Last Week’s So-Called Attack Basically US Administration’s Plan Emanating From Frustration: President Isaias
President Isaias Afwerki conducted an extensive interview with the local media regarding the prevailing developments in our region where a number of questions have been raised by Eritreans living inside and abroad. First part the interview follows:
Mr. President, we first would like to thank you for agreeing to grant us this interview following the request of Eritreans for a briefing on current developments. Before going to our main topic Mr. President, can you elaborate on the prelude to the sanctions resolution 2023 and its aftermath?
It might have been long overdue but we can still talk about the sanctions and their factors. One resolution was passed in 2009 and a second one intended to bolster the preceding was passed in 2011. Those pushing for the sanctions stipulated that “Eritrea was interfering in Somali affairs, is helping terrorist groups and disrupting peace and stability in the Horn.”
But who really caused the endless crises in Somalia? Who is responsible for the suffering of the Somali people for the last 20 years? And what brought the instability in the Horn? The answer to all these questions is clear and obvious. The perpetrators are very well known.
One can hardly say that Somalia was the main agenda because presently Somalia as a sovereign nation is nonexistent. There could be of course internal problems but the main cause for such instability in Somalia is the Washington administration. If we look at the chain of events in Somalia from the 1990s to the present times, the crisis and complications were only worsened by erroneous US policies. The US interventions were direct in the first stage and then through its agent regimes in the region, notably the TPLF regime in Ethiopia. While it could include other parts of Africa as well, the instability in the Horn is totally a result of America’s erroneous policies. The three main actors or factors for the instability in Somalia are the Washington administration, the regional agents (implementers of the agenda) and thirdly, the internal discord among the Somalis.
There is no any reason why Eritrea should be held culpable to a level that a Security Council resolution be passed against it. To accuse Eritrea as a perpetrator is therefore groundless and unacceptable under any circumstance. The sanction in itself has lost legitimacy and has nothing to do with the stability or instability of the region. The accusing quarters were the witnesses, advocates and judges in their own fabricated case and in the end delivered an unjust and legally unfeasible sanctions resolution. The resolution only solicited a victim for further agendas.
Although it’s quite a short period in terms of 20-years frame, during the past couple of years (2009 – 2011) we were able to witness different developments. As mentioned in the recent Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the actions purely emanated from frustration.
The main reason why they wanted to bolster the first sanctions resolution was because all their ploys – to hinder mining activities in Eritrea, stop remittances of Eritrean Diaspora and other impositions – had failed miserably. These anti- Eritrea quarters gathered heaps of lies and perpetrated media and diplomatic smearing campaigns, all ending up in utter failure.
The latest resolution was no different than the preceding one, except perhaps for the allegations that “Eritrea assists and arms fundamentalist groups as well as the Ethiopian opposition.” This was of course addressed in the first resolution, but it was given more weight in the second. All this came about from frustrations over the failure of all intimidations and pressuring maneuvers, thus resulting in moving the goalposts.
You need to map out a strategy in order to implement a proposed agenda. And when repeated attempts at carrying out this strategy fail, frustration is inevitable. And the sum of all these failures result in derailing from the important issues in question and resorting to pass unwarranted resolutions.
The sanctions resolutions both have an objective. What is that? What do the quarters behind these sanctions really want? For the people and government of Eritrea, these sanctions are nothing but groundless and illegitimate actions that¸ instead of solving, could further shelf important issues and also pose as serious factors for further chaos.
The other lie they tried to fabricate was the border situation between Eritrea and Djibouti. This was fabricated as an extension to the pack of lies made up to victimize Eritrea as the culprit for the instability in the Horn of Africa.
If an honest concern for the stability of the Horn or the wellbeing of the Somali people truly exists, we have been voicing our principles on how to achieve that. Other than that, I think it would suffice to say that the 2009 and 2011 resolutions will grow weaker and eventually wither away.
Mr. President, passing to the recent developments, the TPLF regime disclosed on March 15, 2012 that its army carried out an attack across the Eritrean border. Two days later, on March 17, the regime also announced a second similar attack, only to retract its own statement as a lie. What are the ramifications of such an action by the TPLF? What about the timing of the attacks: why did it choose this particular time and period? Why did it choose to issue a self-incriminating and boastful press statement? And why did the media, which have never given any news coverage to this region before, decide to label the incident as “breaking news” and give it prime time coverage?
Most of the time, looking at a snap shot might not give you an idea of the whole picture. What was the background? What triggered the incident? Who was responsible? I really don’t want to go into the details.
As I have mentioned before, we have been witnessing a frustrated psychology in the past couple of years. Where did the numerous acts of hostility carried out against Eritrea come from? Why? How?
We can look at these points one by one: “Weakening Eritrean military capacity, dispersing its human resources, worsening its economic hardships, accompanying all this with diplomatic and psychological warfare…” We have been closely following all developments.
If we are to talk about military assaults, there have been many instances but we chose not to address them because they would only take us into unwanted diversions. The recent attacks were a handiwork of the Washington administration and particularly of the CIA.
All efforts in the past couple of years, under the cover of Monitoring Group or political and diplomatic campaigns, had one objective in the end but didn’t succeed. Frustrated CIA agents have been looking hard for means of scaling up the offensives and at the same time how to give it the necessary publicity. Continuous brainstorming has been going on between them and the subservient TPLF regime. Reports from TPLF’s alleged experts claimed that “Eritrean army is weak, its youth have crossed the borders, and the nation is in crisis…” We have been observing a prolonged process of spying and deliberations. And their anxiety heightened.
All attempts to break down Eritrea failed miserably and as different sources can confirm, Eritrea got to an even higher stage. The ineffective political ploys didn’t work out. All the military aggressions I talked about were foiled.
What caused the biggest panic among the anti-Eritrea quarters were Eritrea’s promising economic prospects and development endeavors.
They were of the idea that “If we couldn’t have them submit to us now, we can hardly control them later for they have started mining gold. We need to hamper their development.” However, these diplomatic, media and psychological campaigns, along with the sanctions, were all an utter failure and collectively caused heightened anxiety among enemy quarters.
The subservient TPLF regime, despite all the pampering, has been plunging itself towards worse situations, causing unease amongst its backers. That frustration, added on top of the strong national resistance of the Eritrean people, bright economic prospects and foiling of the various acts of conspiracy, resulted in complete failure.
The last attempt of 2011 sanctions coincided with the case of abduction by the Afar Region opposition forces. We, therefore, don’t have to take for granted every plan and action as actually feasible. The strategy and the agenda haven’t always been going as planned for the belligerents.
Since their plan and strategy has not been realized as they expected, they are obsessed with making use of any opportunity that they feel would enable them to weaken and unnecessarily (and unreasonably) implicate Eritrea. Events like the one that took place in the Afar region of Ethiopia are considered ‘a blessing in disguise’ for such forces that are unnecessarily preoccupied with implicating others for the things caused as result of some other factors. The conspiracies that are associated with making use of any opportunity that would enable them to blame Eritrea for the sins committed as a result of problems linked with other actors have led them to do anxiously planned things. First, they are ready to make use of any excuse, regardless of its relevance, and to indicate that it is this or that way connected with Eritrea. Second, they tend to use such excuses for reactivating their unrealized goals, such as the ones associated with the sanction against Eritrea. More importantly, these kinds of baseless excuses are used as potential cover-ups for overlooking the main concerns, such as those related with the implementation of the final and binding border verdict and the real problems within Ethiopia. As a means to deviate from what has to be done primarily, they want to focus on trivial concerns that have to be dealt with secondarily.
There are massive propaganda campaigns associated with this issue. The ultimate goal of the campaigns is associated with coloring public opinion. This is part of their campaign that is carried out hoping to influence what has to be done in the decision making circles of the UN so as to ultimately tighten the unjust sanction against Eritrea. They just want to communicate a misguided message that Eritrea plays a destabilizing role in the region. Overall, their excuses and campaigns are meant to support their misguided allegations against Eritrea.
Unfortunately, their massive public relations activities to win diplomatic and political favors and their attempt to cover up the real causes of the problems they face have been fruitless. This has further worsened their anxiety. Before this incidence, we had sent a message to the United Nations regarding the fact that it has been 10 years since the Eritro-Ethiopian border commission announced its verdict, and yet sovereign Eritrean territories have been under their invasion. The attempts designed to cover up this issue have been considered unacceptable excuses. Hence, the Ethiopian regime and those who are strongly inclined to preferentially treat it are very much worried about the reactions associated with the message reminding that it has been 10 years since the decision about the border dispute was announced. All the complications and conspiracies are related to the stressful situation inside Ethiopia and behind all these conspiracies is the CIA.
There are some futile strategies related to this campaign. First, one has to be disarmed so that it can be feasible for the other party to attack the disarmed one. The arms embargo is a strategy that is believed to achieve this goal. All these things are the consequence of their failed agendas and the anxiety associated with the failure to realize their misguided goals. Regardless of all these attempts to weaken the people and government of Eritrea have been fruitless.
The snapshot associated with the said event has to be examined in relation to the bigger picture. Enough preparation was done in connection to the event. Here we need to think in terms of the paid news agencies and the corporations that are influenced and shaped by the CIA. What happened and what was announced about it took place almost at the same time. This indicates that everything was prepared in advance and what happened and what was announced orchestrated ahead of what actually happened. All the news agencies were immediately engaged in relaying this unfounded and misguided media campaign.
This indicates these things were well-prepared in advance. It has also been clear that there was a grave miscalculation when we try to examine the things that caused what has happened. Consequently, what was announced was also significantly misguided.
If we try to properly analyze as regards to who and why is involved in designing these things, who is involved in implementing them, as asserted above, we can easily see how the various events can be pieced together so that we can look at the bigger picture in a comprehensive manner. However, if one tries to look at a single event, that is, without relating it to the bigger picture, the resulting assessment is likely to be less objective and misguided. What I mean is that the current attack is linked with the overall campaigns and ongoing conspiracies. It happened because it was believed that this would be the right time to do so. What is new about the current attack is that the news associated with it was being boastfully announced. Taking into account what was boastfully announced, one can easily see what the expectation behind this event was – an expectation that was based on their miscalculation. All this confusion is associated with persistent failures and corresponding anxiety. The problem is, even those who supported the misguided sanction, simply because they were motivated by their own self-interest, were amazed by what was boastfully announced.
There are many details that can be pieced together for looking at this issue comprehensively and objectively, but there might be some who try to look at this issue selectively and tend to relate it with the case of Somalia. The problems of the Ethiopian regime and those who have been engaged in treating it preferentially are primarily associated with the internal situation of Ethiopia. And this is largely connected with the misguided policy and strategy the regime has adopted in governing the country in the last 20 years. This was designed to enable the regime to rule the Ethiopian state by adopting a divide and rule strategy which is related to the constitutional provision of establishing regional governments that might potentially be able to be independent ones. It is practically impossible to administer the people by oppressive divide and rule mechanisms. This further complicates the process of dealing with the issues at hand as it may not be that easy to have the needs aligned in a reasonably perfect manner. The sum total of the issues that are prevailing in Somalia, the problems that are being experienced by the Ethiopian people, the inclinations to make Eritrea part of these problems are the reflections of the problems within Ethiopia.
Regardless of what has been done to incapacitate and undermine them, at this moment the opposition groups in Ethiopia have been much stronger than ever before. This is a major threat and considerably worrisome for the regime. This might be masked by the massive media campaigns and accordingly this may confuse those who happen to look at it remotely. This way or that way, the two forces that have been playing a destabilizing role in Horn of Africa are Ethiopia and the US and the threat causing this problem is the internal chronic problem in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian regime tries to manipulate the people of Tigray by claiming that they feel their heart-felt concerns more than any other group. Actually, it is the people of Tigray that have been victimized more than any other group as a consequence of what the regime has been doing – that is, because of the failures associated with the policies and strategies of the regime.
The overall internal situation of Ethiopia, which is the consequence of the policies and strategies of the ruling regime, caused the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia. More importantly, the current attack is small episode of a bigger picture that must be assessed comprehensively and objectively. In sum, what we are experiencing in the region is the effect of misguided policies and actions that emanate from the threats associated with the internal problems in Ethiopia.
What was the Eritrean Government’s stance in the wake of the incident? In its official statement dated March 15, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Eritrea would entertain no engagement whatsoever into such vicious, diversionary cycle. Does such self-effacement not run counter to Eritrea’s right to self-defense? Also, does it not insinuate the wrong impression to invading forces with respect to Eritrea’s capability?
We ought to take a couple of rudimentary lines of reasoning into account. You need to first orient yourself well once you set out for a journey in the face of provocative diversions. The central principle of Eritrea’s policies and the defining characteristic of its line are but the propensity to get well-oriented towards the set end. If you fail to prevail over these incendiary obstructions, it merely manifests your disorientation in dealing challenges.
Prudence is another distinct quality. Apparently, a number of challenges might at the outset seem insurmountable. Baffled attempts aimed at overcoming those challenges, however, purely establish one’s impulsiveness, and thus, culminate in undesirable repercussions. Orientation is a means not an end in itself in fulfilling the mapped out action programs on priority basis. Ambivalences resorted to dealing with the whirlwind of military, political, economic, diplomatic, and informational as well as psychological subterfuges would simply render your focus out of commission.
It has been virtually a decade since the Boundary Commission adjudicated its ruling. Eritrea’s patience and prudence count upon the aforementioned two precepts. Regardless of provocative hindrances, the country has opted to remain self-directed and focused on materializing those action programs it envisages, thereby averting unwarranted incitements. Despite the emergence of recent development, there is no need to delve into the details of enemy incursions. Yet, it is up to those parties whether to have the wrong impression for self-aggrandizement or not.
However, it is not unnatural if many people start to question which party had the upper hand. Eritrea shall, nonetheless, stick prudently and patiently to not get engaged into the vicious cycle of squabbles or obstructionist diversions. Thus, previous attempts of derailment have time and again been vindicating Eritrea’s stance that now the country is not and shall never be in a position to achieve whatsoever end through such premeditated engrossment by enemy quarters.