Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict a disgrace to Africa


Last week Ethiopia’s military launched a surgical attack against small but strategic targets in Eritrea describing it as a “proportional response” against a proxy group that had been staging terrorist attacks with Eritrean assistance.

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal was quoted by the international press justifying the strikes as retaliation against a shadowy rebel group claimed to have killed and kidnapped European tourists about two months ago in the Ethiopian region of Afar.

Does the story sound a little familiar to the one heard in Kenya in October 2011? Yes! Kenya had to invade Somalia in an attempt to pacify the Al Shabaab terrorist group following similar incidents of several attacks on European aid workers and tourists in the northeastern Kenya.

Initially, Kenya planned to finish the operation to capture the port city of Kismayu by December 2011, but failed miserably and as we speak, Kenya is part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) which is financed by the United Nations. Additionally, the Ugandan-led Amisom comprises official forces from Burundi and Djibouti, and technically, Ethiopia.

Disappointingly, despite its high level of poverty, Eritrea is proving to be an issue in the Horn of Africa as it is the only nation that supports Al Shabaab, and last year things got so serious to the extent that Kenya had to level a diplomatic complaint at the UN in New York. Eritrea was believed to be sending supplies to Al Shabaab soon after the Kenyan troops launched the operation.

Eritrea and Al Shabaab may be working together because they both have one common enemy, that is, Ethiopia. Al Shabaab believes that they have a duty to one day recapture the disputed territory of Ogaden  on the Ethiopian border, and that is why Ethiopians will never allow Al Shabaab to settle in Mogadishu.
Why did Ethiopia take two months to retaliate against Eritrea? Notably, it is not all about Al Shabaab and the killed tourists; these two poor countries have been at war before, first as an internal insurgency and secondly as a fully fledged war with Eritrea losing a piece of its land it wanted to liberate.

Here is how it started. When the Italians left Eritrea in 1952, Ethiopia annexed the country in 1962, and that sparked a liberation war that lasted until 1991. Luckily for Eritreans, in the 1970s some Ethiopians started a rebellion to fight the communist government of military dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who now lives in exile in Zimbabwe.
The two fighting rebel groups toppled Mengistu in 1991, then a referendum followed and in April 1993 Eritrea became independent but a border dispute inherited from the colonial era remained.

That border dispute pushed the two countries into a grossly irresponsible war between 1998 and 2000 ending up killing almost 100,000 and burning several million dollars.
Since 2000, tensions and even skirmishes at the border have been a permanent occurrence because Eritrea wants back its territory captured in 2000. In fact, at one time the International Court of Justice even ruled in favor of Eritrea but Ethiopia remained adamant. So Ethiopia is not clean in this matter, at least, but that does not justify whatever is going on between the two countries or its assistance to Al Shabaab.

Ethiopia claims that it had no choice but to attack military posts used by the Eritrean government for training rebel groups, in particular the so-called Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF).

This is one small, unknown group that can disappear for years before resurfacing and attacking again.
Now look at this: Ethiopia says Eritrea is training ARDUF so that it launches a proxy war against Ethiopia, but Eritrea says ARDUF doesn’t exist, but that Ethiopians are using it as a pretext to attack Eritrea. Then, if an attack happens, Eritrea tells Ethiopia to ask ARDUF claiming it is an Ethiopian problem since Afar belongs to Ethiopia. In the end nobody in the international community knows which is which.

According to the Voice of America, Eritrea went as far as to describe the recent attacks as a “flagrant aggression” designed to divert attention from Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Eritrean territories, but “wisely” the Eritrean government decided not to respond against its powerful neighbour.

Right now, the animosity between the two countries is serious despite the fact that Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki are cousins. Last April, following an accusation that Eritrea had attempted to stage a high-profile bomb attack in Addis Ababa during an African Union summit, Zenawi stated in parliament that his government would actively support anyone trying to overthrow Afewerki. Can you imagine?

Here comes the question: What is the problem between these Africans who have a lot in common? Why should an interstate conflict happen today in Africa? Frankly, these people need to sit down, talk and behave!
Mr Matinyi is a consultant based in Washington, DC

Friday, March 30, 2012

Yemen LNG pipeline blown up, output halted after drone attack | Reuters


(Reuters) - A U.S. drone attack killed at least five suspected al Qaeda militants in southern Yemen on Friday, and gunmen retaliated by blowing up an LNG pipeline, forcing output to be stopped, officials and energy workers said.

The drone set fire to the militants' car in the southern province of Shabwa and killed all its occupants, one official said. One bystander was also killed and five were wounded, officials and residents told Reuters.

Hours later gunmen believed to be militants blew up a pipeline which transports gas to a facility whose leading stakeholder is French oil major Total at Balhaf port on the Arabian Sea, energy workers said.

Residents said flames could be seen from several kilometres (miles) away and a company employee said exports had stopped.

"The explosion took place 28 km (17.5 miles) north of the Balhaf LNG export plant. Production has been halted," an employee of Yemen LNG, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

The Balhaf LNG export facility opened in 2009 and was the largest industrial project ever carried out in impoverished Yemen.

Oil and gas pipelines have often been attacked by Islamic militants and disgruntled tribesmen. The pipeline to Balhaf was last blown up in October, hours after an air raid on militants, and took about 10 days to be repaired.

A text message sent to journalists, purporting to come from the al Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Law), said the group was behind the attack.

"The mujahideen (holy war fighters) blew up the pipeline ... in retaliation for the strike for which Crusader America and its obedient slave in Sanaa are responsible," the text message said, referring to the Yemeni government, a close U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda has strengthened its hold on southern areas of the Arabian Peninsula country during the past year of protests against veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, who left office in February.

The United States has retaliated with a campaign of drone strikes on suspected al Qaeda militants.

In an earlier text message, Ansar al-Sharia said two militants were "martyred" in the attack and four passersby were injured.

Earlier this month, U.S. drone attacks killed at least 25 al Qaeda-linked fighters including one of their leaders, and a Yemeni air force raid killed 20, in the biggest airstrikes since the new president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, took office.

Neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, shares U.S. concern over the expansion of al-Qaeda's regional wing in a country next to major Red Sea oil shipping lanes.

In a separate incident, suspected al Qaeda fighters shot dead two men in the southern port city of Aden on Friday, a local official said. The victims belonged to a clan that has opposed the group's militants in nearby Abyan province, he said.

In a persistent dispute over fishing rights with Eritrea, Yemeni forces captured two Eritrean soldiers trying to seize a Yemeni fishing boat near the Red Sea port of Hudaida, Yemen's Interior Ministry said.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Tim Pearce)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Uganda: Potential of War Ever-Present Between Regional Foes-allAfrica.com

Ethiopia attacked an Eritrean military base 16km inside the country on Mar. 15, accusing its neighbour of training "hit-and-run terrorists" who it said were behind the killing of two Germans, two Austrians and one Hungarian on the slopes of Ethiopia's famed Erta Ale volcano in Afar in January.
Moreover, amid international appeals for restraint, government spokesman Shimeles Kemal threatened further attacks as long as Eritrea posed a threat to its security. "These groups are operating in the Afar area in Ethiopia," said Shimeles. "We know for certain that the Eritrean government harbours, supports, trains and deploys subversive groups that occasionally launch attacks on infrastructure inside Ethiopia."
The killing of the tourists had rekindled tensions between the two Horn of African nations, raising fears of another war between them. Shimeles said war was not likely to erupt, insisting that Ethiopia was committed to peaceful negotiations. But he warned: "As long as Eritrea remains a launching pad for attacks against Ethiopia, similar measures will continue to be taken." If Eritrean forces retaliated, Shimeles added, "the results would be disastrous".
Eritrea for its part urged the United Nations to take action against Ethiopia for the attack. "The objective of the attack," said Eritrea's Foreign Ministry in a statement, "is to divert attention from the central issue of the regime's flagrant violation of international law and illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories."
The government added that it "will not be entrapped by such deceitful ploys that are aimed at derailing and eclipsing the underlying fundamental issues."
The assaults were the first on Eritrean soil that Addis Ababa has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that killed 70,000 people.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in April accused the Eritrean government of trying to destabilise Ethiopia by backing rebel groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front, the Ogaden National Liberation Front -- and the Somali Al Qaeda-affiliated Shebab. He told lawmakers that Ethiopia was ready to help the people of Eritrea topple the regime of Issaias Afeworki, but ruled out a military invasion. Meles said they had no intention to "jump into their country but we need to extend our influence there. If the Eritrean government tries to attack us, we will also respond."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eritrean leader says U.S. behind Ethiopia raids | Reuters

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) meets Eritrea's President Isaias Afewerki (L) in Sudan's capital Khartoum June 12, 2006. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin

ADDIS ABABA | Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:37am EDT
(Reuters) - Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki accused the United States of plotting cross-border raids by Ethiopian troops, saying the two allies were out to divert attention from a festering border spat in the volatile Horn of Africa.
---------------------
Addis Ababa, Washington's main ally in the region, said it attacked military bases used by rebels inside Eritrea earlier this month.
The incursion followed a raid by an Eritrea-based rebel group into Ethiopia's remote Afar region in January in which five foreign tourists were killed and two kidnapped.
Last week's attacks were the first on Eritrean soil that Ethiopia has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that claimed 70,000 lives and left a border dispute unresolved.
Eritrea says there have been others.
"We have seen several attacks, not just one. We prefer not to talk about it and don't intend to be involved in provocations," Isaias told Eritrean state TV in an interview late on Sunday that was later broadcast on the Internet.
"The military incursions were plotted by Washington with the aim of diverting attention from implementing the boundary commission's decision," he said.
The U.S. embassy in the Eritrean capital of Asmara denied it had been involved in the attacks.
"The United States was not involved in the March 15 attack by Ethiopian forces inside Eritrea, contrary to media reports that have circulated in and outside of Eritrea," the embassy said in a statement.
"The United States categorically rejects any allegations that it planned, participated in, or supported the attack."
Ethiopian officials could not be reached for comment.
The Hague-based boundary commission awarded the border village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002, but Ethiopia has yet to conform with the ruling, insisting on further negotiations on its implementation.
The United Nations has called for restraint between the two neighbors, saying bilateral tensions risked undermining efforts to foster security and stability in the region.
MISSILES AND SANCTIONS
In Sunday's interview, Isaias said the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had "fanned up" Ethiopia's incursion to divert global attention from the 10th anniversary of the border ruling and its implementation.
He also accused Washington of masterminding the sanctions that the U.N. Security Council imposed on Eritrea in 2009 and 2011, alleging it had provided funds and weapons to Islamist insurgents in Somalia - charges that Eritrea flatly denies.
"Proxies implement the U.S.' misguided agenda in the region. These unjustified sanctions against Eritrea reflect this agenda," Isaias said.
Ethiopia, a key ally in the United States' global war on Islamist insurgents, has deployed troops inside Somalia to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.
Isaias routinely claims Washington sided with Eritrea's arch-foe during the border war for "geo-strategic reasons".
In a leaked cable from the U.S. embassy in Asmara, former U.S. ambassador Ronald McMullen said Isaias feared the U.S. would try to kill him by firing a missile on his residence in the coastal city of Massawa.
The cable also showed that Isaias believes Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi tried to have him killed in 1996 when an aircraft that Meles offered for his travel caught fire during a flight.
(Editing by James Macharia, John Stonestreet and Toby Chopra)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ethiopia & Eritrea illusive Peace and West

Experts warn that as  world powers close ranks to deal with Al Shabaab, they should not forget Eritrea. Picture: AFP
Experts warn that as world powers close ranks to deal with Al Shabaab, they should not forget Eritrea. Picture: AFP 
  

Ethiopia’s ploy to get West to move on Eritrea FRED OLUOCH

With Somalia becoming the centre of international attention, Ethiopia’s recent attack on Eritrea is being seen as part of an effort to persuade the international community to intervene in the Red Sea nation too.




It is a two-edged approach by Ethiopia — to neutralise rebel groups operating from Eritrea and ease pressure from its allies in the Middle East to give up Eritrean territories it occupies.
Qatar and Israel have separately been mediating between the two countries for Ethiopia to return the border area of Badme and for Eritrea to stop supporting the Al Shabaab militia in Somalia. 
While Israel is keen to shut down terrorist training camps in Somalia, Qatar is interested in the vast fertile agricultural lands of eastern Sudan for cultivation of food crops for export. It so happens that the eastern Sudanese region is nearest to the Eritrean port of Assab.
Qatar has financed the expansion of roads linking eastern Sudan to Eritrea and was an important facilitator of Eritrean-Sudanese diplomatic ties.
Share This Story
Share 
Rashid Abdi, an Independent Horn of Africa analyst argues that Ethiopia’s recent attack on Eritrea is an attempt to scuttle the talks because Ethiopia does not want to hand over Badme without assurances and concessions from Eritrea. The dispute over Badme caused the 1998-2000 war between the two countries.
Ethiopia’s discomfort
“Ethiopia needs assurances that Eritrea will not continue to support rebel groups in the Ogaden and Afar regions, a binding non-aggression pact and probably squeeze in some agreement on how landlocked Ethiopia could use the port of Assab,” he said.
But Eritrea, whose leader Isaias Afewerki is suffering from a severe liver ailment, has refused to retaliate, describing the incursion as “flagrant aggression” designed to divert attention from Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Eritrean territories. 
Eritrea’s lack of response has much to do with its current pariah status in the region over its alleged support to Al Shabaab, and its many internal problems, including Afewerki’s illness.
In late January, President Afewerki abruptly left for Qatar where he stayed for about two weeks receiving treatment.
Eritrea is basically closed from the rest of the world and has had difficult relations with its neighbours and the international community.  In October last year, Kenya accused Eritrea of delivering two planeloads of weapons to Baidoa for Al Shabaab, a charge that the Red Sea country denied.
Apart from Sudan, which has maintained cordial relations with Eritrea, the government in Asmara country continues to be treated with suspicion by other countries of the region. The exit of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has also deprived Eritrea of a major ally.
Thus, experts on the Horn argue that Ethiopia’s recent attacks on Eritrea is meant to remind the world that even as they close ranks to deal with Al Shabaab, they should not forget Eritrea.
Enhanced by Zemanta

The truth about Eritrea-Double Standards-03-18-2012 - YouTube

The truth about Eritrea-Double Standards-03-18-2012 - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ethiopia condemns Italy's position on Eritrea [501807808] | African news, analysis and opinion – The Africa Report.com

Ethiopia on Thursday condemned Italy's position on Addis Ababa's standoff with Asmara, accusing the European country of issuing "biased and ill informed information" following Ethiopia's recent decision to attack military installations in Eritrea.
Map of Ethiopia
MAP OF ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs Ministry expressed dismay over the Italian position on "Eritrea's destabilising activities" in the Horn of Africa after Italy, last week, said it firmly condemned "every recourse to violence".
This comes after Ethiopia launched an offensive on three camps, 14, 17 and 18 kilometres inside Eritrean territory, raising fears of a renewed military standoff between the two neighbours. Rome urged the two countries to "refrain from other [means] that violate fundamental principles of international co-existence".
"The Italian Foreign Ministry issued a totally biased and ill-informed statement concerning Eritrea on 16 March 2012," said the ministry, "Italy has come out in defence of Eritrea's subversive activities in the Horn".
This is the first diplomatic row to have erupted after Ethiopia attacked military bases inside Eritrea last week, shortly after which Shemeles Kemal, State Minister of Communications, argued that the attacks did not constitute direct military confrontation between the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces but rather as a response to "an Afar rebel group from Eritrea" that recently "killed five European tourists."
The victims including two Austrians, two Germans and a Hungarian were killed when 27 international tourists were attacked while visiting the lava lakes of the volcanic Afar region, close to the Eritrean border.
But right from the onset, Ethiopia's official stance indicated a "direct involvement of the Eritrean government" in the attacks. Addis Ababa said tourists who had been kidnapped by the Eritrean government on previous occasions had been used as a bargaining chip in Asmara's diplomatic activities.
However, the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), an Ethiopian rebel group later claimed responsibility for the attack and denied working in cahoots with the Eritrean government which is under United Nations sanctions for playing a part in the Somali crisis. Somalia has been without a functioning government for over two decades.
And while a number of countries have called for calm between the two countries, the Ethiopian government's reaction against Italy's position on the affair has been rife.
"Italy has never condemned Eritrea's continuous violent acts of destabilisation in the sub-region despite the numerous resolutions of the UN and IGAD to that effect," said Ethiopia.
After last week's attack, Ethiopia's Indoctrination and Public Relations Head at the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence, Colonel Gebrekidan Hailu said several soldiers and "anti-peace forces" had been wounded and some arrested in the attacks on Ramid, Gelehibe and Gibina military camps, and also warned that the attacks will continue until the Eritrean government restrained from its "destructive role".
Ethiopia said Italy was aware of Eritrea's support for terrorist activities in the sub region which over the years had caused the loss of civilian lives including Italian tourists. "Italy's lack of genuine concern for such matters of grave concern to the region and the international community as a whole is indeed baffling," the statement from the foreign ministry read.
About 50 000 people from both sides lost their lives when the two countries got embroiled in a war a decade ago. Intermittent border conflicts between Ethiopia and Eritrea have since 1998 led to a "No peace, No war" situation. Ethiopia has also in the past accused its neighbour of supplying extremist Somali group, al-Shabab with weapons and assistance.
Meanwhile, observers have expressed fears that a diplomatic row between Ethiopia and Italy could have some serious repercussions.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict a disgrace to Africa

Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict a disgrace to Africa Send to a friend
Thursday, 22 March 2012 21:40
Mobhare Matinyi
    WITH AN EAGLE’S EYE
matinyi@hotmail.com
Last week Ethiopia’s military launched a surgical attack against small but strategic targets in Eritrea describing it as a “proportional response” against a proxy group that had been staging terrorist attacks with Eritrean assistance.

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal was quoted by the international press justifying the strikes as retaliation against a shadowy rebel group claimed to have killed and kidnapped European tourists about two months ago in the Ethiopian region of Afar.

Does the story sound a little familiar to the one heard in Kenya in October 2011? Yes! Kenya had to invade Somalia in an attempt to pacify the Al Shabaab terrorist group following similar incidents of several attacks on European aid workers and tourists in the northeastern Kenya.

Initially, Kenya planned to finish the operation to capture the port city of Kismayu by December 2011, but failed miserably and as we speak, Kenya is part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) which is financed by the United Nations. Additionally, the Ugandan-led Amisom comprises official forces from Burundi and Djibouti, and technically, Ethiopia.

Disappointingly, despite its high level of poverty, Eritrea is proving to be an issue in the Horn of Africa as it is the only nation that supports Al Shabaab, and last year things got so serious to the extent that Kenya had to level a diplomatic complaint at the UN in New York. Eritrea was believed to be sending supplies to Al Shabaab soon after the Kenyan troops launched the operation.

Eritrea and Al Shabaab may be working together because they both have one common enemy, that is, Ethiopia. Al Shabaab believes that they have a duty to one day recapture the disputed territory of Ogaden  on the Ethiopian border, and that is why Ethiopians will never allow Al Shabaab to settle in Mogadishu.
Why did Ethiopia take two months to retaliate against Eritrea? Notably, it is not all about Al Shabaab and the killed tourists; these two poor countries have been at war before, first as an internal insurgency and secondly as a fully fledged war with Eritrea losing a piece of its land it wanted to liberate.

Here is how it started. When the Italians left Eritrea in 1952, Ethiopia annexed the country in 1962, and that sparked a liberation war that lasted until 1991. Luckily for Eritreans, in the 1970s some Ethiopians started a rebellion to fight the communist government of military dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who now lives in exile in Zimbabwe.
The two fighting rebel groups toppled Mengistu in 1991, then a referendum followed and in April 1993 Eritrea became independent but a border dispute inherited from the colonial era remained.

That border dispute pushed the two countries into a grossly irresponsible war between 1998 and 2000 ending up killing almost 100,000 and burning several million dollars.
Since 2000, tensions and even skirmishes at the border have been a permanent occurrence because Eritrea wants back its territory captured in 2000. In fact, at one time the International Court of Justice even ruled in favor of Eritrea but Ethiopia remained adamant. So Ethiopia is not clean in this matter, at least, but that does not justify whatever is going on between the two countries or its assistance to Al Shabaab.

Ethiopia claims that it had no choice but to attack military posts used by the Eritrean government for training rebel groups, in particular the so-called Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF).

This is one small, unknown group that can disappear for years before resurfacing and attacking again.
Now look at this: Ethiopia says Eritrea is training ARDUF so that it launches a proxy war against Ethiopia, but Eritrea says ARDUF doesn’t exist, but that Ethiopians are using it as a pretext to attack Eritrea. Then, if an attack happens, Eritrea tells Ethiopia to ask ARDUF claiming it is an Ethiopian problem since Afar belongs to Ethiopia. In the end nobody in the international community knows which is which.

According to the Voice of America, Eritrea went as far as to describe the recent attacks as a “flagrant aggression” designed to divert attention from Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Eritrean territories, but “wisely” the Eritrean government decided not to respond against its powerful neighbour.

Right now, the animosity between the two countries is serious despite the fact that Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki are cousins. Last April, following an accusation that Eritrea had attempted to stage a high-profile bomb attack in Addis Ababa during an African Union summit, Zenawi stated in parliament that his government would actively support anyone trying to overthrow Afewerki. Can you imagine?

Here comes the question: What is the problem between these Africans who have a lot in common? Why should an interstate conflict happen today in Africa? Frankly, these people need to sit down, talk and behave!
Mr Matinyi is a consultant based in Washington, DC

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites

Kidnapped Tourists, Ethiopian Dictator's hullabaloo of the Italian Government position War & Peace 6 - YouTube

Kidnapped Tourists, Ethiopian Dictator's hullabaloo of the Italian Government position War & Peace 6 - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eritrea - Official Statement about Ethiopian incursion - YouTube

Eritrea - Official Statement about Ethiopian incursion - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Are Ethiopia and Eritrea heading back to war?-BBC News


Ethiopian soldiers displaying weapons belonging to Somali militants 2 March 2012Ethiopia and Eritrea are on opposite sides of the Somalia conflict

Related Stories

Could Ethiopia's attack on alleged rebel bases over the border inside Eritrea herald the start of a new war in the Horn of Africa?
Ethiopia says it carried out a raid on three camps belonging to a rebel group last Thursday.
A further raid was reported over the weekend, although this has been denied by Ethiopian officials.
These attacks have raised fears that this could spark another border war, similar to the conflict of 1998-2000, which left some 100,000 people dead.
So far, Eritrea appears keen to cool the situation, saying it will not strike back.

Start Quote

This is a smokescreen which disguises Ethiopia's non-implementation of the findings of the Boundary Commission”
Ali AbduEritrea's Minister of Information
Eritrea's Minister of Information Ali Abdu told the BBC that his country would not retaliate following the Ethiopian raid.
"Those who rush to aggression are those who do not know what the life of people means," Mr Ali said.
Ethiopian sources suggest Eritrea, increasingly isolated from the international community and short of funds, is in no position to respond effectively.
The fall of Colonel Gaddafi's Libya deprived the Eritrean government of one of its few allies.
In December last year, the UN Security Council imposed tougher sanctions against Eritrea after its East African neighbours accused it of continuing to provide support to Somalia's Islamist militants of al-Shabab - who Ethiopian troops are currently fighting.
This has weakened Eritrea, which once was able to confront its much larger neighbour, despite having just five million citizens, compared to the 80 million Ethiopians.
So what lay behind the Ethiopian attacks?
Indications from Addis Ababa are that the background to the raid may be more complex than simply giving Eritrea-based rebels a bloody nose.
Three camps belonging to a faction of the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (Arduf) were attacked, in reprisal for an rebel raid on tourists in January that left five people dead.
Border troubles
Certainly there are few tears being shed by Ethiopia for the approximately 50 Afar rebels who are thought to have been killed in the attack.
But Ethiopian observers suggest that other factors may have contributed to the raid.
A number of skirmishes are reported to have taken place in border villages in recent months, with some Ethiopians allegedly abducted by Eritrean forces.
Worryingly, the last war between the two countries in May 1998 was triggered by similar skirmishes.
Ethiopia/Eritrea map
Since that conflict ended, some border villages have been inhabited by members of the Eritrean opposition, with Ethiopia's backing.
These are in areas awarded to Ethiopia by the Algiers Peace Agreement of June 2000 and the findings of a subsequent Boundary Commission.
Eritrea has repeatedly called on the international community to enforce the Algiers Agreement and the Boundary Commission ruling, but Ethiopia has refused to allow this, insisting that there should be further talks on the border.
This has left the location of the border in dispute, opening the way to localised disputes.
Speaking for Eritrea, Mr Ali said he was not prepared to discuss the details of the current clashes.
"This is a smokescreen," he said, "which disguises Ethiopia's non-implementation of the findings of the Boundary Commission."
"This is a continuation of Ethiopian aggression and occupation of our territory, which has gone on for the last 10 years, with the support of the United States."
Difficult to predict
But unresolved border issues may not be the only reason for the clash.
There are Ethiopian plans to develop potash mines in the remote Danakil depression, near the border with Eritrea, with the help of the Canadian firm, Allana.
This would require building a railway from the Djibouti port of Tadjoura to the mines and the redevelopment of the port itself.
Allana reported earlier this month that it had received indications of investments worth $600m from investors in the project.
Ethiopia is keen for the development to take place, but is determined to ensure that it is not attacked by Afar rebels operating in the area.
Following the end of the border war in 2000, relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea have remained tense, with both countries supporting each other's opposition movements.
On balance, most observers believe that a new war between the two countries looks unlikely, although both are ruled by mercurial leaders whose next moves have proved difficult to predict.
Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi and Eritrea's Isaias Afewerki fought together to oust Ethiopia's military ruler Haile Mariam Mengistu.
But just seven years after they achieved that goal in 1991, the pair sent their forces into battle against each other.

More on This Story

Related Stories