Ethiopia Accuses Eritrea of Backing al-Shabaab
Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report says the allegation that Eritrea has
funded or armed al-Shabaab is ridiculous; the Eritrean government is
probably the most scrupulously secular state on the continent -
April 14, 2015
Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977,
Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first
nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial
television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally
syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford
co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the
Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An
Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: This is the Glen Ford Report on
The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from
Eritrea and Ethiopia, two of the world's poorest countries, spent
hundreds of millions of dollars in a war between them. They have
suffered tens of thousands of casualties as a direct consequence of
this war, and all over border disputes. Now Ethiopia's calling for
more sanctions against Eritrea.
Now joining me from Plainfield, New Jersey to discuss all of this is
Glen Ford. Glen is a co-founder and executive editor of the Black
Thank you so much for joining me, Glen.
GLEN FORD, BLACKAGENDAREPORT.COM: Thanks for the opportunity, as always.
PERIES: So Glen, this is in very close proximity, Ethiopia and
Eritrea, in terms of the war going on in, that the Saudis are
perpetrating on Yemen at the moment. Tell us more about the
significance of this.
FORD: Well, whenever we talk about Eritrea the first thing we have to
do is describe where it is and maybe spell it, because so few people
seem to know that there is such a country. But it is a country of 6
million people that used to be a part of Ethiopia. It waged a war of
independence to separate itself from Ethiopia, which has about almost
100 million people. Eritrea has, as I said, about 6 million. And that
fighting basically came to a decisive phase in 2000. And then in 2002,
an international commission established a border between Ethiopia and
However, Ethiopia decided that it didn't want to recognize that
border, and since, therefore since 2002, for the last 13 years,
there's been a state of near-war between those two countries. So on
this April 13th, Eritreans around the world are staging protests and
rallies, and they're demanding that Ethiopia do recognize that border
and give peace a chance in that part of the world.
The problem here is that Ethiopia does not have to give peace a chance
with Eritrea. And it doesn't have to do that because it is a close
ally--a better word would be client state--of the United States. And
client states, whether they are Saudi Arabia or Israel or Ethiopia
have impunity to bully their neighbors under the protective umbrella
of the United States.
And that's especially true when it comes to Eritrea, because it's not
just a small place, it's a rather special small place. In fact, some
people call it the Cuba of Africa. It has declared itself to be a
country that will develop itself. It is one of only three countries in
Africa that has no relations whatsoever with AFRICOM, the U.S.
military command in Africa. It is scrupulous in its avoidance of
entanglements with multinational corporations. It refuses all manner
of foreign aid. All, of course, based on the principle of independent
And for that reason, Eritrea is on Washington's blacklist. In fact,
since 2009, the United States has used its powers at the UN to impose
sanctions on Eritrea. And the imposition of the sanctions are not as
ridiculous as the reason that's given for those sanctions. The U.S.
claims that Eritrea is somehow aiding and abetting, arming and
financing al-Shabaab. That's the Islamic fundamentalist al-Qaeda-like
outfit in Somalia.
But Eritrea has probably the most scrupulously secular government in
Africa. There is no more secular government in the whole continent
than in Eritrea. Half of Eritrea's population is Christian, about half
is Muslim. It would be insane, utterly insane, for a country such as
that to encourage Islamic fundamentalism. But it doesn't matter
whether the charge is true or not. When you're a superpower, you can
enforce it with sanctions. And we all know that sanctions are the
prelude to war. They are the last step before war.
And so here we have little Eritrea, which is not bothering anybody.
Which is trying to develop its own resources through the skills and
talents of its own people. Sitting there near what people like to call
a choke point in the Red Sea, where much of the world's oil passes
through daily, and across from a site where the U.S. and its allies
are bombing another people to hell.
With living under the threat--and I'm speaking of the Eritreans
here--living under the threat of passing that, that line in the sand
that the United States draws and being sucked into the vortex of the
war across the Red Sea, or in the expanding war in Somalia, which it
also has nothing to do with. So these are the perils of a small,
independent country in Africa if it decides that it wants to develop
its own nation based on its own instincts and [sights] and wisdom.
PERIES: And in terms of Eritrea's position on all of this and the
negotiations that are going on in the UN, what are they actually
calling for? What do they want?
FORD: Eritrea has always called for non-interference in the internal
affairs of other nations. And for good reason. It wants
non-interference in its own affairs. And of course that is the only
rational and sane position that any responsible nation would take
regarding Yemen, or regarding Somalia, for that matter. A country that
has been absolutely stripped of its sovereignty by its two neighbors,
Ethiopia and Kenya. All under the auspices, and with ample funding and
intelligence and diplomatic support, from the United States.
PERIES: Glen, as always, thank you so much for joining us. And
particularly this history lesson today.
FORD: Thank you.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
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Received on Tue Apr 14 2015 - 22:52:02 EDT