Eritrea: Not yet ready for prime time.
As of late, few articles have appeared by former U.S. diplomats that pose the idea of relaxing the U.N sanctions against Eritrea. While these former diplomats are raising this issue from their concern for U.S. national interest, hoping against hope, that normalizing relations between the U.S. and Eritrea would enlist Eritrea in the war against terrorism in the Horn of Africa region.
It is of course natural to think positive about nations and their possibility of making changes by governments from their erroneous and destructive path, into becoming a peaceful nation and act “normal”, so to speak. In the case of the State of Eritrea, it is totally unnatural to become a peaceful part of the community of nations. From its inception, the government’s pre disposition to be violent to its own citizens as well as going to war with its neighbors, Yemen, Djibouti, Ethiopia, etc. are testimonies of the Eritrean regime’s heavy reliance on the belief that “might is right”. It is only, and only when the fire that the regime has lit burns itself, then, for some time to come, take time off to lick its wounds.
Even when, the Eritrean regime “appears” to be trying to improve relations with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, according to UN Monitors report, “strengthening of relations with Mogadishu seems to be driven by tactical decisions in Asmara that continue to contribute to regional destabilization. In particular, the government of Eritrea maintains close links to a network of warlords and other spoilers in Somalia, which includes at least two leaders of Al-Shabaab.”1
As a foreign policy is a reflection of a state’s internal policy, the state of Eritrea is hell on earth for its citizens. As a matter of fact, the growing discontent by Eritrean citizens, the arbitrary detention of thousands of prisoners, the mass exodus from Eritrea, to the neighboring states of Sudan and Ethiopia, and to further destinations as well, is a confirmation of the inherent brutality of the regime in Asmara.
In the same report cited above, it states, “Whereas the Government of Eritrea previously coordinated much of the financing of Somali armed groups and other illicit activity from its Embassy in Nairobi, it has now shifted and diversified such operations to the Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen, as well as fronting a number of business operations in these locations. These intelligence and business networks create important support structures for Asmara to execute any policy of regional destabilization, including providing support and assistance to representatives of Al-Shabaab”.2 What a damning affidavit?
S 2013/440 continues to state, that “the Monitoring Group has obtained information about Eritrean military intelligence and financial operations in Kampala and Juba. Eritrean and intelligence sources in both Kampala and Juba confirm that Eritrea’s ruling PFDJ party have fronted a number of business operations, from restaurants and hotels in Kampala and Juba, to water distribution and food and beverage imports in Juba, often working closely with Ugandan and South Sudanese businessmen as silent partners”.3
This information should be coupled with the report presented to US Congress Subcommittee on Africa, which called on a “credible investigation to be initiated to determine whether Eritrea is providing resupply support to South Sudanese rebels”4 If that is so, the report calls for “sanctions on Eritrea should be expanded to include South Sudan as well”5
While the preponderance of evidence shows as otherwise, those that call for easing of sanctions on the State of Eritrea, are simply far removed from reality and don’t really understand the true nature of the regime.
A-1,2,3, UN Monitoring Report (S2013/440)
B-4and 5 US Congress’s Sub committee on Africa hearing. Feb 26,2014