From The Economist — “Ethiopia and Somalia: The rumbling rumours of war“:
… The spectre of a hostile Christian Ethiopia bearing down on Somalia has rallied Somalis behind the Islamists. Somalia’s Islamists have spread a similar fear among Ethiopians, giving succour to Mr Zenawi’s unpopular and isolated government.
…Mr Zenawi has turned Ethiopia into a police state. Many of the opposition are in prison on trumped-up charges carrying the death penalty. Tens of thousands of young Ethiopians were sent to prison camps after last year’s poll. A few still languish there; others have fled abroad. Several judges have defected, fearing for their safety.
The press has been crushed, foreign correspondents expelled and many journalists and editors put in jail. The government has hired foreign specialists to help it shut down dissident websites, tap telephones and track e-mails. …
American military intelligence now works closely with Ethiopia, sometimes taking up whole floors of hotels in Addis Ababa. But experts in the region question the reliability of American intelligence.
The European Union is against America’s plan to send UN peacekeepers to the region and, by the by, is sceptical of recent American warnings that Somali jihadists have been planning suicide attacks on Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. America’s reluctance to encourage negotiation with the Somali Islamists suggests it may want to provoke, isolate and defeat them by force, with Ethiopia providing the muscle.
So war is in the offing….