Sanctions would be Recklessness of the Highest Order

OEA Statement

December 21, 2009

Sanctions would be Recklessness of the Highest Order

In the context of the Horn of Africa, any sanctions measure by the UN Security Council against Eritrea would be recklessness of the highest order. In fact, it would be tantamount to throwing a lighted match on a gasoline-doused flammable object.

Let us look at a partial list of the conflicts plaguing the region but they show how destabilized the region is and how any external measure that is likely to affect the existing balance of power might lead to a disaster-level the region has never seen before.

One of the most conflict-ridden regions of the world is this sub-region of Africa; at the root of these conflicts is the now eleven-year old slowly simmering one between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which started as a border war in May 1998. But, by now, we all know it is more than that and it has to do with the political survival of the minority regime in Ethiopia, which has decided a long time ago that a conflict with Eritrea is its best insurance to prolong its stay in power.

Then of course we have the Somali disaster which has been highly radicalized as a direct result of the 2006 Ethiopian invasion of that poor country and it is going to take a long time before we see any
changes here as long Addis Ababa is given by the West the role of the main actor in this conflict. One thing we should all recognize is that Ethiopia's primary goal for Somalia is to keep this poor nation fragmented so that the Somali-region of Ethiopia, the Ogaden, doesn't become an issue, and ensure other Ethiopian insurgencies wouldn't get assistance through this part of the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia's involvement in Somalia has nothing to do with terrorism, though Meles Zenawi is adept at selling his invasion and continued interference as such.

We also have the so-called Djibouti-Eritrea conflict, manufactured and stage-managed by the minority regime ruling Ethiopia with the hope of finding another way of achieving the goals it set for itself in the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict.

Then, of course, we have the many internal conflicts in Ethiopia itself that shape in some ways the inter-state conflicts in which Addis Ababa is engaged. For example, when these conflicts intensify, the minority regime intensifies its rhetorical game against Eritrea. When its political life is at stake, its raises to a higher level. Today, when the regime has seen that it has no internal legitimacy, when the people have completely rejected it in all ways possible, including the 2005 national elections, it is waiting for someone to hand it a matchbox to reignite the simmering, gasoline-doused Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict.

These conflicts are so interrelated when you touch one you touch them all , triggering a domino effect, because Ethiopia is the cause and at the root of all these problems.

Those who have been pushing for sanctions might have this kind of outcome as their goal. But, is this also the goal of the UN Security Council?