On UNMEE and Eritrea

A guest post by Aletheia Kallos/MD:

i see ban [UNSG BAN Ki-Moon] has cut out the indignation & bluster
& is reduced to issuing warnings of the dangers of an improbable war

& the uncertainty of the fate of unmee has been institutionalized
& extended to fill out the present 6 month mandate
ending in july



The Secretary-General’s latest special report on Ethiopia and Eritrea is out today as a document. In it, he says that after hearing out Security Council members, there are 4 options left to be considered …
First, there remains a chance to resume the Mission unchanged if Eritrea resumes fuel supplies and lift all restrictions on the Mission. Another option would be to terminate the mission, while a third option could leave a small observer presence in the border area to defuse tensions and report to the Council on the situation. A final option would include creating liaison offices in Asmara and Addis Ababa to maintain UN readiness to help the parties implement the ruling of the Boundary Commission, among other tasks.

These options are not ideal as they bear serious risks and would not resolve the dilemma created by Eritrean restrictions on the Mission. Terminating the Mission, for example, could result in a resumption of open hostilities.

As things stand today, the Secretary-General says that the only option likely to allow the UN to monitor the situation evenly seems to be the deployment of small observer missions either side of the disputed border. In conclusion, the Secretary-General says he will engage the parties on the four options and submit a further report to the Council before July 31 when the Mission’s mandate is due to expire. In the meantime, he advises the Council to consider sending a mission to the region to discuss issues related to the implementation of the Border Commission’s ruling… He also urges Eritrea and Ethiopia to end the stalemate and accept the assistance of the Security Council and his good offices and to respect the agreements they have signed.

for some choice historical details

a few other angles lately too if wanted

5 thoughts on “On UNMEE and Eritrea”

  1. more lucid mouse roars today

    President Isaias Afwerki underlined that there exists no other border demarcation in Africa as clearly defined and marked in the map as that of the Eritrean-Ethiopian boundary. He made the remarks in an interview he gave to Aljazeera Television that was transmitted today.

    The President pointed out that the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) concluded its mission indicating virtual demarcation on the map after waiting for five years during which the United Nations and specifically the Security Council failed to fulfill their obligation of implementing the Boundary Commission’s final and binding ruling on border delimitation that was issued on 13 April 2002 in accordance with the Algiers Peace Agreement.

    Stating that in line with the Algiers Agreement the task of the UN Peacekeeping Mission terminates after the issuance of the EEBC’s final and binding ruling, President Isaias underlined that the stationing of the peacekeeping mission in the border has not legal justification as the Commission’s ruling has already been virtually demarcated on the map, presented to both sides and concerned parties and since the border issue has reached legal conclusion.

    The President went on to indicate that the continued presence of the TPLF regime’s forces in sovereign Eritrean territories after the virtual demarcation is tantamount to occupation. Emphasizing the unconditional withdrawal of the regime’s forces from the sovereign Eritrean territories, he explained that this problem is basically created by the US and that the TPLF regime does not possess the power to occupy Eritrean territory without the support and encouragement of the US Administration.

    On Eritrean-UN relations, President Isaias underscored that if at all there exists a genuine and effective international organization, we do not want our relations with the UN to get complicated. In this respect, he elaborated that the basic problem with the organization emanates from its failure to implement the EEBC ruling in accordance with international laws. Hence, the problem is essentially not between Eritrea and the United Nations but rather the latter’s own problem, the President underlined.

    Noting that all resolutions of the Security Council and the UN as a whole are adopted under the US Administration’s pressure, President Isaias pointed out that the prevailing situation in Somalia is a clear reflection of US interests in the Horn of Africa. He further indicated that Washington is dictating its sole interest on the choice of people at global level, and as such the strong popular opposition being s witnessed in Somalia is a clear reflection of this state of affairs.

    Highlighting the fact that talks about the so-called US intentions to promote democracy in Africa is but sheer act of deception, President Isaias pointed out that in reality the United States strive to ensure its interests no matter a given African country is democratic or not. To this end, Washington pursues the policy of inciting ethnic and religious divisions among societies, and in the process create instability that would pave the way for crisis management, he elaborated.

  2. crunch time at turtle bay
    or maybe just more clumsy shell play
    begins again tuesday per
    but my guess continues to be
    this think will just go out with a wimper
    on the existing unmee mandate expiry date of 31 july

    the strategic map here may be of interest
    but particularly the visuals
    seeing as there is no longer much ability or appetite for more of same

    also this rather stunning series of alleged interconnections
    probably helps explain the otherwise cryptic final comment in the original post above
    but doesnt make it seem less crazy

    aw but let me just add it all here in full for the record
    even if it is incredible unverified & mostly off target to boot

    Wayne Madsen Report,

    Madsen is the author of Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999, The Handbook of Personal Data Protection (London: Macmillan, 1992), an acclaimed reference book on international data protection law, and co-author of America’s Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II. Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops & Brass Plates is his latest.

    April 12, 2007

    Washington Post goes from elitist paper to neo-con propaganda rag. Two editorials in yesterday’s Washington Post point to the slide of that paper into the realm of neo-con propaganda spinning. Although this web site has studiously avoided commenting on the Don Imus matter, the Post equated the radio host’s disparaging racist remarks about the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team to his previous calling of Vice President Dick Cheney a “war criminal.”

    Message to the Post: using racist and chauvinistic language in one case is not the same as referring to Cheney for what he and his ilk are — war criminals. This editor has called Cheney and Bush war criminals. To suggest that such a reference is the same as using racist comments is pure and utter nonsense, which is now the order of the day from the Post.

    Nevertheless, Imus’s career and relevance has been over for some time. It should be remembered that the 66 year old deejay started out on radio in 1968. To put things in perspective, Imus’s radio contemporaries at that time included Arthur Godfrey, Wolfman Jack, Joe Pyne, Howard W. Morgan, Long John Nebel, Gene Burns, Jean Shepherd, Bill Ballance, Barry Farber, Barry Gray, and Morton Downey, Jr. Imus’s radio colleague at WNBC in New York was Soupy Sales. In other words, Imus should be stuffed and put into a radio museum.

    The Post also lashes out at Eritrea for supporting Islamist “terrorists” in Somalia and lauds the efforts of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer in threatening Eritrea with sanctions. What the Post will not tell its readers is that Frazer is a known supporter of American dictator clients from Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, to Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi.

    The Post will not report that Frazer’s close colleague in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, is U.S. Army Col. Richard Orth, the U.S. Defense Attache, whose resume includes logistics support for Kagame in the shoot down of the Rwandan presidential aircraft in 1994 (which has now earned top Rwandan government officials a criminal indictment from France) and subsequent U.S. military aid for his multiple invasions of Zaire/Congo. Genocide resulted from these covert operations.

    Orth was the Defense Attache in Rwanda during the onset of the Kagame regime and then he moved to Kampala, Uganda where he provided similar services for Museveni, including the destabilization of Sudan through support for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which is now part of the coalition government in Khartoum under attack by U.S.-supported guerrillas operating from Ethiopia and Chad.

    This is largely Orth’s and Frazer’s handiwork. Although Frazer was officially with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard during most of the Clinton administration, she worked closely with Orth and the Pentagon’s and Defense Intelligence Agency’s Africa bureaus.

    So too are the three U.S. secret concentration camps now in Ethiopia. According to our Ethiopian opposition sources, the main camp is located at the Ethiopian airbase at Debre Zeit, near Addis Ababa. The two others are in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia and in Tigre Province, which borders Eritrea in the north. Tigre is the home of the Ethiopian dictator Meles. The camps are housing detainees from 19 countries, including Sweden, France, and Canada and a number of Ethiopian opposition members, including ethnic Oromos, Ogadenis, and other minority groups.

    On November 17-19, 2006, WMR reported the following on U.S. arming of Somali Islamists and Ethiopia: “The arming by the U.S. of both the Ethiopians and Somalis in preparation for war is nothing new. In fact, WMR and this editor has reported extensively on the past and current covert intelligence activities of the U.S. Defense Attache in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, U.S. Army Colonel Richard Orth. Described as the ‘Oliver North of Africa’ by a high-ranking French military intelligence officer who has served in Africa, Orth has coddled a number of U.S. dictators in Africa.

    He was present in Rwanda the day after U.S.-supplied surface-to-air missiles struck the Rwandan presidential aircraft on April 6, 1994, assassinating the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and triggering Rwandan and Zairian/Congolese civil wars that took the lives of over 5 million Africans. Orth, as Defense Attache in Kigali, Rwanda, lorded over the transformation of that country from a French-speaking nation to a U.S. client state with English-speaking refugees from Uganda put in charge.

    Orth then proceeded to take over as U.S. Defense Attache in Uganda where he cemented the U.S. military presence in that nation. He then moved on to Addis Ababa where, as Defense Attache, he coddled the Meles dictatorship and helped prepare Ethiopia’s incursion into Somalia, bolstered the U.S. military positions in Djibouti and Somaliland, tilted U.S. policy to favor Ethiopia in its border war with Eritrea, coordinated Horn of Africa intelligence activities with his Israeli counterpart in Addis Ababa, and helped plan past Ugandan military forays into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

    The Post’s deputy foreign editor Peter Eisner has just co-written a book, “The Italian Letter,” about the forged Niger documents that were used to lead the U.S. to war in Iraq. In the book, Eisner gives a virtual free pass to arch-neocon Michael Ledeen and his dealings with Iranian con man Manucher Ghorbanifar in helping to cook up the scheme.

    Eisner also suggests that the U.S. ambassador to Italy at the time, Mel Sembler, was out of the loop on the Ledeen-Ghorbanifar meetings. In fact, Sembler, as much a neocon as Ledeen, was not only aware of the meetings, according to our sources, but helped set them up. Eisner quotes an unnamed U.S. embassy source in Rome as stating that Sembler “blew a gasket” when he found out about Ledeen’s meetings in Rome.

    Sembler more likely blew a gasket when the details of the Niger forgeries and the role played by the neocon cabal in the Bush administration, a grouping that includes Ledeen, the Pentagon’s Harold Rhode, and Sembler as charter members, became public.

  3. the following item about the above mentioned berbera port call
    appears to validate further all our recent surmises here about africom

    & may implicate africom in current political anomalies in somaliland too
    tho that part is still pretty sketchy

    The new US Strategy Behind Somaliland AFRICOM Base

    Nairobi (HAN) April 23, 2008- We know now that The current US policy in Somalia failed, particularly at a time the Islamist insurgency are battling with U.S. backed shaky transitional government and Ethiopian Forces.

    The US Strategy and Somaliland port of barbara: The new U.S. military command devoted to Africa is now operational. It’s called AFRICOM and its launch completes a three-year quest by the Pentagon. The Pentagon divides the world up into six regions known as “combatant commands.” The most prominent is CENTCOM — the area that encompasses the Middle East and central Asia. Each command is led by a four-star general who, in turn, is responsible for all the U.S. forces operating in the area.

    According to the Pentagon, AFRICOM will be different. The U.S. Africa command will focus on the humanitarian needs of Africa. Most African leaders are skeptical — or flatly opposed — to the development, which the Pentagon says is a matter of public relations. Army Gen. William Ward, the new AFRICOM commander, says most Africans don’t yet understand what the command is about.

    Contributing to the confusion is a debate raging between the Army and the Navy over what AFRICOM should be. According to a well-placed Pentagon source involved in the issue, the Army wants to build an AFRICOM headquarters somewhere on the continent. The Navy wants AFRICOM to be a sea-based command — operating out of carriers and large vessels moored off the coast of Africa.

    That is why, the last trip of Assistant Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, Dr. Frasier to Hargiesa was excellent signal or reply to U.S commitment to build relation with Somaliland.

    Because: US clearly knew that if Somaliland – recognized indirectly like Kosovo – can play vital role in easing the violence that flared in Mogadishu as result of inter-fighting between the Ethiopian Forces and the Al-shabab Islamist fighters.

    The main Strategic Reason: AFRICOM, the U.S. Administration one year ago formed forces to help easing the conflicts in Africa and to eliminate the terrorism in African. AFRICOM stationed temporarily in U.S. Military Base in Germany, as well as, it has unit in Djibouti. Resources close to Whitehouse say that Washington is looking for permanent location for AFRICOM in Africa.

    As analyzer, I believe the two US War Ships that had docked to Berbera Port is the first step of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Somaliland. In other hand, U.S has forces in Djibouti, but the country is too small to host two superpower countries. Also, it will be difficult to France to welcome U.S Forces in Djibouti permanently; we can say it like “Cat and Rat”. In these circumstances, U.S should look for another base that can enable them to monitor Red Sea and hunt down the Al-Qaeda fugitives from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The current Somaliland Security & the lost opportunity: The deputy speaker Said Jama Ali, was ordered to tell the local media that the term extension decision was approved by the so-called ‘deputies’ of Somaliland, because “there must be a six-month period between presidential and local government elections”. Somalis in the breakaway pseudo-state are truly fed up with this impossible situation, and the provocative lies of the vicious thug who impersonates ‘their’ – unsolicited – ‘president’.

    The pseudo-parliament ‘voted’ to hold local elections in October, thus giving Mr. Riyale an additional six months in office. After some months, another comical and illegitimate vote will certainly postpone Riyale’s bogus-elections for whenever it may suit the clownish president and his unashamed thugs and gangsters who terrorize the local population.

    One should not forget that in 2007, Riyale supported a motion, extending the term for his pseudo-parliament’s ‘deputies’ by an additional four years; next time he may add another forty! At this point, one should be reminiscent of the fact that Riyale was ‘elected’ in an infamous episode of elections in 2003, when trees, donkeys, and stones participated in the voting procedure in support of the loathed Somali thug – the servant of the Abyssinian dictator.

    Following the aforementioned indescribable procedures and unacceptable developments, the marginalized opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID issued a Joint Statement condemning the term extension as “illegal”, and warned that Mr. Riyale “will not be recognized as President after May 15”.

  4. today it looks like the predicted stall is indeed proceeding at turtle bay
    where the bigs are likely just playing out the clock now
    in the name of contemplating the extreme difficulty & complexity of it all
    until the unmee mandate expires on 31 july

    Envoy: Eritrea’s treatment of UN peacekeepers unacceptable

    Associated Press Writer


    Security Council members agree that Eritrea’s treatment of U.N. peacekeepers on its disputed border with Ethiopia is “unacceptable,” but the council needs more time to deliberate, its president said.
    The Eritreans have obstructed U.N. peacekeeping efforts for the past 1 1/2 years with its military occupation of part of a buffer zone and restrictions on U.N. night patrols, supply routes and diesel fuel, according to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    South Africa’s U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, council president for April, spoke to reporters Tuesday after closed-door council discussions on Ban’s recent report outlining four possible options for the peacekeeping mission.

    Calling the decision on the mission’s future “difficult and complicated,” he said the council needs more time to deliberate.

    Tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia remain high because of Ethiopia’s refusal to accept a 2002 ruling by an independent boundary commission on the border demarcation between the two countries, which awarded the key town of Badme to Eritrea.

    Eritrea and Ethiopia have been feuding over their border since Eritrea gained independence from the Addis Ababa government in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.

    A 1,700-strong U.N. force has been monitoring a 15-mile wide, 620-mile long buffer zone between the Horn of Africa neighbors under a December 2000 peace agreement that ended a 2 1/2-year border war.

    In an April 16 letter to the Security Council, Eritrea’s U.N. Ambassador Araya Desta said the U.N. simply needs to ensure Ethiopia complies with treaty obligations already in place.

    “Eritrea cannot understand or accept this academic game of contemplating various scenarios and options in the abstract,” he said.

    Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, in a March 31 letter, accused Eritrea of trying to “humiliate” U.N. peacekeepers and urged the Security Council to impose sanctions on Eritrea to ensure that it fulfills all provisions of the 2000 agreement.

    Ban’s report warned that a new war could break out between Eritrea and Ethiopia if the U.N. peacekeeping mission withdraws entirely.

    with a few extra details

    Security Council members agree Eritrean treatment of U.N. peacekeepers in unacceptable

    The Associated PressPublished: April 23, 2008

    UNITED NATIONS: All Security Council members agree that Eritrea’s treatment of the U.N. peacekeeping force on its disputed border with Ethiopia is “totally unacceptable,” the council president said.

    At the same time, however, the council recognizes that the political and legal roots of the dispute which stem back to a 2002 ruling by an independent boundary commission must be addressed, South Africa’s U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said Tuesday.

    Kumalo, the council president for April, spoke to reporters after closed-door council discussions on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recent report outlining four possible options for the peacekeeping mission.

    Calling the decision on the mission’s future “difficult and complicated,” he said the council needs more time to deliberate.

    Eritrea and Ethiopia have been feuding over their border since Eritrea gained independence from the Addis Ababa government in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.

    A 1,700-strong U.N. force has been monitoring a 15-mile (24-kilometer) wide, 620-mile (1,000-kilometer) long buffer zone between the Horn of Africa neighbors under a December 2000 peace agreement that ended a 2 1/2-year border war.

    Tensions between the two countries remain high because of Ethiopia’s refusal to accept the boundary commission’s 2002 ruling on the border demarcation which awarded the key town of Badme to Eritrea.

    According to Ban, the Eritreans have obstructed the peacekeeping efforts for the past year and a half with its military occupation of part of the buffer zone, and restrictions on U.N. night patrols, supply routes and diesel fuel. Eritrea also banned U.N. helicopter flights in its airspace in October 2005.

    The secretary-general ordered the temporary redeployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Eritrea on Feb. 11 after its government restricted fuel supplies to the force and its food supplies were briefly halted.

    “The members of the council do recognize that this is a turning point in the life of that effort of many years,” U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno told reporters after the meeting.

    He urged the two countries to recommit to the 2000 peace agreement — but that appeared highly unlikely.

    In an April 16 letter to the Security Council, Eritrea’s U.N. Ambassador Araya Desta said the border has been demarcated by the commission.

    Therefore, he said, “Eritrea cannot understand or accept this academic game of contemplating ‘various scenarios and options in the abstract’ when the first and foremost responsibilities of the Security Concil must be to ensure Ethiopia’s compliance with its treaty obligations and ensure the evacuation of its occupation from sovereign Eritrean territories.”

    Guehenno said this showed “there is no support for a peacekeeping presence.”

    Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, in a March 31 letter, accused Eritrea of trying to “humiliate” the U.N. peacekeepers and urged the Security Council to impose sanctions on Eritrea to ensure that it fulfills all provisions of the 2000 agreement.

    Kumalo said “the members of the council were unanimous in that the way the peacekeepers … have been treated in Eritrea is totally unacceptable, and the Security Council cannot but protect those peacekeepers.” At the same time, however, he said the political roots of the dispute “cannot be just brushed aside.”

    U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff agreed that “there is a mood in the council of great, great dissatisfaction with the manner in which Eritrea has handled this.”

    “They challenged the authority, and in a typical way by shooting themselves in the foot,” Wolff said. “I think in the long run Eritrea will pay a very big price for this misjudgment.”

    Ban’s report warned that a new war could break out between Eritrea and Ethiopia if the U.N. peacekeeping mission withdraws entirely.

    Kumalo said “the council is aware that there is a possible conflict between these two parties, so the responsibility is on the parties to find a way to live peacefully among themselves.”

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