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Plural News and Analysis on Ethiopia and HOA

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Ethiopians urge Arsenal youngster to switch allegiance

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 15, 2013

Ethiopians urge Arsenal youngster to switch allegiance - Football - African FootballEurosport

Zelalem, 16, is eligible to play for Germany and the United States as well as Ethiopia.

“Hi Gedion. Good to hear from you. We hope you will play for Ethiopia soon,” Foreign Minister Adhanom Tedros tweeted the teenager on Sunday.

Tedros’ post was a response to a tweet from Zelalem saying “Still proud” after the ‘Walyas’, named after an Ethiopian antelope, lost 2-1 to Nigeria in a World Cup qualifier in Addis Ababa.

The loss all but ended Ethiopia’s chances of sealing a spot at next year’s World Cup after a campaign that has been lauded as a fairy tale run by a team comprising mainly domestic players.

Walyas’ coach Sewnet Bishaw told Reuters he would not contact Zelalem personally but added: “If he decides to play for Ethiopia and asks us, then things will be easy.”

Zelalem, currently sidelined with an injury, impressed during Arsenal’s pre-season tour of southeast Asia.

Some Arsenal fans have labelled him the “new Fabregas” after the Spaniard Cesc Fabregas who transferred from the Premier League club to Barcelona.

Posted in News & Analysis | 1 Comment »

ጌድዮን ዘላለም እና አሚን አስካር- —-ዶ/ር ቴድሮስ አድሀኖም ለዋልያዉ ተጫዋች እየመለመሉ ነዉ!!

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 15, 2013

Dr Tedros and Zelalem

Dr Tedros and Zelalem

አኝህ ሰዉ በብዙ ነገር ይለያሉ፤ጊታር ይዘዉ ሲዘፍኑ አይቼ ገርሞኛል፤ደቡብ አፍሪካ ላይ ቡድኑ በናይጄሪያ 2-0 ተሸንፎ ከዉድድሩ ሲወጣ ስልክ ደዉለዉ ከ40 ደቂቃ በላይ እኔና ተጫዋቾቹን ሲያናግሩ ከምርም ያገባኛል የሚሉ ሰዉ እንደሆኑ ተገንዝቤያለሁ፤ኒዉዮርክ ላይ ያደረጉትንም ንግግር ካያችሁ ሳይደንቃችሁ ያለፈ አይመስለኝም…አሁን ደሞ ወደ ዋልያዉ ፊታቸዉን አዙረዉ ተጫዋቾችን እያግባቡ ነዉ!!የሐገሬ ዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር ለብሂራዊ ቡድኑ ተጫዋቾች ለማምጣት ሲነጋገሩ በርግጥም ኮርቻለሁ!!
ጌድዩን ዘላለም ስለዋልያ– በናይጄሪያ ጨዋታ ዙሪያ አስተያየቱን በቲዉተር ድረ-ገጹ አስነበበ፤
ከጨዋታዉ በሁዋላ ..አሁንም ኮርቻለሁ የሚል አስተያየት ነዉ የጻፈዉ፤የዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትሩ ዶ/ር ቴድሮስ አድሀኖም ለጌድዮን ፈጣን ምላሽ ሰጡ፤እንዲህም ብለዉ ከተቡለት፤
Hi Gedieon..Good to hear from u..We hope u will play for Ethiopia soon.
በዚህ ብቻ አላበቁም፤በኖርዌይ ከሚጫወተዉ አሚን አስካርንና ጌድዮንን ለማግኘት ጥረታቸዉን ቀጠሉ፤ከአሚን አስካር ፈጣን ምላሽ አገኙ፤ስልክ ቁጥሩን ላከላቸዉ እናም አዋሩት..ኢትዮጲያ መጥቶ እንዲጫት ጥሪ አቀረቡለት..በጣም ደስተኛ መሆኑን ገለጸላቸዉ፤በማቃት ስዊድንኛ…በቅርቢ ስትጫወት አያሀለሁ ብየ ተስፋ አደርጋለሁ አሉት!!አሰልጣኝ ሰዉነት ለጊዜዉም ቢሆን አሚንን እንማይፈልጉት መናገራቸዉ ይታወሳል፤
ለጌድዮን ዘላለም ያቀረቡት ጥሪም ቲዉተርን ከተቀላቀሉ ወዲህ በከፍተኛ ቁጥር የተነበበ መሆኑን ጠቅሰዋል፤ይህን ተከትሎም ሰዉየዉ የምን ደጋፊ እንደሆኑ ተጠይቀዋል፤እኔ የዋልያዉ ደጋፊ ብቻ ነኝ ብለዋል፤
አሁን የጌድዮን መልስ እየተጠበቀ ነዉ፤በዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትሩ ደረጃ ለዋልያዎቹ እንዲጫወት ጥሪ ቀርቦለታል፤ለጊዜዉ ጉዳት ላይ ነዉ፤ያም ቢሆን ግን በቅርቡ ይመለሳል፤እናም ለዋልያዉ እጫወታለሁ መልሱን በቅርቡ እንደሚያሰማቸዉ ዶክተር ቴድሮስ ተስፋቸዉን አስቀምጠዋል፤የዕሁዱን ጨዋታ በስታድየም ተገኝተዉ መከታተላቸዉን አትዘንጉ..ደሞ አዳነ ግርማን ከሚያደንቀዉ ልጃቸዉ ጋር ነበር የመጡት!!
እኔ ከሁሉም የገረመኝ ነገር ሚኒስትሩ የዋልያዉን ዋና ክፍተት የሆነዉ መሀል ሜዳ ላይ መፍትሄ መፈለጋቸዉ ነዉ!!አንድም የጌድዮን አይነት የአማካይነት ሚና የሚጫወት ፈጣሪ ተጫዋች በቡደኑ የለም፤ዶ/ር ከሰሙኝ እንዲህ ልበላቸዉ..””ሀገር ዉስጥ የሚጫወቱ ከጌድዮን የሚበልጡ አማካዮች በቡድኑ እንዲካተቱ እባክዋትን ጥሪ ለአሰልጣኙ ያቅርቡልን!!

By Saied Kiar

Posted in News & Analysis | 13 Comments »

Kenya|Eritrea hands behind the Westgate Massacre?

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 10, 2013

Kenya Intelligence Report: Eritrea hands behind the Westgate massacre click the link below to see “the Secret Document”

“Secret Decument by Kenian Intelligence Unit”

Posted in News & Analysis | Leave a Comment »

Isaias|Al-Qaeda’s favorite “Christian” leader

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 10, 2013

A U.N. report in July confirmed that the African government of Eritrea is still supporting Al-Qaeda’s Somali branch, a group known for its reach into America. The Eritrean dictator, an ally of Iran and top persecutor of Christians, is met with silence. Is President Obama’s desire to end the war on terrorstronger than his desire to punish Al-Qaeda’s allies?
The U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea concluded in July that Eritrea, though governed by a self-professed Christian dictator, is materially aiding al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia that has recruited over 40 Americans. The group has an estimated 5,000 terrorists controlling central and southern Somalia and earns millions for Al-Qaeda through the sale of charcoal. The Eritrean government, led by President Isaias Afewerki, has two main liaisons to Al-Shabaab.
The first, a warlord named Abdi Nur Siad ‘Abdi Wal,’ works with an unnamed senior al-Shabaab commander and collaborates with other Somali Islamists. The second liaison is named Mohamed Wali Sheikh Ahmed Nur and he is described as Al-Shabaab’s “political coordinator.” He is on Eritrea’s payroll and has admitted in private meetings to being an Eritrean agent.
Ahmed Nur also works with the terrorism-sponsoring governments of Iran and Sudan, visiting the former in December. One of the purposes of these meetings was to explore ways of covertly financing him. The Eritrean ambassador to Sudan was kicked out from Kenya in 2009 because of his meetings with al-Shabaab.
The Eritrean embassy in Kenya had been utilized as a bank for its terrorist allies, funding Al-Shabaab with $75,000 a month. The financial network is now spread out through front businesses in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.
The existence of these fronts in Yemen raises the possibility that Eritrea also has a relationship with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and/or the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the north. It was first reported in 2009 that Iranian Revolutionary Guards personnel in Eritrea were training Houthis. There are also unconfirmed reports of Iranian missiles in Eritrea.
In January, Arab media sources reported that Iran was transporting weapons to Yemen through Eritrean islands where Houthis also receive training. The weapons are smuggled into Yemen in fishing boats. Also that month, the Yemeni authorities intercepted an Iranian ship delivering arms to the Houthis and, possibly, Al-Shabaab via Eritrea. A diplomatic source said it had 16,717 blocks of C4 explosives and the Houthis aren’t known to use C4, but Al-Shabaab is.
According to a Yemeni political source, Iran’s operations in Eritrea and Yemen have heightened because of the Syrian civil war.
“Iranian national security council adopted a new strategy intended to shift the battle from Syria and Lebanon in the north to the Yemen on the southern tip of Arabian Peninsula, after Tehran has realized that its allied regime of Bashar Assad in Damascus cannot continue,” the source told ASharq Alawasat.
The Afewerki regime has even directly organized potential mass-casualty terrorist operations. According to an earlier U.N. report, Eritrea planned “mass casualty attacks against civilian targets” in January 2011 during a high-level African Union meeting in Ethiopia. The dispatched terrorists were instructed to make “Addis Ababa like Baghdad.” Nothing happened in response to the foiled plot.
The 47% of the Eritrean population that is Christian is oppressed (as are many non-Christians), even though Afewerki says he is a member of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The country is described as a “giant prison” and Reporters Without Borders gave it the title of “most repressive nation on earth.”
All but three Christian denominations have been outlawed, and even members of the permitted denominations face persecution. Somewhere between 1,200and 3,000 Christians are in prison in “unimaginably atrocious conditions.” In July, 39 high school students, including 11 girls, were arrested, banned from graduation and sentenced to hard labor and beatings because of their public expressions of faith. Reportedly, they have been given an opportunity to leave if they renounce their faith in Christ.
The viability of the Eritrean opposition makes the West’s tolerance of Afewerki even more disheartening. On January 21, about 200 soldiers with two tanks took over a government ministry and demanded the release of all political prisoners. The coup failed.
The Afewerki regime is dividing against itself, with many youth and forced conscripts fleeing the country. Recently, 180 members of the navy were massacred by the security forces when they tried to get out. The known defections include three senior air force pilots and senior officials “have started to manifest open dissent to military and economic policy decision-making.”
In 2010, Rep. Ed Royce of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, wrote a letter to the State Department demanding that Eritrea be added to the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Even under President Obama’s vision of the war on terror as solely a war on Al-Qaeda, Eritrea qualifies as a state sponsor, but nothing has happened.
Sanctions were first placed on Eritrea for its arming of terrorists in December 2009. For three and a half years, the regime has been allowed to sponsor Al-Shabaab, oppress its citizens (especially Christians) and ally with Iran. For two and a half years, Eritrea has not been held accountable for its direct involvement in a major terrorist plot.
Al-Qaeda’s favorite “Christian” leader is known by virtually no American and Al-Shabaab and Iran can thank the Obama Administration for that.


Posted in News & Analysis | Leave a Comment »

BBC|Egypt condemns US decision to suspend military aid

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 10, 2013

An Egyptian military tank is deployed in the northern Sinai town of Al-Arish (file photo) The US said the withholding of aid to Egypt was not intended to be permanent

Egypt has criticised a decision by the US to suspend a large part of the $1.3bn (£810m) in aid it receives.

Foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said the decision was wrong and Egypt would “not surrender to American pressure and is continuing on its path towards democracy”.

The US announced on Wednesday it was suspending the delivery of large-scale military systems and withholding cash assistance to the Egyptian government.

It follows months of political turmoil.

Since the Egyptian army ousted Mohammed Morsi as president in July, the authorities have clashed repeatedly with his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.


    Egypt’s foreign military backers

  • The US: In addition to providing $1.3bn (£810m) it has also trained many senior Egyptian officers in America
  • The EU: According to 2011 official EU figures, Europe annually sells about $405m (£254m) worth of weapons to Egypt
  • France, Spain and Germany are reported to be the main EU donors
  • Other key military donors are believed to be Brazil, Russia and China
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have all provided cash to Egypt – estimated to be $12bn this year alone – but it is not clear how much of this – if any – was military assistance


The US state department launched a review of its aid to Egypt in August after a crackdown that left hundreds of people dead.

On Wednesday, it said it would halt the delivery of Apache helicopters, as well as Harpoon missiles and tank parts.

Washington would also halt a $260m cash transfer and a $300m loan guarantee, officials said.

The freeze was not intended to be permanent, the state department added.

“We will continue to hold the delivery of certain large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the government pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The BBC’s Kim Ghattas in Washington says the suspension of aid is more symbolic than a painful cut in essential aid.

The announcement had been expected, with deliveries of military hardware already halted, a military exercise cancelled, and cash aid in effect on hold since the summer, our correspondent says.

The US will continue to provide health and education assistance, and money to help Egypt to ensure security in the increasingly volatile Sinai peninsula.

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Ethiopia|Time to Remove Isaias’ Skirt Cover

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 10, 2013

While the world mourns with moral outrage about the tragic death Eritreans and other African refugees in two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea last week, the Eritreans government is busy blocking out its media or deflecting its propaganda by stating:

“This is by far the greatest opportunity the enemies of Eritrea have had to destroy the name Eritrea deliberately in malice… To be Eritrean is the greatest gift our heroes gave us paying with dear life. Eritrea is the most coveted nationality in Africa today precisely because of our strength. There were many nationalities in the boat. Yet, the only nation talked about is Eritrea. CNN did not mention any other country. Let us not forget that and maintain their legacy by stopping these tragedies. Let us look deep-inside and stand together to avert this tragedies”

( Eastafro is the mouthpiece of Eritrea’s Ministry of Information. With such cold hearted and politically calculated comments the majority of Eritreans cowed of the unfolding tragedy.

Eritreans in the Diaspora are unsure whether to deny it and side with government twisted rationale or to cry at the top of their voice with the traditional dirge “Melqes-woye woye.” Hearing the heart wrenching grief and cry by those at the scene and seeing rows and rows of caskets (majority Eritreans) and to worry about “the name of Eritrea” is adding insult to an injury. According such twisted logic, implicitly, among others, Ethiopia is the source of this tragedy causing the good name of Eritrea to be tarnished. It is about time to expose the hypocrisy of Isaias regime by calling for immediate implementation of the border ruling.

We all are waiting for the reality to hit, learning the particular identity of those perished and break the bad news to the next of kin. Such inevitability always come to Eritreans in a delayed motion, consuming the family members in untold grieving of the uncertainty though deep in their soul the end outcome is always tragic. We are also watching carefully the reaction of the Eritrean government, when family members learn the bad news; will it allow them to mourn the death of their loved ones? If past experience is an indication, the government will blame the families but will never acknowledge that these youth were the children of Eritrea.

Eritrea’s bad luck continues to pile up while the world notices intermittently when such incidents happen here and there. Eritrea remains a giant prison, where the young see no light at the end of the tunnel while the old die of neglect and broken heart mourning the untimely death of their children one after the other or of simple loneliness.

The bad turns of events seemed to be sudden and unexpected for those who were wallowing in “independence euphoria” never questioning the value and price of liberty. The first five years of normalcy and apparent progress with positive foreign media coverage and fledgling local Medias gave a veneer of new era dawning for the small nascent nation. In spite of clear signals that some kind of sorcery was being concocted behind the scene, we shrugged and let our moral antennas down in complacency.

The conflict ignited against Ethiopia with the pretense of border issues further blinded our vision dulling our common sense and moral integrity. Most of us erred in favor of Eritrea as a victim of the border conflict with some nationalistic fervor demonizing Ethiopia. Again we lost our objectivity for obvious reason, afraid of losing hard earned independence bartering it with our liberty and freedom of expression.

Igniting a border conflict, Isaias Afeworki might have calculated to undermine the Tigray dominated Ethiopian ruling party. However, the border aggression had the opposite effect; Isaias was able to unite Ethiopians which Meles had struggled to do since the fall of Dergue. Standing up to Isaiass bullying tactics gave Meles an opportunity for self-redemption against his critics that he is a true Ethiopian. Reversing Eritrean aggression further emboldened Meles status deflating Isaias’ ego blaming his own ministers and confidants as defeatists. It looks that Isaias never recovered from that humiliating military defeat though tried to skirt it by moral victory when The Hague awarded Badme (allegedly the flash point of the border conflict) to Eritrea.

In his paranoid state, Isaias kept Eritrea – its people and economy hostage; using an immanent Ethiopian aggression as scare tactic. He refused to implement a constitution ratified in 1997 with same of excuse that the country is in a state of emergency. To justify that he continued amassing up to half- a-million standing army out of a population of less than 5 million. Under the shadow of the tragedy of 9/11in USA, Isaias clamped on the budding private media and his ministers for allegedly challenging his authority. Since then Eritrea has become a prison nation literally and figuratively. For example, there is only one military camp, where all 12 graders attend to finish high school. With no viable higher education institution only tiny minority are accepted to attend the newly started substandard and unaccredited colleges and the rest are kept as captives to serve in the unending national military service under slavery condition. With no exist strategy from such trappings, Eritrean youth have chosen to run out of the country regardless of the danger that might await them like the tragedy we witnessed recently at the coast of Sicily (Italy). Read also

Isaias has used the unresolved border conflict with Ethiopia as a cover to continue making Eritrea as hell on earth; emptying its human and resource capital. Isaias should be denied any excuse or pretension and Ethiopia has the capacity to remove his skirt cover and show his true color. Eritreans and Ethiopians have lived as a family long before their adopted Greek names. The issues of Badda and Badme are immaterial to the people who lived across either side of the artificial borders. The current impasse of implementing the World Court decision being purely political, I hope Ethiopia would make a cost benefit analysis calculation and remove the cover-skirt of Isaias. The cost benefit analysis Ethiopia should analyze is looking beyond the era of  Isaias’ regime in order to avert Somalia-like scenario to the north. Badme has served Ethiopia as a rallying point reversing Isaias aggression. However, implementing the border ruling would be much more beneficial for normalizing the relationship between family members on both sides of the border than symbolic victory or loss of Badme. Isaias should be left with no excuse to prolong the suffering of Eritreans and endangering the security of Ethiopia and the Horn Region.


Posted in News & Analysis | 1 Comment »

Eritrea|Hazardous to Eritreans

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 9, 2013

Yes, it is almost entirely the Eritrean regime’s fault.

If you have no family in Eritrea, no connection to Eritrea, and all you had to rely for information about Eritrea was Google News–which aggregates Eritrean state media’s always happy news next to the almost always negative news about the country from independent media–you would have a very confusing image of Eritrea.   It is the tragic death of Eritrean youth in forlorn places like the Sicilian coast that punctures reality and provides a jolt.  This reality of Eritrean corpses, the televising of our young who die in horrific ways is often presented with a warning: “this image may be too graphic.” Similarly, a warning should be applied on the whole country: “Eritrea is hazardous to Eritreans.”

This week, as Eritrea’s Foreign Minister was telling the UN General Assembly that the UN must mend its ways–to become more just, more lawful–and that it must do so by restructuring itself from a uni-polar or bi-polar to a multi-polar world, many from the thousands of Eritreans who were escaping the unjust, the unlawful and the singular power of Eritrea’s tyrant were days away from taking their last breath in Lampedusa.


This week, as Eritrea’s state media was issuing its lament on the uni-polar and bi-polar state of the world, a dozen of Eritreans escaping Eritrea’s one-man rule were shipwrecked off the coast of Sicily (Ragusa) died far from home, in the company of kinder strangers.


If Eritrea is such a hopeful country where the government is making tangible progress to improve the lives of Eritreans, as its State media relentlessly says, why is it that those who would benefit the most from it, the youth, are leaving it by the thousands?

The facts speak for themselves.  Eritrea’s youth, sentenced to an indentured servitude of compulsory and indefinite military service, are leaving Eritrea anyway they can.  And, as they leave the warmth of their homes which have been changed into prison by the Eritrean regime, they are dying in Lampedusa, Calais, Almeria, Tijuana, Cartagena, El Latal, San Andres. the Moroccan Coast, the Mediterranean Sea and Sinai where, if they are not killed, they are beaten, raped, tortured and harvested for organs.

Comprehensive Failure

Those who are more interested in protecting the image of the Eritrean regime than they are of protecting their own compatriots have blamed everybody for the biblical-proportion tragedies that are raining on Eritrea’s youth.  They have blamed the US and the UN for not enforcing the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) ruling, thus, goes the argument, leaving Eritrea no choice but to maintain a large army in compulsory service.  They have blamed the UN for sanctions it imposed on Eritrea in 2009.  They have blamed the West for the “easy” asylum processes that act as a magnet to destitute youth.  They have blamed the victims themselves for being materialistic and short-sighted.  They have blamed their families for funding their escape.  They have denied that the dead Eritreans are Eritreans. They have blamed everybody else except the Eritrean regime and its disastrous policies that have communicated one message to the youth: we are the predators and you are the prey.

Let’s consider each of the explanations given to exonerate the regime.

Even if the Eritrean regime truly believes that Ethiopia can attack Eritrea any time, is the military strategy it is using–soldiers enlisted against their will serving corrupt officers they despise–going to protect Eritrea from an Ethiopian assault? If the Eritrean youth are willing to endure unimaginable hardship to escape from Eritrea, what makes the regime think they would be willing to die for a cause they do not believe in–that of propping up a corrupt government structure?  How did that work out for the Ethiopian Derg?

The sanctions that were imposed by the UN in 2009  (Resolution 1907) were not the outcome of a “unipolar” or “bipolar” world. Of the 15 security council votes, there was one negative vote (Libya’s Qaddaffi) and one abstention (China.)  Even Russia voted for the sanctions which were imposed after the Eritrean regime rejected repeated pleas to stop its destructive role in Somalia and to acknowledge its dispute with Djibouti.  These sanctions were re-enforced again in 2011 (Resolution 2023) again with 13 affirmative votes, without a “no” vote and with two abstentions (China and Russia.)  Please note that the Eritrean regime could not get a “no” vote from Russia and China much less exercising their veto power because its destructive behavior was inexcusable even by their standards.  So the Eritrean regime has nobody buts its destructive policies to blame for the sanctions and their consequences.  In any event, since the sanctions were targeted– “arms embargo, as well as a travel ban and assets freeze on Eritrea’s political and military leaders”–how does that affect the Eritrean youth? Are they leaving because they don’t have new weaponry and are disheartened that Eritrea’s political and military leaders are prohibited from traveling and their assets are frozen?

And how “easy” is the asylum process in the West? Ask the millions of world citizens who are on cue waiting for their applications to be processed.  The reason the asylum requests by Eritreans would get preferential treatment in some Western countries is because, for 12 long years, the Eritrean regime has lived up to every single justifiable cause for granting asylum: it has declared war on its own citizens and it is a predatory State. Eritrea, claim the asylum seekers, poses an imminent danger to Eritreans.  And they are right, and the asylum-granters are rightly persuaded.

Lastly, the argument that the Eritrean youth are dying because they are too materialistic and want to get ipods and X-boxes is belied by the facts. (We will not, for now, focus on how tasteless and offensive it is to speak of the victims that disrespectfully, but those who support the Eritrean regime somehow slowly ease themselves into a life of losing their humanity.) First of all, it is not just the poor Eritreans who are leaving the country.  It is even Eritreans who, by Eritrean standards, would be considered “rich”–and could afford Western gadgets– who are deserting the land of their ancestors.  It includes Eritreans who have never heard of ipods and X-boxes.  Secondly, is there something special about Eritreans that their affinity to video games and hamburgers far exceeds that of the rest of the Third World?  If the argument is that the cause is economical, that the West is too strong a magnet for poor people, why does it pull Eritreans disproportionately?  As we have written before,  “Senegal and Guinea are closer to South America, than Eritrea is. Mali is closer to Spain and Malta than Eritrea is. Many African countries are, financially speaking, only marginally better off than Eritrea. In fact, many of the countries that Eritreans travel to on their way to their destination points are just as poor and their people are just as incentivized as Eritreans are to make more money—if money was the only issue. Still, Eritreans—on a per capita basis—leave their countries at rates far in excess that of most nations.”

There is also the argument that while these deaths are tragic, the Eritrean regime is not indifferent.  So why is it that when Italy is declaring the death of immigrants including Eritreans off its coast as a national day of mourning, the Eritrean regime can’t even be bothered to mention them? Why is a regime that has an opinion on every subject under the sun–Iran’s right to nuclear weapons; Somalias need to unify into one state; how the UN calculates daily caloric intake requirements; the problem with Africa; the problem with the Arab world; the problem with the world–tongue tied when it comes to tragedies that befall its own citizens?  If it is not indifferent, why do its ambassadors and consulates not make any effort to reach out to Eritrean tragedy survivors?   It is because the regime has, with the head of state setting the tone that Eritreans are dispensable– they are “going on a picnic”, he said; “let them disperse, globalization is the great equalizer, I can always import professionals, he said– convinced Eritreans that it thinks they are dispensable.

Consider the countries of origin of those who accompany Eritreans.  They are Somalis and Syrians and Ethiopians and Egyptians.  Somalis and Syrians fit one profile: refugees leaving war-torn countries.  Ethiopians and Egyptians fit another profile: overpopulated countries whose economic growth can barely keep up with their population growth.  Then there is Eritrea: a small country of five million (so it is extrapolated: census is a state secret.)  And until we have a government that obsesses over the well-being of every single Eritrean (after it actually counts them) in the manner that the current regime obsesses over every square inch of Eritrean land (an obsession it has failed to deliver on), Eritreans will continue to treat the country as a clear and present danger to their well-being and do what it takes to escape–even as they know the route they are taking is extremely dangerous.  And if their asylum requests are denied and they are facing deportation, they will continue to have one destination: Anywhere but Eritrea.  This does not tell us that they are naive or thrill-seekers; it tells us that the Eritrean regime has created a State that is hazardous to its own citizens.

We pray for the departed and give our condolences to the bereaved families.  We hope the opposition, in all our disjointed existence, will be jolted out of its stupor and recognize that the only way to stop such tragedies from repeating over and over again is to target the root cause–the predatory Eritrean regime–in an organized and focused way.  Today, we grieve– but justice requires we do more than that.

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Somalia|Foreign troops attack al-Shabaab Somalia stronghold

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 9, 2013

Foreign troops have October 5, 2013 attacked an al-Shabaab stronghold in the Somalia town of Barawe about 200 km south of Mogadishu, reports indicate.

The unidentified foreign forces targeted a house situated close to the Indian Ocean coastline in the early hours of Saturday.

Residents said that they suspected the attackers to be forces from a western country with a planned mission against the targeted house.

Locals told the media that heavy fire started at around 3am and lasted for about half an hour, according to Mogadishu Radio, a state run broadcaster in the capital.

The attackers are said to have used speedboats and helicopters in the early morning operation.

“Senior officials of al-Shabaab (the radical Islamist group opposing the Somali government) are assumed to have been residing in the house,” said a resident who preferred anonymity for security reasons.

The exact identities of the occupants of the house could not be immediately established, though the coastal town of Barawe is an Al-Shabaab stronghold.

Residents of Barawe said that some of the invading forces descended on the roof of the house while others positioned themselves around the perimeter before retreating.

They also stated that navy ships fired salvos as the attackers were getting onto their speedboats. The fire reportedly landed on the beachside.

Further reports indicated that al-Shabaab guards in the house resisted the attack and responded to the attacks using automatic guns.

“This morning, Al-Shabaab trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns are moving around the town while neighbourhoods are searched,” a resident confirmed.

“It amounts to a show of power,” the resident added.

Although no statement regarding the incident has been forthcoming from any side, one of the al-Shabaab fighters reportedly died in the attack.

It was in the same southern Somalia town where US Navy Seals killed a most-wanted al-Qaeda operative four years ago.

In September 2009, US marines using helicopter gunships attacked a convoy of vehicles travelling around Barawe town.

They killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in Somalia, Ali Salah Nabhan, and his escorts, taking with them Nabhan’s body.

In January this year, French commandos unsuccessfully tried to rescue a French citizen held hostage by al-Shabaab in Bulomareer, a village not far from Barawe town.

In the mission, the hostage and a French soldier died.

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Eritrea|A look at an isolated African nation

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 9, 2013

By  Associated Press/AP

Thousands of people each year flee Eritrea, a small Horn of Africa nation. Despite relative peace, many leave the repressive regime taking trips that can be as perilous as the recent boat disaster off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Here is a look at the isolated country:


Eritrea declared independence in 1993 following a United Nations-backed referendum in which Eritreans voted to break away from Ethiopia. Eritrea’s pro-independence leaders fought a guerrilla war against Ethiopia that ended in 1991. Relations between landlocked Ethiopia and Eritrea, which has a Red Sea coastline, have since remained tense, with both countries’ armies occasionally clashing over an undefined common border. From May 1998 to June 2000, the neighbors fought a costly and bloody war over a disputed border territory. Both countries continue to accuse each other of supporting armed groups across the border.


Roughly the size of Pennsylvania, Eritrea has a population of at least 6 million people. About 69 percent of them are poor, the school enrollment rate stands at 47 percent and annual per capita income was $403 in 2010, according to the World Bank. The country has faced chronic drought over the years, fueled in part by the government’s restrictive economic policies, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. Nine ethnic groups are recognized in the country, including the dominant Tigrinya.


Isaias Afworki, a former guerrilla fighter who became the leader of Eritrea’s war of independence, has been president since 1993 after being the country’s de facto leader since 1991. He is said to rule with a firm hand, brooking no opposition to his authority, according to rights groups that depict him as a tyrant. At least 10,000 political prisoners have been held by Afworki’s administration over the last two decades, Amnesty International said in a report released earlier this year. “With no known exception, not a single political prisoner has ever been charged with a crime or tried, had access to a lawyer or been brought before a judge or a judicial officer to assess the legality and necessity of the detention,” the rights group said in the May report.

In January more than 100 dissident soldiers were reported to storm the headquarters of the Ministry of Information in the capital, Asmara, where they read a statement on state TV urging constitutional rule and freedom for political prisoners. That incident was interpreted by some analysts as an attempted power grab that never succeeded, although details of it remain unclear. Elections have not been held in Eritrea since independence.


Rights groups, which often lack access to the country, have called Eritrea an oppressive state where the rights of civilians are frequently violated. Human Rights Watch, which once described Eritrea as “a giant prison,” reports that “torture, arbitrary detention, and severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and religious freedom remain routine” in the country. The group says in its global report for 2013 that “political parties are not allowed” in Eritrea and there are “no institutional constraints on” Afworki. “Eritreans are routinely subject to imprisonment without explanation, trial, or any form of due process. Incarceration often lasts indefinitely,” the report says.

Amnesty International says it has “received many reports of deaths in detention” from torture, appalling conditions or suicide. Citing the accounts from those who have fled, the group reports that conditions in Eritrea’s detention facilities are abysmal, with prisoners “held in underground cells and shipping containers, subject to boiling and freezing temperatures.”


More than 1,500 Eritreans, including unaccompanied minors, flee the country monthly despite shoot-to-kill orders to border guards and immense dangers along escape routes, according to Human Rights Watch.

Eritreans face compulsory national military service that “keeps most young Eritreans in perpetual bondage,” the rights group says, accusing the government of prolonging military service indefinitely despite a decree limiting it to 18 months.

People are “desperate to escape” a military in which conditions are said to be “dreadful,” making conscription into the armed forces one of the main reasons young Eritreans flee, said Andrew Weir, deputy editor of a Britain-based publication called Africa Confidential. Eritrea is austere and highly repressive, according to Weir. A well-known route for some migrants from Africa is via the Red Sea and Sinai, where people fall victim to human trafficking, he said.

More than 250 migrants were killed in the Lampedusa boat disaster and most victims are believed to be from Eritrea and Somalia, another troubled Horn of Africa nation, according to the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The large number of unaccompanied children among those fleeing Eritrea showed “the scale of despair they are facing” back home, said Sheila B. Keetharuth, the U.N. special rapporteur on Eritrea. “The alarming human rights situation in Eritrea is triggering a constant stream of refugees to neighboring countries and far beyond. People continue to flee despite the extreme dangers along escape routes,” Keetharuth said in a statement released Monday.

Some Eritrean athletes have not returned home after competing in sports events abroad; some went missing at the London Olympics.


Many journalists have been imprisoned in Eritrea while others have fled the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which says Eritrea and neighboring Ethiopia were Africa’s “top jailers” of journalists in 2012. The watchdog group says since 2008 it has assisted 30 Eritrean journalists who now live in exile. Eritrean authorities have shut down all independent media outlets in a widespread government crackdown that started in Sept. 2001, it says.


Eritrea has long been accused of fomenting violence in Somalia in part to keep its archrival Ethiopia, which shares a long border with Somalia, concerned about conditions there. Increasingly isolated, Eritrea is under sanctions imposed by the African Union and the U.N. In late 2011 the U.N. Security Council expanded an arms embargo against Afworki’s regime. Earlier this year the Obama administration blacklisted Eritrea’s intelligence chief and a senior military official for their alleged roles in providing financial and logistical support to the al-Qaida-linked Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab. Eritrea’s government denies the charges.

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U.S. to cut some military aid to Egypt after coup, turmoil

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 9, 2013

Washington (CNN) — The United States is preparing to announce a decision “in the coming days” on assistance to Egypt, the White House said Tuesday, and U.S. officials told CNN military aid will be cut, though not all of it.

The announcement comes in the wake of the July coup against President Mohamed Morsy and the turmoil that has followed as recently as this week, one U.S. official said Tuesday.

However, some military aid could continue, including funds to uphold Egypt’s obligations under its peace treaty with Israel, and money for counterterrorism and security in Sinai, where extremists have been able to set up base, according to a senior U.S. official. The United States will also maintain nonmilitary funding that helps democracy promotion, the official said.

In an initial report about the announcement, CNN did not specify that these portions of the aid would continue.

The Obama administration withheld some military aid to Egypt in August. Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the move to suspend assistance — more than $1 billion is given each year — has been prompted by an “accumulation of events,” including recent violence against protesters, dozens of whom were killed over the weekend.

Photos: Unrest in Egypt

Cairo street protests turn deadly

The United States has not yet notified the Egyptians of the decision to cut off military aid, a senior official said. The announcement is not expected to be made on Wednesday and has already been pushed back a few times, the official said.

In a statement late Tuesday, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said an announcement is coming soon but denied the United States is “halting all military assistance.”

“We will announce the future of our assistance relationship with Egypt in the coming days, but as the president made clear at UNGA, that assistance relationship will continue,” Hayden said in a statement.

Any decision to cut aid would not preclude resuming the aid should Egypt make what the United States believes are positives steps towards restoring democracy, officials said.

Death toll rises as violence rages

U.S. national security advisers recommended to the president last month that aid should be cut, U.S. officials told CNN in September. The recommendation, officials said, was made in a “principals meeting” of the president’s national security team, including National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The meeting was the culmination of months of debate within the administration about how to respond to the July 3 ouster of Morsy, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader.

In addition to the suspension of some military aid earlier this year, there has also been a severe slowdown in military shipments from the United States to Egypt, including F-16s.

The Obama administration has not labeled Morsy’s removal from office a coup. Such a designation would require a cut in all but humanitarian aid. In the past, the White House has said it was in U.S. national security interests to keep the aid intact.

But after U.S. calls to the Egyptian military for restraint over the last few months were met with a heavy-handed crackdown on Morsy supporters, Obama canceled a joint military exercise and announced a new review of U.S. aid to Egypt.

Last month, U.S. officials said Obama’s national security team had recommended a cut in aid that included all foreign military financing to the Egyptian military, except funding toward security in the Sinai Peninsula and along the Egyptian border with Gaza.

“This has been coming for quite a while, actually, and President Obama signaled that the United States was slowing down aid to Egypt in his address at the United Nations just a couple of weeks ago,” said Robin Wright, an Arab affairs analyst at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “The United States has become increasingly disillusioned with the way that the military leadership has cracked down on its own people. Over 1,000 died in the early weeks after the military coup, and in the past week, you’ve seen dozens more killed in confrontations.”

CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman said in the short-term, the U.S. decision could have a positive impact on the Egyptian government.

“Immediately, probably, the Egyptian government is going to find it’s going to gain somewhat in terms of local public opinion,” Wedeman said. “Egyptians I’ve already been in touch with about this decision or announcement from the United States that it’s going to cut aid seem to react positively. There seems to be a lot of frustration with the United States, given its role in Egypt over the last 2½ years since the revolution.”

But don’t expect to see Egypt’s military hurting financially, Wedeman said.

“For the Egyptian government, a cutoff in U.S. aid is symbolically significant, but in terms of the actual amount of money they’re getting, it will not make a big difference,” he said.

Wedeman said that’s because Gulf states have been pouring billions of dollars into Egypt since Morsy’s ouster. A move to cut off aid would likely anger those Gulf allies who have urged the United States to support the military and warned against stopping assistance.

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