Eritrea: President Isaias’ Conspiracy Theories
President Isaias of Eritrea wrote a letter to the Security Council on March 27, 2012 as a follow up to his Foreign Minister’s previous letter requesting the Security Council to take action against Ethiopia for its “continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories”—a reference to the Eritrean regime’s stock-in-trade in international diplomacy. In this letter, President Isaias promised to take up a subject other than his usual diatribe against the entire world and more particularly the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia which the regime berates every time opportunity presents itself. According to President Isaias, while his letter was different in substance from his previous letters, he then concedes that it is an integral part of “our latest petition submitted to the UN Security Council…in connection with, and in response to, the cynical public statement issued by the authorities in Addis Ababa to “legitimize” the illegal and provocative attacks against Eritrea.”
But his promise of a different substance in his latest submission proves just a promise as soon as President Isaias begins his usual invectives against the United States and particularly “its intelligence agencies” whose “financing, operational guidance and diplomatic cover” for destabilizing activities not only in Eritrea but throughout the region “are well-known indeed.” He was once again putting the blame on Ethiopia’s exercise of self-defense in the face of Eritrea’s destabilization activities on the US Government and the CIA. There is nothing new or different about President Isaias’ routine accusation against the US or the CIA for everything that goes wrong in Eritrea. Nor is he willing to even admit for a moment that it is his regime, not Ethiopia or the US, which has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council three times in a span of two years, not to mention the fact that Eritrea is the only country to ever be sanctioned by the UNSC following the unanimous request of the African Union—unprecedented in the history of the continental organization. What ever the world view President Isaias subscribes to, he apparently believes he and his cabal of sycophants are the only people in the entire world who are capable of making an objective judgment about justice in international law, having fought, as his regime likes to repeat ad nuseaum, for thirty years to achieve Eritrea’s independence.
It is not entirely clear if President Isaias really thinks people including his closest advisors would take his farcical claims seriously. But he has repeated this same line in his latest letter too. What is more interesting in this letter is not just the claim that all was the US and CIA’s work, who apparently are scheming day and night to topple a regime that has “survived their many plots.” What is interesting, though not in any way a novelty—however, was the tone with which President Isaias is making this latest accusation and the bizarre request he makes of the UN Security Council. His choice of words is also telling when he says the “accusation” against the US or the CIA is neither made for “propaganda consumption” nor “driven by far-fetched inferences based on “conspiracy theories.”” “Our accusation,” he reassures the UNSC “is firmly rooted on hard facts and evidence.” Hopefully, President Isaias is not suggesting that he has CIA operatives in his custody, and if he does, he’ll almost certainly point to the very officials he has long incarcerated because “they conspired with ‘Woyanne’ and the CIA” at a time of war with Ethiopia.
What is rather bizarre is that President Isaias has the audacity to call for the UNSC to “form an independent, transparent and accountable inquiry body to investigate and ascertain the validity of our case so that it may take appropriate remedial measures.” Strangely enough, it is such independent body instituted by the UNSC—the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea—that the President of Eritrea routinely characterizes as illegal and untrustworthy simply because it dared to call a spade a spade. While President Isaias has not said a word as to what kind of member composition would ensure the level of “transparency” palatable enough for the regime in Asmara, it is not entirely far-fetched to assume that he would be more than willing to volunteer to hand pick the members of that body he is lobbying the UNSC to institute yet again. He would, for good measure, pick his henchmen with him chairing that body! In the bizarre circus that is Eritrean politics, that is not an entirely unlikely scenario.
As bizarre as President Isaias’s call for an independent body may be, it is not, however, for the first time that such a request was made by the regime. Eritrea also very recently called on the UNSC to fire the entire UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea because its findings about Eritrea’s destabilizing activities were “illegal and unjust.” Nor has the UNSC itself been spared from President Isaias’s carpet-bombing against anyone who appears to have even a slightly different opinion on issues he strongly feels about. The only plausible explanation that can be offered regarding his letter and the bizarre request made of the UN Security Council is that the President’s paranoia has reached schizophrenic levels of the highest order. And as he himself inadvertently suggested, his is a clear case of obsession with “conspiracy theories.” In the west they have medical institutions for people with just that obsession. In Eritrean politics, that is a verifiable reality.
Source: A Week in the Horn – April 06, 2012 issue
Check the Eritrea archive for previous and forthcoming posts.