The US is Doing it Again
By: Sami Zerai
February 27, 2004

The majority of Eritreans have long suspected that the US was behind the 1998-2000 War between Eritrea and Ethiopia. It was no secret that Ethiopia did not have the means or the economic power to wage such unjust war against Eritrea in such a magnitude. In fact Ethiopia's betrayal of the Eritrean people and declaration of an all out war can be summed up in the following three simple reasons.

     1. To reverse the independence of Eritrea if possible or at least bring a regime change favorable to Ethiopia.

     2. To guarantee the US to have a base at the mouth of the Red Sea, in return securing Ethiopia's national, economical and         political future.

     3. To pressure the Eritrean leadership to blink to US demand, if not to bring a puppet government.

The US interest to dominate the Horn of Africa is an old one; it goes more than sixty years. The 30-years war between Eritrea and Ethiopia is concrete evidence of this. In the 1950s, the US, despite the demand of the Eritrean people for independence, used its UN veto power and fulfilled Ethiopia's interest of occupying Eritrea. In 1961, Ethiopia with the consent of the US, annexed Eritrea. In return the US enjoyed a Communications Base overlooking the Rea Sea for nearly 25 years. This marked the beginning of the Eritrean armed struggle for independence. Even when the Menghistu regime was openly Communist and was getting help from the former Soviet Union and its Communist allies the US continued to fight on the side of Ethiopia in order to crush Eritrea's just war for independence. In the end Eritrea prevailed and became free in 1991 not because it had super power help on its side but because it had determined children who were willing to give their lives for its independence.

Today the US is, once again, committing yet another injustice against the Eritrean people. As it used to block Eritrea's right for self-determination at the UN at every opportunity, the US is now trying to block Eritrea's right to demarcated borders even after a final and binding Decision from The Hague. The Eritrean people have already endured enough suffering searching for justice due to a blatant US bias in favor of Ethiopia. Eritrea is a sovereign State and the US must respect that.

Eritrea and Yemen had a border dispute the matter was settled legally. When a verdict was handed by a court Eritrea gladly accepted the decision and is abiding by it. And when Ethiopia threatened Eritrea's sovereignty by waging an unjust war against it, Eritrea while it was forced to defend itself had consistently said the border dispute can only be solved legally and peacefully. Finally after a bloody war the two countries with the UN, US, EU and AU as guarantors signed the Algiers Peace Agreement. The Algiers accord saw the solution of the dispute through an implementation of a final and binding decision by a court of arbitration. Both countries submitted the evidences they had for their claim and for the most part Eritrea's claim prevailed.

At first Ethiopia had applauded the Commission's verdict as "just and fair" vowed to implement it. It later contradicted itself by rejecting Decision calling it illegal, unjust, biased and unacceptable. The expected role of the UN and the US as guarantors of the Decision was to remind and pressure Ethiopia to abide by its Treaty obligation, however, it seems the US and the UN are now reinforcing the defiant behavior of Ethiopia. Both have decided to bail out Ethiopia by sending a special envoy to pressure Eritrea to compromise in order to appease Ethiopia. Why? The truth lies behind the US interest in the region. Not only has the US turned a deaf ear and a blind eye when Ethiopia openly defied the rule of law but now also the US is on the offensive to isolate Eritrea politically, economically and socially.

The US has been working behind the scene to bring Eritrea to its knees. It has time and again accused Eritrea as an undemocratic country and tried to portray its leader as a dictator and abusive. The media led by those in the US and Britain has launched an intense propaganda against the Eritrean leadership. The aim is to sabotage Eritrea's progress and development.

Eyewitness reports have been testifying, repeatedly, that Eritrea enjoys a corruption free environment and is the safest nation in Africa. Furthermore Eritrea is also the only and first country to identify Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist organization as a danger not only to tiny nations like Eritrea but also to the whole world. At the time Eritrea's stand against terrorism was dismissed as diplomatically unwise.

The Eritrean people are also far better off than when they were under the rule of a US-sponsored government of Ethiopia. Within the last 12 years Eritrea has seen the building of many schools, modern roads, and hospitals than any African nation. The Government of Eritrea is also working hard to make sure the remote rural areas of the country get access to clean water supply, electricity and telecommunication services. President Isaias Afwerki stands tall on his people and government's achievement and in his devotion to protect the nation's interest. He is the people's President. President Isaias is the symbol and hope of the bright future of Eritrea. He is a leader that walks in humble sandals, drives a Toyota and with a modest house located not in the highly affluent area of the city but in the middle of the city along with average Eritreans. In short, President Isaias Afwerki is enjoying no more special privilege than the average citizen. Does any one know any leader of an African nation, for that matter any other nation, who fits this life style?

On the other hand everybody knows that Ethiopia while it is perpetually dependent on food aid for survival its leaders are squandering the country's meager resources to satisfy their luxurious lifestyle. Why does then the US try to sabotage the Eritrean President's effort while supporting the minority regime in Ethiopia? Surely no honest government would want to sabotage honest governments like that in Eritrea while propping up a regime like that in Ethiopia that is taking the country from one disaster to another. The truth is that President Isaias and his government are serving as an iron gate guarding Eritrea's interests. It is this fact that the US and its allies cannot swallow. The Eritrean people know very well that their interest is safe under the leadership of President Isaias. If in the event there is somebody better than him, let the Eritrean people be the judge. They know very well whom to keep and they have no problem to get rid of those who do not represent their national interest.

Finally I urge the International community, and all peace-loving nations to demand the implementation of the border demarcation immediately. This is the only way to avoid yet another senseless war.

The US and the UN as the guarantors of the Algiers's peace accord have the legal and moral obligation to bring a resolution to this dispute. Let them honestly and truthfully pressure Ethiopia to implement the border Decision that it signed saying it will take it as final and binding. Then and only then will they have a moral authority to encourage the normalization of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.