Somalia, Eritrea Restore Diplomatic Ties
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to lift sanctions against Eritrea following its thaw in relations with Ethiopia and. Nairobi — The presidents of Somalia and Eritrea on Monday signed an agreement to establish diplomatic ties after over a decade of animosity. Ethiopia-Eritrea Proxy War in Somalia Risks Broader Regional Conflict, Warns Building new relationships between communities split by the militarized border.
Subsequently, Asmara lodged a protest against Sudan with the U. Issayas also issued an ominous warning to Khartoum, reminding the NIF that the Eritreans, too, "know how to play with fire. Another high-level Eritrean delegation traveled to Khartoum in early to discuss the matter. The following August a Sudanese delegation, led by Sudan's foreign minister, visited Asmara.
Khartoum blamed the "accidental crisis" on foreign forces seeking to cause dissension between Eritrea and Sudan. Despite these protestations of innocence, Eritrean officials remained skeptical that Khartoum intended to take action against the EIJM. These meetings produced only a temporary cessation of Sudanese support to the EIJM, which intensified again that autumn.
Security Council for failing to take appropriate action to "deter these subversive acts" and defuse the situation. It warned that "the Government of Eritrea will not be responsible for the consequences of these acts of subversion.
Issayas again warned Sudan to stop playing with fire: We have a saying in our tradition You advise someone; if he refuses to listen to logic, then trouble will teach him to. In the months following Eritrea's diplomatic break with Sudan, relations between Asmara and Khartoum worsened. An attempt by Yemen at the end of December to mediate the dispute ended in failure.
Eritrea terminated the Sanaas negotiations on the grounds that Sudan refused to cease support for or publicly disassociate itself from the EIJM. Then at the beginning of JanuaryEritrea's president wrote to the U.
The Eritrea-Sudan crisis was among the major topics of discussion between Issayas and top-ranking U. Despite Khartoum's acceptance at the beginning of April of a temporary cease-fire in the Sudanese civil war, Bashir and the NIF remained committed to a military solution in the south. Tensions between Uganda and Sudan intensified as both governments accused each other of supporting rebel forces which led to a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats in early April.
Then, on April 23, Kampala announced that it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Khartoum and closing Uganda's border with Sudan. Although Kampala agreed in June to a "gradual" restoration of relations with Khartoum, Uganda had clearly aligned itself with Eritrea in confronting Sudan.
On March 30, Eritrea issued a communique charging Sudanese security forces with telling young Eritrean refugees that they either had to volunteer for the Sudanese army or leave the country. At the end of this conference, which was attended by some Islamic organizations including representatives of Eritrean Muslims presumably members of the EIJMa communique was adopted stating the organization's support for "oppressed Islamic communities" throughout the world.
Specific mention was made of the Eritrean Muslims. What caught Asmara's attention and that of Western intelligence, however, was a report that the leadership of PAIC had agreed to establish a liaison office in Mogadishu to coordinate the activities of Islamist groups in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. The Norwegian foreign minister cautioned, however, that it would be " Unfortunately, these efforts have thus far proven fruitless.
Sudan and Eritrea did manage to avoid airing their differences at the East African Heads of State meeting held in Addis Ababa in mid-April long enough to issue a declaration to strengthen regional ties.
The positive ending to this meeting, however, was not enough to cause Khartoum to abandon the EUM or dissuade Asmara from increasing its political and military support for the Sudanese opposition.
If this is the case, Eritrea seems the least vulnerable domino militarily. The EIJM currently poses no serious military threat to Asmara, which possesses one of the best-trained and battle-hardened military establishments in sub-Saharan Africa. As of earlythe EIJM was estimated to have members and another recruits undergoing training in eastern Sudan.
EIJM activities have been limited to the border region and have largely involved isolated attacks and the laying of land mines. What most concerns Asmara, however, is the potentially disruptive political impact of Khartoum's Islamist message being spread in this country of 3. Asmara has sought to persuade Khartoum of the futility and, more seriously, the irresponsibility of supporting the EIJM given the delicate religious and ethnic makeup of Eritrea.
Although Eritrean officials tend to paint a serene picture of religious harmony between Christians and Muslims, the reality is quite different. Politically motivated sectarian violence occurred during the transition from Italian colonial rule in the s and early s. Thus, some Horn analysts judged that an independent Eritrea would become another Lebanon.
Not surprisingly, the Christian-dominated Eritrean government is keenly sensitive to any action that might disrupt Christian-Muslim or ethnic relations. The congress, however, opposed the creation of political parties along religious or ethnic lines.
Political Islamism, in particular, is depicted by the government as a foreign ideology that has no place in Eritrea and is being used by Sudan to destabilize the region. Perhaps to discredit a major political opponent, Asmara has also claimed that former members of the ELF-the EPLF's main political rival during the liberation struggle and in the post-independence period-belong to the EIJM.
For Asmara, the roles of "victim" and "aggressor" in the current crisis in the Horn of Africa are quite clear. In the past, Somali irredentism was viewed as the primary threat to international peace and security in the Horn, threatening not only Ethiopia but Kenya and Djibouti as well. Today, the Eritreans speak openly of the threat posed by Sudanese "Islamic imperialism. In the past, Somalia sought to justify its irredentist foreign policy on the principle of self-determination and to blame European and Ethiopian imperialism as the root causes of the contemporary political problems in the Horn of Africa.
While there is considerable merit to and room to debate the Somali argument, Khartoum's contention that "foreign forces" i.
First, the EIJM was created at a time when the United States and Israel opposed Eritrean independence, and several years before Washington had granted recognition to Eritrea or Asmara had agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Finally, Asmara's embrace of the northern and southern Sudanese opposition movements was in response to Khartoum's support of the EIJM.
Unlike the Islamist movements in Egypt, for example, the EIJM can hardly be classified as an indigenous movement that has built grass-roots support inside of Eritrea. But after almost five years of existence this level of support has not been large enough to allow the EIJM to establish a base inside of Eritrea. Asmara, therefore, can rightly claim, at least for the time being, that the EIJM's ideology has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Muslims of Eritrea.
In brief, the Eritrean-Sudanese crisis was caused by the actions of Khartoum. Whether or not Asmara has overreacted, however, is another matter. Even before Asmara broke diplomatic ties with Khartoum, Sudan's domestic and foreign policies had severely strained relations with two important Red Sea states. Sudan's brand of Islamism and support of Saddam Hussein during the Kuwait crisis and war has alienated Saudi Arabia.
For several years now, Cairo has accused Khartoum of providing logistical support for radical Islamist movements seeking to overthrow Egypt's secular government. Largely in response to Egyptian concerns, in August the U. Department of State had placed Sudan on its "terrorist list. Thus, among the Red Sea states only Yemen and Djibouti currently maintain friendly relations with Sudan. Nairobi also is chair and host to the special committee established by the seven-member Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development IGADD to mediate between the two warring sides in the Sudanese civil war.
But the spillover effect of the Sudanese civil war has strained relations with the Central African Republic, Zaire and Uganda. Chadian rebels seeking to overthrow the government of Idriss Deby have also been sighted in Sudan. Despite generally good relations between Addis Ababa and Khartoum, in earlyEthiopia warned Sudan not to spread its ideology beyond its own borders or to support religious groups among Ethiopia's Oromo Muslim population.
Geopolitics have thus combined with the NIF's Islamist ideology to produce much apprehension and speculation in the region as to Khartoum's real intentions. Is Sudan actively seeking to export the Islamic revolution? Hassan al-Turabi, the "moderate" voice of the NIP, makes no secret about his belief in the "course of history" and the inevitability that Islamist governments will eventually come to power in Muslim states. A key question is whether Khartoum is seeking to accelerate the "course of history" by force or subversion or, as Turabi claims, lead by example and watch history happen.
Fueling such speculation are the close ties that have developed between Sudan and Iran since the NIF-backed military coup in Khartoum. The Sudanese-Iranian relationship was formally consummated in December when Iran's President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani visited Sudan and signed a number of economic and commercial deals with Khartoum.
This latter agreement, in particular, provided more ammunition to critics who believe that Sudan is acting as the springboard for Iran to extend its influence into North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. For Iran, Sudan can help "share the burden" of spreading the Islamist message and take some of the political heat off Tehran. Iran has sought to compensate for this loss by developing new trade relationships in sub-Saharan Africa.
While at the present time Iran exports oil to Sudan, looking to the future, Iran may hope to profit by helping Sudan develop its oil industry. An estimated million barrels of oil are located in Sudan, but unfortunately lie in the middle of the war zone.
For Khartoum the importance of the Iranian connection stems in large part from the NIF's resolve to prosecute the war in the south. At the time of Rafsanjani's visit, Sudan was politically isolated, engaged in waging a debilitating civil war, facing economic disaster and in need of a new source for arms and energy. Tehran also served as a political link for Sudan to buy weapons from South Africa.
Foreign relations of Eritrea - Wikipedia
This arms pipeline was reportedly closed down in Augusthowever, after President Nelson Mandela was criticized for allowing government arms sales to trouble spots like Rwanda and Sudan. The Sudan-Iran relationship also represents the coming together of two isolated governments who see themselves under siege by the West. Washington is seen as trying to shape the post-Cold War order to its own liking and to the detriment of Islamist states and movements.
Not surprisingly, both Sudan and Iran denounced the U. Iran charged that the U. Washington's hidden agenda, they claimed, was to destroy fundamentalist Islam in Somalia. Thus, arguably as a defensive measure, Sudan and Iran sought to affect the outcome of the civil war in Somalia between Gen. Iran and Sudan supported and encouraged Aidid, especially after he emerged as the arch-nemesis of the U.
This alliance apparently established Aidid's Islamist credentials in the eyes of Khartoum and Tehran. In Novembera month following the battle in Mogadishu between Aidid's forces and U. Iranian political and security officials supposedly expressed an interest in providing Aidid with such aid via a third party-the third party being Sudan.
Interestingly, in earlysupporters of Aidid staged a rally calling for him to impose Sharia in the areas of Somalia he controlled as a way to combat lawlessness-a policy already implemented by his rival, Ali Mahdi. Apparently both Aidid and Mahdi are playing the Islamic card to gain political advantage over each other.
Khartoum, in tum, perhaps has learned a hard lesson about the primacy of Somali clan politics and the political opportunism that it sometimes involves. In response to Sudan's increasing regional isolation, Khartoum hardened its stance. Khartoum charged that Asmara was no longer an impartial party to the conflict and that Eritrea and Uganda were in alliance against Sudan.
While allegations of Ugandan support for the Sudanese People's Liberation Army SPLA were not new, Khartoum now claimed that training camps for Sudanese opposition fighters had been established in Eritrea-an allegation that Asmara denied at the time.
In a move apparently reflecting a hard-line policy shift, in early February Sudanese Foreign Minister Suleiman Abu Salih, who had been trying to mend relations with Egypt, was replaced by the ultra-hard-liner deputy leader of the NIF and projected future leader of Sudan, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha. In contrast to Turabi, the urbane Western-trained lawyer who presents a moderate Islamist face to the West and is perceived as a pragmatic voice of reason within the NIF, Ali Taha is an extremist who in the past has clashed with Turabi over policy.
Even if Tehran's objective is to use Sudan as a springboard to help Islamist movements come to power in the Horn, North Africa and West Africa, Iran's capabilities are limited by geography and economics.
Stampede to peace on the Horn of Africa Progress in the Horn of Africa The visit by the Somali president comes weeks after Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement.
Ethiopia announced it would fully accept the terms of a peace agreement that it previously refused to honor. The move officially marked the end of a military stalemate in a border war that killed tens of thousands. The thaw between Eritrea and Ethiopia began under reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power earlier this year.
Ahmed has already called for the UN sanctions against Eritrea to end. The UN secretary general has indicated that the sanctions could be obsolete. They have been already competing for influence in the African nations along one of the world's biggest shipping lanes, including Somalia and Eritrea. The Persian Gulf country has also set up a military base in Eritrea's port of Assab after a Saudi-led coalition launched a war against Shiite rebels in Yemen in Mogadishu — city of extremes In the face of terror The truck was loaded with explosives and detonated at a busy junction in the heart of Mogadishu in the afternoon of September 14, The explosion of the bomb killed at least people and injured hundreds more.
Somalia, Eritrea Restore Diplomatic Ties
It was the worst terror attack in the history of Somalia. Nearly three decades of civil war and terror have also robbed the population of its resilience to drought. Mogadishu — city of extremes Fighting starvation - a Somali reality Xamdi is a child of Somali nomads and has been in the nutrition ward of Mogadishu's Banadir Hospital since the beginning of August. Xamdi is three years old and only weighs seven kilograms.
Most kids in Germany in the same age group weigh twice as much. AboutSomalis are facing starvation. Mogadishu — city of extremes Collapsed health system - even in the capital This boy recovers in the bed next to Xamdi.
He is fighting pneumonia, one of the all too common infections caused by chronic malnutrition and overcrowded conditions in Mogadishu's refugee camps. His hands are wrapped in paper to prevent him from pulling out his feeding tube. Banadir Hospital is the biggest public clinic in the capital, but even here the collapse of the health system is visible. Mogadishu — city of extremes Mogadishu - city of refugees Mogadishu is full of makeshift homes.
Many nomads and countryside dwellers are determined to stay. They have fled civil war, terror, violence and hunger. The city's population has swollen to nearly 2. At leastare officially regarded as 'internally displaced people'.
Mogadishu — city of extremes Camp life takes a heavy toll The congested and unhygienic living conditions in the camps are a health hazard. Acute respiratory tract infections and diarrhea are common diseases among Mogadishu's internally displaced population. Life in the makeshift camps is a daily struggle for the next meal and the next bucket of water. Mogadishu — city of extremes Life in waiting There is not much to do inside the camps but to sit and wait.
Many children don't have access to education. Most makeshift camps lack playgrounds or other recreational spaces. Mogadishu — city of extremes City of ruins There is much hardship outside the camps, too.