Meles has been "feeding false intelligence about terrorists being hidden and that sort of thing."


Should the world be worried?
MARGARET WARNER: So if all of this is the case, Secretary Cohen, then why is the U.S. government apparently -- though they've never confirmed that the U.S. has been supporting the warlords financially -- why is the U.S. so concerned about this Islamic group?
HERMAN COHEN: I think the U.S. government panicked. They saw Islamic group; they said, "Taliban is coming."
Also, there are friends in the region, like the Ethiopians, who probably are feeding false intelligence about terrorists being hidden and that sort of thing, because the Ethiopians are deadly afraid of Moslem control and also they have their own Moslem problem among the Oromo ethnic group in Ethiopia.
So they want to keep the Islamists out of power, and they will bring the U.S. into it, if they can.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, though you heard the president still express some concern about whether it will become a safe haven for al-Qaida-style terrorists, how great a danger do you think there is of that?
HERMAN COHEN: I think it's minor, because the people in the Islamic movement saw what happened to the Taliban and they don't want the same thing to happen to them; that's why this letter that came out in your presentation earlier is saying, "Don't worry. We're not going to have any of these folks here. Don't start fighting with us."
And I think that's right, because the first thing they need to do is consolidate power where they are. They don't want to get into a fight with the United States.
Struggle not over yet
MARGARET WARNER: So, Secretary Cohen, do you think then that this Islamic courts movement wants to actually, what, support this transitional government that's been holed up in that town, Baidoa?
HERMAN COHEN: Well, the traditional government has some form of legitimacy. The U.N. has recognized them; the European Union has recognized them. Only the Americans have been a little reticent, and I think even now, from what I hear from the spokesman in the State Department today, that the U.S. is ready to recognize them.
So this represents legitimacy. And if they can negotiate with the Islamic courts, you might get the beginning of a national government, which would be great.
MARGARET WARNER: But, in the meantime, the warlords are still vowing that they're not going to give up without a fight. They certainly, this large clan in Mogadishu, had this big rally today. Do you foresee more fighting?
HERMAN COHEN: I do foresee more fighting. They're not going to give up, but this is the job of the United States right now, to put pressure on the Ethiopians, "Look, stop supporting these guys. This is only trouble."
MARGARET WARNER: You mean that money has been funneled through the Ethiopians, you believe, to the warlords?
HERMAN COHEN: And also there's the other element of Eritrea. Anything that Ethiopia supports, Eritrea goes against, so Eritrea is feeding arms to the Islamic courts. We should tell them, "Stop doing that now. Now is the time for talks instead of fighting."
But the main thing is to keep those warlords out of Mogadishu.
MARGARET WARNER: But some of them are in Mogadishu?
HERMAN COHEN: In the fringes. In the fringes, yes.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at4:42 PM

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