Our local media outlets have, this week, presented a full translation of the reports issued by “Al-Etihad”, an Abu-Dhabi based daily newspaper, which based its story on an earlier post by the “Qatar Insider” website under the topic, Al-Shabaab: A gateway for Qatar to instigate chaos in the Horn of Africa”. To mention some of the main points of the article:
1. Qatar Funds one of the terrorist groups, “Al- Shabaab;”
2. Qatar extends its support to Al-Shabaab with the tacit encouragement of Washington;
3. The United States offers military support to help the Somali government fight the Al-Shabaab group, while simultaneously encouraging Qatar to Fund the terrorist group;
4. The article also alleges that Qatar funnels its backing to Al-Shabaab through its investment companies in Eritrea
The validity and reliability of the report regarding purported US and Qatari support to Al-Shabaab, is a matter that must be addressed by these concerned parties. However, it ought to be categorically asserted that the allusions to Eritrea are utterly unfounded and part and parcel of the blatant lies against the country. First off, there is only a single Qatari investment company that is involved in the construction of a tourist site; not several as the article insinuates. And besides this obvious factual inaccuracy or discrepancy with the reality, the whole story provokes a number of substantive questions.
As it will be recalled, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions set against Eritrea in 2009, (Resolution 1907) under the prodding of the US and by invoking the spurious allegation of its alleged “support to Al-Shabaab”. Furthermore, Eritrea was falsely accused at the time of “sending 2000 troops to Somalia”. In adopting the second set sanctions (Resolution 2023) against Eritrea in 2011, its detractors again manufactured another false report alleging that “two planes full of arms were sent from Eritrea to Baidowa”.
Subsequent “investigations” by the “Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group” have failed to find any supporting evidence to all these bogus allegations. Indeed, the people and Government of Eritrea have an impeccable record of fighting fundamentalist terrorism from the outset and their reputation cannot be sullied by hollow smear campaigns.
More precisely, who shoulders ultimate responsibility for the imposition of the unwarranted sanctions imposed and the damage inculcated on the innocent Eritrean people? What legal measures can be invoked to ensure accountability of the accusers and false witnesses? Based on international law, what is the compensation for the damages against Eritrea? And above all, what authority does the Security Council have to extend sanctions against Eritrea, when it has been proven time and again that the accusations against Eritrea are baseless and have never been supported by any evidence?
There are also other serious questions that must be raised if we assume certain assertions in the report as true. If, as mentioned in the Al-Etihad newspaper, the US and Qatar had channeled funds to Al-Shabaab, directly or through proxies; and if the transactions were effected by directly using “Qatari companies in Eritrea” as intermediaries, why were the sanctions imposed on Eritrea and not on the real culprits?
All these questions lead to one truth. That the sanctions imposed on Eritrea had no basis on fact and law; that they were principally concocted to advance a malicious political agenda.