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Old 08-26-2007   #21
Beelzebubalicious
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Watcher, let me throw this out and see what you think about this theory. It's a given that Eritrea is trying to oppose and weaken the Ethiopian government. There have been claims made that Eritrea has even tried assassination attempts against Ethiopia. See:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070815...aeritreaunrest

If Eritrea were able to get rid of the Ethiopian government of Meles Zenawi, then what does this do to US policy and objectives in the Horn? What does this do to stability in the region? How would the US government prevent this from happening? Looking at US actions in this perspective might provide some answers.

Just a theory. I really have no information to support it.
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Old 08-26-2007   #22
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Quote:
If Eritrea were able to get rid of the Ethiopian government of Meles Zenawi, then what does this do to US policy and objectives in the Horn?
Gonna make me work today, huh?

Well, my first thought is that "US policy" towards that entire region is substantially being driven by Lord Palmerston's quote of “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

Problem is, we appear to have conflicting "permanent interests". Nobody back here in the US wants to get too tight with any governmental entity in the Horn area where the government has any real "dirty hands" from being involved with ethnic cleansing, no matter how limited. But, then they also apply the exact same rules to nations dealing with Islamic extremists (GWOT).

Well, if you base everything you do as a nation on both those two principles in the Horn of Africa, there's just about nobody out there you can deal with. And I'm hard pressed to see how a policy of "talking to and dealing with nobody" is a better alternative.

My second thought is that the US government appears to have realized to some extent that there are some pretty severe limits to force projection into that entire area. In fact, the extremely limited US involvement with supporting Ethiopia in dealing with the ICU in Somalia looks to have been relatively effective, at least in the sense that we didn't have "Blackhawk Down Part II".

The real problem I see a little further down the road is that any new administration here in the US will automatically decide that US troops in Iraq = Bad, but US forces in Darfur = Good. And they will not realize how this affects everything in the Horn.

Quote:
What does this do to stability in the region?
Smart As**d Answer: There Is Any?

Real Answer: ""Power abhors a vacuum". Say goodbye to the now removed autocrat, say "Hi, good to see you" to the new successor. Truthfully, we're really not going to have too much say, because you know that there's going to have to be retribution if something like that were to happen. National honor, not to mention tribal influences will demand it. And we're hamstrung anyway with our two contradictory principles (noted above) being applicable directly to what can best be described as an "ethnic fault line area".

Quote:
How would the US government prevent this from happening?
Short answer: I don't think we can. Our only real chance at having an affect would be if any alleged and completely unverified special operations training programs were happening within the Horn area, and such alleged and completely unverified operations would make all the parties stop and think before they did something really stupid.

And yes, I really did get a picture of that Unicorn this morning.

Let me pitch an idea back to you. It strikes me that one of the most useful things we could do in the entire Horn area would be to mount an active naval crackdown against piracy, which has seriously increased around Somalia. Such a crackdown could have a really positive effect. You wouldn't be talking about massive military forces, and that could have a substantial amount of positive effects (safer transportation, fishing, aid shipments into Somalia, etc.). Now, the most immediate downside of this would be the potential for a massive outflow of refugees from Somalia wanting to take refuge under the protection of the US led anti-piracy forces.
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Old 08-27-2007   #23
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Good work. Thanks.

An alleged and unverified Unicorn spotting in the horn! These unicorns do get around. It would explain why the E&E haven't come to blow yet...I once had an alleged and unverified sasquatch spotting in the horn, but that's another story...

I think the US government should seize that island between Yemen and Eritrea they fought briefly over a couple of years ago (Sakhalin?) and make it a US Naval base. I'm sure nobody would mind. Seriously, I would love to see the US Navy chase around pirates, but I would think of "black ship down" and would think twice...
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Old 09-06-2007   #24
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I hope the Unicorns have the good sense to keep out of this area.

US foreign policy seems to have reverted to a cold war black & white mode with Islamic replacing Communist and playing the part of black with white being painted liberally using the ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ maxim. Regretfully some, nay most, of those daubed in white paint are in reality an extremely dark grey.

Where to begin? The US giving the nod to Ethiopia to invade Somalia to oust the UIC is unbelievably short-sighted, after 16 years of chaos there was an area of stability creeping out from Mogadishu, piracy was down and the UIC had popular support. Yes the law was Sharia but then the population was predominantly Muslim so this would seem a lot more reasonable – to them - than our legal system. Were there AQ and other terrorist organisations with influence in the country? Sure, ditto for any Muslim country. If removing their influence was the goal it would have been a much better option to pat the UIC on the back for what they had achieved, work with them on piracy, engage them diplomatically, offer financial/reconstruction aid & quietly work towards the removal of those with overt links to terrorism. The current strategy is doomed to failure, the Ethiopian occupying force is universally hated - and their operational tactics are making them more so. The puppet government has no power base. The UIC have not gone away and will return once the Ethiopians withdraw, as they must if they don’t want to just be picked of a few at a time. The AU forces are no keener to deploy than ours would be for obvious reasons, they will not be welcome and the people look back at the UIC rule as the halcyon days.
Eritrea feel betrayed by the UN for not enforcing the terms of the cease fire agreement with Ethiopia (Badme et al) and, while they probably would prefer to not get involved in Somalia, can’t risk the Ethiopians becoming entrenched so will aid anyone fighting them as a matter of national defence (as a side note I suspect they principally blame the US for manoeuvres within the UN on behalf of Ethiopian interests). So now we have Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea in the game.
While international interest in Sudan is principally focused on the humanitarian disaster in Darfur and the attendant destabilisation in Chad, the bigger problem comes in 2011 in the south. After years of fighting the SPLA agreed a truce with the north which lead to an interesting new constitution which encoded a defacto split into north and south. The south kept the SPLA army, had a different banking system and has the right to raise taxes but the key feature is article 222

Quote:
The Referendum on Self-Determination
222 (1) Six months before the end of the six-year interim period,
there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, for
97
the people of Southern Sudan organized by Southern
Sudan Referendum Commission in cooperation with the
National Government and the Government of Southern
Sudan,
(2) The people of Southern Sudan shall either:-
(a) confirm unity of the Sudan by voting to sustain the
system of government established under the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement and this
Constitution, or
(b) vote for secession.
Despite international sanctions the economy has shown healthy growth helped by becoming a net oil exporter – the constitution has a lengthy section on how this oil is to be divided up. Much of the friction between the north and south has – surprise, surprise – been about oil as the majority of the fields are in the south but the pipeline, ports and refineries are in the north and the perception is the north is trying to grab what it can now prior to risking the south – and its oil - voting for independence. The big questions are will the north really just say OK if the south exercises this option and even if the south does go for it how will it export? Kenya seems the logical route if relations with the north fail. Given the growth in strength of the MB in Egypt and the deteriorating situation in NE Congo (and its relations with Uganda) this whole area needs as little interference from the West as we can manage, fools (and Unicorns) go in …

Last edited by JJackson; 09-07-2007 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 09-07-2007   #25
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Default Congress for Liberation And Reconstitution Opens in Asmara

Speaking of Eritrea and the UIC, I wonder how this Congress is playing with the State Department...

Congress for Liberation And Reconstitution Opens in Asmara


Shabait.com (Asmara)


NEWS
6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007
Asmara

The Somali Congress for Liberation and Reconstitution opened in Asmara today. More than 350 people representing different social groups of Somali society, including leaders of the Union of Islamic Courts, clan heads, intellectuals, community elders and religious leaders are taking part in the Congress.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200709061086.html
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Old 09-07-2007   #26
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After posting yesterday I read this today on the UN boundary commission's frustration re Ethiopia/Eritrea
Warning of new Horn of Africa war : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6982244.stm
and note from a Guardian ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/st...164165,00.html ) post that both Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys & Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed are in attendance at the Asmara congress.

While I am posting links here are a few more that may be of interest to those following this area.
Good map of oil producing areas in Sudan
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/2.htm
and more data on oil production
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/Sudan/pdf.pdf
Juba Post comments on referendum (NB this is in english so most of the comments - predominantly pro independance - are from the diaspora and may not be representative of the population as a whole)
http://www.k2-media.org/jubapost/go/...6&recordID=116
and this article on concerns re an impending north/south demarcation dispute
http://www.k2-media.org/jubapost/go/...=6&recordID=93
Sudan Interim constitution in english
http://www.mpil.de/shared/data/pdf/i...ic_version.pdf
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Old 09-12-2007   #27
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Default ALS warns Ethiopian troops withdraw in 1 week

New Somali alliance threatens war

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6990928.stm

Quote:
"We have two-track options - first is the liberation of Somalia through military struggle, the second is through diplomatic efforts," said Zakariya Mahamud Abdi, spokesman for the Somali Congress
Quote:
"We warn Ethiopia to withdraw immediately. It is now or never and in a few weeks they will not have a route to withdraw," Abdi said.
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Old 09-24-2007   #28
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Default Shifting Terrain: Dissidence versus Terrorism in Eritrea, by Ruth Iyob

I just found this small article in the USIP Special Report on "Terrorism in the Horn of Africa" dated January 2004. A bit dated, but interesting given recent events between the USG and Eritrea and overall US Policy in the GWOT.

Quote:
Eritrea’s inclusion in the “coalition of the willing” threatens to widen the gap between moderate and radical Eritrean Muslims due to the regime’s use of the “war against terrorism” to eliminate all dissent.
and...

Quote:
Outlook and Recommendations

The United States fostered democratization and constitutional rule in Eritrea from 1991 to 2001. In 2001, when democratizing Eritreans demanded constitutional governance, the U.S. decision to refrain from taking an unequivocal stand against the systematic elimination of pro-democracy advocates sent the message that only acts of violence and terror—not democratic reform—will bring about change. Current U.S. policy in Eritrea vacillates between two poles: unconditional support for a regime that joined
the “war on terror” and episodic signals of disapproval for the regime’s crackdown on dissent.

U.S. policy should disengage from the increasing authoritarianism of the current regime which has alienated the majority of its civilian—secular and non-secular population. Failure to do so may lead to growing support for more militant elements within EIJM and the ENA.
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Old 10-11-2007   #29
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Default Sudan's southern rebels walk out

Earlier in this thread (post #18) I voiced my concerns regarding the medium term danger to the stability of Sudan in particular, and the Horn in general, having more to do with the much more formidable SPLA than the problems in Darfur. The North’s failure to make progress with the boundary commission, and various other outstanding differences, seems to be exposing cracks already:-

Sudan's southern rebels walk out
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7039616.stm

The BBC title refers to them as rebels but they are constitutionally a major part of the government and it is difficult to see how the the president remains any legitimacy without their inclusion.
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Old 12-01-2007   #30
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Default No Ethiopia-Eritrea border deal

I don't think it will come as a galloping shock to anyone following this story but it is now official: the deadline has past without any movement on the ground.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7120834.stm

This story is surreal, bizarre and extremely frightening. We are in danger of having a war over a boarder that both parties now claim to accept.
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Old 05-13-2008   #31
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Default CIA psychological warfare in Eritrea

Eritrea's president Afwerki accuses CIA of funding operations to lure youth away from Eritrea. I'd like to see his "evidence"...Baywatch? It may be our countrie's single most successful psychological operation....

The quotes about holding an election are priceless, too. Man, there's losing touch and then there's touching losers...okay, that doesn't really make sense, but you get the point.
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Old 05-18-2008   #32
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Default UN Abyei pull-out

Sudan clashes prompt UN pull-out

Quote:
The UN has withdrawn non-essential staff from Sudan's town of Abyei after a day of clashes between government forces and southern former rebels.
Abyei is the key to Sudanese Oil and to the north south problem. The interim constitution affords it a special status at the time of the constitutionally promised 2011 referendum. (links and more details in posts #18 & 20)
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Old 06-03-2008   #33
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Default Navies to tackle Somali pirates

Quote:
Navies to tackle Somali pirates

The vote means nations will be able to send warships to tackle pirates
The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's territorial waters to tackle pirates.

The resolution permits countries that have the agreement of Somalia's interim government to use any means to repress acts of piracy for the next six months.

Twenty-six ships have been attacked by pirates in the waters in the past year.

The vote came as the UN launched separate peace talks with factions involved in Somalia's conflict.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7432612.stm

The article also covers the UN backed Djibouti talks. The problem is the parties attending - but not talking directly to each other - are the interim government (who have no support or power beyond that of their Ethiopian military backers & US political backers) and the ARS (the same mob that formed as the ALS in Asmara last Sept.). The ARS are mainly old UIC members but don't including the Al-Shabab wing which seems to be becoming the pre-eminent force on the ground. So it is unclear who - if anyone - the parties not talking represent.

From the Jamestown Foundation last Oct.
Splits Developing in Somali Insurgency By Sydney Irving

This rather strange piece on Afewerki stealing $10million of the ARS's money.
http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=5986&tirsan=3

As always when dealing with this area it is tricky to know what to believe.

(LOL I just ran the spell check and was a little hasty with the 'change all' button - I think I have replaced all the arse's back to ARS's)
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Old 06-03-2008   #34
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See, Afwerki is a friend of the US in the GWOT....Afwerki may be a lot of things, but I seriously doubt he's a thief.
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Old 04-01-2013   #35
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Default An update on a forgotten country

An ICG report, 28 pgs. on this forgotten country, partly as it appears to rebuff all external interest and is a dictatorship:http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/F...mpaign=mremail
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Old 01-25-2014   #36
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A year since the last post this forgotten country gains an advocate in a retired DoS diplomat:http://africanarguments.org/2013/12/...by-hank-cohen/
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Old 08-17-2015   #37
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A series of articles in The Guardian on this forgotten country, where 3% of the population have fled, even though there is no war today, just a strict dictatorship.

Amongst the thousands of migrants / refugees trying to reach Western Europe are plenty from Eritrea; which may explain these articles and I have only linked two.

One ends:
Quote:
But migrants tell a different story. Welde Giorgis left Eritrea in 2006 because he no longer believed internal reform was possible. The average Eritrean is now “a helpless victim”, he says. “And that’s why you see these large numbers of Eritreans leaving the country at great risk to their lives. Many die from dehydration in the Sahara. Many have drowned in the Mediterranean. Many have become victim to organ harvesters in the Sinai. But nobody cares. Eritrea has become an earthly hell, an earthly inferno for its people – and that’s why they are taking such huge risks to their personal lives to escape the situation. It’s become unliveable.”
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-what-is-going

I did find this bizarre (from the same article):
Quote:
Eritrea’s own government blames human trafficking networks for the exodus, and this week even asked the UN Security Council to help combat the smugglers who are “dispersing and debilitating our human resources”.
Why we left:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-state-two-men
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Old 12-30-2015   #38
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Default Africa's Cuba or North Korea?

Once again The Guardian report on Eritrea, this time from within:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ass-emigration

A taster:
Quote:
The prosaic truth is that this is just another of the nasty regimes that persist in parts of the world. Eritrea is a one-party state with no elections, has had no functioning civil society since 2001 and, with at least 16 journalists currently behind bars, is ranked bottom of 180 countries assessed in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index. The regime sows paranoia and uncertainty, leading to divergent views over how far the limits of free speech can be tested.

A recent UN inquiry on human rights described extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, indefinite military conscription and forced labour. Its report found “a pervasive control system used in absolute arbitrariness to keep the population in a state of permanent anxiety”.
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Old 03-28-2016   #39
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Default Lonely no more

IIRC Eritrea has been a rather lonely nation diplomatically, but the war in the Yemen may have changed this:
Quote:
In May 2015, Saudi Arabia and the UAE concluded a new military security partnership agreement with Eritrea allowing the Gulf coalition to use its land, airspace, and territorial waters for Yemen operations. The agreement also included a thirty-year lease for the port of Assab, on Eritrea's coast, as a UAE naval logistics hub. Since September, the UAE has used Assab as a launchpad for amphibious operations against Yemen's Red Sea islands and in November began flying strike sorties over Yemen from Asmara International Airport -- strikes that followed an agreement with the Eritrean government to refurbish the airport. Four hundred Eritrean troops were also contracted to serve embedded with the UAE armed forces in Yemen.

Sudanese hold force for Aden.
In mid-October, UAE landing craft transported two Sudanese battalions equipped with BTR-70 armored personnel carriers from Assab to Aden.
Link:http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/p...the-ground-war
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Old 06-08-2016   #40
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Default No war, no peace

Last month the BBC had a reporter in Eritrea, first to report on:
Quote:
This week marks 25 years since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in a conflict which lasted three decades. Rights groups criticise the East African nation for its lack of democracy, media freedom and its policy of forced conscription, which can last for many years. But the Eritrean government has organised huge celebrations.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36358235

A less restrained, wider report:
Quote:
The migration crisis in Europe has thrust Eritrea under the spotlight. Last year, more people fled to Europe from this small, secretive nation than from any other African country.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36469286
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