News / Africa

    Analysts Hope Eritrea Sanctions Will End Somali Conflict

    Eritrea Ambassador to AU, Girma Asmerom, listens as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the African Union at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 2011. (file photo)
    Eritrea Ambassador to AU, Girma Asmerom, listens as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the African Union at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 2011. (file photo)

    In East Africa, hopes are high that the long-running Somali conflict will soon abate with the United Nations Security Council’s approval Monday of tougher sanctions against Eritrea. The nation is accused of supporting Somali militants, including al-Shabab. For its part, Eritrea denies the allegations and calls the sanctions “illegal and unjust.”

    Analysts and some of those involved in the long-running Somali conflict say they are hoping for a quick end to the fighting following Monday’s decision by the United Nations Security Council.

    Among those expressing optimism is Colonel Felix Kulayigye, a spokesman for the Ugandan army, whose troops are in Somalia under the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM.

    “Normally, sanctions are supposed to reduce the capability of the affected country in its financial muscle. And, therefore, if Eritrea faces sanctions, if they are comprehensive enough, that means it will have not a spare penny to spend on negative elements,” said Kulayigye.

    Neighbors' accusations


    Somalia’s neighbors, such as Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, have long accused Eritrea of funding the Islamist militant group al-Shabab and other armed opposition groups, which are battling AMISOM and the Somali transitional government.

    In July, a United Nations Monitoring Group released a report detailing Eritrea's political, financial, training, and logistical support.

    Analyst Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, head of the research group Southlink, said he thinks Western-backed forces battling Somali rebel groups will soon get their big break.

    “If the sanctions become effective on Eritrea, what I’m sure is that they can easily defeat those militia within Somalia,” said Abdisamad.

    He said he thinks the sanctions will have an impact on what he calls the “Eritrean route." These are flights between the Somali coastal city of Kismayo and the Eritrean capital of Asmara, which he said are used to transport support to the rebels.

    Sanctions effectiveness questioned

    Sanctions levied against Eritrea, though, will have negative effects on Eritrea’s people and development, said Girma Asmerom, Eritrean Ambassador to the African Union.

    “Where everybody is talking Millennium Development Goals, sustainable development, alleviating poverty, where do they expect Eritrea - which is not dependent on foreign aid - where do they expect Eritrea to achieve all this if they are sanctioning its natural resources. Is God or Allah going to throw it from the sky? So this kind of sanctions are, again, a crime against any developing country,” he said.

    Girma also said he would not wish these sanctions on any of his neighboring countries, and said he thinks the whole region will suffer as a result of the sanctions.

    In a press release, Eritrea rejects what it calls the United Nations’ “illegal and unjust” sanctions.

    Analysts generally agree that Eritrean involvement in Somalia has very little to do with Somali politics, but is more about the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea.  

    'Proxy war' with Ethiopia alleged

    Emmanuel Kisiangani, senior researcher with the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies, calls Eritrea’s involvement in Somalia a “proxy war” with Ethiopia.

    The two countries have had a longstanding border conflict over an area called Badme, with brutal warfare between the two at one point.

    Kisiangani also noted that in 2006, Ethiopian forces entered Somalia to back the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government fighting a group called the Islamic Courts Union. At the same time, Eritrea went in and began supporting elements that were to eventually become al-Shabab.

    “Eritrea has had differences with Ethiopia over the Badme border region, which the Court of Arbitration at The Hague awarded to Eritrea, a decision which Ethiopia has not respected," said Kisiangani. "It all boils down to the two actors supporting different parties. It is only that Ethiopia has played its cards well and what it does is acceptable to the international community.”

    Girma said his country supports regional integration because all countries need to rely on each other for their development.

    “We have never thought to destabilize any of the countries because they are our potential markets, they are our assets, we want a strong, viable Ethiopia,” he said.

    He called the view that Eritrea is supporting al-Shabab “lies and deceptions,” and said Eritrea has never, and will never, support al-Shabab.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.