The Case Against Susan Rice: Enamored with Africa’s Dictatorships


Susan Rice

As the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Susan Rice read a eulogy she prepared on the occasion of the death of Meles Zenawi, the prime minister of Ethiopia, she called him a “tough, unsentimental and sometimes unyielding,” leader. She went on to describe how he demeaned people who disagreed with him saying, “of course, he had little patience for fools, or idiots, as he liked to call them.” Rice was speaking about a leader with a legacy tarnished due to his decision to quash dissent, preside over security services that opened fire on protesters during a disputed 2005 election, imprisoned journalists using the fig leaf of terrorism, used food aid as a political tool and stole land in south Ethiopia. That is but a short list of his many crimes. Rice chose to talk of him as a hero and a leader that will be missed for his contributions as a human rights advocate. To call this eulogy naive is to ignore Rice’s history of codling dictators in the region and her track record fundamentally misunderstanding the politics and people of the African continent.

Meles Zenawi's regimeThis dates back to the early days of the Clinton presidency and continued when Rice served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001. Presidents in the horn at the time were dubbed the “new generation of African leaders” following Clinton’s trip to Africa in 1998. One of the many hapless policies selectively applied in the region and which continues to this day. During his travel Clinton hailed a group of leaders specifically in the horn which includes Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea. All of the presidents except for Meles are still clinging to power 14 years later. But Meles, the leader Rice called “a true friend to me” during the eulogy, gives observers a window onto someone easily charmed by Africa’s dictators. Ethiopia’s late prime-minister has used the country’s economic success to avoid criticism for terrible human rights record and he died while after consolidating power and crushing dissent for 21 years. It is such double standard rooted within the fiber of the relationships formed by the ambassador and which later plays out during Susan Rice’s role in mediating the Eritrea and Ethiopia border demarcation process what drives me to write this blog entry.

Horn of Africa

Mediation in Eritrea and Ethiopia Border Conflict

Rice played a role in the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace process as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, a process which could have averted a decade-long stalemate that has followed. But unfortunately, she and Jendayi Frazer failed to deliver fair judgement for millions of people who are still held “hostage” as some officials call the militarized circumstance on the ground, due to a no war no peace situation between the two countries. To be clear, Rice and others were not obligated to make the two sides come to an agreement, but they should have used their significant influence over Ethiopia to make the country go along with the “final and binding” decision of the boundary commission.

A series of WikiLeaks documents shed light on the private decision process Rice used when considering the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict.

Susan Rice and Meles ZenawiA one-sided view was evident when, in 2009, Rice sat down with Meles for six hours to learn about what could have been done to resolve the lingering conflict which cost the lives of 70,000 people in 1998-2000. Such a staggering loss within a very short period of time and without purpose hasn’t been recorded even during Eritrea’s 30 years struggle for independence. But I digress, in the aforementioned discussion, Rice learned from Zenawi that  the root cause of the conflict lay not over the contested border town of Badme but the war was ignited due to Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki’s plan which would make “Ethiopian interests on economic development, trade and political relations subservient to Isaias’ wishes.” He further went on to say that the war was not about the “border dispute in Badme and Zelambessa” but that it was “about economic and political differences.”

But no one stopped to ask. If it was never about land, how come Ethiopian troops still occupy land that was awarded to Eritrea after a decision by an international boundary commission? Why is an Ethiopian flag waving in Badme, the land at the heart of the conflict? Mind you, there has been a long line of double-dealing in this case before Rice came into the picture. But earlier this year when New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof announced that he would host a Google+ interview with Ambassador Susan Rice I was so eager to participate and hoped to have the ambassador address the issue. I wanted to present it as clearly as possible and asked a question that was not chosen as one of the ones posed to Ms. Rice. Here is the content of the question in its entirety:Rice on Kristof's Google+

“Mr. Kristof, thank you for this opportunity! I am a concerned Eritrean-American who is worried about the threat to the sovereignty of Eritrea. Why was the world silent when Ethiopia attacked Eritrea in March 2012

It needs to be noted that despite this legitimate threat, Eritrea has shown a commendable self-restraint. But we are left wondering, why the UN is taking its time to act? Last time the two countries were at war, over 70,000 people were killed within the span of 3 years from 1998-2000. Isn’t that a lesson to learn from? 

The second concern I have relates to the border demarcation stalemate from the war that ended in 2000. Despite the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission allotting Badme to Eritrea (the land at the core of the dispute), Ethiopian troops are still there. This was caused, as Ambassador Rice’s predecessor John Bolton put it, because Ethiopia was “welching on the deal.” 

What does Ambassador Rice intend to do during her term in order to expedite the border demarcation process and ensure peace and stability in the region?”

Eritreans are still waiting for an answer. I would also like to briefly look at sanctions imposed on Eritrea by the United Nation’s Security Council with Susan Rice leading and pushing for measures behind closed doors.

The Black Hole of U.S.’s Intelligence in the Horn

While the stalemate between the two countries has lingered for over a decade and counting,  Susan Rice has moved on and continues to partner with her friends in the region despite their human right abuse records.

Donald Rumsfeld meets Isaias Afwerki in EritreaShe moved on to play a leading role in securing the votes needed to impose sanctions on Eritrea for their alleged violations of international weapons embargoes and supporting terror in Somalia. But implementing sanctions on Eritrea was not an easy task for the ambassador.  After the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group appointed by the UN released an over 417 page report in 2011 alleging the government was abetting Al-Qaida linked groups in Somalia. The sanctions in 2009 and 2011 were a far cry from the days when the U.S. department of defense hailed Eritrea for having “considerably more experience than we do over a sustained period of time” in battling terrorism. Former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld uttered these words after he met with President Isaias Afwerki. The title of the U.S. DOD press release read “Eritrea Could Teach U.S. Much to Combat Terror.”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to vouch for the innocence of an Eritrean government which lacks transparency and regularly flaunts international norms and imprisons dissenters. But even with incriminating evidence plastered all over the security report, footnotes tell an interesting story. The evidence used to implicate the country came from statements taken from soldiers who were under Ethiopian captivity, names such as Colonel Gemachew Ayana (Clearly not Eritrean name but Ethiopian) who was allegedly training the OLF in Eritrea and many other statements from highly suspicious sources. Bias when collecting intelligence to identify actual wrongdoing has been a pattern for the monitoring group which has given conflicting reports from time to time.

A Wikileaks document further shows how decision-making in the mediation process solely considered one side. Deadlocked by refusal both from Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi to move forward with peaceful existing solutions, both Susan Rice and Meles looked at a different way to approach the issue. A “stand-alone Eritrea sanctions regime, separate from the existing sanctions regime (UNSCR 1844) under which Eritreans can be designated forthreatening the peace and stability in Somalia, and violating Djibouti’s border, among other sanctionable actions.  Meles strongly backs this approach.”

In another cable, she tries to convince the French ambassador to impose sanctions. But Rice didn’t stop there, she went a step further to ensure additional sanctions and pushesd for a strategy to include Djibouti’s issue with Eritrea because, she believed that  there is “only one chance to secure a resolution, so Djibouti must be included, and noted that the international community has never effectively confronted Eritrea for invading neighboring countries on five occasions (Yemen, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia). She noted that in January, the UNSC gave Eritrea a deadline of six weeks to leave Djibouti or face sanctions.”

The ambassador went on to other African leaders such as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to push for sanctions under the banner of an “African initiative.”

It may not be fair to say that Rice was directly doing the bidding of Meles, but it appears from all publicly available documents that the information she received and her perspective has been seriously one-sided.

U.S. Needs to Look Beyond Statement about Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.)Unfortunately here in America, leaders are obsessing over an issue that the ambassador had little role in. A pre-emptive opposition by John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to block the possible nomination of Susan Rice to the position of Secretary of State. In fact, the effort to block Rice’s appointment gained traction after a letter from a group of 97 House Republicans backed the claim that Rice, currently the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., is not fit to take over the role as the U.S. Secretary of State. The missive accuses her  of “either willfully or incompetently” misleading the American public based on comments she made on a series of Sunday TV talk shows five days after the Benghazi attack in Libya.

In an effort to curry favor, Rice made a trip to capitol hill to meet with skeptical lawmakers last week. That trip appears to have gained her little ground with several senators making public statements that they were even more skeptical about Rice’s nomination after meeting with her.

A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flamesThe hostility toward her is centered on her statements that the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya that ended in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was a result of an anti-Muslim video. This view has since been discredited. But where did the ambassador get the information from? The intelligence community including members of the NSA, CIA and FBI gave her the talking points she recited on a television show. It defies common sense that the blame goes to the person who conveyed messages drawn up by the country’s intelligence.

Susan Rice: U.S. Permanent Representative to the United NationsAs the political posturing continues, the fixation of the GOP on the Benghazi issue is worrisome because it is as if they are acting as enemy combatants within government for something that has zero relevance and link with the Ambassador’s actual body of work in her career. If there is genuine opposition to Rice, let it be for her misinformed or miscalculated decision making. Let it be for the ambassador’s time in the Clinton administration that should be scrutinized. A series of failures including a failure to intervene in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a war deadlier than the Rwandan genocide which has claimed 5.4 million deaths. Let us also recall that Rice was against any intervention to halt the genocide in Rwanda and instead was busy making political and election-based calculations according to a history of the conflict written by Samantha Power.

The bottom line is this: it should be Rice’s complete body of work that makes her unqualified to become the next Secretary of State. The Benghazi bungle is only a footnote.

Africa Talks welcomes feedback and questions. If you have questions or recommendations for future content, please contact: africatalksblog@gmail.com

24 Comments:

  1. Once again, another interesting perspective on this ongoing and seemingly never-ending crisis. I especially like, when speaking on the misinformation flaunted, how u said “Bias when collecting intelligence to identify actual wrongdoing has been a pattern for the monitoring group which has given conflicting reports from time to time….”. It is indeed a pattern. One that must be broken before any attempt at finding some solution to this can be made.
    As for “Ms.” Rice…..I refuse to even dignify her with a comment.

  2. thank you salem for this very important explanation

  3. thank you salem for this very important explanation

  4. It is very clear that you are just doing your bidding for the foremost world pariah and the deranged Issayas. You are blinded by the sickening hubris that you and few of your compatriots have that the enemy is always Ethiopia not from within.
    Every Eritrean fleeing and the lost in the sea trying to flee your country can tell you who the real enemy is. So just for you to know it, you can make all the noise you want but the whole world is not going to change its mind on this one. He is out.

  5. It is very clear that you are just doing your bidding for the foremost world pariah and the deranged Issayas. You are blinded by the sickening hubris that you and few of your compatriots have that the enemy is always Ethiopia not from within.
    Every Eritrean fleeing and the lost in the sea trying to flee your country can tell you who the real enemy is. So just for you to know it, you can make all the noise you want but the whole world is not going to change its mind on this one. He is out.

  6. betam gobez! i read your nice article on newyorktimes. good job criticizing both TPLF and EPLF cancers.

  7. betam gobez! i read your nice article on newyorktimes. good job criticizing both TPLF and EPLF cancers.

  8. but don’t forget that isaias invaded us in ethiopia and the UN commission declared eritrea started the war http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4548754.stm
    that is the UN ruling and you can’t ignore that ruling.

    i understand you love eritrea, but we in ethiopia believe we were victims of your dictator’s aggression. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4548754.stm

    eritrea started the war so we will keep badme as compensation if isaias continue arming militants.

    “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”

  9. but don’t forget that isaias invaded us in ethiopia and the UN commission declared eritrea started the war http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4548754.stm
    that is the UN ruling and you can’t ignore that ruling.

    i understand you love eritrea, but we in ethiopia believe we were victims of your dictator’s aggression. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4548754.stm

    eritrea started the war so we will keep badme as compensation if isaias continue arming militants.

    “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”

  10. In 1973 while working as a bartender at The West End in the Columbia Universlty area
    a fight broke out between Ethiopians and Eritreans. We broke it up and fortunately the combatants were respectful of the club so they were easily stopped. Here we are all these years later, nothing has changed. What a pity, but such animosity can go on for centuries.

  11. Dear BABBA GEE,
    You are absolutely right that nothing has changed, not just since 1973 but since the late emperor annexed Eritrea in violation of international law. Unfortunately, exactly the same is happening today, Ethiopia is occupying sovereign Eritrean territories in violation of international law.
    The question is: how can things between the countries change if the very reason hasn’t changed?

  12. Dear BABBA GEE,
    You are absolutely right that nothing has changed, not just since 1973 but since the late emperor annexed Eritrea in violation of international law. Unfortunately, exactly the same is happening today, Ethiopia is occupying sovereign Eritrean territories in violation of international law.
    The question is: how can things between the countries change if the very reason hasn’t changed?

  13. Absolutely proud of you. I read your article in the NYT. I would not endorse the whole content just as it is. But you made a great point. Keep the good work.

  14. Love your recent articles on Ambassador Rice. I agree completely that she should be judged more by her overall record as opposed to the Benghazi tragedy. Even though I wanted to believe she & President Obama would usher in a new era of peace in Africa & the Middle East, they’ve both lost my support over their treatment of the Palestinians & their handling of the Horn of Africa as a whole.
    I was furious when I learned about the UN sanctions against Eritrea, mostly because it looked like trumped up charges & I’d narrowed Ethiopia & Eritrea down as 2 of the places where I’d want to retire. There’s so much beautiful history & culture in the area, and I admit, I fell in love with the music & innocent dance styles. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so much hatred & vitriol between Ethiopians & Eritreans since I started my research that I’m having doubts about everything. I understand that decades of war & death are hard to overcome, but I would beg the citizens of both nations to think about the image you’re sending to the rest of the world. You’re known as the peaceful Garden of Eden, the land of the first Homo-Sapiens, coffee, and early civilizations. Yet every time I see commentary from actual Ethiopians & Eritreans, it seems to be fueled by hatred. No one should wish war upon anyone, and even though you’ve both been wronged greatly, making peace is the only way to end that cycle of pain.
    For the record, I’m an African American male & my comments about negativity were responses to a few comments listed here, not to your article.

  15. Love your recent articles on Ambassador Rice. I agree completely that she should be judged more by her overall record as opposed to the Benghazi tragedy. Even though I wanted to believe she & President Obama would usher in a new era of peace in Africa & the Middle East, they’ve both lost my support over their treatment of the Palestinians & their handling of the Horn of Africa as a whole.
    I was furious when I learned about the UN sanctions against Eritrea, mostly because it looked like trumped up charges & I’d narrowed Ethiopia & Eritrea down as 2 of the places where I’d want to retire. There’s so much beautiful history & culture in the area, and I admit, I fell in love with the music & innocent dance styles. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so much hatred & vitriol between Ethiopians & Eritreans since I started my research that I’m having doubts about everything. I understand that decades of war & death are hard to overcome, but I would beg the citizens of both nations to think about the image you’re sending to the rest of the world. You’re known as the peaceful Garden of Eden, the land of the first Homo-Sapiens, coffee, and early civilizations. Yet every time I see commentary from actual Ethiopians & Eritreans, it seems to be fueled by hatred. No one should wish war upon anyone, and even though you’ve both been wronged greatly, making peace is the only way to end that cycle of pain.
    For the record, I’m an African American male & my comments about negativity were responses to a few comments listed here, not to your article.

  16. Salem, I congratulate you for your well written article especially because you helped elevate the debate about Rice’s possible nomination from the dumb partisan Benghazi circus to a more substantive debate about her overall career as a US diplomat. That said, here is what I think about the points you raised;

    1. America’s foreign policy has always tolerated (or even propped up) dictators who are willing to play ball when it comes to America’s interests overseas. And American politicians have always paid lip service to democracy and human rights and never been willing to put America’s interests on the line in order to advance democracy and human rights. That is why I believe it’s not fair to single out Susan Rice as being enamored with dictators. If we must go down that road, even Bill Clinton will not be fit for the job and Obama himself will fail the test. For perspective, just look at how Obama’s handling of the uprising in Bahrain (an ally) is totally different from his handling of the uprising in Libya and Syria (definitely not allies), even though civilian protesters were killed and tortured by all those regimes. And you remember how Obama waited until the killing and violence was going out of control to say “Mubarak has to go” – because Mubarak was an ally. The trend is that when the dictator is an ally, America plays a role to lessen the impact of the uprising and help stabilize the dictator’s grip of power to the extent possible sometimes successfully (Bahrain) and sometimes unsuccessfully (Egypt, Yemen). If the dictator is a none ally, America tries to exploit the uprisings and demonstrations to oust the dictator successfully (Liby and maybe soon Syria) and unsuccessfully (Iran). As people who are from those unfortunate countries ruled by dictators, me and you can and should condemn America’s willingness to work with dictators because we want America not only to talk the talk but also walk the walk when it comes to democracy and human rights. But the “enamored with dictator’s” label can be applied to most of America’s top diplomats, including presidents, if we are to use the yard stick you used.

    2. In the case of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the ones who are responsible for the 70,000 lives lost in the conflict are Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, and the Ertrean president, Isaias Afworki, and not Susan Rice. Afworki could have taken the cease fire deal offered to him in Rwanda (which, as you know, was a much better deal for Eritrea than the one he accepted in Algiers after being battered in the battle field). Zenawi could have dropped his precondition to return to pre-war lines to advance the cease fire deal in Rwanda. But they didn’t, and I don’t see how it was Susan Rice’s fault that the two leaders were uncompromising and dead set in proving themselves more mightier than the other. After the war is over, as we both know, Afworki took a sharp wrong turn not only domestically (which would have been tolerated by America) but also in his relationship with America (which quickly put him in the category of a NONE ALLY). At the time Afwoki was accusing the CIA of conspiring with Ethiopia and imprisoning Eritrean employees of the US embassy in Asmara without any charge, Meles Zenawi was enhancing his relationship with the west and especially with America (despite his heavy handed handling of domestic opposition). When Zenawi was using his skill of persuasiveness and present himself as a reasonable leader not only to America but also to the entire continent of Africa, Afworki was accusing the AU, EU, US, and UN to no end. When Zenawi and his guys were traveling distances to have a face to face with anyone of influence, Afworki was refusing to meet with UN officials and sending his Minister of Labor to the tarmac to greet Kofi Annan. He was making it difficult for the UN mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) to do its job. It shouldn’t be a wonder, then, that Susan Rice updated Zenawi’s status to “a friend”. Remember both Zenawi and Afworki were on Bill Clinton’s list of the “new generation of African leaders”. What went wrong, you ask? Post border war, Zenawi out smarted his foe using the art of diplomacy and politics (patiently building relationships and credibility, knowing what the west wants to hear, knowing how to spin domestic shenanigans, and sometimes knowing when to jump and how high). Same can be said about Paul Kagame of Rwanda. By contrast, Afworki acted like a stubborn kid and decided to take his ball and go home and occasionally throw stone on his neighbor’s (Djibouti) window. Rice’s fault, then, is that she heeded the advice of an ally and ignored the pleas and insults of a none ally.

    3. Salem, you also fault Rice for not pressuring Ethiopia to implement the border demarcation. But why would America pressure its ally(Ethiopia) to please it’s none ally (Eritrea)? If anything, demarcating the border will help Afworki appear victories and strengthen his power in Eritrea and that is not the outcome that both Ethiopia and America would like to see. I know your argument is that demarcation is not only the fair and moral thing to do but it will also bring peace and stability in the region – an I happen to agree to some extent. But Zenawi has successfully argued with evidence (and yes, some of it trumped-up) that demarcation will not bring peace as long as there is a hostile government in Eritrea, and America seems to agree. For America and American diplomats, supporting an ally and giving more credibility to an ally’s argument is a modus operandi and hardly unique to the Eritrea-Ethiopian case.

    That said, I’m hardly a Susan Rice fan. For me, what disqualifies Rice from being the Secretary of State is her reported investment in oil companies. At a time when Obama should be at the forefront of climate change negotiations, putting her as his top diplomat will be unhelpful to say the least.

    For the record, I am an Eritrean-soon-to-be-American who, ironically, has personally experienced Meles Zenawi’s atrocities against Eritreans. And I fault Isaias Afworki more than I fault Zenawi or any American for the situation that Eritrea finds itself in today.

  17. Salem, I congratulate you for your well written article especially because you helped elevate the debate about Rice’s possible nomination from the dumb partisan Benghazi circus to a more substantive debate about her overall career as a US diplomat. That said, here is what I think about the points you raised;

    1. America’s foreign policy has always tolerated (or even propped up) dictators who are willing to play ball when it comes to America’s interests overseas. And American politicians have always paid lip service to democracy and human rights and never been willing to put America’s interests on the line in order to advance democracy and human rights. That is why I believe it’s not fair to single out Susan Rice as being enamored with dictators. If we must go down that road, even Bill Clinton will not be fit for the job and Obama himself will fail the test. For perspective, just look at how Obama’s handling of the uprising in Bahrain (an ally) is totally different from his handling of the uprising in Libya and Syria (definitely not allies), even though civilian protesters were killed and tortured by all those regimes. And you remember how Obama waited until the killing and violence was going out of control to say “Mubarak has to go” – because Mubarak was an ally. The trend is that when the dictator is an ally, America plays a role to lessen the impact of the uprising and help stabilize the dictator’s grip of power to the extent possible sometimes successfully (Bahrain) and sometimes unsuccessfully (Egypt, Yemen). If the dictator is a none ally, America tries to exploit the uprisings and demonstrations to oust the dictator successfully (Liby and maybe soon Syria) and unsuccessfully (Iran). As people who are from those unfortunate countries ruled by dictators, me and you can and should condemn America’s willingness to work with dictators because we want America not only to talk the talk but also walk the walk when it comes to democracy and human rights. But the “enamored with dictator’s” label can be applied to most of America’s top diplomats, including presidents, if we are to use the yard stick you used.

    2. In the case of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the ones who are responsible for the 70,000 lives lost in the conflict are Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, and the Ertrean president, Isaias Afworki, and not Susan Rice. Afworki could have taken the cease fire deal offered to him in Rwanda (which, as you know, was a much better deal for Eritrea than the one he accepted in Algiers after being battered in the battle field). Zenawi could have dropped his precondition to return to pre-war lines to advance the cease fire deal in Rwanda. But they didn’t, and I don’t see how it was Susan Rice’s fault that the two leaders were uncompromising and dead set in proving themselves more mightier than the other. After the war is over, as we both know, Afworki took a sharp wrong turn not only domestically (which would have been tolerated by America) but also in his relationship with America (which quickly put him in the category of a NONE ALLY). At the time Afwoki was accusing the CIA of conspiring with Ethiopia and imprisoning Eritrean employees of the US embassy in Asmara without any charge, Meles Zenawi was enhancing his relationship with the west and especially with America (despite his heavy handed handling of domestic opposition). When Zenawi was using his skill of persuasiveness and present himself as a reasonable leader not only to America but also to the entire continent of Africa, Afworki was accusing the AU, EU, US, and UN to no end. When Zenawi and his guys were traveling distances to have a face to face with anyone of influence, Afworki was refusing to meet with UN officials and sending his Minister of Labor to the tarmac to greet Kofi Annan. He was making it difficult for the UN mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) to do its job. It shouldn’t be a wonder, then, that Susan Rice updated Zenawi’s status to “a friend”. Remember both Zenawi and Afworki were on Bill Clinton’s list of the “new generation of African leaders”. What went wrong, you ask? Post border war, Zenawi out smarted his foe using the art of diplomacy and politics (patiently building relationships and credibility, knowing what the west wants to hear, knowing how to spin domestic shenanigans, and sometimes knowing when to jump and how high). Same can be said about Paul Kagame of Rwanda. By contrast, Afworki acted like a stubborn kid and decided to take his ball and go home and occasionally throw stone on his neighbor’s (Djibouti) window. Rice’s fault, then, is that she heeded the advice of an ally and ignored the pleas and insults of a none ally.

    3. Salem, you also fault Rice for not pressuring Ethiopia to implement the border demarcation. But why would America pressure its ally(Ethiopia) to please it’s none ally (Eritrea)? If anything, demarcating the border will help Afworki appear victories and strengthen his power in Eritrea and that is not the outcome that both Ethiopia and America would like to see. I know your argument is that demarcation is not only the fair and moral thing to do but it will also bring peace and stability in the region – an I happen to agree to some extent. But Zenawi has successfully argued with evidence (and yes, some of it trumped-up) that demarcation will not bring peace as long as there is a hostile government in Eritrea, and America seems to agree. For America and American diplomats, supporting an ally and giving more credibility to an ally’s argument is a modus operandi and hardly unique to the Eritrea-Ethiopian case.

    That said, I’m hardly a Susan Rice fan. For me, what disqualifies Rice from being the Secretary of State is her reported investment in oil companies. At a time when Obama should be at the forefront of climate change negotiations, putting her as his top diplomat will be unhelpful to say the least.

    For the record, I am an Eritrean-soon-to-be-American who, ironically, has personally experienced Meles Zenawi’s atrocities against Eritreans. And I fault Isaias Afworki more than I fault Zenawi or any American for the situation that Eritrea finds itself in today.

  18. Mr. S. Neggasi comment is full of fallacies and devoid of any sound judgment to be worth one’s time. Clearly S. Neggasi subtstitute his lack of knowledge and integrity with his ill-conceved nonsesicle opinion. Perhaps he might be suffering from cognitive disorder in which case his delirium and incoherent thougth can be explained.

  19. Mr. S. Neggasi comment is full of fallacies and devoid of any sound judgment to be worth one’s time. Clearly S. Neggasi subtstitute his lack of knowledge and integrity with his ill-conceved nonsesicle opinion. Perhaps he might be suffering from cognitive disorder in which case his delirium and incoherent thougth can be explained.

  20. The lie behind Ms Rices Secretary of State candidacy opposition by Republicans has had the covers thrown off it by the media. Their opposition has little to nothing to do with her testimony, thats just the charade. Republicans strategy is to instead insure that Jim Kerry’s, seat in Massachusetts becomes unoccupied so fellow republican Rick Scott can waltz in and inherit it when republican advocacy for Kerry to become Secretary of State
    becomes a reality. I’d like to hear the story elaborated on more in the contexts used by Global Witness. It seems to be avoided here, speaking of Africa’s problems in those terms.

  21. The lie behind Ms Rices Secretary of State candidacy opposition by Republicans has had the covers thrown off it by the media. Their opposition has little to nothing to do with her testimony, thats just the charade. Republicans strategy is to instead insure that Jim Kerry’s, seat in Massachusetts becomes unoccupied so fellow republican Rick Scott can waltz in and inherit it when republican advocacy for Kerry to become Secretary of State
    becomes a reality. I’d like to hear the story elaborated on more in the contexts used by Global Witness. It seems to be avoided here, speaking of Africa’s problems in those terms.

  22. Excellent article Salem.

  23. Excellent Article Selam! Simply Brilliant. After all media should speak the right story.

  24. Excellent Article Selam! Simply Brilliant. After all media should speak the right story.

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