By Amanuel Biedemariam,
If one is to ask a leader of any nation what is your primary responsibility, undoubtedly, it is to safeguard the nation. What does safeguarding a nation entail? For the layman safeguarding a nation could mean placing armed personal on the borders to ward-off enemies. That is the simplest and obvious answer. What does Eritrea need to safeguard? To answer, one must ask what do the enemy target. Every aspect of the Eritrean life is a target. Hence, Eritrea must look at everything with the eyes of security.
Their aim is to undermine the independence and recolonize Eritrea. To that end, in 1998-2000 with a bogus fabricated border dispute waged a destructive war which took the lives of our 21,000, wounded thousands more and displaced millions needlessly. The war was intended to break the backbone of the people, to dilute or annihilate a generation of Eritrean fighters that liberated Eritrea.
In Washington DC, the then Ambassador of Ethiopia gathered Ethiopians and bragged that Ethiopian soldiers will have ‘breakfast in Assab’ clearly showing their sinister intentions. They gave Eritrea six months’ of existence. Since, the assault and machinations to undermine the independence of Eritrea has been relentless.
In 2000, the Horn of Africa region was hit with devastating drought that affected the region including Eritrea. As a result the UN pledged aid for Eritrea. However, the aid was sabotaged in order to starve the people to revolt. Eritrea ended up buying thousands of tons and averted disaster. Food is a tool the West use to control poor and underdeveloped nations. Today Eritrea has reserves that can last for years.
Water is a lifeline that no country can take for granted. Here again, Eritrea provided potable water in every corner, established dams and incentivized farming turning once nomadic traditions into settlements that are integral to the future of Eritrea.
For decades, the people of Eritrea suffered on the hands of brutal Ethiopian soldiers. Relentless wars destroyed medical infrastructures rendering most Eritrean communities inaccessible. Eritrean communities were underserved medically. In addition, traditions, customs and religious practices hampered access to remote areas making it difficult for those that practiced medicine to get close to women and infants. Infant mortality rates were high; Eritrea’s lowlands are prone to malaria hence combating Malaria was urgent; AIDS was a serious threat; there existed no medical institutions and facilities hence the population’s medical needs were unmet and compounded by lack of resources the situation was dire.
Here again, Eritrea established medical training-institutions, embarked on a major medical personnel training programs and built hospitals in record pace creatively and started to assign trained medical personnel throughout the nation filling gaps wherever needed. Eritrea is setting trend by creating sustainability using indigenous expertise trained in Eritrea. Eritrea is managing to reverse brain-drain by producing personnel at a steady pace. These efforts are bearing fruit by reducing infant mortality rates, the threat of malaria, HIV-AIDS and other communicable diseases surpassing international expectations. It is worth noting, as relatively small population, health threats have national security implications.
Education is another key that can determine the future of Eritrea. Developing the human resources necessary to rebuild Eritrea required educated public, educational infrastructures and trained personnel to educate the people of Eritrea. After independence the primary focus for Eritrea was to establish teachers training institutions and train teachers that can then be assigned all over Eritrea to serve underserved communities. As a result Eritrea’s literacy rate is amongst the highest in Africa.
Education is a human rights and existential issue in Eritrea. Education is central to the life of the people Eritrea. The government has firm outlook that states Eritrea’s children deserve equal access to education no matter where they live. That is the only way to ensure a bright future for the nation. To that end, Eritrea devised creative programs to ensure a standard that married education to nation-building endeavors and national service. In Eritrea there exists no village without access to education no matter how remote. That is also how Eritrea can ensure and maintain balanced human resources distribution throughout the nation.
Asymmetric Warfare on Eritrea
The Asymmetric-Warfare the enemies waged on Eritrea is multifaceted and targets major cores of the population with the youth as their primary focus. By targeting youth they can achieve many goals. Deny Eritrea workforce that is vital for development and rob her from a core population that can defend the nation. To that end attracting, distracting and incentivizing youth to flee is the key goal.
Just imagine, what will Eritrea look like today if the army was weak? The foresight and the brilliance of Eritrea anticipated all Eritrea’s defense and human resources needs and married it to the national defense and developmental strategy. That move saved Eritrea in 2000. Today Eritrea is endowed with a sizeable sustainable military that is mobile and capable to mobilize in no time.
Only nations that can control the situation on the ground can dictate terms and outcomes of a given political situation. In 2000, Ethiopian soldiers were able to infiltrate Eritrean territories through Sudan and inflicted some damage.
Since, Eritrea secured the area; restored relations with Sudan; helped to bring/ink peace between the various factions in Eastern Sudan; advanced Eritrean and Sudanese economic, diplomatic, political and strategic interests.
At this stage Eritrea and Sudan are working together, implementing agreements they signed- changing the outlook of both people, setting precedent on how African countries can coexist as partners, reversing-trend of violence that plagued Africans forever. They are building the infrastructures necessary to connect both countries. In the process, made-worthless Western machinations and designs that kill African economies and social structures.
Nothing or no one can change the solid relations that exist between the peoples of Sudan and Eritrea. It is historic and the interests are aligned perfectly. This will change the fortunes of people in both countries and the positive influence will be advanced to the region. This means the ingenuity of Eritrea’s leaders is combating the impact of negative influences (wars, conflicts) imposed by the West and replaced it with positive influences.
The implications of the Sudanese-Eritrean efforts on jobs, economic and social-stability are far greater than can be imagined. It will also combat human trafficking by securing borders and giving free access-unhampered by visas which will in-turn help create freedom of movement. This will reverse access of human flight through Sudan, deny access to terrorists by ejecting them from the area. Securing good relations with Sudan allows Eritrea to focus on one of Eritrea’s greatest goals, emasculate threats that emanate from the south.
The process Eritrea embarked-on may have seemed insurmountable but in-time and with stealthy- brilliance, doggedness and with eyes on the goal, Eritrean wit outwitted the enemies, killed major agenda and reversed it to benefit of Eritrea.
In terms of national security, how is Eritrea faring 23-years after independence and 16-years of hostilities that emanated from Ethiopia?
Here again, it is no secret that Ethiopia have no resources to engage against Eritrea without the support of the US. Ethiopia is the stick the US use against Eritrea for decades. How to manage the stick while keeping the national strategic, economic, social and security of Eritrea in focus was and remains a challenge.
One of the most unreported attributes of the government of Eritrea is the ability to focus with laser-sharp eye on the enemy and defeat it. The TPLF is existential threat to Eritrea. Therefore eliminating the threat is imperative. And as such, no matter what happens anywhere, no matter what any country says or does and, no matter the cost, Eritrea will come out victorious. There is no alternative to victory.
That means, the TPLF can play all the propaganda games, lie about Eritrea’s youth, try to give incentives to Eritreans and entice them into visiting or invest in Ethiopia, use the AU, UN to ploy and lobby-all-around the globe etc…the noose will keep tightening until TPLF suffocates to death, guaranteed! Nothing or no one can or will save the vermin.
So how is the TPLF faring today? Today the TPLF is in no position to threaten Eritrea. The stick is very brittle gasping for air and awaiting imminent death, hunted by Ethiopians everywhere. The political and diplomatic advantages it felt that it once had dissipated.
To the contrary, despite all the machinations to isolate or sell the notion of an isolated nation, Eritrea is asserting solid diplomatic relations based on mutual economic, security and others interests across the globe.
In addition, the once US dominated global seen is waning and as a result the previously US dominated UN is no more a platform for US agendas. The US can no longer exploit the UN to further its agendas because it collides with interests of other nations with veto powers.
Furthermore, African nations that the US herded to sanction Eritrea at one time are at odds with each other. With Salva Kiir of South Sudan accusing Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia for making him sign an agreement with threats of arrest. It is bad precedent for a seating president of another AU member nation to be threatened to sign or go to jail in the prisons of the host nation. With threats, Secretary John Kerry and Desalegn just changed the government of South Sudan. Ethiopia is at odds with Uganda in South Sudan and so on… Imagine the US forcing UN member nations to sign agreements or face jail in the US in New York City. That was Eritrea’s fate.
It is not customary for Eritreans to praise leaders. Eritreans have shared the responsibility of fighting for liberation, defense and nation building equally. Eritreans are always praised for their hard work, dedication, selflessness and sacrifices. This time however, it is important to extend praise to the leaders of Eritrea that navigated the nation through one hellish period.
All one has to do is look at what is taking place in Somalia. Ethiopian authorities are appointing the leadership from the president to the local levels. That was TPLF’s design for Eritrea; bring limo drivers from DC to govern while the nation decayed in blood.
The brave men and women leaders of Eritrea, without complaint and without changing their shoes, refusing the trapping that plagues African corrupt leaders are leading Eritrea by example. From the president on down, all leaders live modest lives amongst the people. They remained true to their compatriots and to the martyrs by focusing on the task of fulfilling what martyrs gave their lives for, Eritrea that is free in the truest sense.
They focused on the task amidst threats, hurdles, barrages of complaints from self-centered individuals and hired guns. They focused on the future no matter what is going around them. With the tenacity, attitude and drive of a Honey-Badger and with fierceness, the leaders of Eritrea are standing above the rest propelling Eritrea to certain freedom.
They deserve praise and gratitude for heralding a mindset and value system that placed the interests of the people first. Praise for keeping Eritrea united, peaceful and secured.