DOES THE US REALIZE OF ITS ROLE IN THE POSSIBLE UNDOING OF ETHIOPIA?
Out of the Labyrinth of The US intelligence networks, at times, few annual reports get to the general public; among those reports some carry more weight for the fact that they are relatively more objective. According to the 2013 US Intelligence Estimates, Ethiopia as a state got a daunting prognosis in that its future is shrouded with high likelihood of disintegration, all within the next 15 years. That is a disturbing scenario which has potentially negative implications beyond its borders into the Horn region, the Arab Peninsula and beyond. Three years into the release of the report, not only do the political and economic conditions deteriorated in Ethiopia, but also several armed and non armed opposition groups have been spreading like wild fire, mostly in the Oromo, Gambella, Amhara regions and the Ogaden.
Since the early forties, given the US has been heavily invested in the tutelage of the Ethiopian state, one would expect that it starts to do something different and with a sense of urgency, as the time bomb is ticking in all sense of the word. And do those closely involved or officially assigned to developing policy towards Ethiopia and by extension the Horn region really appreciate such a daunting report? A report prepared not by external agencies but from within the US Intelligence community. If yes, why are they trying to repeat the same thing again and again knowing full well that it leads to ultimate failure and in this case, the possible disintegration of Ethiopia, with all its implications. Denial, intransigence or may be other driving psychological factors like psychopathic mindset, attitudes that don’t humanely relate to human sufferings as they pursue by all means their perceived or real interests. Whatever reason/s one may give, it is about time for a fresh input or direction from some enlightened and also courageous leaders to help steer policy directions differently that would bring sustainable peace and security in the Horn.
After replacing the British and the French who played crucial roles in the formation of the Ethiopian state, within the context of what is known as the scramble for Africa, the US, with the objective of making it a strong ally in the Horn region, kept playing a key role in the sustenance of Ethiopia as a state by providing it with significant economic, political and diplomatic support. By the late sixties, the Ethiopia project, so to speak, was completed assuring the US a very important listening post at Kagnew station in Asmara and most of all the control of the strategic Red Sea maritime route along the Eritrean Red Sea coast.
The Ethiopian ruling elite by then had already developed close contact with the Western powers characterized with a political culture of feigning independence while actually exercising subtle subjugation to foreign powers. This political drama that was enhanced with the HaileSelassie regime, which was essentially installed by the British and propped up by the United States, overlooked key questions of self-determination of several groups coerced to be under what was considered to be the “completed” Ethiopian territory and state. Contrary to their expectations, Eritrea the most obvious victim of the “Ethiopia project” by the Western powers and the ruling Ethiopian elite, stood out to resist injustice, finally asserting itself as a newly independent state
The Cold War rationale may somehow justify this unjust policy and the ensuing alliances; yet, the United States had almost totally lost the control/influence over Ethiopia for almost two decades after the downfall of the HaileSelassie regime. Simply, its investment in the Ethiopian state was lost to its foe, the Soviet Union. Now, if that scenario is to repeat itself, who would take over Ethiopia or what may be left of it?
After the end of the Cold War when Eritrea became independent and Ethiopia got rid of another brutal dictator with the crucial support--- in military and organizational matters-- of the EPLF—Eritrean People’s Liberation Front-- many expected the dawning of a new era of peace and cooperation, not only among the Eritrean and Ethiopian peoples and states, but also to say the least, some sense of pragmatism and policy adjustments from the Western powers, especially the United States and Britain who had invested a lot in the “Ethiopia project”.
Unfortunately that was not to be as the US, which essentially remained to be the only superpower, influenced by certain special interest groups, charted a new project with global reach where Ethiopia was designated as an anchor state to play a leading role of looking after the newly defined/redefined “national interests” of the United States in the Horn region.
Eritrea which successfully lead a revolutionary struggle of independence with the active participation of the masses, did extend its magnanimous hand to those who from the onset suppressed its call for justice and latter in the era of the liberation struggle were involved directly or indirectly to obliterate Eritrea and its people out of existence.
Not only that, it started to play an irreplaceable role in the stabilization of the Ethiopian state after the Derg regime mostly supported by the Soviets and Israel crumbled, leaving a huge vacuum which could have easily lead to the total disintegration of Ethiopia.
Not only that, violent extremist groups which misuse the Islamic faith would have freely roamed the Horn of Africa if it were not for Eritrea, in its way, did not make it easy for such groups to stay but only leave to the mountains of Afghanistan and elsewhere; and the rest is history, as they say. Indeed, Eritrea out of its conviction and self-interest did play and continues to play such uncelebrated roles, its reach and extent barely known to those who have as yet to acknowledge Eritrea’s experience and potential in the stabilization of the Horn region.
Eritrea for what it stands –among other things, for mutually beneficial cooperation among the nations in the Horn and beyond-- didn’t bode well with those who chose to play a zero sum game, whose outcome is, without looking elsewhere, what we see now, the incessant turmoil in Somalia. In the eyes of the directors of the post Cold War project, Eritrea did not fit well into their scheme pertaining to the Horn and the Middle East. In fact, how can it possibly be!!! In one of the auxiliary documents that describe the objectives of their project, Eritrea as an entity is to be relegated, in one form or the other, under their designated anchor state in the Horn, Ethiopia. Indeed, in their eyes, not only territories , they also think they can conquer time itself, as the name of one of their now discredited projects implies---Project for a New American Century. A map titled “Redrawing the map of the Middle East” includes section of the Horn region, where it is clearly marked...”Ethiopia controlled Eritrea”
Despite all the attributes and contributions of Eritrea, once again Ethiopia, under the TPLF which had been supported by the EPLF to hold on to power and stabilize the nation, was encouraged and fully supported to open war under the pretext of a border conflict. The instigated conflict with Yemen back in 1995 was a sort of prelude for such destabilizing schemes. By so doing, it turned the clock back sixty years when the HaileSelassie regime, empowered by Western powers mainly the United States, illegally annexed Eritrea and triggered the Eritrean armed struggle. Though the time frame is different, the final outcome of the missions to subdue Eritrea is the same. In fact, the Eritrean resistance was one of the major issues and triggers that caused the downfall of the HaileSelassie regime twenty years after the United States and its allies through sloppy UN mechanisms handed over Eritrea to Ethiopia in an untenable federal union.
Likewise, now the TPLF regime, despite all the military, intelligence and diplomatic cover it got from its sponsors, it failed miserably to achieve its objectives and that of its masters; ever since, its deceptive nature has been amply exposed and got weaker and weaker. To save what was left of the “TPLF military” and avoid an impending deadly counteroffensive by the Eritrean Defence Forces, its handlers had to walk its late leader to Algeries to sign a peace treaty. Again the ruling of the verdict on Badme, the trigger point/pretext for the 1998-2000 war, vindicated Eritrea leaving the TPLF mercenary group in a deeper dilemma which further alienated it from the Ethiopian masses who questioned why die for something that in the first place is not theirs. Consequently, more opposition groups armed and non- armed started to see Eritrea as a safe haven and also as a model, a change of attitude by former anti-Eritrea groups, which further worried those who made a bad bet on the TPLF to be the custodian of Ethiopia, the designated anchor state.
The TPLF regime henceforth kept under a sophisticated life support mechanisms, turned to be more of a liability to its handlers who had to devise ways and means to stop the resilient Eritrea, which was supposed to be subdued, from taking its right place in the Horn. One of the hostile mechanisms is the imposition of illegal sanctions against Eritrea and the stalling of the implementation of the final and binding verdict on the delineation and demarcation of the border. Moreover, with the objective of denying Eritrea of its most productive segment of its people, with the cooperation, deliberate or otherwise, of their accomplices in Europe and Israel, they facilitated migration of Eritrean youth. Furthermore, in their latest attempt to tarnish Eritrea and its revolutionary values and achievements and to isolate its uncompromising leaders, the sponsors of the shaky TPLF regime have lately resorted to misusing human rights as another tool of destabilization.
A week before Eritreans at home and abroad were preparing to commemorate Eritrean Martyrs Day, as a matter of fact, which also includes Eritrean heroine and heroes who paid with their valued lives in the process of stabilizing the post Derg Ethiopia, the sponsors of the mercenary regime once again pushed them for yet another open aggression at the Tsorona front. The Eritrean government has been disclosing some details of the outcome of the latest failed adventure by the TPLF mercenaries; as in the last major war, though in a much smaller scale, they saw an inferno at the Tsorona front.
President Isaias in the speech he made at the Martyrs Memorial day, summed up clearly the driving forces behind such adventures and how untenable the conditions in Ethiopia are; and at the same time how the myriad of hostilities against Eritrea have been thwarted pushing the sponsors of the TPLF regime into a deeper despair .
<<... the spontaneous opposition of the Ethiopian people is increasingly becoming stronger with time to constitute a formidable challenge. Likewise, deliberate obstructions in the implementation of the border ruling, unwarranted sanctions, as well as accompanying political, diplomatic and economic subterfuges have been thwarted by the staunch resistance of the Eritrean people. The turmoil in Somalia has also augmented tactical challenges to the TPLF regime. In the event, it has not diminished their concern even if they have so far managed to exploit it for pretentious objectives. The flagrant attack in sovereign Eritrean lands was thus perpetrated against the backdrop of these desperate circumstances with the aim of deflecting attention from the mounting resistance of the Ethiopian people and its future trends. ...>>
As such, if an appeal is to be made for logical and pragmatic steps to be taken and steer the US out of such disastrous policy cycles, it can only be made to those genuinely concerned about the adverse role the United States has been playing in the Horn region. If left unchecked it may lead to an outcome no one would like except those who have no sense of empathy in disastrous missions that have already shaken for the umpteen times the TPLF house of cards which like the HaileSelassie or Derg regimes are only brave at showing false images of their own and the entities they represent. Crumble, they did.
Back in 1991, the EPLF had a leading role in the dismantling of the Derg regime; moreover, in the stabilization of the after Derg Ethiopia that was left in a limbo. If the handlers of the dying TPLF regime think they can save the TPLF by pushing their mercenary TPLF regime to more aggression, they better be stopped by responsible individuals or leaders not to make another miscalculation ; in the process of Eritrea defending itself, unpredictable outcomes may result with far more consequences than to the Ethiopia project they perceive within mythical stories or simply as a large real estate with disposable people there to serve in their psychopathic adventures in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere.
The era of creating small scale conflicts and managing the instigated crisis to advance colonialist or neo-colonialist or other exclusive interests are gone for good. If the once considered as an impossible incident, the 9-11 disaster, is drifting away from the memories of those who think they can still play the same old games, several reminders are there to show how the myopic policies that created chaos in the Middle East have now spilled to Europe triggering a political earthquake in the European Union.
The Eritrea-Ethiopia file, so to speak, and for that matter of the Horn ought to be taken away from a certain clique within the US Administration and a deep rethink made with the help of European partners who have started to appreciate the real picture of Eritrea, its challenges and also contributions in keeping the Red Sea route safe and secure. First and foremost, keep it safe and secure for its own sake, and then for what it has always stood for: peace and stability anchored on mutual cooperation and ownership of the peoples of the region.
By reading into the history of the region in the last sixty years, Ethiopia defined solely in terms of the competing powers of the day and successive foreign dependent ruling classes is untenable. It is time for change as time itself is demanding it. Will the US heed to the demands of time?
June 20, 2016