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Old 08-14-2007   #1
wm
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Default Eritrea: catch all

Here's a piece from the BBC web site.
Quote:
US moves to shut Eritrean mission

The United States has ordered the closure of Eritrea's consulate in California, in a sign of worsening diplomatic relations.
US embassy officials in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, say the decision is due to a string of restrictions imposed on its embassy.
One would think a super power would be above such petty squabbling.
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Old 08-14-2007   #2
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Default Heh. Diplomacy IS petty squabbling.

Nuance and stupidity countered by nuance and stupidity are the name of the game -- and that's what, generally, it is...
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Old 08-14-2007   #3
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Nuance? I think it's plain stupidity. This is the nation to nation equivalent of 2toddlers in a sandbox.

In fact, on Sunday I was at the park and my toddler, let's call him US and another toddler, let's call him Eritrea, were in the sandbox together. Let's call the sandbox the Horn of Africa. While US was busy building a huge castle in the Ethiopia corner, Eritrea was burying US' toys in the Somalia corner. US came over to Somalia and started digging with his shovel in Somalia and uncovered the stolen contraband, I mean toys. US shoved Eritrea. Eritrea threw sand in US' eye. I (let's call me the UN) stood by and pointed out that the US really shouldn't be in Somalia, anyway and why won't Ethiopia and Eritrea play along together. I suggested that Ethiopia, now actively playing the Somalia corner, give Eritrea back the hand full of sand it had taken from Eritrea. Both the US, Ethiopia and Eritrea ignored me and went about their business...
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Old 08-14-2007   #4
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Default From all that I take it that we agree it's stupid

-- diplomacy as currently practiced, that is -- and that my sarcastic 'nuance' (a cover word for refusal to honestly state ones concerns and take care of ones interests) was perhaps itself too nuanced or too diplomatic. I also note that you (at least in that situation) and the UN (most always) seem to be equally ineffective?

In short, I agree. Pity about the Foreign Office, the State Department and Turtle Bay living in a world that seem to have passed them by...
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Old 08-15-2007   #5
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Default How to win allies and influence nations--Not!

Shouldn't the next step from the US be to use the force at Camp Lemonier to conduct some punitive cross border ops into Eritrea? Let's not forget to bring an AC-130 strike into downtown Asmara and maybe use some standoff ALCMs, launched from a B-52 loitering over, say, Libya, in violation of its air space. To ice it all, there needs to be a US press release with intimate details about the ALCM strike so that the rest of the Islamic world can join in the outrage over the Crusaders "invasion" of Libya or wherever the aircraft happened to be tracking at launch time.
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Old 08-15-2007   #6
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Default That sounds like the typical

FSOs reaction to the suggestion, no more, from a military guy that his approach to diplomacy is just a tiny bit too conciliatory and thus is unlikely to achieve his aims.

There is a middle way...
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Old 08-23-2007   #7
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Default US Considering Terror Label for Eritrea

US Considering Terror Label for Eritrea
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/s...857205,00.html

It's posturing and negotiation, but to me, this is poor diplomacy. Is the U.S. at the "diplomatic death sentence" stage yet with Eritrea?

Afewerki is no diplomat and is likely to either not respond or respond with anger. Does the US gov. really want to continue this pissing match and is it ready to slap the terror label on Eritrea, causing more unecessary suffering for ordinary people?

If anyone can explain the logic behind this move, I would appreciate it. From where I'm sitting, this is asinine.
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Old 08-23-2007   #8
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Is this part of a secret US plan for a return of Eritrea to Ethopia, as a reward for the great efforts of the Ethiopian forces combatting terror in Somalia?
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Old 08-23-2007   #9
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Perhaps this idea came from the same people who fed the UN the line about Somalis fighting alongside Hizbullah in 2006?
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Old 08-23-2007   #10
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I take all of this as more of the same let's put a white hat on one side and a black hat on the other, when neither side is what it appears to be. What I don't get is the eager attitude to jump into this particular mud pit and wallow around with the players, all of whom love mud, feces, and blood.

Stay out of it. Contain. Offer hiumantarian assistance.

Tom
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Old 08-23-2007   #11
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Whatever happened to promoting stablility? This is provoking instability. Frazer strikes me as someone who should know better. Of course, that's with the caveat that she is actually thinking and acting on her own....

The Europeans apparently see no problem in dealing with Eritrea, even embracing Eritrea as a "Key partner". It's almost like they do it just to cheese the USG off...

EU embraces Eritrea in search for Horn peace
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L04519421.htm
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Old 08-23-2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
The Europeans apparently see no problem in dealing with Eritrea, even embracing Eritrea as a "Key partner". It's almost like they do it just to cheese the USG off...

EU embraces Eritrea in search for Horn peace
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L04519421.htm
Balance of power politics being played at its most basic. Remind you of the "Great Game" played between England and Russia over Persia/Afghanistan by any chance?
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Old 08-23-2007   #13
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Last time I checked, Afwerki and most in his government were Christian, struggling to suppress their own Islamic insurgency and backing the Sudanese Christian rebels (SPLA) against the Islamic government of Sudan, which by the way the US and Ethiopia supported. Eritrea supports the Islamic factions in Somalia in a proxy war against Ethiopia.

It's a big damn mess, but Eritrea doesn't support terrorists...but I guess it all depends on what you define a "terrorist" as...
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Old 08-24-2007   #14
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Quote:
but I guess it all depends on what you define a "terrorist" as...
Exactly!!! And that is why I chack my wallet these days when someone starts throwing the "T-word" around..
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Old 08-24-2007   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
Last time I checked, Afwerki and most in his government were Christian, struggling to suppress their own Islamic insurgency and backing the Sudanese Christian rebels (SPLA) against the Islamic government of Sudan, which by the way the US and Ethiopia supported. Eritrea supports the Islamic factions in Somalia in a proxy war against Ethiopia.

It's a big damn mess, but Eritrea doesn't support terrorists...but I guess it all depends on what you define a "terrorist" as...
Has "Terrorist" replace "Communist" in our lexicon of the big bad guys?
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Old 08-24-2007   #16
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Default Only, now as then, in the words of the

politicians. The Troops then and now use 'bad guys' or other less complimentary appellations regardless of the opposition's ideology which is essentially irrelevant or his tactics which the troops can easily adapt to -- if their seniors let them....
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Old 08-25-2007   #17
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Quote:
Eritrea supports the Islamic factions in Somalia in a proxy war against Ethiopia.
Back when the Islamic Courts were riding high in Somalia (before the Ethiopian intervention), there were a number of reports of Russian made charter flights moving "special shipments" (read: probably weaponry) into Mogadishu (believe it was).

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this step is one of those actions where the US government wants to make sure that those type of shipments don't reoccur, and they are trying to "persuade" the air charter companies that such dealings for Eritrea (shipping weapons) wouldn't be such a good idea in the future.

Probably one or more of those companies told them that there's no violation involved, so why should they pass on business. Well, the US government looks to want to give them a legal reason not to do this type of business.

Also, doesn't designating a specific nation as a "terrorist" nation give the US Treasury carte blanc to start designating businesses/governments as being engaged in terrorist/supporting activities, and therefore can limit their access to financial credit markets?

That's a hammer.
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Old 08-25-2007   #18
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There has been an UN Security Council arms embargo on Somalia since 1993, I believe. Violated by many groups, of course.

I seriously doubt the either the TFG or the ICU and its associated clans are looking to issue bonds In London or Geneva. Though, given today's markets, who knows --- maybe the Fed will push Citigroup to buy up some mortgage-backed SIVs for some prime Mogadishu beachfront?
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Old 08-25-2007   #19
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Watcher, are you referring to the UN Monitoring Report for Somalia which highlights evidence of an Eritrean purchase of a small plane from a company in Belarus that was used to fly arms into Somalia? The way I understood it was that it wasn't a "charter" but a purchase, but the end is the same.

Regarding the terrorist label and finances, one of the main pillars (if you can call it that) of the Eritrean economy is a 2% tax on eritreans in diaspora and more importantly, remittances from Eritreans in diaspora to Eritrea. The latter really keeps ordinary Eritreans afloat. If the terrorist label allowed the Treasury to block these remittances, it would be a huge disaster for normal Eritreans.

By the way, this is a pretty good blog on the subject
http://historygeeksblog.blogspot.com...ent-again.html
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Old 08-26-2007   #20
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Quote:
Regarding the terrorist label and finances, one of the main pillars (if you can call it that) of the Eritrean economy is a 2% tax on eritreans in diaspora and more importantly, remittances from Eritreans in diaspora to Eritrea. The latter really keeps ordinary Eritreans afloat. If the terrorist label allowed the Treasury to block these remittances, it would be a huge disaster for normal Eritreans.
Well, if the US government is going where it looks like they want to with this "Terrorist" designation, Treasury will be able (if so motivated) to put the squeeze (and it is a really effective squeeze, no doubt about it) on any international bank and/or corporate entity moving money internationally.

I've actually seen (heard, actually) the effects of Section 311, which allows the Treasury Department to designate a bank a "primary money-laundering concern". There isn't a bank out there ANYWHERE that wants to even get within several country miles of getting slammed with that one by Treasury. Consequently, they'll do literally anything to get out from under than one.

The problem I see with this whole issue of designating nations as 'Terrorist" to allow for imposition of these types of financial countermeasures is that it's pretty comparable to the old adage of "When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail." It's one thing to use it against Iran or the DPRK, but "Eritrea"???

I guess if it's "Do this or send in military forces", well, I'll take this option. The reality is that this is just another level of force projection, only it's financial. But it is very effective.

My viewpoint is that there has to be much more to this story for the US government to go to all this effort. And it is a whole lot of effort.

Btw, the story I read on the aircraft into Somalia wasn't a small aircraft, but a rather large 4 engine Russian made cargo charter that was done very covertly. Was not from the UN Monitoring report.

Also, thanks for the link.
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