USA's Destructive Africa Policy

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The inability of the United States to shoulder its legal and moral obligations, its appeasement and coddling of criminal mercenaries such Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Abdulahi Yusuf of Somalia and now Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, who are committing untold international crimes against their own peoples, is affecting not just its image and reputation as a world leader, but has left the citizens of the Horn questioning US intentions

[Africa News Update: East Africa And The Horn]


 


BBC News reported in its 31 March 2006 excerpts from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s major speech on foreign policy delivered in Blackburn, one of her stops during her 2-day tour of the United Kingdom. According to BBC, after her speech, during a session of questions Ms. Rice said: “…I know we've made tactical errors - thousands of them, I'm sure…But when you look back in history, what will be judged is did you make the right strategic decisions…I believe strongly that it was the right strategic decision… no-one should doubt America's commitment to justice and the rule of law…”

 

I cannot begin to imagine what Ms. Rice considers “tactical errors” and “right strategic decisions”, but as a victim of a past US mistake and one that knows only too well what these mistakes entail, allow me to illustrate to Condoleezza Rice and the US State Department where US policy for Horn is heading. United States’ strategic mistakes in the Horn of Africa and their human and material costs are a matter of public record.  US integrity, credibility and the confidence of the people of the area in the US’ ability to forge international peace and security is at an all time low.

 

The US it seems, is not Africa’s friend, but rather its destroyer. From Nigeria in the West to Ethiopia in the East, US’ anchors have become not the stabilizing forces, but rather the destabilizing factors in their respective regions leaving observers to question the coherency of US policy for Africa.

 

The United States of America made a deadly, disastrous, and tragic strategic mistake on 2 December 1950 when it rallied its allies at the United Nations to adopt the unjust, unfair and criminal Resolution 390 V (A) that called for a federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia, against the expressed wishes and aspirations of the Eritrean people. Supposedly, Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia for two reasons: to provide Ethiopia with an outlet to the sea and to secure US interests in the area. Here are the words of then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles: "…From the point of view of justice, the opinion of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interests of the United States in the Red SeaBasin and world peace make it necessary that the country be linked with our ally Ethiopia…"

 

On 11 September 1952, Eritrea and Ethiopia formed a federation pursuant to the unjust and unfair General Assembly Resolution 390 (V). That was the beginning of a 40-year long strategic mistake, with immeasurable human and material costs.

 

It should be recalled that regime in Ethiopia at that time abrogated its obligations under Resolution 390 (V) and defiantly annexed Eritrea in 1962, forcing the people of Eritrea to wage a bitter and costly 30-year armed struggle for independence. The United Nations ignored the plight of the Eritrean people and the Western media remained mum as successive brutal and genocidal Ethiopian regimes flouted international law and UN Resolution 390 (V) and caused irreparable damage to Eritrea and her people.

 

For 30 years, as young men and women were murdered and entire villages bombed to the ground, and as an entire generation perished into the hills and mountains, valleys and shores of Eritrea and beyond, the US led international community remained deafeningly silent and actively promoted its strategic mistake.

 

Successive Ethiopian regimes indiscriminately bombed Eritrean schools, churches, hospitals, women and children leaving over 65,000 dead, thousands more injured and displaced over the 30 years. Eritrea’s infrastructure was totally destroyed and by the time Eritrea’s independence came on 24 May 1991, the Government and people of Eritrea faced the tragic and daunting task of rehabilitating and rebuilding the lives of the Eritrean people from scratch, without any compensation from those who had contributed to the 30-year misery.  

 

I do not know what the United States gained by that 30 year long strategic mistake or if the Eritrean people were just victims of “tactical errors”, but the people of Eritrea in particular, and the people in the Horn of Africa have suffered immensely as a consequence of America’s strategic mistake #1.

 

 

Strategic Mistake #2: It should be recalled that it is the United States that brokered, witnessed and guaranteed the Algiers Agreements signed by the Government of Eritrea and the Government of Ethiopia on 12 December 2000, which ended the 1998-2000 Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict. The Agreements which were brokered witnessed and guaranteed by the African Union, European Union, United Nations and the United States called for the formation of an independent Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission with a mandate to: “… to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902 and 1908) and applicable international law. The Commission shall not have the power to make decisions ex aequo et bono…”

 

On 13 April 2002, the independent Eritrean Ethiopian Boundary Commission delivered its Final and Binding decision. While Eritrea accepted the EEBC ruling Ethiopia rejected the Final and Binding decision and refused to allow the EEBC to perform its sole mandate of demarcating the Eritrea Ethiopia border.

 

Instead of upholding the rule of law and enforcing the EEBC decision, the US led international community went to great lengths to have the Final and Binding decision of the EEBC amended, changed, revised, re-visited, by employing several very transparent gimmicks using “dialogue” as its pre-text. John Bolton former US Ambassador to the United Nation’s, recently revealed in his book that Jendayi Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs tried to have the EEBC decision altered in order to appease Meles Zenawi’s rogue regime. The United States also prevented the Security Council from taking punitive actions against Meles Zenawi and his minority clique in Ethiopia.  

 

Article 14 of the Algiers Agreement, clearly stated: "…the OAU and the UN commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this commitment of the parties. This guarantee shall be comprised of measures to be taken by the international community should one or both parties violate this commitment, including appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations by the Security Council"

 

After waiting for over five and a half years as the regime refused to allow for the expeditious demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border, the EEBC demarcated the Eritrea Ethiopia border by placing coordinates on maps (virtual demarcation), as opposed to placing pillars on the ground. The Algiers Agreements have been consummated and any talk of a border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia is a deceptive, diversionary gimmick and pretext for prolonging Ethiopia’s occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories and a recipe for disaster. The issue is no longer an issue of demarcation. The issue is occupation.

 

In fulfillment of its legal and moral responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should determine to bring the invasion and occupation of Eritrea, by Ethiopia, to an end and restore the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Eritrea, affirm the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, in response to the armed attack (occupation) by Ethiopia against Eritrea, in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter, and act under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, by taking appropriate measures to secure Ethiopia' compliance with the EEBC's Final and Binding decision, international law and the UN Charter.

 

The Security Council, must determine that there exists a breach of international peace and security as regards to Ethiopia's occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, and should act immediately under Articles 39 and 40 of the Charter of the United Nations, and condemn Ethiopia's aggression and demand that Ethiopia withdraw immediately and unconditionally all of its forces to the November 2006 line of demarcation.

 

 

If the Security Council continues to neglect its moral and legal responsibilities under the UN Charter, and if some members of the Security Council continue to obstruct justice and the rule of law in order to advance their own interests in the region, Eritrea will have no choice but to exercise the undesirable option of its inherent legal right to self defense. Article 51 of the UN Charter clearly says: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security"

 

Just as t he law enforcement bodies and institutions in any country are responsible for enforcing criminal and civil laws and legal and binding court decisions, the UN Security Council is responsible, for maintaining regional and international peace and security, for enforcing the UN Charter, international law, its own resolutions as well as legal and binding arbitrations. There can be no “dialogue” and “normalization of relations” with the rogue regime while it is militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories and thousands of Eritreans are languishing in camps waiting to go home. Those parties that are encouraging its belligerence will bear full responsibility for the consequences.

 

Strategic Mistake #3: In 2002, Ethiopian police shot dead over 230 peaceful demonstrators in Oromia and Southern regions of Ethiopia. The Oromos continue to be the victims of systematic abuse, imprisonment and torture with their basic human rights being trampled upon.  

 

The Ethiopian government massacred innocent men, women and children and destroyed hundreds of Anuak villages in Gambella, which drove tens of thousands of Anuak people into neighboring Sudan and Kenya. It massacred 400 Anuaks in cold blood; human rights groups and Genocide International have chronicled the Thanksgiving Day massacres in Gambela.  Its ethnic based policies have triggered conflicts throughout Ethiopia.  The minority rogue regime rigged the 2005 Ethiopian Elections and slaughtered 196 peaceful demonstrators in broad daylight and imprisoned tens of thousands of people including leaders of the opposition parties across the country.

 

The minority regime’s forces have been terrorizing rural communities in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.  They have burnt over 100 villages, committed public summary executions, committed sexual violence against women and girls, confiscated, destroyed and looted property. Using food as a weapon against it sown people as previous ruthless regimes in Ethiopia had done, in an attempt to starve the population, to punish it for supporting the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the rogue regime has also imposed a trade and commercial embargo in this region and expelled the International Committee of the Red Cross from Ethiopia’s Somali Region in July 2007 and other aid agencies. The regime also refused to allow journalists in the area in a futile attempt to cover up its atrocities.

 

Turning a blind eye to the massacres in Ogaden, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who was accorded a guided tour of the area, told reporters that the allegations were “unsubstantiated” and at a Subcommittee hearing told lawmakers that Meles Zenawi’s regime was conducting an internal investigation. Talk about the fox watching the chicken coup. Instead of putting pressure on the minority regime to abide by the rule of law and respect the rights of the Ethiopian people, using the “war on terror” as its pre-text, the Administration seeks to weaken the Horn region through its mercenary surrogates in order to justify its increasing military presence in the region.

 

Today, there has been no action from the US led international community against the deceptive, flip flopping, genocidal vote-rigging minority regime in Addis. The rights of the Ethiopian people are trampled on as the US State Department pampers and provides political shield and support to Meles Zenawi, its “staunch ally in the war against terrorism”. The US State Department has also prevented US lawmakers from taking any punitive actions against the minority regime as it uses the financial and military support it receives from its handlers to oppress the Ethiopian people. Today, the people of Ethiopia are living under a terrorist regime armed and financed by the West.  

 

Strategic Mistake #4: America’s Christmas Gift to the Somali people came by way of the minority regime in Ethiopia. On 24 December 2006, Ethiopia launched its aggressive war of invasion and occupation of Somalia at the behest of the United States.

 

In order to effectuate its ill advised racist and Islam-phobic policy in the Horn region, Jendayi E. Frazier, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, in violation of the rights of the Somali people and to squash their dreams and aspirations for a united and prosperous Somalia, personally encouraged, planned and executed the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia to “prop up” the illegitimate puppet Transitional National Government (TNG) led by the notorious warlords, Abdulahi Yusuf and Ali Mohammed Ghedi, that the US belatedly decided was the only “internationally recognized” government of Somalia.  

 

The international community may have recognized it, but it was illegitimate in the eyes of the Somali people who had given their support to the Union of Islamic Courts who had managed to secure Mogadishu, open up the airports and ports fro the first time in 16 years and had brought some semblance of normalcy to Somalia. She also instructed US media to refrain from reporting on the invasion and occupation as a violation of international law.

 

Over a million people have been displaced from their homes and 10,000 innocent civilians have been massacred in cold blood as Meles Zenawi’s forces conduct “door to door” searches, hunt down “extremists”, “fundamentalists” and “terrorists”. Hundreds have been detained in secret prisons under the auspices of the war on terror and the controversial “extraordinary rendition program” where torture has been employed with the knowledge or acquiescence of the United States. Today, the whereabouts of prominent Somali elders is unknown. The brutal terrorist regime snatched them out of their homes and took them to secret prisons in Ethiopia where some have been summarily executed. Somali villages, homes, and all vital infrastructure have been demolished by aerial bombardments and rocket attacks. The marauding Ethiopian forces continue to commit untold international crimes including rape, torture, looting and burning private homes, destroying markets and disrupting the food supply, indiscriminately bombing non military targets.

 

The Security Council which has the moral and legal obligation to defend the rights of all its member States has not taken any action against the aggressive war mongering regime in Ethiopia and is now working in tandem with the US State Department to legitimize the invasion and occupation by introducing an African Union “stabilization” force to replace the invading Ethiopian forces if and when they leave. The US continues to funnel military and other support to Ethiopia as it wrecks havoc in the lives of the Somali people.

 

It should be noted that neither the US, nor Ethiopia have produced a single “terrorist” to date and continue to pulverize Somalia in search of three illusive “terrorists” who are supposed to be taking refuge in Somalia. Of course all that was based on self serving “Ethiopian intelligence”. Meles Zenawi must be brought to justice for the massacres, rapes and destructions in Somalia. Those who continue to appease Meles and his terrorist regime are equally guilty of the crimes he is committing at their behest.

 

Strategic Mistake #5: The Bush Administration wasted no time in sending its glowing congratulations to incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and the Kenyan Election Commission.

 

It reminded me of the Statement by the US State Department when they believed the coup in Venezuela had worked and Chavez was ousted as planned. The US and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni were the only two that congratulated Kibaki on his “win”. Both the US and Museveni knew he would “win”. After all, he had to be rewarded for his role in backing and supporting the end of year Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. 

 

Kibaki also allowed US forces to operate from Kenyan territory, but sadly, did not see fit to allow desperate Somali men, women and children seeking refuge into its territory, as they fled Ethiopian aerial and ground attacks. But how did the seemingly well-run elections go wrong?

 

Let us take a look at what the New York Times reported on 31 December 2007: “…75 of the 210 constituencies — meaning more than one-third of the vote — had serious question marks and that the election chairman initially agreed to investigate. But later on Sunday he changed his mind…Kenya is a close American ally, and a team of Western diplomats, including the American ambassador, tried for hours to persuade election officials to recount the votes. One Western ambassador said they knew that if the dubious results were certified and the president declared the winner based on them, Kenya would plunge into crisis. But the commission would not budge…The government was determined to hold onto power,” said the ambassador, who did not want to be identified because he said he feared reprisals from the Kenyan government…”

 

 

Horn observers were not surprised when polls showed Raila Odinga’s wide lead in the end of year 2007 Kenyan elections, and there was absolutely no doubt that he was the declared choice of the Kenyan people.

 

Unfortunately, just as Meles Zenawi did in Ethiopia, Mwai Kibaki stole the people’s vote and declared himself the winner triggering the nationwide violence that has persisted for over three weeks now.  Instead of calling for a recount of the rigged Kenyan elections, the US State Department, intent on safeguarding its interests in the region, chose to support Mwai Kibaki, its ally in the Horn, against the wishes of the Kenyan people who voted him out of office. The US led international community is now putting pressure on Raila Odinga to relinquish his rights as the chosen candidate and go along with the US made charade.  

 

Odinga clearly won the elections and Kenyans are protesting the illegal interventions by the Kenyan Electoral Commission –funded and supported by various US organizations—that enabled Kibaki who was declared the winner at the last minute. Over 700 Kenyans have been massacred in cold blood and the violence continues almost three weeks after the elections and all international mediation has failed because the US will not stand up for justice and the rule of law, but would rather see an “amenable” regime in power that will promote “US interests” in the region, even it is suppressing the rights of its own citizens.

 

It should be recalled that in the 2005 Ethiopian elections, the opposition were winning and just like it did in the Kenyan elections, the hand-picked Ethiopian Election intervened and halted the announcement of results. When enough ballots had been stolen and destroyed, the Ethiopian Election Board declared Meles Zenawi’s EPDRF the winners. Members of his Tigrayan regime that had lost their seats returned to government with full Ministerial portfolios.

 

The US Administration, which considers Ethiopia its “staunch ally in the war on terror”, helped Meles secure the “win”. Aurelia Brazeal, the US Ambassador to Ethiopia and Vicki Huddleston, the US Charge D’Affaires urged members of the opposition to “dialogue” and accept the results as stated. This time Jendayi E. Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs spent a week in Kenya to pacify Kibaki and deter any recounting of the votes.

 

In the meantime, western powers will instruct the global media to ignore the carnage in Kenya, produce innocuous statements and press releases calling for “calm” and “dialogue”, but will never take punitive actions against Kibaki, and will not allow him to be removed by a recount. The opposition will be pacified or forced into exile, the Kenyan people will be too afraid, too weak, too traumatized to fight back and just as they did in Ethiopia, the US and its allies will allow Kibaki to reign against the wishes of the people.

 

 

These shortsighted policies of the US Administrations coupled with a string of political miscalculations threaten to destabilize the entire region and engulf in a dangerously intractable crisis. A dire economic crisis is in the making, affecting neighboring countries such as Uganda and Rwanda, which will no doubt aggravate and compound existing economic and social tensions in those countries. The situation in Kenya is dangerous and unless sober, studied and coherent policies are promoted, the US will loose not just its foothold in the region, but also its credibility and integrity in other parts of Africa.

 

Ms. Condoleezza Rice was once quoted in the National Review magazine of 30 August 1999 as saying the following: “…the United States is the critical actor in international politics and has no choice but to be involved in the world. We're going to play a role one way or another. And we can either play it consciously and smartly, with a design, or we can sit back and pretend we're not playing a role, and play one by our absence…”

 

So what is the design for the Horn of Africa? Death? Destructions? Displacement? Humiliation? Seems US’ “staunch allies” in the “global war on terror” are playing their mercenary roles as instructed.

 

US strategic mistakes in the Horn of Africa have had severe consequences: They have given way to chaos, instability, and genocide in Ethiopia, created the largest humanitarian disaster and emergency in the history of Somalia, violence and ethnic cleansing in Kenya, and Eritrea’s peace, security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity have all been compromised. But above all, it is the rule of law that has been undermined and compromised.

 

The efficacy and credibility of the United Nations and the confidence of its members in its ability to enforce its own resolutions and decisions, uphold the UN Charter and its political will and courage to enforce international law is being questioned by its member States.

 

The inability of the United States to shoulder its legal and moral obligations, its appeasement and coddling of criminal mercenaries such Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Abdulahi Yusuf of Somalia and now Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, who are committing untold international crimes against their own peoples, is affecting not just its image and reputation as a world leader, but has left the citizens of the Horn questioning US intentions in the region and its commitment to justice and the rule of law.

 

Yes, the United States is a playing a role in Africa and in the Horn region; but it is a destructive one.

 

 

 

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