The following item was published in Arabic at www.alnahda1.8m.com. Awate.com has translated it and is publishing it for the benefit of its English readers. Awate Team
The Eritrean Regime Begins The New Year With A Public Information Campaign Through Agents Nominally Affiliated With The Eritrea Opposition: Ansaba.com brought news and it was translated into Tigrigna by meskerem.net (considered in line with the Isaias regime) which placed it on the main page with a bold headline. The news is entitled ‘Ethiopia completes preparations to attack the Eritrean system and specifies for the Opposition organizations areas of formation inside Eritrea.’ (link)
The news has identified three organizations with Islamist and Arab orientations (Eritrean Islamic Reform Movement; Eritrean Islamic Party For Development And Justice; and the Eritrean Liberation Front). This news [is] planted by the Eritrean intelligence, and its media outlets, which are active these days to achieve specific objectives to hit the opposition from within through the questioning of its patriotism, and calling it as part of Ethiopian intelligence, from which it receives instructions and implements the guidance to the letter.
The news comes in the context of the effort of the Isaias regime to drive a wedge between the national Eritrean opposition and between brethren in the Arab countries, namely Sudan, by attempting to empty the Eritrean opposition of its national and contextual meaning, and to classify it as a mere agent of the Ethiopian regime.
During his last visit to the Sudan, Ali Abdu, the minister of information of the Isaias regime, exerted huge efforts to persuade the government of Sudan and the Sudanese media, that there is no Eritrean opposition but individual agents [of the Ethiopian regime] who move freely between Sudan and Ethiopia to collect information and carry out [acts of] sabotage in favor of Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, the delegation of the so-called Confederation Of Trade Unions that is affiliated to the dictatorial regime in Asmara, failed in its attempt to gain membership in the International Federation of Arab Trade Unions in which the General Union of Eritrean Workers is a member—this noble organization that represents the Eritrean workers. The [Eritrean regime’s ]attempts failed.
The Isaias regime also failed to persuade the Union of Arab Teachers and the Union of Arab Writers and Journalists to isolate the Eritrean unions that enjoy membership in these two deep-rooted unions. We would like to note here that the organizations that are mentioned by name in the news (organizations with Arab and Muslim orientation) are the ones that have these links which the Isaias regime wants to severe. Certainly, Arab brothers, mainly the Sudanese, know the background of this work in depth, as well as the goal of the sectarian Isaias regime. The Isaias regime sent a group of intelligence [operatives] to the Sudanese towns in order to monitor the leaders and cadres of the Eritrean opposition and to list their names and addresses in order to provide the descriptive list to the Sudanese government and demand that it hand them over to Eritrea, as agents of Ethiopia. Otherwise, Eritrea will use the cards it holds in relation to [Sudanese] opposition in Darfur and elsewhere.
There is another part to this news which is fabricated and organized by the Eritrean intelligence. The news was published in a website that stems from the United States, and somewhat distant [from the Eritrean regime] until this moment, ostensibly as a proof for their accusations.
Its translation into Tigrigna and its occupation of the whole mainpage (meskerem.net), is a message targeting the Tigrigna, and it comes within the context of the organized activity which Wedi-Baatay and the suspect peace movements and its conferences, and others, to launch a strong siren, that the Ethiopian government is seeking to change the Tigrigna regime in Asmara with the aid of Muslims in order to install Arab Muslims as a client government of Ethiopia. A media campaign had started at the end of the previous year, [claiming] that the formation of a neo-unionist party [with Ethiopia] has begun and that all the activities of the opposition—the convening of the National Conference For Democratic Change, and the planned convening of the next National Congress—are aimed at forming a unionist party. These are malicious campaigns carried out by the sons of the union party, Andenet.
In a short time, we observed that the Isaias regime did away with its obscene media and began to infiltrate the independent websites through the channeling of news, articles and commentaries that are published and allow the websites to editorialize it directly. This matter began to evolve by buying the conscience of some webmasters with the pretext of nationalism, exploiting the dire financial situation of some media activists. It is known that the regime has an open budget for intelligence activities; and the new plan of the regime is to rely on this technique to confuse the activities of the national opposition through such exposed and planted news in order to create conflicts within the opposition by distributing [certificates] of patriotism and other nonsense.
Unfortunately, the news that was published at ansaba.com was tucked by the Eritrean intelligence, and that ansaba.com fell for the snare, if we give it the benefit of the doubt.
To shed more light on such a fake news fabricated by the Eritrean intelligence, we contacted our colleague Mohamed Taha Tewekel, an expert on the affairs of the Horn of Africa. The following are his comments:
Regarding the planting of news regarding the forceful overthrow of the Asmara regime by Ethiopia, this information is not accurate and is not based on any evidence; and the no war no peace has been prevailing for the last ten years. The tension has subsided in the recent past. And the Eritrean regime manufactures such media bursts to draw attention and escape from the internal problems. Personally, I rule out a military option, at least for the time being. The planted information mentioned three organizations (with Islamist and Arab orientation) involved with Ethiopia. The intent is clear: to drive a wedge among the Eritrean social segments. These organizations have a rich national history and are beyond suspicion. These days, as you might have followed, [there is] an organized campaign and the distribution of accusations of nationalism and anti-nationalism. These are media bursts and the work of the Eritrean intelligence, and they are not supported by any evidence. Truly, the classifications and throwing of accusations bothers me a lot these days. The national opposition must strongly observe that. It is also true that Ethiopia is the only remaining ally of the Eritrean opposition; and dealing with it must be conscious and responsible.
The current Ethiopia is the one that supported and championed the Eritrean revolution and recognized the independence of Eritrea; and now it is strongly supporting the choice of the Eritrean people towards democratic change—anything else goes to the section of confusion that the Isaias regime is carrying out. And the sole beneficiary from the publication of such fabricated news is the Isaias regime that strives to hit the national opposition from within.
I agree with you about the change of the old style and the approach of the intelligence media by seeking to penetrate some websites to confuse the opposition. There are few articles and news published [in these websites] that carry slight criticism of the regime by branding it a dictatorship, but the bulk of the news or article serves the regime—or as is commonly said, it is cooked in the intelligence kitchen. I recommend to the websites to pay attention to this when they carry out their national mission; I also hope the opposition factions to try to resolve their simple differences in a calm manner without wrapping it in the Ethiopia excuse.
In fact, that this news does not have any informational value is clear, and the audience as well as the target is experienced and is aware that the news is planted with the aim of striking Eritrea’s social fabric and to disrupt [the opposition’s] relations with the Arab region.