Friday, March 16, 2007

"En route" for Asmara?

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1210 17/03/2007
According to a source close to the Ethiopian ministry of defence, the Ethiopian army has obtained satellite photos from the American intelligence services, showing the northern border of Ethiopia and providing useful information on Eritrean troop concentration. Moreover, the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, hard core of the EPRDF in power in Addis Ababa) are currently waging a propaganda campaign based on the slogan “repeat in the North the victorious military operation in Somalia”. This aggressive orientation towards Eritrea, which has been in a still unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia for many years, is not to the liking of the leaders of the other factions making up the Ethiopian governing coalition. Furthermore, it has caused diplomats on post in Addis Ababa to wonder whether the United States military cooperation with Ethiopia to prepare their joint offensive into Somalia could now be repeated in Eritrea. All the more so since the relations between the USA and the government of Asmara are at their lowest point and Addis Ababa suspects Somalian Islamists have transited through Eritrea or have found refuge there.