Horn of Africa on brink of war - Xtratime Community
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 13:22 Thread Starter
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Horn of Africa on brink of war

Just as relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea are at a new low, the latter has ordered the UN to withdraw many of its peacekeepers within ten days. This comes as Ethiopia has remobilised its army, and has been preparing for a renewed effort to retake Eritrea. It doesn't take a expert to work out what's about to happen.

For the past five years, peace has been maintained only by the 3,300 peacekeepers policing a thin strip of land between the two. Now, Eritrea has ordered all Canadian, American, European, or Russian soldiers in the deployment to withdraw, depleting the force by 1,400 and leaving just 1,900 unsupported and under-equipped soldiers from developing countries.

The last war, between 1998 and 2000, cost Ethiopia the lives of 120,000 soldiers and Eritrea 20,000, led to 700,000 IDPs and refugees, and destroyed the economies of both countries. Just as importantly, fearful of its gigantic neighbour, Eritrea has remained the most militarised state in the world, spending its entire national budget (30% of GDP) on keeping 5% of the population, or 200,000 soldiers, under arms.

In the 1980s, Ethiopia was the darling of the international aid community. The name was almost synonymous with famine, disease, poverty: problems that the West thought could all be alleviated by charity and Bob Geldof. Then, the ruling tribal communist dictatorship failed to help the victims, and conducted genocide against the Tigray (i.e. the Eritreans), even as 8m Ethiopians were starving.

Now, it seems, Ethiopia and Eritrea have, again, refused to resolve their problems, and their autocratic governments, propped up by unconditional 'humanitarian relief', have decided to further their causes by fighting another tribal war. Preliminary estimates of casualties and refugees are in the order of hundreds of thousands. I guess that's what we mean by helping Africa to help itself.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 13:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastin
conducted genocide against the Tigray (i.e. the Eritreans), even as 8m Ethiopians were starving.
the tigray are not eritreans. they are an own ethnic group with an own language, the tigrigna. its the nothernmost province of ethiopia with many historic sites such as axum and its people were once building the aristocratic elite of the ethiopian empire. due to the fact that the province tigray is on the borders with eritrea its inhabitants become victims of that bloody useless war. tigray had also an own sort of liberation movement (tplf) in the 70s and 80s, and the ethiopian government back then sent regularly air bombardments to tigray. the tplf was allied with the eplf (eritrean peoples liberation front) until 1985 when they started peace talks with addis ababa and abandoned guerilla tactics in 1989. nevertheless, tigray suffered the most from the ethiopian-eritrean wars in the 90s, some cities look like a fusion of grosny and dresden.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 13:50 Thread Starter
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I was simplifying. Whilst most Tigray are Ethiopian, most Eritreans are Tigray.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 14:24
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I thought Somalia was called Horn of Africa.

And this is sadly a never-ending conflict, Ethiopia has ruled Eritrea for a very long time, and has never forgotten it and want to establish their old statues quo, while everything that Eritrea knows is defending itself from Ethiopia sens 92, or trying to liberate itself prior to that (quite impressed by them, in that they have managed to hold back Ethiopia when they are such a small country, while Ethiopia is the opposite)..
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 14:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastin
I was simplifying. Whilst most Tigray are Ethiopian, most Eritreans are Tigray.
interesting, while looking it up I found out that in eritrea there are two different ethnics and languages tigrigna/tigray and tigre. apparently the first referrs to the tigray in ethiopia.
both speak a semitic language while the tigre live in the north and north west and are mostly muslims, the tigray live in the southern highlands and are orthodox/coptic christians. these two ethnics make 80% of eritrea's total population.
these names are confusing, aren't they?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 15:32 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osman
I thought Somalia was called Horn of Africa.
The Horn is the whole peninsula. Geographically, that includes Somalia, Djibouti, and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. However, for political and historical purposes, it can also includes the rest of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
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Originally Posted by Osman
And this is sadly a never-ending conflict, Ethiopia has ruled Eritrea for a very long time, and has never forgotten it and want to establish their old statues quo, while everything that Eritrea knows is defending itself from Ethiopia sens 92, or trying to liberate itself prior to that (quite impressed by them, in that they have managed to hold back Ethiopia when they are such a small country, while Ethiopia is the opposite)..
Besides the obvious political corruption and abject poverty (neither of which I would ever play down), there are more complicated geopolitical reasons. For example, the connection that the left has made between imperialism and the West does Eritrea no good. When the UN realises that Ethiopia treated Eritrea as Belgium did the Congo or South Africa did Namibia (for two examples of dozens), and that its approaches towards it are just as flawed, it can get to work on creating a solution, once and for all.

Conditionality of aid and debt forgiveness, as proposed by Blair at the G8, will work, but it has to be on a much bigger scale, with much higher standards of governance, than has been proposed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanyi
these names are confusing, aren't they?
Yes, but probably no more so than Russians and Rusyns.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2005, 23:40
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Aren't most people in those 2 countries still starving? Or at least I think there was a famine during the last war. In any case, they're both in dire poverty yet having nothing better to do than to go to war with each other.
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