Date: Sat Dec 19 2009 - 23:01:14 EST
Taking a Superpower for a Ride
Ghidewon Abay Asmerom
December 19, 2009
It is hard to imagine that a Superpower like the U.S. can be easily duped
by dubious players, but that is exactly what has been happening with U.S.
foreign diplomacy for decades. Many state leaders, interest groups and
individuals have been taking American power, influence and wealth for a ride and
exploiting America to suit their various and dangerous agendas. Many times,
when you see long-term American interest being compromised and sacrificed
for the sake of short-term report embellishing, pocket padding, and
personal vendettas, you cannot help it but lament as to where competent and clean
diplomats have gone.
Over the years regimes and individuals have used different cards to get
full and blind U.S. support. During the Cold War the card was "fighting
Communism". This card had been adroitly exploited by many. For example Ethiopia
and Indonesia were given full U.S. support and blessing to illegally annex
their neighbors (Eritrea and East Timor in that order). In the process
millions of innocent Eritreans and East Timorese were subjected to brutal
occupation and oppression. South Africa's Apartheid and Southern Rhodesia's
(today's Zimbabwe) Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) were justified
and provided with U.S. and UK veto shield at the UN Security Council for
decades for the sake of this "anti-Communism" card. Zaire's Mobutu, Chile's
Pinochet, and others were also graced with unwavering U.S. support, no matter
how repressive and despotic they were, because they had the crucial ace of
"anti Communism" slogan up their sleeves.
Starting in the mid 1990s, but more so after 9/11 the phrase "war on
terror" has worked like a charm for all those who want to entice the U.S. into
their side. The heinous crimes against humanity that were perpetrated in
Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, and New York and Washington on 9/11 are now
being exploited by different nations for their cryptic as well as obvious
agendas. The desire to win the "war on terror" has clouded U.S. foreign
policy. One group that is taking the U.S. for a ride and duping U.S. Africa
policy leadership is the minority regime in Ethiopia. Should U.S. long term
interest be sacrificed trusting certified liars like Ethiopia's Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi who are only bringing the ace of fighting terrorism in order
to continue their illegal occupation of Eritrean territories, the chaos in
Somalia, and the subjugation of Ethiopia's non Tigrean population to
untold horrors? It is a question that deserves an urgent attention.
It has to be emphasized the sanction the U.S. is threatening to impose on
Eritrea through the UN Security Council is not about Somalia, the welfare of
the Somali people, peace in the Horn of Africa or the long-term interest
of the U.S. and its security. The often cited reason, the baseless
allegation of "Eritrea has been militarily aiding Somalia insurgents" has been
handily discredited. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Somali version
of Iraqi's Ahmed Chalabi, couldn't produce an iota of evidence for his lies.
Like the now infamous WMD charges in an earlier push for sanctions and
action through the UN Security Council the charge against Eritrea is also a
pure hoax. It is a shame President Obama’s foreign policy team hasn't learned
a lesson from previous administrations' policy blunders.
Instead of admitting the accusation against Eritrea was a pure fabrication
and thinking out of the box to solve Somalia's problems, now the music has
changed. The world is being told the chief reason for the sanction on
Eritrea is now "Eritrea is providing logistic, financial and political support
to Somalis". The logistic support that has been cited as an offence is the
peace conference for the reconstitution of Somali that Eritrea convened in
2007. It is to be remembered, the president of the current incarnation of
the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed,
was elected at the Asmara conference to spearhead the healing of Somalia.
Two years later, the U.S. and Ethiopia, the very powers that ousted him from
power during their 2007 invasion and occupation of Somalia, have picked him
as their sole man that can save Somalia.
The other charge against Eritrea is that of giving financial support to the
Somalis. Everyone knows Eritrea is in no financial position to aid
Somalia. Every precious dollar Eritrea has, is getting directed to critical
projects in food security, health and educational infrastructures. Thus the
finger of accusation for financing the chaos in Somalia needs to point somewhere
In addition to Ethiopia, another group suspected of financing the war in
Somali, according to the New York Times from December 12, 2009, consists of
"Somali contractors" and "Somali businessmen, who have been working for
years with the United Nations World Food Program to deliver emergency rations".
Again, according to the New York Times these same war profiteers had
"recently led the American government to delay food shipments to Somalia at a
time when millions of Somalis are a few meals away from starvation."—Jeffrey
Gettleman, NYT, December 12, 2009.
It is not farfetched to assume that these people are in bed with some
corrupt officials at the UN, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. As the NYT article put it,
we can say these financiers of war have "marafiki" (Kiswahili word for
friends) at high places. Is it any wonder then these forces would shy from
trying to scapegoat Eritrea? The threat of sanction against Eritrea is thus
being orchestrated by people who are interested in covering the behinds of
their "friends". Here is how one of these is boasting of taking the U.S. for
"Allah has finally come to our rescue. We've served as cold war proxy
battle ground, as a regional battle ground, and we've been in a civil war. We
appealed to everyone to help us, but no one came. So finally we appealed to
Allah. We asked him to give us oil, so as to interest the Americans, or else
we said, we need a couple of fighters from Afghanistan. So now the Somali’
s have a weapon: We are a staging ground for the fight against global
terrorism. After so many years, with our piracy and our jihad we are finally
able to project fear".— Jon Lee Anderson, The Most Failed State, The New
Yorker. Dec. 14, 2009.
As for Eritrea it does not have oil and is not ready, out of principle, to
take in the U.S. for a ride. That is why it is being blamed and targeted.
The secular government of Eritrea is doing its best to keep Eritrea’s
exemplary harmonious coexistence of its Christian and Moslem population. For this
it has long been in the crosshair of international terrorists. What is
more outrageous is when the U.S., a country you expect to understand and
sympathize, a country that has been also a victim of terrorism like Eritrea, is
leading the campaign to put sanctions against Eritrea. Why? because Eritrea’
s enemies have duped the U.S. Eritrea was the first victim of Osama bin
Laden, long before he set his sights on the United States. Eritrea deserves
help not such a treatment by the US. That is why this unjust threat of
sanction should be opposed by all who are genuinely for peace and security, as
well as by those who want to defeat international terrorism. A superpower
like the U.S. should no more be taken for a ride by those who are not
genuinely for peace.
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