By Amanuel Biedermariam
In May of 2000, Ethiopia waged the most destructive war of aggression against the people of Eritrea. After the war failed to accomplish Ethiopia’s goals of re-colonizing Eritrea by force or, place a puppet government, Ethiopia was forced to pen the Algiers Agreement in 2002 that laid the foundation to determine the final binding decision based on The Hague Courts ruling which ultimately decided the disputed border in favor of Eritrea.
At first, Ethiopian authorities applauded the decision. The then Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin lied, “All disputed areas have been given to Ethiopia,” and falsly claimed that the international tribunal at The Hague has decided that Badme, Zelambessa, Ayiga, Erobe, Alitena, Bada and others to be part of the Ethiopian sovereign territory.
The Ethiopian authorities then changed their mind and tried to amend the decision and when that failed devised ploys designed to undermine The Hague decision. These dances went on for a while trying to frustrate the people of Eritrea and robbing the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia of opportunities from naturally developing their economies free from hostilities. Ethiopian authorities initially said they accepted the decision, then said they accepted it in principle, then rejected the decision altogether and when the pressure mounted said that they accepted but Eritrea must Dialogue to resolve the issue.
Ethiopia was able to undermine International Law with ill-advised US support that thought to undermine Eritrea’s hard won independence. Ethiopian and US’s agendas colluded for the same objective and similar interest. US interests on Eritrea are Eritrea’s strategic geographic location. By allowing Ethiopia to control Eritrea the US can control Eritrea using a client state Ethiopia. For Ethiopia, it is access to the sea. This is well documented historic reality that cost millions of lives dead, displaced and decades of wars.
Ironic whatever, is when the TPLF that fought to advance the agenda of Independent Greater Tigray piggy-banked on Ethiopia’s plan of controlling Eritrea with the sole plan to access the sea. In an interview with late Paul Henze, the late Meles Zenawi said,
“We look at this from the viewpoint of the interests of Tigre, first, and then Ethiopia as a whole. We know that Tigre needs access to the sea and the only way is through Eritrea …. There are many Tigreans in Eritrea ….. They don’t want to be treated as foreigners there … They have the same history. We are worried about Eritrea because we are not sure that differences among different groups can be kept under control”. (Paul B. Henze, Conversations with Meles Zenawi, J3 26/002/92/3 31 March/ 1 April 1990)
The TPLF was in a disadvantaged position when it fought the Derg for it lacked the power and access it can use as a launching pad. The TPLF’s decision to align with the proven Eritrean Liberation struggle led by EPLF was a calculated move with hidden agendas. The TPLF believed that Eritrea’s independence will not hold because Eritreans are divided and will not have economy that can support the new found independence. The TPLF believed Eritrea will be caught in civil strife based on ethnic, religious and regional divide. Therefore, TPLF’s alliance with Eritrea was not genuine however, to go against Eritrea at that time was suicidal. Thence, as soon as it was able the TPLF with the support of the US launched, which turned out to be, a protracted war under the pretext of border dispute that metastasized to the No War No Peace agenda.
No War No Peace is a continuation of the original agenda that planned to control Eritrea systematically. It is designed to frustrate Eritrea, kill Eritrea’s economy, create divide based on ethnic, religious and regional divide. The TPLF, with the support of the US, designed to rob Eritrea of her youth through constant threat of war. With the hopes of turning the youth against their government the TPLF, with the support of the US, created mechanisms to entice youth to flee into Ethiopia and elsewhere. The lure of going to the West through Ethiopia was used as a bait to entice youth.
Hundreds of thousands Eritreans have been accepted as refugees in the Sudan spanning decades due to Ethiopia’s oppression. Never have the Sudanese exploited or tried to exploit Eritrea’s plight. The current Ethiopian regime exploited the plight of Eritreans far beyond the realities with exaggerations with the hopes of convincing the international community that there exists instability in Eritrea.
The US and Ethiopia continued to scheme to undermine Eritrea’s stability and independence using the UN with fabrications and by sanctioning Eritrea to a) weaken the military b) kill the economy through targeted economic sanctions designed to block Eritrea’s economic progress.
These are misguided miscalculations that failed to account the resolve of the people Eritrea. Around the world, scarcities of goods and services are triggering massive revolts against governments. Eritreans however, realize they must sacrifice today to ensure lasting success. Independence was won based on self-reliance and sacrifices and that is how economic successes will be achieved. Eritrean unity and ability to withstand external pressures is something the US and Ethiopia failed to understand.
The TPLF and the US miscalculated on many fronts. They undermined Eritrea’s strength and exaggerated Ethiopia’s strength and importance. The TPLF miscalculated when it believed Eritrea’s independence will not hold. It miscalculated when it believed it can undo Eritrea’s independence by destabilizing Eritrea.
In an effort to strangulate Eritrea economically, Ethiopia refused the use of Eritrea’s ports. It cut of all trade between the peoples. However, it is Ethiopia that is suffering due to high rates for utilizing Djibouti ports. Eritreans have learned to grow the agricultural products they use to import from Ethiopia bolstering Eritrea’s self-reliance stance while robbing Ethiopian farmers of a major market proving-farce Ethiopia’s belief that Eritrea’s economic lifeline is Ethiopia alone.
Ethiopia and the US thought to alienate Eritrea. Ethiopia designed to encircle Eritrea by allying with Yemen and Sudan. They used IGAD nations against Eritrea. They manipulated the Arab League and African Union countries in an effort to pursue Eritrea. That too failed. To the contrary these nations failed to focus internally and as a result became unstable. Chaos has engulfed Yemen, Egypt, Sudan and many face imminent revolt if not civil wars.
To ignite chaos Ethiopia thought to create opposition for Eritrean government and to that end recruited Jihadists, disgruntled radical elements, religious zealots, corrupt individuals and the like. Ethiopia and the US targeted the Diaspora Eritreans to a) stop them from supporting their government b) recruit them against their government. Ethiopia targeted specific ethnic groups and enticed them to opt for ethnic federalism or independence. That too failed and keeps failing because the citadel is fortified with unparalleled unity, brilliance and strength of mind.
To the contrary, Ethiopia finds itself on the brink of civil strife, religious uprisings, rebellion and ethnic divisions of its own making. The economy is in shambles, corruption is a way of life, and Ethiopia’s children are floating on the shores of Yemen by the thousands every month. In Addis Ababa, demonstration and confrontation with Ethiopian authorities is a weekly event. Unchecked, these developments will plunge Ethiopia into irreversible civil war.
The US used Ethiopia as stick throughout the region. Ethiopia became destabilizing force and source of instability in Somalia by extension Kenya. By failing to abide by the international agreement it signed, Ethiopia created a chronic state of conflict that is engulfing the entire Horn region. The push into Somalia and Kenya’s ill-conceived involvement in Somalia is fueling uncontrollable instability in the region.
What Ethiopia tried to inflict upon the people and government of Eritrea is happening to Ethiopia itself. Today, saving Ethiopia from itself has become urgent reality for all concerned. Ethiopians all around have come to that realization and are doing all they can to stop the tsunami from washing the nation off the map. The No War No Peace disrupted or hindered natural exchanges between the peoples of the two historically, culturally and geographically close people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. But it failed to stop the people of Eritrea. To the contrary it enforced the need to Self-Reliance. It helped strength the resolve and resilience. It became an experience that cleared the clouds and taught Eritrea, the young nation, how the enemies operate. Eritrea, a nation many predicted to fall in six months is proving them wrong. In the process exposed how schemes designed to undermine the sovereignties of African nations work. As a result Eritrea is the most peaceful and stable country in Africa a testament to the brilliance of the people and government of Eritrea. Eritrea is rewriting the history of Africa by showing them how to stand. Eritrea is the embodiment and expression of true national strength.