Without the support of America's top women Smith, Sherman and Rice, many African dictators would not remain in power for a single day. Smith's appointment to head USAID is a boon to the despots.
This past Thursday, Gayle Smith who is currently Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council directed by Susan Rice, had her confirmation hearing to become the next Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
It was not much of a hearing.
She got a bunch of “softball questions”.
Her prepared statement basically said she would save at least half the world if she snags the job. “USAID is uniquely positioned to flexibly respond to humanitarian crises with agility and to provide enduring leadership to solve the world’s most intractable development challenges,” declared Smith’s statement for the record.
Mekonnen Getachew, an Ethiopian human rights activist, interrupted Smith’s testimony and was escorted out of the hearing room.
Most of my readers are aware of my opposition to Smith’s appointment and Senate confirmation.
I registered my principled objection to her confirmation in my May 12 commentary in The Hill. I argued Smith’s “long and chummy relationship with Africa’s strongmen will make her a weak advocate of human rights, the rule of law and good governance on the continent.”
Most of my readers also know that over the past couple of months I had “locked horns” with U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
In three weekly commentaries, I challenged Sherman to defend her preposterous and willfully ignorant claims that “Ethiopia is a young democracy” and that the May 24 election will be “free, fair and credible.”
Sherman’s champions of “Ethiopia’s young democracy”, the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF), recently declared they have won 100 percent of all the votes they had counted in the May 24 election clenching all 442 seats.
They are expected to make an announcement anytime that they have also clenched 100 percent of the remaining 105 seats. (It is rather amusing that Sherman’s champions could count and certify their election victory for 442 seats in three days but are taking several weeks to certify the remaining 105.)
I correctly predicted a year ago that the T-TPLF would win the 2015 election by 100 percent!
I just can’t wait to hear Sherman congratulating the T-TPLF on its 100 percent victory in an election that was “free, fair and credible”.
Who said Sherman won’t be around to repeat her claim that “Ethiopia is a young democracy”!?
The New York Times reported, “Obama’s Chief Negotiator in Iran Nuclear Talks Plans to Depart After Deadline for Deal”.
The NYT did not mention a single word about Sherman’s monumental gaffe that “Ethiopia is a young democracy.”
Obama’s said Sherman was “one of the most effective diplomats of her generation.” Effective or defective diplomat?
If Sherman is “one of the most effective diplomats of her generation”, then Ethiopia is indeed a young democracy!
The scoop about Sherman’s “resignation” at the end of this month is that she botched the Iran nuclear job just as she did the nuclear negotiations with North Korea during the Clinton Administration.
According to one report, “While serving in the Clinton administration, Sherman was tasked with being part of the team that was supposed to stop North Korea from being able to obtain a nuclear weapon. Shortly after Sherman and the rest of the Clinton team inked the agreement, North Korea reportedly obtained nuclear weapons with relative ease.”
Amazingly, Sherman was given the top job even though she “did not have any diplomatic experience prior to the talks that she led with North Korea”. No wonder she botched it.
In the end, she became a victim of the Peter Principle. She reached her level of incompetence for the second time with the Iran nuclear job, and now, out the door!
How does an “expert” in nuclear negotiations suddenly become a guru on Ethiopian elections?
Well! Duh! How does a malaria research jockey overnight become the foreign minister of Ethiopia?
Sherman was whipsawed by the Washington Post (WAPO) for her claim “Ethiopia is a young democracy” and the ruling regime will conduct a “free, fair and credible election” on May 24, 2015.
In a rare editorial directed at a specific government official, WAPO pilloried Sherman for her “lavish praise” of a regime [TPLF regime in Ethiopia"> that “has been stifling civic freedoms and systematically cracking down on independent journalism for several years… Since last year, members of opposition parties and their supporters have been arrested and harassed.”
The WAPO editorial concluded the U.S. should come out of its fool’s paradise and fashion a realistic Ethiopia policy:
“… But that does not justify make-believe statements or a go-softly approach that is not working. The United States should stop funneling millions of aid dollars to a regime that has continued to choke off the media, hamper the participation of opposition parties and silence its critics. If the election is not judged by independent observers to live up to Ms. Sherman’s billing, the administration should swallow her words — and change its approach.”
In a letter to the WAPO editor, Sherman tried backpedaling. She effectively claimed she was misunderstood in what she said. What she meant was, “Ethiopia is a young country in terms of democracy and over time we hope the political system matures in a way that provides real choices for the people.”
That is traditionally called diplomatic gobbledygook. I call it American diplocrisy.
Most of my readers know I vigorously opposed the nomination of Susan Rice to become U.S. Secretary of State.
Rice is currently Obama’s National Security Advisor. Gayle Smith, as mentioned above, currently serves under Susan Rice as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council.
In my commentary, “The Tall Tale of Susan Rice”, I argued that if a confirmation hearing were to be held, “Rice will be exposed for what she really is — a grand obfuscator of the truth, an artful dodger and a masterful artist of political expediency and intrigue.”
In my December 9, 2012 commentary, “Susan Rice and Africa’s Unholy Trinity”, I argued, “Susan Rice, the current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., has been waltzing (or should I say do-se-do-ing) with Africa’s slyest, slickest and meanest dictators for nearly two decades.”
Opposition to Rice’s nomination, particularly on her support for African dictators and her role in the post-Bengazi, Libya terrorist incident in September 2012, thwarted her ambitions for that coveted top job. On December 13, 2012, Rice withdrew her name from consideration to be appointed secretary of state.
THE UNHOLY TRINITIES: THE AXIS OF SHEVIL AND HEVIL
Why do I oppose the unholy trinity, the Axis of Shevil of Smith, Sherman and Rice?
For the same reasons I oppose Africa’s unholy trinity, the Axis of Hevil: Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Meles Zenawi, the late leader of the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front and others like them.
In a 2012 report, Human Rights Watch described Zenawi’s regime: “Ethiopia has seen a sharp deterioration in civil and political rights, with mounting restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The ruling party has increasingly consolidated its power, weakening the independence of core institutions such as the judiciary and the independent media that are crucial to the rule of law.”
In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch described Paul Kagame’s rule in stark terms: “Rwanda under Kagame has no tolerance for dissent or political opposition. Years of state intimidation and infiltration have emasculated Rwandan civil society.”
In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch described Museveni’s creeping repression: “After 27 years in office, President Yoweri Museveni’s government increasingly suppresses freedom of assembly, expression, and association while escalating threats to civil society.”
Without the support of Smith, Sherman and Rice, these African dictators, and many others like them in Africa, would not remain in power for a single day.
With the support of the Axis of Shevil and others like them, African dictators have been living high on the hog on the dimes of American tax payers.
IS GAYLE SMITH’S APPOINTMENT AS USAID ADMINISTRATOR GOOD FOR AFRICA?
Is what’s good for filthy rich African dictators good for dirt poor Africans?
Charles Wilson, the head of General Motors, during his nomination to become Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense in 1953, reportedly said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” In 2009, General Motors declared bankruptcy.
What is good for African dictators is not good for America. What is good for African dictators is ABSOLUTELY not good for Africa and Africans.
The morally bankrupt African dictators have bankrupted Africa, mismanaged and converted Africa’s natural resources and secreted hundreds of millions of dollars in off shore banks for their personal use. Ethiopians starve as the TPLF thugs wonder in amazement why the Ethiopian people can’t eat cake.
With news of Gayle Smith at the helm of USAID, African dictators are rubbing their palms and drooling on their jackets at the very prospect of bleeding the American taxpayer. They are slobbering like hyenas snorting a whiff of carrion.
USAID HAS LONG BEEN A CANDY STORE FOR AFRICAN DICTATORS
When Gayle Smith takes over, USAID will be a chocolate factory for African dictators.
In 2016, USAID will have some 22 billion in greenbacks to spread around the globe. A good 25 percent plus of it will go to line the pockets of African dictators.
Gayle Smith confirmation will mean one thing: One small insignificant event for the impoverished people of Africa, one giant money-making opportunity for African dictators.
There is no doubt African dictators will have a field day when Smith’s confirmation is finally announced.
The T-TPLF will have a thug-fest in Addis Ababa.
Kagame and his crew will be dancing the Watusi in Kigali.
Museveni and his gang will be breakdancing to the tune of “Jambole” singing, “We’re rich! We’re rich! We’re rich!”
African dictators win again!
The day after Smith is confirmed, African dictators will make a beeline with their panhandles at the USAID HQ in Washington bleating for handouts and alms, “Baksheesh, Gayle! Baksheesh.”
Is Gayle Smith’s appointment as USAID Administrator good for Ethiopia?
Closer to the home front, it is a fact that Gayle Smith has been a dyed-in-the-wool TPLF supporter and employee of a REST (Relief Society of Tigray (Maret), an organization created and controlled by the late Meles Zenawi and his TPLF party, which won the May 24, 2015 election by 100 percent. (In 2010, Meles’ party won a similar election by 99.6 percent.)
A May 1991 Christian Science Monitor report offers a perspective on Smith and her relationship with the TPLF. “One of the few Westerners who speaks the Tigre language and has had many contacts with Zenawi over a nine-year period, is Gayle Smith, an American who worked for Tigre’s relief agency, REST, during the 1985-6 drought.”
Smith was a staunch defender and spin-doctor of Meles Zenawi.
Smith tried to humanize the late cut-throat Marxist as a harmless ideologue. She said “many of Zenawi’s leftist statements are part of ‘a language that goes along with being a left-of-center guerrilla organization’”.
Smith tried to paint Zenawi as a reasonable liberal democrat who “realizes only a broad-based coalition can govern Ethiopia’s diverse ethnic population.”
As soon as Meles seized power, he cobbled together his own servile coalition and called it the “Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPDRF). You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day it is still a pig. You can put lipstick on the EPDRF and call it a coalition representing the Ethiopian people. At the end of the day, EPDRF is TPLF in lipstick.
Meles showed how committed he was to “broad-based coalition” governance when he implemented his grand plan to “kililistanize” Ethiopia into disparate “thugdoms”.
Ultimately, Gayle Smith proved to be Meles Zenawi’s Leni Riefenstahl!
In 2005, Meles Zenawi showed his true face when he ordered the massacre and shooting of hundreds of unarmed protesters following the election that year. As I always like to remind my readers, the Meles Massacres converted me from an armchair academic and litigious defense lawyer into a human rights advocate for Ethiopia and Africa.
Meles Zenawi was never a “left-of-center” anything. He was a ruthless, cunning and slick-as-a-used-car-salesman Stalinist thug hiding under the skirts of the likes of Smith.
In May 1990, exactly a year before Meles Zenawi and his TPLF thugs marched on the Ethiopian capital, Smith, the former REST employee, was pleading for severe sanctions against the military junta ruling Ethiopia at the time.
In her testimony before Congress, Smith argued for “increasing pressure on the Mengistu regime” and recommended “expanded and sustained to the cross border operations in a comprehensive fashion to support the TPLF and EPLF”.
Specifically, Smith recommended, “In particular, support to the cross border programs should include not only food but also the provision of trucks, spare parts, fuel, storage, medical and other emergency relief supplies and administrative costs.” She further urged the U.S. to “ensure that relief items originally consigned to the Port of Massawa for delivery after 8 February 1990 have been or will be re-consigned to the Port of Sudan.”
In her earlier Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) analysis, Smith, just before she became a REST employee, explained that when the “Ethiopian famine burst on the scene in Tigray in late 1984, the second and third [famine relief"> operations both began at Port Sudan and entered Eritrea and Tigray at points along the eastern Sudanese border. These were run by the Eritrean Relief Association (ERA) and the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), respectively.”
What is amazing is the fact that the “food, trucks, spare parts, fuel, storage, medical and other emergency relief supplies” that were delivered in Port Sudan were being used to support Zenawi’s TPLF rebel army.
What Meles Zenawi and his REST operation did with the relief aid they received in 1984-85 is a shocking story of theft and conversion of humanitarian relief for military purposes, including the diversion of food aid to feed Meles’ rebel army.
I have documented the scope of that theft and misappropriation of humanitarian aid in my November 2014 commentary “TPLF Licensed to Steal”.
The compelling evidence is given by Dr. Aregawi Berhe, a founding member of the TPLF and once a comrade of Meles Zenawi. Dr. Aregawi explained the sophisticated aid scam used by Meles and the TPLF during that period in an interview with BBC’s Martin Plaut:
“ … Sometimes we were using aid money to buy arms through secondary means. You come to the Middle East, you can buy arms if you have the money. So we were using some of the money to buy arms. You know this organization called REST, Relief Society of Tigrai. It was the humanitarian wing of the TPLF, and through REST aid money was coming to the TPLF. So when you get this aid money, you make a budget for relief, for the Front or to buy arms, medicine and so on. I would say we were relying on the aid money for sustaining the struggle.
“ We are talking about millions of dollars. I can cite you a concrete example. In 1985, when Tigrai was hit by a terrible famine, aid money was flowing through REST to the TPLF. So the MLLT (Marxist-Lennist League of Tigrai), and the TPLF leadership which is almost one and the same had to budget for $100 million U.S. dollars. I remember Meles Zenawi suggesting that 50 percent of that money should go to TPLF activities; 45 percent should go to MLLT organizing and 5 percent to support the victims…”
In her eulogy of Meles at a church in N.Y. City in October 2012, Smith spoke of Meles Zenawi as a man “who was curious beyond imagination’.
Smith praised Meles as the savior of Ethiopia. She said Meles brought development and progress to Ethiopia. He “stopped famine for the first time” in Ethiopian history. Ethiopia today is a reflection of Meles’ image, said Smith.
In short, Smith said Meles was the Second Coming for Ethiopia.
Smith did not mention a single word about Meles’ crimes against humanity committed in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, in Gambella Western Ethiopia, in Somalia during a three-year of a war of aggression and the hundreds of people he massacred after the 2005 elections.
Smith did not mention a single word about Meles’ so-called anti-terrorism law which is nothing more than a dragnet to ensnare Meles’ opponents. She said nothing about Meles’ crushing suppression of the independent press.
Gayle Smith’s whitewashed Meles’ record in office and concealed his monumental crimes against humanity by deceptive exaltation.
Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth: “This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,/ Was once thought honest. /You have loved him well.”
Comrade Gayle Smith so loved Comrade Meles Zenawi, the late tyrant whose name blisters our tongues today!
ENOUGH OF GAYLE SMITH!
Gayle Smith runs a web-based project called “Enough.”
It is a project purportedly powered by moral outrage “over the world’s failure to stop the massacre of more than 800,000 innocent people in Rwanda” and inadequate “response to the current shocking bloodshed in Africa.”
Incredibly, Enough proclaims it is “committed to bringing lasting change to these countries, where action and accountability are most urgent.” Accountability!? That’s like the fox guarding the hen house giving accountability for the chickens in the coop.
How about accountability for the 800,000 victims of the Rwandan Genocide?
Gayle Smith sheds crocodile (hyena) tears.
The ultimate irony is that Susan Rice, Gayle Smith current boss in Obama’s NSA, in April 1994, when she worked for the Clinton Administration pretended to be ignorant of the unspeakable terror and massacres in Rwanda.
Rice, as a “young Director on the National Security Council staff at the White House” was totally unconcerned about taking immediate action to stop the Rwanda killings. Rather, Rice was fretting about the political consequences of calling the Rwandan genocide, “genocide”.
In a monument to utter moral depravity and conscience-bending callous indifference, Rice casually inquired of her colleagues, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ [to describe what is happening Rwanda in April 1994"> and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [Congressional"> election?”
Rice later shed crocodile tears for having made her senseless statement while simultaneously claiming she does not quite remember making it.
Lt. Colonel Tony Marley, the U.S. military liaison to the Arusha peace process (the Arusha Peace Accords which resulted in the 1993 agreement for power sharing between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda) who heard Rice make the statement was so baffled he observed, “We could believe that people would wonder that, but not that they would actually voice it.”
I have extensively reviewed the evidence of Rice’s depravity in the Rwanda Genocide, which is available in my commentary, Susan Rice and Africa’s Unholy Trinity.
Prompt U.S. humanitarian intervention could have significantly mitigated the Rwanda Genocide.
Two decades after that genocide, President Bill Clinton said, “If we’d gone in sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the lives that were lost…it had an enduring impact on me.”
The tragic fact is that in less than 100 days, 800 thousand Rwandans had been exterminated as the world looked on with eyes wide open.
For weeks during the genocide, Rice, her boss Anthony Lake and other top U.S. officials labored and agonized not to call the monstrous Rwandan genocide, a genocide. They continued to play their sinister semantic bureaucratic games to make sure there were no official references to “genocide”, “ethnic cleansing”, “extermination” and the like in connection with the Rwandan tragedy.
But far from regretting her role in willfully underrating the Rwandan genocide and the massive and gross violations of human rights, over the past decade and half Rice has turned a blind eye, deaf ears and muted lips to extrajudicial killings, suppression of the press, decimation of opposition parties and imprisonment of large numbers of dissidents in Africa and aided and abetted Africa’s dictatorial trio, Kagame, Museveni and the late Zenawi. She has coddled, pampered, nurtured, protected and sang praises for these ruthless dictators.
Gayle Smith’s website declares,
“ Civilians continue to be the victims of widespread crimes against humanity in Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Uganda, and the Horn of Africa. This rampant, man-made suffering warrants an immediate and robust response, yet inadequate attention from our world leaders allows these horrors to persist.”
Pray tell, who are the individuals in power singularly responsible for the crimes against humanity in the Horn of Africa?
What single individual and what single organization committed the worst crimes against humanity in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, in Gambella in Western Ethiopia, in street massacres of unarmed protesters in 2005 and untold crimes against humanity in Somalia?
Let Gayle Smith answer that question.
Gayle Smith now mounts her white horse and declares “Enough”. I say enough of hyena tears! Enough of Gayle Smith!
Comes now Gayle Smith’s defender and acolyte.
In an “Open Letter” in the Boston Review on June 15, 2015, Alex de Waal sang Smith’s praises and trumpeted Smith’s history of compassion and sacrifice in Africa.
De Waal opened his “Open Letter” stating,
“ We have known one another for almost thirty years, and been shaped by the same experiences of war and famine in Africa. We have shared the same commitment to the people of Africa, especially the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes, in their times of greatest need. Allow me to contribute a few thoughts now that you are poised to become Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID.”
Tweedle dee testifying for Tweedle dum! It’s true birds of a feather flock together.
God, please save us from our self-appointed, self-righteous messiahs in our “times of greatest need”!
Ethiopians who follow the writings of self-designated sycophantic cognoscente on the TPLF may remember Alex de Waal as a Meles apologist, propagandist and hagiographer (a writer of the lives of saint). De Waal’s brief hagiography and adulation of Meles Zenawi is available here.
In his “eulogy” of Meles, de Waal wrote in the New York Times that he knew Meles as “Comrade Meles” who “rose to become first among equals… due to force of intellect.”
De Waal worshipped Meles and was enchanted and manifestly impressed by Meles’ phrase mongering, which de Waal embellishes as and willfully mistakes for “force of intellect”.
De Waal wrote, “Intellectual rigor was the hallmark of Meles’s many years in office… Meles declared that he would consider his government a success if Ethiopians were able to eat three meals a day. All his national policies were framed around the conquest of poverty.”
Meles was a pedestrian philistine who was notorious for his intellectual pretensions. Meles was so diabolically cunning that he figured out a foolproof method of conning his Western donors, loaners and intellectual toadies. The absolute truth is that Meles was the consummate phrase (and hate) monger. Nothing more.
De Waal claims Meles’ “national policies were framed around the conquest of poverty”. That is a damned lie!
Meles’ national policies were framed first and foremost around lining his pockets and his cronies’ pockets by plundering the national treasury.
For over two decades, Meles toiled day and night shredding Ethiopian identity and nationality, wrecking Ethiopian unity and institutionalizing the thugtatorship of his TPLF.
But all that aside, I ask de Waal a simple question if the man he worships as a demigod achieved anything close to “success” by his own standards:
“Are Ethiopians eating three meals a day, today?”
Well! Well! Are they, de Waal?!?
De Waal now presents himself as a witness for Smith. He sanctifies Smith. “No one should question your credentials.”
I thought only the Pope’s credentials’ could not be questioned!
For de Waal, no one should have questioned Meles Zenawi’s intellectual prowess or his credentials.
By the same token, no one should question Gayle Smith’s credentials which she purportedly earned in “almost thirty years” of sacrifice and fighting against “war and famine in Africa.”
No accountability for Meles. No accountability for Smith. No accountability for thugtators and their fellow travelers.
De Waal should know that not only will we resolutely question Smith’s credentials and defend against any attempts to mythologize and canonize the “peas in the pod”, we will also question every policy and official action Smith takes as USAID Administrator.
We live in America, not under some tin pot dictatorship in Ethiopia, Rwanda or Uganda.
We will use every legal means available to us under American law to question Smith’s official actions and decisions, and even President’s Obama’s.
“No one should question your credentials.”!!! For crying out loud, give me a break!
Does aiding and abetting an organization that is listed on the Global Terrorism Database count as “questioning credentials”, de Waal?
FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AFRICA IS A SIMPLE QUESTION OF MIND OVER MATTER
I have come to the conclusion that for the Obama Administration, Africa is a simple question of mind over matter. Obama does not care and Africa doesn’t matter.
The evidence is incontrovertible that Obama is on the side of African dictators. But history is on the side of African peoples.
Obama’s Africa’s “policy” is based on several assumptions:
• The T-TPLF is cornerstone, the gravitational force that keeps the Horn of Africa from total implosion or explosion.
• The fight against terrorism and promotion of human rights in Africa are mutually exclusive.
• To vigorously insist the African dictators respect their citizens’ human rights will diminish their collaboration with the U.S. in its global war on terrorism.
• The U.S. must assist, defend, tolerate and coddle repressive regimes in Africa because they collaborate on the U.S. war on global terror.
• Dictatorships, not democracies, in Africa enhance and guarantee American security and preservation of national interests.
These assumptions are false, misplaced and speculative at best.
The whole terrorism thing is a “godsend” (I mean “devilsend”) for African dictators. It insulates them from accountability for all of the crimes against humanity they commit every day. America’s war against global terrorism has been a cash cow for African dictators.
There is a big difference between assisting African dictators to fight terrorism and turning a blind eye, deaf ears and muted lips to massive and appalling human rights violations committed by these dictators. The U.S. can ill-afford to make human rights the sacrificial lamb on the battle field of counter-terrorism.
Let me address the Obama Administration’s bedrock but almost paranoid assumption that without U.S. support of friendly African dictators, particularly in the Horn, the region and continent will go to hell in a hand basket.
I know many who have long felt life under African dictatorships is as Dante imagined “life” in hell from the inscriptions on Hell’s Gate: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
The Horn countries are in pretty bad shape, to put it mildly.
The Obama Administration knows, but will never publicly acknowledge, that the Horn of Africa is like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall and all the king’s men and horses could not put Humpty together.
Somalia has been a clan-dom since the overthrow of the military strongman Siad Barre by a coalition of armed opposition groups.
No one, not the clan leaders, not the war monger Meles Zenawi who waged a three-year war of aggression against the Somali people, not the African Union, not the United States of America or the European Union have been able to put Somalia back together.
Ethiopia is a virtual Humpty Dumpty.
The T-TPLF and its leaders have carved up Ethiopia into “kilils”, little ethnic homelands for the people of Ethiopia, just like they had it in apartheid South Africa.
The T-TPLF has managed to make the Land of Thirteen Months of Sunshine, the Land of Kililistan.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” wrote the old bard. But a Bantustan by its gentler and kinder name of Kililistan reeks to the high heavens.
The T-TPLF that the U.S. “believes” is a force of stability in Ethiopia and in the Horn is actually the slow-burning fuse in the Ethiopian and regional powder keg.
Meles Zenawi and his T-TPLF cabal have buried a timed powder keg (“nuclear option”) set to go off the day they are removed from power.
The core belief of the T-TPLF is that if they can’t have Ethiopia for themselves alone, no one can have her. Blow her up into smithereens!
But the T-TPLF should know one thing beyond a shadow of doubt. Their plans to blot out Ethiopia from the pages of history will never, never, never succeed!
There reason is simple. There is power infinitely greater than the T-TPLF’s that “standeth behind the dim unknown and within the shadow, keeping watch above his own Ethiopia.”
The U.S. paranoia that strongly supporting human rights in Ethiopia could somehow undermine the U.S. war on terror in the Horn and result in regional instability and conflict is not only unjustified, it is also silly.
The implicit assumption in the U.S. position is that without the iron fist of the T-TPLF Ethiopia will be the next Somalia.
The T-TPLF has done a pretty good job convincing the donors and loaners that as T-TPLF’s Ethiopia goes, so will the Horn of Africa. That is a bunch of horse feathers. (I did not say bull feathers.)
There will always be pockets of terrorism in the Horn and elsewhere. That is a simple fact.
The bulwark against terrorism in the horn is not and never will be the T-TPLF. The T-TPLF is a terrorist organization in itself. It is listed as such in the Global Terrorism Database.
The T-TPLF is a regional menace.
In 2007, the first full year of Meles’ invasion of Somalia, over 700,000 people were displaced from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. By 2008, 16,210 Somali civilians had been killed and 29,000 wounded directly as a result of Meles Zenawi’s intervention in Somalia.
To assume or believe that the T-TPLF is the Horn’s safeguard against terrorism is to believe the fox is the guardian angel of the chickens in the henhouse.
The removal of the T-TPLF from power in Ethiopia will help stabilize the country not destabilize it. It will not lead to disintegration. It will lead to democratic governance and integration.
Crisis Group argues, “a violent power struggle [in Eritrea"> could prove dangerous for the Horn of Africa and potentially for the Red Sea region”.
The fact of the matter is that the Horn of Africa is a collection of miserably failed states. None of the donors, loaners and defenders of the Horn dictators are willing to publicly acknowledge that stark reality.
With the exception of tiny Djibouti, the other four Horn states are in the top of the rankings of the 2015 “Failed States Index”.
The number one failed state in the world is South Sudan, followed by Somalia at #2, Sudan at #4, Ethiopia at #20 and Eritrea at #24, out of 178 states ranked.
For the U.S. to argue that strongly supporting human rights in these countries will destabilize them and cause strife is a reductio ad absurdum (silly). How could the Horn States be more failed than they already are?
I want to specifically challenge the U.S. assumption on the T-TPLF as the linchpin of Ethiopian “unity” and political stability. That assumption underestimates the Ethiopian people and their history.
Ethiopia will not disintegrate and dissolve into kililistans when the T-TPLF is swept up and junked into the dustbin of history where it belongs. Ethiopia will rise up from the ashes of T-TPLF’s kililistan. We call that “Ethiopia’s Tinsae (resurrection).”
Ethiopia has maintained its independence for 3 thousand years. When Europe scrambled to carve out Africa in the late 19the century, Ethiopia unscrambled the designs of the European colonial masters. Twice, Ethiopia emerged victorious against an invading European colonial war machine.
The self-serving messianic canard cultivated by the T-TPLF that Ethiopia will disintegrate without their iron-fisted rule is a transparent ploy to extend their rule with the support of the U.S. and others.
If the U.S. continues to blindly support the T-TPLF, the Horn will be the site of a regional Armageddon. That is why the U.S. needs to pull its head out of the sand now and do the right thing before it is too late.
The Washington Post recently advised the Obama Administration to change course in its editorial,
With its ancient culture, strategic location and population of 94 million, Ethiopia is indeed key to the future of eastern Africa. But that does not justify make-believe statements or a go-softly approach that is not working. The United States should stop funneling millions of aid dollars to a regime that has continued to choke off the media, hamper the participation of opposition parties and silence its critics. If the election is not judged by independent observers to live up to Ms. Sherman’s billing, the administration should swallow her words — and change its approach.
The U.S. must change its approach. It must now pursue a human rights agenda in earnest.
WAPO was right in recommending a change of course in U.S. policy.
What will the U.S. do when the T-TPLF is consigned to the dustbin of history?
What will the U.S. do as the Horn continues to slowly crumble like a decrepit house?
Will the U.S. undertake another ill-advised and surely to be ill-fated military adventure in the Horn?
The U.S. spent trillions of dollars over the past decade to bring about stability in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Are any of these countries more stable than they were before U.S. intervention?
If the Horn needs saving, it will be done by those sitting on the horns of the Horn dilemma.
But the whole stability argument by the U.S. is hypocrisy based on a double standard.
Robert Mugabe has been in power since 1980. That must mean Zimbabwe is “stable”.
When Robert Mugabe “won” his presidential election in August 2013 by 61 percent, Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed that election as not “representing a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people.”
Last month Secretary Kerry wrote a letter to Paul Biya, the dictator in Cameroon, who has been in power since 1987. Cameroon must also be “stable”.
Kerry told Biya, “on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Cameroon as you celebrate your national day on May 20. Since independence, Cameroonians have sought to build a stable, prosperous, and democratic society. The people of the United States welcome your nation’s efforts to achieve this goal.”
Biya is listed on The World’s 20 Worst Living Dictators and credited for an “innovation in the world of phony elections.” Biya “paid for his own set of international observers, six ex-U.S. congressmen, who certified his election as free and fair.”
In April 2015, when Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan claimed reelection victory in the Sudan by a 94.01 percent, the “Troika” (U.S., U.K. and Norway) damned him for rigging the election. Bashir has been in office since 1989 when he led a military coup. Sudan must also be “stable”.
When the T-TPLF reported a 100 percent victory a couple of weeks ago, the United States issued a Statement claiming it “remains deeply concerned by continued restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties, and independent voices and views.” That was all!
But silence sometimes speaks louder than words.
Legend has it that President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza that “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”
By the same logic, it appears Mugabe and Bashir are not “our S.O.B.s” but the T-TPLF “S.O.B.’s” are!?
Last year, the U.S. worked behind the scenes to get Uhuru Kenyatta off the ICC (International Criminal Court) hook and escape prosecution for multiple counts of crimes against humanity.
The fact of the matter is that African dictators do not strengthen American security. By propping up African dictatorships, Obama is weakening American security.
America’s national interests cannot and must not be equated with the survival of ruthless, corrupt and repressive African dictatorships.
As an Ethiopian American constitutional lawyer, it is humiliating for me personally to see America that honors democracy and fundamental human rights embracing African dictators whose lips drip with scorn for democracy and sneer and thumb their noses at human rights.
I wonder why a nation that believes in human liberty has a need to go to bed with African killers, torturers and oppressors.
Needless to say, assisting dictatorial regimes in Africa makes the Obama Administration an accomplice in their violations of human rights in Africa. America must separate itself and not passively or actively become a participant in acts of repression and brutality in Africa.
It is becoming starkly clear to ordinary Africans that America’s moral posturing on human rights is laughable and a grand invitation for them to express their contempt and scorn for American values.
President Jimmy Carter said, “America did not invent human rights. Human rights invented America.”
Why can’t human rights re-invent Africa? Aren’t Africans humans?
Let the good times roll at the 30th Reunion!
2015 will be the 30th anniversary reunion of Gayle Smith and the TPLF. It was in 1985 that Smith worked for REST, the other acronym for the TPLF.
Smith will certainly be confirmed. She will reign over the USAID.
American tax dollars will be flowing to African dictators, and specifically to the T-TPLF, like the Mississippi river.
But like Amos, I can see the day is fast approaching when “justice will roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” in Ethiopia and in the African continent. I can see that day coming.
Is preservation of the thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front vital to American security? I’d say, “HELL, NO!”
Gayle Smith’s answer will be, “ABSOLUTELY YES!”
Well, the T-TPLF not only won its elektion with 100 percent in 2015; it now wins big time with the appointment of its former employee to lead the free Bank of African Dictators (BAD), a/k/a USAID.
I will concede defeat for now.
The T-TPLF and Gayle Smith have won.
It will be like old times for Smith and the TPLF.
I say let them have fun on the American tax payer’s dime.
They had a good time shaking down humanitarian donors back in 1984-85.
Now they will get another chance to shakedown the American taxpayer.
Three decades later, the old crew is back together.
I will be a good sport. I won’t rain on their parade.
I will just say, let the good times roll!!!
T-TPLF, Gayle Smith, let the good times roll!!!
* Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino.
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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