Where mischief is involved, Isaias Afwerki will be right there! The man is insane, plain and simple. So what is Ethiopia supposed to do to protect itself from this mad man’s evil schemes? Ethiopia cannot just assume that the threat to its National Security by this mad man and his cohorts will somehow…just go away! The UIC/al-Qaeda duo has taken refuge in Eritrea. Their address may have changed, but they still pose a threat to Ethiopia’s National Security; as long as they are still breathing. Hence, Isaias and his PFDJ must be held accountable.
I do not believe that USA, in its Global War on Terrorism, needs to conduct air raids on al-Qaeda targets inside Eritrea, as it did in Ras Kamboni. I say this because Ethiopia is perfectly capable of conducting aerial attacks on its own; which, I might add, it performed with impressive success during their last encounter. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if USA provided information in the form of intelligence to Ethiopian Defense Forces. I believe USA intelligence support will minimize civilian casualties.
After the permanent removal of UIC/al-Qaeda from Eritrean soil, there will remain three subsequent courses of action: (1) Removal/arrest of Isaias Afweki to face justice rendered by the Eritrean people. (2) Allow Eritrean “opposition parties” to come in and set up a joint Temporary Transitional Government. (3) Set up a time frame for UN/AU supervised elections for the first time ever. This may sound simplistic; but I believe that it is doable. God knows, the Eritrean people deserve it.
After a legitimate (elected) government is installed in Eritrea, a fresh re-evaluation of the prevailing issues between Ethiopia and Eritrea must be made. Such a re-assessment must include, but not be limited to: (A) Border demarcation that is fair to both Ethiopians and Eritreans alike, who live in the contested areas. In the case of Tserona...let’s not even go there! We all know that Tserona had the appearance of having been handed over as a gift to Eritrea; plain and simple. (B) Ethiopia’s right to unrestricted and enforceable right to the use of Massawa and Asseb ports. Those ports have been Ethiopia’s access to the Red Sea, along with Adulis, since time immemorial. (C) Nationality issues for Irob, Afar, and Kunama people must be resolved. Every person I have ever met who is from Irob Land is very passionate about his/her Ethiopian identity; and therefore Irob must not be denied. Irob people were excluded from participation in the referendum of 1993, by none other than Isaias himself for obvious reason.
In my opinion, the so called “referendum” of 1993 which prompted the eventual independence of Eritrea, was illegal. I say this because “Eritreans” who lived in Ethiopia at the time of the referendum, were really “Ethiopians”, just like the rest of the seventy five million or so of us! Therefore, another referendum this time with the full participation of all Ethiopians is in order; and must be put to the ultimate test. I seriously doubt that a single Eritrean would vote for separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia, considering the pain Isaias has inflicted on the Eritrean people.
From all indications the Eritrean people are craving for a way out from life inside shipping containers. Certainly, shipping containers can be put to better use; such as on construction of temporary workshops, storage facilities, and the like. Eritrea, the land of Abraha Deboch, Moges Asgedom, Zer’ay Deres, Lorenzo Taezaz, and General Aman Andom, all of them great Ethiopians of Eritrean descent, deserves much better.
It is only fair at this juncture, to briefly examine Ethiopian History from a unique perspective. What was known as Mereb M’lash is present day Eritrea. The creation of Eritrea as a “colony” of Italia came about as a consequence of an internal struggle for power within Ethiopia. It all started with Negus Menelik’s desire to acquire military hardware from Italia, for the purpose of overthrowing Emperor Yohannes of Tigray from power. Italia obliged Negus Menelik, and thus made a deal to acquire Eritrea, in exchange for arms.
In the mean time, Emperor Yohannes was martyred while fighting against the Mahdi army of Sudan. The rest, as they say, is history! When Italia became greedy and set its eyes to the south, beyond Mereb River, it led to the Battle of Adwa in1896. Italy was defeated by Ethiopia at the Battle of Adwa, rather handily. Ethiopia’s victory over Italia was so overwhelming, that the debate on why Emperor Menelik II did not reclaim Eritrea while he had the opportunity has been raging ever since.
I believe what is unfolding inside Eritrea today is a blessing in disguise. As to the question of what waits in store for Eritrea, my response is that it is all very good. The Ethiopian Constitution recognizes and guarantees equal rights for all Nations and Nationalities; their freedom of speech; their right to self-government, in their own languages; their freedom of worship; and their right to self-determination, including the right to secession. Eritrea will prosper and enjoy the freedom accorded by the Ethiopian Constitution.
Sadly, Eritrea today does not even have an implemented ratified constitution. The consensus of opinion is that Eritreans do very well in an environment that rewards hard work; and where private enterprise is valued and encouraged. Eritreans do very well in an environment that operates under the rule of law. I believe that the Ethiopian Constitution is just what the doctor ordered for Eritrea. It is time for Eritrea to come back home to Ethiopia.