By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Onlne - August 19, 2014
The thorny Eritrean issue refuses to die down and has precipitated schism among Ethiopians of all political persuasions with respect to its resolution. Some are calling for the Ethiopian government to take a direct military action to discard the troublesome regime and an equal proportion have opted for the preservation of the no war, no peace status quo with the firm belief that the current state of affairs would ultimately bring an end to the tyrannical rule.
Eritrea is led by a weak and ineffective government and its precarious economy is heavily reliant on the sharply declining coercively collected 2% Diaspora tax. Its public services have deteriorated and corruption within high level officials is at an all-time high. Poverty is widespread and intermittently available basic necessities have become beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. Daily human flights to neighboring countries and far afield continues to increase at an alarming rate and shows no sign of abating. Blatant violation of human rights and rule of law has become the norm rather than the exception. By international standards, these are classic characteristics of a failed state that would gradually trigger the collapse of a decaying regime.
The Ethiopian government should cease dilly-dallying and aggressively support the Eritrean opposition especially the Kunamas and Afar in order to expedite the inevitable end. It would also help if the Eritreans were not enticed to cross into Ethiopia as they ought to remain in their own homeland and fight the ruthless leader they vehemently detest. Having said these, utmost care needs to be taken to avoid a power vacuum that could be exploited to create chaos and bloodshed similar to what we are witnessing in Yemen, Tunisia and Libya. Another Somalia in our back yard would seriously jeopardize the prevailing peace and security in the economic power house of East Africa. The need to have a stable Eritrea that would be a destination for Ethiopian agricultural and industrial products can’t be overstated.
Direct military engagement isn’t in the best interest of Ethiopia as this would create an opportunity for a third party to get involved and perpetuate the mission. The first country that springs to mind is Egypt which is not happy with Ethiopia’s demand for a fair distribution of the Nile Waters. Besides, Eritrea which still views Badame as the cause of the impasse between the two countries would probably receive international backing because The Hague Border Commission has ruled in her favor. For some inexplicable reasons, Eritrea tends to garner external sympathy even during the Ehio-Eritrea border war despite the fact that Ethiopia was the victim of aggression.
Furthermore, the fortunes of the despot who has lost the respect and support of his people may be revitalised if Ethiopia was to intervene directly and the pariah leader could use this to solidify his position at the helm. Moreover, in the event of an external mediation, Eritrea is likely to insist on the resolution of the border dispute and suspension of the painful UN sanctions that were imposed on the tiny state for arming and financing terrorists. Of course, these possibilities wouldn’t arise if Ethiopia was to defeat Shabiya in a short space of time.
But the obvious obstacle to this measure as far as the Ethiopian government is concerned is the absence of a credible Eritrean opposition at this moment in time ready to assume the management of the country which is divided along religious and awraja lines. In any case, war is costly and destructive, and the outcome can’t be predicted with absolute certainty. Iran and Iraq fought a bloody war to settle their border dispute but never imagined that this would consume 10 years to conclude. Iraq expected a swift victory over its sworn enemy but the outcome was a dead heat.
Unseating the dictator using thoroughly organised Eritrean opposition groups is the best option for Ethiopia. No doubt the Ethiopian Defense Force can sort out Shabiya in no time but why take risks that could jeopardize the hard won economic successes of the last twenty or so years. Let the Eritreans fight their enemy and all Ethiopia has to do more than before is supply whatever is required to topple the ruthless dictator. But a lion’s share of any military and monetary assistance has to be allocated to the lowlanders as this would check the dominance of the highlanders now and after the removal of the tyrant. The skewed balance would give Ethiopia a valuable opportunity to play a pivotal and decisive role in post Shabiya Eritrea. After all, Gash Barka which is the bread basket of Eritrea belongs to the Kunamas and Assab is the land of the Afar.
In the meanwhile, Ethiopia has to focus and double its efforts to continue with the all inclusive economic transformation of the country that has been in motion since the coming of the EPRDF. The economic disruption, mass displacements and huge fatalities that occurred during the 1998 border war must not be repeated. For sure, the rogue leader will persist with his futile efforts to harm the stability of the resilient and successful neighbour which has become a magnet for foreign investors. But Ethiopia possesses a robust army, police and security services that are capable of dealing with disloyal riffraff dispatched by the boozer tyrant who is on his way out.
If what we build is going to be demolished by Shaebiya or it's puppets, what is the point? All economic development and progress should be protected at any cost.
Listen to this imbecile subhuman gay Eritrean casually insulting the people of Tigrai. From the professor to a degenerate like this waste of half human, 24 hours they target the dignified self respecting people of Tigrai. It is a law of physics for every action there will be equal or greater reaction. For any consequences that may befall on the people of Eritrea, blame it not on anyone, but your actions.
If you have any doubts Shabiya is behind every terrorist attack in Ethiopia, listen to one Eritrean official inciting violence and the breaking of Ethiopia. He is talking to a bunch of Ginbot-7 members and he is telling them it is ok to break up Ethiopia in to small pieces. Unbelievable!!!