Eritrea: Curious Rumours and US Travel Warning
By Sam B. Natna
On 18 April 2012, the US State Department issued its customary and usual diatribe – described as travel warning for Eritrea. Buried, however, in the contorted verbal diarrhea is a curious detail that could easily be overlooked. Given, however, Eritrea’s letter to the UNSC, were Eritrea accuses the US of orchestrating the recent attack on its sovereign territory by Ethiopia it adds one more data to the ongoing speculations. Eritrea’s letter states:
“We hold the United States Government for [its] responsibility in this and previous illegal attacks perpetrated against Eritrea, …. Our accusation is firmly rooted in hard facts and evidences.“ (PIA letter to UNSC dated 27 March 2012)
After the December 2010 incident were mercenaries from UK, armed to the teeth, who had invaded Eritrean islands were caught red-handed, the 18 April 2012 US State Department admission that somehow, again, two of their vessels strayed into Eritrea is, to put it mildly, curious if not outright suspicious:
The State Department writes:
“In February 2012, a U.S. company reported that two of its vessels were seized by Eritrean authorities in the Port of Massawa, where they had sought assistance after one vessel was distressed while off the Eritrean coast. To date, neither vessels nor crew have been released. ” (US State Department 18 April 2012)
This revelation is of course immensely complicated by the fact of Ethiopia’s latest attack on Eritrea and Ethiopia’s subsequent frantic behavior: first announcing to the world that it attacked Eritrea in three different areas, followed by no it was only in central Eritrea, denying that it never attacked in the northwestern Ethiopian bordered areas and finally followed by its Prime Minister admitting that its attacks were “in response to Eritrea’s abducting more than 100 gold miners in northwestern Ethiopia”. Never mind that there is not a single gold mine in Northwestern Ethiopia and that Ethiopia does not even allow mineral exploration in those areas as evidenced by the following mining company reported written in June 2011:
“exploration has not been conducted on the northwestern most part of the licences due to security and safety concerns (Zhu, personal communication). Makeda have been advised by the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) not to explore within 5 km of the border due to the risk of unexploded mines planted during the 2003 conflict with Eritrea. By heeding the ENDF advice the northern part of Adi Gabat and some parts of Adi Gabat have not been yet been explored.“
These lies and the frantic behaviors have added to the fact that the US has remained tight-lipped about Eritrea’s 27 March 2012 letter to the UNSC. And now the State Department 18 April 2012 revelation reinforce those rumors and speculation that were making their rounds late last month and earlier this month. That the Eritrean defense forces and intelligence apparatuses may have caught wind of the ensuing attack and ambushed the enemy inside Eritrea. Meles’ and Ethiopia’s frantic behavior subsequent to the attacks clearly lends a hand to this view. Why else would Meles and his propaganda ministry get so discombobulated and disoriented?
What is more interesting is America’s refusal to challenge Eritrea’s assertion that Eritrea’s “accusation is firmly rooted in hard facts and evidences”. Some of the speculation at the time were that Eritrea may have in the ambush either apprehended US special forces personal or equipment (such as aerial surveillance drones that were leading the invading army shot down inside Eritrea). What is only clear is that something obviously must have gone horribly wrong for Meles and the Ethiopian propaganda ministry to get so discombobulated and contradict itself multiple times within hours and continuously for the following days. Some believed that this behavior was engendered by the fact that they anticipated Eritrea to broadcast the magnitude of their failure and in an attempt to muddy the waters before they got exposed
Ethiopia’s geniuses appear to have shot themselves in the foot.
President Isaias’ response and the question posed to him on the subject also betray certain attitude and an aura of contentedness that something outside the ordinary had taken place. We shall keep watching for further developments, however, the recent rumors of PIA’s untimely demise seem to be orchestrated by the US, Meles and their lackeys to obscure and obfuscate this rather grave and interesting development.