The Ogaden Genocide:
The Horn of Africa for decades have been plagued with violence, war, famine and genocide, located in one of the most strategic locations in the world, the Horn of Africa has become the world’s most violent and politically unstable region. Since late 1800’s due to the strategic importance of the region, the Horn of Africa has witnessed foreign intervention of many forms and have been the center of proxy wars, first between European colonizers such as: Britain, France, and Italy, and in the 1960’s and 1970’s between the superpowers - i.e. the United States and the Soviet Union. Historically two countries have played a fundamental role in the region, Somalia and Ethiopia, however after the fall of the Siad Bare regime in Somalia in 1991; Ethiopia was left as the hegemonic regional superpower.
Ethiopia is one of the largest countries in Africa, with the second largest population of people with an estimated population of 90 million in 2011, and it is the most important and most strategic actor in the Horn of Africa today. Ethiopia is one of the few nations in Africa who have never been colonized by European imperial powers during the scramble for Africa in the late 1800‘s. Nevertheless, Ethiopia has never had a peaceful or democratic transition of power and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Lack of human rights, political instability and arm conflict has played a fundamental role in the lack of political, social, and economic development in the country. The current regime led by Meles Zanawi took over power by an overthrow of the communist Derg regime led by Mengistu Haile Mariam. Meles Zanawi, former leader of the Tigre Peoples Liberation Front took over power in 1991 and stayed in power ever since.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian regime, has total political and economic control over the entire country today, currently there are several armed conflicts taking place within the country, most notably by the Ogaden National Liberation Front in the Ogaden or Somali State of Eastern Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Front fighting in the Oromia state of Ethiopia. The current situation in the Ogaden is by far the worst crisis taking place in the Horn of Africa today, after the ONLF attack on a Chinese run oil field in 2007, the Ethiopian regime has adopted a campaign of collective punishment, many human rights organizations such as: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Genocide Watch have raised serious concerns after the Ethiopian governments expulsion of all humanitarian organizations working in the Ogaden such as the Red Cross, Save the Children, and Doctors Without Borders. In addition, the Ethiopian government has imposed an economic, media and humanitarian blockade on the region, therefore, many human rights observers are calling the crisis in the Ogaden “genocide.”