Eritrea – Ethiopia: An Impasse Created and Sustained by the West

Chatam House Briefing Paper on Eritrea and Ethiopia essentially dwells on derivative dimensions while circumventing pivotal issue of occupation. But it does acknowledge, even if grudgingly, that the status quo is neither tenable nor justifiable.This is symptomatic of emerging trends. Flawed premises and misperceptions; biased sources and agendas have nonetheless led to patently wrong conclusions and recommendations.” – Yeman GebreMeskel, Director, Office of the President

Chatam House's Briefing Paper will require comprehensive and nuanced response to allay wrong perceptions so as to enhance informed discourse
“Chatam House’s Briefing Paper will require comprehensive and nuanced response to allay wrong perceptions so as to enhance informed discourse” – Official

By Berhane Alazar,

AFTER reading a report authored by Mr. Jason Mosley of Africa Program at Chatham House as posted on April 2014 (AFP BP 2014/0) and titled “Eritrea and Ethiopia: Beyond the Impasse”, I can’t help but wonder how long would the self-appointed “Horn experts” keep on dancing around the bush instead of facing the reality. The innocent observer may even dismiss such flawed and biased analyses as sheer “ignorance” – but is it?

Surely, Mr. Mosley knows the stumbling block of normalizing relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia lies squarely on the irresponsible behavior of the Woyane regime that is ruling Ethiopia. In fact he said: “it will probably mean violating the letter (if not the spirit) of the 2000 peace deal, and working around the EEBC ruling, since Ethiopia cannot be forced to comply with it”. And there lies the jest of the matter, ladies and gentlemen. When: 

• a mutually agreed upon agreement is ruled between feuding parties

• an internationally adjudicated decision and witnessed by major world bodies is delivered,

• the “guarantee” promised by those bodies, under which the peace deal was signed, just fizzles out; and

• the “final and binding” nature of the agreement renders immaterial – not only by Ethiopia, but by the actions (or in-actions) of the US, EU etc, then there is no room whatsoever for serious negotiations by the Eritrean side. Why should Eritrea be slapped in the face twice while Ethiopia is being rewarded for its refusal to abide by the rule of law?

As anyone knows, negotiations or “dialogue”, as the rogue regime in Addis Ababa likes to use to mislead the international community, proceeds before a FINAL verdict is rendered, and NEVER succeeds it.

Incidentally the Woyane regime had arrogantly refused to resolve any “border” issues peacefully including any mediation offered by third parties, bragging instead that it would teach a “lesson” to Eritrea and went ahead and launched that ill-advised but massive military attack against unsuspecting Eritrea, and the rest is history.

Another fallacy Mr. Mosley writes, “It is important to avoid a narrow focus on the specifics of the border conflict, and post-conflict boundary demarcation…”. Oh really! And why is that?

In other words, do you honestly expect Eritrea to simply ignore the fact that Ethiopia has been illegally occupying its sovereign territory since the international verdict? Sir, let me remind you that the EEBC verdict was arrived after Ethiopia has lost not only the war of aggression it foolishly launched against its neighbor, but after the international court had exonerated Eritrea’s position vis-à-vis the so called “Casus Belli” of the conflict by awarding Badme to Eritrea. So, no, Mr. Mosley, the border demarcation must remain the focus of any future negotiations with Ethiopia under any Ethiopian administration!

Mr. Mosley continues, “International engagement on areas of … trade and investment, could go some way to fostering a sense in Eritrea of stable economic sovereignty”. Again, while trade and commerce is the norm between states that are governed by the rule of the law, which Ethiopia does not uphold, such engagement remains a pipe dream as long as Ethiopia is illegally occupying Eritrean territories. As the saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango’; and doing tango with Woyane-led Ethiopia is the last thing on Eritrea’s mind!

I am particularly perplexed of the double talk the likes of Mr. Mosley spew out when he said, “Tensions between the two countries run much deeper than the border conflict, which was the proximate cause for the war” ; and never bothers to clarify what the cause of the “tensions” were.  I wonder who filled him in this story. Mr. Mosley, for the record, Eritrea does not harbor an agenda, implicit or explicit other than demanding Ethiopia to abide by the rule of law.

Short of that, it is a waste of time and irrelevant conjecture on anyone who parrots the Woyane regime’s song of doom and gloom if Eritrea does not dance to Woyane’s and its handlers tune. It is no secret that the Woyane regime loves to tell a lie or two to swindle public opinion. But Eritrea does not have to lower (and won’t lower) herself to such level of disgrace.

Our Chatham House expert states, “Understanding conflict dynamics in the Horn of Africa – particularly with relation to Eritrea – has come to be seen through the lens of Ethiopian and Eritrean involvement in the wider region, especially in the Somali conflict”. Sir, regurgitating an old and tired, and more importantly, dis-proven allegations does not do any good to the supposed Eritrea/Ethiopia normalization attempt you are pretending to espouse. Although accused many times by Ethiopia and parroted by Chatham House, among others, usually quoting some mysterious anonymous diplomats, Eritrea has never been factually implicated in any and all of the allegations that you guys help fan out like wild fire.

You do remember:

• The 2,000 Eritrean troops that were reported of being in Somalia in 2006, and mysteriously vanished into thin air, while the two Eritrean reporters were taken by Ethiopia with no trace of them to be seen or heard;
• The two phantom aircraft fully loaded with weapons and ammunition that reportedly flew from Assab (Eritrea) mysteriously in 2011 and flew back from Baidoa (Somalia) just as mysteriously after they had unloaded their cargo – all these activities under the watchful electronic surveillance eyes of the US, French and other western forces stationed in the pirate-infested area.
• How about the then American Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Susan Rice, allegation that certain serialized weapons that were sold by the former Soviet Union to Eritrea had been found in Somalia, only to be dismissed as, you guess it, another fabricated statement not worthy of the office she held.
• Have you read the latest SEMG report, which essentially validated Eritrea’s long held position that ALL the allegations were nothing more than that – just allegations?

It is difficult to ascertain your sincerity on the subject matter, Mr. Mosley, when you assert with some confidence about a non-existent Eritrean involvement in Somalia where none was proven by anybody.

Finally, notwithstanding your gross exaggeration of Ethiopia’s military might, rest be assured, the Eritrean people would never succumb to the international conspiracy that has been hatched against them. There is no condition under which the EEBC decision would be rendered immaterial. That decision is “Final and binding” that Ethiopia must accept if she wants to live in peace with us.

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