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N.E. Africa: Washington’s Closest Ally on the Horn of Africa Has a Terrible Human Rights Record July 12, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoo

Washington’s Closest Ally on the Horn of Africa Has a Terrible Human Rights Record

ayyaantuu.net    11 July 2016

Tiny Djibouti is a key U.S. ally in the “war on terror.” But that doesn’t mean Washington should stay silent on its abuses.

Djibouti's dictator

On the Horn of Africa, tucked between quarrelsome neighbors who receive the lion’s share of the regional spotlight, lies the nondescript and mostly forgotten Republic of Djibouti. The country rarely makes its way into international headlines — and this is exactly what the government and its allies, namely the United States, prefer. Washington has been content to keep its close collaboration with the government in Djibouti City under the radar, thereby avoiding the need to publicly defend its alliance with a highly repressive regime.

The United States’ investment in the country — which amounts to over $70 million per year, including economic aid — has everything to do with its strategic location on the Gulf of Aden. Indeed, what Djibouti lacks in size (it is about the size of Massachusetts and has a population of about 900,000) it more than makes up for with its status as a “geographical goldmine.” The government is a key contributor of troops to the African Union force in Somalia, which combats Al Shabaab and other armed opposition groups. It is also an important staging area for attacks against suspected terrorists, especially through its role as host of a base for U.S. drones that operate in the region. In March 2014, President Obama announced plans for a “Binational Forum” in which senior officials from both countries committed to building a “vibrant 21st century strategic partnership grounded in friendship, mutual trust, and common security.”

Djibouti’s president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, has been a regular guest in the White House.

Djibouti’s president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, has been aregular guest in the White House. They also explain why his government has managed to dodge criticism of its dismal record on human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law.Guelleh has quietly ruled Djibouti since 1999 (his uncle, who had reigned since 1977, personally anointed him) and he stands today as one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s longest-serving leaders. Like some of his fellow autocrats, Guelleh appears to have no qualms about openly and violently rigging his country’s so-called “democratic elections” in his favor, often winning absurdly unrealistic majorities. This April, Guelleh and his ruling coalition, the Union for the Presidential Majority, reportedly won 87 percent of all votes cast. This impressive showing surpassed the 80 percent he won in 2011 after the country’s National Assembly amended the constitution to allow him to run for a third term in office.

According to many international observers,

Guelleh will leave office only “when he feels like it.”

Guelleh will leave office only “when he feels like it.” His government has repeatedly been accused of myriadhuman rights abuses, including documented cases of torture and arbitrary detention of opposition supporters, as well as the denial of fair public trials, severerestrictions on freedom of the press, deliberate targetingof human rights activists, and high levels of corruption. Most recently, during the lead-up to the presidential election in April, authorities used deadly force to break up public demonstrations, including an incident in December 2015 during which 19 people were reportedly killed after police opened fire. To its credit, the United States condemned the disproportionate and deadly use of force, and also called for the release of opposition leaders who were unjustly detained in the country.

In what has become a routine defense of the indefensible, authorities justified the killings by blaming the victims, claiming the peaceful protesters had tried to “destabilize our nation.” The rationale for gunning down citizens in broad daylight was also premised on combating “armed individuals from abroad” (subtext: terrorists). Of course, this designation is no accident. It is meant to placate the international community and particularly the United States, which since 2009 has headquartered its East African Terrorism Task Force at Camp Lemonnier on the outskirts of the capital, Djibouti City. The base is so crucial to U.S. military operations in the region that, in 2014, the Pentagon signed an agreement to secure its lease through 2044. Since 9/11, the base has grown in “almost every conceivable fashion,” with more than$600 million allocated or already awarded for related projects.

All told, Djibouti is a classic case of how a fundamentally undemocratic and abusive government can appeal to the so-called “war on terror” to justify its repression and secure its legitimacy. As recently as May 2014,

President Obamapraised the Guelleh regime and expressedhis “strong support” for its“leadership in the Horn of Africa.”

President Obama praised the Guelleh regime and expressed his “strong support” for its “leadership in the Horn of Africa.” By turning a blind eye to Guelleh’s attempts to seal off avenues of democratic participation, the United States is raising the prospects of future unrest in Djibouti — the very outcome that it and other shareholders in the country, and region writ large, are ostensibly working to prevent. Indeed, the Fund for Peace, which publishes the annual Fragile States Index, already registers Djibouti as having a “very high warning” risk of state collapse.

The U.S. government should reject the notion that allying with brutal regimes in the short-term somehow protects our long-term national interests. Blank checks to repressive governments who abuse their own citizens, often under the guise of “anti-terror,” often backfire (see:Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda just for starters). This flawed strategy fails to take into account the resentment that will ultimately boil over when a people’s legitimate grievances are not addressed.

The antidotes to these problems — genuine democratic governance, the rule of law, free and fair elections, and support to civil society and human rights activists — should be key planks of U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century. Only investments in these key sectors can counter the heightened repression, undue consolidation of political power, and manipulation of the courts that breed extremism.

To be sure, the United States must tread carefully as it calibrates its relationships with strategically important allies, including Djibouti, that have poor records on governance and human rights. But it’s long past time to stop shaking hands with retrograde strongmen and rolling out the red carpet for the likes of Ismail Omar Guelleh, and other African leaders, whose time has come and gone.

Ethiopia: TPLF’s Hidden Agenda in South Sudan July 12, 2016

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Odaa OromooTPLF, fascist regime in Ethiopia's, hidden Agenda in South Sudan
The Untold Stories of South Sudan War Refugees and the Current TPLF Hidden Agenda.


By Abel Kebedom, Durame.com

According to the USA and its western allies, the minority regime in Ethiopia is a peace maker in the Horn of Africa. The problem is such characterization of the minority regime in Ethiopia by the USA and its western allies is counter to the understanding of the people of the Horn Africa. The people of the Horn of Africa have known the minority regime in Ethiopia not as peace maker but as the main instigator, financier and promoter of conflict in East Africa. To expose such Misrepresentation of the minority regime by the United States and its allies you do not need to go further than South Sudan.
Prior 1991, It is public knowledge that the South Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) was fully supported by the previous military regime of Ethiopia called the Derg. The Derg supported SPLA as a Tit for Tat to Sudan supporting the Tigrai Liberation Army (TPLF) and Eritrean Liberation Front (EPLF). As a result, the SPLA and its supporting institutions were based in the Ethiopian Gambella region and surrounding areas. When the TPLF came to power, in May 1991, the first thing it did was to order the SPLA to leave its camps in Gambella and surrounding areas within 24 hours. Remember we are talking about a camp that held close to a million South Sudanese war refugees. When the refugees were not able to cross the overflowing rivers and were forced to wait until they recede, the TPLF sent its murderous and blood thirsty soldiers and killed the women and children using heavy artillery. In their quest to flee from TPLF soldiers and heavy artillery the rest were taken by the river and most of them eaten by crocodiles. In the absence of any support systems, the few that were able to cross into South Sudan territory lived in the jungle like animals and perished of thirst and hunger. If you need more information on this incident, you need to read the story of the lost boys of South Sudan. Those boys were part of the refugees who crossed from Gambella into South Sudanese territory and later picked up by a western NGO for resettlement in The United states.
After the liberation of South Sudan, mainly through the help of Uganda and Eritrea, the shameful minority regime in Ethiopia supported by the United States and its western allies were able to infiltrate the government of South Sudan. Under the disguise of security cooperation and capacity building TPLF generals, Like Tsadkan Gebretnasae, who ordered the killing of South Sudanese women and children in Gambella became chief advisers to the South Sudanese government. It is only a fool who thinks these TPLF generals were in Juba to help the government of South Sudan. Their job was to identify the Nur and Dinka fault line and create a discord among the peoples of South Sudan. Once the civil war started the mission was accomplished and the goal gravitated into replacing the current government of South Sudan by Ethiopian allies. That agenda, at least in the short term, failed mainly due to the full support of Uganda to the Salva kirr government and the latter’s insistence to remain in power, regardless of the continuous threats of the united states and its allies. Once Seyoum Mesfin and its handlers knew that it was not possible to change the Salva Kirr government within a short period of time they planned for the long term. They agreed to put Machar as vice president and call for election later. Hence the problems that we are seeing in South Sudan right now, including the constant fighting in Juba, is an extension of the Ethiopian minority regime agenda to prepare Machar as the next president of South Sudan. If you do not know this yet Machar is armed, financed and hosted by the minority regime in Ethiopia.

Although the minority regime in Ethiopia and its handlers are to blame for the disintegration of South Sudan and the ongoing Mayhem, the major blame goes to the leaders of South Sudan. The government of South Sudan lost its direction and forgot the vows of the likes of the late John Gerang, who died for the liberation of South Sudan. Its officials engaged in wide spread corruption and their uncontrolled appetite for money and wealth put them in the trap of the of the Ethiopian minority regime and its handlers. Once the war started Machar simply changed his office from Juba to Addis Ababa and the minority regime in Ethiopia worked hard to promote him as a viable leader of South Sudan. Do not take me wrong, I am not against Machar becoming the president of South Sudan. He is the citizen of South Sudan and he has all the rights to be the president of South Sudan. The sad story is his handlers are preparing him not to serve the people of South Sudan but to promote their interests. Hence it is important for Machar and Salva Kirr to sit together and talk about the interest of the peoples of South Sudan than the interest of those who are waiting to exploit the natural resources of South Sudan and make them poor forever. The writings are on the wall. For the people of the greater Horn of Africa, the lesson that we have to take from the above story is, in every conflict in the horn of Africa it could be in Somalia, South Sudan or Eritrea it is easy to find the hands of the minority regime in Ethiopia and its handlers. Thus if the people of the Horn of Africa do not realize the hidden activities of the minority regime in Ethiopia and its allies the destruction and mayhem will continue. Time to be smart and think ahead of the curve.