Ethiopia: Minding The Iran Weapons Pipeline


November 11, 2009: Eritrea has a deserved reputation as an arms depot for various radical and rebel groups around the world. Sri Lanka's government has accused Eritrea of providing arms to the recently defeated LTTE rebels (who fought for over two decades to partition the island nation). Now an Eritrean dissident is accusing Eritrea of supplying rebels in Yemen with weapons and ammo. Sure, it is an accusation, but the charge likely has merit. Eritrea has made noises for several years that it could close access through the Red Sea, and having allies across the water in Yemen would make that act easier. Specifically, Eritrea is charged with shipping weapons to Houthi (Shia tribal) rebels in Yemen. The weapons come from Iran to Eritrea. Then the weapons are shipped on small boats over to Yemen.

November 7, 2009: The Ethiopian government denied allegations that it has jailed 450 opposition politicians to keep them from running for office in the 2010 elections. The charges were made several weeks ago by opposition leaders. However, the opposition parties have published the names of the arrested and the names of jails in which they are held.

October 31, 2009: The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA, the military wing of the Oromo Liberation Front) says that  killed five Ethiopian Army soldiers in the “Arsii zone” and captured several automatic weapons.

October 29, 2009: The Eritrean government denied accusations made by Djibouti that it is “training and arming” militias to carry attacks in the region. The Eritrean government accused Djibouti of “childish public acrimony,” and said that it would not engage Djibouti in “a war of words.” The Eritrean statement, however, sounds a lot like a war of words. Eritrea was responding to comments made by a senior Djiboutian leader who said that “Eritrea is exporting chaos.”

October 27, 2009: The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) accused Somalia's Puntland government (a separate statelet within Somalia) of turning over members of the ONLF to Ethiopia. Ethiopia supports Puntland. This is not a new accusation by the ONLF. In 2008 the ONLF accused Puntland of making “secret deals” with Ethiopia. The ONLF is an ethnic Somali rebel organization.

October 20, 2009: ONLF rebels denied a claim made by the Ethiopian government that the Ethiopian Army had seized chemicals belonging to the ONLF. Ethiopia claimed that 3.7 tons of unidentified chemicals (likely chemicals used in making explosives) belonging to the ONLF were discovered along with 7000 rounds of ammunition.


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