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OEA Deplores UN Security Council’s Extension of Monitoring Group’s Term

OEA Statement November 4, 2014
OEA Deplores UN Security Council’s Extension of Monitoring Group’s Term

We at the Organization of Eritrean Americans (OEA) strongly deplore the UN Security Council’s decision to extend the term of the UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group and its failure to consider lifting the unjust sanctions imposed on the young African nation five years ago based on charges that have long been proven to be groundless.

This is unfortunate because there is just no evidence to support the decision, Resolution 2182 (2014) of 24 October 2014, and justify the continuation of the Monitoring Group’s work with regards to Eritrea. We would like to point the Council to the findings of the former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Africa Herman Cohen, who said in a widely published article last year, “All available intelligence indicates that Eritrea has not had any contact [with Somali insurgents] since 2009.” Ambassador Cohen also dismissed outright the preposterous attempts in the past to link this young African nation to Islamic extremism. “Those of us who know Eritrea well,” he said, “understand that the Eritrean leadership fears Islamic militancy as much as any other country in the Horn of Africa region.”

The bottom line here is that not only has there been no evidence since 2009, but there was no evidence during the period leading up to 2009 when the then U.S. UN Ambassador Susan Rice rammed the original sanctions package, Resolution 1907 (2009), down the throats of most of the members of the Security Council. This was during President Obama’s first year in office—and that was only the beginning.

Today, even the Monitoring Group, though it tried to move the goal-post fishing for other charges against Eritrea, finally admitted in its last report released last month, that “We've found no evidence of Eritrean support to al-Shabab,” This is something that Eritrea and the Eritrean people at home and abroad claimed right from the start.

The UN Security Council’s decision is also unfortunate because giving this integrity-challenged and thoroughly corrupted Monitoring Group another year to continue on its politically-driven fishing expedition will serve neither the interests of peace nor of justice in the conflict-ravaged Horn of Africa. What is more, some are pushing for the Group’s visit Eritrea “to investigate various strands of evidence that come their way.”

In the past, the Group used every opportunity to create its own “facts” and “evidence” or use “facts” and “evidence” created in the fertile minds of Ethiopia’s dirty-trick operatives, consultants and foreign enablers, to make sure the sanctions stay put. This is a clear indication that the UN Security Council has not been paying attention to the actions and behavior of the Monitoring Group, as a team, or as individuals, since its establishment in 2005, especially on issues relating to Eritrea and the Eritrean people. The Group has shown the world how corrupt it is. Two of its members were fired for actions and behaviors unbecoming of a UN investigation officer. But, their actions and behaviors are reflections of the Group’s corrupt organizational culture that seems to have lost any sense of the truth.

Remember, this is the same Group that had claimed in 2006 that 2,000 Eritrean troops were in Somalia, supporting the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)! To fortify its fraudulent claim, the Group gave a lot of details about the departure, travel and final destination of the troops in Somalia. As they say, the key to a good lie lies in the details. The disinformation artists who either fed the Group or the Group members themselves know the value of details when they are selling a lie constructed, refined and wrapped up in details for a purpose: to provide a cover for Ethiopia’s naked invasion of poor Somalia by inventing a national security threat for the Tigrayan-dominated Ethiopian regime.

The Monitoring Group told us when these phantom 2000 Eritrean troops left Eritrea (August 26, 2006), the mode of transportations (three dhows), that they were “fully equipped,” and how they entered Somalia (through Warsheikh, located north of Mogadishu, along the coast); then the monitoring Group said “the troops were re-located to an area in north Mogadishu for ultimate re-deployment to different ICU held areas.”

Wait, there are more details: “They were re-deployed as follows: 500 of the Eritrean troops went to Baledogle, 500 to Hilweyne-training camp, 500 to Lower Shabelle, and 500 remained in Mogadishu and were stationed at Villa Baidoa and the former Police Academy, Bolisiya”—A well rounded number, 2000, divided into four neat batches! Wow! A lot of very neat details, but when the Ethiopians invaded Somalia and controlled the country four months later, in December 2006, they couldn’t find any trace of their presence in Somalia.

Then in 2011, some more phantom stories were concocted to impose another round of sanctions against Eritrea. The phantom stories this time included a fictitious tale that alleged Eritrea had tried to bomb a gathering of African Heads of States in Addis Ababa. To sell this fabrication the Group tried to pass off a well-known Ethiopian army officer, Colonel Gemechu Ayana, as an Eritrean. Another phantom report claimed shortly after this bold fabrication was that of three Eritrean flights, on three separate occasions, evading detection from American and European patrols in the Indian Ocean, delivered weapons to Al Shabab at the Baidoa airport. Like the one on “2000 phantom soldiers”, we were told at what time the planes landed, how many soldiers unloaded their loads, …. Then, 9 months later, after the charge was used to help pass another round of sanctions against Eritrea, the Group came out and said that it never happened. Year-in year-out the Group’s reports are full of stories of fabrications like these.

However, no one has been held accountable for these outlandish fabrications invented and circulated under the cover of investigation and used to impose a series of sanctions against this young and poor African nation. What does this say about the UN or the UN Security Council?

Given all these challenges, to expect this Monitoring Group to “investigate various strands of evidence” and, “if there is no evidence,” to come back and clear Eritrea of the groundless charges and push for the lifting of the unjust sanctions is not likely to happen. In fact, the Group may try to use such a trip to “authenticate” the details in the potential fabrications they may have in store for us. Of course, anything is possible. But, the Group’s history of the last eight years points in only one direction.