He was against it before he is for the war.
By Equar D. Negash
Jan. 14 2008
There is no doubt that EPRDF has brought about dynamism into Ethiopian political arena. Like most our African brothers, Ethiopia is a home of many tribes, ethnic groups, nation and nationalities that exist together under one country for 1000s of years. Luckily, we have over seventy languages, different cultures and religions in this diverse nation. Unluckily, we have never used this diversity for our benefit because of the failed policies of the past; even in some cases it was used by our enemies against the country’s unity. Obviously, there have bee injustice, oppression and in equality among nation and nationalities. Consequently, there were armed struggles against the governments to demand equality for decades. No government in the past tried to address this issue peacefully instead they went against it forcefully. It was EPRDF, in Ethiopian history, which has tried to treat the problem properly. I think this issue is now on the right track. There is no force on earth that can reverse this situation again. Hence, we have to recognize the reality and work on it to complete the process. I know there are still concerns, fears of unfairness and domination of one group on another. It may take decades to build confidence among our nationalities. Meanwhile, EPRDF’s economic policies have worked since its introduction of 1991. We observed a real change in the country’s infrastructure, financial sector and Agriculture. International financial institutions, The Bank and the Fund, witnessed the economic growth in Ethiopia.
Having said that, I just want to see the set backs of some failed policies of the party. First, according to some insiders, Eritrea was prepared long before the invasion to attack Ethiopia and worked hard from beginning to destabilize the country. Nevertheless, the invasion came as a surprise even for top leaders of the country. This was what we learned from the interview of the prime minister after the incident. We definitely know that the country has an intelligence unit before and after 1991. It is hard to believe that Ethiopian Intelligence Unit failed to unveil the long standing Shaibia’s intention to wage a war. It is also a mistake to think that any intelligence activity is error-free. We all remembered what happened in 9/11 in America. In what ever case, whether the intelligence failed or the policy makers was reluctant to act, this showed inefficiency of the government to carry out its duty. Secondly, Shaibia walked into Badime and its environs with a little resistance of our brave militias who scarified to defend the country by fighting the huge armors of the invading army. Shaibia had given more than enough time to pull his army out, but failed to act. With Eritrea's refusal to accept the peace plan proposed by different countries, Ethiopia launched a massive military offensive to reverse the invasion. Ethiopia broken through Eritrea's fortified front and went deep into Eritrean territory. We know what happened in Mekelle, Aider elementary School as a result of Eritrea’s air raid and it is enough to see ruin of Zalambesa today to estimate the cost of the war. However, we latter came to know from his interview the Prime minister, Meles, was against the war. He was forced to execute the war because he was on the minority side on the vote. I want say him bravo because that is the essence of democracy to obey for majority vote. Nonetheless, I can not imagine any leader or a country in the world that is reluctant to defend a sovereignty of the country when part of it land was occupied by foreign force.
Thirdly, we all know including the Mr. Meles himself, that Shaibia has been a determined enemy of peace and Ethiopia for years. Hence, most Ethiopian expected the war had to go beyond the border and destroy Shaibia so that the region could enjoy peace and stability. In this regard Shaibia had packed its suit case to go where they thought was safe before the advancing Ethiopian army reached Asmara. The war was stopped short of its reach. Why this happened? The ruling party has its own justification. But, others also argued differently. Any way, Ethiopian people are paying the price because Shaibia is still in power and work hard to dismantle the country. Tragically enough the aftermath of the war was not even done in Ethiopian advantage. We knew Ethiopia won the war but lost arbitration. Badme and Irob have been part of Ethiopia for years and never been administrated under Eritrean colonial bosses. Assuming the court of arbitration is neutral, because both countries contribute two each of their own choice to the commission; it was really inefficiency or unwillingness of our government that led the court decided against the fact. The worst of all, Mr. Seyum Mesfit told Ethiopian people in ETV, hours after the arbitration, that it was decided in favor of Ethiopia. A few days latter they completely rejected the commission’s decision. Why this was happened? I do not know. Is it a result of inefficiency or a deliberate move? Again I do not know. In any possible scenario, the government is responsible for all this mess. The Prime minister in his speech to Ethiopian parliament told us that Ethiopia rejected to take a land, Tserono side, given by the commission to Ethiopia because he thought it belongs to Eritrea. The face value of this rejection appeared to be done in a manner to solve the problem. However, the intention was suspicious because it came when Shaibia claimed land deep into Ethiopia as far as Shire.
Fifthly, the war was stopped before crushing Saibia. Consequently, our brave solders are still fighting with the same enemy in four sides of the country as well as Mogadishu. We are in a state of war with Shaibia. No body would argue, even the hard core supporters of the regime, that there is no war. We know what happened in the Chinese oil field in Eastern Ethiopia. We also remembered the abduction of British citizens in Afar region. All the terrorist destruction on our hotels, buses and other civilian targets in Addis were the inhuman work of Shaibia. The situation in Somalia has not been improved yet. We have seen bombing of civilian targets for the last one year or so. Almost on daily basis, Ethiopian army is fighting Shaibia and its allied terrorist. Ethiopia has fought the same or an extension of the same war since the raise of Shaibia in the north. There is a real problem in Eritrea now more than any time; people are starving, waiting hours on line for bread, sugar and the like. Paradoxically, million of dollars have been spent to organize enemies to destabilize Ethiopia. The number one priority for Shaibia is to see a divided or a weak Ethiopia. In this regard, Shaibai tried to open different fronts to challenge the country. After gathering and organizing all terrorist groups, Isaias opened another front to attack Ethiopia from Somalia. Islamist rulers in Mogadishu have declared a holy war against Ethiopia. Political analysts of the region predicted that there would be a risk of a regional conflict. In light of this development, Ethiopian government took a very successful and fast military intervention to reverse the situation. Good job as the operation to some extent crush a treat to Ethiopia and its interest.
The Ethiopia government, particularly Prime Minster Meles, was against the war to reverse the Eritrea invasion. Nonetheless, the prime minister, favored military action against Shabia’s war in Somalia. He was against the war before he was for it. If I am not mistaken, I saw inconsistency in this approach. For me there is no difference between these two seemingly different wars for the following reasons. First, both wars are the same and basically Shaibia’s job to accomplish its dream. Second, both are a treat to Ethiopian national security. Last but not least, all these wars have been originated, financed and organized from Asmara. Therefore, they are the same if not identical. The only difference I observed is the time and the place the war operated. Obviously, the previous war took place mainly on Eritrean soil whereas the current one is taking place in Somalia and Ethiopia. In this case, Shaibia managed to push the war away from Eritrea to Ethiopia.
The Prime Minister sent a very clear message to Shaibia repeatedly not to invade Ethiopia again and I think it got the message. We now knew there is only one condition (full scale invasion) which Shaibia can be penalized for what it did. I do not have any reason to think Shaibia is stupid to act with a full scale to be punished. Shaibia has used and will continue to use other means, less of full scale war, to accomplish their objective with out any consequence. They are given immunity as far as they are not acting with a full scale war. There are two ways to treat a cancer, to operate and cut to avoid it or to use radiation, cyber knife to specifically target the cancerous cell. The former is the only viable option to the cancerous growth in Asmara as the growth is big enough and can not be treated with radiation. But, it requires a timely action before it engulf the whole region.
In a nutshell, I have tried to mention the government’s policy failure to see if there is a pattern in all the mistakes. I left for readers to connect all the dots, to plot the graph, to visualize the whole picture and give their own understanding to all these problems. Any way, Ethiopia is paying the high price, the economy supports a continuous war, people are still dying as a result of this conflict and foreign investors are hesitating to invest in the country. How long can we shoulder this burden?
In conclusion, the core idea of my previous article is whether it is possible to be against and pro a war at the same time. To me this war is an extension of Shaibia’s war and intention to destroy the country. Mr. Solomon you did not say something on this issue. Please, let me see your opinion.