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Eritrean leader fears US plans to kill him: cable
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki fears the United States will try to kill him by firing a missile into his residence, according to a leaked cable from the U.S. embassy in Eritrea.
In the cable released on December 15 on WikiLeaks, former U.S. ambassador Ronald McMullen wrote that Isaias also believed Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi tried to have him killed 14 years ago.
"Isaias thinks the United States will attempt to kill him by missile strike on his residence in the city of Massawa," the cable said, quoting a U.N. official.
Summary: Isaias is an austere and narcissistic
dictator whose political ballast derives from Maoist ideology
fine-tuned during Eritrea's 30-year war for independence. He
is paranoid and believes Ethiopian PM Meles tried to kill him
and that the United States will attempt to assassinate him.
He is not notably nepotistic and has not favored his
ancestral village or immediate family. This message includes
some biographic tidbits offered as an addendum to USG bio
information on foreign government leaders. End Summary.
¶2. (C) Aiming for 112: Isaias, 62, told a visiting German
parliamentarian in late 2008 that he is healthy and expects
to live another 40 or 50 years. He said he hopes to serve
his country as long as he is able. In a May 2008 television
interview, Isaias said Eritrea might hold elections "in three
or four decades."
¶3. (S/NF) An Alleged Ethiopian Assassination Attempt:
Isaias and Meles, brothers in arms during the 1980s, are now
blood enemies. Why? In 1996, while returning from a
vacation in Kenya, Isaias, his family, and his inner
entourage stopped in Addis, where Meles offered to fly them
back to Asmara in one of his aircraft. Isaias accepted the
offer; en route the aircraft caught fire, but managed to turn
back and land safely in Addis. According to someone who was
on the aircraft, an infuriatd Isaias accuse Meles to his
face of trying to kill him and his family. Isaias has not
trusted Meles since, according to this source.
¶4. (S) Fears of an American Assassination Attempt: Isaias
thinks the United States will attempt to kill him by missile
strike on his residence in the city of Massawa, according to
late 2007 information from the Force Commander of UNMEE.
¶5. (C) Holier Than Thou: Isaias has berated the Chinese
ambassador in Asmara for China's embrace of market
capitalism. Isaias was sent to China by the Eritrean
Liberation Front for political commissar training in the
1960s, where, according to the Chinese ambassador, "he
learned all the wrong things." Isaias was turned off by the
cult of personality surrounding Mao, but apparently
internalized Maoist ideology.
¶6. (C) Fluent in Arabic: Asmara-based Arab ambassadors are
impressed by Isaias' fluency in Arabic. There is some debate
about where he learned it, but all agree he is a comfortable
and capable Arabic speaker.
¶7. (C) Talented Speechwriter: In mid-2008, after Isaias
delivered an impressive address in English to a gathering of
ministerial-level representatives on the subject of Darfur,
Yemane Ghebremeskel, the director of the office of the
president, said Isaias had written the speech himself.
¶8. (C) Hot Temper: At a January 2008 dinner he hosted for a
codel and embassy officials, Isaias became involved in a
heated discussion with his Amcit legal advisor about some
tomato seedlings the legal advisor provided to Isaias' wife.
Isaias complained that despite tender care by his wife, the
plants produced only tiny tomatoes. When the legal advisor
explained that they were cherry tomatoes and were supposed to
be small, Isaias lost his temper and stormed out of the
venue, much to the surprise of everyone, including his
¶9. (C) Holds a Grudge: A senior party official said Isaias
and Djibouti President Guelleh had (g(eed during a 'u'e 2008
telephone conversation to try to resolve at the presidential
level issues related to the June border clash. According
this senior Eritrean official, Isaias was livid when Guelleh
supposedly shortly thereafter lambasted Eritrean aggression
in a media interview. Isaias reportedly felt personally
betrayed by President Guelleh, and has been obstinate about
resolving the Djibouti-Eritrea border dispute ever since.
¶10. (C) Thin Skinned: Isaias asked to be named the patron of
the World Bank-funded Cultural Assets Rehabilitation Project
(CARP). When individuals involved with CARP published the
book "Asmara: Africa's Secret Modernist City," it failed to
include a note of thanks to CARP's patron. Isaias was miffed
and shut down CARP.
¶11. (C) Good Op-Sec: Isaias has an aversion to talking on
the telephone and frequently sleeps in different locations to
foil a coup or assassination attempt. During the winter
months he spends most of his time in Massawa rather than in
Asmara. When dining in restaurants, Isaias will often switch
plates with a subordinate, apparently to avoid being
poisoned, according to the Qatari ambassador.
¶12. (C) The Early Years of Little Beer Pot: Isaias' father,
Afwerki, comes from the village of Tselot, which is perched
on the lip of a 7,000' escarpment four miles southeast of
Asmara. When Isaias was a boy Afwerki reportedly spent much
of his time in Tigray, where he owned a coffee farm that was
later nationalized by the Derg. With Afwerki largely absent,
Isaias lived with his mother (rumored to have family roots in
Tigray) in a working class neighborhood in eastern Asmara
near the train depot and the Lutheran church. Isaias' mother
made and sold a traditional beer called sewa. By some
accounts, Isaias was nicknamed the Tigrinya equivalent of
"Beer Pot," after the ceramic jug from which sewa is
dispensed.Q Qoday he is a QeQvy whisky drinker, but perhaps
as a youth his nickname referred as much to his habits as to
his mother's business.
¶13. (C) No Pork for His Ancestral Village: In November 2008
emboffs visited Tselot and saw no indication that the village
has received any special favor from Isaias. Like most
Eritrean villages, it has electricity but no running water or
sewer system. Gaunt cattle and untended donkeys roam the
village. Their droppings are quickly gathered and formed
into oval patties, which are then stuck on rock walls, dried,
and used as fuel for cooking. Afwerki is said to be buried
in the village cemetery, but emboffs could not locate his
grave. Isaias' immediate family is rarely featured in the
state-run media and keeps a low profile. Although his
portrait adorns many shops in Asmara, there is no cult of
personality in Eritrea. Isaias often appears in the media
clad casually in slacks, jacket, open-necked shirt, and
sandals or loafers. He rarely travels in a motorcade.
¶14. (C) Hard-hearted: When a visiting U.S. movie star in
early 2008 raised the plight of two Embassy Asmara FSNs who
have been imprisoned without charge since 2001, Isaias glared
stonily at her and replied, "Would you like me to hold a
trial and then hang them?"
Well if the USA don’t do it, we Ethiopians will do it eventually Mr. Afeworki. We win everytime. Collaborating with Egypt won’t help you. We destroyed your askari forces when they collaborated with Italy and this generation eritreans won’t be different, once a Banda always a Banda.
Your days are numbered.
I wish they did for the sake of poor Eritreans who are suffering under this mad animal.
I am happy to know that this evil man lives in fear.
excuse me Mr Isaias is from region tigray “tembian” sub region he is not eritrean Isas aforki abraha is totally tigrian , his grand father mr abraha asked amnesty after murdering a man in a qurell back in early 1900 , the fugitive grand father crossed akeleguzy in eritrea and resided in “teslot” hamasen that is all he is not eritrean ,this man , mr Isaias aforki is a direct hand picked assignment of cIA’s richard coapland 1969 ,so i dont think americans will do that please don’t confuse him with eritreans he is ethiopian
I doubt the 1996 allegation of assasination attempt in by Meles. This is probably another attempt by Shabias to justify their criminality.
Even during the war in ‘98, when Meles had a chance to LEGALLY march down to Asmara and eliminate Afewerki, he did not!
What a joke. Bush the 1st put him up there and Clinton sent his wife to dance in Asmara when Afewerki the Banda and his counter part Zenawi were wrecking havoc on the Ethiopian people. The purpoe was to destroy Ethiopia. The destruction of Ethiopia meant the destruction of the African continent.That treasonous act was made. His life is worthless since then. Both traitors live in fear. That is God’s punishment on behave of the noble People of Ethiopia. They were killed and their beloved country dismembered and acces to their ports are still blocked.I just wonder why these two maggots are still alive. Should they?
All you say is true. You only fogeted to tell us, that his mother is an eritrean “WORKI MAHTSEN” from YEHA-ADUA for all ‘ERITREANS’ !
There is a new development on these days, people have started outing themselves. Last week it was ASSTA B, this week it is De La Manchu [Visitor] and today you with your half-hearted history of “WEDI WORQI MAHTSEN.”
De La Manchu also forgeted some thing commenting on Mengistu Worku; he didn’t mention that Girmay GURADE (Girmay Tesfamariam) was the Johan Cruyff of Ethiopia.(BE’IRGITT BETEKELAKAY BOTTA) He was the son of his parents, who are from GIZAAT-ADUA, MIDRE-TSION. He played for Hamassien club and for the Ethiopian national team under Yidneqachew and trained the Hammassien club until his last days.
I say GIZAAT-ADUA for there was no AWRAJA AXUM and AWRAJA ADUA at the time the parents of Girmay GURADA moved to ABA’SHAUL during the Italien colonial time in MAIDO MAY. Areas from HAHAYLE until TCHILLA (my VILLAGES) were called “GIZAAT-ADUA, MIDRE-TSION.
To all Tigrigna speaking Eritreans
You had been treated well the time you were with Ethiopia. Haile Selassie and Mengistu educated you and gave you jobs and business opportunities.You were given equal opportunity and at times you were favored more than the rest of the Ethiopian citizens. But you were not thankful. You did bite the breast that fed you. You fall in love with Isayas and you thought he was your hero that can make you free and prosperous. You thought you can loot the mother land Ethiopia and be rich in Asmara. You thought you were going to cut the throat of Ethiopia by denying her access to the sea.
On the other hand Meles saw your stubborn character as a threat to his rule and fast track your departure and allowed you to continue with your night mare. Meles knew there was no better way of punishing you by your own useless dictator. Had you changed your mind to stay with Ethiopia he would have had a potential rebel fight like Mengistu. But he kicked your ass systematically.
Now you are paying heavily under the iron fist rule of Isayas. Your wicked character is not helping you. Now you are hiding like cockroaches everywhere in Ethiopia and running around the glob like rats.
Isayas is Meles’ agent to get the hell out of you. One day you will hand back the port of Aseb and beg for Ethiopians forgiveness.
Until then Isu keep up your good work of punishing the traitors of Ethiopia until you punish yourself one day.
I feel sorry for those Ethnic groups such as Kunamas Issas, and Afatrs whose will has been hijacked by dictators. These nationalities are innocent and were forcefully included in the territory of Isayas. but they will free themselves and join their family in Ethiopia at one point. Each nationality was supposed to given the right for self determination. Meles knows about that. But by that time mentioning this issue could have made Isayas change his mind and struggle with Meles to rule Ethiopia. so this is the reality.
Eritrea is a fake country and cannot continue in the future.
Meless, isayas, Usa (cia) have had a big secerate in the fight agaisnt Russian puppet Mengistu. Though all the three have different goals, the removal of Mengistu united them whatever the consquences would bring to Ethiopians. After the collaps of Russian impaier and removal of Mengistu, Meless and Isayas choosed different path and USA must choose one. I said must because usa tried every thing the two idiots work hand in hand. Usa even gave the title of the youngest democratic presidants of africa, the two rookies. They even used meless’s chartered plaen to un meeting. USA would do anything so that the Red Sea wont fall in Arab hands and the fight between meless and isayas wont help. Who ever dont work with usa turns its face (ass) to usa. This known by isayas best than meless. Isayas knows exactlly what happens to Mengistu. He saw the powr of usa and cia before he came to power marchning. If this wont make him creazy then what makes him.
Let alone Isayas afewek, almost every Eritrean is as paranoid as he is. the man has hypnotized them with the fear of the world that every Eritrean I meat talks about how the world hates them because they are special people. Some times I can’t help but admire this man for being able to reduce them to such a retarded state of mind and maintain it at the same time…the more he fools them the more they stand by him. Imagine the man as being a sales man, he is certainly the most successful sales man who sold a package of rough rock-full of box to many eritreans who paid precious lives and limbs. never mind the 2% forced tax they are still paying. unbelievable.
I’m more surprised why he would go to Kenya for a holiday?. As for his fears of the US trying to kill him, I wouldn’t blame him, how many times has the US tried to kill Fidel Castro and failed because he opposed them.
This shows Mr. Afeweki’s mental unstable this man is paranoid before he kill so many people and start another war. That was a right thing to do. But unfortunately no body will take this action but his oppressed people. His own gilt can’t make him sleep at night. next he will say my wife tray to kill me .if he have one. The mentally disturbed Afeweki you need help.
Issayas- Is saying as.
A life time shifta and terrorist.
He is really suffering from multiple paranoia.
Isayas has the right to his views but I for one think it will not happen . If anything he should fear his generals .
I do not believe the US will kill him . Despite his bad deeds , Any attempt to assassinate would make him a hero .
I feel he faces more danger from his generals/compatriots .
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