Meles Zenawi’s Lower Case Treachery

News Opinions Sophia Tesfamariam

“…Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not the wits enough to be honest…”– (Benjamin Franklin)

Wikileaks exposed Meles Zenawi's heinous Plans and Intentions for Eritrea

By Sophia Tesfamariam,

Today, the minority regime’s cadres are lobbying members of the Security Council (SC), and specifically the three African states on the SC, to take immediate action against Eritrea. They do not want the members of the SC and the Sanctions Committee to read Eritrea’s response to the erroneous and childish accusations presented in the SEMG report, as the minority regime knows that, time is not on its side. The regime’s elaborate scheme to tarnish Eritrea’s image is unraveling and its lies, deceptions and distortions of the facts are now exposed for all to see. It has become an embarrassment to those who provided it diplomatic, financial, military and political shield and support and the Ethiopian people who have to live with its shame.

I chose the phrase “lower case treachery” (LTC) to describe Meles Zenawi’s acts against the State of Eritrea and its people because it is an exact fit for the TPLF regime’s warped mentality. I came across that phrase while reading William R. Marcy’s essays. As I read one of his pieces, I felt as though he was writing about Meles Zenawi and the minority regime in Ethiopia. In that little essay, Marcy covered everything known about Meles Zenawi’s crab mentality, incurable inferiority complex and his delusions of grandeur.

Allow me to share an excerpt from Marcy’s essay as he describes what lower case treachery entails. Marcy wrote:

“…No gain is involved in this sort of loathsome behavior, no money or sexual coercion, only the gratification of inflicting a hurt on another human being…treachery is a crime or sin against a prevailing code, but lower case treachery is different in that there is no quid pro quo of any sort …It is craven, it is cowardly, it is an act that often uses a dupe…Lower case treachery is the sin from whence other sin springs, the sin … This sort of treachery is perpetrated against those who have given the purveyor of such treachery their trust… a cold and covert evil act, a spineless act of malice by one who can never be trusted to be on either side of a confidence, or to ever do the right thing…”

Marcy goes on:

“…Lower case treachery is more often than not the specialty of the insecure, one who resents his lack of abilities, disregarded by his peers, relegated to the outer fringes when in the company of his betters, one who strives to pass off the fiction that he is a formidable power behind the throne of whatever mindless melodrama he thinks someone of importance has made him a part of… who makes all the right mouth noise, particularly if there are important ears to take in his fatuous… someone who swears oaths to God, country, and individuals he would betray at the drop of a hat…”

Much has been written about and the international crimes committed by Meles Zenawi’s minority regime in Ethiopia. Genocide Watch, several Ethiopian and international rights groups and independent Ethiopian and foreign journalists have documented the regime’s atrocities committed against Ethiopians in the Gambela, Ogaden and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. There have been reports of hangings, of brutal massacres, of detentions and disappearances of thousands of Ethiopians. Unfortunately, the minority regime gets way with these crimes because it enjoys the full diplomatic, financial, military and political support of the US led international community.

Beyond Ethiopia, the ongoing crimes committed by the regime and its cadres against the people in the region are a matter of public knowledge and record. But that is another story for another day. Today, I want to concentrate on Meles Zenawi’s treacherous acts against the people of Eritrea. The last 12 years have exposed the envy and hatred that Meles Zenawi and Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) cadres harbor against the government and people of Eritrea, and the extent that they were willing to go to destroy Eritrea and its people.

The regime’s shameful diabolical actions are not a normal act of war; it is treachery at its worst.This “lower case treachery” (LTC) is one that history and the people of Eritrea will judge harshly. As I will endeavor to show, in this and future articles, this lawless and belligerent regime has made neighboring states, IGAD, AU and the UN Security Council party to its treachery against Eritrea and its people. Of course it enjoys the full support and shield of the US-led international community and Meles Zenawi’s handlers in the Bush Administration and Barack Obama Administrations.

The TPLF regime’s bigotry and racist attitudes manifested themselves during the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict in 1998-2000 when the regime deported over 80,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin and confiscated properties (houses, businesses etc.) worth billions, because the TPLF regime did not “like the color of their eyes”. Eritreans bore the brunt of its frustrations in the battlefields when its marauding army invaded sovereign Eritrean territories and wrecked havoc on the lives of the border inhabitants. From destroying and looting private property, vandalizing villages, burning homes and razing farms, to beating, torturing and raping innocent civilians, evidence of its desire to destroy anything and everything Eritrean.

The regime detained and tortured Eritrean students in Addis Ababa University participating in the academic exchange program between Asmara and Addis Ababa universities. Thousands of Eritreans were detained in Ethiopian jails around the country, women and children were put in concentration camps and forced to beg with the hopes of humiliating them. The regimes forces demolished churches and mosques and burned copies of the holy books, the Bible and the Quran.

Meles Zenawi’s forces destroyed historic monuments like the Belew-Kelew stelae at Metera that dates back to the 3rd Century A.D. Its forces destroyed residential houses, schools, hospitals and factories in Eritrean territories it occupied. But none was uglier than the deliberate and malicious destruction of cemeteries where Eritrea’s beloved martyrs lay. The minority regime’s forces dug up martyrs’ cemeteries, stole their coffins, uprooted and destroyed trees planted in honor of Eritrea’s martyrs. Their bones were crushed and strewn all over the place. The regime showed its contempt for Eritreans and its disrespect for their dead.

In accordance with the 2000 Algiers Agreements between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) was established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border. The EEBC delivered its final and binding delimitation decision on 13 April 2002 and on 30 November 2007, after waiting patiently for over 5 years to demarcate the border with pillars on the ground, the EBBC left the area in 2007 after demarcating the border using coordinates on maps (virtual demarcation) instead because Ethiopia refused to allow demarcation with pillars on the ground.

Emboldened by the US-led international community’s silence, diplomatic, financial, political and military support and shield, today, Ethiopia continues to militarily occupy sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, the casus belli for the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict.

Speaking of Badme … After lying to the Ethiopian people about Eritrea “invading Ethiopia” and declaring war through the Ethiopian Parliament and dragging the two peoples into an unnecessary war that cost the lives of over 120,000 Ethiopians who were used as cannon fodder and minesweepers in the regime’s aggressive war of invasion and occupation against Eritrea, the minority regime’s treachery against the two peoples is now exposed.

In a 21 May 2009 Wikileak cable, the flip flopping Prime Minister tells Susan E. Rice, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and a mediator during the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict in 1998-2000, the following:

“…The outbreak of hostilities in 1998 between Eritrea and Ethiopia was never about the border dispute in Badme and Zelambessa… It was about economic and political differences…”

Obviously, it didn’t solve Ethiopia’s economic or political problems. It only exacerbated them. Ethiopia under Meles Zenawi ranks at the bottom of all UN development indices on development. Ethiopia will not be meeting any of the Milinium Development Goals set by the UN and today, according to the 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index, Ethiopia ranks 108 out of 110 countries, ranking just above Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic.

In that May 2009 meeting, Meles Zenawi took the opportunity to lay out his agenda for Eritrea and the Eritrean leadership during his 6 hour long conversation with Susan E. Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Meles Zenawi was clear in what he wanted Susan Rice to do for him:

“…the U.S. and others imposed financial sanctions on him and particularly cut off Isaias’ funding from Qatar and other countries and the important funding from the Diaspora in the U.S. Isaias still imposes a mandatory 2 percent of salary tax on all Eritreans living overseas. Non payment results in family members in Eritrea being denied food ration cards…”

Notwithstanding the fact that “food ration cards” have nothing to do with the 2% tax, just the thought that he was willing to “starve” Eritreans to achieve his political goals says a lot about this psychopath… and even more so, of those who run to Addis to seek his advice.

Only a devious and conniving individual would feed US officials with such garbage. But judging from the cables and the literature out there, it is the same stupid story the regime has been feeding EU diplomats and African leaders. Why else would they all point to the “2% tax” narrative? Heck, he had Matt Bryden and the Somali Eritrea Monitoring Group singing the same tune too. He was feeding Rice with blatant lies, but blinded by her own personal vendetta against the Government of Eritrea and H.E. President Isaias Afwerki, she set out to help Meles achieve his agenda against Eritrea.

So what did his agenda entail? His friends as the US State Department knew well. The Wikileak cable, “Ethiopia’s Plans and Intentions for Eritrea (c-al7-00598)”, dated 24 April 2007 outlines his agenda for Eritrea. That cable written by Donald Yamamoto, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, says the following:

“…Historically, Meles’ approach was to carefully keep Isaias [Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki ] in a “box” by strengthening Ethiopian forces along the border, neutralizing Eritrea’s influence in Somalia, and increasing Eritrea’s isolation in the international community… But now, Meles sees that this approach must be modified to include more vocal criticism of Eritrea as a “rogue state” sponsoring terrorism and seeking to destabilize the region. The Foreign Ministry has pressed the international community to openly criticize Eritrea, and wants to introduce UN Security Council resolutions and African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) communiques condemning Eritrea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Further, Meles has elevated Eritrean opposition groups in Ethiopia, designating GOE State Ministers, rather than office directors, to deal with them. Meles is also carefully working the Sanaa Forum and IGAD to increase pressure and isolation of Eritrea…”

With that the agenda to “isolate” and “demonize” Eritrea was borne. IGAD, AU and the UN Security Council were going to be used as tools in his treacherous agenda against the people of Eritrea.

Jendayi E. Frazer was the first US official to respond to Meles Zenawi’s call. As soon as she returned from Ethiopia, on 23 April 2007-just a day before Donald Yamamoto’s 24 April 2007 cable- Frazer held a press briefing, and in response to a question on Somalia and Eritrea responded by saying:

“…Somalia and stabilizing it is to have this inclusive dialogue, and so trying to get the Transitional Federal Government to reach out to the various clans and sub-clans is a large part of our diplomacy…The issue of Eritrea is one that I would say that the region needs to take some responsibility for — the African Union, IGAD and the neighboring countries — that Eritrea has not been playing a constructive role in Somalia because they continue to fund, arm, train and advise the insurgents, especially the al-Shabab militia…”

Frazer was also the first US official to call for Eritrea’s placement on the US list of countries that sponsor terrorism, an effort she carried until the very last hour of the Bush Administration. Her vindictive and vitriolic anti-Eritrea statements continued for the duration of her tenure as US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. From supporting anti-Eritrea individuals and groups, to carrying on a vicious vilification and defamation campaign against the government and people of Eritrea, Frazer played a key role in the gradual souring of US-Eritrea relations.

But even after she left office, she remained a loyal apologist for the minority regime in Ethiopia led by Meles Zenawi, her friend and confidante. In a recent (early October 2011) Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) event attended by this author and others, Frazer made erroneous and unwarranted statements about Eritrea and its leadership. Acting more like a spokesperson for the minority regime than a US diplomat, and exposing her contempt for the people of Eritrea, Frazer attacked Eritrea and justified what she labeled as being Meles Zenawi’s intent to “stamp out Eritrea”. No doubt she will appear in other forums to sully Eritrea’s image in her futile attempts to “prop up” Meles Zenawi’s illegitimate minority regime.

Meles Zenawi’s treachery was not reserved for Eritrea. His backstabbing of Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen and others who considered him their close ally, have been exposed by the Wikileak cables. Let us take a look at what he has to say about Bashir of Sudan as presented in the Wikileak cable. In a January 30 meeting with acting US AF Assistant Secretary Phil Carter and AF/SPG Director Tim Shortley:

“…Meles offered that if he were the United States, he would look at two options. First, which he clearly conveyed as the preferred choice, would be to “remove the Bashir regime.” Acknowledging that such an option was unlikely, Meles advocated for making a clear representation to the GoS that the United States is not/not “out to get them” and laying out clear benchmarks of actions expected of the GoS on both Darfur and South Sudan that would be necessary to “avoid continued challenges” with the U.S. Meles concluded the discussion by highlighting that “they don’t trust the Obama Administration,” and “they trust the Obama Administration less than the Bush Administration,” and with a clear reference to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and former Senior NSC Director for Africa Gayle Smith “…especially some friends of mine….”

Calling on the United States to help him starve the people of Eritrea and remove the Sudanese leader. We also know that it was with the help of the United States that it first propped up Abdulahi Yusuf and then had him removed. So much for good neighborliness…if this is not destabilizing neighbors, what it is?

If there is one thing that the Eritrean leader is known for, is his commitment to the people of Eritrea and the region. He is not interested in gossip and backstabbing…that is why one will be hard pressed to find a single Wikileak cable that proves otherwise. He is a man of honor and dignity and would never engage in deceit and treachery. For Meles Zenawi and his cadres, lying, cheating, exaggerating, fabricating, pitting neighbor against neighbor etc. etc. is considered “diplomacy” and “politics”…in Eritrea, that is called newri!

But there was no neighbor that Meles Zenawi and his cadres played (as in fooled) like the Djibouti government. It is a matter of history and public record that the Government of Djibouti and the Government of Eritrea enjoyed warm and cordial relations and that was not sitting well with Meles Zenawi and his cadres. In a 16 September 2006 cable, “Ethiopia: Deputy Minister Tekeda Talks Somalia, Regional Issues with Das Yamamoto”, the Ethiopian Deputy Minister Tekeda Alemu. The cable from US Ambassdor Donald Yamamoto begins with this:

“…Tekeda expressed concern about increasing Eritrean influence over Djibouti as well as CIC contacts with President Guelleh. He encouraged the USG to speak frankly with Djibouti about the risks of its behavior…

The rest of the cable tells the sordid story. Here is what it said:

“…The Government of Djibouti’s opposition to IGAD actions in Somalia are the result of its fear of Eritrean President Isaias, Tekeda said, as well as President Guelleh’s personal business interests with Eritrea. The Deputy Foreign Minister speculated that the Djiboutian leadership was worried that Eritrea would support Afari separatist movements, as Isaias had done successfully in Sudan, if Djibouti did not follow Eritrea’s lead in Somalia. Tekeda also told Yamamoto that Aweys and other CIC leaders had stopped in Djibouti to meet with President Guelleh on their way back from Libya the week before. Tekeda maintained that the Government of Djibouti was “on the wrong path,” and added that Djibouti was not strong enough to take Ethiopia’s continued friendship and forbearance for granted. He criticized President Guelleh’s recent visit to Tehran as well as his comments on a recent BBC Somali Service broadcast, in which he had called on Somalis to be vigilant in defense of their homeland against the Ethiopian threat…”

Why was the Ethiopian official criticizing Djibouti for its relations with Iran when the Ethiopian regime has closer ties with Iran than any other nation in the region? Did Ethiopia not send a high level delegation an Ethiopian delegation led by Ambassador Fisseha Yimer, Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador Mahdi Ahmed, Director General for the Middle East, Asia and Oceania to visit Iran as recently as January 2011?

Eritreans are known for their honesty (some call it brutal honesty) and their abhorrence for lies and deceit. There is one occasion where it is okay to tell a white lie. There is saying in Tigrinya that goes something like this, “hasika seb tiArik imber, hasika seb aytebaisn” when dealing with conflict between two parties. The English version would be diplomatic tact-the idea is to not tell the parties hurtful comments made by the other, but instead tell little white lies to bring them closer. What Meles Zenawi does is tell out right lies to anger, inflame, and manipulate. By doing that, he prevents others from trying to find out the truth. Instead of fostering good will and friendship amongst the people in the region, he pits one against the other.

The regime’s evil acts against the Eritrean people don’t come as a surprise to those who have followed its brutal reign and stranglehold on the people of Ethiopia; what has angered millions is that the regime would find like-minded individuals within the US Administration to advance its agenda against the people of Eritrea. In future articles, I will endeavor to show how Meles Zenawi’s regime colluded with US officials to create a rift between Eritrea and Djibouti. We will see how Ethiopia fabricated long exaggerated tales to inflame Djibouti, jeopardize its otherwise good relations with France and sever its brotherly relations with Eritrea.

Unfortunately, the Djiboutians seem impotent to do anything about Ethiopia’s stranglehold on their country. Djibouti’s resignation can be seen in Minister of Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Mahmoud Ali Youssef’s words. This is what Youssef told the former US Ambassador to Djibouti:

“…In the history of dealing with Ethiopia, the farther it is apart from Eritrea…the closer it wants to move toward Djibouti. Djibouti benefits economically from the existing tensions between the two countries and while unfortunate in a way… it is “a fact of life…”

It is indeed a sad state of affairs. Djiboutian leaders are forced to relinquish Djibouti sovereignty, independence and the people’s dignity and their right to live in peace within their internationally recognized borders in order to appease the minority regime in Ethiopia. As I said above, Meles Zenawi is “someone who swears oaths to God, country, and individuals he would betray at the drop of a hat”…who is next… Kenya?

I’d like to end this piece with an Eritrean proverb, which goes something like this, “dedihri adgi zikeyid, tirat yilemid”…it’s about donkeys and farts, something only the minority regime and its cadres would know…

The people of Eritrea will prevail with their dignity and unity intact…or is that going to be grounds for sanctions too…

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!

________________________________________ (10/28/2011) 12/29/2008 (10/27/2011)
US-Eritrea Relations: Soured by Design (10/30/2011)