What's the Matter with ICG: Scandal or Manipulation?

By Alemayehu Fentaw
Sept. 25 2009

To the best of my knowledge, ICG is a well-reputed Think Tank, which has been considered widely as one of the "Top Ten in the World". It's to be recalled that ICG's latest report, Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents" became a subject of bitter controversy both among concerned citizens, government officials, and the ICG. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its online weekly, A Week in the Horn, responds vehemently to the report as "disturbing and disappointing ... even ...dangerous". When I read the report for the first time I thought "It can be taken as an early warning" assuming that it was done in the best of intentions. My personal reaction to the government's indignant response was that it was paranoid and thus overreacting.

The government accused ICG of being manipulated by Eritrea through its former Ambassador to the EU and many other European countries who serves the Think Tank as a Senior Africa Adviser. A Week in the Horn referred to him as "a former Eritrean official known for his hard line position and in charge of UNMEE affairs." It further asserted that "Ambassador Andebrhan has officially resigned from the Eritrean Government but unlike many of his contemporaries has given no indication of breaking with it or of criticizing it."

Defending the government's accusation that the report is written by ICG's Eritrean Adviser, Daniela Kroslak, Deputy Africa Director, of ICG told VOA's Tizita Belachew for the Amharic service's that Andebrhan Giorgis left the Nairobi staff a year ago and was not an author of the report. Can this be taken as an admission on ICG's behalf that the previous year's report, "Beyond Fragile Peace Between Ethiopia and Eritrea", that called upon the US and international community to put pressure on Ethiopia to accept the decision of the EEBC and withdraw its forces from Badme, was written by him, as he did not leave Nairobi by then? Does this also mean that he has already been transfered to Brussels, no more based in Nairobi, and without any influence whatsoever? Can this be enough excuse for retaining a high-ranking official of PFDJ/Shabia with the ICG in Brussels with the position of Senior Advisor, Africa Program? Does not the fact that he is ICG's Senior Africa Advisor sufficient to make Ethiopia worry about his influence, though not single-handedly written by himself?

Whatever the outcome of your speculations and musings, I, for one, am shocked to discover during the past two days that Mr. Giorgis is still an active member of the 75-member Central Council of PFDJ/former EPLF, as has been since 1977. He is also a member of the Eritrean National Assembly, not just a former Eritrean diplomat or official, as Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs mistakenly claimed! My evidence is his publicly available curriculum vitae posted on the official website of the European Parliament. It can be accessed until and unless removed thereafter at:

This is therefore to call on ICG to dissociate itself from Ambassador Andebrhan Giorgis, as they fondly call him and live up to the standards of non-partisanship. Or else, ICG will be out there as a sad reminder of the famous English proverb "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

If the link is broken, google the name Andebrhan Welde Giorgis and click on the third item in the list of your search result.

Alemayehu W. Fentaw (LL.B., MA,summa cum laude)
EAYI Ethiopia Liaison)
Telephone: +251 0911443975)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
The Ethiopian American Youth Initiative)
812 Memorial Drive Suite 614A)
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139)
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Telephone: 1 617 441 3140)
Website: www.ethusa.org)
Email: alemayehu.fentaw@ethusa.org)
You can access my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at:)