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70 Years Of US Covert War Against Eritrea

Posted by: thomas mountain

Date: Thursday, 09 May 2024

70 Years of US Covert War Against Eritrea

It has been 70 years, at least, since the USA began it’s covert war against Eritrea. You could say it started when one of the infamous Dulles brothers, two of the founding fathers of the US National Security Establishment back after WW2, and at the time US Secretary of State, said that “Eritrea deserves independence but it is in the US national interest to give them to Ethiopia”. The US wanted Ethiopia as its policeman on the beat in the strategically critical Horn of Africa and what better way then to give them not one but two ports on the Red Sea.

Thus began the US covert war against Eritrea that is still being fought today. The US did its best to deny Eritrea’s very existence by denying the Eritrean peoples right to self determination, the right to their own country. Today the US continues to sabotage Eritrean independence by punishing the Eritrean people with all of the tools of economic warfare it has at it disposal.

To start with, the US has banned Eritrea from the SWIFT international financial transfer network so Eritreans cannot wire transfer funds to their country.

The US and its lackeys in the western governments  continues to try and prevent Eritreans from paying their 2% income tax from abroad to their government, something all US citizens living abroad are required to do. 

The western banksters know very well how important this 2% tax has been for the survival of Eritrea with hundreds of millions of dollars every year maintaining the Eritrean economy through some very tough times.

The US has been particularly intent on sabotaging Eritrea’s mining industry, first ramming through the UNinSecurity Council sanctions against its very first mine, the Bisha gold mine. Next Eritrea’s potash mine, the next big one internationally in the Danakil depression in Afar was targeted and successfully delayed for a decade what will be a multi-billion dollar revenue stream for Eritrea for decades to come. In 2015 and again in 2016 at the Eritrean demonstrations in Geneva, Switzerland I spoke on the intent of the LiarsForHire at the UN Human Rights mob in slandering Eritrea was to delay this economic game changer for the country. More covert warfare by the US behind the scenes.

But the really serious US covert war against Eritrea started a few years after Eritrean independence in 1991 when starting in 1998 the the US National Security Establishment a.k.a the CIA began the aid to arms financial diversion scheme that provided the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) that seized power after the Eritrean lead overthrow of the Col. Mengistu regime of Ethiopia with the billions of dollars they needed to re-arm, with the intent of invading Eritrea and reclaiming Ethiopia’s former colony. As in the US “national interest” Eritrea was deemed to belong to Ethiopia

In 1993 Eritrea was internationally recognized as an independent nation with a seat at the UN General Assembly, something that really pissed off the recalcitrant Ethiopian imperialists, as well as the new wannabe colonialists in the TPLF ruling Ethiopia.

In 1997 Eritrea issued its own currency and the TPLF regime got serious about preparing for a new war. In 1998 they declared war against Eritrea and attempted an invasion. Their army was decisively defeated and with the secret support of the CIA they began a serious rearmament campaign.

The CIA had recruited TPLF Godfather Meles Zenawi sometime as early as 1980 and with their support he rose rapidly from a mid rank cadre to the head of the TPLF, then still a guerrilla army fighting the Soviet supported Mengistu regime. Throughout the 1998-2000 TPLF war against Eritrea, Meles, a documented coward, sent his press ganged army of mainly Oromo youth, to charge the Eritrean trenches in human waves, a tactic the remaining TPLF leaders have continued to this day. The result was the sort of mass slaughter seldom seen since the trench warfare of the first World War.

When this didnt work Meles turned to his godfathers at the CIA, in particular to Gayle Smith (see “Obama’s Quiet Consigliere”), the person who had personally recruited him. Gayle Smith had subsequently risen to be senior Capo in the US National Security Establishment and Meles turned to her for the funds he needed to beef up his military. This launched the largest covert arms supply campaign since the US backed the religious fanatics in Afghanistan against the socialist Afghan government supported by the Soviet Union.

Billions of dollars in what was supposed to be food and development aid from the US and its lackeys at the UN were “allowed” to be handed over to Meles Zenawi in the form of hard currency transfers to Ethiopian government bank accounts  which subsequently ended up in arms purchases, much of which was from former Soviet Union member Ukraine.

Thousands of tanks, heavy and light artillery, dozens of fighter bombers and hundreds of attack helicopters were shipped to the TPLF military and in 1999 a new attempt to invade Eritrea was launched. And once again this invasion was quickly crushed by the Eritrean Defense Forces with tens of thousands of Ethiopian youth left dead in front of Eritrean trenches.

Infuriated by another crushing defeat the TPLF under the CIA’s “boy” Meles Zenawi turned once again to their masters in the CIA and another surge in aid to arms diversion was launched culminating in the “3rd Offensive” launched in 2000. This time the CIA has invested considerable human resources into trying to make sure the TPLF was successful in its war against Eritrea including satellite intelligence analysis of Eritrea defenses that pinpointed just where the TPLF should concentrate their forces. In June of 2000 the TPLF succeeded in breaking through the Eritrean defenses and ultimately driving some 40% of the Eritrean population from their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs, fleeing what would have certainly been a genocide if they hadn’t. 1.4 million Eritreans were turned almost overnight into internally displace persons (IDP’s).

In spite of the critical situation in their country the Eritrean Defense Forces again crushed the “3rd Offensive” in June 2000 in the battle of Tsorona, wiping out some 20,000 of the best TPLF fighters in one day. After this the TPLF desperately demanded the UN provide “peacekeepers” as a part of keeping Eritrea from launching a planned counteroffensive and completely overrunning the TPLF. Behind the scenes the US moved an aircraft carrier into the Red Sea and threatened to bomb Eritrea if it launched a counterattack. The UN, ever a US lackey, sent their “peacekeepers” to occupy Eritrean soil and a peace “final and binding” peace treaty and border demarcation was signed, the reason the TPLF supposedly went to war against Eritrea, in Algiers in 2002. Of course none of the “guarantors” enforced the peace treaty or border demarcation which gave Eritrea all the contested territory the TPLF claimed was theirs.

After this the war developed into a “no war, no peace” situation that forced Eritrea to maintain a large national service army on its borders to prevent the TPLF from attempting another invasion though the TPLF did launch multiple division scale attacks on Eritrea over the next 18 years. The US supported this “no war, no peace” as a part of their covert war on Eritrea, attempting to cripple the Eritrean economy and  refusing to honor the Algiers Peace Agreement that they promised to enforce as a part of supposedly ending the conflict between the TPLF and Eritrea. It wasn't until the final withdrawal of the TPLF from national power in 2018 when Eritrea caught the CIA a sleep at the wheel in the deal that brought Abiy Ahmed, todays Prime Minister of Ethiopia to power.

When Eritrean President Issias Aferwerki so famously said “Game Over” for the TPLF during his Martyrs Day address in June 2018 a major step towards peace between the Ethiopian and Eritrean people took place. The TPLF was forced to withdraw from national power in Ethiopia and retreat to their home province of Tigray. More importantly it laid the foundation of the permanent basis for friendship between the Eritrean and Ethiopian peoples, something only reinforced by the next round of US covert war against Eritrea, and now, Ethiopia.

When the eyes of the world were distracted by the US election in November 2020 the TPLF launched their first coup attempt against the Ethiopian government of Abiy Ahmed. This was a CIA operation from the get go, with its built in “deniability factor”, the TPLF, doing the dirty work. The US could see itself losing control of the Horn of Africa with the new Ethiopian-Eritrean alliance and had to strike quickly. With the withdrawal of the TPLF fighters from the Ethiopian Army back to their home province of Tigray the Ethiopian Army was just a shell of its former self and the CIA/TPLF foresaw a quick and relatively painless coup bringing the US back into the drivers seat in Ethiopia.

This time Eritrea knew it couldn't sit back and allow the rebirth of the TPLF and at the invitation of Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, who knew all to well that his army would not be able to stop the TPLF from marching into and taking over Addis Ababa, Eritrean Defense Forces attacked the TPLF army and destroyed the bulk of their main fighting forces. According to the TPLF 50,000+ regular army soldiers were wiped out in a matter of weeks. By the end of December, about of month and a half after the TPLF/CIA coup attempt, Eritrean and Ethiopian troops had captured the TPLF capital of Mekele and most of the senior TPLF leadership were dead, captured or on the run shortly after.

Though this was a major blow to the US imperialists and was an important step foretelling the beginning of the end for the US in the strategically critical Horn of Africa, through which the trade between Europe and Asia passes, the CIA regrouped and moved to buy off PM Abiy Ahmed and his Capos.

Africans know full well that a wounded hyena is a more dangerous animal and the CIA, after licking its wounds, provided much needed “aid” to the TPLF allowing them to regroup, press gang a new round of cannon fodder in the form of Tigrayan children, and launch another attempt to seize power in Ethiopia.

With PM Abiy secretly betraying his people and their sacrifices in defeating the TPLF, the Ethiopian army treacherously withdrew from Tigray and war was “born again” from its grave. The TPLF was, with not so secret UN/US support, including 500,000 liters of fuel “stolen” by the TPLF to use for critical transport for the their army, able to launch another two offensives, taking the lives of a whole generation of Tigrayan children, sent in human waves to be slaughtered, this time on Ethiopian soil. 

After three failed attempts the remaining TPLF leadership was exhausted and demoralized, and the TPLF was forced to sue for peace, something the US was determined to prevent. A “deal” brokered by the US was made in Pretoria, South Africa, and more time was bought for the TPLF by their masters in the US National Security Establishment. 

The major condition for this new “peace deal” was the disarmament of the TPLF, including handing over their heavy weapons. Of course this didnt happen for the US wasn't going to allow it.

The reality today is that the US proxy against Eritrea and the rest of the Horn of Africa, the TPLF, is no longer a serious threat. PM Abiy in Ethiopia may try to ally with them and raise them from the dead, something the US obviously supports but the Abiy gangster regime in Ethiopia is clinging to power and its a matter of when not if his days running Ethiopia will be over.

In the meantime, the US continues to do what it can to punish Africa’s “Threat of Good Example”, Eritrea with economic sanctions, both official and unofficial, though its ability to do so it being eroded fairly rapidly due to the expansion of BRICS and the growing Chinese and Russian support for Eritrea. Still the 70 years long US covert war against Eritrea continues, and Eritrea continues to resist. As it is said by Eritreans at home and abroad, “Awet N’Hafash”, “victory to the masses” and this coming May 24 marks 33 years of Eritrean independence and success against the US covert war. 

Thomas C. Mountain is an historian and educator with over 40 years background in matters African. At one time he was the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa and lived and reported from Eritrea from 2006 to 2021. You can follow him at thomascmountain on Twitter/X or best reach him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com  

ERi-TV, Eritrea - ጸብጻብ ዑደት ፕረዚደንት ኢሳይያስ ኣፈወርቂ ኣብ ዋዕላ ደቡብ ኮርያ አፍሪቃ | Reportage on President Isaias Afwerki's visit to South Korea for the South Korea-Africa Summit, held from June 3-4

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