UN Sanctions Imposed on Eritrea

By G. E. Gorfu
Dec. 26 2009

BBC reported this week: “The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Eritrea, accusing the country of backing Islamist insurgents in Somalia. The resolution places an arms embargo on Eritrea, and also imposes travel bans and asset freezes on businesses and individuals…” and in its conclusion the BBC reporter said, “…Somalia has been subject to a UN arms embargo for many years, but weapons are still freely available in the Mogadishu weapons market.”*

The UN Security Council sanctions are a long awaited step in the right direction, and BBC’s comparison of Eritrea with Somalia is quite an interesting observation. The question then is: will these UN sanctions affect the Eritrea leadership in anyway? Clearly, freezing of their assets and imposing travel bans on Isaias and his goons can make life difficult but not impossible for them. Even though they have so far been traveling with diplomatic immunity, they will now probably go back to their clandestine ways of their guerrilla days. The freezing of their assets too, which is a welcome measure, may force them to work in the black market, but with friends like Libya’s Muammar Khadafy and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, they may not have cash flow problems to worry about. So, they can drag on for quite a long time and delay their inevitable downfall.

What will this spell for the common people of Eritrea? In the short run, any pressure exerted on the leadership is sure to be passed down the line and oppress the people, and one can expect an increase in hardship among the populace and a higher number of refugees leaving the country. As things get hard for the leadership the harsher it will treat its people. The longer this situation continues the more the people of Eritrea will suffer.

As the embargo drags on and the leadership becomes more desperate it is bound to resort to the same tactics the Somali warlords resorted to in order to survive: So, Isaias and his goons are very likely to take the same route the Somalis took and will start to capture ships in the Red Sea and confiscate their cargo to supplement their arms needs and will also probably resort to the capture of anything they can lay their hands on, including hostages and even the demand of ransom. That can only lead to an eventual breakdown of law and order in the land. All these are in the cards. In the short run therefore, things are bound to get worse, leading to an eventual disaster in the long run too, UNLESS...

UNLESS... the Eritrean opposition groups unite and intensify their struggle and prepare for an overthrow of the government! If they fail to do that, they will have allowed their people to suffer needlessly, and due to their own incompetence. This situation therefore, is a wakeup call to all who oppose Isaias to unite in one voice and under one leadership and rise in a final push and a takeover of power. The longer they fail to do that and the longer this situation is allowed to continue, the future of Eritrea is going to be the same as that of Somalia where there is a total breakdown of law and order, and weapons are freely available in the Mogadishu weapons market. God forbid for Medeber to be a weapons market?

*Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8428881.stm

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