Meles, the AU and the US
By: Sium Yohannes
February 26, 2004
History has taught us that even the most legitimate of causes like the Eritrean fight for Independence take a back seat to Superpower policies or strategic interests. Every Eritrean can quote John Foster Dulles’ explanation for the US’ rejection of the acknowledged legitimate rights of the Eritreans. That was some forty years ago. Today, once again, the US is caught reneging on legal agreements they helped introduce and are bound to support, the Algiers Agreement and the subsequent final and binding EEBC decision on the Eritrean-Ethiopian boundary.
Thanks to the Internet, murky relationships and connections are easily unearthed. US policies alone cannot hurt Africa - today as in the past, it is cheap African sellouts that keep bleeding the continent!
"If individual nations discount the legitimacy provided by the U.N., and feel that they can and must use force unilaterally and pre-emptively," Annan continued, "the world will become even more dangerous."
“This is a real challenge to international law,"
"And if it were to be adopted, it would really be a law, a law of the jungle."
While individual nations have an inherent right to self-defense against an attack, broader threats require collective action, Annan said. International law, he explained, "has rested on this premise for the past 58 years. Now we are being told by certain governments that this system is not adequate."
If you think Secretary General Kofi Annan is speaking about Ethiopia’s rejection of the “legal and binding” EEBC decision, think again. Kofi Annan, made the above comments as posted by BET Political Columnist, Joe Davidson, October 2003. The title, “U.S. Invasion of Iraq was Guided by ‘Law of the Jungle,’ U.N. Chief says”. In the above article, Kofi Annan was criticizing the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq.
In May of 2000, Kofi Annan is quoted by the New York Times as follows; -
"In the past one was dealing with International wars and established states with government leaders who understood international pressures - to whom you can say, 'if you don't do this, we will cut off your weapons, we won't trade with you, nobody will recognize you.' …What does it mean to these warlords? Some may not even be warlords but national leaders who are so insular, whose vision is so narrow, that in their concerns about their own power and survival, the interests of their people don't count." (New York Times, May 13, 2000)
Here Kofi Annan was talking about the rebel leader in Sierra Leone, Foday Sankoh. What then would Kofi Annan say about the intransigent, minority leader in Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, who has declared an International, legal and binding decision, “null and void”? Meles is obviously and blatantly disregarding the UN as well as International law, but Kofi Annan, who found it appropriate to lambast the US on Iraq, remains mute when it comes to Meles Zenawi. Why the double standards?
What connection would Kofi Annan, Meles, the AU and the US have? Here are some facts to consider; -
1. Legwaila used to work under Salim, Secretary General of the then OAU
2. Kofi Annan appoints Lewgwaila to the UNMEE mission in 2000.
3. All Peacekeeping missions in Africa fall under the auspices of the AU
(formerly OAU, Legwaila’s old organization). It doesn’t hurt to mention that the AU and the former OAU headquarters, is and always has been in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
4. Kofi cannot get the US to supply troops to African missions. The US tells him to look to Africans for African Missions.
Faced with wars on several fronts in Africa, Secretary General Kofi Annan said today that the United Nations' peacekeeping efforts needed the kind of military help that the United States was now unwilling to provide.
…Given the reluctance of the Clinton administration to put American troops on the ground abroad, Mr. Annan suggested that there was little room for the United States in what he describes as a new style of peacekeeping for a different age. America's reluctance to take on any more than a limited role has become evident since the Sierra Leone crisis began two weeks ago.
"Washington will not put an American officer on the ground," he said.
Mr. Annan would like to send in sophisticated and experienced military teams to assess problems or set up missions. But the United States prefers to see missions in Sierra Leone carried out by other countries, many of them with poorly equipped, lesser trained troops. (New York Times – May 13, 2000)
5. Meles volunteers Ethiopian peacekeepers to the AU – currently in Burundi and to the UN, currently in Liberia.
According to AFP, in September of 2003; -
A 1,000-soldier Ethiopian contingent leaves Addis Ababa on Saturday for peacekeeping duties in Burundi, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) quoted Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as saying.
"Ethiopia had accepted African Union (AU) call to send a peacekeeping battalion to help peace efforts in Burundi, which has been gripped by civil war for a long time," the agency quoted Meles as saying during a reception for the contingent on Thursday.
"Ethiopia is committed to paying the necessary sacrifices in discharging the mission entrusted to it by the AU," Zenawi said.
He urged the troops "to discharge that mission effectively".
The Ethiopian force, who will serve in Burundi for at least one year, is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Meley Amare, ENA said. (AFP – Sep 25, 2003)
You can see pictures of the Ethiopian Peacekeepers using the following link, but what I found more interesting is the US-Ethiopia link, in the write-ups. Note, this not a UN Mission – it is an African Union – US funded operation.
A group picture of Ethiopian Peacekeepers in Burundi
Ethiopia just fulfilled its committment to participate in the Peacekeeping African Force in Burundi. It sent 266 soldiers. The United States of America funded Ethiopian participation to the tune of one million US dollars. Ethiopia is the second largest force after South Africa. These two countries are two the pillars of the USA Africa Policy which relies on regional powers to implement its policies towards Africa. In West Africa, the key country is Nigeria.
…Once the deployment is complete, the Ethiopian participation will amount to 900 men.
The Ethiopian contigent will remain approximately a year in Burundi but its mandate could be prolonged, according to its commander. Ethiopia has the largest presence after South Africa. These two countries are the pivots of the United States policy in this sub Region of Africa. As a matter of operational principal, the United States partners with the regional powers to implement their African Policy. Nigeria is the key partner in West Africa.
Then, in December of 2003, Ethiopia sent troops to Liberia. According to PANA,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The first batch of some 1,786 Ethiopian peacekeepers will leave Addis Ababa for Liberia Friday, defence officials said. 18/12/2003
The UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, has a proposed budget of $564.61 million for the period of August 2003 – June 2004, according to UN.Org.
So, what’s the connection between Meles Zenawi and Kofi Annan? Scratch my African back and I’ll scratch yours! To Meles, troops sent to African peacekeeping missions, help reduce the number of troops that could turn against him in the ever-increasing civil and political unrest in Ethiopia. With the US funding the missions, Kofi has his “peace keeping” troops, and the US implements its “Africa Policy”.
What about the threat of resumption of war? What about the over 100,000 lives lost between ’98 and 2000, in Ethiopia and Eritrea? Well, what about them? Burundi lost over 300,000 lives, mostly civilian, the Rwanda massacre under Kofi Annan’s “peacekeeping” watch, lost over 800,000 lives and Kofi still managed to get the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. The war in Sudan has cost over a million lives, the conflicts in the Congo, over 2 million lives. The US is just implementing its “African Policy”. Don’t blame the US when it is the African sellouts that implement these racist, unbalanced policies. To Kofi Annan and Meles Zenawi, it is obvious that African life is cheap!
Eritrea needs to once again stand firm and all the peace loving people of the world need to let the American and the European people know how taxpayer hard-earned cash is being squandered on unnecessary peacekeeping for UNMEE – the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The approved budget, according to UN.Org, for the period between July 2003 through the end of June 2004, is $196.89 million (gross). If the demarcation had started on schedule, the UN would have successfully completed its mandate in the Horn, and the normalization of relations between the two countries could have been proceeding. UN peacekeepers could be re-routed to Gambella and Oromo regions of Ethiopia to stop the ethnic-genocide taking place there. Instead, thousands remain as internally displaced people unable to return to their homes, hundreds of thousands of troops remain on alert on both sides, and economic and political developments are put on indefinite hold, while Kofi, aided and abetted by the US, desperately props up a genocidal African leader, Meles Zenawi!