1991: In the midst of the Somalian Civil War, the former British protectorate of "Somaliland," under the leadership of General Egal, declares its independence from the remainder of Somalia.
1996: Egal's own parliament tries to depose his increasingly dictatorial rule. Still. 1997: Egal is re-elected. Effective control of Somaliland consists of the area around Hargeisa, which holds and airport, and Berbera,a port. Somaliland issues its own currency. Outside these areas, bandits reign.
1998-date: In defiance of the general OAU and AU principle of NOT changing colonial borders, Somaliland continues to try to get international recognition. Egal visits, France, Italy, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. The UK, former colonial rulers of Somalia, become strong supporters of Somaliland's move. The various governments of Somalia do not recognize any such claims to independence.
February 18, 2002: The armies of Ethiopia emerge make no secret of a general Eastern movement as they leave their well-fortified positions facing Eritrea to reconverge in Harar, a Moslem majority city where the appearance of the mostly Christian troops leads to immediate strains. President Menes claims the troops are on "manuevers," but he calls up his reservists also.
February 20, 2002: The "warlords" council that functions as the government of broken Somalia immediately protests what it fears an imminent invasion by Ethiopia. The warlords mobilize, but a banding together of, essentially, bandit bands stands little chance of stopping Ethiopia's battle-hardened veterans.
February 21, 2001: President Menes delivers a vehement anti-quat speech.
February 22, 2002: Two Ethiopian soldiers are shot in the streets of Harar. The many Somali refugees in Harar start to cross the border into Somalia, Somaliland, and Djibouti, all Somali-speaking countries.
February 22, 2002: President Menes orders the troops of his army burn the nearby qat fields. This threatens not only the livlihood of the locals but their mental well-being as many are quat addicts.
February 24, 2002: A qat-riot is put down with military force. The Ethiopian army reveals it has convincing evidence as to the source of both the qat riot AND the deaths.
February 25, 2002: The president of Ethiopia, makes a speech on Ethiopian television in which he denounces the lawlessness in neighboring Somalia which, he claims, threatens the security of the region. He blames all of this on Somali culture and, more generally, the quat crop.
February 26, 2002: The Ethiopian assembly recognizes the existence of Somaliland. Simultaneously, it declares war on the new state, but not on Somalia! Ethiopian troops cross the Somaliland "border."
February 27, 2002: In a single day, the Ethiopian air force destroys the airfields at Hargeisa and the port at Berbera. It's armor begins a two-hour leisurely advance to finish off the remnants of Somaliland.
March 1, 2002: The British government, belatedly, recognize the existence of Somaliland. The British finally protest the Ethiopian invasion and dispatch envoys to Addis Adaba. The United States protests as well.
March 2, 2002: By now Ethiopia rules Somaliland. Its troops begin a systematic destruction of the qat crop, searching for each and every field, slowed by persistent fighting with bandit bands. President Menes appeals to President Bush for his support in "the War on Drugs."
Confidential to the Ambassador of Ethiopia to the United Nations
It is my honest conviction, after serious study, that qat represents the most serious problem facing the eastern portion of our country. For that reason, I've resolved on a zero tolerance policy.
It's sad, but true, that the majority of our eastern, Moslem, citizens depend on qat. It absorbs an enormous amount of their energy. Ironically, as a stimulant, it goes against the principals of Islam.
So long as the eastern border remains open, I see no reasonable way to quash that evil than the present path. We'll start with our own fields. Then, we'll cross the border to Somaliland. Hopefully, Somalia and Djibouti will, of their own volition, prevent sale to our citizens.
If this results in many Somali refugees returning to their homeland, this would, in my opinion, aid our country's security.
Please make it clear to our Western, Christian allies, the extent of the danger facing us. Then, you will obtain their support. This is not a war on Somaliland, but on drugs.
President Menes, Ethiopia
Confidential report to the Ethiopian ambassador:
Our our army will Djibouti tomorrow morning.
Please come up with reasons, provocations, etc. before the invasion starts so that we appear in the right.
Harar Eastern Army of Ethiopia
Confidential Report to the French Ambassador:
It's with extreme misfortune that I report the recent border crossing of an unwelcome guest into the borders of Djibouti. We have tracked his journey ever since his re-emergence in Somalia a few weeks ago.
Somalia is a small society, clan based, and as you can suspect, secrets do not remain secrets very long-even with the largest of largesse. Hence, we became aware of our current guest's presence 4 days ago. Our agents had been in contact with the Somali tribes, but they remained hopelessly deadlocked as to what to do with him. There is intense fear on all sides. We'd hoped they would present him to the Americans or Saudis.
I'm afraid our guest had ideas of his own. Accordingly, he fled into the no-man's land surrounding the towns of Harbegeisa. From there, he entered Djibouti. If my suspicions are correct, Ethiopia will Djibouti invade tomorrow or the next day.
I don't think I should add how extreme the embarrassment will be if the world catches us with him here! We dare not take him now, and we certainly don't dare help him escape.
Do what you can to stop the Ethiopians!
Confidential Report to the French Ambassador:
As you recall, we have one French Foreign Legion division in the country on manuevers and training. If we mobilize them, they will take losses. They can only delay the Ethiopians only a matter of hours. We will await Paris's instructions on this.
I have mobilized the French Foreign Legion troops in Djibouti. The Djibouti Army is on high alert. However, we plan no resistence whatsoever, and I have a phone ready to dial president Menes in Ethiopia.
My suspicion is that the Ethiopians, even without resistance, will immediately bomb the ships in the harbor and close the airport for obvious reasons.
Paris reports to me that our carrier, Clemenceau, is en route from Paris and will be within strike range in a day.
Help us if possible.
French Military Commander
To: the British Ambassador
As an acknowledged expert on Somaliland, having served there during the ninties, I have to express some serious doubts about the intensions of Ethiopian invasion.
Qat almost substititutes for life in Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. Addicts chew constantly, but it's a cheap drug. The real harm is that it diverts the Somalis from growing worthwhile crops.
However, I don't really see how Ethiopia can eradicate the crop. For one thing, it grows in Yemen also. This almost invites smuggling on the parts of the Yemenis. Beyond that, the Ethiopians couldn't conquer Somalia. While they can scare the Somalia, an invasion would be the one thing to unite all of the Somalia, including those in Ethiopia and Djibouti.
I don't know what's going on here, but I'm very suspicious of Menes. I'm making inquiries.
M15, the UK
To: The British Ambassador
I've just finished a confidential converation with Mr. Tony Blair. He's willing to send British troops and a carrier to Somaliland. However, he worries a lot about how this will appear: a defense of an ex-colony. Our satellites say that a French carrier, the Clemenceau, is sailing for Djibouiti. Perhaps you can enlist their support in saving Somaliland.
He's requested that you get broad-based support from the Commonwealth countries, especially South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, and, of course, Nigeria. It'll be really hard to go against the host country of the African Union and the very symbol of African anti-colonialism without this support.
In the meantime, you can threaten all you want.
The United Kingdom
To: The American Ambassador
It's with sincere regret that I inform you that Mohammad Al-Khaleeji, one of the military attaches in Saudi Arabia recently met his death in an unfortunate accident in Riyadh.
While some may remember Mohammad as an ardent patriot, I think you'll be interested to know that he shares an Ethiopian interest in eradicating the qat crop. In fact, one could say that he had more interest in finding the qat crop and really examining it, in the finest detail, than even the most ardent qat chewer. The trail of qat led him in Eastern Saudi Arabia, near the Yemeni border. He was due to meet me this morning when he was involved in a "traffic accident."
His death will certainly leave us something to chew on. Particularly as he thought he'd pinpointed the source of the most dangerously addictive qat of all. Unfortunately, his information, but not his enthusiam, dies with him.
Given the mutual interest you have in qat with the Ethiopians, I suggest you find out what they know and why they're going after the fields so enthusiastically this season, ahead of us, so to speak.
CIA station head
To: the Saudi Ambassador
In the name of Allah the Almighty:
Truly the law proclaims that a man who murders deserves beheading. This is even more important if that man holds a truth that can kill WORSE than a lie that would hurt the brave, the pious, and the unlucky. Sometimes, it's better that such a man meet God sooner in preference to later.
We know where he is. We will deal with him as justice requires, quickly and swiftly. We are close!
Sulaiman Ibn Saad Al Ghouli
Saudi Arabian Secret Police
To: The Saudi Ambassador
In the name of God the Almighty:
The supreme Shura of Saudi Arabia wishes known its repugnance to the recent invasion of our Moslem brothers' new country in Somaliland. We ask that you summon all the nations who fear God and submit to them that we must oppose this brutal invasion.
While Saudi Arabia by no means approves of qat, it is forbidden, we will gladly offer our help in all possible matters monetary and social. We pledge that help to Ethiopia.
Further, remind Ethiopia of its history. For sparing the exiles from the prophet's family, the prophet ordered the sparing of Ethiopia. So we ask only to maintain our historical friendship with the Ethiopians, and in the name of our common heritage in God, we ask them to immediately leave the Moslem countries they have invaded, even with the best of intentions.
Prince Faisal Al-Saud