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Ethiopia Eritrea - A bitter old row shows no sign of fading



  01:21:35 pm, by admin   , 350 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Eritrea

Ethiopia Eritrea - A bitter old row shows no sign of fading

File Photo: Regional Military Power Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Eritrea
Bad words over Badme

Dec 13th 2007 | NAIROBI
From The Economist print edition

A bitter old row shows no sign of fading

“SHOULD Eritrea launch another war, we will make certain it will never ever dream of entertaining or thinking about war again.” So said Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, in a recent speech to Parliament. His country did not seek war, he stressed. But if Eritrea launched a “suicidal” attack, it would be driven into the sea.

Eritrea has heard it before. Ethiopia tried to drive it into the sea at Massawa between 1998 and 2000, and failed. Instead, 70,000 on both sides died in trench warfare; a stalemate led to a truce. This time Mr Zenawi's belligerence comes as the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission wound up business this month, with no agreed demarcation. In 2002 it awarded the disputed village of Badme to Eritrea. Ethiopia rejected the verdict, and has since used diplomatic verbiage to obfuscate and stall.

Eritrea naturally took the commission at its word but under its authoritarian president, Issaias Afwerki, has alienated just about every sympathiser. As his rule has become harsher and more erratic, the border issue has loomed larger in Eritrea's national psyche. Mr Afwerki may disgust his compatriots by torturing and imprisoning his critics. But he knows Eritreans will back him over Badme.

The border is more militarised than ever. According to the International Crisis Group, a think-tank, Eritrea has 4,000 troops inside a supposedly demilitarised buffer zone and a further 120,000 dug in along its side of the craggy border that is 1,000km (621 miles) long. On its side, Ethiopia has 100,000 troops.

A UN monitoring force is meant to pack up next month but may stay on. The tension gives both countries an excuse to spend more on guns and spies, some to be turned on domestic enemies. Neither country can afford such things. Ethiopia, at least 75m-strong, is bogged down in Somalia and fighting separatists in the Ogaden desert; Mr Zenawi says he is putting Ethiopia's defence budget up by 17% to $390m. Eritrea, with only 5m people, simply cannot keep up.


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Comment from: Bulbula Hagos [Visitor]
Bulbula Hagos

peace to all

12/13/07 @ 13:47
Comment from: alula [Visitor]

ethiopia will win the war. bravo melesw

12/13/07 @ 13:57
Comment from: Death to Weyane [Visitor]
Death to Weyane

“Eritrea has heard it before. Ethiopia tried to drive it into the sea at Massawa between 1998 and 2000, and failed. Instead, 70,000 on both sides died in trench warfare; a stalemate led to a truce.” If the war break out again it will be the same, Eritrean army will defeat the Weyane janda within days. Massawa and Asseb will be the dream of Weyane and its supporters. In the last war Weyane try to controlled Assab but didn’t move a single km inside. What a brave Eritrean army!

12/13/07 @ 14:18
Comment from: Tig-marino [Visitor]

That is full of crap. Ethiopia never tried to drive the Eritrean army into the sea. The war with in the Ethiopian prespective had only one objective, that is to turn the situation into the status quo ante. Mr. Economist, getr your facts straight. Your intellectual and journalistic integrity is at stake.

12/13/07 @ 14:39
Comment from: Awget [Visitor]

What criminal Meles is trying to preach to his fellow thugs, will be the other way around,Eritrea will be victorius as usual.
stick around

12/13/07 @ 14:54
Comment from: Filmon [Visitor]

alula there are no winners in WAR, & ethio is occupied in Smoli fight insurgents & has a smaller army then Eri so I don’t think so. It is funny how ppl from either side talk all this crap that is easily said when you are not the one on the front line. I on the other hand would be willing to fight for my Eritrea to the death if it was necessary, however I feel this border dispute is a ploy. Unity to the horn not another war!!

12/13/07 @ 14:54
Comment from: metene [Visitor]

Ethiopian wanted to drive Ert into the sea…I am so ashamed of the economists who became openly subjective.

12/13/07 @ 15:08
Comment from: jelalaw [Visitor]

If the war started even Hailu Shawel will fight with his bloody blind eye, and then Mele will rule another 30 years. Adios Kinjit, Adios OLF, Adios Diaspora…

12/13/07 @ 15:26
Comment from: Yaleb [Visitor]

“Eritrea has heard it before”?
Never in million years, you morons!

To remind you, it was Issayas who constantly boasted to his Arab paymasters that he will march in Addis Ababa in two weeks time!!

The Eritrean independence has been approved by the same PM you are quoting- although I can understand why he went that far to satisfy both the international community-bar USA, and the anti Ethiopian Arab communities. It is sad to hear from a reporter, seemingly from a respected magazine like The Economist, to hear such an absurd rhetoric. Forget history. that is not for journalists. Did you ever hear anything said by an Ethiopian official against Eritrea until the later started to bomb schools and villages and wage unprovoked war against their own brethren south of the border?

A journalist can be bought and sold like slaves this days, but that doesn’t make whatever written in a hostile mass media is a trustworthy analysis on that or this subject. Yes, you can disseminate lies all over the world about Ethiopia; but I don’t think Gobles’s calculation works for you like it didn’t work during the world war.-“Truth is a repeat of lies”? To be honest, and I hope you will pardon me, Journalism is the second soulless profession, if not the main, after the old one…you know what I mean!

My advice to the reporter from Economist is that, read my county’s history before coming to a……. blind conclusion that Ethiopia is the aggressor or the war- monger; we have always been a victim of Fascism, their servants and apologists. Ethiopia is a country with so many nationalities and many religions, Christianity, Islam paganism, living in harmony practically since the inception of these faiths………. read the Koran and read the Bible.

The problem between Ethiopia and that of (artificially created by the Italian Fascists) Eritrea, is not that God damn piece of land called Badme. The problem is a power struggle between two individuals who at a certain time were not only allies, but genetically 99% related cousins.

For Issayas it is obvious he regretted his decision to become the chieftain of his impoverished clan in Eritrea rather than becoming the President of that Great nation. Instead his ‘inferior’ cousin became the leader of Ethiopia and starts to become one of the favorites among African leaders.

For a Western and Mideast Journalist t it is obvious that it all seems insignificant. The only aim is how to demonize Ethiopia by all means provided you get paid for that. Go to BBC…… although predominantly a Jewish bureaucracy…. and given my country’s historical relation with that race, it is still the centre of Anti- Ethiopian propaganda. I’m still unsure what Jonathan Dimblbey’s contribution was during or after our last monarchy……simply a making of money out of one’s misery?

I’m not usually an advocate of emotional writings, as the Chinese say “never write a letter when you are angry” but your constant anti-Ethiopian hysteria is blown out of proportion and I have to reply in my own way.

As that famous English woman, Silvia Pankhrust, once said “Hands off Ethiopia”!

12/13/07 @ 15:29
Comment from: safu [Visitor]

Whiteman is a hooligan and do not expect good from him.


12/13/07 @ 15:32
Comment from: ERITRAWI [Visitor]

Ethiopia has made enimies for herself in the region……Poor somali civilians are being massacred in the name of terrorism…….Ethiopia is landlocked i wonder wheer they will get port access if little djibouti starts to act up on her……the end is near for Ethiopia.

12/13/07 @ 15:38
Comment from: ETHIOPIAN [Visitor]

Ethiopia is going to win:!:

12/13/07 @ 15:41
Comment from: Yager Lig [Visitor]
Yager Lig

Eritrea will never win again, thanks to PM Zenawi, he has shown us if we put all of you on one side, i.e. remove those who make their money in Ethiopia and send part of their earning and intelligence back to Eritrea, we can keep you cornered. The only way out for you guys is sucide, and for that you should be considered terrorists.

You want to drag us down with you, not any more, we rather keep you at a distance and if you try to do any harm give you some good spanking, that is how you handle a thug.

When it comes to Eritrea, Meles has been their nightmare, he knows their tactic and psyche, he is here to stay and you have no way out of your dry corner, stay where you are or face some good old spanking.

12/13/07 @ 15:48
Comment from: Tokuma Girma [Visitor]
Tokuma Girma



I know the above title has nothing to do with the looming war but I assume the war drums
are just to disguise other problems and above all this article is from the economist

“The problem is with both leaders, the problem is with the leadership”

All these “bura-kereyeu”, “akaike-zerafe” and “yazugne-lekakeunge”, shouldn’t be at the expenses of their citizens. Will these leaders whom they claim they stand for the well-being of their people, re-examine the catastrophic consequences of any war, just for the dusty, barren and useless land called bademe. If you think there is a pride by doing so, you are dead wrong. A pride shouldn’t include war, to these the poor of the poorest countries in the world. A pride should come from building dams, roads, waters supply and agricultural projects, by which your citizens are paid to work in not by mass communistic movement like free, work labor of the military concentration camp.

A pride should come from a free and fair market driven economy not by command control and forced labor. A pride should come by establishing a democratic process not by tyranny and absolute dictatorship. Listen leaders you are only for the next so and so years. Please don’t leave a history like that of Mengistu or even HaileSelase.

Just to kick some nerves the government of Eriteria is nothing but a useless terrorist, that doesn’t know where in the world should it, stand. It is not complementing or endorsing the rulers at arat-kilo, by far, except few corks they are doing just about right. If they can avert this war and have a solution peacefully, as is always the case you are going to have my vote.

Mr. Meles do you know you have hundreds if not thousands of silent supporters, which share your economic vision, and are always ready to hear the news of a mega infrastructure projects. Please Mr. Meles give to Mr. Isayas Bademe and see he wouldn’t last a night with out drumming a war. I said this because we lost the case of Asseb and,
I don’t think bademe is as important as a port or I can’t compare it to 1/100 of a piece of land in Illubabor or the fertile awash valley or the lands we plant roses along the road to shashemane.

However; I disagree in some of the details, Mr. Meles you are the economic leader of my choice. Please be tough on corruption and revise strongly the federal system to reflect more ethiopian-ism with this, changes you promise, with these changes you implement and to spice up that with some democratic reforms. In doing this let me tell you, unless you walk away, we need you, you must lead this country to a better future.

May GOD help to stop this war

12/13/07 @ 16:33
Comment from: Atlantic [Visitor]

It is funny how quickly we forget!
Some here boost that Eritrea won the last war!

But it was the Ethiopian Army who captured the major Eritrean cities of Barentu and Senafe and was marching toward the outskirt of Asmara when Eritrean Regime agreed to sign the peace treaty.

Look during WWII the Japanese army signs the peace treaty before the allied forces captured Tokyo that does not make the Japanese the winners of WWII.

It is shame!
Only seven years now some already started to rewrite the history of the last war!!!

12/13/07 @ 17:18

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