Ten Major Security Achievements in Ten Years
This article was originally posted on February 25, 2009, during the Bush administration. Everything in this piece anticipated what is going on in the region. Enjoy
Against all odds, Eritreans achieved what many countries take for granted; independence and many successes relative to the short history. However, the achievements of the last ten years stand out because of the existential threats Eritrea faced from every direction.
Eritrea faced military, economic, diplomatic, and political challenges in addition to the massive humanitarian challenges posed as a result of unwarranted aggression by Ethiopia’s minority regime sponsored by the US and EU. Eritreans were uprooted and displaced by the hundreds of thousands; their fertile land was rendered useless due to occupation that was meant to frustrate Eritreans into submission. It was a death sentence averted by the Strength of the people of Eritrea.
How Eritrea achieved independence is the foundation and a formula for her successes and survival. The formula: regardless of the raging wars, hardship, and whatever is happening, a disciplined, principled approach to governance and development efforts must go on. Let the Camel March!
During the anniversary celebration occasion of Dimtsi-Hafash (a critical radio program during the liberation struggle) in Nov of 2008, Mrs. Weini G/Zgiher of ERiTV told a story of her start. She stated she was not familiar with broadcasting. At the time of her beginning, wars raged throughout Eritrea. And her first job as a reporter was to talk about domestic matters.
Naturally, she felt that she betrayed her comrades for not fighting by their side. However, her mentors assured her she was doing equally as important as fighting with words rather than bullets, and the domestic reporting was crucial. The Ministry of Information, ERiTV, and its programming are byproducts of Dimtsi Hafash on a larger scale. The formula was the same for agriculture, education, medicine, road construction, and so forth. Start small with big intent, grassroots bottom-up approach.
At the core of the formula lies a mindset that prioritizes the Eritrean public’s social consciousness. The mindset became the salvation of Eritrea from the Neo-Colonialism US and EU consistently push on Africa. Eritrea’s achievements are based on peace, Strength, stability, flexibility, truth, independence, and the ability to adapt to any situation.
From 1998-2008, in 10 years, Eritrea achieved a great deal. And the accomplishments listed below are national security-related and stand out for brilliance.
I) PR Victory over TPLF
Eritrea was caught off guard by the significant attacks and Public Relations offensive the chief Mercenary Gang Meles Zenawi unleashed against her. After the war broke out in May 1998, Washington Post published a front-page article showing horrific pictures of women and wounded kids in Tigray. Eritrea became the aggressor and the guilty party in public opinion. The image took a long time to repair because the world was not familiar with the situation. The minority regime in Ethiopia played a perfect victim. They used the conflict with Yemen and enlisted the help of Sudan to turn Eritrea into a war-mongering nation. David Shinn, Paul Henze, Gail Smith, and the like reinforced the message and painted a distorted deceitful picture of Eritrea. They painted Eritrea as aggressive, Tiny-Eritrea, defeated Eritrea by the superior Ethiopian army, and a frail Eritrea that will collapse. The desperados of Eritrea came out of their hibernating cocoons, smelling blood and chanting TWGAHMO from every direction. They used democracy, freedom of speech, and religious rights to label Eritrea dark and as a country in a state of confusion.
That changed after the FINAL and BINDING Hague Decision in 2000 that ruled Badme to be Eritrean. First, the TPLF gang claimed victory but later changed their mind. They insulted The Hague decision and the Court to justify their rejection. Meles, Sium, and the Weyane gangs kept changing their minds for political expediency, first accepting it, later accepting it in principle, then a conditional acceptance, dialogue, and on and on, while Eritrea remained steady and committed to the ruling with a disciplined message that never wavered. The flaps, duplicity, lies, deceit, and bad intent exposed Meles and his gang. The international community, the region, and most importantly, Ethiopians saw the criminals for what they are as the worst political prostitutes. Meles said, sold anything, and gambled with lives of the people of the region in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan for a greater Tigray agenda. Meles received unparalleled financial, logistical, PR, and institutional support on Capitol Hill. However, Eritrea foiled all attempts rendering the fainthearted who claimed Eritrea didn’t know diplomacy mute. Eritrea is a vital force for peace in the region.
2) Exposed the True Actors of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Conflict Bare
After the Cold War ended, President H.W. Bush called it a New World Order. The world was unaware of the meaning and its impact. They packaged the messages smartly and sold them to the world easy particularly after the liberation of Kuwait.
In Africa, President Clinton played smoother politics. He came praising African leaders, including Eritrea, as the new generation of African leaders. However, that was the kiss of death. After the conflict erupted between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the US, while consistently claiming to be friends with both countries, sided with Ethiopia creating major problems for Eritrea. First, the US used African Union and UN leaders to pressure Eritrea into making concessions, giving Ethiopia strategic advantages such as “The Temporary Security Zone” 25 miles deep inside Eritrean territories and the flight Moratorium.
Eritrea accommodated for the sake of peace. With the green light from the US, Ethiopia attacked Eritrea in violation of the agreements while the US envoy Richard Holbrook was in Asmara in talks with president Isayas. However, Ethiopia was defeated, with thousands killed in the volcanic grounds of Aseb, a defeat that forced the signing of The Algiers Agreement.
The campaign to change the ruling never stopped; diplomats and envoys like Lloyd Axworthy were summoned to pressure Eritrea. Eritrea stood firm, demanding complete demarcation while Ethiopia danced with the help of the UN chaired by Kofi Anan.
That, too, failed. Eventually, the US, the actual actor, emerged with Dr. Janday Frazer leading cartographic expert unit, to demarcate the border the way she saw it fit. Frazer stated she didn’t want to split a church and schools and decided she wanted to demarcate the border arbitrarily. Eritrea didn’t play the game. Undeterred in violation of the Algiers Agreement, Frazer made it a personal mission to force change the ruling. She even went to Badme to make her case. In the process, she exposed the US obstructed the implementation of the ruling, as noted by Ambassador John Bolton in his book “Surrender is No Option.”
3) Achieved Demarcation of Eritrean Ethiopian Borders
After years of trying to frustrate the Hague, to change the ruling that handed Badme to Eritrea, The Hague concluded its work by giving the final virtually demarcated map to the UN to be recognized by the world; as the official map of Eritrea and Ethiopia!
The confused TPLF regime leader Meles Zenawi called the Virtual Demarcation a “Legal Fiction.” He even insulted The Hague judges as comedians for making the judgments based on the agreement. Every attempt to change The Hague ruling by Ethiopia and the US failed. Nothing Meles can say or do to change that!
4) Nudged UNMEE out of Eritrea
Throughout its history, the UN has been notorious for its lack of achievements,
The UN is riddled with corruption, incompetence, and a legacy that embraced pedophilia. It is also a tool for the West to undermine the sovereignty of weak strategic nations. The UN is used to spy on host nations.
In Eritrea, Ethiopia, the UNMEE was mandated to patrol the borders. The UN, assuming Eritrea is a pushover a small country they can manage, used Carabinieri Italian police as UNMEE soldiers and attempted to control the streets of Asmara. UN and its masters believed Eritreans could identify with their fascist colonizers and gave them the green light to police Asmara and allowed them to roam as they wished.
They were wrong! Eritrea stopped it and all their attempts designed to undermine sovereignty. Eritrea knew but gave the UN opportunity to do the right thing. However, when Eritrea ascertained without the shadow of a doubt that the UN’s and its creator’s plan had nothing to do with the demarcation of the border and that they created UNMEE as part of a much bigger agenda, Eritrea ended the mission.
Eritrea’s systematic nudge is the first and a big blow to UNMEE/UN. Eritrea remained firm, embracing the rule of law and ascertained to the world clearly, Eritrea is a nation that can stand her grounds. That was a significant trial, and clearly, a delicate balancing fit to achieve. It was a victory and a commendable achievement for the people of Eritrea.
5) Repatriated IDP’s
It was heartbreaking to witness Eritrean kids learning under trees after their schools and houses were destroyed by the minority TPLF clique. Thousands were forced to vacate their land, relegated to makeshift habitats away from their fertile land, and forced to look for aid. These are proud and capable Eritreans rendered helpless as a result of unnecessary and unforgivable aggression.
Eritrea was masterful in carefully repatriating hundreds of thousands balancing their security, shelter, medical, and school needs. They returned them to their agricultural land and reestablished their economic and social conditions while under tremendous duress. This does not include the 80,000 plus Eritreans the Criminal Meles Zenawi forcibly expelled out of Ethiopia.
6) Reversed Diplomatic Advantages Ethiopia enjoyed
The duplicitous two-timing Gang leader Mercenary Meles Zenawi succeeds in creating alliances of convenience with Sudan and Yemen. The summit, known as the Sanaa-Trio, or “Sanaa Forum for Cooperation-SFC,” was designed to isolate and surround Eritrea.
According to their designs, the security implications for Eritrea could have been dire because Sudan, Yemen, and Ethiopia surround Eritrea by land and sea. Sudan and Yemen are located on a strategic maritime gateway and share naval borders with Eritrea. The Sanaa forum was meant to isolate, marginalize, and suffocate Eritrea. They designed it to kill Eritrea’s trading options as well as to frustrate the people of Eritrea into revolting against the government.
Eritreans need to be proud of how Eritrean leaders convincingly reestablished firm relations from a position of Strength, reversing any advantages Meles enjoyed. How Eritrea reestablished ties with Sudan was remarkable. It was a witty, decisive, forward-looking, and lasting approach. This significant achievement was overlooked because Eritrea’s challenges are always seismic.
Because Eritrea reestablished its position, the anti-Eritrean government regime change operators in Sudan were evicted, denying them a staging ground for their terrorist activities. From Sudan, they were forced to go to Addis for crumbs from Aite Meles.
7) Affirmed her position from Strength
Eritreans must be proud of their leaders for standing on principle; for not selling- out their long-term goals for short-term gains. For understanding what it takes and for sticking to their guns no matter what. During an interview with Voice of Eritrea DC in 2000, General Sibhat Efrem made a remarkable statement that is eerie but true. He said, “Eritrea, as a young nation and like many before her, will face major challenges. If she prevails, she will be successful as a nation.”
That is the mindset that withstood all the trickery and deceitful strategies of the West, peeling layer by layer, exposing their true nature. Eritrea embodies Strength and an example of standing for the greater good based on firm grounds. The people of Somalia have learned, the people of South Sudan have benefited from it, and the Horn’s stability will stem from it.
ERiTV is a nightmare to the enemies because it provides credible information for Eritrea and the people in the Horn of Africa. After the war broke out in 1998, Eritreans received the news and information from limited sources. Eritreans in the Metro DC run to the Eritrean Civic Community Center to collect information, briefing, and press releases. The rest came from BBC and other Western media outlets.
The western media provided biased, agenda-driven, misleading information to make Eritrea look small in every sense. It was frustrating because the situation was fluid, and the developments were not apparent. Most people were on the phone, creating network groups of information to try to keep up. Information was scarce from the same source determined to make winners and losers.
The war picture was distorted because they showed selected materials to make Eritrea look bad and Ethiopia in a good light. The western media hid and denied the world truth, and atrocities of the people and soldiers of Ethiopia suffered due to reckless military adventures of the TPLF. Eritreans were frustrated, but thanks to ERiTV, Eritreans got the news directly from their news source. Media is a crucial pillar for any nation. However, it is critical; it is a sense of pride, a tool to stay in touch, a platform to showcase developments inside Eritrea. It is also a way Eritreans worldwide connect around the world. Furthermore, it balanced the information battle, took away advantages the West had. The Ministry of Information deserves kudos!
9) Overcame the deadly Bush administration
The Bush administration was the most dangerous administration since the fall of Nazi Germany! President Bush wanted to dominate the world by trickery, fear, threat, intimidation, coercion, sanctions (stated and unstated), using international organizations, leaders, and force. The Bush administration and Meles Zenawi made a perfect team. Together they schemed day and night to bring Eritrea down to her knees. They used everything at their disposal, including threats to put Eritrea in the States who Sponsor Terror list and made tremendous efforts to weaken Eritrea using unlimited means and ways. However, Eritrea was undeterred and told them,
“The only time we kneel is when we pray and shoot!”
The world was scared to stand up to Bush. Eritrea, on the other hand, faced the challenges straight. Every move Eritrea made caught them off guard, shocking and confusing incompetent leaders like Dr. Janday Frazer rendered them helpless to the point of looking like she was walking backward even as she tried to step forward.
10) Affirmed Stability
Eritrea is an Island of stability in the most turbulent oceans, with big waves the size of Mount Kilimanjaro coming at it from every direction. The source of strength is the strident and brilliant people of Eritrea led by intelligent leaders.
In an interview with VOE DC in 2000, General Sibhat Efrem said,
“It is natural for a nation to be influenced by its neighbors. If your neighbor is developed, you are likely to want to grow. On the other hand, if your neighbor is unstable, the instability is bound to spill and affect you.”
Eritrea has become the voice and example of stability instead of succumbing to the negative influences of ethnic, religious, regional, and clan conflicts from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
Eritrea is selling peace and stability by example; by securing, availing services to Eritrean kids, mothers and daughters. There is no ethnic, religious, or regional conflict in Eritrea. While the TPLF sells hate, ethnic division, and terror, Eritrea became a positive influence and a force for peace by selling peace and unity. Because in the end, peace will win out because people want to see peace. Eritrean leaders are wise to champion peace because they know it will prevail and it will. The people in the region are fed up with wars and thugs like Meles.
The key to Eritrean achievements is always in the hands of the Eritrean people. Eritreans know their start and where they need to be. Eritreans know precisely where the nation is and her capacity without exaggeration. No one can tell Eritreans how their country is doing because they know and have detailed information about life in Eritrea daily.
The honest assessment of reality provides an upward trajectory and a bright future regardless of the challenges we face today. Above all, hope, optimisim, sacrifices, dedication, and hard work are Eritrea’s foundation.
Eritreans everywhere work unitedly to achieve a peaceful, successful, and prosperous Eritrea.
Zelalmawi Zikiri N-Suwa-atna
Wetru Awet Nhafash!