Saturday, July 14

Antethesis of Justice

Diplomatic Etiquette:

More than two weeks ago, human rights bill HR2003 was postponed for mark-up—--the result of dubious American attempts at negotiation with one of the world’s most brutal dictators. The US State Department has since further neutralized their language, and the press is treating the negotiations as nothing more than the claims of those in captivity (despite the fact that the initial leak to the Washington Post was reported to have come from US state officials). The momentum that was building over the past month seems to have come to a complete standstill; yet today, the prisoners remain in Kaliti, while the prosecution demands their execution.

Of course, there are rumors swirling—Meles is trying to preserve the ‘independence of the Court’ and the US is giving him the space to do so, provided the prisoners are released immediately following the sentencing. Fine; however, it is my opinion that, even if this is true, it does not excuse their shamefully submissive conduct in the meantime. Why the tiptoeing around? Since when has it become the responsibility of a free and democratic nation to cater to the sensibilities of such a wanton violator of human rights?

Regardless of what is being negotiated in private bewteen these two countries, I am appalled by the continued public observance of the diplomatic etiquette that enables oppressors to escape the consequences of their actions.

On Monday, we will enter the courtroom, clinging to the hope that the sentencing is all part of the larger geopolitical game. But Meles has proven on countless occasions that he can not be trusted, and any concessions made by him must be regarded accordingly. He has already failed to deliver on his promise of releasing the prisoners with the postponment of the bill—why then, will he not balk at these obligations once more after the sentence is handed down? It is obvious that he does not possess the integrity required to keep his word, and therefore should not be regarded by diplomats as a man of such principle.


Anonymous said...

well written thank you.cher yaseman.

Anonymous said...

great article. Thank you so much, excactly on point. keep up the good work -

Anonymous said...

obviously you are not concerned about your own safety or anonymity. If your were you wouldn't be warning the court security detail of your arrival to court on monday.

But, complascency on account of your citizenship may not be prudent. The tyrant already figured out a way of intemediating and imrisoning Americans without raising the ire of the Bush administration.

Anonymous said...


Mercenary Democracy and the Politics of Deception in Ethiopia
Let us review events of the past three months.

And then there were three visitors.

a. Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin visits Washington to promote the idea that human rights violations in Ethiopia isn’t as bad as Ethiopian-Americans portray it; that there are regional security issues that are occupying Ethiopia at the moment, etc. Seyoum is well aware that any time you raise regional security US government listens. It just shows the Ethiopian government has better and also expensive lobbyist instructing it. The current attempt to delay HR 2003 will follow similar approach.

b. PM Meles pays a surprise visit to Somalia; Gedi later flies to Washington for a conference where he tries unsuccessfully to list achievements.

c. Party Boss Sebhat Nega goes to Washington to confer with Tigrayan intellectuals. What did they confer? [It is interesting some vocal individuals are now unusually quiet.]

Three statements and denials

d. Shortly after, Sebhat makes his “gold and dust” speech in defense of Eritrea against Ethiopia. (outcry follows)
e. Badme goes over to the Eritrean side. (more outcry)
f. Meles admits “political miscalculation” in intervening in Somalia; Jendayi Fraser talks to BBC along the same line.

Seyoum takes an unusual position of denying Gettleman’s coverage of ONLF activities in the Ogaden in

Bereket goes on VOA to “clarify” Meles’s “apology” to parliament on his (mis) adventure in Somalia. Ambassador Samuel writes to The Washington Post that McCrummen misquoted Meles. Interestingly, the Ambassador tries to correct the “misquote” by slipping in a misstatement that “the extremist forces made a military miscalculation in assuming that Ethiopia's withdrawal of roughly two-thirds of its troops would not leave a credible deterrent force.” The fact is that two-thirds of Ethiopian troops did not leave Somalia. Another interesting thing is that included Ambassador Samuel’s photo with President Bush, his academic credentials and repeated the title “US ‘Surprised’ by Ethiopia move for death penalty in coup plot” [italics mine]. I don’t see the relevance of the three items other than a promotional effort by

Meles, the Opposition, and Siye

g. I think the fake “death penalty” will be commuted. It is intended to create an outcry, build suspense and divide the Opposition. Commuting the sentence will portray Meles as a humanitarian and a statesman. He needs to register this with the international community.

h. Sean McCormack’s (State Department) “call on the Ethiopian government and High Court to take action in making a final sentencing determination which is consistent with the greater objectives of bolstering the rule of law and promoting much-needed reconciliation” is a hint that it will be dutifully followed by Meles & Co. Following their release, Opposition leaders will once again be asked to take their seats in parliament. It is all a big lie!

i. The release of Siye is being hailed as significant. Ethio-Zagol has uncharacteristically titled a recent post “Siye, The Healer.” Unsurprisingly, most of the congratulatory statements have come from Tigrayans. Whatever good qualities one may see in Siye the fact remains that he is part and parcel of the ruling minority. Why Siye is released now and not, say, Abera Yemane-Ab could be that the former is needed to cement the cracking spots within the TPLF structure.

Earlier in the same week, reported that a new party by former TPLF members is in the offing [sic] “with a platform of sustaining the supposedly lacking real democracy to Ethiopia and protecting the sovereignty of the country. Recovering the Port of Asseb also lies at the top of its agenda.” The dilemma in Ethiopian politics over the past 17 years has been the dominance of a TPLF-Plus government. Are we being cajoled to accept a warmed up version of the old stuff—only this time we are promised the carrot of ‘democracy, protection of our sovereignty, and Asseb?’ How absurd can one get?!

It is reasonable to assume that this could be a preparation for war against Eritrea. Sebhat’s “gold and dust” speech and Badme handover are all part of a psychological mobilization for war. There has not been enough anger in Ethiopia lately to sustain a war; the Somalia campaign has shown that to be the case.

We may soon be hearing from Paul Henze. You may have observed in the past that every time the minority government is about to go to war, Paul Henze reported on his recent travels in Ethiopia and the improvements he witnessed contrary to vile spewed by Dergists in the Washington, D.C. area.

The recent favorable coverage of ONLF activities in the Ogaden region by New York Times has created a PR disaster for the ruling minority government. Since Eritrea is thought to be behind the incursions, it may well necessitate an Eritrean campaign. The time is ripe for such a campaign in that the Eritrean opposition within and outside of Eritrea is building momentum. Moreover, the ruling party in Eritrea is consistently violating international standards consequently turning itself into a pariah state.

A deal may have been reached with Eritrean opposition to return Asseb to Ethiopia for the help received to realize their political objective. The danger now is if the two sides sign additional agreement to form a confederation. That is what the US would advise. It certainly has the appearance of strategic economic and security benefits. However, it will be a great disadvantage to Ethiopian interests in the short term. A confederation or any such idea must wait at least a decade, if not two. Both nations must first put their houses in order, educate their publics (without foreign interference) and then, may be, start public debates to determine feasibility of the project.

Also observe the bribe paid to Sudan in the form of an estimated 17,000 hectares of land. This may well be an incentive that Sudan not lend support to Eritrea in the event of launching a war.

Three Lies: time will show more

j. Eritrea and Ethiopian are one and the same. Ironically, Eritreans don’t believe that. If they did, it would only be for some short-term gains—similar to the pre-2000 war conditions when they enjoyed political and economic access denied to many Ethiopians. In fact, they even exported coffee! Do we want those days back?
k. Eritreans rule Ethiopia. Really?! This is part of a psychological warfare and one designed to deflect blame from the ruling minority. The fact is that Eritreans can’t even rule Eritrea, much less Ethiopia. Blaming it on Eritrea helps garner support from the rest of the country. If Meles and Sebhat have been known to be Eritreans working for Eritrean interests, how come so-called dissenters collaborated with them for over a decade? Here is the thing: these are a tight-knit group (by ethnicity, locality, family, loyalty) to allow outside inspection. The one option left to us in this situation is to see them as they are: a group exercised in the politics of deception.
l. Tigray will secede. We keep getting this ultimatum whenever conditions are on the verge of collapsing.


Our hope is that Opposition leaders will be released soon and that they will stand united and not be had by the malicious design of the ruling minority and their handlers.

Secondly, we ask why Meles will allow formation of a new party that enlists Siye in its ranks. In other words, Meles and his wife may lose their “home base” to contenders. That, at best, is improbable. The fact that Lidetu & Co. see the formation of a new party a positive development should alert us there is more to it than meets the eye.

Thirdly, “Siye, The Healer” is indeed an interesting proposition. Just recently, we heard Sebhat state unequivocally that “gold and dust” don’t mix—meaning there will not be any resolution between his group and the Opposition outside of total acceptance of admission of guilt/apology. We also saw attempted mediation was a failure; though in the process we were able to see the participants true color. Meles needs the apology in writing because he sees trouble ahead for himself (Charles Taylor, crimes against humanity, money-laundering, etc.) in the event that he steps aside after his term expires.

The question now becomes, How will the Opposition respond to all this? The gravity of the situation is that donor democracies are not serious about democracy or human rights.

Anonymous said...

The last comment is intriguing and well thought out. Thanks.