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Ethiopian leaders can learn from Russia and Israel

Ethiopian News, Tigrai Online, December 4, 2015

Russian president Vladimir Putn holding a hand gun
The Russian President Vladimir Putin commands huge respect from the west to the point of fear

Most of our time’s powerful nations and groupings are positioning themselves to where they can protect their long term national interests.

As developing nations like China, India, and Brazil become more powerful, countries like the United States of America are finding themselves in completion for the top position of dominating the world. China the most populace country in the world is also one of the largest economies of the world. In the near future China will be the biggest economy of the world. China achieved this feat not by playing nice guy, but by pursuing its national interest without any fear. We Ethiopians can learn from that.

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After the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – USSR disintegrated, Russia was in a along slumber politically, economically, and isolated from the world at large.  However, the largest country on earth aided by its determined leaders roared back to where it is now.  Russian current leader, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is one of those leaders who pulled Russia from the dark corner where the western powers want it to be.

President Vladimir Putin is a no nonsense tough leader who does not care about what the west says to protect his country’s interest. The westerners were slowly encroaching on the Russian Federation’s traditional sphere of influence through the tiny countries that used to be part of the USSR.

For years the west tried to use Georgia a small country between Europe and Asia to gain ground against Russia. In 2008 the Russian army overruns Georgian forces after Georgian military attacked Ossetia and Abkhazia.  Ossetia and Abkhazia are small enclaves of land who declared their independence from Georgia, but not recognized by the international community. You can think of them as the Afar of Dankil and the Kunama of Barentu in Eritrea who are fighting the Eritrean regime.

The west gives up on that adventure when Georgia was forced to sign peace agreement with Russia. America and its allies tried to use Ukraine to weaken Russia, but that mission turned disastrous for Ukraine because the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March 2014. Russia didn’t stop there, the Russian speaking areas of Ukraine are fighting to separate from Ukraine and Russia is almost openly supporting them.

The Western world’s encroachment on Russia is not working because Putin and the Russian leadership are taking bold political and military actions to protect their country.

Israel has been occupying the Syrian territory of Golan Heights since 1967 after it captured it from Syria and the world does absolutely nothing. The Russians and Israelis are simply protecting their national interests and they don’t hide it.

Last week many websites reported that the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has warned Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that there will be consequences if their military operation in the port of Assab helps Eritrea to destabilize Ethiopia.

Tigrai Online has asked last month if the Saudis and United Arab Emirates have consulted Ethiopia before they started working with Eritrean regime now we know they didn’t. Ethiopia and Eritrea are on war, any military activity by any power should notify Ethiopia way in advance to avoid any misunderstanding. According to the reports the prime mister is quoted as saying the following statement.

Although we understand their objective, we were not consulted before the countries reached to this agreement. We have a right to protect the sovereignty of our country. And this might depend on the actions of the Eritrean regime,”

This is a great start, but we are not sure if the Ethiopian authorities fully understood what the Arab forces objective in Assab is. What we understand for sure is the Arabs have been working for centuries to destabilize Ethiopia.

They have assured us that they would not be engaged in activities that would endanger the peace and security of Ethiopia. They have said this is only a choice of tactical convenience to their operation in Yemen and that they would evacuate the area as soon as the mission is completed,” Prim Minister Hailemariam told The Reporter newspaper. “We have also stressed that they will bear the consequences of our response if their operation in the area supports the Eritrean regime’s destabilization agenda against Ethiopia. Although we understand their objective, we were not consulted before the countries reached to this agreement.”

Since the time of the Axumite Emperor Ezana, modern Ethiopia never invaded or threatened to invade any nation including the Arabs. The Arabs animosity towards Ethiopia is motivated mostly by religion. Now the Arab countries have come to the backyard of Ethiopia the danger they pose becomes more real than ever.

The Ethiopian government leaders should learn from the leaders of Russia and Israel and make it clear to the Arabs and Eritrea they will pay dearly if they don’t back off from their evil plans. Diplomatic rhetoric and nice guy approach is not going to get the desired results. Ethiopia should go a little further and take concrete actions to get its point across and it means business. This action could take many forms including military movement around the Assab area to make the Arab forces uncomfortable. It could be a limited air bombardment in selected terrorist bases in Eritrea to send a message you are not welcomed here.

The generic argument, “our number one enemy is poverty” so we can’t afford to be antagonistic to anyone is pathetic. True poverty is a big problem and it has to be in the top priority of the country to be addressed, but not at the cost of long term security of the country. If you are invaded by enemies or torn apart in to small pieces all the development and economic growth don’t mean much.

Some Eritreans might scream loud saying Eritrea is an independent nation and it can do whatever it wants within its territory, but when Eritrea knowingly endangers the security of 94 million Ethiopians its independence becomes irrelevant.

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If the Eritrean people cherish their independence, they should make sure their government is not making fatal foreign policy judgments that could bring their country in a direct conflict with other nations.

The Eritrean regime is constantly watching what the Ethiopian government and people’s reaction would be when it takes measures like this one. It is the EPRDF government’s responsibility to send unmistakably clear message.

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