US threatens Eritrea over support for al-Qaeda-linked terrorists – By Damien McElroy in Asmara (

April 18th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

The US has warned Eritrea it risks American military action for its support for a Somalian terrorist group linked to a plot to attack President Barack Obama.

The Red Sea dictatorship has drawn the wrath of America by backing extremist Islamic groups in Somalia as part of a proxy war with Ethiopia, its former ruler.

It champions al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked group that American intelligence believes has trained a dozen of its own citizens to carry out attacks in the US.

President Obama’s January inauguration was hit by FBI warnings about a potential suicide threat from 12 American citizens that had left Africa to infiltrate the US and disappeared.

Subsequently Washington quietly warned Eritrea, a former Italian colony which was occupied by Britain during the Second World War, it could suffer the same fate as Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks, if the plot was carried out.

“Eritrea has chosen the wrong path,” said a source. “There are consequences for working with al-Shabaab when President Obama cannot afford to look weak on terrorism by not retaliating if there is an attack on the homeland.”

But President Isaias Afewerki told the Daily Telegraph that he would continue to oppose an American and British-backed Somalian government that declared al-Shabaab its principal enemy when it took office in February.

While Western governments have growing confidence in the new government, led by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Mr Isaias diminished the new leader as a stooge.

He called for a fresh peace conference in which his allies would be granted a significant role. “There is no government, there is not even a nation of Somalia existing,” he said. “There has to be an alternative solution. Attempts to impose this new government on Somalia will not work. Peace is not guaranteed without a government agreed by all Somalis.”

Mr Isaias has not forsaken his broad opposition to American foreign policy. He mocked the use of Western military force to target Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa. “Addressing piracy with military force is not going to work,” he said. “Piracy, like famine and drought is a secondary issue.”

Mr Isaias presides over one of Africa’s youngest but most isolated states– it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

The 63-year old former guerrilla relishes a reputation as an international pariah. He was broadly condemned after Eritrea became the first country to invite Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir on a visit following the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue charges for crimes against humanity in Darfur.

“By being the first country to host General Bashir after he was indicted by the International Criminal Court, Eritrea put itself on the wrong side of history,” said Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative’s International Development spokesman, who used a meeting with Mr Isaias in Asmara to lodge a protest against the visit.

Few see any prospect of Eritrea repairing its relations with the West as long as it maintains a constant war footing against Ethiopia. Internal repression has grown steadily worse as it maintains a standing army of 300,000 from a population of just over four million.

The regime operates a system of National Service that has been described as a “giant prison” for people under 40. The thousands fleeing the country are viewed as deserters and dozens are shot attempting to cross the border.

Prisoners, including 11 parliamentarians that have disappeared, are subjected to horrific torture, including the so-called “Jesus Christ” – crucifixion on trees in the desert.

The Eritrean leader made no attempt to deny the practice of modern slavery or torture. He claimed the imperative of building the nation was his overriding concern.

“We are a small, young country in the process of making ourselves, you cannot compare our unique reality with other nations,” he said. “We are the most stable and most prosperous nation in terms of age but establishing a nation on the continent of Africa is not easy.”

  1. yikerbelen
    | #1

    Your newly borned daughter became your own nightmare. The westren world has done every thing for the separation of eritrea from it’s mother ethiopia for the simple reasom they wanted to weaken ethiopia. Now their former ally Isayas became like lion and refused to be one of their savage puppets like melese and others. Europeans countries and USA should get what they deserve. As far as Eritrea is working with Iran ,It will not be the save place of europeans and USA’ God bless Isayas. amen

  2. abebe
    | #2

    I can’t wait to see USA air plan drop 5000lb bomb on fascist issayas ASS, on your way don’t forget fascist meles zanawe too. I feel sorry for incent Eritreans. You are about to pay a big price because of your fascist and ignorant leader issayas. Anther shack and owe
    On its way, be ready. This is the most interesting time for Ethiopians to see the fall of fascist issayas and his fascist cousin meles zanawe.

    | #3

    i have nothing to say but i cant wait to see the revival of my country i.e. the decline of the enemy of Ethiopia including meles and isayas. እግዚሐብሒር አምላክ የኢትዮፕያን ተንሳኢ ለማየት ያብቃን::

  4. ANOTHER american lie for a war for resources
    | #4

    Piracy- Another Excuse for Veiled Adventurism
    By Staff
    Apr 15, 2009, 12:09 exposes america military

    the american military only care about one thing controlling the red sea and east africa resources they are gettin ready to fight brave eritrea because we are the only ones who are saying stop this is wrong say no to AFRICOM

  5. haile
    | #5

    abebe do you still depend on western power than your self you are week citizen do you think freedom jutice come from america even the americans don’t beleave that you can blem issayas and meles but bombing the county and alowing to do it by western tha makes you weak citizen never ever think that way dami ass.

  6. Mulat
    | #6

    When you are asked to write comment about Shabea you like to include Meles which is out of topic.
    The last days of Eritreans whose their past life committed crime and the disintegration of Ethiopia are now seen paying back the wright price. And of course your peaceful disintegration along with facist Isayas is underways any way .
    Just watch!
    The wright of Assab to be determined by Ethiopian people is underway.

  7. Asmba
    | #7

    I am deeply ashamed at the endless begging mentality of the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian mindset is intoxicated with a sense of worthlessness. The non attainable dream, that the Ethiopian new found Messiah, Obama, is to come from the sunset and cleanse Ethiopia of its ills and hand it to the Nefthegnas in a silver platter has to stop.

    How about, like the Eritreans, for once say that we are a proud people and we will take matters into our own hands. Assab is not Ethiopia’s proplem, Ethiopia is. Salivating about the Red Sea and Asab is not our panacea either, finding a civilized soloution to our proplems should come first. The Asab issue is a bussiness transaction and not a war issue.

  8. haile
    | #8

    on your dreem mr mulat i don’t you know the history of ethiopia starting from tedros to meles all of them are dictaters there is no leder that you can give example this the time that people of ethiopia has to chenge the way of leadership we have to think difrent way there are a lot of good ideas among ethiopians you see we ethiopians we don’t want to see people like you we are tired of it.but it is the time to stop bending your self to the westerns.

  9. Abajima
    | #9

    I like to see bombs dropped like a rain on the shabeas.
    so we can have a free eritrea.

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