Archive | January 2014

የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት የግንቦት7 መሪዎችን ኮምፒዩተሮች በዘመናዊ የስለላ መሳሪያዎች ሲሰልል እንደተደረሰበት አንድ አለማቀፍ ተቋም አጋለጠ

ጥር ፳፩ (ሃያ አንድ) ቀን ፳፻፮ ዓ/ም ኢሳት ዜና :-የህዝቦችን ደህንነት ከመንግስታት ጥቃት ለመከላከል የተቋቋመው ፕራይቬሲ ኢንተርናሽናል የተባለው  ተቋም ለእንግሊዝ መንግስት የገቢዎቸና ጉምሩክ መስሪያ ቤት በጻፈው ደብዳቤ “ጋማ ኢንተርናሽናል የተባለው የእንግሊዝ ኩባንያ በአለም ላይ የሰብአዊ መብቶችን በመጣስ ለሚታወቁ አገሮች ኮምፒይተሮችን፣ የሞባይልና የስካይፕ የስልክ ግንኙነቶችን እንዲሁም የኢሜል ልውውጦችን በርቀት ሆኖ ለመከታተል የሚያስችለውን ፊን ፊሸር ወይም ፊን ስፓይ በሚል ስም የሚጠራውን የመሰለያ መሳሪያ ከአውሮፓ ህብረት ውጭ ላሉ አገሮች በመሸጥ ዜጎች እንዲሰለሉና ደህንነታቸው አደጋ ላይ እንዲወድቅ በማድረጉ  ምርመራ እንዲጀመር” ሲል ጠይቋል።

የግንቦት7 ከፍተኛ አመራር በሆኑት በ ዶ/ር ታደሰ ብሩ የግል ኮምፒዩተር ላይ የመሰለያ ቫይረሱ መገኘቱን በቶሮንቶ ዩኒቨርስቲ የሙንክ ስኩል ግሎባል አፌርስ የምርምር ተቋም የሆነው ሲትዝን ላብ ማረጋገጡን ፕራይቬሲ ኢንተርናሽናል በደብዳቤው ገልጿል።Ginbot 7

የመሰለያ መሳሪያው የሰብአዊ መብቶችን በሚጥሱ 36 አገራት ላይ መሸጡን የገለጸው ፕራይቬሲ ኢንተርናሽናል፣ በተለይም በቬትናም፣ ማሌዚያና ኢትዮጵያ የፖለቲካ ተቀናቃኞችን ለመሰለያነት እየዋለ ነው ብሎአል።

በኢትዮጵያ የግንቦት7 ከፍተኛ አመራር የሆኑት ዶ/ር ታደሰ ብሩ ኮምፒተራቸው ሲሰለል መቆየቱን የገለጸው ፕራይቬሲ ኢንተርናሽናል፣ በአንድ የብሃሬን የሰብአዊ መብት ተማጓች ኮምፒዩተር ላይም ተመሳሳይ የስለላ ሶፍት ዌር መገኘቱን ገልጿል።

ዶ/ር ታደሰ ብሩ ለፕራይቪሴ ኢንተርናሽናል ጠበቃ የምስክርነት ቃላቸውን መስጠታቸውን ተናግረዋል። ፕራይቪሲ ኢንተርናሽናል የስለላ ቫይረሱን የሸጠውን ጋማ ኢንተርናሽናልን የተባለውን ድርጅት ወደ ፍርድ ቤት ለመውሰድ ማቀዱን ዶ/ር ታደሰ ገልጸዋል፡

ከዶ/ር ታደሰ ጋር የተደረገው ቃለምልልስ ከዜናው በሁዋላ ይቀርባል።

HMRC must investigate potential breach of UK export laws by Gamma International in face of new evidence

report released today by Citizen Lab has uncovered further evidence that British company Gamma International has sold their surveillance technology FinFisher to repressive regimes abroad, despite having no export licence to do so. The report builds on investigations conducted last year  that demonstrated that Gamma International has been exporting FinFisher without a license to repressive regimes with dismal human rights records.

Citizen Lab has uncovered evidence that 25 countries now have command and control servers for FinSpy backdoors, part of Gamma International’s FinFisher “remote monitoring solution”, including Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam. The Citizen Lab research shows a continued trend of FinFIsher technology deployments with strong indications of politically ­motivated targeting; for example, a FinSpy campaign in Ethiopia uses pictures of Ginbot 7, an Ethiopian political opposition group, as bait to infect users. The report also contains strong evidence of a Vietnamese FinSpy Mobile Campaign.

In November, Privacy International provided a 186-page dossier of evidence against Gamma International to HM Revenue and Customs, the body responsible for enforcing export regulations, regarding this potentially criminal breach of the export control regime. On behalf of victims who were targeted by FinFisher, we called for an urgent investigation into Gamma International’s export practices.

However, HMRC has thus far failed to provide any information to Gamma International’s victims on the state of any investigation HMRC is undertaking into unlicensed exporting of surveillance equipment by Gamma International, despite multiple attempts at contact by Privacy International and parliamentary questions asked by Caroline Lucas MP.

Today’s report by Citizen Lab further calls into question claims made by Gamma International denying their involvement in sales of their technology to these countries, and their suggestions that previously discovered installations of their software were either stolen or demostration copies.

Eric King, Privacy International’s Head of Research, said:

As evidence continues to mount showing that British-made FinFisher is being used by repressive regimes to target activist and opposition groups, HM Revenue & Customs must come clean and explain what steps they have taken to investigate this potential breach of UK export laws.

“በዝዋይ የታሰሩት ባለቤቴ እዛው እስር ቤት መሞታቸውን ሕዝብ ይወቅልኝ” – ወ/ሮ ፈሪሃ አብድርሃማን

በዳዊት ሰለሞን
(ፍኖተ ነፃነት ጋዜጣ እንደዘገበው) አቶ አህመድ ነጃሽ ሐሰን በ2002 ዓ.ም በተደረገ አገር አቀፍ ምርጫ በድሬዳዋ ክልል የኦሮሞ ኮንግረስ/ መድረክን በመወከል ተወዳድረው ነበር፡፡የፖለቲካ ተሳትፏቸውን እንዲያቋርጡ በተለያዩ መንገዶች ሲነገራቸው ቢቆዩም በሰላማዊ መንገድ ተቃውሞ ማሰማትና መደራጀት ህገ መንግስታዊ መብት መሆኑን በመጥቀስ ሲከራከሩ መቆየታቸውን ባለቤታቸው ወ/ሮ ፈሪሃ አብድርሃማን የሱፍ ለፍኖተ ነጻነት አስታውሰዋል፡፡

በ2003 የመንግስት የጸጥታ ሰዎች አቶ አህመድን በኦነግ አባልነት ተጠርጥረሃል በማለት ያስሯቸዋል፡፡የ57 አመቱ አህመድ ከታሰሩ በኋላ ለአራት ወራት ያህል በህይወት ይኖሩ ወይም ይሙቱ ለቤተሰብ ሳይታወቅ ከቆዩ በኋላ ፍርድ ቤት ቀርበው በኦነግ አባልነት ተከሰው ይፈረድባቸዋል፡፡ፍርዳቸውን ተከትሎም ለምርመራ ከቆዩበት ማዕከላዊ ወደ ዝዋይ ወህኒ ቤት እንዲዘዋወሩ ይደረጋሉ፡፡

ከአቶ አህመድ ነጃሽ ያገኟትን አንድ ልጅ ለብቻቸው የማሰደግ ዱብ ዕዳ የወደቀባቸው ወይዘሮ ፈሪሃ ገቢያቸው በመቋረጡ ስራ ፍለጋ ወደ አረብ አገር ያቀናሉ፡፡በአረብ አገር ያለሙትን ማግኘት ባለመቻላቸው ወደ አገር ቤት ይመለሳሉ፡፡ካልተሳካው ስራ ፍለጋ መልስ ወይዘሮዋ ባለቤታቸውን ለመጠየቅ ወደ ዝዋይ ሲያመሩ የማረሚያ ቤቱ ሃላፊዎች ባለቤታቸው ወደ ቃሊቲ መዘዋወራቸውን ይነግሯቸዋል፡፡

ከዝዋይ በቀጥታ ወደ ቃሊቲ በማምራትም ይጠይቃሉ፣ቃሊቲዎች እንዲህ አይነት እስረኛ ወደ እነርሱ አለመምጣቱን በመጥቀስ ያሰናብቷቸዋል፡፡ከብዙ የዝዋይና ቃሊቲ ምልልስ በኋላ አቶ አህመድ በጠና ታመው ምኒሊክ ሆስፒታል እንደገቡ ይነገራቸዋል፡፡ምኒልክ ሆስፒታል ለጥየቃ ባመሩበት ወቅት መጥፎውን ዜና ይሰማሉ፡፡አቶ አህመዲን ይህችን አለም ከተሰናበቱ ረዘም ያሉ ወራቶች ተቆጥረዋል የሚል፡፡

አስከሬን የለ፣ የት እንደተቀበሩና የሞታቸው መንስኤ ምን እንደነበር የሚያስረዳ የለ፣ ሁሉ ነገር ድፍንፍን ያለባቸው ወይዘሮዋ ለፍኖተ ነጻነት በሰጡት ቃል‹‹የመንግስት ሰዎች ምንም አይነት ቀና ምላሽ እንደማይሰጡኝ አውቃለሁ ነገር ግን በታሰሩበት ወቅት ፍጹም ጤነኛ የነበሩት ባለቤቴ መሞታቸውን ህዝቡ ይወቅልኝ ብለዋል፡ ፡የኦሮሞ ኮንግረስ በኋላም የኦፌኮ ፕሬዘዳንት የሆኑት ፕሮፌሰር መራራ ጉዲና የአቶ አህመድን ሞት ከባለቤታቸው እንደሰሙ በመጥቀስ ነገር ግን ምንም ማድረግ አለመቻሉን አውስተዋል፡፡

“what we remember? before one year” Opinion Divided on Rebirth of Ethiopia’s Opposition

“what we remember? before one year” Opinion Divided on Rebirth of Ethiopia’s Opposition

On Jul. 14 several hundred opposition protestors gathered in northern town of Gondar to and called on the government to stop exploiting the antiterrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

GONDAR, Ethiopia, Jul 19 2013 (IPS) – Since the violence that ensued after the ruling party won Ethiopia’s 2005 elections, this East African nation has seen little in the way of political dissent. That is, until the last few months.

Since June, the country has witnessed protests in three of its major cities. Despite the significance of these protests, observers disagree over how much they signal a rebirth for the country’s opposition movement and the government’s tolerance of it.

“Until the recent protests, most had lost faith in the democratisation process and opposition parties,” Hallelujah Lulie, a political analyst from the Ethiopia-based Institute for Security Studies told IPS.

When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front won another term of office in 2005, thousands of protestors took to the streets in protest, as the party has been in power since 1991.

The crackdown led to the arrest of several opposition party politicians, with many others being forced to flee the country and give up politics.

“We need legislative change in order for proper liberalisation where opposition groups are free to operate without arrests and otherharassment.” — Hallelujah Lulie, political analyst

 

“Recent opposition activities, however, show that people are beginning to recognise the opposition again, which could be a big boost for the domestic opposition parties,” said Hallelujah.

On Jun. 2 a new opposition group, the Blue Party, organised mass protests in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. Thousands marched down one of the city’s main avenues, calling for the release of political prisoners and journalists and the reform of government policies.

The protest was given permission, and no arrests were made during, before, or after the demonstration, leading some to believe that the government had become more tolerant towards opposition activities.

“While there have been no arrests so far, we have credible information that the government is plotting to break up our movement and label us as terrorists. We have seen no change in the government or a willingness to engage in dialogue with us,” Yilkal Getnet, chairman of the Blue Party, told IPS.

Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office, told IPS that opposition parties have always been allowed to protest peacefully, but they would not negotiate with the protestors, as there are proper legal channels to address issues that the opposition politicians had not exhausted.

“Despite a lack of response from the government, we believe that the opposition movement will continue to gain momentum and are deeply encouraged by the (recent) protests,” said Yilkal.

On Jul. 14, the major opposition party, the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), organised protests in two major cities, Gondar and Dessie, in north and north-central Ethiopia, respectively. It was part of a campaign ‘One Million Voices for Freedom’, which sought to get one million signatures on a petition with demands similar to those of the Blue Party.

In Gondar, protestors marched through the capital and called on the government to stop exploiting the anti-terrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison, including political prisoners and journalists.  At the march’s peak, hundreds could be seen, at its lowest, dozens.

“Numbers do not matter right now, it is just very symbolic that the recent protests took place out of Addis, as most the activism is in Addis where it is easier to mobilise supporters,” said Hallelujah. “It shows that the opposition movement could be on the path to regaining popular recognition and trust again.”

Hallelujah believes the protests could be a sign that the opposition is emerging again, he argued that they still face huge challenges that could hinder their chances of success. He said that it is hard for opposition parties to increase their membership freely, to raise funds and even to rent a hall for party meetings.

“They are still operating in a very tight and unfriendly environment,” said Hallelujah. “We need legislative change in order for proper liberalisation where opposition groups are free to operate without arrests and other harassment.

 

In the run-up to the protests in Gondar, UDJ party leaders say they faced extreme harassment by the regional state authorities. According to the UDJ, on Jul. 13 local police surrounded the office and would not let their members out all day. Only at the last minute an unofficial deal was reached with the local commander to hold the protest, or so claim party members. Also, over 10 members of their group were arrested for distributing leaflets to the general public in the days leading up to the protest.

Peering through rusty metal bars at Gondar’s Police Station 3, a simple mud hut structure, Amedemakryam Ezra, a UDJ party member, said he was arrested two weeks ago for distributing leaflets.

“They beat my legs so bad, I could not even walk for a week,” Amedemakryam told IPS from the prison. “We have not been allowed out of this cell since. It’s horrible.”

Before he could finish his sentence, another party member who was also arrested for distributing leaflets appeared. Maru Ashagere, a hairdresser, told IPS that the local authorities went to his parents’ chicken farm and said they would poison all the chickens as punishment for their son’s political activities.

“This kind of harassment makes it very difficult for us to operate but we will struggle through none the less to achieve our goals,” Asrat Tassie, Secretary-General of UDJ, told IPS at the police station.  “Despite all this, we were able to go on with our protest and mobilise the people.”

Not only were party members harassed, but some Gondar residents told IPS they were too scared to join the protests due to threats made throughout the city.

While some might have not have joined out of fear, it appears that many around Gondar did not join because of a lack of faith in the UDJ and the opposition movement. Several residents told IPS that they did not trust the UDJ or believe that it could find real solutions.

“If they can show us real policies to replace the ruling parties, then maybe more for us would join,” said Tesfaye, 34, a local shopkeeper. “They just shout against the government but don’t offer a decent alternative, or solutions to the problems. That is not helpful to anyone.”

(*This story, which moved on Jul. 18, 2013, made reference to a violent quashing of protests after Ethiopia’s 2005elections. The headline referring to the ascendance of opposition political parties has been changed.

source IPS

Press Release: US Congress Takes a Historic Stance Against Land Grabs-Related Forced Evictions in Ethiopia

Oakland, CA – In a historic move, the US Congress has taken a stance on land grabs-related human rights abuses in Ethiopia. The 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill contains provisions that ensure that US development funds are not used to support forced evictions in Ethiopia.

The bill prevents US assistance from being used to support activities that directly or indirectly involve forced displacement in the Lower Omo and Gambella regions. It further requires US assistance in these areas be used to support local community initiatives aimed at improving livelihoods and be subject to prior consultation with affected populations. The bill goes further and even instructs the directors of international financial institutions to oppose financing for any activities that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions in Ethiopia.

According to Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, “We welcome this move as it aims to address one major flaw of US assistance to Ethiopia. The step taken by the US Congress is very significant, as it signals to both the Ethiopian government and the US administration that turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in the name of development is no longer an option.”

Several reports from the Oakland Institute have raised alarm about the scale, rate, and negative impacts of large-scale land acquisitions in Ethiopia that would result in the forced displacement of over 1.5 million people. This relocation process through the government’s villagization scheme is destroying the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and pastoralist communities. Ethiopian security forces have beaten, arrested, and intimidated individuals who have refused to relocate and free the lands for large-scale agricultural plantations.

Ethiopia’s so-called development programs cannot be carried out without the support of international donors, primarily the US, one of its main donors. Oakland Institute’s on-the-ground research has documented the high toll paid by local people as well as the role of donor countries such as the US in supporting the Ethiopian policy.

This language represents an important first step towards Congress initiating a comprehensive examination of US development practices in Ethiopia. As the oversight authority of the State Department, Congress must now ensure that the law is fully upheld and implemented. This warrants thorough scrutiny of USAID programs to Ethiopia and their contribution to forced resettlements and human rights abuses.

With this bill, USAID, the State Department, as well as the World Bank, will have to reconsider the terms and modalities of the support they provide to the Ethiopian government. According to Frederic Mousseau, Oakland Institute’s Policy Director, “This is a light of hope for the millions of indigenous people in Ethiopia who have sought international support from the international community to recognize their very destruction as communities and people.”

2014 Golden Pen of Freedom awarded to jailed Ethiopian journalist

Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian publisher, journalist and blogger

World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian publisher, journalist and blogger who is serving an 18-year jail sentence under anti-terror legislation, has been awarded the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).Mr Nega was arrested on September 14, 2011 after publishing an article criticising his government’s use of the 2009 Anti-Terror Proclamation to jail and silence critics, including Ethiopian actor and activist Debebe Eshetu.  He was sentenced on 23 January 2012 and denounced as belonging to a terrorist organisation.

In making the award, the WAN-IFRA Board sent a message to the Ethiopian government that misusing anti-terror legislation to jail journalists and those critical of his government is unwarranted and against international protocols, including the Vienna Declaration on Terrorism, Media and the Law.

“This award recognises the courage of Eskinder Nega to speak out despite the risks that saw him jailed under his country’s draconian and overly broad anti-terror laws,” said WAN-IFRA President Tomas Brunegård, speaking on behalf of the Board.

“We call on the Ethiopian government to release Eskinder Nega and all journalists convicted under the sedition provisions, including Solomon KebedeWubset TayeReyot Alemu,and Yusuf Getachew”, said Mr Brunegård, who recently visited Ethiopia as part of an international mission that found that the country’s publishers and journalists practice journalism in a climate of fear.

The Golden Pen of Freedom is an annual award made by WAN-IFRA since 1961 to recognise the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom. More on the Golden Pen can be found athttp://www.wan-ifra.org/node/31099

The award will be presented on 9 June during the opening ceremonies of the World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and World Advertising Forum, the global summit meetings of the world’s press, to be held in Torino, Italy.

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times, Mr Nega said of his imprisonment: “I’ve never conspired to overthrow the government; all I did was report on the Arab Spring and suggest that something similar might happen in Ethiopia if the authoritarian regime didn’t reform… I also dared to question the government’s ludicrous claim that jailed journalists were terrorists.”

WAN-IFRA has been vocal in their opposition to Ethiopia’s misuse of anti-terror legislation, writing to late Prime Minister H.E. Meles Zenawi in 2012 requesting the immediate release of Mr Nega and most recently demanding his release, along with four other imprisoned journalists, in a joint international press freedom mission to Ethiopia, conducted with the International Press Institute. The full report from the international press freedom mission can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/97172

Mr Nega opened his first newspaper, Ethiopis, in 1993, which was soon shut down by authorities due to its critical reporting. He then, along with his wife Serkalem Fasil, managed Serkalem Publishing House, responsible for newspapers such as Asqual, Satenaw and Menelik, all of which are currently banned in Ethiopia.  He has also had his journalist’s licence revoked since 2005, but continued to publish articles despite the ban.

Mr Nega is no stranger to being imprisoned due to his writings. He was detained at least seven times under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.  This included a 17-month jail sentence, along with his wife, on treason charges for their critical reporting on the Meles government’s violent response to peaceful protests that followed the disputed 2005 elections.

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore and India, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

Posted By Alemayehu Tibebu

TPLF: The Dog That Can no longer Bark

By Amanuel Biedemariam

On January 15, 2014, ESAT reported that the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) conducted organizational evaluation and quoted Bereket Simon, former Ethiopia’s Information Minister and new advisor to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgen, on how he characterized the differences amongst the EPRDF leaders during their deliberations. He said,

“Before we replaced Revolutionary Democracy with Developmental Democracy, the Front has been divided into three groups. One group of the leadership had argued that our problem was internal and that we need to first check that, while the other group held that our problem was Shabia/Eritrea and that we need to fight them first, but the third position which said that after fighting Shabia/Eritrea, we should then look at our internal problems had become the winning idea.”


According to the statement, the EPRDF is no longer a Revolutionary Democracy. It is now Developmental Democracy (whatever that means). In order to come up to that determination however, the group was divided to three camps but the final outcome was a decision to fight “Shaebia/Eritrea” as a primary focus and address their issues later.

The irony, one prerequisite to development or any progress for any nation is peace. When a nation ensures relative peace then there is a foundation for progress. The decision by the EPRDF to “Fight Shaebia/Eritrea” as a prerequisite to their developmental democracy is simply absurd, laughable and dangerous at the same time.

After a 15 year period that started with a border war and morphed into the current so called No-War No- Peace strategy; the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF/EPRDF) decided to continue on the same path albeit with a dressed-up name. The question is, at what cost? Who paid for it initially? Who is responsible for the last 15 years? The TPLF evaluation did not entertain peace with Eritrea; does that mean they have no intention to make peace with Eritrea ever? Furthermore, on what grounds does Ethiopia’s current regime, the TPLF/EPRDF is trying to continue the path of hostility? What is the ultimate goal? How will Eritrea deal with the intransigent TPLF? And ultimately, what constituency of Ethiopia will support this intransigence?
Moreover, how did Ethiopia do without peace with Eritrea? Could it have done better? How have the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea fared? Is the past 15 years a model by which two neighboring countries should conduct their affairs for the future? Who pays for all these? Who paid for the past?

The key question, why did Bereket Simon come-out now and made these absurd statements? Moreover, why now, when many particularly the US, for the first time in over 15 years is talking peace did Bereket Simon roll-out this war agenda? The questions are endless.

The answer to all these questions are found on a statement one astute Eritrean political figure made a while back. When asked to respond about outrageous repeated statements by the TPLF against Eritrea, he answered, “When a dog barks uncontrollably disturbing peace, the best option is to talk to the owners of the dog.”
There are three key reasons why Bereket Simon decided to come out and declared the continuation of the hostilities.

1) The current chatter that the US is on the verge reestablishing ties with Eritrea is a concern and they are crying for some attention. They want to make sure that the US does not abandon them. Ambassador David Shinn’s comment that we will not have relations with Eritrea at the expense of our important ally Ethiopia is designed to do just that; allay concerns. That however, is not working because the reaction to Ambassador Shinn has been very harsh.

2) Improved Eritrea US relations are a serious concern for the pocket books of the minority regime. Ethiopia has provided boots for the West that funds its military. In turn the TPLF controls its army with the billions in funding received from the West specifically the US by using it as incentive. Those who are loyal are rewarded by assignments on peacekeeping missions for lucrative pay. That means there is a security dimension to it as well because the funds pacify multi ethnic military that could turn on them.

3) Peace is the greatest threat to the very existence of the TPLF/EPRDF. Therefore, they must perpetuate these conflicts particularly with Eritrea. The TPLF is using the border issue to control the people of Ethiopia by misleading them as if the border is a negotiating ploy hence continues the declared No-Peace No-War agenda indefinitely.

Time the enemy

The TPLF/EPRDF has run out of time. There has been tremendous regional and global changes that lead to change of attitude and approach in dealing with the countries of the region. Their strategy to subdue Eritrea failed. To the contrary all economic signals indicate that Eritrea is forging ahead independently. The US waited for over a decade and half to bring regime change in Eritrea using Ethiopia and failed.

China’s influence in the region is forcing changes on US Africa policy. The changes on Western global Geo-Strategic shift away from Middle East to Asia plays a factor. Military and other budget cuts in the US will certainly affect changes. In addition, the death of Meles Zenawi and, the power transition that ensued has created a precarious power- sharing leadership arrangement that generated a great deal of uncertainty.

Moreover, countries in the region are working for their interests diligently. Recent activities by countries in the region particularly Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea are something to pay attention to for many reasons.

To Conclude

The US holds the key to Eritrea Ethiopia future relations simply because Ethiopia as a client state and dependent on US for political, diplomatic, economic, food and military support/aid is amenable to US demands. Thus, when and if the US decides it is on the best interest of the US for the TPLF to create peace with Eritrea then there will be no choice left but to acquiesce to US demands. That is the reality.

The question however remains, after paying dear lives of over 20,000 Eritrean souls, thousands more wounded; after having millions displaced; after decades of hostility that impacted families negatively in many ways; in short, after Eritrea paid the price with dear blood why on earth will the people of Eritrea throw a lifeline to the TPLF? Will they?
That simply means the neck of the TPLF is on the table. The US is at a critical point where they have to make a choice whether to save Ethiopia or the TPLF. When an organization with no constituency and according to Bereket Simon not clear about the future-direction of the nation decide to place their fate on hostilities with a neighboring country Eritrea; the US has a lot to worry about. When the perception remains Bereket Simon is the key figure rendering Prime Minister Hailmariam Desalegne as a figurehead, the US has a lot to worry about. Is TPLF/EPRDF Ethiopia? These are some sticky points. Ambassador David Shinn tried to address these conundrum but no takers. He said,
“Although the United States might decide to try again to improve relations with Eritrea, it will not do so at the expense of its ties with Ethiopia.”
The statement above said Ethiopia, not TPLF/EPRDF. The US is cognizant of these complexities. The US at this stage is desperate to save Ethiopia because the current states of affairs are unsustainable.

Ambassador Hank Cohen’s approach is therefore commendable as he is trying to thread a thin line to save a nation from embedded ethnic-political-system that can spell disaster with long term consequences for the region and US long term interests.

Eritrea therefore holds the key.

Awetnnayu@hotmail.com

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