Early this month, the Ethiopian government declared that it was finally ready to implement a peace deal it signed with Eritrea nearly two decades ago. The Eritrean government didn’t respond to the announcement for over two weeks — until Wednesday, when President Isaias Afwerki said that “the positive direction that has been set in motion is crystal clear.” Mr. Isaias also promised to send a delegation to Ethiopia “to gauge current developments directly and in depth.”
For many years, however, even as Ethiopia declared its willingness to implement a 2002 judgment about the two states’ border, it refused to withdraw its troops from Eritrean territory until other issues — about armed groups, trade, access to Eritrea’s ports on the Red Sea — were settled.… Seguir leyendo »
On June 8, a special U.N. commission released a report accusing the leadership of Eritrea of crimes against humanity. It cites cases of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and extrajudicial killing. It claims that up to 400,000 Eritreans have been enslaved in a vast conscription program, forced to work in the army or the bureaucracy for next to nothing, often for a decade or more.
Isaias Afwerki, a former rebel hero, has ruled Eritrea since its independence in 1993. A constitution drafted in 1997 has yet to be implemented. National elections have never been held. Opposition political parties are illegal.… Seguir leyendo »
In a videotaped announcement released earlier this month by the Al Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahri, the group officially endorsed the struggling rebel group Shabab, which has been fighting the Western-backed transitional government and African Union peacekeepers in Somalia since 2007.
So might Somalia finally become what the West has always feared: Al Qaeda’s base in East Africa?
Unlikely. Paradoxically, stronger ties between Al Qaeda and the Shabab could weaken the Shabab and help counterterrorism efforts in Somalia by exacerbating internal tensions within the group.
Somalia has yet to live up to its imagined potential as a terrorist safe haven. In the 1990s, Al Qaeda’s efforts to develop operational networks there failed miserably, mostly because of its fractious and disloyal local allies.… Seguir leyendo »
In 2006, the Bush administration declared Somalia the latest front in the war on terrorism: a newly influential movement, the Union of Islamic Courts, was suspected of playing host to Al Qaeda there. When this union took over the capital in June 2006, the United States tried to coax moderates within it to enter a dialogue with Somalia’s official government, a toothless institution that was exiled from the capital. But by December of that year, when the Islamic courts seemed about to take down the government entirely, neighboring Ethiopia convinced United States officials that allowing the courts to control Somalia would be tantamount to handing the country to Al Qaeda.… Seguir leyendo »