Eritrean military deserters in Tel Aviv - then Eritrean regime behind Somalia’s al-Shabab - and roots in Eritrea-Ethiopia Rivalry?
I remember - one really really sweet, cutest Ethiopian girl insisting - when it comes to the issue of Eritrea -
‘You know, Eritrea is part of Ethiopia. But they wanted to secede. Fine. Do it. Ethiopian people are generous. Go ahead. But they are still unhappy and bothering us and neighbors. So wrong headed. You know. Inferiority complex really turns people into babies. If we want to invade and punish Eritrea, we can squash them like a bug. But we aren’t doing it. We want them to grow up. Patience, you know.”
She was one of the sweetest, cutest person - through and through though :(
Human brains are just, so, weird. (Super-hyper autonomy in rationality and emotion - and being completely brainwashed - can coexist in such incoherent way!!!)
Studies of international relations need to start from this. Our study materials (humans) are deeply, deeply, shockingly, stunningly incoherent. (<Maybe)
While Eritrea has in the past been repeatedly accused of supporting Somalia’s Islamist militia Al Shabaab, a charge it strenuously denies, the current report catalogues Afewerki’s growing notoriety in the world of terrorism finance, and in particular the global web through which these funds are routed, with Kenya serving as a global transaction distribution hub. The report details the country’s activities in funding the terror group, following the money trail from its citizens in the diaspora in Europe and North America, through Dubai and the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi, and into the hands of Al Shabaab, all the while concealed in convoluted and opaque informal financial networks.
The enemy is this case is Eritrea’s former colonial master Ethiopia. For both these countries, Somalia is merely the theatre of a raging proxy war, an extension of their longstanding border dispute, with each side supporting various rival factions and administrations since 1998. Al Shabaab is thus propped up by Eritrea’s determination to keep Ethiopia “off-kilter and overstretched,” according to British journalist Michaela Wrong, writing in the Financial Times. Ms Wrong has written a bestselling book ‘I Didn’t Do It for You’ on the country’s struggle to free itself from various occupiers.According to the report, Eritrea justifies its actions in Somalia by pointing to Ethiopia’s failure to implement the UN ruling of arbitration on the disputed border, and the continued presence of Ethiopian civilian officials and military forces on territory awarded to Eritrea. The UN Monitoring Group indicates that cash transfers to Al Shabaab are facilitated by a vast and complex informal economy through which senior officials of the Eritrean government and ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) collect and control hundreds of millions of dollars each year in unofficial revenues, largely from taxation of Eritreans in the diaspora, and private business arrangements involving PFDJ-run companies or business partnerships abroad.The report highlights that essentially, Eritrea maintains two parallel economies: A formal economic system presumably managed by the state, and an elaborate, largely offshore financial system controlled by powerful officials of the government and ruling party. The formal economic system involves transactions almost exclusively in the nakfa, the non-convertible Eritrean national currency, and suffers from a chronic hard-currency deficit that theoretically makes it extremely difficult for the country to provide financial support to foreign-armed groups.
However, the report indicates that the informal, PFDJ-controlled economy involves a much higher proportion of hard-currency transactions than the formal economy and is managed almost entirely offshore through a labyrinthine multinational network of companies, individuals and bank accounts, many of which do not declare any affiliation to PFDJ or the Eritrean state. Although it is impossible to obtain reliable figures about the size of this unofficial economy, it is apparently more than sufficient to fund external operations such as Al Shabaab.
The most significant source of revenue for PFDJ is the imposition of a two per cent income tax on Eritrean nationals living abroad, who number an estimated 1.2 million, or 25 per cent of the total population, and are concentrated in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
[Sept 12, 2011]
Same article also found at