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To Nobody’s Surprise, Sanctions on Eritrea Renewed

(1) The Security Council voted to extend the mandate of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) and to continue the sanctions on Eritrea for another year.

(2) The vote was 11 in favor, 4 abstentions and 0 against.   The abstentions were Russia, China, Bolivia and Egypt.

(3) This means that in addition to the US, UK and Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay voted for sanctions.

(4) This also means that the “diplomatic offensive” of the Eritrean regime into Kazakhstan, following Senegal into the Saudi camp, not to mention Eritrean ambassador to Japan’s (Ambassador Estifanos’s) prolific use of Twitter condemning Haji Mussa to a life sentence in solitary confinement when he should have been focusing his attention on Japan appeared to have borne no fruit.  Also surprisingly, the insults the Eritrean regime pours on Italy, Sweden, UK and US, not to mention its instant recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine (Crimea), did not appear to have positively influenced the UNSC members.  Weird.

(5) This is similar to the votes taken in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 so claims of Eritrea’s climb out of isolation are vastly overstated.  But necessary propaganda to keep the restless mob in check. It is a psychological necessity to declare that, in all matters, victory is always just around the corner, if we just do exactly what we have been doing. Nkhid Tray: Andiamo!

(6) Since the original (2009) sanctions were primarily driven by two issues–Eritrea’s support for Al-Shabab and its failure to acknowledge its dispute with Djibouti–an argument has been made that since (a) there is no evidence that Eritrea supports Al-Shabab and (b) Eritrea has acknowledged its dispute with Djibouti, then, surely, the basis for the sanctions no longer exist and they must be lifted.  Even Newsweek (yeah it is still around) made this argument. Nothing good can come out of an article that cites Ambassador Herman Cohen as an authority: a man who was seriously arguing for Ethiopia to make the push for lifting the sanctions.

(7) This argument is flawed for the following reasons:

7.1 SEMG’s conclusion that there is no evidence that Eritrea is supporting Al-Shabab in the last four years says nothing over whether Eritrea did the previous five years;

7.2 This is relevant because If the Eritrean regime stopped supporting Al-Shabab after the sanctions were imposed, then this tends to argue that the sanctions were effective in moderating the regime’s behavior. Media-wise, it certainly was giving moral and political support for five years (including for two years following the sanctions) and now its head of state is no longer preaching about the moral imperative of supporting all Somali “resistance” (explicitly including Al-Shabab); he has now lined up behind a government he mocked relentlessly.  Halengi (the whip of) UN is strong, apparently.

7.3 More importantly, the mandate of the SEMG is not just to monitor whether Eritrea is supporting Al-Shabab and making progress in its dispute with Djibouti. To claim so is to fool oneself by selective reading of Resolution 1907 (2009) and Resolution 2023 (2011)  The mandate is:

7.3.1monitoring Eritrea’s support for Al-Shabab

7.3.2 monitoring Eritrea’s progress in its dispute with Djibouti

7.3.3 monitoring Eritrea’s co-operation with SEMG

7.3.4 monitoring Eritrea’s support for regional (Ethiopia, Djibouti) armed opposition groups by hosting, training and providing them materiel

7.3.5 monitoring Eritrea’s role in being a base, a transit hub for arms or whether it is importing or exporting them

7.3.6 monitoring to see how transparent Eritrea is with its mining revenues;

(8) The opening statement of the SEMG report does not begin with “for the fifth consecutive mandate, the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea found no evidence that Eritrea is supporting Al-Shabab.”  It begins with “for the fifth consecutive mandate, the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea was not permitted to visit Eritrea to meet with representatives of the Government or conduct investigations.”

(9) With respect to Al-Shabab, the report says that the Monitoring Group “has, for its fourth consecutive mandate, not found conclusive evidence of support provided by Eritrea to AlShabab.”

(10) As for the rest of the SEMG’s mandate,

10.1 The dispute with Djibouti is in some limbo with the Eritrean regime having told the AU fact-finding mission that it will get back to it after it checks the president’s very busy calendar. You know how he is always traveling all over the world, the world defined as distance between Asmara and Adi Halo.

10.2 Despite all the lies the Eritrea government told its supporters that Qatar only withdrew from the Djibouti side but not the Eritrea side of the border (how can Eritrea not know if Qatar had withdrawn or not from its own territories?), Qatar, which was part of the disinformation campaign for two months, fessed up to the SEMG, via an August 22 letter from  its ambassador to the UN, that the country withdrew its troops from the whole region (Eritrea and Djibouti) on the same day (June 13, 2017.)

10.3 For two whole months (June 13 – August 22), Qatar and the Gov of Eritrea were lying to the people of Eritrea that Qatar had only withdrawn from the Djibouti side of the border.  This made no sense to anyone who understood Qatar’s anger at Djibouti and Eritrea for taking sides with the Saudi alliance, and Qatar being triangulated by UAE forces in Asab and Yemen and would have been a sitting duck in the nowhere land of the Djibouti/Eritrea border. But the supporters of the Eritrean government–bless their hearts– have never been encouraged to develop their ability to think critically but to parrot sheepishly. That is how “nationalism” is defined in that corner.

10.4 The Eritrean regime is supporting every armed Ethiopian alphabet soup in Eritrea.  These include Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7), Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) and Tigray People’s Democratic movement (TPDM).

10.5 SEMG found that Eritrea was violating the sanctions by “providing Eritrean territory for training….availing of Eritrean territory for the launching of attacks on Djibouti and Ethiopia…supplying weapons and ammunition and other military materiel…permitting weapons and ammunition to move in and out of Eritrea.”

10.6 Of the four Ethiopian armed groups, SEMG found that the Eritrean regime is spending a lot of its energy to prevent TPDM (their four units) and BPLM (all of their 90 fighters) from disbanding or defecting, specially after their chiefs (Molla Asghedom and Abdulwahab Mahdi Issa respectively) defected back to Ethiopia.

10.7 With respect to TPDM, here’s a perfect example of how the regime of Eritrea squanders Eritreans lives:

”   …another TPDM officer, Solomon Tesfay, also known as Akabi Zela, attempted to escape from Eritrea.  When caught by the Eritrean military, Solomon killed six Eritrean soldiers before committing suicide.  Three of the four TPDM units were subsequently disarmed again and sent to an area near Fanko in the Gash Barka region, while the fourth unit remained at a camp a short distance west of the town of Haykota, on the road between Barentu and Teseney.”

So notwithstanding the sanctions, the Eritrean regime’s brilliant strategy to bring the Ethiopian regime to its knees is to arm its opposition, train them, then when they are disgruntled and want to go back to Ethiopia, to shoot at them and then let them shoot back at our own soldiers using the weapons we gave them.  It also includes squandering Eritrea’s treasury by providing a monthly stipend of $12,500 USD (190,000 Nakfa) to the impressive Ethiopian guerrilla group Ginbot 7, which has gained great acclaim across Africa for its military prowess.

10.8 Eritrea’s providing of a base to the United Arab Emirates (despite frequent screeches by the Eritrean regime that it would never, ever, ever allow any foreign power to have a base in Eritrea) was also considered a violation of the terms of the sanctions. Given the war crimes the Saudis and their allies are committing in Yemen, this is a very misguided policy that tarnishes Eritrea’s history as it is being done, very transparently, for one reason only: money.   A clear-eyed view of the antagonists would show that the Yemeni Houthi rebels are the equivalent of Eritrea’s liberation fighters but money blinds politicians.  A policy of neutrality would have served Eritrea very well, but a government like Eritrea’s which had isolated itself from everyone welcomes the first rich country waving cash.

(11) For three years (2006-2009), the Eritrean regime was warned that its foolish adventure in Somalia would result in sanctions.  For three years, it ignored the warnings.  Thus, when the sanctions came, it was no surprise to anyone (except the Isaiasists) and that’s why resolution 1907 (2009) was supported by Russia and China as well.

(12) After Isaias Afwerki foolishly trapped Eritrea into sanctions, when he should have known that once sanctioned, countries find it very hard to get out of sanctions, he continued his foolishness, for a while, until his closed system (epistemic closure) told him that if he stops shooting his mouth off about Somalia and tell his media to cool it about what great “resistance fighters and stakeholders” Al-Shabab are (after their bombing of civilians in Kenya and Uganda!), then the sanctions would be lifted.

(13) He and his advisors forget that unlike the Special Rapporteur (Sheila Keetharuth) whose report that its been denied access to Eritrea is reported to the Human Rights Council, the SEMG’s report that it has been denied access to Eritrea is reported to the Sanctions Committee, which is part of the Security Council.

(14) The Eritrean regime cannot give unrestricted access to the SEMG, and the SEMG will not settle for the Universal Studios Guided Tour that the Eritrean regime is fond of (Come And See! Hospitals! Schools! Solar Lamps!) and thus the stalemate.  The SEMG will never agree to a guided tour, and the Eritrean government will never allow SEMG to take all its satellite photos and visit all the military camps and interview all the colonels who know too much.

(15) Therefore–and I have to say this to my Eritrean compatriots who, every year, are lied to and told that the sanctions are about to be lifted–the sanctions will not be lifted.  Unless there is some “game-changer” like 9/11.   These could be:

15.1 American and British nationals held hostage by, say, Ginbot 7 and TPDM; the Americans and Brits are then freed heroically by elite commando forces of Eritrea’s Defense Forces and Ginbot 7 and TPDM are killed in the shootout when they are shot in the back (no witnesses)

15.2 Total government collapse in Ethiopia (where the Eritrean government and its supporters continue to make dire predictions of its imminent demise since 2005 and have been right for 12 out of the last 0 collapses) and/or Sudan which necessitates holding your nose and striking a deal with the Eritrean regime;

15.3 Some Black Flag operation.

15.4 Wait for a miracle

16. Until then, be prepared to read the same SEMG reports with only the first paragraph changing from “for the sixth consecutive mandate…” and “for the seventh consecutive mandate…”


About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • Berhe Y

    Hi blink,

    How so (my attitude)?


    I am not going all YG on you but, please I don’t buy all the propaganda that comes out from EPLF / PFDJ. For example you said “to get rid off Eritreans from their homelands in order to make space for Amhara”. This is utter non sense. The only place the Amhara occupied in Eritrea was

    1) Public services jobs
    2) Millitary related jobs
    3) and some Amharic teaching jobs.


  • Dear All,

    What is wrong with african leaders? The love for power by african dictators is till death do them part, and robert mugabe is refusing to resign at 93, and even when his party, the people of zim, and the whole world are tell him to go away. He is not aware that he is exposing the country to chaos. He is to face impeachment, instead of resigning with some level of respect. Fortunately, it looks like the country is united against him.

    • Mez

      Hi Horizon,

      This is just a hypotetical answer: Because the whole lifestyle in Africa is based on entitlememt–rather than on competition.

    • saay7


      It’s the psychology of Louis XIV that all dictators share, and they live by the creed L’Etat, C’Est Moi (The State, That’s Me). In Eritrea, IA has said the following:

      He expects to live another 40 years (Wikileaks)
      he is in perfect health (Eri-TV interview, after rumors of his death in 2012)
      The thought of retirement will never cross his mind (Al Jazzera interview)

      The State is me.

      The engineers of the coup um corrective action in Zimbabwe code named their intervention “Operation Restore Legacy”. Clearly, they have North Koreans in their PR depart.


    • saay7


      It’s the psychology of Louis XIV that all dictators share, and they live by his creed L’Etat, C’Est Moi (The State, That’s Me). In Eritrea, IA has said the following:

      He expects to live another 40 years (Wikileaks)
      he is in perfect health (Eri-TV interview, after rumors of his death in 2012)
      The thought of retirement will never cross his mind (Al Jazzera interview)

      The State is me. Can u blame the guy? Since 1980, ZANU helped construct a perfect bubble for him that he is indispensable to the State.

      The engineers of the coup um corrective action in Zimbabwe code named their intervention “Operation Restore Legacy”. Clearly, they have North Koreans in their PR department.


      • Selam Saay,

        “እንደ ማቱሳላ እንደነ አብርሃም፣ ዕድሜህን ያርዝመው አምላክ ዘለዓለም፣ (ፀሐዩ ንጉስ)”.

        “አዲስ ንጉሥ እንጅ፣ ለውጥ መች መጣ፣”, a beautiful line, if it did not come from a royalist.

        Why people sometimes shed tears when their nemesis are gone is a mystery. Is it tears of relief or tears of mass hysteria? In zim it looks like they are tears of happiness, as long as mugabe does not make it tears of remorse and pain.

        Dictators and emperors think that if they go, the sun will stop shining. Unfortunately there are people who believe this ….

        Some say that it is a sort of inter Zanu-PF reshuffle and not true change.

        • saay7


          We knew he was a royalist long before he donned the uniform of His Majesty…way back with the lyrics you quoted which, in full, went like this:

          Basra’sebat merfey, beTeQemeuw QumTa
          Le’lewuT yagofereuw, zufan la’y siwoTa
          Endamnaw baleQen, yamnawun ke’QeTa
          Addis nigus enji, lewuT meche meTa

          But, damn, he is a talented man.

          The Addis Negus in Zimbabwe is going to be a 70 something year old guy to replace a 93 year old guy in a country where the median age is 19.


  • said

    Iran & Hezbollah: Towards an Inclusive Manifesto & A Discourse Defining the Endgame
    I personally do not agree with Iranians and Hezbollah Hegemony in the region
    Iran and Hezbollah are seriously failing on developing a more genuine, more inclusive and more consensually widely acceptable Manifesto and a Political Discourse that are compatible with the Universal Values and Visions of the progressive non-Iranian, Non-Shiite forces in the Middle East.

    In the height of the current political, security and strategic challenges facing the progressive forces in the entire Middle East, it is high times that both Iran and Hezbollah posing at this delicate juncture as deservingly spearheading the common interim interests of the progressive forces in the Middle Eastern region opting for freedom and justice, that both Iran and Hezbollah genuinely creatively pondering the nagging issue of defining an all-inclusive Endgame.

    The Middle East now stands at a decisive juncture, Crossroad in the heating struggle for the geopolitical future of the Entire Middle Eastern region. As the Iran-Syria-Iraq-Hezbollah Axis seems to be achieving successes, gathering strength and momentum in decisive battlegrounds against American lead coalition of traditional and conservative local and regional forces, the Political Discourse of Iran and Hezbollah still come across partly exclusive, theocratic and predominately Persian colored nationalistic drive.

    However, one is at a loss trying to figure out a convincing compatible shared ideology setting the Ultimate Goals of an Endgame between the Progressive Secular Forces in the Middle East and an Iranian-Hezbollah’s apparent mostly theocratic and nationalistic final goals.

    True, the interests and general agendas on the tactical and intermediate strategic goals of the Progressive Middle Eastern Secular forces and the Iranian Axis forces – as the latter is predominately theocratic in ideology and Nationalistic in tendencies – are in tandem; however, unlike an enduring unifying ideology, any ideology, as in the example of Communism seeing the Mao Zedong’s mantle carried fructuously forward to its natural conclusion through future generations setting the tone and the system of the time; No Unifying Common Ideology except for convergence of interim interests in a common struggle that cement solidly and convincingly the long-term long march of Iranian Lead Regional Thrust and the varied Middle Eastern Progressive Secular Forces.

    This fact leaves a hole in the common alliance in this common existential struggle of the Middle Eastern progressive secular forces and the Iranian mostly theocratic and nationalistic lead forces.

    out of goodwill and genuine desire at forging wider understanding of a common front,admonishing the leaders of that movement to rethink a more inclusive strategy leveraging its widely gained popularity among the Middle Eastern Progressive Forces in the aftermath of the war of 2006; same issue, most urgently pops up rendering the internal Lebanese political situation the Achill’s Heel rendering Lebanon, Iran and Hezbollah vulnerable and the Lebanese Tender situation open to exploitation.

    With the American lead coalition of conservative and traditional forces having experienced a major strategic loss on the battleground in Syria and Iraq, these forces are desperate to force themselves through the cracks of existing contradictions, foremost into Lebanon as in the example of the looming political crisis created and still unfolding by the Resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad El-Hariri.

    For Iran and Hezbollah, a wide territory remains to be covered at the public relations plan and genuinely in the substantive ideological side to creatively ponder options to rallying disparate progressive secular Middle Eastern Forces along common long-term goals. A Manifesto and a genuinely guiding Discourse need to be rethought through and redeveloped by the Iranians and the leadership of Hezbollah along a consensually redefined Endgame in congruence with the Universal Values and the Vision of the Progressive Secular Forces in the Middle Eastern Region.

    • Mez

      Dear Said,

      Why shall we worry about the Middle East? They
      1) have advanced economy, and unique vision about every thing on society transformation,

      2) a huge well educated human capacity than in our case,

      3) know better their problems than us from outside,

      4) is this our problem at all?

      A question for you: does ever the middle east saw any progressive /transformative social movement?

      The best bet for us will be to stay out of it. This is not an African fight; we do have more challenging problems.

      • said

        Selam Mez,
        In geopolitics of the region. Eritrea is affected one way or another .The UEA built Air base in Assab ,from where the UAE’S corvettes and a squadron of Mirage bombers wage war in Yemen, as the expansion accelerates, observers are asking whether the UAE is bent on “the pursuit of regional influence”, The UAE has won Berbera and Eritrea’s Asaab base by agreement .the expansion policy is mastermind by Abu Dhabi’s 56-year-old crown prince, Muhammad bin Zayed. He is the deputy commander of the UAE’s armed forces, and the younger brother of the emir of Abu Dhabi, who is also the president of the reported ,Emirati soldiers have since then taken the ports of Mukalla and Shihr, 500km (300 miles) east, and two Yemeni islands in the Bab al-Mandab strait, past which 4m barrels of oil pass every day.
        In neighboring Djibouti, military forces from the United States, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and soon China, are already based there, conducting counter-terrorism or anti-piracy efforts along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. For Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are concerned about the expanding influence of Iran in the region, the port of Assab in Eritrea has also become a base to prosecute the war in Yemen and tighten the noose on Houthi rebels.

        • Mez

          Dear Said,

          Your own reply tells me we have there no VESTED interest; at most it could be a periferial one for us.

          As one can see from the current Syrian civil war, this confrontation does have a global-superpowers involvement; which means it will be around for a couple of decades to come.

          No rush please, to get grilled in a fire for another 40 years to come.


    • Selamat said,

      Could you give me an example or two, if any, of existing divergent end game, of both Iran and Hezbollah? Other than “Theocratic and Nationalistic.”

      “…that both Iran and Hezbollah posing at this juncture as deservingly spearheading the common interests of the progressive forces in the middle east…”

      “Iran and Hezbollah: Towards and inclusive manifesto and a discourse defining the end game.” An excellent read, thank you.


  • Legacy

    Hi Salyounis,
    Herman Cohen tweeted:

    “ In view of UN report clearing #Eritrea of all charges related to al-Shebab, US and #Ethiopia should jointly sponsor Security Council resolution to lift sanctions.“

    Is Herman Cohen the biggest African expert troll or what ? What am I missing here? Why would the Ethiopian Gov initiate a resolution to lift the embargo?

    • Selam Legacy,

      Lawyers and diplomats live to tell lies, that is how they make a living, and mr. herman cohen is doing exactly that . He is lobbying for the eritrean regime, being paid for his job. He must show that at least he is trying, whether he himself believes or not, what he says and writes.

      He is in a way insulting the intelligence of the regime in asmara, when he says that ethiopia and the usa should coordinate actions to help lift sanctions, even though he knows very well that the usa government is being demonized day and night by the regime, and the ethiopian government is accusing asmara as the one causing instability in ethiopia by hosting and dispatching anti-government forces from time to time. No rational person expects ethiopia to be so naive to help her nemesis.

      Herman Cohen has been told about the regime’s way of doing things, whether he believes it or not. That is, everything should be on the regime’s own terms, period.

      This is the age when one can easily sell fake news, fake facts, fake hope, fake anything, and herman cohen is simply doing that

    • Fanti Ghana

      Selam Legacy,

      I think Cohen wrote that during Ethiopia’s one month presidency of the UN security council.

      • saay7


        Close but not quite:)

        When Ethiopia had the rotating presidency back in August, Herman Cohen tweeted “As President of UN Security Council in September, #Ethiopia should propose long overdue lifting of sanctions against #Eritrea.” The quote Legacy quoted is just 5 days old and you notice now he is proposing that Ethiopia should jointly (with US) propose lifting the sanctions.

        This was the answer he was given by a smart alec:

        In view of @CohenOnAfrica expectation that @UN would ignore its own resolutions and lift sanctions before #Eritrea grants access to #SEMG, he should turn in his Expert Card and jusf watch I Love Lucy reruns.



        • Fanti Ghana

          Selam Saay,

          I thought of three reasons: 95% the reason I gave, 4.5% meaning Ethiopia should initiate a positive gesture toward Eritrea to clear the way for dialog. the remaining 0.5% was reserved for his recent “Habesha Unite, Araboch meTu” chain of thinking, but I may have fell a victim of my own “positive first” trying-very-hard-self-discipline.

          Actually, I just thought of the following after I wrote my last sentence. I wonder if this is a continuation to his Aga’zian style “Habesha Unite” recommendation. I reserve the right to change my mind as soon as I am done with my coffee, but for now, this scenario is fitting more than the other two.

          Your “Moon Cheese” was hilarious. I have titled that post in my mind as “Summary of Saay’s Political Biography.”

          • saay7

            Hey Fanti:

            So this wouldn’t be awate forum if one thing didn’t lead to another making it impossible to find any thread when researching….

            But speaking of “Habesha metu: areboch unite”, did you:

            1. Notice that after TPLF finished its Congress, there is a lot of “I love you”, “we are one blood” going on between TPLF and ANDM types?

            2. Know that our own Eyob works for Sheger Times? He has put a glossy image of Lemma power-posing on red carpet with the caption “Headed to 4 Kilo?”

            3. Sisi is very mad at your country and he is saying that thing that Egyptians thing is an original, earth-shattering truth only they know: “water is life.”

            Pick one subject and expound.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            What is wrong with “I love you” and “we are one blood” between the parties you referred to? I wish the PFDJ will tell us the same thing, and call us to work together with our “political identity intact’ – as oppose to what they told us in early 90s, to come to our country leaving all our thoughts behind, just our “physical body” only as “non-thinking body.” You should always welcome good gestures. Who knows EPRDF will come with “new agenda that unite Ethiopians” and with “equitable power sharing” under the umbrella of the current constitution and decentralized Federal government.


          • Teodros Alem

            Selam saay
            1, “i love u” tells me tplf doesn’t change at all from its past behavior. Remember they used to wave ethiopian flag with out the star in ethio-eri war. “I love u” is the same old technique.
            2,lemma. I think tplf is happy to make him pm if he give them guarantee that he will be like pmhd.
            3,if Egypt distances itself from eritrea and be friend with tplf , i think tplf will love to accept Egyptian demand but that will put tplf in a much more problem with the people and the other eprdf specially andm.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Selam Saay,

            Numero Uno:

            :: TPLF Congress has not begun yet, it will take place soon. The current meeting is taking place as part of EPRDF’s suggestion I will touch a little more below. The meeting is paused following an agreement on the identity of the problems and it will continue soon with proposals perhaps at their congress or just before::

            Remember our last EPRDF discussion based on Rene’s Aramba’na Kobo scenarios which I was almost winning? Besides his mean spirited chaotic wishes, Rene’s #1 scenario (EPRDF kisses and makes up) was intended as a way out, and it looks like his escape route is but assured.

            The problem inside EPRDF is seriously different than what is circulating in the media, but the solution could coincide with some of the guesses. The OPDO-ANDM people to people get together and the similar TPLF-ANDM get together is part of what EPRDF discussed should be done as part of and preparation to All Ethiopian people to people discussion to counter those adamantly poised to create people-to-people-chaos for personal reasons.

            The people-to-people discussion with immediate neighbor first will continue with all affected regions and it will close with the collective people to people discussion of all Ethiopians. The four member organizations that make up EPRDF have all agreed on the identity of the problems and they have agreed on what the solutions are. In both cases the agreements were unanimous. On the top brass of EPRDF there is absolutely no division in their analysis of the past or their plans for the future.

            In short, the proposed solutions to the self-inflicted wound were a) self cleansing of sister organizations, b) renew camaraderie, and c) get back to work.

            OPDO and ANDM’s self cleansing endeavor has gone its course and lots of purging and restructuring is supposedly underway. TPLF took the longest, mostly because there were some surprise discoveries made after the meeting began, but also TPLF may be doing the most through cleansing than it ever did before.

            So, the “I love you” you are witnessing allover the place is not for the reasons the media concocted, but as a necessity to shield the people from being hoodwinked by the few bad apples determined to see chaotic Ethiopia.


            Numero Dos:
            I am kind of leaning toward Lemma myself. He is young, articulate, relates better with young Ethiopians, I never heard him mention “Asab,” and he comes clean of old grudges with anyone. I only hope he train as foreign minister before he becomes PM though.

            Numero Tres:
            I think Al Sisi is appearing tough for PR consumption, but he could also mean business, but I strongly recommend Ethiopia reassure Egyptians we mean them no harm and recommend a second opinion on the recent “safety analysis” made which confirmed Egypt’s concerns.

            In either case, I don’t know what Egypt can do really except to try to find a diplomatic solution. I believe an attempt to bomb the facility will only create long term problems for Egypt than for Ethiopia (local forces may take advantage of Egypt’s military entanglement with Ethiopia).

          • saay7

            Hey Fanti:

            I upvoted downvoted and upvoted it just so I can say I upvoted you twice 😀

            Thanks for the correction on the TPLF Congress. This the the post conference to the preconference. Used to make fun of TPLFs gemgams (marathon meetings) but the joke is on me as PFDJ never meets: it only has one way we-talk-you-listen seminars.

            I am glad that you, and not I, said it: that this is Option 1 of Rene’s options: the kiss-and-makeup by the elite. If you want to know what PFDJ is doing-thinking, read “dHnet Hager” on Facebook. If you want to read their secrets, read “Sactism”. Similarly I have some guide posts for Facebookers on Ethiopia’s ruling elite and I noticed a sudden change in the tone of their posts.

            2. Lemma looks good in tailored suits. That’s all I know 😉

            3. You guys have to stop making Al Sisi nervous. I mean was PMHD trip to Qatar really necessary? He said water is national security and we don’t negotiate on national security full stop. Some meanie posted in the WP article that if water is so rare that Egypt might want to consider shutting down its huge golf courses. Of course with the Saudi alliance countries it’s now hard to tell how much of what they say is them talking and how much of it is as Audi Arabia. I mean they did get the Lebanese Pres to announce his resignation from Saudi Arabia. Some say even the fight the Eritrean government started with the DiA school (citing 1995 law to explain steps of 2017) is part of the new foreign policy of Saudi Arabia. Money is the root of all, full stop.


          • Selam Fanti Ghana,

            Egyptian politicians will never accept full heartedly the ethiopian dam a hundred years from now, even if ethiopia reassures them a million times, they know that ethiopia can not use the waters of the dam for irrigation, and the dam is a done deal. Ethiopia is going to start filling the dam with the aim to produce soon the first 700MV of electricity. The reaction coincides with this fact, and it is mainly for internal consumption.

            Beyond the nile waters, egypt’s other major problem is ethiopia’s geopolitical role in the region, which as things are manifesting themselves the last few years is going to be important, provided ethiopian political forces do not spoil everything for the sake of political power, and thus leave an open window for egypt.

            Egypt has serious internal problems, its ally and financier, the KSA, is in turmoil and no more loaded with financial surplus, the power of oil is diminishing, and income from tourism decreasing, and therefore the possibility of egypt starting war beyond may be an aerial bombardment is out of the question. As you said bombing the dam, will not benefit egypt, and she will never achieve her objective this way. In actual fact, that is when egyp’ts water security will truly become precarious.

            Therefore, the last more or less saber rattling is a PR stunt, and nothing more.

            The most important question is how much ethiopia is prepared for any eventuality, if egypt is forced to outsource her internal problems by attacking ethiopia.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selqm horizon
            I think Egyptian Main demand is the colonial agreement to be respected with gard or without gerd. The colonial agreement which say 80 something % of the water is egypt share.

          • blink

            Dear Teodrose
            I could not understand in 2017 Egyptians could dream about this old one sided agreement, how on earth could they ever think that way ? I am shocked to disbelieve. Ethiopians must be United to build this dam even more dames if possible sale water to Egypt at a fair price. They can not demand water while Ethiopians children are at the mercy of USAID , let the Ethiopians build this . Eritreans should invest in this too . Go forward with Gerd . This must not be political

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam blink
            When u weak everybody try manipulate and disrespect u. Same thing is true b/t countries.
            As for cooperation, i mean why would tplf lose its power for the thing they benefit so little?

          • Mez

            Hi Teodros, you mean the GERD Dam is not that much import for TPLF and its constituencies?

            I didn’t quite get your reasoning.


          • Teodros Alem

            Hi mez
            Tplf represent tigrai and i was talking about colonial era agreement of nile water not just gerd.
            So i don’t see tigrai can benefit from the nile much except fair share of electricity and as a whole as a country . the nile itself is not in territory of tplf .

          • Mez

            Hi Teodros,

            I think you missed the whole class of geography.


          • Teodros Alem

            Hi mez
            Lecture me pls.

          • Mez

            Greetings Teodros,

            Please go ahead and take 101 MOC class, probably from Washington Uni, or MIT. That will solve your basic knowledge deficit in Nile Basin Geography.


          • blink

            Dear Teodros
            TPLF will not sustain any power with out dividing the Ethiopian people across ethnic lines , they have zero interest on building a dam or any such in far away from their own ,if TPLF loved other ethiopians than themselves in power they could have shared the power structure with the real owners of the largest share of Ethiopian power. Gerd on the other side is the pride of all Ethiopians be it Tigrians and Amhara…all of them.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Blink,

            If I am not mistaken what’s now become GERD and other dams blue print study was commissioned by Haile Selassie a long time ago in the 60s. Melles re-initiated the implementation of the project. It’s good to give credit where is due.


          • Abraham H.

            Dear blink, you are accusing TPLF “they have zero interest on building a dam or any such in far away from their own”. From what we know a number of hydroelectric dams have been constructed in Ethiopia after TPLF came to power. And as far as I know only one of these was built in Tigray accross the Tekeze river.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Abraham H.

            I don’t recall the title of the article but one of Awate Veteran Berhan Ali I think called the Tigray and by extension TPLF is the nucleus of Ethiopia.

            Based on my past reading, HS commissioned the study soon after Egypt, Sudan and British signed the deal without including all other source countries (where all under colony at the time) except for Ethiopia.

            It was the blue print that Melles and EPRDF used to re-initiate the project because all past Ethiopian government efforts were blocked (either lack of funds or Egypt influences).

            In of the interview Melles gave said, Ethiopia is ready to build the dam now without needing anyone finance.


          • Selam Teodros Alem.

            The self serving 1929 agreement between britain and egypt, and the 1959 agreement between egypt and sudan, did not involve Ethiopia, and therefore, she has no obligation to respect it. Nevertheless, the location of the dam is such that it will not affect significantly Egypt’s water quota. If egypt insists that Ethiopia should continue to have zero percent, that is impossible.

            Egypt’s problem is also a strong ethiopia, which may at a certain stage in the future become an important power of the region.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam horizon
            Power of the region, the whole word is in competition to be regional or even world power so i don’t see any special about ethio-egypt.i lived in egypt for so many years when i was teenage and a can tell u the difference between ethiopia and egypt is so big and they know it.

          • Selam Teodros Alem,

            Yes, the difference between egypt and ethiopia is big. First were the ancient egyptians and the pharoahs, then came the greeks with alexander the great who built alexandria, then the romans, and finally the arabs in the 7th century. Even the ottoman turks and the british were there. Therefore, Egypt was at the center of history and civilization, and every one of them have left behind their marks.

            The last owners of egypt believe that they own the nile basin as well, as far south as tropical africa (the reason they have a special force trained for jungle warfare), and the red sea as far south as the bab el mandeb (where egyptian ships used to be stationed once upon a time).

            That is also the reason sudan used to be anglo-egyptian sudan before independence. Arab sudanese officers were target practising with black africans, and it is said that churchill was outrageous when he heard about it. The human trafficking and organ harvesting in the sinai, and the slave trade in libya today, show how arabs continue to see africans. It nauseates me when i hear them say, our african brothers. I am not sure if i have read them say, our african sisters.

            The arab world has caused its own decline, and regional powers like iran are rising, and that is why egypt does not want to see another regional power in the horn. That is also the reason the ksa is restless and ready to cause more crisis by undermining lebanon as if yemen is not enough, and trying to create a regional conflict with iran.

            Egypt sees her regional influence (today, even sudan is no more within egyptian sphere of influence since the gerd, the only one remaining being eritrea), through denying ethiopia’s rights, by intimidating, undermining, destabilizing ethiopia, and lobbying in western capitals to deny her financial help, so that she will not be able to use the nile, and remains poor and backward.

            Naturally, ethiopia cannot accept to be bullied around for ever. It is the reason she is trying to be assertive towards egypt, by building her economy and her defensive capabilities.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam horizon
            The reason i mentioned the different is big between ethio-Egypt is because u mentioned the competition about the power of the region that is way and most of egypt development started since anwar sadat time i mean the cities, the infrastructures.
            Yemen and Lebanon r also arab countries.
            Egyptian identity creation is not any different from the creation of other identities of the world and they r arab inside africa (aswan and nabian identity r arabs may be racially black or mix).that is who they r, they can’t be black or asian.
            So r y trying to show your ethiopian patriotism by saying arab this arab that or what? And at the same time u r supporting not only unpatriotic group but also ethiopia hater group.

          • Selam Teodros Alem,

            I have no problem if you accuse me for ethiopian patriotism, as long as I am not accused for pro-arabism. I have no problem with arabs as such, but with their foreign policy towards ethiopia, which has always been anti-ethiopian. Otherwise, we could have been good and trusting neighbors.

            Egypt’s national interest should not encroach on ethiopia’s national interest, and this is what egypt had been doing over at least two centuries, if not more. It is as simple as that, and ethiopia has every right to defend her national interest.

            Please, tell me who the unpatriotic and ethiopian hater groups are, whom you say i am supporting.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam horizon
            I will never accuse of of ethiopian patriotism simply b/c u can’t be ethiopian patriote and at the same time tplf supporter.
            There is huge difference between tplf patriotism and ethiopian patriotism and i just want to clear that up.

          • Selam Teodros Alem,

            I get your point. You take me for a tplf ethno-nationalist, disguising as an ethiopian patriot. True the two do not go together, as oromo- and amhara-ethno-nationalism, when weighed against ethiopianism.

            Nevertheless, do not be so sure, there are people who abhor ethiopianism too. This is a difficult world, especially the cyber world, because nobody knows who is who. Therefore, it is better not to draw easy conclusions and brand people, and it serves us best if we discuss and refute opinions

          • said


            the Sharing of the Nile Waters to express an opinion. The truth, notwithstanding nationalist fervors and deep Patriotism feelings, the Nile Waters have not been fairly distributed among the 11 African countries, foremost among those where the Water Nile originates. As Ethiopia contributes more than 75% of the total Nile Water, Ethiopia, and for long never benefited of its waters as considering the short rain fall restricted to only 3 months out of the year that subjects the in the past Ethiopians not to repeated famines for the absence of effective irrigation systems that through the years harvested thousands of Ethiopians. This, as Ethiopia never developed the Irrigation systems as Egypt did to guarantee continuous land cultivation year round. For Centuries now only two countries in Africa, the least contributors of the Nile Water, benefited disproportionately from the Nile Water: Egypt and Sudan. According to the British Agreement of 1929 for distribution of the Nile Water, None of the other upstream African Countries under British colonialist rule were allotted a drop of that water. Egypt is now getting nearly 60 billion Cubic Meters out of the Total 80+ billion Cubic Meters of the Nile Waters. Egypt that does not contribute a drop to the Nile Water enjoys 6+ million hectares under irrigation. Ethiopia, with a Geography exceeding Egypt/s by 10% and a comparable population as that of Egypt has a mere 300,000 Hectares under irrigation. It seems to me that Ethiopia and the other Upstream African countries are entitled to a fairer share of the Nile Waters as they too are increasing in population and they too need to address their population’s increasing agrarian demands. Egypt seems to still to have a wide room to implement more effective conservation programs of wide water wastage, need to first look inward to addressing Egypt’s increasing needs of water consumption.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Saay, Sisi is very mad at Ethiopia right now, probably because he thinks Ethiopia is in big trouble with its internal strife and he wants to secure some consessions from Ethiopia regarding the GERD, if not derail the mega-project altogether.

          • Mez

            Selam Abraham,

            Egyptian president have two other more pressing issues–not necessarily the GERD Dam by itself.

            1) I quot him: ” “We’ve talked to our brothers in Sudan and Ethiopia from the very beginning about three points, including not touching the water [of Egypt’s share],” he said. This has to do more with the 2010 CFA document signed by 6 countries.

            2) How to convince the Egyptian about the new normal with operational GERD.


          • saay7

            Hi Abe:

            I don’t think that’s it. Egypt is saying we (Egypt Sudan and Ethiopia) “ had failed to approve an initial study by a consultancy firm on the dam’s potential effects on Egypt and Sudan.” If A is depending on B, and B is delayed while A goes on its timetable, then B becomes superfluous. That is: can Ethiopia present Egypt a fait accomlis and say oh well that’s what the consultants say but we are done with our project?


          • Abraham H.

            Selam Saay, if I remember well, the Egyptians had demanded that Ethiopia halted the construction of GERD until the latest rounds of study were completed, but Ethiopia insisted on proceeding with the project, claiming previous studies. and the latest studies could go on while they continue to build. After all these arguments, all the three leaders were pictured with that iconic picture that shows them embracing each other. It seemed the Egyptians had accepted the enevitable, though now they seem to have got new impetus to up their demands.

          • Selam Abraham H,

            Egyptian politicians could not derail the project when it started, and there is no way they can do it now the dam is approaching completion. For political reasons, sisi cannot standby and look as the dam starts filling, and going to start producing electricity soon. Last time the filling time was the point of contention, and nothing else.

            Nevertheless, they will always hate this dam, and they will hate much more the coming dams in the future. They better cooperate, and that is the only way for mutual benefit. With confrontation, it will be a zero sum game for both.

          • Legacy

            Hi Abraham H,

            I have a feeling that the recent flurry of diplomatic activities between Ethiopia and Qatar might be what is behind the reason for the latest Egyptian outburst. Alliances in the middle East is being crystallized and I can see why Egypt will see this as a serious threat to its National security. I hope the Ethiopian government has weighted the pros/cons.

          • Mez

            Dear Saay,

            From the preliminary news coming out of Mekele, it seems some “however minor” policy corrections will be on the way.


  • Peace!

    Hi all,

    ናይቶም ሰዓብቱ ይገድድ, ወይ ድንቁርና! What happen to the bragging: Eritreans are not like the rest of Africans? Not much to say just wish to add to the “Game-Changer” scenarios- the violent death of Issias Afewerki.

    The death of DIA will bring the sanction to an end.


    • saay7

      Hi Peace:

      Here’s one more “game-changer”:

      America elects a president whose single mission is to undo everything Obama did.

      If I were an advisor of IA, I would capitalize on that and I would begin by arranging an interview with Fox News (preferably with Fox and Friends) and spend the entire interview praising Trump and trashing Obama.

      Sanctions would be lifted in a week.


      • Selam Saay,

        Regime supporters did exactly that when Trump was elected. They got disappointed when they saw that he was not going to do what they wanted.

        As you said if the regime tells Trump that the sanctions against eritrea were the work of the Obama administration, that could trigger his anti-obama reflex reaction.

        • Mez

          Hi Horizon,
          that Pacific think-thank lady too.


  • Abrehet Yosief

    I honestly don’t understand why the regime would want to have the sanctions lifted. It hasn’t prevented it from doing business in its usuall obsecure way. The sanction provides the regime with a good pretext for its failures. It keeps the few naive supporters and young PFDJ from raising serious issues.

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Abrehet,

      The main problem the sanction for the regime, I think:

      1) it cost more to do business with Eritrea. Like transportation, insurance, plain fare etc.

      2) It prevents the regime from its venture as arms dealer.

      3) the money it gets from mining doesn’t get scrutinized

      4) it prevents to support opposition if Ethiopia and others in the region from arming / recruiting


      • Mez

        Hi Berhe,

        The sanction also severely limited–the military-to-military activities between Eritrea and Egypt. This again created zero- influence (by Eritrea) on the very important Nile Basin geopolitical battle (continental dimension) to its own advantage; hence Egypt had to opt for Uganda and South Sudan as the latest battle ground for this.


        • blink

          Dear Mez
          Do you think the sanction can completely close the arms market to Eritrea with Arab friends on the sea ? Who on earth believe PFDJ are short of arm supplies?

          • Berhe Y

            Hi blink,

            It doesn’t but it limits it. Your attitude is exactly the attitude of the ERITREAN government that they believe they can get away by breaking the laws and decision of the SC. The best thing would be to comply with SC demands and end the sanctions legally. But PFDJ is gemel seriKa gumbuH gumbuH.

            i would also like to add because of the sanctions Eritrea is considered very risky to do business and the reason there are very few companies operate in Eritrea and those who do like Nevsun (way undervalued). And tourism is also affected, specially after Asmara designation world heritage it should increase significantly.

            Ab TraH meAkorka Haf Haf eyu enda HGDEF.

            Hasadat FTRet, nnebson Temyom hager ZeTmuyu.


          • blink

            Dear Berhe
            What attitude is this ? Why don’t you answer my question to Mez if you will without taking jabs !! Stop this kind of low fiber thing. What I asked was ,if Mez thinks PFDJ are short of arms , that is all. There is no legal thing in this pot of UNSC , stop telling yourself about this fantasy of legal thing.

            That tourism or investment thing thing is just not impressive at the PFDJ time, what I find it shocking is this was not about disturbing the regional peace , this was not about arming G-7 and this was not about al shebab . We will be there to see what happen in the next years.

          • Mez

            Dear Blink,

            No body can 100% prevent Eritrea from getting arms from the global “Grey business” market or from “friendly countries” under the table. This can help to prop up your armament, in Eritrea. As far as this happenes within your own territory, nobody “from outside” cares about this; most likely including the current ruling Elites from south of Mereb River.

            You could argue, Eritrea could arm anti- government entities, and send them over the boarder. This is being done now but 1) you can give them only LOW level armament, 2) Even with them, as of now, Eritrea had nothing to show such thing like a measurable “war like situation and chaos” south of the River.

            If you want to go one notch up and get military treaties with other “like-minded regional and subcontinent al players” then the Embargo, under discussion will detect and escalate it-semiautomatically; this is where the BIG hurdel is. This is where Eritrea and Egypt lost two hundred years old ( and the most stubborn) geopolitical chase game–childish PIA.

            Look, 1) Egypt “wouldn’t mind to go to war” to secure: a) the 55 bln cubic meter nile water per year, b) maintain its veto against any development in upper basin countries. Egypt did have a stake of 86% water flow uncertainty againest Ethiopia.

            2) Eritrea does have: a) border issue, (you may also call it illegal territory annexation), b) trade term issue, c) intra government monetary issue, and more recently d) regional market issue.

            Under ” normal” conditions, Eritrea and Egypt should have had: 1) multiple-multidisciplinary military training by now 2) strategically located Egyptian military posts on Eritran soil….

            Such a scenario would have yielded solution for all problems we have, of course under Eritrean and Egyptian term.

            What prevented that from happening? Answer: the consistent and continuous mis-steps by the Eritrean government.

            Can this change? Answer: As far as the current Eritrean policy is in place: a) nothing will change; it will continue–to ostensibly–help to strengthen the adversaries stand againest the Eritrean national interest, b) even if Egypt is soo sexy to do some thing againest the current dynamics in Ethiopia–the lending hand from Eitrea is firmly back-handcuffed by this Embargo for the next two or three years.



            I have no bad attitude or I’ll intention, here. I respect and appreciate every engagement and and line of thinking. I strongly beleive Berhe do the same.

          • saay7

            Selam Berhe:

            Excellent points Berhe.

            I think when people think of UNSC sanctions on Eritrea, they only think of Resolution 1907 which was passed in 2009. They forget that the sanctions regime was vastly expanded two years later in 2011 when IA and his enforcers chose to escalate instead of diffusing things. It was Resolution 2023 that expressed concern on the Diaspora Tax, condemned the extortion methods used to collect it, and then:

            14. Urges all States to introduce due diligence guidelines to prevent the provision of financial services, including insurance or re-insurance, or the transfer to, through, or from their territory, or to or by their nationals or entities organized under their laws (including branches abroad), or persons or financial institutions in their territory, of any financial or other assets or resources if such services, assets or resources, including new investment in the extractives sector, would contribute to Eritrea’s violation of relevant resolutions, including 1844 (2008), 1862 (2009), 1907 (2009) and this resolution

            Followed by:

            15. Calls upon all States to report to the Security Council within 120 days on steps taken to implement the provisions of this resolution

            Which business is going to invest in such a country where it’s focus is not on making money but also to conduct due diligence that the taxes and fees it pays the host country are not going to fund armed groups it chose to host?

            Friends and foe of PFDJ have been stuck on Resolution 1907 when the real thing is Resolution 2023, which is tough as nails. When SR Sheila Keetharuth was giving a press conference at the UN, she kept insisting that it was merely an arms embargo and she was flustered when Matt Russel Lee an “investigative” reporter for Inner City Press (who alway appears like he was just given the talking points by Yemane G) kept pounding the issue of economic sanctions.

            Imagine a traffic cop pulls you over for driving without a license and gives you a court date to show proof that you have it. After he lets you go, you are suspected of running a red light and killing a pedestrian and there is a warrant out for your arrest. Then you go to court with a copy of your drivers license and tell the judge that the warrant should be dismissed because there is no evidence that you don’t have a drivers license. That’s how the PFDJ brain is wired and the fact that we don’t have a functioning legal system hasn’t just hurt Eritrean citizens it has deformed the PFDJ itself.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            Excellent point. But remember when every year, the Security Council extended the mandate of SEMG because of PFDJ’s violation on the terms of the sanctions, these PFDJ goons will have the same talking point and you will have the same argument in an attempt to convince them. The outcome will remain deaf to the truth of the matter. So the question to you is, what good thing could come out from this yearly routine of recycled arguments?


          • saay7

            Selamat Emma:

            I think you would agree with me that our arguments should be fact-based. And on this matter (as I think I tried to show with Ms Keetharuth arguing with Mr Russell) it’s not just the PFDJ side that doesn’t argue based on facts. Our side is a bundle of emotions (understandable), the PFDJ is a bundle of emotions (understandable from their perspective) and the facts get lost in the shouting matches.

            You are also making the assumption that Eritrea is PFDJ vs Oppo when there is a large middle ground which I call silent majority to the wrath of iSem, who is who I consider my target audience on complex topics.

            And sometimes I write just because I am a writer. Yesterday was Chinua Achebe’s birthday, as Uncle Google reminded us with its doodle, and he once described himself “I am a protest writer with restraint.” I like that and aspire to it 🙂


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Saay,

            The issue of Sanction is between international communities (in this case the UN) and the Eritrean government. It has never been between the opposition and the Eritrean government. When we write we don’t represent the opposition, we just represent our views on the subject. That is how I see it. Do we have our views on the subject? Yes indeed. But when you argue on the issue, isn’t it the truth from what you see it and the principles you stood for? Do you want to retreat from the arguments you made? Your writings has never been a “protest writer” rather it has been “a protesting writer” and still is. All your writings are from a conscious self-absolved writer. Go and read them again and change your writing styles, if you want to be only a “protest writer” who restrain himself from giving his own input on the issue that matters his own people and his own nation.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7


            You misunderstood. And the day is too beautiful for friendly fire.

            Just watched Mugabe give his resignation letter on Zimbabwe Tv.

            Sing 99 bottles on the wall with me….



          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Saay (Aya Adi’U),

            There is no friendly fire from my side. My comment is emanated from two statements of yours and here are as follows: (a) You are (referring to me) also making the assumption that Eritrea is PFDJ vs Opposition (b) You liked and aspired to Chinua Achebe description of himself, which says “I am a protest writer with restraint.” My comment only addressed to this two comments as oppose to the history of your writings. Please correct me if I have wrongly interpreted your statements especially on the aspiring statement of Chinua Achebe. Senay mishet.


          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Aman..

            I support your view.. Exactly,,, you have really you watch at him..


      • Abraham H.

        Selam Berhe, I really think the arms embargo is more of symbolic than substance. I mean, please look at the Assab port; it is literally packed with military boats and ship. I could count at least nine big ship offshore from Assab and the new UAE military base. The base itself is packed with all sorts of military hardware like attack helicopters, fighter jets, transport planes, tanks, armored vehicles, hangars etc. I could even see what looks like ground to air missiles, actually at least four of them on the south side of the runway.

        • Berhe Y

          Dear Abraham,

          Saay has explained better the consequences of having sanctions. If Eritrea keeps ignoring them the UN:

          1) keep the sanctions in place as is.

          2) the UN can escalate and apply strict sanctions

          3) the UN can authorized force, very unlikely as the threat is very small. But if Eritrea does something that violates the interests of the big nations like something to do in the Red Sea for example, they will react.

          The problem is and Eritrea keeps on insisting they should be lifted and the US says NO.


        • saay7

          Selamat Abraham:

          And the SEMG reported it as violation of UN Resolution. But since UAE is an ally of the US and UK in the war against Yemen, none of the UNSC countries spoke about it as cause for concern. This is what the SEMG said on the subject:

          55.​Satellite imagery captured during the mandate further demonstrates the continuing presence of tanks and artillery of the United Arab Emirates on a site between the airport and the port facilities, including what appear to be multiple AMX Leclerc main battle tanks. Multiple fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, for both combat and logistical purposes, appear to be operating from the airport, including several Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft. The construction of permanent infrastructure and facilities around the airport apron and the runway to the south of the airport has also continued.
          56.​Most naval vessels bearing the flag of the United Arab Emirates operating from Assab port stopped transmitting automatic identification system (AIS) signals in mid-October 2016. This was probably in response to an attack on the hybrid catamaran HSV-2 Swift 1 (IMO: 9283928), owned by the United Arab Emirates, in the Bab al-Mandab strait on 1 October 2016 (see S/2017/81, annex 13). Satellite imagery shows increased activity at Assab port since late 2016, with a significantly greater presence of naval vessels, including multiple landing craft, fast attack craft and patrol craft (see annex 7).
          57.​The terms of the agreement between the Government of Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates remain unclear. However, in a press release on 14 December 2016, the Ministry of Information of Eritrea declared that Al-Mayadeen, an Arabic-language television station, had “wrongly assert[ed]” that the “United Arab Emirates has acquired a 30-year lease for a military base in the Port of Assab”. The statement described the claim as “wild and speculative”.
          58.​The Monitoring Group maintains that the current terms of the arms embargo do not allow for continuing military activities by Member States involving the transfer of military materiel, assistance, personnel and training to or from Eritrean territory, nor are they covered under the terms of possible exemptions thereto.

          • Alex

            Hi Saay,
            I agree with you all is about interest. UAE is an ally of USA, so the security council are not worried about it. I think the Gov brought the sanction them selves by not taking the warning from US gov not to support Al-Shabab in 2007-2009. But now, the pen holder is playing politics. Even if the Gov allow the SEMG to enter Eritrea to do their investigation they will ask some thing else to be done before they can left the sanction. Let the Gov allow the SEMG and then I want the security council to left the sanction. Regarding the BS about Eritrea supporting Ethiopia opposition it is unfair. Isn’t Ethiopia supporting Eritrean opposition as correctly stated by Russian ambassador to UN. So why the double standard.

          • saay7

            Selam Alex:

            Well this goes to the “stupid or evil” question, doesn’t it.

            In the early 2000s, EVERBODY was in Somalia and the Monitoring Group on Somalia (it wasn’t Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea) would write everybody up for violating the arms embargo on Somalia. Everyone was cited: US, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, UAE….everyone was guilty of violating the arms embargo.

            Then the world lined up behind the Transitional Federal Government, which has an exemption from the arms embargo, and those who were not in support of the TFG, said ok now the UN is really serious so we will stop. Every country except Eritrea which was loud in its support for the Somali “resistance.” For two whole years it was warned to stop, and for two whole years not only did it not stop, it was lecturing the world (including the Somalis) on the grave mistake they are making.

            You need look no further than this: the 2009 Resolution 1907 was supported by the entire veto-wielding nations. All five voted yes. When you get the US, China and Russia (who have their own intelligence and satellites) to vote yes on a resolution, you are seriously in trouble.

            On the Eritrean armed groups in Ethiopia,

            1. There is no UN resolution against Ethiopia hosting them. If there was, Ethiopia would have shut them down in one day and then given SEMG proof that it had;
            2. They are deemed not to be any threat to Eritrea. SEMG said that’s our opinion but if we are missing information tell us but the Eritrean officials were too proud to acknowledge they exist must less describe the threat they pose.

            The gov will never allow the SEMG in because SEMG has a LOT of information that it will find easy corroboration for on military training sites for armed groups; shipment manifests; Djibouti POWs, interviews with Nevsun on mining revenues….it can’t let them in because what is now “we have reason to believe” would become “we have conclusive evidence.”


          • Alex

            Hi Saay,

            I think like you stated above the Gov does not want to let SEMG in because they will lose more than they gain. If they want the security council to lift the sanction they do not have any choice now but to allow them in. Either you do it or shut up. They need to close the opposition camps. If wayane are going to be toppled it will be from the uprising from the Ethiopian people not by some Ginbot 7 or other opposition that are in Eritrea. As a country we are losing more hosting them since like you stated in your article some are killing our brother/sisters from the EDF using the guns we provided to them.