Monday, June 18, 2012

THE SPECTER OF WAR BETWEEN ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA






THE SPECTER OF WAR BETWEEN ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA
WAR AND ITS EFFECT

 BY: AMARE GEBREMARIAM GEBRE
             
 Some define war as “Contention by force”, others say “War is the continuation of politics by other means “. War is wide spread conflict between states, organizations which is characterized as the use of lethal force or violence between combatants. War is contrasted with peace which is usually known as the absence of peace.
   War is wicked, more disastrous, more widely destructive, more deeply tenacious, and loathsome. It is repugnant to nature. Some compare soldiers who go to war to thousand animals rushing together to butcher house. War is often used as an excuse to avoid government problems or to take government measures that would otherwise meet too much resistance.
 War almost invariably leads to, and often encourages, torture, rape, and other extreme human rights abuse that go beyond its stated purpose.
  War frequently robs people of what is rightfully theirs by taking or maintaining control of land, resources, possessions, political systems.
 War creates orphans. Those who play no part in waging a war especially children, invariably suffer, directly or indirectly.
  War and preparation of war are the largest source of pollution on our planet. War has lasting ill effect on veterans
   State warfare reinforces divisions that help perpetuate gross inequalities. War diverts the energy of many who might otherwise work constructively. War creates fear, suspicion, intolerance and hate. War deprives us of resources that could and should be used in constructive ways.

    JUST AND UNJUST WAR

      A reasonable person might ask that if war is wicked destructive, how on earth we could say there is just war.  It needs two opponents to wage war. Most of the time both parties, cannot be proponents of war. To have a victim there should be victimizer, the invaded has his invader, the defender has an aggressor, and the killed has a killer.
   Here is the list of the PRINCIPLES OF JUST WAR formulated by St. AGUASTINE of HIPPO
·         A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
·         A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
·         A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. Self-defense against armed attack is always considered to be just war.
·         A war can only be just if it is fought with reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
·         The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace.
·         The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered.
·         The weapons used in the war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants.
One can easily deduce what is unjust war by looking at the list of just war theory. War mongers believe that war is not just inevitable but desirable. It is adventure and excitement for them. They say it brings out the best qualities in men—courage, comradeship and sacrifice. It gives glory to a country. It is effective instrument of national policy. War enables to enhance power grip over their subjects.
    Machiavelli never discusses if war is right or wrong in his book THE WAR OF ART. He just wrote about the best way to wage war so as to conquer the enemy.
   The PFDJ dictatorial regime is not telling the Eritrean people what we lost in the 1998-2000 year war with Ethiopia. Instead they are trying to mobilize the public with what sacrifices have been given in the just war of our armed struggle.

    BORDER SKIRMISH, TO WHAT END?

       As an Eritrean who participated in the armed struggle for the self determination of the Eritrean people and as an Eritrean democratic element who is participating in the struggle for the liberation of the Eritrean people I mast bear the responsibility, carry the intellectual credibility, and adhere to the democratic ideals to objectively assess the 1998-2000 year war with Ethiopia and the specter of war hovering upon us in the year 2012.
   The 1998-2000 war between the two countries was started by the dictatorial regime PFDJ of Eritrea as already stated by the international commission of the Alger’s agreement. After Eritrean troops occupy Badme a reasonable peace initiative was forwarded known as US-Rhonda initiative that the dictatorial regime in Eritrea rejected.  Then Ethiopians overrun the Eritrean army and penetrated deep into Eritrean territory and returned to their border not because repulsed by Eritrea’s troops, but to respect the Alger’s peace initiative. Every Eritrean should swallow the bitter pill that we lost the war. At this juncture some in the opposition said to the government of Ethiopia to cross the border and destroy properties is revenge and it has to stop and they did. Any hooch- pooch from the Eritrean government and its supporters is not factual and not realistic.
   Some years have elapsed since the international commission of Alger’s peace agreement has given its verdict. In this verdict Badme is given to Eritrean, but Ethiopia is sitting on it. Eritrea accepted the verdict, butEthiopia only on principle.  Ethiopia has no legal right to administer Badme and the international institutions and organizations such as the UN, AU, European Union, Arab League, and other peace loving countries have the obligation to put pressure on the government of Ethiopia to allow demarcation of the border if the specter of war is to be eased between the two counties.
   
ETHIOPIA’S EXCUSES FOR THE SKIRMISH

      Below are some of the excuses people hear in pros and cons.
·         There is on and off cross border incursions from both governments. At this time Ethiopia is the invader while Eritrea is the invaded, because Ethiopia is sitting on Eritrean territory legally given to it by the commission. Eritrea can try legally to free its territory if every thing got deaf ears cross border activity is within its right. Ethiopia’s option is to leave Badme and allow demarcation and it only then has the right of self defense. Self defense to occupied land of others is lame excuse.
·         Both countries support liberation organizations which do activities across borders. Ethiopia takes this as an excuse and violets Eritrean territory and sovereignty that bragged about it in public. Both countries have to bring their case to the UN or AU, but to say and do might is right does not go with the international norms.
·         The Ethiopian government is being irritated and has unreasonable desire of having access to the sea, but they do see the consequences. The writer believes that Ethiopia can conquer Eritrea in three days or more. Isaias’s ego and personality is already humiliated. But the problem with that is a) another stateless nation like Somalia will be created which is too much Ethiopia to handle. b) Does not have any surrogate from within Eritrea or out side Eritrea to pass the torch on. c) It will be condemned by most countries and as a result its economic development will be in jeopardy.
·         Ethiopia also sink thoughts that if the no peace no war situation looms for long, Eritrea will hurt economically, militarily and even socially and this break down of a nation will help Ethiopia to win over Eritrean which is futile attitude.

ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT WHAT KIND OF NEIGHBOR?

Eritrea’s neighbors are SudanSaudi ArabiaYemenDjibouti and Ethiopia. The concern is always with Ethiopia and always political. To answer this question, I will focus on present day Ethiopia, mainly the EPRDF government. This question should not be answered putting the Eritrean people as of one political view. There is the dictatorial regime and his followers, the opposition who have close relationship with the government of Ethiopia and those opposition who have loose or no relationship with the government of Ethiopia.
      Ethiopian government vs. Eritrean government- from 1991-97 these two governments had hand and glove relationship, since the senseless border war between them they are arch enemies. At this time we see skirmishes between the two governments at the border. This to stop, Ethiopia has to allow border demarcation; it has no any reasonable excuse to satisfy the international community. As for what the Eritrean government says that Ethiopia being messenger of USA is crossing the border is laughable. Ethiopia can overrun Eritrean forces in every short time, the only reason it is not doing it is for the reasons mentioned above.
    Ethiopia VS. Eritrean opposition with loose relationship- this group always tell the Ethiopian government their relationship to develop to strategic rather than tactical. They say relationship based on the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” is short sighted and does not allow planning and devising a political move, but Ethiopia always gives deaf ears. This group always requires Ethiopia to respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of Eritrea and allow the border to be demarcated, that Ethiopia evades answering. To this group Ethiopia is just a neighbor, if border war starts they are ready to fight Ethiopia by all means.
    Ethiopia VS. Eritrean opposition with close relationship- this group are generally funded by Ethiopia. This group approve Ethiopia’s incursion into Eritrean territory and even follow its footsteps and blame the Eritrean government for being the cause for the incursion. This group allows Ethiopia to participate and some times even to lead and devise their political activities. All what Ethiopia is doing in the border they say isEthiopia’s right and is to their advantage. To this group Ethiopia is not only a neighbor, but a friend in need and a friend in deed.

DOES ASKING FOR MERCY MEAN TO GIVE UP?

      The author of this article laments that liberated Eritrea was possible in my life time, but is it? Some years ago in political gathering I asked a panelist a question and I guess his wife did not like the question she said to me when are you going to grow old? I said I refuse to grow old. Few months ago I meet the couple in an occasion and I said to her you still look young and strong and she replied I still did not live as long as you lived. I said I agree and I admit I am growing old. For your principles you fight to the last man and also to the last breathe, but we have to admit that we humans have limitations. As I stated above the opposition which looks to be of two distinct groups there is plenty of fragmentation within each group. The main hurdle to bring these fragmented groups is the role of Ethiopia’s national interest playing within us. Unless we get aware of these Ethiopia’s interests it is hard to focus to main enemy of the Eritrean people that is the PFDJ dictatorship. Until then we will remain under the mercy of the UN, AU, Arab league and European Union ourselves. Help us to help ourselves.

  We struggle we succeed        comments>>> ama766@comcast.net
 Glory to our martyrs.                        

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