Eritrea

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Desalegn has resigned. What's next?

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Desalegn has resigned. What's next?

It is not surprising that after three years in office – three years of famine, violence, and serious political and social instability – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has resigned, effective with the swearing-in of his replacement within a few weeks. The regime has also announced a six-month “state of emergency,” under which political and press freedoms are severely curtailed.

What do these developments mean for the Ethiopian people?

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Ethiopia at an Ominous Crossroads

Ethiopia at an Ominous Crossroads

Since seizing the government by force of arms in 1991, the TPLF-controlled Ethiopian regime has maintained monopolies over economic and political power ever since, and has therefore dominated all other nationalities and ethnic groups. It is this refusal to share political power and wealth on the part of the TPLF that is causing the violent demonstrations of dissent within the Oromo and Amhara states. Government efforts to divert attention to cross border violence between Oromo and Somali states cannot hide its responsibility for the instability brought on by its refusal to grant the Ethiopian people the self-determination granted by their constitution.

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Eritrea After 25 Years of Independence

Eritrea After 25 Years of Independence

(From International Policy Digest)

Last week marked the 25th anniversary, or “Silver Jubilee,” since the East Africa nation Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in a conflict that lasted three decades. Ambassador Cohen worked closely with leaders of both nations and in 1991 brokered a peace accord that was to establish a framework for future mutual progress. International Policy Digest interviewed Amb. Cohen to learn his thoughts and insights on Eritrea’s recent history and path forward.

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Ethiopia famine: The search for alternative ports

Ethiopia's search for alternative ports for delivery of disaster relief cargoes continues.

Ethiopia is currently exploring the possibility of utilizing the port of Berbera, in the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, as an additional place for the unloading of incoming famine relief cargoes. Logistically, this is a wise option. The United States upgraded both the Berbera port and the Berbera airport prior to the 1990 "Operation Desert Storm." If an appropriate arrangement could be made, this option would help relieve the heavy congestion in the Port of Djibouti. As of very recently, the Government of the Republic of Somalia, that claims sovereignty over Somaliland, is objecting to efforts by Ethiopia to make a separate sovereign arrangement for the use of Berbera with the unrecognized Government of Somaliland. This constitutes another reason for Ethiopia to make an arrangement with Eritrea for the use of the ports of Aseb and Masawa. The longer that Addis delays, the more Ethiopians will succumb to hunger and malnutrition. Addis, wake up!

Wake Up, Addis Abeba!

“Wheat destined for Ethiopia’s Hungry Stuck in Port Logjams.”

This is the headline in the March 24, 2016 edition of Bloomberg Business.

According to the charity organization “Save the Children”, grain ships are taking about 40 days to unload in the port of Djibouti. There are 450,000 tons of wheat on ten ships waiting to unload today.

Most of this delay in the port of Djibouti could be alleviated, and delivery times shortened, if the Ethiopian government would allow some of the delivery to come through the ports of Asab and Masawa in the neighboring State of Eritrea. These ports are much closer to the drought area in northern Ethiopia than Djibouti. After the food is unloaded, there is still a long rail trip between Djibouti and Ethiopia to further lengthen the delivery time. But the delay is due to the Ethiopian government that is stupidly refusing to talk to the Eritrean government because of bitterness remaining since the war of 1998-2000. In that war, the Ethiopians lost tens of thousands of soldiers needlessly. The Ethiopians need to swallow their pride and stubbornness and request the government of Eritrea to open their ports for the unloading of food assistance to relieve the starvation and extreme malnutrition of the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian farmers whose crops have failed, and whose animals have died.

Wake up, Addis Abeba!

Eritrea's Ports and Ethiopia's Famine

The severe Ethiopian famine that is just over the horizon will require the use of Eritrean ports to handle the massive arrival of food relief from the international community. The sheer volume of food for 40 million people cannot be processed solely by the port of Djibouti and the railway from Djibouti to Addis Abeba.

It is important that Ethiopia and Eritrea start making arrangements immediately for the opening of the Eritrean ports of Asab and Masawa so as to receive the ships carrying the famine relief. These ports have easy access to northern Ethiopia where most of the need exists.

While they are making arrangements, I recommend that the two governments discuss how to make Ethiopian access to these two ports permanent. At the same time, cross-border trade should be resumed. 

This would be a win-win result for both countries.

Red Sea Report Continued

Red Sea Report Continued

There are some intriguing new developments in the Red Sea region.

Eritrea has joined the “Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism.” What is so interesting about that? Well, the list of countries in that coalition are all good friends of the United States. American arms exporters make lots of dinars selling to those friends. 

So what does all this have to do with Eritrea? Well, can one say that the friend of my friend should also be my friend? Unfortunately, Eritrea and the US still do not call themselves friends. So, what is going on?

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The Red Sea Is Slipping into Total Arab Control

Hey, all you Abyssinians out there.  While you are wasting time squabbling with each other and not talking to each other, the governments of the Arabian Peninsula are eating your lunch.

Have you noticed that warships from the United Arab Emirates are operating out of the port of Asab 24/7?  Their interest is in Yemen, not in Eritrea or Ethiopia.  There are reports that Saudi Arabia has taken a 50-year lease on Asab.  If that is true, the next step will be Sharia Law in the Horn of Africa big time.

I think it is time for Abyssinians to take back control of the west bank of the Red Sea before it is too late. 

One way to accomplish this is for Eritrea and Ethiopia to finally end the war of 1998-2000 and normalize relations. It can be done as a win-win.

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Sanctions on Eritrea

The United Nations Security Council has decided to continue sanctions against Eritrea for another year.  This decision has no basis in fact. It was taken because certain persons in the highest levels of the United States Government have mean spirited grievances against Eritrean President Isayas Afwerki. All accusations against Eritrea regarding alleged assistance to the Islamist terrorist group al-Shebab in Somalia have never been substantiated. All experts on Somalia now agree that for the past three years, there have not even been rumors about such assistance. This is pure bullying. 

Eritrea

PRESSURE THE UNITED STATES TO ALLOW THE UN TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON ERITREA IMMEDIATELY.

Normalization with Eritrea has become more important than ever before.  US national security interests in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula are at stake.

Back in December 2013, I wrote an article for “African Arguments” that called for the international community to “bring the State of Eritrea in from the cold.”  I argued that UN sanctions should be lifted, and that Eritrea and Ethiopia need to be reconciled for the economic benefit of both nations.

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