Ethiopia: High Time to Exercise Long Overdue Rights of Self Defence
Yohannes Gebresellasie Feb 06, 2012-
Few days have passed since the international news coverage released the sad news that a group of European tourists from several countries (Germany. Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Italy) and few Ethiopian nationals were attacked by a certain terrorist group believed to be trained and armed by the rogue regime in Asmara resulting in five killed, two wounded and another two kidnapped. This terrorist attack was by no means the first though we are all crying that it should be the last. A similar attack was made with five European and thirteen Ethiopians kidnapped in the same area and by the same group in 2007 in which all of them were later on released from the terrorists’ hub, Asmara. It is also to be remembered that another kidnapping attempts of 28 French tourists by the same group was foiled by the region’s security force in 2008.
Ever since the birth of the state now known as Eritrea has come into existence in 1991, the one-man dictatorial regime in Asmara has never been behaving and acting in manners compatible with acceptable and civilized international norms. Instead of focusing on the socioeconomic development of and the improvement of the quality of life of the people and in spite of the fact that Ethiopia driven by its principled stand, was the first nation to provide its unqualified recognition and support to the then new Eritrean regime in order to normalize and improve the people-to-people relationship of the two brotherly people, the Asmara regime on the other hand has persistently continued to advance a policy of belligerence, hostility and provocations against all its neighbors in general and Ethiopia in particular. Further, it has provoked and fought wars with all its neighbors including the 1998 full-scale war against Ethiopia causing the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent citizens and the destruction of enormous state and private property. It has also been committing various subversive activities against the Ethiopian people by proxy using its terrorist agents such as ONLF, OLF, Ginbot-7, and the Al-Qaeda’s linked Al-Shabab. Despite all these crimes, Ethiopia preferred to continue with its far-sighted policy of tolerance and patience for the sake of peace and good neighborliness and in the hope of that the troubled nation would one day change and come to its senses through time and maturity. However, the regime’s insane behaviors have rather been exasperated effectively placing itself as a permanent hostile neighbor and an arch enemy of the country. It has made its full-time job and cornerstone of its foreign policy to train, arm and dispatch its terrorist agents in a desperate hope of destabilizing and disintegrating Ethiopia. This is on top of its role as a cheap conduit for the flow of finances and armaments from certain historical enemies of Ethiopia to these groups. All these evil activities have now culminated in the 16th January 2012 cowardly criminal attacks against the European tourists the consequences of which are still unknown.
Ethiopia is a proud nation of 80 million people that has effectively safeguarded its independence and sovereignty from countless external aggressors for thousands of years. It is currently in a fast socioeconomic transformation and is working day and night to disentangle itself from age-old poverty and backwardness and uplift itself to a middle-income nation in the near future. It has missed many opportunities and wasted much time and resources in fruitless and unproductive wars and violence in yester-decades. Currently, the nation preoccupied with building peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia. Therefore, the nation can not afford and does not wish to waste a single more day or its resources on unproductive and destructive endeavors. Every single peaceful day has a lot of meaning to developmental Ethiopia while it means nothing to the failed regime in Asmara. That was why the nation has to endure all these tolerance and patience for a very long period of time. Nevertheless, as the Amharic saying goes “one can not drink clean water so long as there is a spoiler around”, thus, Ethiopia’s sincere desire and quest for peaceful neighborhood and developmental cooperation with Eritrea has become like a clap with one hand and could not bear thus far. The Eritrean dictatorial regime has indeed become a grave security menace to the stability of the Horn of Africa and a thorn in the throat for the successful development of Ethiopia. As a result, Ethiopia’s tolerance and patience has now been exhausted and its buckets of goodwill have emptied and the time has come for historical accountability and justice for all accumulated past crimes.
The dictatorial regime of Asmara has repeatedly been given ample opportunities by the international communities to correct itself and behave in accordance with international norms, but it was all in vain. Because of its mild stand and inadequate or no action, the international community has contributed in emboldening the rogue regime to pursue its subversion and terrorist activities with more determination, vigor and impunity, thus, making it its “spoiled child”. Even the imposition of the two rather weak UN sanctions could not desist the rogue regime from sponsoring and dispatching terrorists into the territories of Ethiopia. The international community has clearly disappointed Ethiopia by failing to halt Eritrea’s destabilizing and terrorist activities in the region in general and Ethiopia in particular. Nevertheless, it should be underlined that the international community’s actions or reactions are not Ethiopia’s last line of defense. Ethiopia has definitely the means to find the remedy for this grave situation by itself. The peace, security and stability of the country and the well being of its citizens do not clung to or depend on the goodwill of the international community. That primarily and determinedly depends on the sweet and blood of its sons and daughters. Neither the permission nor the goodwill of any party is sought to exercise its inalienable rights of self defense. It is now clear to any party that the Eritrean regime has determinedly opted to follow destructive and suicidal path beyond of no return. Ethiopia has no alternative left but to defend itself with whatever appropriate means to thwart the threat of the present and real terrorist danger.
Eritrea has been run by a rogue regime without constitution, parliament, rule of law, national budget, private press or even any semblance of human or democratic rights since its creation. It has long lost its integrity and credibility in the eyes of its own people and the international community. The ruling regime is still clinging to power by inhuman repression and shear force of arms. It is most appropriate to call it “mafia-style group” rather than a full-fledged government as it doesn’t qualify for it. It has nothing to show to the World except total governance failure at home and its gangsters abroad. The only “commodity” that the Eritrean regime offers to the World is its exportation of trained terrorists to the Horn of Africa region and beyond. Because of its insane and bizarre mentality and gangster behaviors, Eritrea today has become completely isolated from the Horn of Africa and the World at large. Despite its highly-trumpeted but empty slogan of making Eritrea the “Singapore of Africa”, it has successfully transformed the tiny nation into the “North Korea of Africa”, the only “achievement” scored by the regime in two decades. Yet, the dictator on many occasion has the balls and temerity to unashamedly criticize and badmouth Ethiopia’s functional democratic governance and human right records.
The regime, which is blinded by boundless arrogance and intoxicated by its excessive hatred for others specially Ethiopians under its motto “hate everything Ethiopian”, is not at peace with itself, its people and its neighbors but rather chronically at war with everybody and every nation it comes across. Eritrea is a country that has been ruled by a lunatic dictator who openly proclaimed in public and without shame that the universally-accepted notion of democracy is unnecessary and unworkable in Eritrea and that his dictatorial leadership is indispensable and irreplaceable for Eritrea. What a bizarre leader! What an unfortunate country! Furthermore, the individuals at the helm of power in Eritrea, the leadership and its lieutenants suffer from mental conditions emanating from self-denials and chronic clashes with their identity, history and truth, thus, behaving like a lost and sinking ship aimlessly sailing in the high seas. The Eritrean regime should have thought not twice but ten times before indulging itself in such destructive and suicidal crime.
It is undeniable fact that the enormous patience on the part of Ethiopia has created wrong sense of arrogance and mischievous behavior on the part of the Eritrean regime prompting it to constantly play with fire for the past number of years, but, the time has finally come for the rogue regime to be consumed by the fire it recklessly flared. The clock has already ticked 11th hour for accountability to be laid and justice to be served. By its own misadventures, it is not only inviting trouble but is hastening its demise. It is the absolute consensus of the Ethiopian people that its hard-achieved piece and stability could not be guaranteed and its on-going fast economic development could not be assured irreversible unless the proxy terrorist threats by the rogue regime is removed once and for all. The Government of Ethiopia should not treat this heinous crime with mere statements and condemnations. It should take firm, proportional and appropriate actions to avoid future security menaces like the unfortunate one of last week and make this attack the last one. The Eritrean dictatorial regime should be taught bitter and unforgettable lessons in the only language it understood. The Ethiopian people are too much fed up with the endless provocations and terrorist crimes of the rogue regime and their tolerance and patience has long run thin. They firmly demand that the Eritrean regime should immediately be held accountable and should be made to pay the price for the innocent blood spilled and lives lost and for the adverse economic effect it caused in the country’s booming tourist industry. In fact, the main agenda of the Eritrean government during the last twenty years or so has been a policy, an agenda and a program of destabilization throughout the region. For that, the Shabia regime has been at the top front helping Ethiopia’s enemies such as OLF, ONLF, Genbot 7, Alshabab and Alquaida and other internal as well as external terrorist groups. Whereas tens of thousands of Eritrean citizens continue to languish in misery internally within their own country and at every corner of the globe as refugees, as migrants and forgotten stateless, the regime of Asmara continues with its policy of business as usual. As a result, the Shabia government has become well known in instigating wars, conflicts and disorders throughout the region and beyond. The record tells for itself weather or not the Eritrean government has any knowledge and/or respect for international law, the rule of law or respect for humanity. Should this kind of behavior be tolerated? Should such character be praised? I believe if this kind of behavior is tolerated by the international community particularly those with extremely important social and political importance and nations of global power and influence, it will certainly have a dangerous precedence for peace and stability because it rewards the aggressor and penalizes the victim. Within the Ethio-Eritrean context, supporting Eritrea is simply rewarding aggression and that is a dangerous precedence. Therefore, the international community has to tell the Asmara government “enough is enough in an unequivocal terms and it will be wise for Shabiya to learn international mediation, the rule of law and manners and ethics of a civil society because Shabia may not get time for next provocation against the peace-loving Ethiopian people.
Despite their very long struggle to bring about peace, stability, economic as well as democratic progress, the Eritrean people have unfortunately been denied of their basic and fundamental rights by their own government and they still envy for peace, democracy, good governance and developmental endeavors. Unfortunately they have to wait yet for another time for that to happen. How long can they wait! What a pity! May God help them?