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Horn of Africa: the great value of Eritrean diplomacy

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 08 March 2021

Horn of Africa: the great value of Eritrean diplomacy

 

Ethiopia reopens embassy in EritreaEritrean President Isaias Afeworki (R) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (L)

In this period the whole region of the Horn of Africa is going through a particular and delicate phase of transition, which involves various actors, not only internal but above all external, even very distant ones. We have seen, in recent months, the sinister parable of the TPLF, that Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray which from 1991 to 2018 had dominated the whole of Ethiopia and then reduced, as an opposition force, to unleash a war of secession in the northern region of Tigray, which quickly ended in scorching defeat. Since then, the TPLF has been reduced to a mere phenomenon of local banditry, and many of its men and leaders have died clashing with the Ethiopian government forces or have been captured by them, while others enjoy an easy and golden exile abroad, with a protection guaranteed by the huge patrimony stolen from the nation in the years of power and by the threat to speak that forces many of their protectors (still firmly in the saddle in European governments, or returned to power as in the case of the Democrats in the United States) to continue to buy their silence and give them renewed support. Just think, just to take the most famous example, of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former minister of health in the last Ethiopian government of the TPLF, indicted for covering up the crimes that were then committed against the rebellions of the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, and that Obama elevated to WHO director general with the complicity of EU allies: mildly affected by the controversies of the Republicans in the Trumpian period, today with Biden he enjoys renewed support and trust, and can go back to sleep soundly more than ever. On the occasion of the tension that has opposed the Ethiopian government to the secessionists of the TPLF, we have seen the latter try to involve Eritrea at all costs, even with the launch of missiles in its territory, and today thanks to the money they have and their political friendships try to carry on the thesis, actually completely mendacious, of a presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray, dedicated to no less than the ethnic cleansing of the local population in collaboration with the Ethiopian military forces.

However, the new Ethiopia of the young reformer premier Abiy Ahmed finds itself, at this moment, to have other big things to fry, the first of which is undoubtedly the question of the Nile. The Great Dam of the Ethiopian Renaissance, also built with the technologies of the Italian company Salini-Impregilo, has triggered growing tensions with Sudan and in particular with Egypt, which fear that the amount of Nile water that they would then receive may be less compared to today. This at least is the official reason, what we would usually call with the name of "casus belli", since there are also other reasons hidden behind similar concerns, which in themselves at least at first sight are also presentable or in any case defensible. Already during the construction of the dam, there had been cases of attacks by armed groups from nearby Sudanese territory: their identification was difficult, as is always the case for all paramilitary groups, literally "in civilian clothes". We thought of Sudanese fifth columns, or formations maneuvered by Egypt (the two things, in any case, could also coincide), which in this particular context aims to increase the diffidence and tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia in order to bring the first on their side and put the second on the corner in the complicated question of the partition of the waters of the Nile. In this context, for unsuspected times, Eritrea has always supported the importance that all the countries crossed by the course of the Nile (Ethiopia,

This thesis is even more important today in light of the news of the new joint Egyptian and Sudanese military exercises on the border with Ethiopia, right in the vicinity of the Great Dam: Cairo's objective of placing Khartoum under its protection, therefore, would now seem have become reality. This, however, is in the interest above all of some external actors, who have always aspired to control the Horn of Africa or to regain it fully after that in recent years, with the fall of the TPLF in Ethiopia, it had become widely thinned. Israel, for example, has always had its own strategy towards the entire Nile area: it had it at the time when the pro-British and pro-American Negus Haile Selassié reigned in Ethiopia, whose chosen military guard, the famous Flamme Brigade , had been formed precisely by the men of Tel Aviv (the Yom Kippur War, with the consequent Arab reaction that led to the rise in oil prices, was then the beginning of the end for the Negussite regime, which tried to save itself in a corner by breaking the relations with Israel, with the only result, however, of losing even that vital support; hence also its rapid and sudden fall) and returned to manifest it even when the DERG ruled there, pro-Soviet and led by Menghistu Haile Mariam, who found himself in difficulty in the war against the fighters of the Eritrean Popular Liberation Front (FPLE) he did not hesitate to invoke the help of Tel Aviv (with the consequence, however, of playing for the favor hitherto received by Gaddafi's Libya and other countries, not only Arabs, of the Non-Aligned Front). For Israel, if Egypt focuses its attention on the Horn of Africa, unloading its forces and resources on it, the pressure in the Middle East can only diminish to its advantage, with immediate and obvious benefits. This strategy, moreover, is also shared and appreciated by Israel's allies such as the United States and England, which until now have seen in al-Sisi's Egypt a sort of "loose cannon" to look for a new occupation to avoid one. potential danger that could otherwise manifest itself elsewhere. At the present time, Egypt is already proceeding in this direction, for example providing various kinds of aid to Sudan, with the aim of thanking the local authorities and the local population. the pressure in the Middle East can only ease to its advantage, with immediate and obvious benefits. This strategy, moreover, is also shared and appreciated by Israel's allies such as the United States and England, which until now have seen in al-Sisi's Egypt a sort of "loose cannon" to look for a new occupation to avoid one. potential danger that could otherwise manifest itself elsewhere. At the present time, Egypt is already proceeding in this direction, for example providing various kinds of aid to Sudan, with the aim of thanking the local authorities and the local population. the pressure in the Middle East can only ease to its advantage, with immediate and obvious benefits. This strategy, moreover, is also shared and appreciated by Israel's allies such as the United States and England, which until now have seen in al-Sisi's Egypt a sort of "loose cannon" to look for a new occupation to avoid one. potential danger that could otherwise manifest itself elsewhere. At the present time, Egypt is already proceeding in this direction, for example providing various kinds of aid to Sudan, with the aim of thanking the local authorities and the local population. which until now have seen in al-Sisi's Egypt a sort of "loose cannon" to look for a new occupation to avoid a potential danger that could otherwise manifest itself elsewhere. At the present time, Egypt is already proceeding in this direction, for example providing various kinds of aid to Sudan, with the aim of thanking the local authorities and the local population. which until now have seen in al-Sisi's Egypt a sort of "loose cannon" to look for a new occupation to avoid a potential danger that could otherwise manifest itself elsewhere. At the present time, Egypt is already proceeding in this direction, for example providing various kinds of aid to Sudan, with the aim of thanking the local authorities and the local population.

In this real mess, Eritrea has reaffirmed its strategic role in the eyes of all neighboring countries, Ethiopia in the first place, with its policy as a multivectoral country. Eritrea has intertwined diplomatic relations with Egypt, being able today to have a line of dialogue with that country that is currently less viable for others. At the same time, it is also carrying out an important negotiation with Saudi Arabia, whose capitals have a huge weight in both Egyptian and Sudanese development, as well as that of Somalia which has recently found its way to slowly rebuild itself as Unitary state. This is also inevitable for strictly geographical issues, even before geopolitical ones: both Eritrea and Saudi Arabia share important shares of the Red Sea coast. Eritrea has in front of it the Red Sea, one of the most important and furrowed seas in the world (a real corridor that connects the East with the West, Asia with Europe), and behind it the vast Ethiopian and Horn of Africa hinterland: it is impossible, even with such a geography, not to be predisposed to peaceful dialogue with all those around us. As for Saudi Arabia, it shares with Eritrea as well as with Ethiopia the strong concern for the work of Qatar, which with Obama had been promoted to first-level partners as sadly demonstrated by the political and economic influence that it had with the Arab Springs and the destabilization in particular of countries such as Libya and Syria. With Trump, Qatar was again cornered,

Therefore, carrying out a policy of dialogue with everyone, always aimed at unmasking the lies and deceptions of certain media and certain chancelleries (not only Western) therefore represents the main formula on which today as today the countries and peoples of the Horn of Africa they can and must count in order not to allow those who intend to disturb their hard-earned peace to take false steps with the result of finding themselves on the wrong side. The historical and political experience of Eritrean diplomacy, also in this sense, can make a difference.
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Born in Pisa in 1983. Editorial Director of Public Opinion. Expert in international politics and author of numerous essays.
(Software translation) 


Eritrea 🇪🇷 is self reliance country