Below is part of the summary on Eritrea provided by the UN Monitoring Group. For the full report please click here: Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea submitted in accordance with resolution 1916 (2010) We would like to instruct our readers that the part of report that concerns Eritrea is found on the pages 68-117. It is about fifity pages written in big letters, and worth reading it all.
It would be hard to conceive of two States that offer greater contrasts than Somalia and Eritrea: the former, a collapsed State for over two decades, with no functional national institutions; the latter, possessing the most highly centralized, militarized and authoritarian system of government on the African continent. From a sanctions monitoring perspective, however, the two countries present very similar challenges: in both cases, power is concentrated in the hands of individuals rather than institutions and is exercised through largely informal and often illicit networks of political and financial control. Leaders in both countries often depend more heavily on political and economic support from foreign Governments and diaspora networks than from the populations within their own borders. And both countries — in very different ways — serve as platforms for foreign armed groups that represent a grave and increasingly urgent threat to peace and security in the Horn and East Africa region. ….
Eritrean involvement in Somalia continues to represent a small but troubling part of the overall equation. Asmara’s continuing relationship with Al-Shabaab, for example, appears designed to legitimize and embolden the group rather than to curb its extremist orientation or encourage its participation in a political process. Moreover, Eritrean involvement in Somalia reflects a broader pattern of intelligence and special operations activity, including training, financial and logistical support to armed opposition groups in Djibouti, Ethiopia, the Sudan and possibly Uganda in violation of Security Council resolution 1907 (2009).
Eritrea’s support for such groups can only be understood in the context of its unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia. It is also symptomatic, however, of the systematic subversion of the Government of Eritrea and party institutions by a relatively small number of political, military and intelligence officials, who instead choose to conduct the affairs of state via informal and often illicit mechanisms, including people smuggling, arms trafficking, money-laundering and extortion. Such irregular financial practices, combined with direct financial contributions from ruling party supporters and some foreign States, as well as the imposition of a “diaspora tax” on Eritreans and foreign nationals of Eritrean origin living abroad, help to explain how a country as poor as Eritrea manages to sustain support for a variety of armed opposition groups across the region. From 2011 onwards, however, Eritrea’s newly emerging mining sector — especially gold — is likely to become the country’s principal source of hard currency.
During the course of the mandate, it is the Monitoring Group’s assessment that the Eritrean leadership committed multiple violations of Security Council resolutions 1844 (2008) and 1907 (2009). Most significantly, in January 2011, the Government of Eritrea conceived, planned, organized and directed a failed plot to disrupt the African Union summit in Addis Ababa by bombing a variety of civilian and governmental targets. Although many Eritreans harbour profound and arguably legitimate grievances against Ethiopia for failing to implement the boundary decision that formally ended the 1998-2000 border war between the two countries, the means by which the leadership in Asmara apparently intends to pursue its objectives are no longer proportional or rational. Moreover, since the Eritrean intelligence apparatus responsible for the African Union summit plot is also active in Kenya, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda, the level of threat it poses to these other countries must be re-evaluated.
Again, for the full report, please press here: Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea submitted in accordance with resolution 1916 (2010)