October 22, 2012

Ethiopia’s Agenda to Destabilize Eritrea

by Sophia Tesfamariam | 20 October 2012 – The Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) kept expanding its allegations against Eritrea, exposing its true motives and objectives-to first get “stand alone sanctions” against the State of Eritrea. Then use all kinds of gimmicks and ploys to perpetuate the illegal sanctions against Eritrea, presumably to weaken Eritrea, and to somehow (through the media and propaganda), or legal attrition, give Ethiopia the moral and legal high ground to pursue its agendas vis a vis Eritrea.

Knowing full well the extent of Ethiopia’s violations against the State of Eritrea and its people, its 12-year long brazen destabilization efforts and Ethiopia’s decade long occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories, the SEMG, in its latest report had the audacity to accuse Eritrea of attempting to destabilize Ethiopia. The SEMG knows well that it is the minority regime in Ethiopia and its dead leader Meles Zenawi, that have boisterously expressed dreams of changing the government in Asmara and installing a puppet regime amenable to Ethiopia’s whims. It is the regime in Ethiopia that has armed and harbored groups and individuals that have committed terrorist acts against the State of Eritrea. It is the minority regime that is taking refugees out of UNHCR camps and forcing them to participate in its anti-Eritrea activities. On several occasions, the regime, as the record will show, has also openly and clearly spelled out its destabilization agendas against the State of Eritrea to several US officials, including Donald Yamamoto, Deputy US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi E. Frazer, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Karl Wyckoff, Bureau of African Affairs at the US State Department and with UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Meles Zenawi’s friend and confidante.

These myopic and vindictive members of the incompetent Bureau of African Affairs and the US Mission at the UN sought to punish Eritrea because Eritrea did not support all of Washington’s policies in the region. Members of the UN Mission sought to punish Eritrea for standing up to the Security Council. For not remaining silent as the Security Council ignored Ethiopia’s violations of international law and Eritrea’s sovereignty. For some, like the junior diplomats who make up the Bureau of African Affairs, Eritrea was to be punished for not going along with Ethiopia’s plans for Somalia, for having the temerity to sponsor peace talks for Somalis in Asmara, the Eritrean capital. That was a big no-no for myopic diplomats like Jendayi E. Frazer, who wrongly believe that only US’ fingerprints and “AU sponsored talks” bring legitimacy to a peace process. According to US diplomats, Africans don’t have the capacity to think, cannot make sound analysis of their own situations, and are too stupid to know what is good or bad for their people and neighborhood.

Insulting the intelligence of the Ethiopian people and their just and gallant struggles against the minority regime in Ethiopia, today, the SEMG is accusing Eritrea of attempting to “destabilize” Ethiopia. It is accusing Eritrea of supporting the various armed opposition groups that are struggling to liberate the people of Ethiopia from the Ethiopian dictatorship. This is not only a desperate and rather stupid accusation; it is a deliberate and futile attempt to stifle the struggles of the Ethiopian people and undermine the contribution of the vast Ethiopian Diaspora. For example, the SEMG presents the Ogaden National Liberation Front as a creation of Eritrea to be used against the minority regime in Ethiopia. Today, in cities across Africa, Europe and the United States, supporters of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) are organizing events to celebrate the founding of the ONLF on 15 August 1984. The ONLF has offices around the world including the United States and its officials frequently come to the US for fundraising activities and to meet with US lawmakers. Despite what the minority regime in Ethiopia claims, its views are not shared by all, not even its handlers.

According to a US Embassy cable authored by Donald Yamamoto: “…While the GoE [Government of Ethiopia] considers the ONLF a terrorist group, the USG {US Government] views them as a nationalist movement that has predominantly targeted GoE and Ethiopian military entities in response to the marginalization of the Ogadeni people…”

The US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia was for the most part, a pretext aimed at destroying Ethiopian opposition groups in neighboring states. Meles Zenawi’s deceptive regime has perfected the propaganda tactic known as “accusations in a mirror”. In order to hide its illegal activities from the Ethiopian people, and to cover up its lawless behaviors, it usually accuses others of doing what it itself. By now, Ethiopians must know that anytime the regime accuses others of something, it is a signal that, that is what the regime intends to do. If they accuse someone of rejecting an agreement, it is because they intend to reject that agreement. If they accuse the opposition of violence, it is because they have planned genocide, violence and chaos. When they accused the Ethiopian opposition of cheating in the 2005 elections, it is because they had decided to rob the elections. When they accused Somalia of declaring war, they did so because that is what they were planning to do. When they accused Somalia and the Union of Islamic Courts of violating Ethiopia’s sovereignty, they did so because they intended to violate Somalia’s, and when they accuse Eritrea of destabilizing Ethiopia, it si because they want to justify what they are doing themselves.

In addition to its chronic inferiority complex and mentality, Kenneth L. Marcus’s explanation of “Accusation in a Mirror”, will provide us with a clear definition for the propaganda tactic that the SEMG seems to have borrowed from the regime in Ethiopia. Marcus wrote: “…The basic idea of AiM [Accusations in the Mirror] is deceptively simple: propagandists must ‘impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do.’ In other words, AiM is a rhetorical practice in which one falsely accuses one’s enemies of conducting, plotting, or desiring to commit precisely the same transgressions that one plans to commit against them… It is similar to a false anticipatory to quoque: before one’s enemies accuse one truthfully, one accuses them falsely of the same misdeed… A typical tu quoque involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you’ve just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation…”

There are numerous other propaganda tactics that the regime in Ethiopia and its handlers have employed in the past to advance the regime’s domestic and foreign policy agendas. Today we will take a look at the latest accusation by the SEMG and Ethiopia and allow the reader to judge for him/her self. With the help of its western handlers, the minority regime in Ethiopia has left no stone unturned to vilify Eritrea, to foment ethnic and religious strife, to weaken Eritrea’s economy and isolate Eritrea diplomatically and politically. While that is not new or surprising to the people of the region in general and the people of Eritrea in particular, what is surprising is the SEMG’s shameless regurgitation of the regime’s vile lies and the SEMG’s attempt to mislead the Security Council and the Sanctions Committee with its reports which can be easily refuted since the Ethiopian regime’s destabilization agendas vis a vis Eritrea are well documented. A 2007 US Embassy cable defines Ethiopia’s agendas clearly and succinctly.

The 30 October 2007 secret cable from the US Embassy in Ethiopia[1] details a meeting held between the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) Head of Addis Ababa Office Joseph Stephanides and Yohannes Gebremeskel, the Ethiopian regime’s military liaison officer. According to cable, the Ethiopian cadre “outlined a potential scenario for an Ethiopian overthrow of the Isaias government” [Eritrean Government]. It said: “…the Ethiopians would conduct a swift military action within a five-phased plan. In phase 1, Ethiopia would promote instability inside Eritrea leading to phase 2 where the Eritrean people would invite the Ethiopians to help them, at which time the Ethiopian military would enter Eritrea and depose Isaias. In phases 3 and 4 the Ethiopians would free the political prisoners and bring in the Eritrean political opposition allowing them to establish a transition government, and in phase 5 the Ethiopian military would withdraw…” Promoting instability in Eritrea was listed as its primary objective and as this paper will endeavor to show, the regime in Ethiopia and its handlers have sought to implement its stated objectives and the illegal, unfair and unjust US engineered sanctions can be seen within this context.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn told Reuters in 2011 how the Ethiopian regime intended to carry out its agenda vis a vis Eritrea. Reuters reported: “….This regime change is not by invading Eritrea but by supporting the Eritrean people and groups which want to dismantle the regime. We are fully engaged in doing so,” Hailemariam said….Hailemariam did not disclose the extent of Addis Ababa’s support, but a few Eritrean groups already operate from northern Ethiopia and have staged sporadic hit-and-run attacks inside Eritrea in the past…” Professor Gérard Prunier for the Center for International Peace Operations, Berlin, Germany seems to have in depth knowledge of the minority regime’s destabilization activities against the State of Eritrea. According to Prunier: “…the Ethiopians have managed to create a kind of “federation” (National Alliance of Eritrean Forces or NAEF) composed of about fourteen different opposition movements which include the Eritrean Islamic Reform Movement (EIRM) and the Eritrea Democratic Alliance (EDA). But this “federation” is of extremely dubious efficiency which is why the Ethiopians have created on the side another organization, the Eritrean Revolutionary Democratic Front (ERDF) which is in fact a big sounding name for a kind of fighting commando…” Prunier gives further detail about the two organizations and their differences. He writes: “…NAEF can be considered as a political movement while ERDF is a military one. NAEF is kind of “official” and its leaders are known. But they have no fighting strength. The ERDF is the opposite: it as an almost secret organization with no known leaders and it is more an Eritrean Foreign Legion of the Ethiopian Army than a real political movement. It is just supposed to give a kind of “political local cover” for the Ethiopians the day they would have to fight Eritrea, more or less the way Kabila’s Allied Democratic Forces for a Liberation of Kongo-Zaire (ADFL) gave a local Congolese cover to the RwandeseArmy in 1996…” The Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict in 1998-2000 saw the emergence of the Eritrean Quislings League (EQL), a dubious alliance of the jilted and scorned and those who abandoned the people of Eritrea in pursuit of other personal agendas.

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