By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
It appears that the brief clash between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces has come to its abrupt end, as it abruptly started. The regime in Asmara, which Sunday accused Ethiopia of unleashing an attack against Eritrea on the Tsorona Central Front” came around Tuesday to announce in its press release about repulsing the “TPLF troops”, which it cared to point out, “sustaining heavy causalities.”
The Eritrean statement in its standard format promised that the Government of Eritrea would issue detailed statement on the purpose, scope and implications of the latest act of military aggression by the TPLF regime. However, the focus of its present statement was to highlight the reason for the attack by Ethiopia, as follows:
“It is nonetheless clear that mounting opposition from popular movements of the Ethiopian people, endemic corruption and associated economic crisis, as well as the desire to stem promising progress in Eritrea are indeed some of the factors prompting the TPLF regime to indulge in reckless military adventures.”
On his part, the TPLF regime spokesperson Tuesday indicated TPLF forces had inflicted “heavy damages on Eritrea forces.” He expressed his government’s hope that Eritrea would take the appropriate lesson from this “retaliatory measures” and “desist forthwith from further provocations to avoid future penalties.
For any sensible person, this is an admission that the TPLF regime was fighting within the territory of Eritrea, although on Monday Addis abeba through its spokesperson initially denied invading Eritrea.
For those that know that the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia share many similar attributes, the most unchanging are deception and the violation of the human rights of their citizens.
Clearly, both nations lack credibility in the eyes of their peoples. They each claim to have beaten one another. In a world bereft of leadership, not the big powers could be available to say anything unfavorable to Ethiopia, as they also lack good words for Eritrea.
To make matters worse, the United Nations Secretary-General and his spokesperson also were missing in action. At a critical time such as this, the United Nations for some reason withheld from these two poor nations that are on the brinks of hunger and marginalization the usual appeals to stop from bleeding each other, or words of condemnation for moving into war.
Fortunately, this incensed the usual thorn on the UN side, the Inner City Press’s Matthew Russell, who cross-examined the spokesperson of the Secretary-General:
“…[T]he fighting is in a place where the UN used to have a peacekeeping mission on the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea. And given the past death count of such fighting, is the UN aware of it? Have they reached out to either country?”
This managed to squeeze the following out of the spokesperson:
“Yes, we definitely are aware of it. I think the Secretary-General’s clearly concerned by the reports of fighting along the border. The UN is reaching out to both parties to try to ascertain the details of the developments, because, obviously, we’ve just seen the press reports as of now. And the Secretary-General calls on both Governments to exercise maximum restraint and work to resolving their differences through peaceful means, including the full implementation of the peace accord signed by the parties, I think, in 2000.”
From the get go, TEO was certain that the objective of the TPLF in the present strike is two fold. Firstly, it wanted to strike when the iron is hot, i.e., immediately as the three-member Eritrea Inquiry Commission report was released. The report has made the already negative image of Eritrea a pariah nation, by recommending to the United Nations Security Council to refer Eritrean leaders and their associates to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity.
Secondly, Ethiopia is in the midst of all sorts of conflicts, badly in need of a solution. The TPLF has increasingly been confronted with this, due to regressive and corrupt ethnic policy, which has opened the country to massive human rights violation and unheard of corruption and matchless political and economic mis-governance that has made it more dependent on foreign aid than ever before. Its response to these problems now is to show off its force punishing Eritrea, as a means of diverting attention from the problems at home and to signal to its challengers from within to watch it.
Ethiopia is an ally of the West. It is a country that can get away with anything, especially with the support of the United States administration and the United Kingdom. This alliance is predicated on Ethiopia’s role as the Horn of Africa’s anti-terrorism sheriff. Recall that during his visit in Ethiopia on July 27, 2015, President Obama told Ethiopians he sees no reason to send the marines to fight in Somalia, when Ethiopians can do it!
Ethiopians did not take this as a praise to their nation. They saw their government as a stooge that ekes out its existence as foot soldier to others, as the social media reported at the time.
Imagine for a moment, if it were Eritrea that invaded Ethiopia. Hell would have broken loose. Possibly, there would be condemnations at the United Nations, White House Statement, or some pronouncements by the Security Council. Should the international system be so one-sided and vindictive? Very clearly, the Charter of the United Nations is clear that, under normal circumstances, it cannot be silent when one nation crosses into the territory of another to wage war.
In Article 33 (1 and 2), the Charter of the United Nations states:
“The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.”
Nonetheless, the anti-terrorism service it renders has set free in the Horn of Africa the TPLF regime in Ethiopia to do whatever it likes at home and within the sub-region. This is an unfortunate approach to the building of peace and ensuring the human rights of the people of the region.
Most surprising is the fact that Ethiopia is a candidate to the UN Security Council seat as an African candidate, whose election would take place on June 20th, 2016 during the resumed 70th session of the General Assembly. As discussed in previous articles on Ethiopia’s candidacy to the Africa seat,
“Ethiopia’s entry to membership in the UNSC at this point could only bring into the Security Council the lethargy of an uncommitted representation to the ideals, goals and visions of the Charter. In fact, the TPLF could use Ethiopia’s membership to promote its self-serving interests rather than the international community’s.”
The Charter gives views negatively a country’s eligibility to become a non-permanent member of the Security Council, if that country’s record of human rights is bad. This is because that factor could become contributory to national instability and then regional problems through the derivative problems of displacements and refugees burdens. This is the case in Ethiopia today, which is not a matter that strengths international peace and security.
The primary function of the Security Council, according to Article 24, is “the maintenance of international peace and security.”
I do not believe that by its actions Ethiopia is capable of shouldering such responsibilities, as has been seen through its various actions that attest to its reliance on force to resolve all problems, including the latest invasion of Eritrea!
TPLF regime eyes UN Security Council seat edging silent Kenya, while Seychelles is said to have ‘voluntarily relinquished’, a claim intriguing UN observers
TPLF’s arrogance of power: TPLF threatens citizens with force after grabbing their lands & imposing on them Tigrean identity they reject; yet Ethiopia has been UN Human Rights Council member & candidate for UNSC seat!