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Gregory R. Copley

Gregory R. Copley

Historian, author and strategic analyst — and onetime industrialist — Gregory R. Copley, 66, has for four decades worked at the highest levels with various…

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Global Energy Could Change as the Autocracies of Ethiopia and Eritrea Fall Apart

The Emperor’s Ghost: How the Transformations in the Horn of Africa and Red Sea Reflect, and Help Change, the Global Energy and Geopolitical Scene

The Red Sea and Africa’s north-east move deeper
into an era of great change, with global ramifications as
energy acquisition patterns also transform, impacting the
relative geopolitical centrality of the region.

Ethiopians gathered quietly, on July 23, 2012, in larger numbers than in recent years, and in more places around the world, as well as in Ethiopia, and remembered the birthday of the late Emperor, Haile Selassie I, born 120 years earlier.

The manner of their gatherings, and the growing and open remembrance of the “good times” of Ethiopian growth and prosperity in the Imperial period, were strategically significant. They reflected the reality that change has now begun in Ethiopia, and that there is less to fear from what had been the growing xenophobia of the Tigrean-born Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, against potential rivals and against the Amhara people from whom the late Emperor had risen.

Has the Age of Meles Ended?

By July 23, 2012 — the Emperor’s birthday anniversary — it was clear to those exchanging rumours in the Mercato in Addis Ababa that Meles Zenawi, 57, was either seriously ill, or perhaps even already dead. He had failed to participate in the African Union (AU) summit in Addis, and to meet a delegation from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Ethiopia’s most important investor/trading partner.

Meles’ situation — regardless of how serious his health problems might be at present — mirrors the problems of leadership elsewhere in the region: in neighbouring Somaliland; in Yemen; and particularly in Eritrea, where Pres. Isayas Afewerke is almost certainly in failing health, if not already dead or incapacitated. The pattern of governmental “transitions” and power vacuums and difficulties in these states, as well as in Egypt, Sudan, and Somalia, has profound implications for the stability and security of the Red Sea/Suez sea lanes, and for the region generally. As we discuss in this report, the “unravelling” of the situations in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Egypt, in particular, was picking up pace by mid-2012.

By July 18, 2012, even Agence France Presse (AFP) had picked up reports from “diplomatic sources” that Meles was in a “critical condition” in a Brussels hospital, although one source confirmed that he was, at least, still alive. Earlier in the week, Government spokesmen were saying that reports that Meles was being treated at a Brussels hospital were “false and wrong”. By July 20, 2012, the Government Communications Office said that Meles was in good health and would be back at his post in a few days, but confirmed that he “recently had a health problem that needed professional attention”. 

The speculation — and it was only that — was that he was suffering from a brain tumor; no official would confirm the nature of his illness. By July 18, 2012, as well, Deputy Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn confirmed at least that Meles was ill, explaining Meles’ absence from his scheduled chairmanship at a meeting in Addis of the New Partnership for African Development (DEPAD) on July 14, 2012, and his scheduled AU leaders’ summit on July 15, 2912.

The notably anti-Meles Ethiopian Review in early July 2012 commented: “Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator Meles Zenawi has been diagnosed with blood cancer and is receiving treatment at a Belgium hospital.”

His wife, Azeb Mesfin a member of Parliament and a key figure in the Tigré People’s Liberation Front: TPLF), visited Brussels for one day to see her husband in hospital. The former Foreign Minister (1991-2010) Seyoum Mesfin (currently Ethiopian Ambassador to the PRC, but still a key figure in the TPLF, which totally dominates the Government coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front: EPRDF) also visited him, before returning to Addis Ababa. Seyoum is a strong contender to replace Meles.

There seems little doubt that Azeb Mesfin has been positioning herself to succeed her husband, although possibly not — initially — with the title of Prime Minister. Talk is that the Deputy Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, would take over, at least for an interim period. But there is little doubt that Azeb Mesfin (although with some Amhara family heritage of her own) shares her husband’s anti- Amhara policies, or at least uses this as a badge of legitimacy in the TPLF, which is also her only power base. Clearly, her only lever in the power stakes would be to attempt to continue the Tigrean (read TPLF) domination of the EPRDF and of Ethiopian life.

Here is where evidence is emerging of broad opposition to that, both within the EPRDF’s non-Tigrean membership, and from within the broader Ethiopian community, which has, until this point, been heavily constrained from voicing any opposition to Meles’ policies.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s Muslim community has been engaging in a growing fratricidal conflict, mainly between members of the moderate Ethiopian Islamic community and those converted by the large injections of Saudi funding to neo-salafist beliefs. These clashes grew to the point where riot police intervened in recent (July 2012) clashes in Addis Ababa just before and just after the AU summit in Addis. Foreign media reporting has indicated that these protests have been about the marginalization of the growing Muslim minority from governance. Deeper analysis how’s it is between the imported and domestic strands of Islam, and between neo-salafist and moderate strands, and the Meles Government has been supportive of the imported, moderate brand. Saudi Arabia has, for the past few decades funnelled billions of dollars worth of investment in Ethiopia, and also the source of funding for a massive campaign of mosque-building, to facilitate the proselytization of Saudi neo-salafist Wahhabism.

Ethiopian Muslims have protested against Government support for the Al Ahbash sect of Islam, which is ostensibly apolitical. Al Ahbash is also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, a Sufi movement, following the teachings of Ethiopian religious scholar Abdulla al-Harari. It is possible that the Government supported Al Ahbash to counterbalance the influence of imported Saudi Wahhabism.

But what is important is that the dissent by Ethiopian Muslims for or against imported strands of Islam, but in any event protesting against the Government, as well as the open support being shown for the memory of the late Emperor (and therefore, by definition, backing off from the hostility toward the Amhara ethnic group, and from the suppression of the Oromo peoples), are symptomatic of the reality that Meles and the TPLF have been unable to sustain the tightness of their grip on Ethiopia in recent months. Meles’ health condition — for some months a matter of speculation — may well have been at the root of the Administration’s declining ability to sustain its control.

There have been other, small, indicators, as well, such as the defection of the driver of Meles’ wife, Azeb Mesfin, who reportedly disappeared on about July 20, 2012, and apparently turned up in Rome. Why now? What spurred him to make the break? Was it the fact that he heard about the impending collapse of the Government, or the death or disability of Meles? And did Azeb prompt him to make the move?

Azeb Mesfin herself received an Italian visa on July 18, 2012, and was in Rome by July 19. It was reported on July 20, 2012, that Azeb had herself left Ethiopia to escape from Sebhat Nega, a key TPLF official whom she forced out of the party’s top leadership in 2009. She also had him removed from his chairmanship of the multi-billion-dollar Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigré (EFFORT) around the same time. Sebhat Nega began manoeuvring from about the first week in July 2012 to make a comeback as the TPLF power. It was Sebhat who engineered Meles’ rise to power and he was the second most powerful figure in the ruling party until he was humiliated and removed by Azeb. Nonetheless, even though Sebhat has significant support within the TPLF, he is not seen as a successor to Meles, but he appears to have retained his influence and the loyalty of his supporters. And Sebhat has been known to oppose Meles’ own choice of a successor, Berhane Gebrekiristos.

This was perhaps one of the most significant pointers to the reality that Meles Zenawi was no longer in power, or likely to recover (assuming he was still alive). Indeed, it is also significant that his wife, Azeb, left Addis the day before Meles reportedly returned to the capital (on July 20, 2012).

Meanwhile, Berhane Gebrekiristos and Teodros Adhanom, another close confidante of Meles, were reportedly — by July 10, 2012 — named as acting Prime Ministers of Ethiopia.

Clearly, then, the Age of Meles in Ethiopia has ended, or was ending by early July 2012. More important now, is to calculate what this could mean to Ethiopia and the region.

What has been significant, during this “interregnum”, however, has been the reality that Eritrea quietly occupied the contested border area which includes the city of Badme. Ethiopia and Eritrea had, in fact, agreed to the ceding of this area in the Algiers Accord of 2002, but Meles had — even up to May 2012 — refused to allow the transfer of the town to Eritrea. There were valid reasons for this, but what was significant was that Eritrea — which has its own leadership problems at present — had not challenged Ethiopia on the matter until June-July 2012, when it seemed clear to Asmara that Meles’ grip on power had loosened.

The Strategic Impact

Many factors on the regional and global stage have begun to coalesce. New and fundamental questions must now be raised about whether the geo-strategic importance of the core Middle East — the Arabian Peninsula and the seas to the north, east, and south of it — has also begun to be transformed.

The changing of the guard in Ethiopia is just one watershed event. Meles’ apparent incapacitation came at a time when Eritrea’s Isayas was also incapacitated (and, equally possibly, close to death), and at a time of political transitions in Egypt and Yemen, and internal preoccupation in Sudan (to the point of war with South Sudan). Indeed, it comes also at a time when the Saudi Arabian leadership itself is contemplating generational change.

At best, the end of the Meles and Isayas autocracies compounds the break of the status quo of the past few decades in the Red Sea/Suez sea lane of communication (SLOC), the broader Horn of Africa, and in Egypt itself. This has profound implications for East-West trade, which depends on the SLOC; transforming Egypt’s traditional hostility toward Ethiopia (which has utilized Eritrea as a staging horse to isolate Ethiopia, so as to minimize Ethiopian interference with the Blue Nile source waters); and opening up the prospects for Israel to once again more safely project naval power down the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

At the same time, however, the centrality to the global market of the oil and gas exports from the region (and particularly the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf) has been declining. The question has to be asked as to whether the Red Sea/Suez SLOC is as strategically critical as it was, say, two decades ago? Certainly, in terms of ship movements and revenues to Egypt (Suez Canal), it may have risen in direct, statistical terms. But is it as critical in overall terms of strategic balance?

For the PRC and Japan, for example, while exports from the Persian Gulf remain critical, these can bypass the Red Sea/Suez SLOC, and, increasingly, the PRC is seeking overland oil and gas transfers from the Northern Tier (Iran and the Caspian Basin), rather than via sea lanes. To some degree, for Europe as well, pipelines are the dominant traffic lanes of the future, rather than sea lanes. On the other hand, oil and gas from the Horn of Africa itself — as well as from Yemen — is of growing importance, although oil from South Sudan is being postured to go via new pipelines through Kenya to the Indian Ocean, rather than allowing South Sudanese exports to continue to be subject to Sudanese control. [The original pipelines went from what is now South Sudan up to the Red Sea, through what is now Sudanese territory. The Kenyan route itself is not without problems, given the potential for instability and even secessionist activities taking place in Kenyan coastal regions.]

Japan itself, now highly conscious of the vulnerability of its oil and gas sea lanes through the Indian Ocean — as US influence declines (despite the US’ “Pacific pivot”), and because of increased PRC activities to control the chokepoints: the South China Sea sea-lanes, which link the Indian Ocean (and therefore the Red Sea) to the Pacific and on to Japan. As a result, Japan is seen as likely to increase its attempts to acquire Canadian oil and gas, largely from the Alberta fields, especially since the US Barack Obama Administration rejected (for the time being) plans for a pipeline from Alberta down through to the US markets. But the Canadians are also now more aware of, and ready to act on, the reality that an export market exists for their oil outside of the US. Significantly, as the global energy pattern changes, however, the US demand even for Canadian energy is seen as likely to decline.

Ultimately, an Alberta-Vancouver pipeline may make sound sense to Canada, to address the Asian markets, including Japan. And Japan might also find that it can find energy supplies from the US fields in Alaska, given the fact that the Alaska pipeline itself is under-utilized and facing real questions as to its viability if demand for Alaskan energy from “the lower 48” states declines further. 

Such a move would instantly free Japan from the strategic uncertainty and massive cost of importing oil and gas from the north-western Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf), and give it short, secure sea-lines of communication with North America. This becomes increasingly important as Japan decides whether it can, politically, return to nuclear power generation or not.

Inherent in all this is the reality that US reliance on Middle Eastern energy is declining, and declining rapidly.

In other words, fear and uncertainty over the security of Middle Eastern sea lanes and choke points should be expected to be a driver in future energy procurement decisions and trade, pushing energy companies to invest in the recovery of oil and gas from less politically hostile regions. This could well spur the US — particularly after this term of the Barack Obama Administration — to redouble its efforts at recovering energy from its newly-confirmed oil and gas reserves. Egypt itself could also well turn its back on the Red Sea to some extent (although it will always be important to Cairo because of Suez Canal revenues), if Ethiopia can reassure it on the question of Blue Nile water flow, and if the offshore Mediterranean gas fields can provide a major energy income from European clients.

Even within Europe, the new availability of energy resources from the massive shale deposits, as well as the new Eastern Mediterranean gas fields and the growing network of supplies emerging from Russia and the Caspian Sea Basin, make the Middle East less critical as an energy resource. Clearly, the Red Sea/Suez retains its importance as a trade sea route, but even that, to an extent, is to be supplemented, if not challenged, over the coming decades by internal overland connections within the Eurasian landmass: the new Silk Route.

Has Arabia’s brief period in the geopolitical sun come, then, to its apogee?

All of this, then, could cause the PRC and India to become Ethiopia’s (and South Sudan’s) most interested clients for energy, just as they have become more important clients for energy from Iran, the Persian Gulf states, Sudan, and West Africa.

It is unsurprising that the present Turkish Government has begun to exert its renewed interest in the region, particularly by supporting Sudanese Pres. Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir and attempting to court the Muslim Brothers in Egypt. Turkey has reasserted its claim to have an historical interest in the control of the Red Sea, based primarily on its earlier Ottoman dominance of what is now Saudi Arabia. While this Turkish claim or posturing may appear to be unsustainable to regional states, or outside observers, today, it is nonetheless a factor in Turkish neo-Ottomanism, and is also linked to Turkey’s grand strategic sense of rivalry with Iran (which also seeks to assert an influence on the Red Sea and Horn of Africa).

Where does all of this leave Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Horn of Africa?

Significantly, one possibility could be — with the personality-driven autocracies of Meles and Isayas drifting astern — that Ethiopia and Eritrea resume their historical relationship, but in such a way that the various elements of the “old empire” are given their due attention. This could see a gradually coalescing confederation which would include Eritrea (historically, the Bar Negus: Kingdom of the North), and Ethiopia, with greater prominence given to the aspirations of its great regions, such as Oromo- land, and the Somali regions, Tigré, the Amhara Plateau, and so on.

Nostalgia for the golden days of Emperor Haile Selassie I means that there are elements of the historical interlinking cultures of the Ge’ez language based peoples which still have a commonality.

By. Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs

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  • Massawa on July 26 2012 said:
    "Nostalgia for the golden days of Emperor Haile Selasse"

    Please understand that Haile Selasse is Only considered great leader by the ethipians and western countries. However he considered evil by eritreans. Historically he was malicious towards Eritrean people. He trained some soldiers from Highlands (i.e Christian)in Isreal and send them to burn and kill people in lowlands of eritrea (Muslims). This was his plan to create divisions and haterist between christian and muslums. He broke Confederation of Eritrea, but the western wolds kept quite because He had a very good deplomatic realationship.

    Note Eritreans started fighting for independence very soon after confederation was broken. Haileslessie time was not "golder times" for eritreans. Although There's is lack of democracy and persucution in Eritrea. Remember that the Eritrean people are stands together for independence regardless of their political adiology.

    Many martiers almost from every single families had fallen to bring indpendence and 99.99% of Eritrean voted of indpendence in 1994.

    the price of Indepence is not cheap, therefore all eritreans will fight together to maintain their indpendence
  • kebrab on July 26 2012 said:
    I don't agree with what you say. Haile Selasie concentrated all the industries in the Eritrean highlands because he felt a shame that Menelik II abandoned Eritrea to Italians. You also forget that most of the resistance fighters against Italian invasion of Ethiopia were "Eritreans" like Moges Asgedom the brave who threw a bomb at Graziani and the fury of Zerai Deres at seeing the Moa anbessa ridiculed by fascists and nazis.
    That is the Eritreans that Haile Selasie fought to incorporate in the motherland, not the traitors that believed the rhetorics of the colonialists and consider there own african brothers as inferious because they are black.
    In Eritrea in the fight between the noble hearted african and the euro-brainwashed, the latter has won. But today 5% Eritreans at least choose with there feets, none forcing them, to come to Ethiopia. Where is then your 99.99%... I am of this generation that knows only pain and hardship because of Eritrea, the one that doesn't remember the good old time of Asmarino. And with the new ethiopian generation...
  • Thomas on July 26 2012 said:
    Eritrea - Thomas Keneally’s prophetic warnings & hard facts!

    By: Sam B.

    Historically, as Eritreans, we have seen a level of unparalleled hostility directed at our desire for self-determination, especially, emanating from those exceptionally hostile elements within Langley and Foggy Bottom neighborhoods, as well as, Kremlin. Be that as it may, the aim of this piece is not to rehash the all too well know facts of military and political supports rendered by the Imperial Centers of the time, Moscow and Washington, to eliminate the aspiration of the Eritrean people and their struggle movements for self-determination. The aim here is to look at - in view of current US-Eritrea relations - the literary work of one of the world’s renowned authors, Thomas Keneally, the author of ‘To Asmara’ and ‘Schindler’s List’.

    In his book ‘To Asmara’, Thomas Keneally, makes observations of the West’s hostile stand toward Eritrea’s struggle for independence. In, yet again, another era of unbridled hostility directed at Eritrea from the Imperial Center, Washington, it forces one to wonder if Keneally was stating simply hard facts or providing prophetic warnings in view of Eritrea’s many successes at the time? With this question in mind it helps to look at some of the remarks and the recurring theme; that the West will never forgive the Eritreans for their “folly” of being “brave” and “cleaver”. A theme which finds an outlet in the exasperations of Keneally’s “Ugly American” character, Henry:

    “You know what I think? They are brave to the point of folly and they’re clever to the point of being dumb. No one absolutely no one, from Washington to Moscow, wants them to succeed. No one. … God’s even taken the rain away from them, for Christ’s sake. Even he thinks they’re wrong-headed. The sin of pride … the sin of being sharp when no one wants them to be. Their presumption, that organization can save them. That … that won’t easily be forgiven.”

    The theme is, the West, and the world for that matter, will not allow the Eritrean struggle to succeed: not only political, military powers and human folly but also nature as well is colluding against the Eritreans. Given their limited resources and the hostile environment they inhabit, the Eritrean case is a hopeless one is a recurring theme that finds an expression in the many outbursts of the American, Henry, which at times is quite crude, however, honest:

    “Do you know what the emergency really is? You want to hear about the really big emergency? The emergency is that if you guys succeed, you’ll be an embarrassment to Africa. Who wants a setup like yours? There aren’t many governments on this continent that do. There aren’t many governments in Europe. Colored folk who can look after themselves? It isn’t viable. It upsets the world picture. Don’t you know the West has to believe famine’s an act of God? If they believe that, they only have to make a donation. But if they believe it’s an act of bloody politics, they have to really do something, and that’s too, too complicated. So what is the story? The story is you guys will fall on your own f-ucking swords, because you’ve got this crazy idea that the world will allow you to be perfect!”

    The notion that “the world will [not] allow” Eritrea to succeed is of course not always enunciated in anger, even for Henry. Seeing the Eritreans at work Herny admiringly marvel at the industriousness of the Eritreans points out:

    “These guys are astounding! Running all this. And you know what? The world hates ‘em for it! The world hooked into the idea of ‘the helpless Africans!’”

    The outlook that Eritrea’s case was hopeless because of its limited resources and the hostile environment it inhabits, as well as, because of the superiority of its enemies was resoundingly defeated in 1991. However, given current development in Eritrea, especially Eritrea’s aspiration to reject dependence on foreign aid and NGO, and thus choosing to survive solely through its own ingenuity and toil has generated an all too familiar hostility from the usual quarters of power and the NGOs beholden to them. Maybe the Eritrean plan “upsets the world picture” a bit too much? Perhaps it is true that no one wants to see “Colored folk who can look after themselves?” It may as well not be a coincidence that we are told that this plan “is not viable” over and again. All things considered it is understandable that such aspirations of self-reliance, that disturb the view of the “world hooked into the idea of ‘the helpless Africans!’”, to generate hostility. And to be viewed as “sin of pride” or, more properly, “the sin of being sharp when no one wants [you] to be.” In such world view, the fact that Eritrea is succeeding in this endeavor, through meticulous organization and toil, is a double sin “that won’t easily be forgiven.”

    Paradoxically, this observations that “the world will not allow” the picture of the “the helpless Africans” to be disturbed, or that no Eritrean or any African can be allowed to succeed the way Eritrea aspires to is not always a result of emotional outbursts of an overbearing American, the more somber characters, the narrator and the ‘British Lady’ character, also make much the same observation:

    “Saudi agents and even the CIA were said to hang round Kassala, the Sudanese border oasis and city, encouraging the ELF to attack the EPLF. For it was a matter of surprise…that no one seemed to want the Eritreans to win. Neither the Americans nor the Saudis … nor the Russians, who supplied military advice and arms. No one wanted an independent Eritrea republic along the stretch of Red Sea shore.”

    Keneally’s characters were of course wrong in one account and absolutely correct in another. Eritrea’s success was not predicated on others “want” - for Eritrea to “succeed” or not. It was solely dependent on Eritreans determination to succeed – same goes today. Even though life and the struggle was made more complicated for Eritreans’ “sin of being sharp when no one wants them to be”, it nevertheless “succeeded”, NOT to be “an embarrassment to Africa”, but to be the pride of a good example of what Africans can accomplish when they stand for their interest in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Whether “the world hooked into the idea of “the helpless Africans”, appreciates the Eritrean experience or not, Eritrea is here to stay. It has succeeded in wining its independence despite all the hostility directed at it from the quarters of power. Still, one will have to appreciate Keneally’s prophetic observations that Eritrea’s success “won’t easily be forgiven” or his more dramatic pronouncement:

    “The world hates ‘em for it!” In that sense his observation resonates with current events, as exemplified by former US President Carter diatribe against Eritrea or by the more recent hostilities coming from US State Department.

    It is evident that in the psyche of some Eritrea needs permission from the West to succeed or forgiveness to move on. There may be some truth in that the psyche of the colonized and oppressed to want to remake itself in the image of its masters, or to need acceptance from its masters or former masters. A phenomenon that is sometimes associated with what is commonly described as “colonial mentality”. However, what the Eritrean experience exemplifies is the kicking off of such mentality and the development of confidence in ones own resource and ingenuity. In short the Eritrean is what Nkrumah at the dawn of decolonization described as the “New African”. The New Eritrean, who is the result and has deep roots in his independence struggle, is strong, confident, conscientious and patriotic. This New Eritrean does not live for or look for acceptance from the “rulers of the universe”. Nor does the New Eritrean hate the colonizer and/or the oppressor, nor want to be like them. All the Eritrean wants to be is Eritrean in all its substantive forms. This New Eritrean requires not any forgiveness, permission or acceptance from anyone.

    Whether the world, more appropriately its Imperial centers, decides to forgive or not, sooner or later it will have to accept that, as Keneally put it, “Eritrea was not the present. It was the future in terms of theories – military and revolutionary – which hung in its fiery air.”

    “No one wanted an independent Eritrea republic along the stretch of Red Sea shore.” And yet it is here. And here to stay! If anyone has a problem, super power or not, with accepting the strong, confident, conscientious and patriotic Eritrean, The New Eritrean, or the “New African” for that matter, it has to be told to “go fly a kite”. And yes! We ought to be “brave to the point of folly” and “clever to the point of being dumb.” The result of this “sin of pride” was our liberation. It worked just fine for us then and it will again and again! Confidence in our ability and Pride in being Eritreans is a formula that works.
  • Muler on July 27 2012 said:
    As interesting as this analsysis sounds, it overlooks a grim reality of the Horn of Africa. The history of Ethiopia and Eritea and price both people paid to exist as independent people are too much to ignore. The people of the Horn and most likely other African countries are so deeply emotional that in no way can they go back to the Haile Slasie era. Specially the price Eritreans paid and are still paying to maintain their independence is so enormous and generational that it is impossible to go back to federated states. Yet, this are the same people that should find a way to cooexist. But the most important misser of this analysis is, to be a leader in Africa takes tremendouse amount of brutality and ingenuity that ordinary people are not able to govern. Azieb is in no position to rule Ethiopia. She should fear for her life and get the H out of Ethiopia. Most likely another brutal TPLF leader will come and restart the war with Eritrea to garner support from all Ethiopians. The hatred against Eritreans is the only thing that unites Ethiopians this time.
  • Green yellow Red on July 27 2012 said:
    I think Ethiopia after Eprdf will be more united and strong in the region which will invitabily crash any forces inculding the one man rule in asmera. As for Eriterians I don't think Ethiopian want anything apart from the stolen Asab which is the given right of the Afar people of Ethiopia. Now unlike haileselassie ethiopians won't beg eriterians we are infact much better without I think we need to focus on our core strength than including eriteria in the unity after all Meles and Co. are all eriterian infiltrators which are still nightmare to the existance of Ethiopia. I agree ethiopia of the past mentality has been transformed which the playing field consist of All ethincs we don't have the Amhara elites anymore. FOr the excistance of Ethiopiawinet we all have to work under one banner which is strength and equal opportunity for all. After the collapse of EPRDF the main objective for the transition governement should be ASAB then establish any trade realtion with eriteria if it is necessary.
  • Bambula on July 28 2012 said:
    Forget united Ethiopia having a good relationship with its neighbors including its arch-foe Eritrea.This is a country at breaking-point with peoples of Ogaden & Oromia asking their sovereignty.
    The day Meles Zenawi dies is the day the northern TIGRAY region will continue what they have started 40 years ago.Independent sovereign Tigrai.Afterall the TPLF guerrilla which Meles created was a Tigrain People LiberationFront.But once he saw a power-gap in Ethiopia he went for a bigger ambition,that's to be the next dictator of this poor country.So it's a ticking-bomb that will explode when he leaves power (when he dies obviously)
    For the writer of this article who has a global perspective of political stabilization so oil and trade won't be disturbed,I understand that.But as as far as Eritrea is concerned we see Ethiopia as another neighbor just like Sudan& Djibouti.Nothing more nothing less.Yes we share some cultural & traditional similarities just like we do with other neighbors.
    I for once believe we have our own problem in dictator president Isaias who is in power for more than 20 years.But we have nothing to do with this problematic,ethnically divided country.Many political analysts have claimed time & again Ethiopia is a big-sized,over-populated country in transition waiting to be breaking to few smaller nations.That's more likely to happen than the writer of this article's naive idea of a peaceful horn of Africa with Ethiopia & Somalia creating no problem to their neighbors which is more like a dream.
    Also it's disrespectful & unprofessional writing to use the word "Eritrea" in the same sentence of "Oromo,Ogaden,Amhara & Tigrai....so on.
    Does the writer understand Eritrea is a nation.A member of UN.It has nothing to do with Ethiopia.How can we make these people understand.WE DON'T WANT YOU.
    Enough said.
    God bless Eritrea & it's people's.
  • dibaba on July 29 2012 said:
    Dear Gregory,
    You have mentioned several points which should attract researchers in the future.
    However,you should understand that the EPRDF is a very strong party and has wide support in Ethiopia.The reasons are simple.EPRDF has somehow resolved the ethnic issue by granting genuine rights to the ethnic groups.Religious rights are respected.Eventhough it starts from a low base,the economy is growing very fast.Government budgets allocated for education and health,food security,infrastructure are the largest in Africa.
    The opposition inside and outside Ethiopia are remnants of the old guard,specially the Mengistu era.They will never come to power in the old form inwhich they dominate the differnt ethnic groups.For Ethiopia,the EPRDF is the savior and will stay in power for the next several years.Ethiopia needs the EPRDF.
    Dibaba
  • Melion Belayneh on September 02 2012 said:
    It is very depressing to read all this comments full of negativity and hatred being spewed out.
    I understand there are fundemental disagreements between Ethiopians and Eritreans.
    However strongly we might feel about our grievences,we must understand that war is not the answer to our differences,it will never achieve what we crave for.We need democractic goverments that actually offers political,socail,economic freedom to the popoulas of both nations,not puppet parilments and dictators who use intimidation,zenaphobia,religion e.t.c to create fear and fuel already existing fricitions between the populas,so as to hang on to power.We need to talk to eachother rather than insult one another.If we can create a cordial atmosphere for our two nations we can turn The Horn of Africa from a 'basketcase' to an economic and politcal power house in Africa. Let go of our hatred past and look to properous future,easier said then done but what other choice do we have? We have already gone through hell and back,why not try peace?

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