Israel: Eritrea destabilizes Horn of Africa

Israel‘s ambassador to Ethiopia, Oded Ben-Haim, in an interview with Ethiopia’s Walta Information Center, charged that Eritrea is trying to destabilize the peace process in the Horn of Africa, and serving as a save haven for terrorist groups. Ben-Haim especially accused Eritrea of supporting and arming al-Shabab, the insurgent group in Somalia, and also asserted Eritrean ties to the Palestinian Hamas. He called upon Ethiopia to “continue bringing stability in the Horn of Africa and to the whole continent.” (WIC, March 19)

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki meanwhile harshly rejected any effort to mediate his border dispute with Ethiopia. Last week, Ethiopia said it supported efforts by Libyan leader and new African Union chairman Moammar Qaddafi to arbitrate between Addis Ababa and Asmara, but doubted the initiative would be successful. “The political and diplomatic campaigns undertaken by [Ethiopia] are but wicked ploys designed to appease the Eritrean people and international community,” Eritrean state media quoted Isaias as saying.

The Eritrean leader emphasized that “as long as sovereign Eritrean territories remain under occupation, engaging in dialogue about any issue is totally illogical.” A 2002 border decision by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) gave the flashpoint border town of Badme to Eritrea, but Ethiopia initially rejected the ruling. Addis Ababa has since said it wants further talks.

Eritrea is also involved in a border dispute with Djibouti; the two countries briefly want to war last year, and tensions remain high. In mid-January, the UN Security Council gave Eritrea five weeks to withdraw its forces from the Red Sea coastal area of Ras Doumeira and Doumeira Island. Asmara has rejected the call. (Angola Press, Feb. 24)

Following the brief Eritrea-Djibouti war last year, Jeffrey Gettleman New York Times, May 25, 2008:

Despite the fact that these two countries barely register on the map, it is the map itself that is part of the problem. Scholars say that the border area was never properly demarcated, and that the best guidance as to who owns what goes back to a vague communiqué between France and Italy more than 100 years ago. They were the colonial powers at the time, with France occupying what is now Djibouti and Italy controlling what is now Eritrea.

According to John Donaldson, a research associate at the International Boundaries Research Unit, a British institute that studies border disputes, France and Italy agreed in 1901 that no third country could rule the Doumeira area, and that specific border issues would be dealt with later.

“It’s very complicated,” he said. “But the question was basically left up in the air.”

Djiboutian officials said the Eritreans made a play for this area in the mid-1990s, producing old documents and saying that the territory was theirs. But Djiboutian officials said that their trump card is an 1897 treaty between Ethiopia and France that clearly states that the Doumeira area was French.

According to the Djiboutian government, the Eritreans asked in January if they could cross the border to get some sand to build a road. Instead, they occupied a hilltop and started digging trenches.

“In one word, they cheated,” said Col. Ali Soubaneh Chirdon, who commands the Djiboutian soldiers lined up on the border.

The move seemed to be part of Eritrea’s less-than-neighborly relations with just about all of its neighbors. In the 1990s, Eritrea clashed with Yemen over the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea; battled Sudan-backed rebels on its western frontier; and fought Ethiopia, the second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, over a little border town called Badme. That conflict killed 100,000 people and is still not resolved.

But Gettleman offered no quote from an Eritrean official.

See our last post on the Horn of Africa.

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  1. Eritrea is a Threat Of A Good Example
    Eritrea: Ten Major Security Achievements in Ten Years

    Against all odds Eritreans achieved what many countries take for granted, independence and many successes relative to the short history. However, the achievements of the last ten years standout because of the existential threats Eritrea faced from every direction. Eritrea faced military, economic, diplomatic and political challenges in addition to the massive humanitarian challenges posed as a result of unwarranted aggression by Ethiopia’s minority regime sponsored by the US and EU. Eritreans were uprooted and displaced by the hundreds of thousands; their fertile land rendered out of use as a result of occupation that was meant to frustrate Eritreans into submission. It was a death sentence averted by the strength of the people of Eritrea.

    How Eritrea achieved independence is the foundation and a formula for her successes and survival. The formula: regardless of the raging wars, hardship and no matter what is happening; a disciplined, principled approach to governance and development efforts must go on. Let the Camel March!

    During the anniversary celebration occasion of Dimtsi-Hafash (a key radio program during the struggle for liberation) in Nov of 2008, Mrs. Weini G/Zgiher of ERiTV told a story of her start. She stated she was not familiar with broadcasting. At the time of her start, wars raged throughout Eritrea. And her first job as a reporter was to talk about domestic matters. Naturally she felt that she betrayed her comrades for not fighting by their side. However, her mentors assured her she was doing equally as important job fighting with words rather than bullets and the domestic reporting was a crucial piece. The Ministry of Information, ERiTV and its programming are byproducts of Dimtsi Hafash in a larger scale. The formula was the same for agriculture, education, medicine, road construction and so forth. Start small with big intent, grassroots bottom up approach.

    At the core of the formula lies a mindset that puts priority on the social consciousness of the Eritrean public to be aware, organize, arm to defend and develop (In Tigrigna, Hafash Yinkah, Yiwedeb, Yiteatek; Sine Aemurawi Mahberawi Haili). The mindset is the salvation of Eritrea from the Neo Colonialism US and EU consistently push on Africa. Eritrea’s achievements are based on peace, strength, stability, flexibility, truth, independence and the ability to adapt to any situation.

    From 1998-2008, in 10 years, Eritrea achieved a great deal. And the accomplishments listed below are national security related and stand out for brilliance.

    I) PR Victory over TPLF led by the Chief Mercenary Gang Meles Zenawi Eritrea was caught off guard by major PR offensive unleashed against her. After the war broke out in May of 1998, Washington Post published a front page article showing horrific pictures of women and wounded kids in Tigray. Eritrea became the aggressor and the guilty party in the public opinion. The image took a long time to repair because the world was not familiar with situation. The minority regime in Ethiopia played a perfect victim. They used the conflict with Yemen and enlisted the help of Sudan to turn Eritrea into a war mongering nation. David Shinn, Paul Henze, Gail Smith and the like came out to reinforce the message and paint a distorted deceitful picture of Eritrea. They painted Eritrea as aggressive, Tiny-Eritrea, defeated Eritrea by the superior Ethiopian army and a frail Eritrea that is going to collapse. The desperados of Eritrea came out of their hibernating-cocoons, smelling blood and chanting TWGAHMO from every direction. They used democracy freedom of speech and religious rights to label Eritrea dark and as a country in a state of confusion.

    That changed after the FINAL and BINDING Hague Decision in 2000 that ruled Badme to be Eritrean. First the TPLF gang claimed victory but later changed their mind. They insulted The Hague decision and the Court to justify their rejection. Meles, Sium and the Weyane gangs kept changing their minds for political expediency first accepting it, later accepting it in principle, then a conditional acceptance, dialogue and on and on; while Eritrea remained steady and committed to the ruling with a disciplined message that never wavered. The flaps, duplicity, lies, deceit, and the bad intent exposed Meles and his gang. The international community, the region and most importantly Ethiopians saw the criminals for what they are, as worst political prostitutes. Meles said and sold anything, gambled with lives of the people of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and region as a whole. Meles received unparalleled financial, logistical, PR and institutional support on Capitol Hill. However, Eritrea foiled all attempts rendering the fainthearted who claimed Eritrea didn’t know diplomacy mute. Eritrea is a key force for peace in the region.

    2) Exposed the True Actors of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Conflict Bare After the Cold War President H.W. Bush proclaimed a New World Order. The world was unaware of the meaning and its impact. The message and politics used at the time was smart. It was easy to sell USA particularly after liberation of Kuwait. President Clinton played even smoother politics. He came praising African leaders including Eritrea as the new generation of African leaders. However, that was the kiss of death. After the conflict erupted between Eritrea and Ethiopia, US, while consistently claiming to be friends with both countries sided with Ethiopia creating major problems for Eritrea. First the US used African Union and UN leaders to put pressure on Eritrea into making concessions that can give Ethiopia strategic advantages like the Temporary Security Zone 25 miles inside Eritrea and the flight moratorium. Eritrea accommodated for the sake of peace. Ethiopia, with the green light from US attacked Eritrea in violation while the US envoy Richard Holbrook was in Asmara in talks with president Isayas. However, Ethiopia was defeated with thousands killed in the volcanic grounds of Aseb, a defeat that forced the signing of The Algiers Agreement.

    The campaign to change the ruling never stopped, diplomats and envoys like Lloyd Axworthy were summoned to pressure Eritrea. Eritrea stood firm demanding complete demarcation while Ethiopia danced with the help of UN lead by Kofi Anan. That too failed. Eventually the real actor, US, emerged with Dr. Janday Frazer leading a cartographic expert unit to demarcate the border like a cake and stated she didn’t want to split a church. Eritrea didn’t play the game. Dr. Frazer undeterred took ownership of the situation and made it a personal mission thus exposing the US as noted by Ambassador Bolton in his book “Surrender is No Option.”

    3) Achieved Demarcation of Eritrean Ethiopian Borders The confused minority regime called the Virtual Demarcation a “Legal Fiction” insulting The Hague judges as comedians. However, after President Gadafi’s initiative to solve the border dispute; Meles is on record asking for political concessions? Every attempt to change The Hague ruling by Ethiopia and US failed. The Hague concluded its work by handing the final map to the UN to be recognized by the world! Nothing Meles can say or do to change that!

    4) Nudged UNMEE out of Eritrea
    Throughout its history, the UN is notorious for its lack of achievements, corruption, incompetence and legacy that embraced pedophilia. It is also a tool for the West to undermine the sovereignty of weak strategic nations. The UN summoned the Carabineri Italian police as UNMEE soldiers and attempted to control the streets of Asmara. UN and its masters believed Eritreans could identify with their fascist colonizers and allow them to do as they wish. They were wrong! Eritrea stopped all attempts designed to undermine sovereignty. The UN and its creator’s agenda had nothing to do with the demarcation of the border; they created UNMEE as part of a much bigger agenda.

    Eritrea’s systematic nudge is the first and a big blow to UNMEE/UN. Eritrea remained firm embracing the rule of law and ascertained to the world clearly, Eritrea is a nation that can stand her grounds. That was a major trial and clearly a delicate balancing fit to achieve. It was a victory and commendable achievement for the leaders and the people of Eritrea.

    5) Repatriated IDP’s.
    It was heart breaking to witness Eritrean kids learning under trees after their schools and houses were destroyed by the minority TPLF clique. Thousands were forced to vacate their land and relegated to makeshift habitat away from their fertile land and were subjected to handouts. These are proud and capable people rendered helpless as a result of unnecessary and unforgivable aggression. Eritrea was masterful in carefully repatriating hundreds of thousands balancing their security, shelter, medical and school; agricultural land, economic and social needs while under tremendous duress. This does not include the 70,000 plus that were forcibly expelled out of Ethiopia by the Criminal Meles Zenawi.

    6) Reversed Diplomatic Advantages Ethiopia enjoyed The duplicitous two timing Gang leader Mercenary Meles Zenawi succeed in creating alliances of conveniences with Sudan and Yemen. The security implications could have been dire for Eritrea because Sudan and Yemen sit atop a strategic maritime gateways and share boarders with Eritrea. The alliance was meant to isolate, marginalize, and suffocate Eritrea by killing all her trading options as well as to frustrate the people of Eritrea into revolting against the government.

    Eritreans need to be proud of the way Eritrean leaders convincingly reestablished firm relation from a position of strength reversing any advantages Meles enjoyed. How Eritrea reestablished ties with the Sudan was remarkable for its witty, decisive, forward looking and lasting approach. However, it has been overlooked because Eritrea’s challenges are always seismic. It is also significant because it evicted Eritrean enemies from Sudan denying them a staging ground for their terrorist activities and sent them to Addis for crumbs from Aite Meles.

    7) Affirmed her position from Strength
    Eritreans must be proud of their leaders for standing on principle; for not selling- out their long term goals for short term gains. For understanding what it takes and for sticking to their guns no matter what. During an interview with Voice of Eritrea DC in 2000, General Sibhat Efrem made a remarkable statement that is eerie but true. He said, “Eritrea, as a young nation and like many before her will face major challenges. If she prevails she will be successful as a nation.” That is the mindset that withstood all the trickery and deceitful strategies of the West peeling layer by layer, exposing their true nature. Eritrea is the embodiment of strength, and example of how to stand for the greater good based on firm grounds. The people of Somalia have learned, people of South Sudan have benefited from it and the stability of the Horn will stem from it. Al-Arabia noted the first country that came out with firm stand against the Israeli annihilation and massacres in Gaza to be Eritrea. Soon there after, many countries responded to public outrage and took the same position. The diplomatic advantage gained from it by winning the populace was immeasurable.

    8) ERiTV
    ERiTV is a nightmare to the enemies of Eritrea, a tool of communication and a credible source of information for the people in the Horn of Africa. After the war broke out in 1998, information was limited. Eritreans in the Metro DC run to the ECCC to collect information, briefing and press releases. The rest came from BBC and other Western media outlets. The information was biased, agenda driven, misleading and geared at making Eritrea look small in every sense. It was frustrating because the situation was fluid and the developments were not apparent. Most people were on the phone with each other creating network-groups of information to try to keep up. Information was scarce; the source for the internet information was the same, Western sources that set the agenda, the story line and the winners and losers. The picture of the war was distorted because they elected not to show Ethiopian atrocities, denying the world truth. Eritreans were frustrated, but thanks to ERiTV, Eritreans get news directly. It is a crucial pillar for any nation but for Eritrea it is a tool for survival, a sense of pride, a tool to stay in touch, show developments of the nation and a source of connection for Eritreans around the world. It also takes away media advantages from the West and it gave the people of the region a credible source. The Ministry deserves kudos!

    9) Overcame the deadly Bush administration
    The Bush administration was the most dangerous administration since the fall of Nazi Germany! President Bush wanted to dominate the world by trickery, fear, threat, intimidation, coercion, sanctions (stated and unstated), using international organizations, leaders and force. He made a perfect team with Meles Zenawi. Together they schemed day and night to bring Eritrea down to her knees. They used every thing at their disposal including threats to put Eritrea in the States who Sponsor Terror list and made tremendous efforts to weaken Eritrea using unlimited means and ways. However, Eritrea was undeterred, and told them, “The only time we kneel is when we pray and shoot!” The world was too scared to stand up to Bush, Eritrea did. Every move Eritrea made caught them off guard shocking and confusing incompetent leaders like Dr. Janday Frazer rendering her helpless to the point of looking like she was walking backward even as she tried to step forward.

    10) Affirmed Stability
    Eritrea is an Island of stability in the most turbulent oceans with big waves the size of Mount Kilimanjaro coming at it from every direction. The source of her stability is the strident and brilliant people of Eritrea led by smart experienced leaders. To paraphrase what General Sibhat Efrem stated in an interview with VOE DC in 2000; it is natural for any nation to be influenced by its neighbors, if your neighbors are developed you are likely to want to develop and if they are unstable that instability is bound to spill and affect you. Instead of succumbing to the negative influences of ethnic, religious, regional and clan conflicts from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen; Eritrea has become the voice and example of stability. Eritrea is selling peace and stability by example; by securing, availing services to Eritrean kids, mothers and daughters. There is no ethnic, religious or regional conflict in Eritrea. That is because while the TPLF sells hate, ethnic division and terror; Eritrea became a positive influence and a force for peace by selling unity. At the end of the day peace will win-out because people want to see peace. Eritrean leaders are wise to gamble on peace to take hold, and it will. The people in the region are fed up of wars and thugs like Meles.

    The key to Eritrean achievements always lie in the hands of the Eritrean people. Eritreans know their start and where they need to be. Eritreans know exactly where the nation is and her capacity without undermining or exaggeration. No one can tell Eritreans how their country is because they know detailed information about the life of Eritreans in a daily basis. It is that honesty that serves as a trajectory to the future Eritrea. Regardless of the challenges we face today, it is hope that inspires Eritreans every where to work united in order to achieve a peaceful, successful and prosperous Eritrea.

    Amanuel Biedemariam

  2. Israel Ambassador knows very
    Israel Ambassador knows very well that Eritrea has not any ambition towork distablizion the contunent to the contrary Eritrea has been working and will work to stabilize the Horn of Africa.By not interfering and occubaing any sovergin nation. He may have to say about Ethiopian ambition of distablizion the horn of Africa and arranging of staying in power by the cost of the innocent the Ethiopian people. Every body knows. But hard to blive the allegation of the Ambassador may have personal interst that have given from woyanne as bribes to do so.

    1. Who is every body know that
      Who is every body know that you quoted? You should be talking to youself and believing yourself, as is the case with the Eritrean Government. They always justify by saying
      it clear, it open secret, bla bla, and could not justify anything and could encounter any one who oppose them with reason, but with prison and elimination.

  3. Eritrean dictator is going crazy
    our people in Eritrea has suffered so much. MOre Eritreans have fled out of our country AFTER we got “liberated” by dictator isaias than during the brutal mengistu regime. what does that say about the “liberation struggle”??


    – extermination and persecution of evangelicals (like Nazi germany policy on Jews)

    – shoot-to-kill policy on eritreans who flee or cross borders

    – more eritrean refugees now, than 20 years ago under ethiopian rule

    – one-party dictatorship rule

    – 2/3 of our people need food aid

    – the only african nation with zero private media

    – no election

    – no constitution

    – persecute eriteans living in europe/america by sending government agents in diaspora

    – slowest GDP growth in africa

    – start war with djibouti

    – start war with yemen

    – start war with eastern sudan

    – start war with ethiopia

    – give weapons to anti-Ethiopia rebels in Ogaden

    – give support to LTTE separatists in Sri Lanka

    – give weapons to alqaeda linked SHABAB in somalia

    – blame American government for every misery Isayas causes in Africa


  4. ww4, you just practice your profession wisely
    Definitely the the isreali ambassador is just worried about the upward progress of eritrean development. The isrealis though they share with the eritreans the atrocity of nazis and the eritreans of ethiopians, they are subject to side with ethiopia because of their incumbent USA.

    so that the ambassador comments are simply a sign of anxiety and uncertainity of losing an ally meles regime in the region. of course eritreans are now in the top of the countries who are going to acheive the Millenium development goal in 2015. it is in the reverse for meles led ethiopia. at last the justice on the ground with in the socieity is the guarantee for continuation of goverments or leadership. ethipian regime that lives with injected infusion in his nerve, i mean which survives by hand outs will be demised very soon and that is inevitable.

    infact an image ( perception) is never changed even inside an enemy or opponent proved in public relation decipline, it is sceintific that an image is both internal and external acknoldegment of a viewer. the ethiopians, the isrealis or americans also knows that eritrea is founded in solid ground and is unshakable unless abnormal situation are occured.

    at last not least i advise fellow eritreans to change a behaviur of silence,and come up with right answer to such non newsworthy of speechs but impacting and defamatory allegations.
    in my view we are now improving but we need to do more. thank you Amanuel baidemariam for your comprehensive PR.

    1. Eritrea destabilizes my blog
      PR? You’ve got that right! And Isaias could sure use some!

      On the other hand, while it is nice to see Isaias get dissed after all that abject glorification, I don’t think his persecution of evangelicals is quite “like Nazi germany policy on Jews”…

  5. Clarification of statement by Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia re
    (Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Press Department)

    In reference to the remarks of Israel’s Ambassador in Ethiopia (Thursday, March 19 2009), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to clarify the following:

    In his statement about Eritrea, the Ambassador of Israel in Ethiopia exceeded his authority and position.

    His comments were made without instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, which was surprised by his remarks.

    Israel expresses its regrets that these remarks were made, and reiterates its position, which desires a peaceful solution to the conflicts in the Horn of Africa.