President Isias Afeworki Blames Alshabab - a Proof that the Stick Works Better than the Carrot.

By Belay Adebara
Jan. 14 2009

you have known President Isias close enough, you would not be surprised that he took a stand to denounce the Al-shabab, the group he has been mentoring and helping all the way for a long time.

In 2002, during the pick of the Ethio-Eritrean war, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in one of his briefings to the foreign diplomats in Addis, said something like this: When it comes to dealing with the Eritrean leadership, we have learned from experience that the stick is as effective as, or more so than the carrot. The international community would not understand then why the Eritrean President was dragging his feet on all the peace initiatives prior military offensives and he was accepting each of them reactively following every successful military operations by the Ethiopians.

We are being reminded of that very habit of the Eritrean leadership again. You guessed it right: exactly three weeks after the Eritrean rulers have been hit by the UNSC sanction; we’re now hearing reports about the Eritrean President blasting al-Shabaab over Yemen Threats. Interesting!

You would be a hypocrite if you were to assume that such a reaction from President Isias Afeworki was possible even if the world did not place him under sanction. That would make you unreasonable because it is not the first time Al-shabab has threatened Yemen. The New York Times has reported similar threats by the same group against the same country on November 21 last year. Al-Shabab has threatened repeatedly in the past other countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi e.t.c. Al-shabab has planned an attack or attempted and failed in far places like Australia and Denmark. The good president never said a word against Al-shabab.

On the contrary, and very recently, the president declared that what we see in Somlia these days should not be seen as terror. In his own words, he said, “there is no terrorism in Somalia.” A day after he uttered these words, a suicide bomber struck a devastating attack against medical graduates during an inaugural celebration in Mogadishu. He and his government were the only ones in the neighborhood who did not condemn that act of terror and crime at the highest. If that terrible incident had happened today, he would have sought the sharpest words to criticize the groups behind such crime. Because now the world has a visible stick up on his back and it looks like it it’s working well.

President Afewerki found it reprehensible that al-Shabaab wanted to destabilize and compromise the security of Yemen. Next is what: will he expel t AL-Shabab members from Asmara? Will he expel the Hisbul Islam guys from his country? Will he expel all forces that, and with help, try to destabilize and compromise the security of neighboring countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan and the like? May be the international community might need more sticks to make him behave that way.

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