America led to Disaster in the Horn of Africa – the Trap of  Anti-EritreanismIn an earlier article, entitled ‘How America is led to Disaster in Eastern Africa’, we stressed the point that Islamic Terrorism is a matter of urban centers of conflict and not of provincial periphery of peaceful traditions, we elaborated on the exploitation of US sensitivities, we advised against a Christian alliance as means of opposition to the Islamic Terrorism (due to ensuing misinterpretations), and we underscored the nefarious impact of ethically and politically impermissible alliances with totalitarian regimes like that of Abyssinia, fallaciously re-baptized as ‘Ethiopia’.

As we promised, in the present article, we will analyze the falsifications contained within a supposedly elucidating analysis, one of the many working documents that are – quite unfortunately – taken very seriously in Washington; through meticulous textual analysis, one can identify the basic clichés of lobbying centers that bring back to America, in a most unorthodox way, part of US funds disclosed for execrable tyrannies.

The present US administration has been gravely misguided as regards the nature and the policies of several states that, just because they share borders with the tribal Abyssinian tyrants, became the next targets of Africa’s most appallingly inhuman disgrace, ‘Ethiopia’. That is why we selected a tool of misguidance that has been published a few days ago.

Clay Varney and the instigation of Anti-Eritrean Racism

On October 30, 2007, an instrumental text was published on the website of the US think tank ThreatsWatch.Org, geared to contribute to the rising Anti-Eritrean racism, to the identification of the small African country with the ‘International’ of the Islamic Terrorism, and to the promotion of the Neo-Nazi agenda of the racist Amhara / Tigray rulers of Abyssinia.

The article under the double, long, aggressive, and definitely abusive title “Eritrea: Who Knew? Status as State Sponsor of Terrorism Seems Self-Evident” (http://commentary.threatswatch.org/2007/10/eritrea-who-knew/) was written by Clay Varney. We will publish the entire text (without editing it), and comment extensively; the numbers encrusted in Mr. Varney’s text refer to points of comments. However, as many people do not know either the author or the institution, we will republish from ThreatsWatch.Org’s website texts pertaining to the identity of the organization and the biography of the author – without editing them. It is clear that we limit the present article exclusively in textual analysis and refutation, avoiding comments on ThreatsWatch.Org think tank and Mr. Clay Varney.

Who is Mr. Clay Varney?

According to his portrait (http://threatswatch.org/tw/clay-varney/) of contributor, “Clay Varney is a second year M.A. candidate in international security at the University of Denver – Graduate School of International Studies. At DU his studies have focused on terrorism and security issues in the Middle East. Clay currently resides in Washington, DC where he is an intern with the Center for Security Policy. Previously, he was a research assistant with The Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies.

Clay graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2006 where he received a B.A. in political science with a minor in Islamic studies. While at Vanderbilt, he participated in The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Undergraduate Fellowship on Terrorism. Clay also received a National Security Education Program scholarship to study at The American University in Cairo, from where he traveled extensively in Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.

A native of Pittsburgh, Clay’s research and writing for ThreatsWatch will focus on security developments in Africa, South Asia, and the wider war on terrorism”.

About ThreatsWatch.Org (http://threatswatch.org/tw/)

According their own presentation, “establish in 2005, ThreatsWatch.Org seeks to increase public awareness of national security threats and to assist in the delivery of professional and open source information vital to maintaining an informed public in a manner readily understandable by as broad an audience as possible. As a web based publication of the Center for Threat Awareness (CTA), ThreatsWatch aims to deliver national security information in an accessible, interactive, and context aware form.

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Eritrea: Who Knew? Status as State Sponsor of Terrorism Seems Self-Evident (http://commentary.threatswatch.org/2007/10/eritrea-who-knew/)

By Clay Varney

In what has so far been a widely overlooked arena in the war on terrorism, the Horn of Africa has emerged as a pivotal region for the prosecution of America’s long struggle against jihadist extremism. However, this should not be surprising, as al-Qaeda has long been a player in the region. 1 There was, of course, the residence of Usama bin Laden and his organization in Sudan during the 1990’s, 2 and the dual attacks against the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. In more recent times, a new player has emerged on the scene, threatening to do further harm to American interests in the region. This player would be the seemingly unimportant nation of Eritrea, a nation of 4.9 million people on the Red Sea surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. After a thirty year fight, Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. 3

Recently, Eritrea has come onto the radar of officials in the United States government regarding its support for Islamist insurgents operating in Somalia against the nascent government. 4 After Ethiopia invaded Somalia with American backing to wrest power from the Islamic Courts Union, a Taliban-style grouping of Islamist militias, an insurgency ignited featuring tactics reminiscent of Iraq, including suicide bombings and assassinations. 5 As an example, a suicide bomber targeted Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi unsuccessfully in his Mogadishu home this June, killing seven. 6 Violence in Mogadishu has expanded significantly in recent days, causing thousands of refugees to flee the city 7 as a result of increased fighting between the insurgents of the Islamic Courts Union 8 and the combined Ethiopian and Somali government forces.

Eritrea has been fingered as a source of arms for these insurgents. 9 In a July report by the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia, Eritrea was blamed as a major weapons supplier. Specific accusations revolved around a plane that made 13 flights from Eritrea’s capital Asmara to Mogadishu and the importation of SA-18 surface-to-air-missiles. 10 Eritrea’s president, Isaias Afwerki, danced around the question in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, stating: “I still would like to know what is behind this allegation. Nobody is convinced. What are the accusations?” Further, unsatisfied with merely supplying the Islamic Courts Union with weapons, 11 Eritrea is also harboring its leadership, à la another prominent member of the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Syria. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the head of the Islamic Courts Union, now resides in Asmara, Eritrea. 12 Why should this concern the average American? The answer is simple as the sheikh was placed on a State Department list as an al-Qaeda collaborator since shortly after September 11. Furthermore, he was also associated with the now defunct al-Ittihad al-Islamiya, 13 which is believed to have played a role in the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings perpetrated by al-Qaeda.

In early September of this year, a major gathering of figures opposed to Somalia’s current government was held in Asmara. The group 14 included a number of prominent Islamists, 15 whom at its conclusion formed the Alliance For The Re-Liberation Of Somalia. Isaias Afwerki openly backed the formation of this confederation. 16 The previously mentioned Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was present at this gathering, 17 leading Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, to comment: “But clearly the fact that Eritrea is providing sanctuary for terrorists is best illustrated by the report that Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was in Asmara yesterday.” 18 Dr. Frazer announced on August 17 that Eritrea was being considered for inclusion on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. 19 Other esteemed nations currently designated as such are Syria, Iran, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea. 20 Such a label would result in harsh economic sanctions against the African nation. 21

Eritrean officials have denied the allegations. In one telling statement, the information minister of Eritrea, Ali Abdu, responded to Secretary Frazier’s assertions by saying, “Eritreans kneel on only two occasions…when they pray and when they shoot.” No final decision has yet been made on Eritrea’s status and the possibility of such a designation may 22 dissuade Eritrea from continuing to supply weapons to the Somali insurgency, but based on Abdu’s contention, compliance appears unlikely.

Though Eritrea’s actions may seem marginal 23 at first, there are in fact major implications for American national security. Eritrea’s supply of weapons provides a major tool for the Islamic Courts Union 24 in its campaign to unseat the delicate interim government. 25 If the instability and violence continues, Somalia will remain a failed state, 26 and as Afghanistan showed, 27 failed states in which Islamist forces are free to operate can directly impact the United States. 28

Additionally, a significant American military presence has been established in Djibouti, a tiny nation sandwiched between Somalia 29 and Eritrea. In January of this year, a number of al-Qaeda members were targeted in air strikes by American military forces based in Djibouti. These members of the terrorist organization had been sheltered by the Islamic Courts Union. Individuals targeted in the strikes included Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the planner of the 1998 embassy bombings. 30

In short, Eritrea is giving weapons to an organization that has provided safe haven for members of al-Qaeda responsible for the deaths of Americans and is also granting sanctuary to that organization’s leader. 31 The State Department defines state sponsors of terrorism as follows: “State sponsors of terrorism provide critical support to non-state terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, terrorist groups would have much more difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations.” 32 Eritrea’s status as such seems self-evident. 33

Refutation of Clay Varney’s Anti-Eritrean fallacies and forgeries

1. Mr. Varney starts in a most unconvincing way; he tries to portray the vast area between Egypt and Tanzania as an Al Qaeda targeted area, but he fails to produce more than two supposed Islamist connections the first of which is just the residence of Ossama Bin Laden in Sudan. Why Eritrea and not Sudan stands accused for this? Is this due to the fact that the lobbying group for which Mr. Varney works does not want to address all issues with equity and fairness, and supports the Sudanese Islamist regime’s longevity at the prejudice of the oppressed Nations of the Furis (in Darfur), the Haussa (in the Kordofan), and the Bejas (in the East, Sudan’s Red Sea coast)?

What is even more provocative in this inconsistent attempt is that the frequency and the width of the area render the number of connections – supposed proofs of Al Qaeda target totally irrelevant. The area referred to is larger than Europe (taking Russia out); the frequency is so low that only Antarctica can compete!

The fact that the Saudi – US group of people who feed Al Qaeda want to penetrate in the area Mr. Varney refers to is certain; but with the same determination, they try to expand activities and to attract supporters of all sorts and levels everywhere. If one enumerates cases of Al Qaeda connection in Europe, India and America, one will produce an extremely long list, not just two points.

2. The fact that Ossama Bin Laden lived in Sudan in the 90s by and in itself says little; he could have lived in Yemen, Indonesia and Mali. And in any case, it is totally irrelevant to Eritrea.

3. The structure of the text and the sophisticated use of words suggests for a combined effort, and many levels of rewriting until the monstrous article be finally produced. Mr. Varney calls Al Qaeda as a “player in the region”; then three lines later he ‘promotes’ Eritrea to the level ‘a new player’. This consists in criminal writing and intellectual terrorism. Mr. Varney’s method plays with the functions of the subconscious level of a person’s reading and understanding capacities. Reading fast, one advances having associated Eritrea with Al Qaeda, as both entities are presented in parallel orbits and identified – without any proof except this trickery – with one another.

All this Mr. Varney does without the slightest care for accuracy and correctness; Eritrea’s population amounts to 4.4 (not 4.9) million people (according to Wikipedia). Of course, one may suggest that Mr. Varney accepts the data of the CIA World Factbook; but are these info-details accurate? Certainly not!

If one wants to check the veracity of the CIA World Factbook, one should consider the data given for Eritrea’s ethnic groups; as of today, the website editors state – provocatively and laughably – the following: Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3% (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/er.html). We will not enter into a conflict about the figures; we will simply focus on the expression “Tigre and Kunama”. To classify them together one has to first accept that the two groups are ethno-linguistically related, having specific affinities. Well, the Tigre are Semitic, whereas the Kunama are Nilo-Saharan! They are so different from one another as the Chinese are from the Indians. This illuminates the veracity and the scrupulousness of the CIA World Factbook editors……

4. This is totally inconsistent; the Islamists have been dispersed following the collapse of the Islamic Courts of Justice regime in January 2007. The nascent government? There is no nascent government in Somalia! To associate the fighters of National Liberation with Islamists, as Mr. Varney attempts, consists in a great contribution to Ossama Bin Laden’s efforts. It’s not Eritrea that helps promoting Islamic Terrorism; it’s Mr. Varney who does his ingenious best to make of the Islamic Terrorism a fully accredited and perfectly justified Struggle of National Liberation.

Yet, it should be clear to Mr. Varney that Somalia is under Abyssinian occupation. In addition, it should be ostensible for him as well that whenever foreign armies invade a land, the indigenous people have full right and supreme moral obligation to undertake a National Liberation Struggle.

The Abyssinian invasion of Somalia is characterized by an even more critical dimension; as it is carried out by a racist tribal dictator who represents less than 8% of the country’s population, the outright majority of Zenawi’s tyrannized realm totally disapproves of the Somali military campaign.

Zenawi’s racist anti-Somali campaign had nothing to do with the Islamic Courts of Justice; this is the false story that gullible American diplomats and legislators believed. What they failed to detect is the other half of Zenawi’s mind. There you have the Abyssinian incursion’s real reasons. In fact, it is an old conflict between the various Somali states and sultanates and the Monophysitic, heretic Christian Amhara / Tigray state of Abyssinia, before its colonial expansion that led to the occupation of vast territories and the subjugation of numerous nations and peoples who are not involved in the conflict, having no enmity with the Somalis.

In the conflict between the Abyssinians and the Somalis, the Oromos, the Sidamas, the Kaffas, the Afars, the Agaws, the Kambattas, the Shekachos and other oppressed peoples of Ethiopia are friendly predisposed to the Somalis, and categorically denounce the Tigray / Amhara racist incursion. In fact, all these oppressed nations have been exploited by the Abyssinian rulers of Ethiopia, who shamelessly try to portray them as siding with them. Not a single African nation sides with the racist, barbaric and inhuman Abyssinian tribes.

And among Abyssinia’s oppressed nations, only the Ogadenis are directly concerned with the Abyssinian – Somali conflict, as they are Somalis who have been colonized by the Abyssinians, like all the rest.

5. This is another forgery of Varney’s; although certainly there were Taliban-like elements among the Islamic Courts of Justice, there were also many who vividly opposed that version and interpretation of political Islam. Furthermore, the present insurgency is not Islamist but National of character; it may be reminiscent of Iraq, but it is not identical. Somalia is a very different environment than Iraq, and the political – military developments that took place there are very different than those occurred in Iraq. In Somalia, there was not a dictator who tried to invade neighboring countries, and there was not an international coalition led by America to invade the country in order to remove him and establish Democracy. It would be comical to compare the sincere, but ill-fated, American efforts to promote Democracy in Iraq (despite America’s mistakes no one should deny the efforts, and the vision) with the murderous, inhuman and cannibalistic deeds of the tribal, totalitarian Amhara and Tigray soldiers in Somalia’s South.

The Somali resistance against Africa’s cruelest butcher, the Abyssinian gangster Zenawi, is a national phenomenon whereby participate all the Somalis irrespective of their political and ideological preferences. Certainly there are Islamists among them, but they do not control or guide the insurgents, nor do they represent an important part of them. Actually, there are more Islamists in Abyssinia than in Somalia.

Certainly, Mr. Varney never heard of the Amhara and Tigray Muslims who want to break down the Monophysitic, heretic Christian tyranny, and turn it to an Islamic Republic. Mr. Varney still believes the false data of the CIA World Fcatbook; yet, it is well known that the untrustworthy board of this institution altered significantly the data presented in their portal in order to ominously influence gullible legislators and unaware diplomats and administrators. More precisely, whereas before two years they were regularly and correctly presenting the Muslims as the largest religious group of Abyssinia (in their ‘Ethiopia’ entry: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html) with adherents totaling 50% of the entire population, and despite the fact that among Muslims the birth rate is higher, they recently falsified the data, stating that Muslims account for just 32.8% of the total population, which is absolutely ludicrous.

6. The fact Mr. Varney mentions is correct, but the conclusion is wrong. We do not deny the existence of Somali Islamists, and we do not disagree with a certain need of containment. However, the method matters critically; and the best method is a coalition of moderate Islamic authorities, like the leader of ARS, and secular Somalis, able to represent all various backgrounds of the well diversified Somali Nation. The only way for America to avoid a deterioration in Somalia is the immediate UN call for instant departure of Meles Zenawi’s armed forces, their replacement by UN soldiers, and the preparation of National Constitutive Assembly elections. Longer the loathsome, racist Abyssinian soldiers stay, larger numbers of Somalis will be pulled to Islamic Extremism. If Mr. Varney fails to understand this, he will probably see his Master’s degree thesis rejected. But if the US fails to realize this, America and its tyrannical and inhuman ally will be met with an African Vietnam. Then, we will attest the rise of the Eastern African Caliphate that they inanely thought they would avoid with the help of whom?

Of Meles Zenawi! What a laugh!

Yes, Mr. Varney states clearly how many died in that suicidal attack; but why does he fail to mention how many died because of the Abyssinian invasion?

7. For the recent violence that again Mr. Varney erroneously tries to attribute to the few Islamist combatants, the only responsible are the Abyssinian occupation forces; they have to leave so that violence ceases definitely. It is ridiculous to blame the insurgents for the flight of thousands of Mogadishu inhabitants; the reason is the existence of the occupation forces. Except, Mr. Varney suggests that the British occupation forces should have remained in America in 1773, and since then, continuously until our days….

8. This is an absolute falsehood; there are no Islamic Courts of Justice as institution anymore; the organization disintegrated and dissolved, as it had been established out of many elements. Today’s Somali Islamists are a marginal and disorganized force, having no place within the mainstream organization of moderate Somali Muslims, ARS. The fights that are currently taking place are between the occupation forces and the National Somali resistance. The limited Somali forces loyal to the Transitional Federal Government are in this case insignificant, and it is estimated that with the rise of the insurgents, they will gradualy unify with the National Liberation front that is currently emerging.

9. At this point comes the supposedly grave accusation of Eritrea as the source of arms for the insurgents. This is completely wrong as concern, and completely fallacious as worry. If the Somali insurgents must not get arms, the Abyssinian tyrants must not get either. Contrarily to Mr. Varney’s false concern, one should truly be upset with the fact that the illegal Abyssinian government, which without any trace of representativity rules dictatorially over so many nations, is supplied with weapons that help perpetuate the most inhuman form of tyranny and oppression over the Oromos, the Ogadenis, the Sidamas, the Adars, the Shekachos, the Anuak, the Agaw, the Kaffas, the Kambattas, the Wolayitas and others. Primary concern of any US administration abiding by the principles and the ideals of the Founding Fathers should be how the state of Abyssinia, fallaciously re-baptized ‘Ethiopia’, will be broken down and exterminated so that the numerous oppressed peoples of that African Hell be liberated and join the UN as independent states in the same way this was produced in the case of the demised Yugoslavia. Top concern of the current US administration should be how the bloody hands of the criminal tyrant Zenawi will be empty of money, and deprived of guns and arms of all sorts.

Eritrea delivers truly arms to the Somali insurgents; every state in the world has the right and the obligation to help the National Liberation fighters of an oppressed and tyrannized nation free their country from barbaric and lawless invaders. And as we said already, Mr. Varney fails to provide any proof that these insurgents are in their majority the extremists who before a year had prevailed within the regime of the Islamic Courts of Justice.

What is it that Mr. Varney wants? Shall we now punish France for having helped the American insurgents in the 1770s, and for having provided them with weaponry?

10. ‘Major weapons supplier’! Who? Eritrea! The guy must have seen apocalyptic visions! So irrelevant the term is that it does not deserve any comment. Then, what about America, France, Russia, England, China and Germany? And why should we focus on Eritrean arms delivery to Somali Liberation fighters, and not on the ammunitions sent by the monstrous, racist dictator Zenawi to his tribal and cannibalistic soldiers who see in the Somalis the hereditary enemy, feeling inferior and at the same time heinous and rancorous for the illustrious Somali invasion of Abyssinia – before …… 500 years?

We will complete the criticism of Mr. Varney’s fallacies and forgeries in a forthcoming article.

Note 1
Picture: Anti-Abyssinian demonstration in the streets of Mogadishu a few days ago. Can you take these simple people as Islamic Terrorists?

Note 2
My deepest thanks to the good Somali friends who as photo-journalists risk daily their lives to peovide me with original photographical documentation from Mogadishu!

  By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Published: 11/8/2007
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