Sanctions on Eritrea are Pure Bullying: Ambassador Herman Cohen

News Opinions

Eritrea sanctions continued only because of Susan Rice
BULLYING. Sanctions on Eritrea continued only because certain persons in the highest levels of the United States Government [Susan Rice] have mean spirited grievances against Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
By Ambassador Herman Cohen,

The United Nations Security Council has decided to continue sanctions against Eritrea for another year. This decision has no basis in fact. It was taken because certain persons in the highest levels of the United States Government have mean spirited grievances against Eritrean President Isayas Afwerki.

All accusations against Eritrea regarding alleged assistance to the Islamist terrorist group al-Shebab in Somalia have never been substantiated.

All experts on Somalia now agree that for the past three years, there have not even been rumors about such assistance. This is pure bullying.


… Long before Susan Rice became a household name thanks to her part in the Benghazi fiasco, she was building a career from the ruins of some African fiascoes. To some of these she merely contributed. Others were of her own making.

In May 1998, Ms. Rice had an opportunity to prove her diplomatic mettle when she was sent to mediate a peace plan between warring Ethiopia and Eritrea.

“What is publicly known,” notes Mr. Rosenblum, “is that Rice announced the terms of a plan agreed to by Ethiopia, suggesting that Eritrea would have to accept it, before Isaias had given his approval. He responded angrily, rejecting the plan and heaping abuse on Rice. Soon afterward, Ethiopia bombed the capital of Eritrea, and Eritrea dropped cluster bombs on Ethiopia. . . .

“Susan Rice was summoned back to Washington in early June after the negotiations collapsed. Insiders agree that the secretary of state [Madeleine Albright] was furious. According to one, Rice was essentially ‘put on probation,’ kept in Washington where the secretary could keep an eye on her. ‘Susan had misread the situation completely,’ according to one State Department insider who observed the conflict with Albright. ‘She came in like a scoutmaster, lecturing them on how to behave and having a public tantrum when they didn’t act the way she wanted.”

An estimated 100,000 people would perish in the war that Ms. Rice so ineptly failed to end.

Ambassador Herman Jay “Hank” Cohen was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1989 to 1993. He served in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 38 years.