The Israeli foreign intelligence agency – the Mosad – had a very apt motto describing its activities: “By way of deception thou shalt wage wars,” it read.
It was Mr. Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mosad operative, who the first revealed to the world the murky activities of that agency in a book he wrote in 1990 by the title By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer. Mr. Ostrovsky chronicles in the book his account of the inner workings of that agency at the time he was serving it and lays bare its methods and tactics. The book reads like a good spy novel and was dismissed as such by the Israeli historian Benny Morris. To this day however, the Mosad did not confirm or deny Mr. Ostrovsky’s claims – an act which was consistent with that agency’s reputation.
Since coming to power in Ethiopia in 1991, the ruling TPLF led EPRDF regime has borrowed the motto of the Mosad and transformed it into something of a praxis.

Their first move upon assuming power was to declare that Ethiopia, would henceforth, be a Federal Democratic Republic consisting of ‘nations and nationalities’. These nations and nationalities will have equal rights. Each of them shall have its own flag, language, borders, and parliament. Those that are unhappy with the union have the right to secede.
According to Article 39, in section 3 of this constitution which deals with the rights of nations and nationalities: “Every nationality in Ethiopia shall have the full right to administer itself .This right shall include the right to establish government institutions within the territory it inhabits and the right to fair representation in the federal and state governments.”
The TPLF further undertook to end the highlander domination of Ethiopian politics in the past and promised that every Ethiopian will enjoy his/her share in the economic and political sun of the country. Many rejoiced when they heard these from the TPLF – which was, itself, a highlander guerilla party founded on secessionist platform – and wholeheartedly welcomed it.

But it was not to be so. The Somalis in Ogaden were the first to discover this treachery when their political organization, the ONLF, which had won over 80% of the votes cast in the first free and fair elections held in Ethiopia in September 1993 was banned; their leaders either arrested, killed or made to flee the country, when they tried to get their rights using the legally allowed provisions in the TPLF drafted constitution.
After the ONLF was dealt with the Oromos followed, then Gambellas, and later Amharas; one by one, each political or ethnic group that disagreed with Zenawi’s TPLF was led to the slaughter house and chopped down. The provisions of the constitution which guaranteed freedom of thought, speech, association, and other fundamental human rights, took a holiday.

Insides and Outsides

The regime devised a subterfuge campaign to divide the ruled along ethnic lines in order to dominate and exploit them. When they were fighting the ONLF they sold a vile propaganda to other ethnic groups, specifically to the highlanders, and said that the Somalis in the Ogaden are stubborn people; they’re Islamic extremists and secessionists who must be crushed before they pose a greater threat to the rest of Ethiopia or secede. Many listened to this nonsense as it echoed historically held perceptions about Somalis in the other Ethiopia.
Within the Somalis, they selected from the non Ogaden Somali clans stooges and installed them as leaders of the region after the ONLF vacated the political space and was forced to start a guerilla war.
The TPLF invented a surrogate party for this purpose in 1994, The Ethiopian Somali Democratic League; and made its leadership and that of the region, these stooges. A census was held in 1997 whose purpose was to tip the clan demographic balance of the region in favor of those clans that were working with the regime. The Ogadens, who constituted over 60% of the population of the region, were reduced to less than 40%. The regional parliamentary seats and budget was redistributed according to these numbers.
For a while this game of playing the music to the tune of the ones ‘inside’ at a given period and vilifying the ones ‘outside’ continued and no one seriously questioned where it was it heading to.
Then came the crash in 2005 when the regime organized elections thinking it will win. Surprising however, an umbrella opposition grouping which consisted of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), and others, had outperformed the EPRDF coalition and won the election. But the regime did not honor its word, and as was expected, rigged the election and declared itself winner of the vote. The people took to the streets and protested against the election swindle. The regime, again as was expected, but not so harshly, resorted to brute force by gunning down the peaceful protestors right in center of the metropolitan city of Addis Ababa in the full view of the whole world.
The regime declared the protestors as anarchists, thugs, violent mobs, arsonists, criminals who were instructed by their party bosses to cause chaos and illegally topple the government. Subsequently, the leaders of the opposition were rounded up, charged with trumped up accusations and thrown into jails. The opposition parties were dealt the same way as the ONLF in 1994 when they won the election but were declared ‘illegal’, ‘anti-peace’ and the rest of the clichés. The raw ugly power which was exercised on the Somalis in Ogaden was finally unleashed in the streets of Addis Ababa.

After the crackdown of the opposition many Ethiopians realized they could not unseat the TPLF democratically and started agitating for an armed struggle, like the ONLF before them, and created such groups as the Ginbot 7 and others.
In the so-called Kilil5, Melez Zenawi devised another plan when the military crackdown he ordered to crush the ONLF rebellion by collectively punishing the civilian population in Ogaden did not succeed: he appointed an uneducated, ignorant Ogaden creature who once beat his own mother in the city of Dhagahbur as ‘president’ of Somali Region, to reward him for the stellar job the mother-beater had done for the regime as head of regional Security Bureau.
In turn Abdi Iley has filled – or was order to fill – important positions in the regional cabinet with collaborationists he recruited mostly from his clansmen who were his trusted friends during his time as a junior spy; or, as we famously say in Ogaden, “people he had ‘fingers’ from”.
It is important to note that Abdi Iley was not the first appointed lackey from the Ogaden clan to head the Somali Region; there were others before him. But he was the first to break all norms and values sacred to the Somalis in Ogaden – these included, among other things, being a pimp for the Tigre army and intelligence officers and bribing them and their wives with money he siphoned off from the covers of the regional budget to remain their favorite ‘man’. According to some insider sources, the so-called Tigrey advisers who manage everything in the Somali Region, Abay Tsehaye and Towelde, had both boasted: we have finally found ‘thee one’ we were looking for all these years from the Ogaden clan. He is no doubt someone with no values to betray, after all a hypocrite or traitor has to have values to betray.

The elders of the clans that were ‘inside’ when the late Abdi Majid’s party ESDL was running the regional government cried foul and begun to complain to Zenawi about the actions of Abdi Iley and his tribalism. Zenawi did not reply to their concerns and in fact referred them back to Iley. These clan elders took to the airwaves after the door to Zenawi had been shut in their face.
If you listen to the complaints made by these elders in the BBC Somali Service these days you would think the leader of the regional administration in Jigjiga – and by extension his clan, the oppressed and massacred Ogadens – is more powerful than the man who put him there, Meles Zenawi!
In a plot reminiscent of the days of Abdi Majid, Iley announced the establishment of new Kabeles, most of them in the areas of his clan. Those clans who felt to be ‘outside’ the corridors of power carried foul again as usual about this move. Some Ogadens rejoiced and said this ‘president’ has finally brought back our denied rights. And the charade continued. A deja vou and a rerun of the1994 movie!
As a result Zenawi has managed, to some extent, to divert attention away from himself and his troop’s genocidal onslaught in Ogaden and put it in the doorsteps of the victims – that is in the mediocre minds of those who do not read between the lines of his lies and maneuvers.

But the ONLF understood from the begging the TPLF’s gimmickry and ploys. Instead of taking the route their supposed clansmen were going and joining the clannish caravan of Iley et al, they chose to side with the forces of democracy and change in Ethiopia.
On Apr 26 2011 a meeting of Ethiopian opposition groups was held in the city of Atlanta, Georgia in the US. This gathering brought together representatives from the ONLF’s Abdul hakim, Mr. Jemal Gelchu of OLF, and Dr. Berhanu Nega of Ginbot 7.
After deliberations the representatives of the parties solemnly agreed to unite against the current TPLF tyranny in Ethiopia and to forge a common future vision to salvage the country.
This meeting and the other similar gathering which was held in Toronto on May 07, 2011 aptly titled ‘Unity is Power’ were a watershed events, and if their recommendations are implemented, there is no doubt it will pave the way for the toppling of the Meles Regime. As a result of the efforts made by the opposition groups to unite their ranks, the regime can no longer sell to the Western countries that fund it the lie that its opponents are a shabby lot consisting mostly of separatists who want to dismantle Ethiopia and make it, as the cliché has it lately, ‘a giant Somalia’.

Already the regime had panicked had even started sending, through backdoor channels, emissaries to representatives of the parties concerned. The message of the TPLF emissaries is again the same old tired clichés. To the Amharas, they say: the Ogaden Somalis are not genuine; they want to use you to further their secessionist agenda. To the ONLF: the Amahars will not allow you to break away from Ethiopia; they’re only using you and the Oromos to get to us, after all they’re unwilling to forfeit their ‘Ethiopia Andinet’ concept, and so on. The same old game. It seems the TPLF has run out of ideas and is still regurgitating the only thing it knows best: the ethnic and clan cards.
However all things deceitful will eventually run aground and be exposed, perhaps a victim of their own success – like the way the Mosad was caught red handed last year in the assignation of Hamas man Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai – or will become too familiar to the extent that its future course of action can be predicted. It is time to say in unison: Bes, Enough, Beka, to the TPLF and its rule of deception!

Nuradin Jilani


1 Comment

  1. […] Ruling by Way Deception – by Nuradin Jilani | Ogaden News Agency (ONA) According to Article 39, in section 3 of this constitution which deals with the rights of nations and nationalities: “Every nationality in Ethiopia shall have the full right to administer itself .This right shall include […]


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