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Cablegate: Ethiopia 2009 Country Report On Terrorism

VZCZCXRO9943
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHDS #2960/01 3520817
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180817Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7204
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 002960

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/CT: RSHORE; AF/E: JWIEGERT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC EFIN PREL ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA 2009 COUNTRY REPORT ON TERRORISM

REF: STATE 109980

ADDIS ABAB 00002960 001.2 OF 002


1. Over the last three years, the East Africa extremist networks
led by al-Shabaab have increased their capability, numbers and
strength. The threat posed by these networks, particularly the
increase of foreign fighters and jihadist recruits, is a growing
concern. The Ethiopian government is concerned about terrorist
related activities in neighboring Somalia in addition to domestic
insurgency groups such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front
(ONLF) and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF),in addition to other
regional extremist groups, such as the United Western Somali
Liberation Front. Both the ONLF and OLF continue to target
Ethiopian government officials. Eritrea's support for al-Shabaab
extremists in Somalia, in an effort to destabilize Ethiopia, poses
an additional threat.

2. The Ethiopian military's withdrawal from Somalia in January 2009
reduced the lightening rod long used by Somalia-based extremists as
grounds for targeting Ethiopia. By bolstering defensive forces
along the Ethio-Somali border, they further reinforced defensive
mechanisms through which to stem potential infiltration of
extremists into Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a member state and current
rotating chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development
(IGAD), and participates actively in IGAD's Capacity Building
Program Against Terrorism (ICPAT) to bolster the capacity of IGAD
member states to mitigate, detect, and deter advances by terrorists.


3. Ethiopia's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS),
with broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal
investigation, was responsible for overall counterterrorism
management. The Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP) work in conjunction
with NISS on counterterrorism. Key among Ethiopia's
counterterrorism objectives is combating terrorist groups like
al-Shabaab, the United Western Somali Liberation Front, and
al-Itihaad al-Islami. Ethiopia has requested U.S. assistance to
craft legislation and provide other technical assistance to
establish a regime to combat terrorist financing, and is more
focused on seeking prosecution of counterterrorism suspects since
the new Antiterrorism Law was passed in July. Ethiopia was an
active participant in African Union (AU) counterterrorism efforts,
participating in the AU's Center for Study and Research on
Terrorism, and in meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and
Security Services of Africa (CISSA).

3. Bilateral relations between the U.S. and Ethiopia are
broad-based. U.S. military forces based in Djibouti conduct
indirect operations within Ethiopia through the employment of Civil
Affairs teams, civil action programs, senior religious leader
engagements and military to military cooperative engagements to
bolster improved relationships and understanding between the
Ethiopian and American peoples. These meetings with local civil
leaders, ethnic elders and security forces have provided the U.S.
with an increased awareness of clan, religious, and ethnic issues
that violent extremists may attempt to exploit for their own
benefit. They also allow the USG to pursue solutions to those
issues through development and humanitarian support to bolster
communities at risk directly or through leveraging support of NGOs,
the U.S. State Department, USAID, and U.S. military outreach.

4. The U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service,
continued to support GoE counterterrorism capabilities with USD one
million worth of Antiterrorism Training programming. This year's
training encompassed 168 students, from front line supervisors
engaging in land border management at ports of entry, to senior
police leaders studying their role in combating terrorism on the
strategic, regional, and national levels. Students were taught to
analyze terrorist activities including financing, confidential
source handling, development and information management sharing.
This year's goal was to address the ability to disseminate
information across agencies and countries, and concentrate on the
large issue of stabilizing the Horn of Africa by attacking terrorism
on a multilateral front.

5. The Office of Security Cooperation has provided some protective
gear to enhance the force protection status of troops involved in
counterterrorism roles.

6. Ethiopia's location within the Horn of Africa made it vulnerable
to money laundering activities perpetrated by transnational criminal
organizations, terrorists, and narcotics traffickers. On November
19, 2009, parliament passed anti-money laundering/combating the
financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation that had been supported
through technical advice from the U.S. Department of Treasury. This
legislation formally created Ethiopia's first financial intelligence

ADDIS ABAB 00002960 002.2 OF 002


unit called the Financial Information Center. This new Center is
charged with implementing this new legislation. USG officials are
currently seeking to review this legislation in detail to determine
whether there are areas for additional bilateral cooperation during
the establishment of the nascent Financial Information Center.

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