Dayum, it sucks to be small socialist #eritrea

Café Babylon question: #Eritrea Wot the Fock? background is here.

‘Ethiopia Attacks Eritrea: Things To Understand’ by Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion, June 14, 2016,

“On Sunday, the Ethiopian government launched an attack against Eritrea on the Tsorona Central Front. According to a BBC report, “witnesses report hearing heavy gunfire and seeing Ethiopian troops and tanks heading towards Eritrean border.” The region, located along the tense border between the two countries, was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the 1998-2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia war. Full details of yesterday’s attack are still being confirmed and its specific motives or ultimate aims remain unclear.

Last month, Eritrea celebrated its 25th year of independence, while last week the UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, which has been broadly discredited and widely challenged, declared that “widespread” human rights abuses have been committed in Eritrea over the past 25 years and should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as crimes against humanity.

For Ethiopia, the incident comes at a time of considerable internal dissension and crises. The country is burdened by a massive food crisis, leaving millions at risk of famine and requiring urgent aid, while just days ago dozens of Ethiopian soldiers were involved in a bloody battle with Somali militants at an African Union base in central Somalia (casualty figures are still unknown). Moreover, the Ethiopian government continues to face large and widespread anti-government protests and dissent over political and economic inclusion. The Ethiopian government’s heavy-handed response, involving brutal suppression and harsh crackdowns characterized by a spate of rights violations, has been strongly condemned by an array of international human rights organizations.

It is important to note that Sunday’s attack is not an isolated incident. Since the end of the destructive 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands, the Ethiopian government has made regular incursions into and attacks against Eritrea. Furthermore, it has made persistent calls for the overthrow of the Eritrea government and, through belligerent, threatening statements via government-owned media outlets, proclaimed its intentions to carry out “military action to oust the regime in Eritrea.” The Ethiopian government is also the principal supporter of the RSADO, an international terrorist organization targeting Eritrea. Notably, beyond Eritrea, Ethiopia has also engaged in frequent military incursions into other neighboring countries, including Kenya and South Sudan, while it has maintained a long, violent military presence in Somalia.

Even while the exact details surrounding Sunday’s attack are yet to fully emerge, it is difficult to overlook the problematic role of the international community in the ongoing tensions plaguing the region. In 2000, President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia signed the Algiers Agreement to solve the border dispute between the two countries. Subsequently, in 2001, the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), composed of five prominent and highly respected lawyers was established to make its “final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions.” The Commission presented its “final and binding delimitation decision” on 13 April 2002, with the flashpoint of the 1998-2000 war, the small, rural border town of Badme, being awarded to Eritrea.

However, while the decision has been accepted by Eritrea, and although the entire process was guaranteed by the UN and the OAU/AU and witnessed by the US, EU, Algeria, and Nigeria, Ethiopia has completely failed to shoulder its legal obligations and responsibility for demarcating the border.

Problematically, rather than condemn Ethiopia’s illegal military occupation and repeated aggressive actions or call for the immediate, unconditional implementation of the EEBC decision, the international community, principally led by the US, has encouraged Ethiopia’s violations by offering it vast diplomatic, military, and economic support. Such a misguided approach is based upon the belief, dating back to the immediate post-World War 2 period but rearticulated more recently in terms of regional “anchor states” designations, that Western geostrategic interests and foreign policy aims can be better protected and served by Ethiopia, Eritrea’s former colonial occupier. Unfortunately, however, this misguided policy approach has largely failed to achieve its objectives (to even a minor degree), and instead only served to destabilize the entire Horn of Africa region through contributing to unnecessary rivalry, conflict, and insecurity.

The people of the region deserve better.”

12 responses to “Dayum, it sucks to be small socialist #eritrea

  1. thieves’ kitchen? correct me if i’m wrong, but at the end of the last world war, the Big 5 intentionally made the UN as undemocratic as possible, w/ actual power resting in the security council & unelected depts, bureaus, committees, etc., precisely so that UNSC members could manipulate & control these bodies. the UN General Assembly has nothing but symbolic authority, is that right? so there is no recourse for a country like Eritrea in international bodies.

    and a reminder that there is a very hot war just across the stream in yemen & a less hot one in neighboring somalia. and smack in the middle of this is the big US base in Djibouti. quite a few opportunities for screwing around in Eritrea, but i guess at the moment US bootlick Ethiopia is carrying most of the imperial spears.

    • as far as i know, you’re right about the UN; this piece may have more; a dude named tony mallet smacked him silly for it. but there have been calls for a UN parliamentary body, but you know that ain’t gonna fly no how, no way, with the USA.

      yep, and stir in it’ on the red sea, and iirc, that’s eritrea in greek. gateway to the suez canal and mediterranean, and as thd noted, not far too bahrain, home of the fifth fleet. turns out that inner city press did take the issue to the UN (mebbe SC spox?) and this is how it went. snoooze, yawn…obfuscate, ‘both parties’, yada, yada.

      the Imperium has taken the side of dictators and purveyors of genocide so very often. one wonders if the eritreans have any clue about their nation’s geopolitical strategic importance.

  2. ‘U.S. Sets Stage for Libya-Like Regime Change in Eritrea, “Africa’s Cuba”, by
    Glen Ford

    “Eritrea’s fierce independence has put it in imperialism’s crosshairs.”
    The UN panel charges Eritrea with “enslaving” and murdering its own people – a pack of imperial lies. Obama is set to add another war to his bloody legacy.

    ach; on twitter i just saw he was on trnn today.


    “CONWAY: Okay, so–. But I can see you’re opposed to the international community getting involved, but–.

    FORD: I don’t know why you keep calling it the international community. These are panels that are controlled by the United States and Europeans, and the United States and the Europeans always refer to themselves as the international community, and everybody else is, well, something else.

    This is a question of sovereign national rights. It’s a question of facts. It’s a question of who is actually the reason for these hundreds of thousands of people trying to emigrate to Europe. It’s a question, the collaboration between the United States and Ethiopia, which only this week has been circulating rumors of war with Eritrea.”

  3. Apologies if this has already been discussed or disputed, but after reading a long posting on ‘historical Eritrea’ at wikipedia I came across this, and would be interested in comments:

    “. . .mandatory military service that citizens on average serve from 18 to 55 and which has spurred many to flee. Amnesty International notes that in a country where the average life expectancy is 61 or 62, this means many spend their entire adult lives in the army, frequently facing hard labor and meager wages. Women have fled the army because they are denied the opportunity to start a family if they remain in the Eritrean military, and Eritrean army officers also have the right to have sex with subordinate female soldiers, as it’s not legally considered rape. Every month about 3,000 people flee the East African country. ”

    If this is not an an exaggeration of what is occurring under the present regime, while it doesn’t in any way excuse Ethiopian aggression, it perhaps does indicate a weakness in government that is easily exploitable. (Again, apologies if you have dealt with this issue already.)

    • hi, juliania. i haven’t seen it debunked by the minister of information, say, but i would advise being exceedingly wary of the (imo) extremely comprised human rights organizations like hrw (philip roth) and Amnesty International, both of whom were total tools of nato during the US wars in libya and afghanistan. i do have a photo somewhere to that effect one one diary.

      but the bbc’s mary harper visited eritrea recently, and this is what she was told. national service, not military. when i saw your question thru email, i wondered about conscription to the IDF in israel. of course now lots of the military are professionals by now. but really, it’s not all that relevant, save for the fact that only eritrea’s ‘brutal regime’ matters.

      on edit: i’d missed this: “Eritrean army officers also have the right to have sex with subordinate female soldiers, as it’s not legally considered rape.” i simply can’t imagine it. now in kashmir and jammu, yes, that’s been well-documented as happening by the indian occupying military.

      on edit: first photo, juliania, and i used to have on from R2P libya.

      glen ford said much the same on trnn: “”National service is not just military, but it’s also in public works projects. But also, in Eritrea, national service covers teachers, and all kinds of social service providers,” said Ford.

      “Many other countries would call the system that Eritrea has instituted, in which teachers and social service providers are part of national service – they would call that socialism, and nation-building. That’s exactly what the Eritreans call it,” said Ford.”

  4. From Black Agenda Report.

    “The United States is methodically setting the stage for a so-called “humanitarian” military intervention against the small northeast African nation of Eritrea, under legal pretexts much like those used to justify NATO’s war of regime change against Libya, in 2011. As in Libya, the U.S. has hijacked the United Nations human rights apparatus to claim a “responsibility to protect” (R2P) Eritrea’s citizens from alleged abuses by their own government. War and regime change are the intended result.”

    • bless your heart, Big Al. it had come in via the BAR newsletter, and i’d linked to it up yonder. what i hadn’t know save for looking at #eritreanStruggle on twitter was that he” been on trrn, *not* the usual glen ford day.

      on your revolution v. the revolution in philly, i’d add: if it ain’t anti-capitalist by now, it’s astroturf’, a borrowed quote whose source i’ve forgotten by now. kinda akin to the newest post at orchestrated pulse on ‘democracy spring’ (yawn). “you call this an uprising?”

      • Good link thanks. I’ll have to read it later. That’s where we’re at, what matters. Everything else is just the same thing.

        • yep, reforming capitalism seems about as useless as reforming the dem party. i’d also meant to say earlier that i read carlucci now and again and new eastern outlook, and have like some of his essays.

          i was tempted to put this up as a stand-alone post, as i’m stuck on new diary about kashmir, one on modi. but it absolutely slayed me. via popular resistance newsletter:

          Senators Vote To Keep Bomber Price Secret‘ (prolly looking at close to $100 billion soon; the AF;s reasoning was just superb, too: the price tag may give away our secrets.)

          “The Senate Armed Services Committee issued a severe blow to transparency and fiscal responsibility last month. In a closed-door vote, they eliminated a requirement to disclose the development cost of the Air Force’s new B-21 stealth bomber. The committee members voted 19 to 7 to prevent the American people from knowing how much of their money will be sunk in this latest questionable weapons project.”

          all 7 nay votes were Rs, lol. yeppers: Dimocrats: the party of the people!

          • Wow, that’s taking it to another level. How long do they think they can do that? I suppose with a population like ours they can do these things without it making a ripple. Must be partly because of the controversies from the F-35, now they figure they just won’t tell us, then we can’t complain. That’s what we get for allowing this political system to continue I guess.

            • i had to refresh myself on the f-35; i’d mistakenly thought it was the one the military didn’t want, congress kept funding. just read a piece about them being grounded for the umpteenth time: ” can’t climb, can’t turn, can’t run.” but at least it’s stealthy.

              cost-overrun contracts are purdy nice to get, eh? if the first production run is 100, the military only wants 80, the diplomats can sell the extras at cocktail parties, no?

              i stuck this fun piece by jp sottile on the current Twitter world by a few folks: ‘Next Time Someone Says Nothing Is Made in the USA Anymore, Show Them This’

              “Certainly not the well-heeled denizens of the State Department’s diplomatic corps. And they should know. That’s because they’re stationed on the frontlines of the ongoing battle to preserve Uncle Sam’s dominant market share of the global weapons trade. Luckily for the Military-Industrial Complex, it turns out that “Made In the USA” inspires a lot of brand loyalty, even if actual loyalty is often a harder sell (paging Saudi Arabia). To wit, not only was America the world’s leading arms dealer in 2014 with $36.2 billion in sales, but it topped that 35% surge in sales over 2013 with yet another profitable spike to $46.6 billion in 2015.”

              We’re No. 1! yeah we knew it, but still a fun read. your last sentence is of course right on ‘target’, so to speak. ;-)

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