German is supporting the Ethiopian military primarily because of the country's high geostrategic importance. Ethiopia is not only considered a regional power at the Horn of Africa, enjoying particular attention from the West because of its proximity to important maritime trade routes (Gulf of Aden, Red Sea) and to the Arabic Peninsula. It is also one of those African nations, which are seeking, with a relatively well equipped army, continental prominence. It is not by accident that the African Union (AU) has its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, which, not least of all, because of its Christian tradition, is seen as a point of departure in the midst of a traditionally Islamic environment. Ethiopia has proven itself to be a reliable proxy for Western interests. This is why Berlin, over the years, has been supporting the regime in Addis Ababa with extensive development aid and political cooperation. Also for years there have been hefty protests against Germany's Ethiopia policy. Critics accuse the Ethiopian armed forces of grave war crimes and the government in Addis Ababa of electoral fraud, brutal repression and massacres of members of the opposition in the country. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.)
Support for the Military
Since 2002, Berlin has supplemented its political cooperation with Addis Ababa with support for its military. Soon after conclusion of the Ethiopian-Eritrean War (1998 - 2000), the German Bundeswehr initiated training for Ethiopian troops. In 2002, ten Ethiopian military personnel came to Germany to be trained by the Bundeswehr. The cooperation in training military personnel has continued - creating enhanced conditions for Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in late 2006 and the overthrow of the government in Mogadishu disliked by the West. The war crimes committed in the process by Ethiopia's military provoked hefty protests from human rights organizations. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) These protests did not deter Berlin from its continued support of the Ethiopian military. So far the Bundeswehr has trained a total 116 Ethiopian military personnel. In 2008, the German military even included, for the first time, an Ethiopian officer in the ten-month "General/Admiral Staff Duty Training Course with International Participation" (LGAI) held at the Bundeswehr's Leadership Academy in Hamburg.