Drs Tsegezab Gebregergis
To date, there is nothing the Eritrean tin-pot dictator has not done in order to prolong the political life of his hated, repressive and domestically, internationally and regionally isolated government.
Some of the dirty and corrupt practices that the Eritrean despot commonly utilises to divide, weaken and confuse the Eritrean population and his actual and perceived political enemies include the following: playing off one political group against another; promoting and spreading incessant malicious rumours which eat away at the unity of the people and at their trust in one another; setting up the people of one region against another and the people of one province against another, Muslims against Christians, lowlander Eritreans against highlanders.
In short, he is pitting the people against each other, one general against another general and one section of the Eritrean defence forces against the other, just as the parochial Emperor Haile Selassie did in order to prolong his rule in Ethiopia.
Similarly, in order to escape the political quagmire of international and regional isolation in which the regime finds itself since Isaias Afwerki assumed political power in Eritrea in May 1991, and to pocket petro-dollars to finance grandiose political projects, including feeding, clothing and paying his many armed forces, the capricious Eritrean dictator has secretly been leasing Eritrea’s strategically located ports to the highest bidder, the Arabs.
Indeed, the expansionist Arab regimes have always claimed that Eritrea is part of the Arab world and that, sooner or later, the country will be integrated into the Arab world without a shot being fired. It must be clearly understood that the granting of military bases to foreign forces on Eritrean soil, as this nakedly selfish and inept dictator has done, is first and foremost a serious menace to Eritrea’s security and sovereignty.
Likewise, the existence of Arab military bases on Eritrean soil is understandably seen by Eritrea’s immediate neighbour, Ethiopia, as a serious threat to the integrity and sovereignty of Ethiopia.
For as far as Ethiopians are concerned, the Arabs, led by Egypt, are viewed as the historical enemies of Ethiopia, with an undying ambition to annex northern Ethiopia in order to bring the source of the Nile River under their own control.
The granting of a military base to the Arab regimes on Eritrean soil, regimes which
Ethiopia considers its historical enemies, has understandably rung alarm bells in the corridors of power in Ethiopia. The unfolding situation resulting from the active presence of the Arab army on Eritrean soil is therefore being carefully watched by the Ethiopians. In any case, the Arabs now seem now established and in control of the southern Eritrean port of Asseb and its surrounding areas. Incidentally, this was also how the Italians began the process of Eritrea’s colonisation in the 1880s.
According to a Stratfor report of December 8, 2016 bearing the title “the UAE Joins an Exclusive Club“UAE assets stationed at Assab reportedly include at least nine Mirage 2000-9 fighters and a range of other military aircraft; Leclerc tanks; Apache, Blackhawk, and Chinook helicopters; infantry fighting vehicles; and howitzer artillery to Eritrea’s Assab airport for supporting military operation in Southern Yemen”. Furthermore, according to this report: “The United Arab Emirates has [also] deployed a combat air group that also includes two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, two Bell 407 helicopters, one Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, and two Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop airliners .”
Thus, while understanding the Arab regimes’ sinister political design, in total disregard of the immediate and long-term Eritrean national security interests and contrary to the spirit and pledges of the Eritrean revolution, the politically myopic Eritrean dictator has allowed the establishment of Arab military bases
with offensive weapons on Eritrean soil.
Some Concluding Remarks
It should therefore be very clear to all Eritreans and other observers of the region that Eritrea, under Isaias Afwerki, is gradually becoming but surely the political and military playground of the unenlightened and reactionary oil-rich Arab regimes – regimes that have grandiose expansionist dreams of Islamising the Horn of Africa and bringing it, directly or indirectly, under their own political control.