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Video: What is Behind Ethiopia's Most Recent Allegations Against Eritrea?

By Sharmini Peries

This is the Glen Ford Report on The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

Eritrea and Ethiopia, two of the world's poorest countries, spent hundreds of millions of dollars in a war between them. They have suffered tens of thousands of casualties as a direct consequence of this war, and all over border disputes. Now Ethiopia's calling for more sanctions against Eritrea.

Now joining me from Plainfield, New Jersey to discuss all of this is Glen Ford. Glen is a co-founder and executive editor of the Black Agenda Report.

Thank you so much for joining me, Glen.

GLEN FORD: Thanks for the opportunity, as always.

PERIES: So Glen, this is in very close proximity, Ethiopia and Eritrea, in terms of the war going on in, that the Saudis are perpetrating on Yemen at the moment. Tell us more about the significance of this.

FORD: Well, whenever we talk about Eritrea the first thing we have to do is describe where it is and maybe spell it, because so few people seem to know that there is such a country. But it is a country of 6 million people that used to be a part of Ethiopia. It waged a war of independence to separate itself from Ethiopia, which has about almost 100 million people. Eritrea has, as I said, about 6 million. And that fighting basically came to a decisive phase in 2000. And then in 2002, an international commission established a border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

However, Ethiopia decided that it didn't want to recognize that border, and since, therefore since 2002, for the last 13 years, there's been a state of near-war between those two countries. So on this April 13th, Eritreans around the world are staging protests and rallies, and they're demanding that Ethiopia do recognize that border and give peace a chance in that part of the world.

The problem here is that Ethiopia does not have to give peace a chance with Eritrea. And it doesn't have to do that because it is a close ally--a better word would be client state--of the United States. And client states, whether they are Saudi Arabia or Israel or Ethiopia have impunity to bully their neighbors under the protective umbrella of the United States.

And that's especially true when it comes to Eritrea, because it's not just a small place, it's a rather special small place. In fact, some people call it the Cuba of Africa. It has declared itself to be a country that will develop itself. It is one of only three countries in Africa that has no relations whatsoever with AFRICOM, the U.S. military command in Africa. It is scrupulous in its avoidance of entanglements with multinational corporations. It refuses all manner of foreign aid. All, of course, based on the principle of independent development.

And for that reason, Eritrea is on Washington's blacklist. In fact, since 2009, the United States has used its powers at the UN to impose sanctions on Eritrea. And the imposition of the sanctions are not as ridiculous as the reason that's given for those sanctions. The U.S. claims that Eritrea is somehow aiding and abetting, arming and financing al-Shabaab. That's the Islamic fundamentalist al-Qaeda-like outfit in Somalia.
But Eritrea has probably the most scrupulously secular government in Africa. There is no more secular government in the whole continent than in Eritrea. Half of Eritrea's population is Christian, about half is Muslim. It would be insane, utterly insane, for a country such as that to encourage Islamic fundamentalism. But it doesn't matter whether the charge is true or not. When you're a superpower, you can enforce it with sanctions. And we all know that sanctions are the prelude to war. They are the last step before war.
And so here we have little Eritrea, which is not bothering anybody. Which is trying to develop its own resources through the skills and talents of its own people. Sitting there near what people like to call a choke point in the Red Sea, where much of the world's oil passes through daily, and across from a site where the U.S. and its allies are bombing another people to hell.

With living under the threat--and I'm speaking of the Eritreans here--living under the threat of passing that, that line in the sand that the United States draws and being sucked into the vortex of the war across the Red Sea, or in the expanding war in Somalia, which it also has nothing to do with. So these are the perils of a small, independent country in Africa if it decides that it wants to develop its own nation based on its own instincts and [sights] and wisdom.

PERIES: And in terms of Eritrea's position on all of this and the negotiations that are going on in the UN, what are they actually calling for? What do they want?

FORD: Eritrea has always called for non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations. And for good reason. It wants non-interference in its own affairs. And of course that is the only rational and sane position that any responsible nation would take regarding Yemen, or regarding Somalia, for that matter. A country that has been absolutely stripped of its sovereignty by its two neighbors, Ethiopia and Kenya. All under the auspices, and with ample funding and intelligence and diplomatic support, from the United States.

PERIES: Glen, as always, thank you so much for joining us. And particularly this history lesson today.

FORD: Thank you.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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Video: What is Behind Ethiopia's Most Recent Allegations Against Eritrea? Reviewed by Admin on 4:17 PM Rating: 5


  1. No one should doubt the fact that woyane is the enemy of Eritrea and its people, its 1977 Abai Tigrai Manifesto and its 1998 cruel deportation of hundred of thousand eritreans from Ethiopia ,among many others, attests to that.
    Since woyane's stance against our country and its people is so obvious, therefore,we ought not imply waste our time on it because a mere talk won't deter woyane from dreaming and scheming to make its intention real. The only deterant to woyane is our unity as people and the capability of our armed forces, of which we must critically analyze.
    Let's honestly ask ourselves then, Is the state of Unity and that of our armed forces in a situation which can convince woyane that it cannot get away with its aggression?
    The answer is emphatically, No. That is why it is sitting on our land in breach of International Law.
    The question now is, What mistake have we committed to reduce ourselves into this abyss, where woyane, our former piggyback of seventeen years, can muster courage to sneer at us? Didn't we achieve our independence by defeating the surrogate of Mengistu Hails Mariam, the Soviet Union?
    As we say in Tigrigna, HabaE Kuslu, HabaE Fewsu, we cannot fix ourselves and regain our prestige if we do not openly and honestly admit the causes for our current desmal state of affair.Blaming foreigners won't help us either.
    In my view, the main problem that has brought us to this
    despicable situation is the alienation of our people from conducting their country's affair by isaiad afewerqi who has usurped the government for over twenty years, the ramification of which is the catastrophe the world is agastly watching.
    And those of you who are blindly following isaias afewerqi, you are helping neither him nor your country; you are just hurting both

  2. Dear Ford,
    I read your points here. It seems genuine for those
    readers who do Not Eritrea. I found Your explanation very flawed and
    misleading. You claimed that ''Eritrea gas 50% and 50% Christians and it
    is ridiculous to think the GoE will sponsor Al-shabab'' Actually the
    GoE supported Al- shabab Not becuase of their ideology but they are
    enemies of Ethiopia and they are fighting Ethiopians. This is based on
    the principle that my enemies enemy is my friend. It was an open secret
    that Dahir Awey and Sheik Ahmed was lucratively lived in Imperial Hotel
    in Asmara with huge media propaganda about Somalia.
    In addition you
    claimed that the GoE rejected all forms of foreign aid. Totally wrong.
    In Eritrea all projects are funded by foreign donors like world bank,
    EU, Norway, Netherlands and Italy. The GoE is very greedy to snatch
    every Dollar however the GoE do Not want to be accountable and do Not
    want to provide any financial and technical reports to Donors - which is
    the key requirement from donors. Because the funds are tax payers money
    and they need to report to their parliament. Even Now the GoE is trying
    to mislead EU to get the new 300M Euro offered from EU by providing
    false promises like the National service will return to 18 months from
    Next year and yet reluctant to declare openly to its people.
    Moreover the USA tried to help Eritrea with regard to sanctions. How? here is the story.
    history of African Union, for the first time they requested UN security
    council to impose sanctions against Eritrea in 2007. At the beginning
    the USA did Not support the sanctions by saying we need to engage
    Eritrea positively. The USA tried their best to engage Eritrea but
    remain in vain. First they tried to send their African affair head to
    Asmara. but the GoE refused visa and meet him. He tried two or three
    times but could not succeed. Next the USA invited Eritrea to meet in
    third country of their choice. this effort also remain in vain. Finally
    the USA tried to contact Eritrea via EU. The EU commissioner who visited
    Eritrea at that time reported that Eritrea is not willing to engage
    with USA and that time is Not the right time. Finally after two years
    that is in 2009 USA agreed to impose Sanctions on Eritrea. The first two
    years that is from 2007 - 2009 the USA protected Eritrea.

    I can say many things but for now it is enough just to give some insight.

  3. I really don't know why stupid weyane bagger come to this site. Just get lost with this nonsense coment. But if you want to here, all Eritreans love Issaias Afewerki, we with him live long live. Yours stupid Meles Melata comitted too much sin, and God removed him from the entire universe. That is the seccess of peace lover of Ethio-Eritrean people. But the garbage like are very excluded.

  4. ኣሌክ - Alec youApril 15, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    Did u just say---At the beginning the USA did Not support the sanctions by saying we need to engage Eritrea positively. The USA tried their best to engage Eritrea but remain in vain. First they tried to send their African affair head to Asmara.

    Well, thanks to "Wikileaks" we know that the USA forced sanctions against Eritrea through the UN Security Council in 2009, not to punish Eritrea for allegedly supporting “terrorism” (i.e. Al-Shabab in Somalia) but in an attempt to sabotage the start of Eritrea’s mining industry.

    Even during the war in 98 to 2000---Ethiopia's instigated during the war was funded by the USA and other Western countries, started a war with Eritrea in 1998 and carried out an invasion of Eritrea in 2000 in an attempt to regain Eritrea's land and ports (see, US Behind Invasion of Eritrea, June 2000). The deal the USA made with Ethiopia was that Ethiopia would destroy Eritrea with the West’s help and the USA would get a major port and international airport in Assab, strategically situated very near to the entrance to the Red Sea. Ethiopia would regain use of the Port of Assab.

    So, saying the USA wants best for Eritrea- is Pretty much stupid! don't make fool out of ur self man.

    So pls, Augumesh go bark somewhere els, u can't deceive us Eritreans.

  5. 'The GoE is very greedy to snatch
    every Dollar however the GoE do Not want to be accountable and do Not
    want to provide any financial and technical reports to Donors'

    Very wrong statement. No donor agency accept it unless the finance is accounted.
    Eritrea is known for the honest implementation of the activities committed. Eritrea believes in partnership!

  6. Aye hatef-tef ..... Donkoro!

  7. You have used the only available option you are left with, screaming curse at patriots like me, in defence of the few indefensible, who have reduced our people and country to the abyss.
    Obviously, you have your own personal reasons to stand with them to the last in spite of their criminal record; your incentive might have been a lucrative material interest they have been dolling out to you for serving them in their criminal activities.
    I had indicated in my previous post, that history is full of people like yourself who served loyally the tyrants , like Mobutu seseco of Congo, Ferdinand Marcus of the Philippines etc.
    Did any of these misguided individuals, the tyrants and their enablers, in any way , benefited their offsprings ,much less their country and people? Not a bit. How come then isaias afewerqi and people like yourself never learned from the past? Very perplexing, isn't it?
    Isaias afewerqi is now under serious investigation by UN for Human Right violation . All the indications amply suggest that he is extremely worried; that is why he is flattering the European countries that he would cut the flood of Eritrean refugees overwhelming their countries if they handed him huge amount of money for development.
    Isaias afewerqi and his supporters think that he is really smart. But by offering the Europeans to cut the flood of Eritrean refugees and aknowledging for the first time the existence of Eritrean refugees, he is playing straight into the hands of the Commissions who are investigating him for human right violations. By thus admitting, he is confessing responsibility for illegal human trafficking predicated upon blackmailing the Western countries.


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