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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Training in Ethiopia

Strategy Page -- The United States is sending teams of reserve soldiers to African countries to train local soldiers on basic screening and counter-terrorism techniques. For example, in Ethiopia, an American training team, which has already learned, like many U.S. Army reservists, these basic techniques, train Ethiopian soldiers who will, in turn, become trainers for their own troops. In this way, many English speaking Ethiopian officers and NCOs can be gathered for this training, thus insuring that a minimal amount of material is lost in translation.

The training goes both ways. The American troops learn a lot about Ethiopian culture, and the Ethiopian military. Relationships are established that can used in the future if there is a need to provide additional training, or other forms of assistance. Ethiopia is a largely Christian nation, with a substantial Moslem minority. While there has been no terrorist activity in Ethiopia, local politics is defined partly by religion. Ethnicity is also a factor, because the tribal and ethnic groups tend to be either all Christian or all Moslem. Ethiopia is a new democracy, having been a communist dictatorship for two decades (until 1991), and a monarchy for over two thousand years before that. Politics is a bit chaotic, with rebellion, mainly by the Moslem minority, always a possibility. A worst case situation would include terrorism, and the counter-terrorism training aims to mitigate the damage.

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