Eritrea real clear politics's Weblog

July 29, 2011

IGAD and the UN Monitoring Group’s Bizarre Allegations against Eritrea

Filed under: Politics — eritrearealclearpolitics @ 11:24 am

We have seen the communiqué issued by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which accused Eritrea of fomenting problems in the Horn of Africa. The primary purpose of the communiqué was to set a stage for the upcoming hearing of the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group by the United Nations Security Council, so that the Security Council will extend the mandate of the Monitoring Group, stiffen the existing sanctions, and punish the Eritrean people with more stringent economic sanctions.

We have also seen snippets of the accusations of the Monitoring Group via the website of their “Eritrean-American contact person, the notorious anti-Eritrean people Saleh Ghadi. In it the Group alleges that Eritrea dispatched Somali terrorists through Massawa and Somaliland; that it got involved in the Kampala bombing of the innocent civilians (in which a few Eritreans were killed and injured among others); that it is a primary human trafficker in the Horn of Africa and Sinai; that it plotted to disrupt the African Union Summit in Ethiopia by dispatching terrorists and make “Addis like Bagdad”.

All these allegations are so bizarre that they defy any logic. Most of the allegations are what the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi said in Parliament a few months ago. It looks like the UN Monitoring Group takes at face value what the Ethiopian government functionaries have to report. There is no doubt that Ethiopia will continue the campaign of Eritrean bashing and stigmatization as long as it serves its purposes and the interest of its allies.

It is a well known fact that the Somaliland government is lobbying many African governments for its bid to be recognized as an independent country; and sympathizes with the Ethiopian regime because of its proximity and the influence it has with the African Union. The Ethiopian government has representatives in Somaliland and they have many bilateral agreements. It doesn’t make any sense to say that Eritrea transported trained terrorists from Massawa through Somaliland into Somalia or Ogaden.

As to the Kampala bombing, the terrorist group Al Shabab openly admitted and boasted about it. Because of the reckless and ill conceived intervention of US and Ethiopia in Somalia, Al Shabab was formed and attracted foreign jihadists, who are experts in suicide bombing. President Museveini accused Al Shabab and pledged to stay undeterred in Somalia with the UN peacekeeping force; and Ugandan securities managed to apprehend the collaborators in the suicide bombings. But in the last few months the tone of the accusation has been changed; that the Ethiopian government took advantage of the situation and started to spread rumors of Eritrean involvement in the tragic incident of the Kampala bombings. It is to be recalled that about eight Eritreans have died and many injured in that horrible terrorist act.

The Monitoring Group should understand that Ethiopia will jump to accuse and blame Eritrea on every opportunity it gets when incidents occur in the Horn of Africa. Anyone who follows the politics of the Horn deeply, with good hearts and unbiased outlook, will attest to this. In the 2003 Gambela Massacre in Ethiopia, where near 400 civilian Agnuaks were killed by cold-blooded vigilante Ethiopian highlanders, the then Minister of regional affairs Barnabas Gebreab was quick to accuse Eritrea of the incident; but investigations indicated that conflict of Agnuak and Nuer, coupled with Ethiopia’s ethnic dived and rule, were the main trigger of that unfortunate tragic event.

The 2006 success of the Somalia’s United Islamic Courts, which rooted out the War Lords of Somalia, brought some resemblance of peace and security to that troubled country, and many Somalis especially residents of Mogadishu welcomed the new turn of events. The War Lords were supported by the US under its war on terror policy, in which the Lords and Ethiopia tried to manipulate to their own advantage. Even the then Transitional National Government (TNG) of President Abdulahi Yusuf, which was confined to the city of Baidoa, unable to move to Mogadishu, was happy about the success of UIC at first. The losers in the game were the US and Ethiopia. These two managed to convince the TNG that UIC is an ultra fanatic entity determined to work with Al-Qaeda, and a treat to the national security of US and its allies in the region.

President Abdulahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi acted as delivery boys for US interest in the Horn and came up with bizarre allegations that there were 2000 Eritrea soldiers in Mogadishu, and invaded Somalia in 2006. This aggression further plunged the already unstable condition into deeper hell. When things were not going smooth in Mogadishu as planned, again the blame game continued and Eritrea got all the accusation and wrath of the only super power, the US, and its delivery boys.

Despite all these accusations, hostile maneuvers, and unjust UN sanctions, in my opinion, the people and government of Eritrea steadfastly continued to focus on investment, economic and infrastructure development including agriculture and food security. The result of it produced a glimmer of hope to the Eritrean people. According to the Economist, Eritrea’s GDP was forecast to grow by 17% due to mainly its mining sector. Eritrea managed to avoid the current famine that’s plaguing Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya because of its change in agricultural policy and its early warning and contingency plans.

All these developments, especially the mining boom gave very sleepless nights to US policy makers, Ethiopian and the bigots at Transcripts from the US Embassy in Eritrea that were leaked by Wikileaks attest to this. Ethiopian officials in local media and paltalks continued to raise their concern on the mining boom and the trend in Eritrea’s economic growth. These blind jealously coming out of Ethiopian officials are not new to the Eritrean people. Ethiopia wants Eritrea to be economically deprived unable to sustain itself. To that end they use their

diplomatic tentacles to make sure that Eritrea should not benefit from its natural resources. One way of coming after that is to concoct a very dramatic allegation that will raise a hair behind the neck of African Diplomats; that Eritrea plotted to sabotage an African Union Summit in Addis Ababa by sending terrorists to plant mass killing bombs. As usual, the Ethiopian Intelligence will claim they uncovered the plot, and bring the supposed terrorists to confess. This kind of drama is not uncommon for anyone who follows the politics of the Horn. Another allegation is that the Eritrean government is involved in the human trafficking of its own people. This is bizarre of nth order. I believe it was a year or two ago that human rights activists and others were accusing the Eritrean government on its “shoot to kill “policy on anyone who ventured to leave and escape the country. How come now they are accusing the government of human smuggling and trafficking?

But the question remains, why are IGAD and the Monitoring Groups accept the allegations of Ethiopia at face values? In most likelihood they are either manipulated or bullied by the US, Ethiopia and their allies. I think investigating the investigator (the Monitoring Group) would bring a whole host of political scum and intrigues.

At a time when the whole world is at shock again with the draught and famine in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya; when Eritrea managed to escape the dreaded plague, the UN Sanctions Committee is contemplating with giving economic sanctions to the hard working Eritrean People. The Eritrean people should be commended not sanctioned for working hard to make ends meet. Stop and lift the Unjust Sanction on Eritrea.


Yusuf A. Mahmood


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