The Unjust and Reckless UN Sanctions against Eritrea

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions against
Eritrea that include an arms embargo, asset freezes and a
travel ban, all based on an unfounded allegation that
Eritrea is supporting extremists in Somalia. Eritrea’s
consistent stand is against all forms of extremism in the
region. This is a reckless move without any foundation.
Eritrea, itself a victim of Terrorism and at the forefront in
fighting international terrorism, surely doesn’t deserve
this sanctions. Even the thought of it is offensive!
Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions
pertaining to the unjust and reckless UN sanctions that we
hope will clear the fog.

Q:Why are these UN sanctions unjust and reckless?

A: They are unjust because they were based on charges long
proven to be untrue; they are unfounded allegations
fabricated, orchestrated, and pushed by Ethiopia. The root of
the charge is fabricated by the so-called U.N. Somalia
Monitoring Group going to 2006 when, in an attempt to provide
cover for Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia, tried to place 2000
phantom Eritrean troops in Somalia. This turned out to be pure
fabrication. Furthermore, the plane that Eritrea was supposed to
have used to transport weapons and fighters to Somalia turned
out to be another fabrication; the plane was found crashed in
Uganda while being used by DynCorp, a contractor for the US
military and Intelligence service. The UN Secretary-General’s
Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-
Abdallah, has also publicly admitted that there is no evidence
linking Eritrea to the Monitoring Group’s charges.

Q: What could be the consequences of these sanctions?

A: Plenty! (1) These sanctions will be seen as a green light for
Ethiopia to attack Eritrea; Ethiopia has yet to implement the
final and binding EEBC Demarcation ruling. The sanctions are
designed to weaken Eritrea and prop up the regime in Ethiopia.
(2) These sanctions will also accelerate the spread of terrorism
in the region; the sanctions are targeting the only credible force,
Eritrea, that has checked terrorism for more than two decades.
This together with the deteriorating situations in Yemen and
Somalia will plunge the Horn into more instability threatening
the vital shipping lanes along the Red Sea, a lifeline to all the
oil supply to economies of the West.

Q: Aren’t these sanctions an African Initiative?

A: No! This is a bold lie. The regional organizations that were
claimed to be the source for this initiative IGAD and the Africa
Peace and Security Committee called for this action under the
chairmanship of Ethiopia when the meetings were held inside
Ethiopia. That is why 1) the current chair of the African Union
opposed the sanctions at the UN Security Council, 2) The fact
that the twenty-eight member regional organization, CENSAD,
with members like Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria, has
condemned the unjust sanctions.

Q: Is this the first time the UN is victimizing Eritrea?

A: No! This is the latest in a series of UN injustices against
Eritrea starting from the 1950 unjust UN decision that federated
Eritrea with Ethiopia. For nearly sixty years Eritrea didn’t see a
single day of peace and as a consequence it was forced to
sacrifice too many of its bright sons and daughters. Eritrea also
faces a continuous threat from terrorist organizations, like the
Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement based in, trained and armed
by Ethiopia.

Q: Does Eritrea support extremists in Somalia?

A: No! There is absolutely no basis for this. Accusing Eritrea
of arming extremists in Somalia is irresponsible and completely
far from the truth. Such lies are orchestrated by enemies of
Eritrea, Ethiopia being a prime one. Eritrea has never supported
terrorists and will never support any organization that has links
with terrorism anywhere in the world.

Q: Who is arming extremists in Somalia then?

A: Ethiopia, the TFG and AMISOM are among the suspects!
According to the U.N. Security Council's Somalia sanctions
committee, "elements of the African Union peacekeeping
mission in Somalia known as AMISOM, and Somalia's
Transitional Federal Government (TFG)" are involved in arms
trafficking activities.” Furthermore, “eighty percent of
ammunition available at the Somali arms markets was supplied
by the TFG and Ethiopian troops." The Committee also reported
of getting “details of some 25 military flights by Ethiopia into
Somalia and knew that Ethiopian troops had brought military
equipment into the country to arm friendly clans.”

Q: What is Eritrea’s position on the Somali problem?

A: Eritrea’s stand on Somalia has been consistent for nearly
two decades. It believes: (1) foreign involvement cannot solve
but worsen the Somali predicament; (2) the Somali people
should be encouraged to solve their problem on their own; (3)
supporting or excluding one Somali party over another is not a
solution; (4) external intervention designed to tip the delicate
balance of power in favor of one faction at the expense of
another only fuels the problem.

Q: Is Somalia a proxy battlefield for Eritrea and Ethiopia?

A: Absolutely not! This is purely an Ethiopian induced media
fabrication. Eritrea has never taken Somalia as a proxy
battlefield to settle a score with Ethiopia. Eritrea gains nothing
by engaging Ethiopia in Somalia. As grave as Ethiopia’s refusal
to implement the final and binding boundary decision is, it is a
problem between Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the international
community. It cannot be played out in Somalia at the expense of
the Somali people. All Eritrea wants is for Ethiopia to vacate
sovereign Eritrean territories.

Q: Has Eritrea been a victim of terrorism?

A: YES! Numerous times! In the first year of its independence,
Bin Laden and his young organization (Al Qaeda) tried to
infiltrate into and attack Eritrea from the Sudan. Terrorists from
many countries were in the group and many were killed by
Eritrean forces. In 1994, six Belgian tourists were killed, and in
2004 about eighty people, many among them school children,
were attacked in western Eritrea during independence-day
celebrations. One of the accomplices was captured and
confessed to the details of how the group was directed and
financed by an Ethiopian officer working with the Al Qaeda
groups.

Q: Has Eritrea been fighting terrorism?

A: An Africa specialist for the Congressional Research Service
has put it this way to the New York Times on Sept. 18, 2007: "If
there is one country where the fighting of extremists and
terrorists was a priority when it mattered, it was Eritrea."

Q. Is Eritrea fighting against terrorism?

A: YES! Eritrea is still subjected to threats of attack from two
Al Qaeda linked organizations: the Harakat Al Khalas al Islam
(Eritrean Salvation Islamic Movement) and Eritrean Islamic
Jihad and their umbrella organization the Eritrean Democratic
Alliance. These groups are all based in Ethiopia and are armed
and supported by the Ethiopian government. These groups a day
after the UN sanctions were imposed announced they will use
this to attack Eritrea. True to their threat they launched a foiled
attack against Eritrea on January 1, 2010.

Q: Does Eritrea cooperate with other in fighting terrorism?

A: YES! Eritrea believes that international terrorism can only
be defeated when countries cooperate and form a joint front
against it. To this end, Eritrea was a leading member of the
frontline countries against Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group.
President Isaias of Eritrea puts it this way: "We believe we have
a stake in working together with our partners, and particularly
the United States, to make this region peaceful and safe."
Eritrea has limited resources, but is “willing and prepared to use
these limited resources in any way useful to fight terrorism."
Furthermore, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
had this to say: “We have in Eritrea a country that is
cooperating in the global war on terrorism and has offered a
variety of areas of assistance, … a country that has been
forthcoming.” According to Jim Garamone of the American
Forces Press Service, “Eritrea has cooperated in the war of
terror and has offered facilities, intelligence, and other help such
as over-flight and mooring permissions to the United States.”
Eritrea, according to Mr. Rumsfeld, “has considerably more
experience than the U.S.” when it comes to fighting terrorism
and the United States “can benefit from that knowledge and
from that experience.”

Q: What are Ethiopia’s intentions in Somalia?

A: Ethiopia and Somalia had fought three major wars. The
current state of disorder was brought by Ethiopia’s intervention
is Somalia in 1990 as well as invasion and occupation in 2006.
Ethiopia is making sure Somalia does not get reconstituted as a
functioning state.

Q: What can you do to help?

A: As you know the real image of Eritrea is not like what its
traditional enemy, Ethiopia, and its supporters would have
many believe. Eritrea is a peaceful country that is only trying to
survive. No nation in the Horn of Africa yearns and works for
peace and respect for international law and treaties more than
Eritrea.
Write to your government representatives and urge them to push
the UN Security Council (1) to immediately annul and repeal
these unjust and reckless sanctions against Eritrea. (2) to
shoulder its responsibility as a guarantor of the Algiers
Agreement to do whatever it takes to make Ethiopia vacate
sovereign Eritrean territories it is occupying illegally in breach
of international law and its treaty obligation.

Furthermore, you can join the Eritrean-SMART (Eritrean
Sanctions Must be Annulled and Repealed Today) Campaign
by visiting and signing the petitions at www.eritrean-smart.org.

Organization of Eritrean-Americans (OEA)
600 L Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
oea@eritreanamerican.org
http://www.eritreanamerican.org/