[dehai-news] Shabait.com: President Isaias' Interview with the National Media Regarding National, Regional and Global Issues - Part III

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Jan 21 2009 - 13:46:50 EST

President Isaias' Interview with the National Media Regarding National,
Regional and Global Issues - Part III
Jan 21, 2009, 14:49

Q: Excellency, the Government of Djibouti has been engaged in hostile
campaign against Eritrea. The people and Government of Eritrea have
repeatedly expressed that they are not willing to entertain squabbles and
hostility under any circumstances. Could you give us detail analysis on the
situation on the ground?

President Isaias: We have a firm policy of not entertaining squabbles.
Hence, I do not want to say anything that could open squabbles. The
President of Djibouti has declared war on Eritrea. The paper he presented to
the Security Council indicates just that. It is regretful. Where did it
originate? Who is behind it? What benefit does it have? The details are
many. All are not outside the manipulative campaigns waged against us by
external forces. When you declare war you have to know that you have a debt
that you would pay back one day. It is not our nature to entertain childish
squabbles. On our part we do not want to declare war. In fact, we do not
want war. There is no reason for us to declare war in the first place.

Q: Excellency, the US has established a military command in Africa under the
guise of fighting terrorism. And now not only the US but many other
countries are sending naval ships to Somali territorial waters and the Red
Sea in a bid to combat piracy. How do you view the aim of such interference,
its dangers and consequences? What do you think the role of the neighboring
countries should be? Don't you think Eritrea should have taken the
initiative to form a coalition among the neighboring countries to oversee
the security of the Red Sea?

question involves a number of issues. US policy, especially towards the end
of the Bush Administration, is aimed at seeking alternatives to control and
dominate the world through creating pretexts under what they call national
security strategy agenda. It is not a secret that after the end of World War
Two the global adventurism of the US Administration with a view to quenching
the interest of minority groups through military means. As stated on a
number of occasions, the Administration has always to find a pretext for its
adventurism. Many of the pretexts are their creation. Other pretexts are
made by complicating the already existing problems in order for them to find
an excuse to interfere. This is made under the pretext of terrorism, piracy,
instability and so forth. You have to first ask what the US military
strategy is. How is it executed? Where? For it might differ from region to
region. The United States has partitioned the world into different blocs of
influence and has established military commands in each bloc. How did this
happen after the Second World War? How was it developed? It has much
historical background. If we look what is happening in Africa, the US
Administration within what they call national security strategy has
partitioned the continent into different blocs in a bid to establish control
mechanisms. Such mechanisms are carried out through different means i.e.
joint military exercises, establishing offices for aid and economic
cooperation, among others. After 9/11 the logic initiated to fighting
terrorism has encouraged the US Administration to embark on more global
adventurism. One could also argue that the ill conceived terrorism has been
their creation. The global concern of terrorism has been taken as a pretext
to take military action and thereby plunder the resources of those countries
targeted. The Horn of Africa and Northern Africa are situated in a very
volatile location. The strategic maritime gateways, i.e. Straits of
Bab-el-Mandeb and the Suez Canal connecting Europe, America and other
maritime destinations are located in this region. The Gulf States which are
very rich in oil resources are located adjacent to the Red Sea. Hence, the
region due to its strategic location has been the center of complex
conflicts, out of which many have been instigated by external forces aimed
at monopolizing the rich oil resources. Thus, in their efforts to control
the rich resources, they have to have military presence in the region. The
Central Command which encompasses our region is a reflection of this
ambition. Many African countries, except a few weak ones like the one ruled
by the TPLF regime which lacks self-confidence and take the US as guarantor
for survival, have not yet accepted the formation of AFRICOM. The rationale
for the formation of AFRICOM is to combat the so-called terrorism. All the
excuses brought on the table were, however, found not to be substantive. In
real terms, AFRICOM is another establishment like those of the AU, Security
Council, and IGAD which are instruments of the US in its quest to control
the world. As we have come to understand through time, the formation of the
only command in Djibouti is not to combat terrorism but to develop terrorism
and find pretext for interference. Had there been a real motive to combat
terrorism, it could have been left for the countries of the region, for they
are the ones that are familiar with the region. The countries of the Horn,
however, have been sidelined and crippled, and in the absences of a strong
regional cooperation to fight terrorism the US is striving to pave way for
its unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of other states which
ultimately would safeguard its exploitation of resources. The program for
the formation of the military command, in its essence, is not to combat
terrorism but to serve other motives. However, the program as it is so far
rejected by many countries would not progress as needed due to the existing
financial turmoil we are witnessing in the US itself.

Q: What about the piracy problem?

This issue is related to what we have been talking about earlier. It is just
a ploy to brainwash and hypnotize people into focusing on day-to-day matters
rather than deeply reflect on real problems. What I mean is that whenever a
problem or crisis arises, one has to be able to think as to why it happened
in the first place. Terrorism is, for instance, something that denies people
any stability and can lead to even worse effects. But instead of talking
about it as a broader subject, we have to be able to think why and how it
came about. The basic reason behind the piracy problem in Somalia is the
power vacuum. Although attempts are being made to associate this problem
directly with terrorism, piracy is being maneuvered by the warlords in
Somaliland and Punt land that has been using the power vacuum to carve out
their own territories. Had there been a strong and sovereign government in
Somalia that controlled the entire nation, then we would have seen much more
stability in the areas around the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Trying
to find solutions other than this is just like going on a fool's errand. The
attempts that are being made to just fuel already brainwashed minds are not
helpful to address the real problem. If you are looking for a solution or
remedy, then you would have to first identify the cause, and thus bring
about meaningful solution. But just as the case of terrorism, the problem of
piracy has now become a blessing in disguise. I am not saying there were not
any soldiers, but there had also been French, German, US and other naval
forces armed with sophisticated weapons. If you look at it from a military
angle, what are the chances of a very large ship monitoring and capturing a
small fiberglass- made boat? It would be very difficult to control piracy
this way. Even if you try to control piracy in this manner, it would require
a huge number of highly skilled manpower, sophisticated monitoring devices,
besides knowledge about the culture and habits of the pirates. The Somalis
have unique characteristic features as a people, and I don't think there is
anything that can stop them from doing such kind of work. In addition, they
are doing this around an area which they are familiar with and the boats
they use are very small ones made of fiberglass that are a very convenient
hide. But what is the purpose and objective of external interference in this
case? Is it possible to solve the problem this way? As I mentioned earlier,
the region is a very strategic area and considering the amount of traffic
that goes back and forth this way, it is not difficult to imagine the
economic implications. We can say that due to the instability created by the
piracy problem, a lot of companies and investors have incurred huge losses.
But this situation has also enabled insurance companies to raise their
premiums and they have been able to amass huge profits. The pirates do not
represent the Somali people; they only work for themselves and they have
been able to collect millions of dollars this way. The Somali people don't
gain anything from this practice. Thus, the focus should be in bringing
about a basic solution, and for that to happen the power vacuum should be
filled. If a government that can completely control its land, sea and air
territories is set up, then there might definitely be a change for
stability. Hence, the attempts that are being made to cover up the real
problems are just in turn exacerbating matters further. It is true that some
states whose interests have been compromised might engage their naval
warships but they will not be able to solve the problem this way. Since the
piracy problem is taking place around the Bab El Mendeb, the Gulf of Aden
and the Somali coastline, there should be a joint initiative by states
bordering the Red Sea. But in taking initiatives, we might feel certain
hesitation. For instance, IGAD was initially a generally weak organization
but we actively participated in the initiative to transform it into an
organization for meaningful economic and development cooperation. However,
in the end the organization continued to serve as a mere tool for the US
Administration. We recognize the need for cooperation and stability to be
secured in the Red Sea, and all the concerned states do have the capacity to
participate. But for such cooperation to be effective, there has to be a
clear mechanism free from external interference. A regional cooperation
scheme representing foreign interest can have no meaning. It has to be clear
whether the cooperation will serve the interests of the countries bordering
the Red Sea or the interest of the US Administration. There is no need now
for us to talk about the policy and stance of others; but since there is
always an obstruction to a worthwhile cause, it will require careful
consideration of all moves. It might take time for such cooperation to
develop, but if we look at it from a broader perspective, instability in the
Red Sea region is in the interest of not only the countries bordering it but
also the north and north-eastern African nations, the Gulf States and Saudi
Arabia. The Red Sea also has a global significance which everyone
recognizes. But as I referred to earlier, the initiative should be taken
through the cooperation of those who can bring about the desired outcome.
Nonetheless, the ones who take the initiative should be clear on their
structure and objectives and should examine the sincerity and motives of
those who participate. But this is something we will have to wait and see in
due course. Our reservations from taking a hasty step emanate from the
desire not to repeat past mistakes.

Q: Moving on to the issue of the Middle East, as we all know a number of
attempts have been made to solve the problem since the early 1990s. There
was the Oslo Accord then in Madrid, and more recently in Annapolis. When in
1993 the world hailed the Oslo Accord as a miracle, you had said that it was
impractical and would lead to further mistakes. As we can sea, the region is
still embroiled in violent clashes. In an interview you conducted with the
Al-Ahram newspaper, you said that both sides have no desire to resolve the
problem. Can you clarify on that statement?

is a very board topic, one that embraces a very long history that can't be
covered within a short period. In my opinion, it is not difficult to anyone
who has the will and the candid desire to bring about peace and justice, to
analyze and evaluate the accountability or applicability of the means being
pursued to bring about the desired solution. This is with regards to the
situation in the Middle East since the '90th and prior to the 90th. The
background of the situation in the Middle East dates way back and is very
broad. But keeping its history aside, one thinks how to overcome the
difference between Israel and Palestine? How to resolve the differences
between Israel and the Arabs and how the Israeli or the Palestinians
experience a peaceful life? What should be done to bring about peace and
stability in that region? What are the factors that can bring this peace in
that region? It is not difficult to analyze whether this particular step
would attain the set target. Brezenski, a National Security Councilor for
former US President Jimmy Carter, has written many books among which is "The
Second Chance" which he wrote in 2007. In this book, he has tried to
illustrate the US era as a superpower during the presidencies of George Bush
Sr., Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. the book narrates how the US
superpower status happed to look like under these three administrations. The
book has about 200 pages but it embraces very important observations. The
bottom line here is that this topic is very broad and the writer has tried
to capture some of the facts of this issue in some pages of the book. It can
be said that the situation in the Middle East or the dispute between the
Israelis and the Palestinians can be attributed to the acts of the Bush
Administration. It can be said that this Administration has initiated it. A
change of attitude in the policy of US towards this region has also been
witnessed in the period of the Clinton Administration. The book has revealed
what the cause of this situation in the Middle East is. Many books and
articles have been published on this issue, books from different ideological
backgrounds, perspectives and outlooks, from every corner of the world those
who advocate what Israel is doing and those who support the stance of the
Palestinians and the Arabs as a whole. There are a lot of materials to those
who want to read and know about this issue in depth. All these agreements in
the name of bringing a solution to this issue such as the Oslo Accord, the
conventions in the Madrid, Camp David or the Annapolis are not new
inventions. It is not something that just happened. Hence, in his book
Brezenski explains that the main problems must be identified first in order
to bring about a solution. That is quite an outstanding observation. He
mentions that George Bush personally and his Administration are the
complicating factors behind the unsolved issues of the Middle East, that
they are fomenting the unrest in the Middle East. Although I can't say that
I agree with everything he has written, I have my own concerns on some
issues that might differ with what he has written. But generally speaking,
he has eloquently described the situation in the Middle East. According to
the author's accounts, Israel is not ready to solve the issue at hand and
the agreements usually signs are very vague and usually pave a way to
beating around the bush. Israeli's policy in this issue is to build walls by
creating a certain situation; it expands the settlements, counterattack
responses that will fuel the situation, these and other unnecessary moves
are complicating the matter. I don't want to add more to the accounts of his
observations since these speak louder themselves. He has explained that
Israel doesn't want to engage in peace agreements or processes and that it
has its own procedures to follow when it comes to the attempts that are
being made to bring peace in that region. He has also highlighted the Bush
Administration's role, one by one in this particular topic. What is his
conclusion in this? He concludes saying that the Bush Administration or the
US statues themselves as a superpower during his presidency could have
solved the issue of the Middle East. But Washington's favoritism to Israel
has eventually changed the role of the US in this issue. He has detailed out
what Israel does within the forces and what the role of the Bush
Administration has been in such cases. It is good that everybody should know
about this issue and if through the radio some important parts of the
author's book could be broadcast it would be good, because this is his
observation and one can learn a lot from it. When we come to the Palestinian
side, the Ramalah is the Palestine's choice. Starting from the Oslo Accord,
it has been like this, maybe Arafat's first impression of the Oslo Accord
when he signed it and later its development when it took time might not be
as anticipated. It is the fault on his part for signing the Oslo Accord.
Both governments here don't want to resolve their differences and as I have
mentioned it with Al-Ahram newspaper, both governments have been chasing a
wild goose and have been signing agreements now and then that so far did not
bring about any change in existing state of affairs on the ground. Even now
they are engaged in the same futile attempts. The Annapolis came following
suit of the Madrid and Oslo, which came after the Camp David agreements.
Talking about peace and stability when there are no tangible efforts towards
peace and stability on the ground has been the story of that region, and
look what has happened to the Annapolis Agreement; they have been saying
that the peace agreement is to be implemented in 2008, who are they trying
to mock here? Okay, if it is said that this issue is to be solved through
peaceful means and that there is no need for violence, but to say this one
must have a tangible reason. You just can't go on announcing that there will
be peace without having a clear assessment of the situation. We can't
discuss here if Hamas is at fault or not or what wrong moves it took,
because this is another topic and is their own internal affair. It has been
said that a government has been formed in Palestine and elections conducted.
We have seen the outcome of the vote. This was not the question of Hamas but
a stage for the Palestinians to express their wish; but we all have seen
what has happened. How this incident was turned into something that wasn't
intended to happen at the fi rst place. We are observing what is happening
there too; it really is pathetic to see the situation in Gaza and its
developments every hour. A statement has also been issued concerning these
developments. But the bottom line here is to ask if a solution can be
achieved with this approach? Are the parties involved or the mediators in
this issue working diligently towards the realization of peace and stability
in the region? Their last minute notice says that sovereignty of the two
states is to be confirmed. The content of this agreement lacks coherent
meaning in both letter and spirit. You can't really know where it leads to;
you will be lost in its ambiguity. If there is anyone who believes that
according to the agreement two states, namely Israel and Palestine are to
exist as two separate states, then this person needs to read the agreement
and decide for himself or herself the applicability of this agreement. Can
this truly lead to the intended destiny? This is not a timetable, may be
this is my personal analysis, but I think time is also on my side when I say
this. Time will unfold everything. This is a very difficult situation. Why
is this chase of a wild goose? Why can't a tangible outcome be brought
about? Who does not want to see Israel enjoying peace and living in peace
with its neighbors? Why the all the casualties and destruction? This should
be an issue that concerns not only the involved parties but also the whole
region, the world at large and also ours because it influences us too. This
is the whole world's issue. This region and this particular issue has come
to be one of the world's challenging issues presenting the US with
challenging cases and many other countries. It has been influencing the
relations among these countries within and outside their region. This issue
has gone for decades without any solution to it; the region has been
embroiled in continuous clashes. Hence, if there is anyone that wants to
contribute or make an observation, he or she should observe these things so
closely. There is none among us who wants to see the constant miseries and
quagmire in this region. Even the agreements that have been concluded had no
hope of bringing about peace in that region. According to my analysis, the
Oslo Accord or the new agreements that have been signed or the approach of
the two parties involved towards this issue is not following the right path
that can secure peace and stability.

Q: The US Administration is of the opinion that if the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is going to be solved, the Palestinians must give up. And when King
Abdalla of Jordan initiated attempts of mediation in 2006, the Palestinians
started resorting to suicide bombings. Isn't this somewhat questionable?

These things are not new. Suicide bombings have been around. But you cannot
use suicide bombings as a pretext to put the mediation endeavors to a halt.
One of the points that are mentioned, both Israeli and the Bush
Administration believe that the issue will find a solution once the
Palestinians give up; this is one of the points that are mentioned there.
But one important point, Israel might have advantage when compared to its
neighbors, military wise that is. And the US cannot try to reconcile.
Radicalization and resistance that are being experienced in that region are
caused by that. Or as the Bush Administration would put it, it is a
disaster. What has Israel gained from this? Although they may conclude that
it is to their advantage, Israel cannot apply force to get a solution. In
fact, I think this would eventually bring demise to Israel. It is an eye
opening and informative report, because it would help one see who the actors
are, their interests and finally allow an insight into the probable
solution. We can't do anything beyond our powers, but it is useful to look
at things clearly.

Q: Many civilians have died in the war in Gaza, resulting in an
international outcry. But there haven't been enough steps on the part of
organizations or governments to stop the war, especially the Arab League.
Shouldn't the League act on this case? The Eritrean Foreign Ministry also
issued a press release condemning the attacks; wouldn't this set us at odds
with Israel?

The fact that there aren't any steps so far to quell the war is something
that is being reiterated over and over again. The US is the party that is
expected to play a major role in bringing a solution. However, the US
Administration uses its veto power to block solutions proposed at the
Security Council. At this point, something should have already been done to
even a few of the innocent civilians dying there. The Bush Administration
blocked solutions. And on the issue of what could be done by organizations
such as the Arab League in the first place, I don't think we could regard
the Arab League as a representing organization there. It doesn't even amount
to much; perhaps that organization is the weakest among the existing
regional organizations. It has not got any powers at all. Before we even
speak of what it should do or not do, it must function. There is even a lot
of conflict among Arab nations. We are of the opinion that there must be a
solution to this issue; we believe that the Palestinians and Israelis
deserve peace and stability. Our intentions are based on such goodwill. We
are not really scared of the consequences that might result because we have
stood up for justice. The pointless killings and murders on both sides must
come to an end; a solution must be achieved for the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. And so to speak, so many Jewish intellectuals do not support what
is going on. Perhaps it is a minor group that voices such opinions, perhaps
the civilian population too. This being said, to claim something that is not
entirely truthful and proposing something that totally ignores the situation
at hand would be almost synonymous with taking sides. No contribution could
come if we censored ourselves by saying such things as 'would the US like
what we are saying' or 'would the Arab nation like what we are saying' and
so on. We shape our opinions thinking of solutions and stability of the
region. Although there are so many books and reports that are written
proposing solutions, some of them are not even balanced. But no one should
be scared of the truth.

Q: Coming to the issue of Ira, the outgoing Bush Administration is claiming
that the invasion of Iraq was erroneous as it was based on fl awed
intelligence information. Is that the real cause? What experiences can we
draw from the US invasion of Iraq?

Perhaps this would fool someone who is brainwashed by the media outlets
working to the interest of the United States. But I only see this as a
public relations gimmick. If we ask what that piece of information or
intelligence that was used as a pretext for invading Iraq, it is the report
that was submitted by the UN Arms Inspection Committee that visited Iraq. We
also remember how Colin Powell submitted a report to the Security Council
saying that the US has got evidence about Iraq producing weapons of mass
destruction. The Sadam Hussein regime was not perhaps the best thing. But
invading Iraq because of that? The truth wasn't probably hidden from the
CIA, the Senate, or US intelligence agencies. If we look back in history, we
could see how the United States was close to the Saddam regime and tried to
use it as a pawn against Iran. The situation got reversed when Saddam was
against them, just a little reflection on how the Bush Administration
attempts to secure things; such as oil or geopolitical strategy. The
American public is releasing this, public support to the Bush Administration
has declined by no less than 25%, the rest 75% wants an immediate cessation
of American involvement. I wouldn't buy this public relations stunt which
they are engaging in, claiming it was a misjudgment caused by fl awed

Q: When you refer to some of the books published today by ex-officials of
the US Administration, they reveal that the so-called sophisticated
institution- the White House, is scrap. For instance, most of the officials
Tenet with Colin Powell, Rums field with Colin Powell, Powell with
Condoleezza Rice, Condoleezza with Rums field, Dick Cheney with Powell and
so on explain themselves that there were deep controversies among them and
each institution was working to weaken the other one. For instance, it is
now disclosed that there was an error in the security birch of information
on Bush's speech in the UN known as the 16 notorious words. However, the
world considers the US security agencies as one of the superb one. Your
opinion on this?

I don't have such kind of speculations. You don't forever forge agreements
or concepts or manipulate intelligence. The plot is always there not only on
the security political spheres but also economically. Damn is always a
blind; not even his heart or his brain. The techniques, institutions and
technology they use to get their advantage are very sophisticated. So many
books have been published in recent time by Tenet, Grimspon, or even Blair.
Aside from this there are also numerous articles and books written by
scholars who are not in power in form of books or literature. There are also
articles written by advisors or speech writers to these officials. It is not
that they are sophisticated or not, it is just that these people are a mess
up. We only say that it was revealed now taking a long time. So you can't
say that these institutions who want to seize or control the world use
sophisticated techniques. There is a book written by Grimspon. The systems
they use back then now lead to this disastrous financial and economic
recession. He spoke out at the Congress about this, which goes aside with
their culture bringing a reason for the failure you had. You can't say that
their system is superb but it only reveals their altered mechanisms of
giving a Deaf ear to pubic opinion. These articles or books are not only as
regards the Bush Administration. And the problems arose from an advantageous
small group. Even when you look at some of the writings they are some kind
of a fl ak story. Reading every piece can give you a glimpse of the real
scenario, especially when you do it comparing the articles or books written
by those who were ex-officials and the scholars out of politics. It also
helps you to look forward. However, you couldn't come to the conclusion that
these institutions, officials or groups exercise superb mechanism. With the
downfall of the Soviet Union that had earlier guaranteed balance of power, a
conducive atmosphere was created to this small advantageous group which led
to adventurism. As a pretext, terrorism came to the fore. There might be
other incidents that could be a reason for this thinking that we are talking
about. The idea of controlling and dominating the world doesn't come only
after WW II, even though there were some thoughts before the war. But then
they had limitations in their capacity. Later, there was a military threat-
the USSR was there. Even after the 90s I just say it as confounded time.
Brezenski also wrote about the Clinton presidency. But at the time of the
Bush Administration this small group got ground. The wave witnessed in the
past 8 years haven't ever been seen before. The main objective becomes
possessing, controlling and so on. Also the existing financial and economic
recession in addition to the US history and background facilitated their
agenda. Why various problems surfaced during the Bush presidency which has
never been seen before? Huntington writes about anything and then they call
it history. Someone else comes and writes and still they call it.a
philosophical ground that clarify their ideologies has glow and they called
this as clash of civilization. And this took its own meaning and start to
work for the non-existence of a nation state. Numerous writings and books of
this small group start to dispatch which explains its ideology; and fasten
its pace. It is the continuation of the adventurous ideology when you see
the acts and conspiracies being plotted in Afghanistan, Iraq, in our region
and elsewhere. Though the ultimate loss would be very catastrophic indeed.
We can imagine the developments witnessed only taking the American economic
recession and the US global position as indicators. Instead the good thing
is that it enhanced the acumen of the people in the world within a short
period, besides mounting international opposition against it. Hence, we can
say that this acumen gave rise to the election of Obama. Therefore, US
history from the end of the 19th century, the whole 20th century and the
first 8 years of the 21st century is as I mentioned earlier. But what have
we seen with the coming of one economic order with the US role in the world?
It is an imperative lesson that we are getting from the articles, research
papers, writings and so on published by scholars and historians about the
issue. It is not that we only can do it. In addition, it enriches our
peoples' thinking about the prevailing world scenario. I think this should
be taken in a broader manner so as to give deep analysis.



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