By Araia G. Ephrem,
Dear Mr. Cohen,
My jaw dropped when I read you recent recommendation dated December 28, 2015. I am astonished at your perception and misinformation about Eritrea, that it [Eritrea] could actually potentially become governed with “Sharia Law.” Don’t you know Eritrea by now?
With all your experience in the Horn of Africa in general and Eritrea in particular; despite your past political misgivings; Eritreans could have forgiven your past political misdeeds when it comes to Eritrea (starting in 1980’s). However, you recent post makes old wounds fresh. At your caliber, I least expected you to come up with such outlandish recommendation and misinformation. With all due respect, I beg of your patience to follow me below:
Let me remind you few of your past misgivings:
1) you tried to treat the EPLF as if it was ordinary guerrilla movement with no brain, and you actually tried to persuade them with a meager food aid after Afabet fell in the hands of the EPLF in 1988. The EPLF said “no thank you.”
2) you were an ardent advocate of the Woyane regimes and cheer-leading their attempts to invade Eritrea during their 1998 war of invasion. Please listen back to your interviews and/or comments in NPR radio.
3) you dared to tell Eritreans outlandish things that only props up the Woyane regime, again listen back to your precious interviews and/or comments,
4) prior to the complete repulsion of the Woyane regime by Eritrea, you seemed to have hopes that Eritrea bows down to your wishes and calculations,
5) you abandoned supporting the Woyane regime only when it lost its teeth in 2005.
Now, let us see your current recommendations and ask you humble questions:
1) Why do you think the Arabian Peninsula gets to eat “Abyssinian” lunch?
2) Who is throwing a free lunch party? Eritrea? Why? Is it not Eritrea’s sovereign rights to relate with whomever its policy is agreeable to?
3) Who is the “Abyssinia” that you provoke to take “the west bank of the Red Sea”? Can you please educate us?
4) Are you not speculating when you write, “have you noticed that warships from the United Arab Emirates are operating out of the port of Asab 24/7?” Did you witness warships operating out of Asab port? Or is it a provocative statement on your part? Hope you have some evidence.
5) When you write, “there are reports that Saudi Arabia has taken a 50-year lease on Asab. If that is true, the next step will be Sharia Law in the Horn of Africa big time.” Does it mean every nation that relates with Saudi Arabia becomes governed under “Sharia Law“? Did the USA become under “Sharia Law” since it has very close ties to Saudi Arabia?
Now, let’s also look at your solutions:
1) Why do you think Badme could be a negotiating issue for Eritrea? As you very well know, Badme is Eritrean now and forever.
2) Are you literally joking when you wrote, “immediately after the symbolic return of Badme to Eritrean control in a brief ceremony in the morning, that afternoon, the two delegations will negotiate”? You mean, Eritrea will have a bright smile with a “symbolic” return of Badme and sign away with the Woyane regime? Is that a practical solution, or a story one tells a novice government?
3) You wrote, “each government will guarantee that its territory will not be allowed to be used by elements hostile to the other government as a base for destabilization of the other government.” Eritrea has never destabilized Ethiopia. Actually, the intention of destabilization is deeply ingrained by the Woyane regime. If the Woyane regime gets destabilized, does that mean Ethiopia has been destabilized? Or does it mean, if the Woyane regime is deposed (by the Ethiopia uprising) then Woyne will not be present to do the dirty jobs for big hegemonic nations? Is that what it is?
4) You wrote, “pre-war economic relations will be restored to the status quo ante, including a dedicated duty-free Ethiopian section of Asab Port under a 50-year lease at an indexed rental.” Well, the question is why should Eritrea follow your recommendation? Why couldn’t Eritrea shop around for its best interest leasing its ports and resources?
5) Ah, again the Nakfa and IMF! Why should Eritrea be dictated by the IMF when its Nakfa is doing Ok? Does Eritrea have to succumb to the IMF or World Bank to be Ok? Perhaps, you should have added the BRICS bank as an option as well.
6) When you wrote, “exchanging Embassies“, do you mean a future Ethiopian Embassy or the current falling Woyane regime’s Embassy?
7) You wrote, “establishment of security control and the exploitation of resources in the Red Sea will be joint.” Wow, just like that? Why can’t Eritrea have its own security control and exploitation of resources in the Red Sea as it sees it fit with its own interest?
8) You wrote, “the two countries will have a common external tariff.” Well, what if Eritrea doesn’t see that option with the current Woyane regime?
9) Last but not least; you blew me away when you suggested Eritrea to go through what appears feeble if not misinforming recommendation, then you come to write, “the United Nations Security Council will lift sanctions against Eritrea.” Really? Shouldn’t the UNSC act on its accurate findings and lift the unjust sanctions off Eritrea? Is the UNSC tied with the Woyane regime at the hip?
Dear Mr. Cohen,
Perhaps your perception about Eritreans is lower than it should, nevertheless. With all due respect, I expected a better, fair, just and lawful recommendation from you.
All Eritreans are hopeful to see a peaceful and solid Ethiopia as a neighbor. Let alone now, Eritreans never had an ill intention against Ethiopia even during the dark hours. You should know that. Did you forget that the EPLF captured many Ethiopian soldiers during the struggle days and treated them humanely and sent them home at the end of the war? Eritreans never harbored hate nor malice on the Ethiopian people or Ethiopian sovereignty.
If you feel the Woyane regime is on its last rope, it is not the making of Eritrea. Actually, it is its own making that angered Ethiopians throughout the last 25 years. Whatever you wrote smells like the Woyane regime is in its last few days.
Frankly, I am not sure a doomed forecast stating, “the countries east of the Red Sea will make major inroads west of the Red Sea to the detriment of both countries as well as to American interests,” shall become true.
Please, consider the Eritreans and Ethiopians a bit more intelligent that you take them to be.
Earlier this morning, Ambassador Herman Cohen published a blog post on how to normalize the Ethiopia-Eritrea relations before the Red Sea slips into total Arab control. He even titled it as “The Red Sea Is Slipping into Total Arab Control”.
Despite his generalization and misconception about the Arabization of East Africa, Mr. Cohen used to argue that the Middle East includes the countries in the Horn of Africa and that the people of middle east (the Arabs) are the same to that of the people of the Horn of Africa. On page 133 of his book on “The Minds of the African Strongman”, Mr. Cohen wrote:
“The Horn of Africa is separated from the Middle East by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The countries in the Horn include Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia. I would claim that the west shore of the Red Sea is not the east coast of Africa. Considering culture, language, and political outlook, I would argue that the Middle East includes the countries in the Horn.”
How on earth he is now warning the people of the Horn of Africa to take back the Red Sea from the Arabs?
To give you a better picture to his inner thinking, I will post his controversial article on its entirety:
The Red Sea Is Slipping into Total Arab Control
(December 28, 2015) – Hey, all you Abyssinians out there. While you are wasting time squabbling with each other and not talking to each other, the governments of the Arabian Peninsula are eating your lunch.
Have you noticed that warships from the United Arab Emirates are operating out of the port of Asab 24/7? Their interest is in Yemen, not in Eritrea or Ethiopia. There are reports that Saudi Arabia has taken a 50-year lease on Asab. If that is true, the next step will be Sharia Law in the Horn of Africa big time.
I think it is time for Abyssinians to take back control of the west bank of the Red Sea before it is too late.
One way to accomplish this is for Eritrea and Ethiopia to finally end the war of 1998-2000 and normalize relations. It can be done as a win-win.
Eritrea and Ethiopia should send delegations to a neutral venue, like Geneva. With the two delegations present, the following agreements will be signed:
- Badme will be returned to Eritrean control pursuant to the Algerian arbitration agreement.
- Immediately after the symbolic return of Badme to Eritrean control in a brief ceremony in the morning, that afternoon, the two delegations will negotiate the following agreements:
- Each government will guarantee that its territory will not be allowed to be used by elements hostile to the other government as a base for destabilization of the other government.
- Pre-war economic relations will be restored to the status quo ante, including a dedicated duty-free Ethiopian section of Asab Port under a 50-year lease at an indexed rental.
- The IMF will be requested to establish a currency exchange daily settlement regime between the Birrh and the Nakfa.
- There will be free movement of persons between the two countries, including the right to work and establish businesses.
- There will be embassies established in both countries with an exchange of ambassadors.
- The border will be totally demilitarized.
- Merchandise produced in each country will not be subject to trade duties in the movement between the two countries. The two countries will have a common external tariff.
- Establishment of security control and the exploitation of resources in the Red Sea will be joint.
Upon the signature of a final normalization agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the following will take place:
- The United Nations Security Council will lift sanctions against Eritrea.
- Eritrea and Ethiopia will jointly negotiate Red Sea security agreements with Arab countries bordering on the water way.
- Eritrea and Ethiopia will jointly guarantee the security and neutrality of the State of Djibouti.
- Eritrea and Ethiopia will agree to exchange intelligence about terrorist activity in the Horn of Africa.
The foregoing is a list of ideas that are out on the table. It is imperative that Ethiopia and Eritrea begin to normalize. Otherwise, the countries east of the Red Sea will make major inroads west of the Red Sea to the detriment of both countries as well as to American interests.