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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid