Delaying the inevitable: Would it be war or peace?
By: Yohannes Kifle
December 20, 2004
Despite the fact that his regime declared victory on the battlefield and in front of the International court, against Eritrea, Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Melles Zenawi is having a difficult time to disembark from his misconception. This figment of his imagination that there would be and should be a dialogue between Eritrea and Ethiopia to resolve the border issue that has already been resolved would only establish the fact that he is buying time to block the forthcoming, which in this case is, peace. On the other hand, the International community and the would-be "GUARANTORS" are inadvertently playing the same role as the regime in Ethiopia by supporting it financially and simply by overlooking the integrity it lacks. Their action is also delaying the imminent, and of course, in this case would be war.
However, delaying the inevitable war should not be confused with bringing the
long over-due peace. Public perception is on the rise about when, not if, war
breaks out between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Regrettably, the potential war between
Eritrea and Ethiopia has disaster written all over it. At some point, either
the regime in Ethiopia or the International community must take the initiative
to achieve the long awaited peace between the two nations on the horn of Africa.
Anything short of that is detrimental to the region that desperately yearns
for peace. Furthermore, both the regime in Ethiopia and the so-called international
community owe the peoples of both Eritrea and Ethiopia their genuine participation
in attaining peace in the region in general and between Eritrea and Ethiopia
in particular. At this point in time, neither the regime in Ethiopia nor the
International community is up to its task.
It is apparent that, with alarming frequency, the regime in Ethiopia has violated
the Alger peace agreement and continued to violate it. The most recent violation
was the settling of Ethiopians into Badme, the disputed land that is legally
awarded to Eritrea. Operating in a climate of untrustworthiness, with the help
of the incompetent UNMEE, the regime in Ethiopia is either on the brink of starting
another devastating war or inviting Eritrea to start the war. However, the former
or the latter are not options both peace loving Eritreans and Ethiopians want
to see exercised. At the same time, the "no war no peace" attitude
currently adopted by the regime in Ethiopia and accepted by the International
community may lead these two nations to another round of bloodshed.
International law: is the body of rules and principles of action, which are
binding upon civilized states in their relationships with one another. Unfortunately,
the regime in Ethiopia has demonstrated time and time again that it lacks the
civility to be in the level where the rest of the civilized nations are. No
matter how much a government claims to be peaceful, its conduct would ultimately
be the deciding factor. Given the Prime Minister's record, in spite of what
his "admirers" think of him, he is at best a leader who conducts his
day-to-day political activity with a street-smart approach. A leader with this
type of myopic mentality can only go so far. However, the misery that he brought
and continues to bring to his fellow citizens and neighboring countries is devastating
and all peace loving people ought to be concerned. In April 2002, the "smart"
Prime Minister and his cabinet members appealed to the international community
to force Eritrea to accept the EEBC's decision. Today, he is rejecting the very
same ruling he led us to believe he would respect. No one will be shocked if
the "smart" Prime Minister, who is consistently inconsistent, rejects
his own unilaterally drawn peace initiative.
The "smart" Prime Minister, who sacrificed more than 150,000 of his fellow citizens for a disputed land, is expecting Eritrea to dialogue for her undisputed and legally won sovereign land. The thought process going through the mind of the "smart" Prime Minister was that one-day Eritrea will dialogue on his term or the government of Eritrea will collapse before that happens. His lack of vision about the strength of Eritrea and his own susceptibility is what will categorize him to be one of those leaders who "come and go". Here is a leader who sacrificed thousands and thousands of precious lives pretty much for a war he ignited with full understanding of the root causes of the problem and certainly without full understanding of the enormous price he was about to ask his country and fellow citizens to pay. If he had an idea that the root causes of the problem could have been solved through dialogue, what and who stopped him from doing so back in 1998, 1999, and 2000?
In December 2004, here is what the "smart" Prime minister says, "The only way forward is through dialogue and by addressing the root causes of the problem. I do not believe unilateral military steps are conducive to peace in our region." Was that a revelation or what? There is no question in the minds of many people that the regime in Ethiopia is on its last leg. However, the question many people would not be able to answer with absolute certainty is that how much do the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia have to pay with their children's blood before that day comes.
Again, the two parties denying the region peace and prosperity are the regime in Ethiopia and the so-called "Guarantors". Peace loving people would hope one of these parties would come through sooner than later. Eritrea will absolutely be victorious!