ethiopia for the first time. Then the rest of its part were
transferred in 1954 and 1956. Ethiopia gained full control over the Ogaden
Somali without their consent and knowledge of its people. From then onwards,
successive Ethiopian regimes ruthlessly suppressed the Ogaden people, and every
time it’s weakened, a foreign power directly intervenes to re-establish the
colonial rule over the Ogaden.          

            During 1977, Somalia had a large
amount of military aids from the USSR and Egypt, with this, Ogaden rebels began
a campaign trying again to free themselves from Ethiopia; Ogaden wars arised.
Their victory continued until Ethiopia only controlled 10% of the region.
However, everything completely changed when Russia cut Somalia off in favor of
Ethiopia and began supporting them with millions of dollars’ worth of military
aid. Russia gave the Ethiopians necessary weapons to defeat the Ogaden Somali
people. The shift in power sent Somalia armed forces unstable. Then after few
weeks, Ethiopian towns were recaptured. The war ended when Somali Armed Forces
left Ethiopia during 15 March 1978. Some still fought against Ethiopia but
during 1981, they were finally defeated.

            Come 1984, Ogaden National
Liberation Front (ONLF) was formed, a separatist rebel group fighting with the
aim of making the region of Ogaden in Eastern Ethiopia an independent state.
They entered an agreement during 1992 with the Ethiopian government that is to
seek the rehabilitation of the rights they are deprive in a peaceful and
democratic manner. They joined the political process by participating in the
elections, 80% of the regional parliament were occupied by them. The Ethiopians
were alarmed of their success, they searched for new partners then banned ONLF,
removed them from positions and killed many of its leaders.

            Despite the Ethiopian constitution
accepting the right of self-determination, when Ogaden Somali people asked for
it, Ethiopia started aggressive and abusive violations of the rights of the
people of Ogaden. From then on, they were deprived of safe drinking water,
education and land rights issues arose including them not being able to
participate in electing their country’s leaders. They
are not allowed to participate in the fraud or bogus elections Ethiopia
periodically conducts as a public relations exercise to fool the local and
international communities and hide its colonial and authoritarian nature.

            In August 2006, Ethiopian government
offered peace talks but then did not go through this plan since they cannot
give the ONLF’s condition which is to meet in a neutral country by a neutral
mediator. From 2007 onwards, the Ethiopian government never attempted to have
peace with ONLF or the Somali Ogaden people what they did was to cause much
hardship to the people of Ogaden by depriving them of the rights they are
entitled to like, quality education, proper health care, rule of law and
respect of their human rights and that they are considered as second class
citizens of their own state. The Ethiopian government is denying them every
basic right that a person needs in order to survive.

 

III. ANALYSIS

            The
reason why Ogaden demands independence from its state Ethiopia is because they
are not being treated equally as those from the highlands or urban areas of the
country. Moreover they are also deprived some of the basic rights a perso is
entitled to, this includes quality education, proper monitor of their health,
rule of law, even the respect for human rights and they are considered as
second class citizens in their own soil. They don’t even have the right to
speak themselves out especially when it’s against their government, if so
happens not only that particular person will suffer but his or her family and
village would be facing the consequences.

            This inequality, violations and
deprivations started long long time ago, during the earliest Ethiopian regimes
starting from Menelik II, Emperor Haile Selassie, Mengistu Haile Mariam and
Meles Zenawi. Then on, the people of Ogaden do not share the same language,
religion, ethnicity and culture with the Ethiopian highlanders. The Somali
Ogaden people and the members off ONLF can no longer sit back and watch
everyone being deprived of what they deserve. They knew there were many
problems the government were causing to them. 
          

            The Somali Ogaden people can no
longer bear the crimes against humanity that the Ethiopian government is causing.
According to some right groups like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International
and Genocide Watch, the Ethiopian military and its allied Liyu Police militia
have killed, detained, tortured, raped thousands of Somali Ogaden people, they
even slaughtered hundreds of villagers like animals and other war crimes. The
strategy that the government of Ethiopia used to cover up its human rights
violations is they banned the international media and aid agencies from
entering the Somali region of Ogaden.

            Since Ethiopia took over Ogaden
territory from the British colonizers, they have been downgrading the entire
8-10 million population of the Somali Ogaden people. The Ethiopian government
has also been exploiting the natural resources in their territory and imposed
tax on people, livestock and land.

            The aforementioned, are the reasons
why the Somali Ogaden people has a great longing to be and independent state
from Ethiopia.

            In international relations, there is
what we call Levels of Analysis categorized into four, it is a perspective in
international relations based on a set of similar actors or processes that
suggests possible explanations to “why” questions. The four levels of analysis
are; individual, domestic, interstate and global.

            The best level of analysis that best
suits the longing of Ogaden for independence from Ethiopia is the domestic
level. This level of analysis concerns the aggregation of individuals within
states that influence state actions in the international arena. Such
aggregations include interest groups, political organizations, and government
agencies. These groups operate differently (with different international
effects) in different kinds of societies and states. For instance, democracies
and dictatorships may act differently from one another, and democracies may act
differently in an election year from the way they act at other times. The
politics of ethnic conflicts and nationalism, bubbling up from within states,
plays an increasingly important role in the relations among states. Within
governments, foreign policy agencies often fight bureaucratic battles over
policy decisions.

            Domestic level of analysis provides
different categories that influences and suggests various explanations of
international events. Example are; Nationalism, ethnic conflict, type of
government, democracy, dictatorship, domestic coalitions, political parties and
elections, public opinion, gender, economic sectors and industries,
military-industrial complex and foreign policy bureaucracies.

            With the situation that is happening
between Ogaden and Ethiopia, I came up with two most common reason or factor
that have influenced its occurrence. It’s Ethiopia’s type of government and
Ethiopia’s political parties and elections. Ethiopia’s type of government is
the main reason why the region of Ogaden is suffering too much from human
rights violations. Their government is the one in control or responsible for
all of this. They may be coming up with peace talks at times but they take it
back because of the reason that they cannot or they are not willing to give
Ogaden people the condition they are asking which is for both of them to meet
in a neutral country, meaning that both of them are able to share the same
privileges as what the highlander Ethiopian’s are experiencing. And if I will
deeply analyze this, the reason for the Ethiopian government to act this way is
the history they both have gone through, wherein since centuries ago they have
been conflicting with each other and there have not been a time in the recorded
history that Ogaden and Ethiopia have been in good terms. This anger and grief
they are experiencing has been passed from then up until now.

            The Ethiopian government is the one
that initiates or gives the Ethiopians the initiative to deprive the Ogaden
people some of their basic needs, to intervene even with their livelihood by
giving taxes, and worse is killing, torturing and other forms of human rights
violation. How can the law enforcers do their job well when even their
government supports these kind of actions? If not because of Ethiopia’s type of
government then these discriminations, violations and different kinds of
degradation would have been minimal or none at all.

            Another reason that influenced the occurrence
of the deprivations experienced by the Ogaden people is the fact that they
cannot participate in elections because they are also deprived of it. The
Ethiopian government was probably threatened because when they let these people
participate in the elections most of them occupied the positions which meant
that it could have been the start of them being heard of their concerns
regarding the unjust treatment given to them. So what they did was deprived them
of such right which is to vote for them to continue their fraud elections and   authoritarian government. This Ogaden people
could have been heard if only they have someone in the position to hear them.