Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Building Loyalty, One Toilet at a Time


Link to: Building Loyalty, One Toilet at a Time

By Jason McLure

Who are we kidding here ?

Are we writing this sort of articles because it makes people feel good or have we really lost the plot.

Considerable chunk of my life was spent trying to make a difference in the horn of African countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. Sadly at times it seems I have more knowledge and understanding of the region than many of our senior foreign policy makers.

Here is a comment I wrote to
CFR that gives you an idea of what is happening in the horn of Africa.

Horn of Africa and our policy towards it .

A good reference on the border
Prejudice with malice

United States blind bias towards Ethiopia, that is breaking UN and the International boundary law with impunity is no longer even hidden. Here is some excerpt of comments of what our Congressmen in joint hearing made about the situation in the horn.

Transcript of Dana
Rohrabacher (R- California)
As we know, at one of the hot spots in Africa, for decades has been a border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and as part of this partnership, we basically have been ignoring a commission that was put in place, with the agreement of Ethiopia and Eritrea, to respect the boundaries as established by the commission, and here we are walking away from that in order to have the Ethiopians' partner be our proxy and invade Somali on our behalf.
What is that going to do to the cause of peace? We are telling everybody in Africa what? They can now ignore peaceful methods of solving problems because if somebody makes a deal with us, we will negate the basic understandings of abiding by peaceful solutions.
The whole thing stinks. It is something that we need to talk about. I am glad we are having a hearing today. The last part we need to look at is, number one, what comes with repression? Corruption, and we have overwhelming corruption going on in Ethiopia. I have been trying to fight, for years, for some of my constituents who happen to have come from that country whose property was confiscated, and what happens? It goes right into the pockets of the clique that runs the country.

Transcript of Donald M. Payne (D- New Jersey)
I note that in your statement you question Mr.
Dagne's suggestion that the al-Ittihid's strength and record had been exaggerated.

In my opinion, and even the State Department's, Dr.
Jendayi Frazier admitted that al-Ittihid was not dominated and run by alQaeda. And I think that, although the Islamic Courts Union Government of Somalia was not the best formed, one thing that I personally believe, and facts support, is that it is not al-Qaeda dominated. It may become, since this belligerent attack on them has occurred under our encouragement.So this is another example of where I think that our policy is going to create animosity when it could, I think, have been dealt with in another way. Incidentally, the head of ICU is not Aweys Sharif Amin is the leader of the ICU in Somalia.

Watch the full
webcast video here

Noting the above comments :

In Eritrea, Washington's shameful bias have virtually sentenced almost 300,000 youth on their military service to be on constant stand by (no war no peace) for 5 years bringing the young nation that is trying to be self sufficient to its knees. 25% of its most fertile farm land is not being utilised as the area falls under the auspices of DMZ.

All this because we took sides with a bigger dictator that currently has control over a bigger basket case of a country Ethiopia. This justifies breaking all principles of democracy and rule of law that we advocate earnestly.

You tell me how many toilets need to be built before we get the trust back of the law abiding but alienated 5 million Eritreans who were staunchly pro Americans and they were there for us when we needed them after 9-11.

If that was not sufficient, the US failed to uphold the law as a guarantor for the final and binding decision handed over by internationally recognized
Border Commission. This is virtually tantamount to telling Eritreans, rule of law does not apply to you. After waiting 5 years they started to play our game of my enemy's enemy is my friend with Somalia, so the State Department is going out of its way to threaten them with the label of sponsor of terror, although as Don Paine's transcript , CIA's report and Dr. Jendayi Frazier her self admits there are no hard line alqaeda types left in Somalia. What are left are either moderate or hard line Muslims ( After all Somalia is a fully moslem country).

If you were to ask any journalist that has been to Eritrea, they will tell you, it is one of the most secular and disciplined third world nation that you can find.
So Why are we taking sides in the already finalised, final and binding border decision ?
What is the reason, why can't we have both Ethiopia and Eritrea as allies ?

With regard to
somalia, we still are backing a discredited TFG and we were not worried about arming the very warlords that were involved in the "Black hawk dawn", now admiting there are no Alqaeda terrorists in somalia privately, why the refusal to talk to the moderate Islamists that are coming under one umbrella in Asmara conference ?
Currently what seems to bond the
Islamists is the hate of the occupier Ethiopia, but surely it is easier to coax them now with promises of aid and influence them to see the benefits of being moderate, now more than ever when they seem to have one representative rather than the usual ragtag war lords.

I have been critical towards Dr.
Jendayi Frazier before, but it seems I am not the only one. see below.
She has lost all credibility and destroyed America's image in the horn of Africa as no one else before her. Her biggest
mea culpa being her awful handling of the Ethiopian Eritrean border issue and the latest one being when she defended the Ethiopian government from the allegation of atrocities reported by MSF, which turned out correct in the end.

Jendayi Frazer, the State Department’s top Africa official, last week told a press conference in the capital of Addis Ababa that reports of atrocities in the Ogaden were simply “allegations.” “I think the Ethiopian government’s intent is not to kill civilians,” she said.

Articles about
Jendayi Frazer.
Philadelphia Inquirer
American Chronicle

She simply has to go, without exaggerating she has the same destructive effect in the horn of Africa, equivalent to what Paul
Bremerhad is remembered for in Iraq.

In conclusion I believe it is easier to lead by example, uphold rule of law, be impartial towards friends and reward good governance that America of yesterday was known for.

Delineating the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea will save us building millions of toilets. Lets not alienate and lose the 5 Million American friendly secular Eritreans that we are in the verge of losing, before we try to win new hearts and minds elsewhere. Let's drop the preposterous threat of labeling them Terrorist sponsors as it does not reflect their character and how they behaved so far.

"Eritrea Could Teach U.S. Much to Combat Terror" 2002 Donald Rumsfield.

Currently the border is calm and in the eye of perfect storm, but its destructive tentacles are already swirling and being spread in
Ogaden, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Eritrean president point of view on US foreign policy (Video).

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Is it time to rethink US foreign policy in Africa ?

When anti-American sentiment is spreading across the world and US seems powerless to stop it, why is the State Department further adding fuel to the fire by alienating friendly states ?

I started this blog to try to understand the US foreign policy U-turns in the horn of Africa and its disastrous
destablizing consequences.

U.S. considers putting Eritrea on terrorism list

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it was considering putting Eritrea on its list of state sponsors of terrorism for allegedly funneling weapons to insurgents fighting the Ethiopian-backed government in Somalia.
Putting Eritrea on the list would impose sanctions on the Horn of Africa nation, including a ban on arms-related sales, prohibitions on some U.S. aid and U.S. opposition to International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans to Eritrea.

The fragile interim Somali government, backed by troops from Eritrea's archrival Ethiopia, is fighting an Islamist insurgency in a conflict that has killed hundreds of people since December.

A U.N. monitoring group last month said large quantities of arms, including surface-to-air missiles, were flowing from Eritrea to Somalia. Eritrea has denied sending the weapons.

Diplomats say Eritrea and Ethiopia have been waging a proxy war in Somalia since last year, when Asmara backed a hard-line Islamist movement against the country's government.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said Eritrea could avoid being designated a state sponsor of terrorism if it stopped its alleged activities in Somalia.

"We are not looking to go down this route but if they continue their behavior and we put together the file that's necessary, I think it would be fairly convincing," she told reporters.

Frazer said the United States had intelligence that backed up the U.N. report.

"We are still in the process of collecting that data and ... it's an opportunity -- before they are put on the state sponsors list -- for them to change their behavior," she said

Read full article here.

Eritrea Could Teach U.S. Much to Combat Terror

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ASMARA, Eritrea, Dec. 10, 2002 – Following a meeting with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that the United States can learn much about combating terror from the people of this small African nation.

Afwerki said his country would cooperate gladly in the global war on terrorism, because it has been the victim of terrorism. In essence, he told reporters, his neighborhood is rough. The failed state of Somalia is near Eritrea, and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was based in adjacent Sudan until 1996.

Eritrea has cooperated in the war of terror and has offered facilities, intelligence, and other help such as overflight and mooring permissions to the United States and other members of the worldwide coalition, said embassy officials.

Rumsfeld noted the history of Eritrea when he said that the country of about 4.5 million people "has considerably more experience than we do over a sustained period of time" in battling terrorism. He said the United States can benefit from that experience.

Click here to read full article.