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Sanctions Watch: Arms Embargo on Eritrea (What It Means to Own the Sanctions)

Sanctions Watch: Arms Embargo on Eritrea
(What It Means to Own the Sanctions)

There are two critical questions that the Eritrean opposition in Diaspora needs to ask regarding the sanction: Will it work? And do we want it to work? But since wanting it to work has a critical role to play in making it work, to ask the one is to ask the other. By the same token, those who are dead set to prove it won’t work do so with the full realization of the intimate link between the two; that is, that to inhibit the one is to inhibit the other.

Let me frame the issue that these questions raise in terms of “ownership”. It is true that the opposition has not contributed an iota of input into the making of the sanction. It is also true that the UN has not framed the sanction with the plight of the Eritrean people in mind. Despite these two drawbacks though, there is no reason why we cannot still “own” the sanction; for the question of how it came to be can be held separate from the question of how it can be exploited to serve one’s purpose however it came to be. Let me provide an example that I used before to elucidate on this distinction:

Suppose in a poor neighborhood there is a factory producing a huge toxic waste that has been blamed for a lot of chronic diseases, from asthma to cancer, among the population. The people in the neighborhood have been complaining about this for years but because they are poor nobody has been listening to them. But luckily for them, the Queen of England is set to visit their neighborhood in the near future. Now, the image conscious mayor is rushing not only to close down the polluting factory and clean the toxic waste, but also to build a brand new park on the toxic-free land. Imagine now an idealist from the neighborhood crying in protest, “Do not accept the mayor’s offer because the solution is not being proposed with your health plight in his mind.” Then the fool doesn’t know what it means to “own” or “appropriate” something that is not made with him in mind, but which is just as fine, from the jaws of reluctant providers. The advice of some naysayers in the opposition amounts to the same thing as the idealist’s.

There are those Eritreans who argue that since the sanctions are made to punish the Asmara regime for what it did in Djibouti and Somalia and not for the horrendous humanitarian crimes it has been committing against its own people, we shouldn’t accept it. Here is how G. Ande puts his objection, “If we read through the resolution carefully, the sanctions have not been designed to address the crucial problems facing the Eritrean people …” (Will the Targeted Sanctions Hit or Miss the Bull’s Eye) It is like arguing that since a baseball bat is designed to hit a ball and not to knock down a man, you should never use it to defend yourself from a violent intruder. Instead of this inanity, prior to “owning” the sanctions, the only question we need to ask about it is: Whatever the sanction is designed for, will it do the job we assign it to do? Will it prick the bubble of nationalist frenzy enshrouding Eritrea and bring it down to earth? If it can do that job, we ought to grab it and milk it for all it is worth.

One “owns” or “appropriates” a baseball bat when one uses it not necessarily for the purpose it was intended to serve by its designer (or owner) but for the purpose that the appropriator makes out of it, one that the occasion calls for – which may or may not comport with that of the designer. If so, there is no such thing as “owning it” prior to using it. So is it with the sanctions. We cannot claim to own it prior to using it to serve our purpose that the occasion calls us for. This kind of “ownership” makes it impossible for pretenders to “support” the sanction, for that momentous occasion is right here with us to stay in its extended, inescapable form. Having said that, it doesn’t mean there is no particular way of owning it. If so, how should the opposition own the sanctions?

The role of “security threat” in regime change

In Eritrea, two types of “security threat” have been vying with each other for dominance in people’s minds. The day the “security threat” from the Isaias regime is found to be more of an existential threat than the “security threat” from Ethiopia in the daily lives of both the masses and teghadelti would be the day the Isaias regime would collapse. On that day, it would be the interests of these two population groups that would come into a critical convergence. If so, how could we use the sanction card to expedite the arrival of this momentous day?

If there is anything that has significantly changed in the last decade, since the G-15’s dissent, it is that by now most Eritreans inside Eritrea have become aware that Isaias/Shaebia is the number one security threat in their daily lives; we see this in the chronic famine, in the mass exodus, in indefinite national service, in the enslavement of the youth, in the destitution of landless peasants, in bankrupted merchants, in the gutted out educational system, in the hundreds of prisons, etc. What needs a critical push is on the side of teghadelti, in general, and the leadership, in particular, to bring about this critical convergence – that is, on those who have so far been spared from the long hands of ‘halewa sewra.

In “Sanctions Watch: Lessons from the G-15 Dissent”, I tried to draw lessons out of the G-15 dissent, both in its making and in its unraveling, that could be applied on a similar context, where it to arise. I concluded that, with sanctions, that rare Isaias’ moment of vulnerability that emboldened the G-15 to dissent might be recreated; the point being that if any segment of the leadership is to meaningfully dissent, it is only when two conditions hold:

  • when their survival is threatened; that is, when Isaias, either through his blunders or his policies or both, becomes an existential threat to themselves as he has all along been to the masses.
  • when they feel that Isaias is at its most vulnerable moment; that is, when the pressure from inside and outside not only come to converge, but also are at their most intense.


So how should we in the opposition contribute to the making and facilitating of these two conditions so as to bring about the critical convergence between the security threat of the masses and that of the leadership? The short answer would be: by owning the sanctions. The long answer would involve looking at the four parts that make the sanctions carefully, asking ourselves what we could do in each case to facilitate regime change. Our focus should be:

  1. on arms embargo, with the goal of fully realizing the import of firearms imbalance with Ethiopia to the larger context of regime change;
  2. on the mining companies, with the goal of stopping all mining prospects in the country and denying the regime any revenues that would come from them;
  3. on the PFDJ-owned companies and their external dealings, with the goal of totally debilitating the regime’s economic arm;
  4. on the PFDJ’s Diaspora network, with the goal of stopping all clandestine funding and the sinister moral support that goes with it.


To reiterate the main point, when we embark on these four “sanctions projects”, it is with one single goal in mind: how to create among teghadelti the existential angst – the “security threat” – that the masses have been feeling all along, the idea being that it is only when they feel their wellbeing and survival threatened by Isaias that they will be ready for dissent (as was the case with the G-15 dissent). [For a detailed version of this argument, please refer to my Sanctions Watch: Lessons from the G-15 Dissent]

The other security threat

Unlike the other three sanctions projects, where we have a direct role to play in making them work, there is not much that we can do on the arms embargo front (which is the subject matter of this posting). Our role would remain mainly confined to realizing its import and framing our resistance based on that knowledge. And part of that realization is where the opposition stands on this issue.

We have to realize that “security threat” is a two edged sword. Isaias effectively used it to rally his supports and many more from the opposition against sanction the first time it was proposed by the US. And now, some in the opposition are openly airing their discontent when it comes to arms embargo because they feel it poses an existential threat to Eritrea. Whenever “security threat” is invoked, their suspicion over Ethiopia takes over any other worries they had before. The existential threat that the masses face in their daily lives in the form of horrendous humanitarian abuses by the regime immediately attains secondary status the moment they sense the slightest threat from outside to the “Eritrea” of their own making.

It is interesting to look at many of the opposition’s stand on arms embargo, for it provides us a rare glimpse into their inner workings, as they viscerally respond to their deepest fears that motivate them to reflexively react the way they are doing now. It is amusing to see strange bedfellows like, and Shaebia-oriented opposition sharing the same existential angst when it comes to sanctions, in general, and arms embargo, in particular – the very same angst that the regime supporters are also displaying. And, as pointed above, since whether the sanction will work partially depends on whether opposition groups really want it to work, it is important to focus on their stand on arms embargo.

The “battle lines” that are now enshrouded with unanimous vows of “support for sanctions” would gain some clarity if they are delineated in terms of “ownership”: the lines are to be drawn between those who own the sanctions and those who don’t. We can use the arms embargo issue as a litmus test to their claim of “ownership”. Once we do that, while we leave those on the “disowning” side of the line do what they do best – making preparations for the take over – we will take stock of our side of the line that wants to fully own the sanctions and finish off the Isaias regime.

The reluctance to sanctions can easily be seen in the Brussels conference. And one need only read between the lines in the editorials of and to detect the very same reluctance, albeit written in “supportive” moods. Saleh Younis, in a frivolous yet puzzling article, Wey Gud” is not A Good Strategy, comes up with a Nostradamus conspiracy theory – one that even semi-literates wouldn’t fall for – to save Shaebia from itself. But it is G. Ande, unfettered with the pretense of “supporting” the sanctions and not beholden to any tarot reading, that does an effective job of disowning the sanctions. Although he uses the same tactics as the others to save Shaebia from itself, he does it more cleverly; or rather, more “plausibly”. Below, as I look at the vulnerability phenomenon as applied to the subject matter of arms embargo only, I will put G. Ande’s article on this issue to scrutiny. But whatever I say against his arguments could be easily extrapolated to others.

[I will deal with the three other “sanctions projects” – the case of the mining companies, the PFDJ-owned companies and the regime’s Diaspora network – in another posting.]

Will the arms embargo work?

Will the arms embargo work? And if does, will it mean anything?

Let’s not forget that the only reason we are interested in the arms embargo is, as it is with the sanctions in general, only so far as it facilitates regime change in Eritrea. And we have already identified the mid-objective towards such a final goal as being the convergence point of the masses’ and teghadelti’s interests, as they irreversibly diverge from that of Isaias and his henchmen. Would the arms embargo help us in achieving that?

Imposing arms embargo on Eritrea will have a tremendous impact on the psychology of the army in Eritrea, in general, and among the colonels and generals, in particular. Given that the nation is still on war footing, with the arms embargo the same existential angst experienced at the time of “Woyanie werar” will come back to haunt Shaebia. The teghadelti that have began to feel so comfortable in their safety, so much so that they even dared to do away with the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) buffer, will soon experience existential threat with the drastic shift in military fire-power balance towards Ethiopia. And that is exactly where we want them to be if any meaningful change from their side is to be expected. But this is only if the arms embargo works in the first place.

G. Ande doesn’t believe the arms embargo will work; or, at minimum, he doesn’t want us or the military to believe so, for in this case perception is everything. He invokes the Iraqi experience to this effect (Will the Targeted Sanctions Hit or Miss the Bull's Eye?):

“… A broad based economic embargo was imposed on Iraq through UN Security Council Resolution 687. Iraq complied to six of the eight propositions. But those sanctions did very little to unravel Sadam Hussien’s regime. There was also a lot of corruption involved in managing those sanctions. Sadam’s regime was ousted by direct U.S. military intervention and not by sanctions …”

G. Ande’s straw man argument goes as follows: first, he implies that the Iraqi sanction set by the UN was aimed at regime change. Then he goes on to show us that it was a failure in that regard. Not that he succeeds even in that regard (I will come back to that below). But even if we assume that the sanction had nothing to do with the regime change of Saddam, it was never intended to achieve that in the first place. Its twin major goals were to force Iraq to withdraw its troops from Kuwait and to eliminate any weapons of mass destruction. After 1991, the sole major goal remained the elimination of WMD, and in that regard it was a success by any measurement. Economic strangulation, arms embargo and constant inspection had totally destroyed Iraq’s military machine, in general, and its WMD program, in particular. The fact that there were no WMD whatsoever to be found anywhere in Iraq after the war and the fact that Saddam’s military machine fell to pieces at the slightest bit of tweaking are testimonies to the spectacular success of the sanctions. Here is what George A. Lopez and David Cortright say on the subject matter, (“Iraq containment: Sanction Worked”, July 2004 – Foreign Affairs):

“… In reality, however, the system of containment that sanctions cemented did much to erode Iraqi military capabilities. Sanctions compelled Iraq to accept inspections and monitoring and won concessions from Baghdad on political issues such as the border dispute with Kuwait. They also drastically reduced the revenue available to Saddam, prevented the rebuilding of Iraqi defenses after the Persian Gulf War, and blocked the import of vital materials and technologies for producing WMD.

“The unique synergy of sanctions and inspections thus eroded Iraq's weapons programs and constrained its military capabilities. The renewed UN resolve demonstrated by the Security Council's approval of a ‘smart’ sanctions package in May 2002 showed that the system could continue to contain and deter Saddam. Unfortunately, only when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003 did these successes become clear: the Iraqi military that confronted them had, in the previous twelve years, been decimated by the strategy of containment that the Bush administration had called a failure in order to justify war in the first place.”

Instead, G. Ande wants us to dwell either on goals that were never set in the first place or on side issues, like UN corruption – the very tactics the regime supporters use for diversionary purposes. But more importantly, he deliberately ignores that part of the sanctions success that is relevant to the Eritrean case: the complete degradation of Iraq’s military machine.

Sanctions might not force Eritrea to withdraw from Djibouti or to withhold its support of Islamists in Somalia. But as G. Ande pointed out, these are “nonissues” when it comes to Eritrea (“These issues are ‘non issues’ as far as the Eritrean people are concerned.”). It is true that the UN has not framed the sanctions with the humanitarian plight of the Eritrean people in mind. Conversely, there is no obligation for us to embrace sanctions for the reasons that the UN holds. Once we OWN the sanctions, it is up to us to use it with internal variables only – on how to bring the humanitarian plight inside Eritrea to an end through regime change – in mind. So what would be considered failure by the UN – in case they don’t force Eritrea to withdraw from Djibouti and to withheld its support of Islamists in Somalia – would not necessarily be considered as failure on the Eritrean side, for all that we want from the arms embargo is to degrade the arms arsenal in Eritrea to such a low level that the existential threat would be acutely felt by the army and the leadership so as to facilitate regime change. And what is more, if regime change takes place, the UN’s conditions will also be met. So, in its finality, it will be a win-win case; the peoples of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea will all come out as winners.

Evading the arms embargo

G. Ande marshals another argument to show that arms embargo won’t work:

“The UNSC may be aware of the fact that if there is anything that it will be able to achieve through the sanctions, it will be the dimming of the spotlight for Mr. Isayas’s super ego and his relevance as a major player in the Horn of Africa. But then the Eritrean government is being led by a shrewd leader who has the capacity to navigate through the underworld and provide clandestinely for his war machine. He has close to 30-years experience as a leader of a liberation movement that has successfully weathered many storms and upheavals. Mr. Isayas has successfully made ends meet for his liberation army against all odds and against a strong undercurrent of world power indifference and at times outright opposition for his liberation efforts. So, I am not sure if that the arms embargo imposed on his regime will have any effect on his fire power nor on his ability to provide continued support for the Al Shabaab.”

Leaving aside his unabashed admiration for the Grand Fool of Asmara, he is telling us that Isaias can outwit the UN where Saddam failed. He completely ignores the glaring contrast between arming a guerrilla movement, and for that matter one that couldn’t manage to get a single shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile throughout its 30 years of existence (unlike many other movements), and arming a national army, one that requires fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, missile and rocket launchers, radar systems, boats, warships, etc. This is especially so in the case of Eritrea, a nation that is still on war footing with Ethiopia. The Kalashnikovs that the Arab world so readily provided or were captured from the Ethiopian army during ghedli provide no justification for granting extraordinary ability to the “shrewd leader” that he never had. Then, as now, the fool managed to prevail by taking unacceptable horrendous human costs. Ghedli’s victory was not only pyrrhic because of the unacceptable human cost it required to sustain itself, but also because it has proven to be unsustainable given its trajectory that has led us to this dead end. It is the very “calculated risk” (another phrase that G. Ande invokes to infuse intelligence to Isaias’ suicidal deeds that provoked sanctions) that Isaias perfected during the ghedli era that have been causing havoc in independent Eritrea.

But that doesn’t mean the Grand Fool of Asmara won’t try to outwit UN inspection. Given the contempt that he (and Shaebia) has for all world institutions, he might still believe that he can get away with anything. After all, isn’t that what has led the nation into one disaster after another? I actually hope he gets “smart” and ensnares himself into such a trap. Already, the AU is calling for the creation of no-fly zone over Somalia. And if the despot is found sneaking in arms to Eritrea, that no-fly zone could easily be made to extend over Eritrea. Given its heavy dependence on “tourism” for its revenue, that would be the end of the regime.

Arms embargo, security threat and regime change

Above, I have tried to show that even if we are to assume with G. Ande that the sanctions on Iraq didn’t cause regime change, it was still a success on that aspect that is relevant to the Eritrean case. Here, I will argue that even though regime change was not one of the objectives of the sanction on Iraq, that in fact it did play an indirect role in facilitating regime change. And what is more important, “security threat” figures large on this one; hence its applicability to the Eritrean case.

When the US was threatening Saddam Hussein with military invasion of his country, it seems now, in retrospect, so irrational for him not to have let the UN look wherever and however it wanted, given that he had no WMD whatsoever to hide. But Saddam had a plausible reason why he didn’t want the world to know that he did NOT have WMD. The question is: which part of the world? He would have gladly opened his arsenal of weapons to the demands of the West had there been a way of the latter keeping its findings secret to itself. What he was scared of, more than anything else, is for Iran to find out that he had no weapons of mass destruction. It goes then without saying that Saddam wouldn’t also want the “security threat” that he felt to prevail among his military or the masses, or else they would start getting funny ideas of how to exploit his vulnerability.

After the Iran-Iraqi war, years of sanctioning had degraded Iraq’s military capacity and tilted the balance of fire-power towards Iran. So, for Saddam, the only weapon left to him to discourage any kind of military adventure from the Ayatollahs was to bluff that he would use his WMD if that ever took place. Given that he had heavily used chemical warfare in the North against the Kurds and in the Majnoon fields to thwart Iranian offensives, such a threat would definitely carry much wait. [If you google up “Saddam WMDs bluffing” you will find more than one thousand links making a connection between Saddam’s bluffing and the fear of Iran, one of those being: (Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein bluffed about WMDs fearing Iranian arsenal, secret FBI files show, NY Daily News, Jun 25, 2009)]

To reiterate the main points, Saddam wanted to keep the facts of his vulnerability – that he had no WMDs – secret for two reasons:

  • to keep the Iranians in the dark so as to discourage any military adventurism from the Ayatollahs;
  • to keep Iraqis in the dark so as to prevent similar adventurism from inside, be it from the military or from the Shiites in South.


This then is the story of how the “security threat” felt just by one man – Saddam Hussein – came to unravel his regime. Had he not felt that existential threat, he would not have taken the ambiguous stand that he took in the last days that doomed his regime. It is true that in the last days Saddam found himself between a rock and hard place. His ambiguous stand then was meant to keep this delicate balance of meeting the US demand for transparency while keeping the Iranians and his people in the dark. Here then is a plausible scenario of how a nation unraveled as a result of fire-power imbalance created by sanctions without firing a shot against or by the enemy it feared most. In the end then, however indirect it might have been, sanctions did play a role in unraveling the Saddam regime. The case of Eritrea is similar, in that “security threat” could eventually cause the unraveling of the Isaias regime without shots being exchanged between it and Ethiopia. It is only that, in the Eritrean case, the security threat that has to be felt is not by the head of the state but by the rest of the leadership and the military.

The Eritrean government, of course, has no WMD with which it could bluff its way out of this self-made trap. Sooner or later, the balance of fire-power will drastically shift towards Ethiopia, especially in regard to air force; something that Ethiopia has already an edge. And whoever dominates the sky, dominates the war – a source of much anxiety among the generals. The reason why the Commander of the Eritrean air force rushed to Ukraine as soon as the UN resolution to sanction Eritrea was passed was precisely because of this realization. And if Ethiopia wants to accelerate the downfall of the Isaias regime, all it has to do is buy more armaments, buffer up its army and increase its army’s presence in the border area. All of this will, to some extent, bring back the existential angst that the former teghadelti experienced during the last days of the border war. And that, in turn, means that they will begin to look at Isaias as a liability, as a significant number of them did during that brief window of vulnerability which the G-15 exploited to conduct their dissent. That is to say, with sanctions, there is a high probability that the respective interests of the masses and former teghadelti will come to overlap, but not so much as to cause an uprising on its own. What needs to be added? [The case of the mining companies, the PFDJ-owned companies and the Diaspora network will be addressed in another posting.]

Normalizing Shaebia’s blunders

Another tactic G. Ande uses to save Shaebia from itself is by providing plausibility to Shaebia’s implausible behavior, so that by the end the reader will come out believing that, after all, it didn’t commit such a gross mistake. In one of his deceptive moments, he portrays what Shaebia has done as “calculated risk”:

“This is not to suggest, however, that the Eritrean regime is oblivious of western interests and policies on the Horn of Africa. In fact, the Eritrean government‘s involvement may have been motivated by a calculated risk. The government may have been trying to take advantage of Eritrea’s strategic location as a leverage to pull some strings on the major western countries in order to urge them put pressure on Ethiopia to honor the border demarcation ruling and to bring the border stalemate to an end …”

Translated into normal terms, what he is telling us is that Eritrea, with its misadventures in Djibouti and its aid of Islamists in Somalia, is trying to blackmail the West in making Ethiopia comply with the border ruling. Of course, such an act has nothing to do with calculated risk, but with sheer stupidity. But look how nicely he has put it to make it seem that it is this kind of calculation that, under normal conditions, could have easily gone the other way. The intention is someone who reads this would come out with the impression that even if Eritrea has lost in the end, it was in fact conducted with cool headed people that have done all the homework they could in cost-benefit analysis. All of this is meant to hide the recklessness with which the regime has come to the sanctions dead end.

Has there been anything in the pattern of behavior of Shaebia’s past that warrants such an assessment from G’ Ande’s side? If so, what kind of “calculated risk” could he have in mind? The calculated risk that drove the tyrant to go to war with Yemen? The calculated risk that he took in instigating war with Ethiopia and lose 20 thousands souls? The calculated risk that made the idiot to occupy a contested area in Djibouti and drove France into alliance with America and England to approve the sanctioning? The calculate risk he took in Somalia even as the AU peace keepers were being killed by Al Shabaab?

Only someone who doesn’t give a damn about the human cost such “calculated risks” would take would ever attempt to embark on such foolish endeavors. This holds true now as it did during the liberation era. Calculating risk requires that one works within a slight margin of error. No such context existed in mieda. Shaebia allowed itself the greatest margin of error possible in every major act it conducted, all at the expense of the masses. It is only that in the ghedli era, even though every foolish risk came at horrendous human cost, such acts didn’t have regional or international ramifications as they do now. Shaebia could get away with what it did mieda, as it does now in Eritrea, simply because there were no consequences to its acts. Now, of course, nobody outside of his country is allowing the Grand Fool of Asmara to provide him the kind of margin of error he allows himself within his own country. And the result has been: war and sanctions.

In a stanza that I wrote on how Shaebia prevailed during ghedli era, I talk about this kind of “calculated risk” that required the largest margin of error possible:

“Shaebia’s past

Despite doing everything wrong
if a family remains healthy and plumb
at a time of great famine,
count and recount its children:
it could have been eating its young!”

Shaebia literally prevailed by eating its young during the liberation era, and now it is prevailing by devouring its young – tens of thousands dead and maimed and hundreds of thousands exiled. It didn’t know any other way then; it doesn’t know any better now. But even more critically, it is hollowing out the whole nation in its quest for survival. Anyone who thinks that this Khmer Rouge of Africa knows how to take “calculated risk” either he is doing it to save it from itself or he ought to have his head examined.

Some other clever, but equally deceptive, arguments that G. Ande uses are: (a) The sanctions are easily reversible, and if reversed, the regime will come out stronger; so why bother. (b) Sanctions will harm the people, not the regime. (c) The world body has some other unarticulated ulterior motives in doing what it is doing (although I would grant his conspiracy theory has more “plausibility” than Saleh Younis’ the-stars-are-aligned-against-Eritrea mambo jambo). But none of them hold water. For lack of space though, I won’t address them here.


If sanctions are to work anywhere in the world, it would be in Eritrea. Unlike anywhere else where sanctions have been imposed in recent memory, there are many factors that militate against Eritrea to make it vulnerable to sanctions both economically and militarily. Economically we could mention three factors: (a) Eritrea is already in precarious condition; its economy is literally melting down. (b) Its sources of revenue are mainly from outside, and hence easy as targets of sanctions. (c) The complete monopolization of the nation’s economy by PFDJ-owned companies means that if one targets them, the whole economy would be in tatters. And militarily, the fact that the nation is still on war footing with Ethiopia makes the role of arms embargo in these sanctions even more critical. To the contrary of the naysayers then, the unique case of Eritrea is what should give us hope that the sanctions will work.

We know that the battle we are conducting, distanced as we are from the homeland, is a battle over the minds of our people. If the people of Eritrea are made to believe that Shaebia has conducted a simple reversible error or that the UN or USA is much to blame for the state that they find themselves in or that the arms embargo or economic sanction are impossible to implement or a combination of these, then the likelihood that they will feel the level of “security threat” essential to make them rise up against the regime will never be reached. So the likes of G. Ande know what they are doing. They know that the psychological frame of the masses is essential for the success or failure of sanctions in facilitating regime change, and that is exactly where they are aiming at. And that is what I meant when I said the battle lines are to be drawn in between those that want to own the sanctions and those that don’t. When the mission of “saving Shaebia from itself” is done by the likes of Ghidewon Abbay and Sophia Tesfamariam, every argument they muster carrys its stupidity in its sleeves that nobody, except for the foot soldiers, is fooled by them. It is the writings of the likes of G. Ande and Saleh Younis in the opposition that give plausibility to an otherwise implausible world of Shaebia’s making. Hence, the need to counter every move they make in that direction.

01/ 12/2010