It is becoming clear that Ethiopia is not really interested in Badme.
By Naizghi Zekarias
October 23, 2003

The current regime in Ethiopia is trying desperately to make the world believe that it would be the end of the world for it no to get Badme. If Badme is so important to the TPLF then it is only because it thinks it should be allowed to have it, not because it belongs to it but rather to steal it as war booty like all the items it stole or wrecked during its incursion into western Eritrea.

The problem this regime has is not really with the outcome of the EEBC decision either. Not only did it accept it, it celebrated the outcome in order to confuse its internal audience in the now infamous victory march in Addis. This is very confusing to everybody in the international community except the Ethiopian regime. But then again why should it be confusing to anyone. The recent war it waged against Eritrea was waged in the same fashion. It first claimed that Badme is the reason for its war of aggression. When everyone started saying OK let us talk about Badme, it suddenly modified its claim to include Zala Ambessa. Then came Bure. As if this constantly changing position was not muddy enough, the regime threw in the word environs to the mix so nobody would have any clue as to what in the world it was talking about. What this meant was that the regime came up with a constantly evolving dem! and that would waste every bodyís time and resources. The result of course was a circus that had no way out with the world throwing in the towel and leaving the Ethiopian regime to do as it pleased.

If the problem is not Badme and it is not the EEBC border decision, then what is? The answer is simple. The regime is on shaky ground politically and it has to find a reason to hang on to its mantle any way it can. One, you need a hostage to silence your internal critics, and two; you need to behave irrationally to blackmail your international audience. As usual, the hostage happens to be poor Eritrea. The regime, like its predecessors, is telling the Ethiopian people to shut up and send their sons to war against Eritrea. At the same time, the regime is telling the international community it will be the bad boy in the neighborhood if they donít turn a blind eye and allow it to do all kinds of crimes.

It is my hope that the ensuing diplomacy is not going to be like that of 1999 to 2000, which tried to answer a question that changed every time one tried to answer it. The Eritrean people have suffered enough. They of all people in the world know what war can do and they are the last people in the world who would wish to go to war with any one. It is time to tell the Ethiopian regime no more wars especially against the Eritrean people.

So the problem this regime has is not Badme. Neither is it the EEBC, UNSC, or even Eritrea on whom the Ethiopian regime lays its endless blames. This is about political survival and Eritrea is simply the means to achieve that. It is time the world saw through this and gave Eritrea a brake so it can go on with its life in peace.