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Grim Realities of the Eritrean Junta

By Donnu Zeginfile
March 02, 2012

Apparently, there is no need to tell for anybody about the multi-faces of the PFDJ, which seized the governing power of Eritrea. Having a single neck, it is endowed with a number of faces confusing people looking at them. Face number one seems elegant and obeying the international laws. Face number two is a bit confusing. Probably, someone looking at this face may say; “Is this ruthless and fierce face or the elegant one?”  Without any hesitation, the immediate face number three is, just like the face of the demagogue Adolf Hitler. It goes on and on like this.

Therefore, it can be concluded, the international community is fully aware of the true identity of the dictatorial junta in Eritrea. That is why the Security Council of the UN has twice stated, stated without any doubt, the fact that, the Eritrean government has took the lead to initiate and implement terrorism in the horn of Africa. It is doing this using its multi-faces. Sometimes, it comes out of its mask and shamelessly explains why it is doing so. As to the explanation, it worries much for all the people of the neighboring countries and supports the armed rebel groups to overthrow the non-democratic governments and administration in favor of those people. What a genuine stands exercised by Africa’s terrorist leaders inside Eritrea! Ridiculous!!

As to the knowledge of every one of us, Eritrea has never ever exercised election at national or regional instances. It has never come across this circumstance, which is the most significant criterion of exercising democracy in a given country. While being far away from election and other relevant democratic deeds, it blames countries for acting against democracy. Yes, we know that, the reverse is true for the Eritrean ruling class and its power exercises inside that poor country.

Having such and such endless deficiencies in implementing democracy, the Eritrean government which is ruled by the <elites>, is too bombastic of its ruling system. It boosts of its front line good governance in all of the East Africa. It again is proud of its booming economy in all sectors including the mining activities. But the ultimate truth is, Eritrea as a country is in total crisis due to the poor governance and mal-administration by the dictator Isayayis and his loyal men.

Gerard Araud is a France diplomat in the UN’s Security Council. He remembers the fact that, two years ago, the Council had adopted resolution 1907 (2009), following the situation which the Eritrean authorities had failed to meet the Council’s expectations. Just after two years, December 05, 2011; in a very similar way, the Council adopted resolution 2003 (2011), in accordance with chapter VII of the charter, by a vote of 13 in favor to none against, with 2 abstentions (China and Russian Federation). The Council demanded Eritrea cease all direct or indirect efforts to destabilize states, and decided that, states shall $ in business dealings with Eritreans mining sector. To that end, it requested its sanctions committee concerning Somalia and Eritrea to draft, with the assistance of the Somalia /Eritrea Monitoring Group, due diligence guidelines for states optional use.

In the very beginning, Eritrea waged an unjust war on Ethiopia. It introduced its armed forces with huge armored vehicles like tanks into the territorial jurisdiction of Ethiopia while there are no commensurate forces of Ethiopia on the border areas. Then, in a way which surprised the Ethiopian government and people, it seized places belonging to Ethiopia. It took away some innocent men, women and children as prisoners of war. Next to these hostile actions, using some of its awkward planes of its Air Force, it bombed the Ayder School in mekelle by cluster bombs. The Adigrat attack came immediately after this attack by the dispute searching Eritrean government. In general, it damaged the sovereignty of Ethiopia for the next two years, since the time it waged the crystal clear war.

Ethiopia, having a background history of never bowed to any foreign aggression, tried to put back the conflict in peaceful manner by then. The principle of <<peaceful co-existence>> with neighboring or any other countries is, one of the outstanding principles Ethiopia strictly believes and is practicing accordingly. But, on the other side, the invading   Eritrean government, led by the junta of PFDJ, was absolutely unwilling to resolve the conflict   which it initiated. The OAU, countries like Uganda and the USA, and even the religious fathers tried to calm down the tension through consecutive Negotiations. The Eritrean side resisted all the trials for no good.

After the two years of diligent patience, Ethiopia started to defend itself. Ethiopian forces attacked their Eritrean counters in all the frontier areas sharing territories with Eritrea. They were successful enough in wiping-out them and defeated those who were thinking of themselves to be never defeated by any military force, let alone Ethiopia. Following the situation, just in the aftermath of the defeat, the Eritrean government barked for negotiations which it rejected previously. As a result, the UN peacekeeping mission, the UNMEE, settled between the two countries. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, even these peacekeeping forces of the UN were ordered by the Eritrean government to leave the country. Amazing! Even after this action by the Eritrean government, the UN remained there with no reaction.

In the mean time, it (the Eritrean ruling junta) engineered another strategy to dismantle Ethiopia, which it insanely is considering of its rival country. In recent years, it supports the armed groups, which express themselves as opposition parties. These powers jeopardized the reputation granted to them by the Ethiopian government and people. They thought it to be safe to do whatever to be done under the auspices of the conflict-oriented Eritrean government. The strategy is, as it is clearly witnessed by the international community, to «terrorize» Ethiopia by destructing its emerging huge plants and development infrastructures.

Similarly, it follows the same strategy in the horn countries, to destabilize their political and economic stability. Just like what it did in the border areas with Ethiopia, it waged war-conflict on Djibouti in 2009. In reality, the clashes date back to 2008. In the border clashes of 10 to 12 of June 2008, a number of military personnel of Djibouti missed in action. More misery came the next year for this East African country: Because of the border clash initiated again by Eritrea, 30 Djiboutian soldiers dead, 39 injured and 40 handicapped. Nineteen Djibouti military personnel, including one officer were reported missing in action and are presumed by the Djiboutian authorities to have been taken as prisoners of war by the Eritrean authorities according to the information disclosed by the Monitoring Group, given a mandate to monitor the Djibouti /Eritrea and the Somalia/ Eritrea disputes.

The Eritrean regime, powered by the PFDJ military junta, is totally unwilling to see peace, dignity, democracy and development inside the horn countries. This conclusion is not drawn out of the blue. It is drawn out of the dozens of what the Eritrean «terror-oriented» powers did inside the horn countries and are still doing. According to the press releases and the communiqué posted by the Eritrean junta, it is highly committed to do so for the coming long time. It shells this plan by making a cover notion of, «helping the general public to come out of the oppression imposed on them by the undemocratic governments! ». A genuine intention of plan from the democratic and progressive government of Eritrea!

For about a decade and half, the Eritrean junta steered conflict almost in all neighboring and not-neighboring countries of the East Africa. It poured not a water of peace and stability in the region. To the contrary, it spoiled the clean water of the region, from which, the people of the region are drinking peace and stability. It shares borders with Sudan and initiated conflict with Sudan because of some border issues it raises. It still considers arming the armed groups inside Sudan for the sake of nothing else, but destabilizing Sudan. Somalia shares no borders with Eritrea. Even if the country shares no borders with Eritrea, the Eritrean regime continued to support the Al-Qaeda linked Al-shabaab of Somalia. Surprisingly, the Al-Shabaab’s head office is in the capital city of Eritrea.

Nowadays, with all these deeds, Eritrea stood as the number one country of the region, in supporting <terrorist acts> in all the countries of the region. All the countries of the region are suffering of the conspiracies being undertaken by the Eritrean government and the armed opposition groups of all these countries, which by now are under the auspices of Eritrean terrorist leaders. They conceive, plan and settle the anti-peace movements of the region. They dedicated themselves not for something that, neither their own people, nor the neighboring people benefit. On behalf of doing something good for all parties inside and outside their country, they strongly work for something (in real sense, more than something) very bad! In short, «Terrorism» is the new remark of the Eritrean government.

I think it is legitimate for me, to mention what the East African countries said to the Security Council, in December of the last year. The UN News and Media Division in New York wrote it as follows: «Speaking as chair of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) by video conference from Addis Ababa, hours before the Council took action, Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said the member states of IGAD had gathered to express the same opinion, namely <Eritrea is a prime source of instability for the whole region>. IGAD had been actively involved in drafting the text, which was tabled by Gabon and Nigeria, he said, and a failure by the Council to adopt it would imply that the countries in the region were on their own, and must defend themselves. That was not a choice they wished to make. <We ask you to act, and to act decisively> he stressed».

Yes, what the Prime Minister said is right in all standards of moral and humanistic measures. Today, Africa in general and the East African countries in particular are exerting all possible efforts to achieve growth and development. What worries them is not putting their country in quarrel with any other counter-part. All of them, except the Eritrean regime, which is renowned for its anti-growth activities, are trying to enrich their people with sophisticated infrastructures. They are constructing roads of international standards throughout the whole regions of their respective countries. With such regards, the Ethiopians efforts are outstanding as they are witnessed by the concerned international bodies. Ethiopia gave priorities to the sectors of infrastructure which the government believes are beneficial to the broad masses. Roads governed by the Federal government which link regions with the capital city are almost done. Some important roads within the regions are also budgeted by the Federal government. Similarly, the health, education, communication, and many other sectors are given due emphasis and are being carried-out day and night for the sake of improving the living standards of the masses.

While Ethiopia and the rest of the East African countries are too busy putting themselves in a business of development, democracy and peace; the only country of the region, Eritrea, stood as the only and the major source of instability of the region due to its insane leaders. Truly speaking, there are several anti-peace forces in the region in addition to the Eritrean spoilers. For instance, the insurgent militants by the name of, <Oromo Liberation Front>, the <Guenbot sebat> and the like are some of the armed anti-peace forces struggling to obstacle the development endeavors in Ethiopia. Al-Shabaab, together with many other tribal power-seeking forces, is a major Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group within Somalia. This radicalism movement is by now not limited in Somalia and become a major source of threat for the region. Its suicide bombers attacked embassies, crowds, peacekeepers and many other social organizations. Just like what the Al-Qaeda is doing in the western world, the fundamentalist elements of this group are trying to do all they can to put the whole region in chaos. In Djibouti, there is an armed similar group, but with less and insignificant influential power, which calls itself;  <Front pour la restoration de l’ unit’e de la democratie-combattant - FRUD>.  Insurgents are not confined only to these in the three mentioned countries.  If so, what made Meles to label Eritrea;  the prime source of instability of the region? Clearly and without controversy, Eritrea is diligently working for the co-ordination of these powers and enabling them to achieve their goals through insurgency. Eritrea, not by the insurgent level, but by the state level, is dedicated to strengthen all the anti-peace forces of the region. The Eritrean leader, Isayayis Afeworki, re-assured this deed of his government, in interviews he conducted with journalists from Al-Jazeera, BBC, and the like.

The last but not the least point which the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, raised during the videoconference with the Security Council is, a request that says: <We ask you to act, and to act decisively>. He underlined of the action part, not a mere sanction or embargo or any other warning, reprimand or rebuke. It is easy, much easy to say something on paper. But, it goes to be challenging when it comes to action. Meles requested that challenging section of all the resolutions, not a mere action on air! As I mentioned earlier, my desire is to touch some points which I personally think are hindering the Council and the rest of the international community not to act as per the decrees stated in the resolutions passed on Eritrea. Until then, I still want to discuss some pertinent issues regarding the anti-peace threats of the notorious regime of Eritrea.

On December 5 of 2011, The Security Council expressed its grave concern in the content of the text that can be concluded as; «Eritrea has continued to provide political, Financial, training and logistical support to armed opposition groups, including the radical Al-Shabaab, and is engaged with full power in undermining peace, security and stability in Somalia and the region as a whole».  It also heavily condemned the planned terrorist attack of January 2011, intended to disrupt the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, as expressed by the findings of the Somalia, Eritrea Monitoring Group in July 2011. But what happened next?  Where is the decisive action? Why are either the Security Council or any other international stakeholders, reluctant to give lessons to the pompous Eritrean regime, putting itself along the same path of contrast with the world’s supreme power, the USA?

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