Issayas Afeworki the Piracy Phantom – by Abdullah Habashi

May 6th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

In recent years, just like drug trafficking, piracy has exploded off the Red Sea and Somalia shores as the globally threatening bandits continue to get huge ransoms in the millions of dollars.

Do or Die – Desperation for Dollars

Piracy business has become the Eldorado of the Eastern Africa coastal areas. Perhaps piracy is the biggest moneymaker operation in the Gulf of Aden and the sea shores of Somalia because almost always pirates get paid with huge sums of hard currency. At the moment, as I write, there are 19 ships being held by Somali pirates. Last year, dozens of ships were seized and an estimated $1-million per boat was paid in ransom for their release, according to analysts. Each pirate is believed to get on average $10,000 for a successful hijacking. Ship owners typically air drop the plastic-wrapped cash into the sea. Owners of ships plying the pirate-infested waters off Somalia’s coast drew back the idea of having firearms onboard, despite an increasing number of attacks where bullets pierced hulls or rocket-propelled grenades whooshed overhead. Ship-owners fear pirates would be more likely to continue shooting once on board if they confronted weapons, and the company might be held liable for deaths or injuries inflicted by someone on the vessel.

Fishing in Troubled Waters

Actually, how does this globally feared and in recent days widely talked about piracy business functioning so successfully in the Red Sea and in the Indian Ocean waters? Despite the grand political chaos in Somalia and despite the political isolation of Eritrea by the Western World, astonishingly, the actual piracy preparation and reinforcement networks are tightly linked with the clandestine training workshops in Asmara, and Massawa where capacity building for tactical and professional piracy operations are devised and spread throughout the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Young people form parts of Coastal Africa but mainly from Somalia are recently sent here in batches for training in arms operatives.

Domestic Situation in Somalia and Eritrea

The pirates’ amassed wealth mainly begotten from capturing vessels passing on sea waters is all the more shocking considering Somalia’s disintegrated and Eritrea’s isolated governance situations. In Somalia there has been no effective central government in nearly 20 years, plunging this arid country into chaos. Every public institution has crumbled; and there is untold exodus and dispersion of Somalis into the outside world.

Likewise, nearly 2-decades after Issayas Afeworki has come to power, the Eritrean sovereignty question remains on shaky-grounds and at critical stake. Its internal and external problems reflect distinct political, economic and instability and a state in political crisis. More so, Afeworki’s Eritrea remains isolated from the rest of the world due to Issayas Afeworki’s contemptuous and malicious internal and external actions since 1993. A riddle in point is the fact that there is no clear demarcation set between Eritrea and Ethiopia to date. This puzzling feature puts Eritrea’s legitimacy into an open ended question and with a likely war breakout in the near future. Heaven knows what may happen to this tiny nation if Afeworki’s tyrannical regime is removed from power.

Afeworki – the Robin Hood of Massawa

But evident enough, Issayas Afeworki continues spreading his ‘Robin Hood’ styled political propagation focused on sheer fight against Imperialism and capitalist allies around the region surrounding Eritrea. Amidst all this upheavals, faced with tough times, the political and economic plights in Eritrea continue to cause untold exodus and dispersion of young Eritrean people due to Afeworki’s one-man tyrannical and oppressive regime. Although totally alienated from the rest of the world and from the African Union, Afeworki continues to commit flagrant violations of human rights by turning Eritrea into a country where democracy and justice are absent; where its population yearnings for independence and freedom are ultimately trapped in intimidation, indecency and untold old time serfdom tradition. Issayas Afeworki’s cohorts (those that seldom complain about him) and the silent majority of the rural poor consider this staunch and stubborn leader as their hero who must be obeyed by all means, by all accounts, and at any cost without whose effort they would not have been estranged from the “colonial legacy”.

Sharif Sheik Ahmed’s New Transitional Government

Last June, U.N. sponsored talks in Djibouti paved the way for the January withdrawal of Ethiopian troops and the merger of the transitional federal government with a moderate faction of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia opposition group led by Sharif Sheik Ahmed. Al-Shabab and other hard-line Islamist groups, including the hard-line faction of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, say the unity government of President Sharif is a “western stooge.” Attacks against the government and its supporters, and a contingent of 4,300 African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu have continued.

Somalia’s recent accusation of Eritrea of Illegal Arms Shipments

Somalia’s new government led by Sharif Sheik Ahmed is accusing neighboring Eritrea of arming insurgent groups in Somalia. The allegation is a repeat of events two years ago, when the United Nations accused Eritrea of secretly sending weapons to Somalia’s militant al-Shabab group. Somali Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden says planes loaded with weapons from Eritrea arrived last week in Somalia. According to the minister, “an arms shipment arrived last week. One arrived on Tuesday, and two more shipments arrived on Friday at an airport on the outskirts of Mogadishu.” And the government in Asmara is likely to send more arms because it is determined to undermine Somalia’s transitional government by arming groups opposed to the newly elected Somali government.”

Evidential Circumstances

Somali officials are considering reporting neighboring Eritrea to the UN Security Council for undermining the government despite Issayas Afeworki’s sharp denial. Two years ago, a U.N. group monitoring the arms embargo on Somalia reported that between December 2006 and June 2007, Eritrea shipped a huge quantity of arms to al-Shabab in Somalia. The monitoring group’s report said Eritrea supplied al-Shabab with various weapons, including at least six SA-18 surface-to-air missiles. One of them was used to shoot down a cargo plane in March 2007 at the international airport in Mogadishu. In addition, a report released in December 15, 2007 by the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated that the Eritrean government is giving “direct assistance to Sri Lanka’s LTTE. Indeed, Eritrea is arming, training and financing terrorists from Somalia to Sri Lanka.” Currently, a panel of experts from the United Nations which has been monitoring an arms embargo on Somalia has often tagged Asmara as the main weapons supplier for hard-line insurgents in the Horn of African region.

Eritrea’s Absolute Denial

As business as usual, the Eritrean government denied recent accusation on the spot. Asked to respond to the latest allegations that the regime in Asmara is shipping arms to Somali insurgents, and pirates Eritrean spokesman responded that Eritrea does not recognize Somalia’s unity government and could not comment on the shipment of arms. Asked about links the Eritrean regime has with few opposition groups of Somali and Ethiopian origin the Eritrean spokesman replied that OLF, ONLF, and EPPF, and Ginbot-7 are all results of absence of justice in Ethiopia. There wouldn’t be any ethnic faction if there was no ethnic discrimination. Eritrea can’t sideline ethnic factions that were simply the results of recent past problems.

Which way Eritrea?

As though reminding the metaphor: “In a nation where one-eyed man is the king”, the euphoria of Eritrean freedom and the dance of independence suddenly faded away just within a period of three years (1990-1993). And since 1993 when Issayas Afeworki presided over his Eritrean leadership, serfdom became the official doom of the day in Eritrea; the Eritrean public is now caught-up in sheer disdain and disillusionment of independence; as they are living under the iron-handed Afeworki’s regime in totalitarian slavery camps wherever they may be within the Eritrean bounds.

Ridiculous enough Issaias Afwerki totally underscored Shabiaa’s alliances with Islamist fundamentalists and Somali pirates while at the same time the whole world openly knows now that he is eagerly looking for any financial means that comes from insurgency trafficking and piracy operations. He even undermines respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring countries while claiming that this is not within the political culture of Eritrea at all. In addition he stated: “imposing so-called “government” from the outside and acts of interference through servants only complicate matters rather than bring about a solution. In this connection, Issayas Afeworki asserted that Eritrea along with other concerned parties is striving to play modest role.” Afeworki knows very well that establishing any foreign military base in Eritrea is totally unacceptable. But as long as he can manipulate any opposition groups from the region as his political and financial sourcing channel, he simply gives deaf ears and blind eyes to the accusations coming from the outside world. After all, why should he care for the imperialist, capitalist world that has totally ignored his totalitarian regime any way?

Well, Issayas Afeworki may try to suppress the truth for the time being but he will not obliterate it for all times. His entanglement with pirates and Islamist fundamentalists is coming out to the fore by the day; no matter how clandestine he attemps to keep it from the global public eyes and ears. He may hijack the peace and stability of the region as well as the inherent human liberties by using his army and security forces as tools that keep him in power. But it may not be long when the Eritrean people start openly questioning the hitherto hidden but boiling under the surface. Political matters are cooking; resentment and dissatisfaction are observable. Issayas Afeworki’s current political stands that isolated Eritrea totally from most of the globe have shocked everyone in and outside Eritrea.

Conclusive Remarks

In summing up in the last six decades the Eritrean problem has gone through three Ethiopian regimes and it is still with us claiming life, limb, time, resources and, psychic energy. It changes colors and styles from time to time and from era to era, but it is still pervasive, destructive and seemingly intractable. All together it reminds us of what one senior Ethiopian diplomat once put it: “The Eritrean problem has been like Gum-Arabica in the mouth; one cannot chew it, swallow it or even spit it out. One is stuck with it.”

The political turmoil in this tiny but troublesome nation must come to semblance as soon as possible.

Sources of references:

(11) C. Clapham – Conference on the current Peace and Security Challenges in … –
(12) S Shay – 2008 – – Somalia between jihad and restoration
(13) I Farah, A Hussein, J Lind – Scarcity and Surfeit: The Ecology of Africa’s Conflicts. …, 2002 – – Deegaan, politics and war in Somalia

Issayas Afeworki the Piracy Phantom – by Abdullah Habashi

  1. Eplf
    | #1

    lol. eritreans love afwerki and afwerki love eritreans! no matter what we will fight against imperialism. thats it!!!
    never kneel only when we pray and shoot!!1

  2. abc
    | #2

    dear Abdullah, for me
    “The Eritrean people has been like Gum-Arabica in the mouth; one cannot chew it, swallow it or even spit it out. One is stuck with it.”
    This problem will continue even after afewerki tyrant.

  3. abajima
    | #3

    It is the best and accurate article in exposing shaebia’s dirty behaviour
    one thing is sure, issayas afeworki is at the end of the rope. No more
    playing games, the world is noticing what you are up to….arms supplier
    to terroriest,alshabab,fundamentalist..?

  4. Abebe
    | #4

    I believe the world is getting it share of problems eventually. USA has been supplying weapons and played a big role in emboldening Sadam, the Taliban’s and Bin Laden himself for its own narrow political interest, eventually it also got the brunt of their attack and now still engaged in a war to eliminate them. Similarily, Esayas’s EPLF and Meles’s TPLF has been getting all kinds of support regardless of their ability to be responsible leaders of a country and millions of people. Esayas now has remained a bandit and a leader of a defunct government, still difficult to remove. Meles has changed in to an ethno-fascist who brutalise the people he is supposed to lead, but he is smart enough to bow for his western benefactors.

  5. Anon
    | #5

    አብደላህ ሃበሺ ጥሩ ነው ግን የረሳኽው አለ ሌላው የኢሳያስ የቀድሞ ወዳጅና ህዝብን መከራ የሚያሳየው ይህን እንድትጽፍ የከፈልህን ምን ትለዋለህ:: አይ የአበሺ ነገር ይገርማል:: ሌላ ቦታ ሳታየው የቀረህ አይመስለኝም ሻቢያና የትግራይ ነጻ አውጭ አብረው ኢትዮጵያን በሚያደሙበት ስአት የኢትዮጵያ መርከቦች ላይ ይሞክሩ ስለነበር አይገርመኝም:: ስለዚህ ጦርነት ማሸነፍ ብቻ ሳይሆን መፍጠር እንችላለን እያሉ የሚደነፉትንም ወዳጆችህን ጠርጥር:: ያልጠረጠረ ተመነጠረ::

    ቸር ያውለን ለኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ደህንነትን አምላክ ይሰጠን::

  6. robiela
    | #6

    Eritrea 4 ever

  7. Gamta
    | #7

    This is the most acurate article. Issayas Afeworki must be extraditred to International Court of Justice immediately. His criminal acts are all coming out to the fore. My only worry is why Ginbot-7 associated itself with this arogant Afeworki. They should keep away from him.

  8. Fitih
    | #8

    When I studied in the Soviet Union, I used to listen VOA in Russian. One day my roommate, a Russian, asked me to stop listening, as he said, “this imperialist propaganda about my country and it’s leaders whom I trust fully”. He even couldn’t tolerate me listening. Time have passed and we all know what happened to the Soviet Union. Please DON’T TRUST FULLY POLITICAL LEADERS AND DON’T SUPPORT THEM BLINDLY, TRY TO BE A GOOD JUDGE.

  9. visitor
    | #9

    Dear Abdullah, Notwithstanding the utter lack of factual substance in your article, for a person who feigns research by adding a clatter of “sighted sources” (what a bunch of laughable “independent sources” at that) you could not even spell the name of your subject right, which is rather revealing as to the level of your thoroughness. Anyone with half an intelligence of a chicken can see through this article.

  10. Long live Isaias, the Lion of Africa
    | #10

    It’s funny reading Amhara temper-tantrums as “facts”. These people live in a la-land where they forget, the majority of Ethiopians are fighting to leave Ethiopia. The Oromos, Afars, Somali Ogadens, Gambella, Sidamo and even Tigray people don’t like Ethiopia. This lunatic forgets to mention Ethiopia is an illegal state built on expansionism, wars and Italian/British/French colonial boundary marks. No Eritrean wishes to join hell on Earth Ethiopia. You can’t preach to Eritreans about exodus when DC has 250,000 Amhara people who fled their country. To make it worse, every month, thousands of Ethiopians are risking their lives to flee ethiopia via the gulf of aden, yet here this Amhara speaks of Eritreans. When you are the laughing stock of planet earth and the joke of every playground kid bully, you have no right to write articles or inform people who defeated your nation to gain their independence.

    Long live Eritrea and Eritreans: the can do people!

    Eritreans kneel on two special occasions: when we pray and when we shoot!

  11. abajima
    | #11

    It is the best article and exactly and clearly explains the arogance
    idiocy of the shaebia hated regim.some servants of issayas commented…
    “Eritreans kneel on two special occations,when we pray and when we shoot”
    which is a false propoganda and exagiration..go back and look your history, weren’t you a slave during the italian occupation? didn’t the ethiopian military brock your back during the war you created so don’t tell as you kneel to shoot while you shoot your feet.

  12. musa
    | #12

    Inaducate knowledge of Eritrea and Eritreans for colonial power of Ethiopia is still visible after 18 years of indipendence. Live your life and stop crying Eritrea is gone and Port Asseb remains dream for Land looked Ethiopia. You can not owen what never you had.

  13. ሰሎሞን
    | #13

    ኣቶ ኣብዱላህ በኣይንህ ስር ያለውን የህዝብ ምሬትና ችግር ሳታይ ሌላውን ለመወንጀል መሞከርህ ድንቁርናህን ያሳያል የሚገርመው ደግሞ በኣሁኑ ሰዓት ብዙ ሰዎች ኣንዴ ኩዴታ ልያደርጉ ኣሰቡ ኣንዴ መክረናቸው ኣልሰሙንም ተብለው ከትንሽ እስከ ትላልቅ ኣዛውንት ታስረው ስያበቁ ይህንን እንደመቃወም ኣቅጣጫውን ለመጠምዘዝ ስለ ኤርትራ ለመጻፍ መሞከርህ የወያኔው መለስ ቡቹላ መሆንህን ያስረዳል ኢሳያስ በኣንተ ወራዳ ሰው ኣይነት የሚጠራ ኣይደለም ፕሬዚደንት ኢሳያስ ጀግና ነው ምላሱን የማያጥፍ ሃቅን ተከትሎ የሚናገር ሰው ነው እንደ መለስ 10 ግዜ ምላሱን ኣያጥፍም ፕረዚደንት ኢሳያስ የምስራቅ ኣፍርካን ህዝብ ሰላምና ኣንድነትን እንዲፈጠር የሚታገል ሰው ነው እንደ ወያኔው መለስ ልመናንና ማጎብደድን ኣይወድም ስለዚ መጀመርያ ቤትህን ኣጥራ በረከትና መለስ በጠቅላላ ወያኔዎች የሚያደርጉትን ጭፍጨፋና ኢሰብ ኣዊ ተግባሮችን ተቃወም ገባህ
    ሰፊው ህዝብ ያሸንፋል
    ወያኔዎች ይጠፋሉ

  14. EastAfricanPearl
    | #14

    Oh my oh my what a garbage is written here? My God, you people are so shameless! Everybody knows there is no nation in Africa which is stable like Eritrea. Bytheway Ethiopia is the worst in Africa, no need to mention! Eritrea is free, a small country which made you kneel down three times. What is left is for you to cry, lie, deceive your own people. Poor garbage writter!

  15. observer ethiopia
    | #15

    It is empty wish to the writer about eritrea.
    ” can you leave us alone ‘
    As we never bother about you anymore…in future unfolds showing to the world is ” ethiopia is in the mechanism of fragmentation by weyane regime…that is in the happening in this second… worry about yourself rather than worried about somalia and eritrea….”

  16. Anonymous
    | #16

    hay you guys why don’t u try to solve your own problem rather than writing everyday about Eritrea, you got a lot of problems more than Eritrea does.Even you couldn’t fed you own people, every year asking international community for food…….etc, I don’t know you dreaming always about eritran’s fall. whether you liked or not Eritea is gone!!!
    don’t you have any died family or friend u know that already gone..that’s it!

  17. yikerbelen
    | #17

    why did you loss badme with in one week? do not talk whatyou can not do. your expansionism is being locked by ethiopia’s lion,TTACK YOUR OWN BLOODY HODAM BEREKET SEBHAT AND MELESE WHO DEPORTED OVER 80,000 ERITREANS . there is no joke with ethiopia. do you know that they are almost 1m eritreans are living in ethiopia. More over, do not try to retun the history. if you kneel down only when you are praying and shooring, why were you white slaves for over 60 years? do you know that you fathers and forefathers did not have a ance to go school beyond 4 grade? only ethiopia gave the whole right. God bless both brotherly people. amen

  18. Sharawe
    | #18

    Salivating about Eritrea, Asab and the Red Sea is not a panacea of our problems. When the political temperature in the empire rises, the Eritrea card is drawn from the propaganda ministry shelves, to hoodwink and deceive the gullible comatose Ethiopian diaspora.

    Eritrea is not our problem, the Tribal Junta is. Asab is not our problem, the Ethnic Apartheid system is. The Red Sea is not our proplem, the our perennial disunity is.

  19. atuba dolla
    | #19

    Well,that thing called independence now came to a complete dead-end by complying to the rule of social traffic.Back then,even,even Meles Naziawi of course,tacitly, strongly believed and was completely convinced that the thing they called Independence would never bring as much the result it should considering the emotional trip made by the followers and supporters of shabya.Through a toxic propaganda and emotional massaging shabya managed to completely take its followers and supporters to a fruitless journey where today all,colletively reached one conclusion “Was it for this we sacrified all our being and all that we had.!!!!!!”?????

    All the followers and supporters and of course,the rest had witnessed when Dr.Bereket openly and publicly cried like a baby by repeatedly saying and crying out quote I sacrified myself and my family,end quote;then he just disappeared like tenuous dust from where he was propagating lies and fruitless propaganda.

    Well,babyeri is crawling backward as time progess forward;to Isaias Afework,what he has today is more than what he wanted chiefly because he knew that, that long journey through which all travelled had the fish that dead and smelly.In short,what he told all those who should and must listen,quote something is better than nothing,end quote.When it is necessary,he knows how to scare them to death by simply telling them,quote please,all those of the ex-or present followers,please be ready for all eventualities.end quote.

  20. Muhammed
    | #20

    MAY ALLAH CURSE Abdullah Habashi for writing such a FALSE words. May Abdullah Habashi Suffer ETERNAL DAMNATION and HELLSFIRE!

    MAY SATAN CRUSH Abdullah Habashi INTO SUBMISSION for Abdullah Habashi is HATED by ALLAH for LYING!

  21. Sharki
    | #21

    I concure with your asertion about Eritrea. That is obselutely garbage article. If Abdula Habashi gets satisfaction of such a thing so be it. Eritrean love thier Kubur Eseyas Afeworki the gaint of them all. Eritrea is in good hand. By the way Abdula a full scale of commercial gold mining is slated for the market for 2010, fisherey, petrolume, turism are actively persued and near completion. Eat your heart out and you will croll to beg for the can do people and government. Everything negative has been said about Eritrea and no sane Eritrean will fall for your crub. the zill and intelect of the Eritrean can not be emitated nor duplicated, so dream on bustard!

  22. Aya-Beyene
    | #22

    Please do not write too much rubbish about isaias afework, afterall, he is half Ethiopian. I do not want anybody to trash an Ethiopian.

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