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Is Britain cooking up evidence to legitimise sanctions against Eritrea? (S Marcos 12 December 2009)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:32 by D Woldeab

In response to a parliamentary question in June 2009, Mr. Chris Bryant, the British Under-Secretary of State, urged for evidence to be presented to prove that Eritrea is supplying weapons to Somali insurgents.   He mentioned that the UN Sanctions Monitoring Group is due to present its findings on the issue.  Five months later, we still have not seen the report and associated evidence. 

In a debate in the House of Lords, on the 16th of July 2009, Lord Malloch Brown, the Minister of State, stated that the British Government is worried by reports of Eritrean Support for insurgent groups in Somalia and again urged the UN to complete its investigation urgently.

Shortly afterwards, the Minister said “it is in all likelihood the case that the Eritrean involvement will be confirmed. As ever, it is enormously important that effective measures are taken against Eritrea.”  

It appears that Lord Brown has already made up his mind about punishing Eritrea - with or without evidence.  He has passed judgment that Eritrea is guilty until proven innocent.  It did not come as a surprise therefore when John Sawers, the British Ambassador to the U.N., called for sanctions to be imposed against Eritrea. After all, what seems to matter more to the British and US governments is punishing Eritrea than resolving the conflict in Somalia.

In the past, Britain and the US had gone to great lengths to convince the Security Council and the world that Iraq posed a ‘clear and present danger’ with its “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” It has now been proven beyond doubt that the premise for such accusation then rested on fabricated evidence. Their action led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and a destruction of a country.

Likewise, as they now seek to punish Eritrea with sanctions, they present no credible evidence that Eritrea is guilty of the accusations levelled against her.  Have they had any evidence to show to this end, it would have been presented by now.  It seems, as in the past with Iraq, they are buying time to cook up evidence to legitimise the so-called sanctions against Eritrea.

It is clear to Eritreans worldwide that the talk of sanctions has nothing to do with Eritrea being a ‘spoiler’ in Somalia.  The interventionist policy that the west and their client states adopted in Somalia has failed miserably. It is therefore logical for those humiliated for engineering a failed mission in Somalia to find someone else to blame.  It seems they have found the ideal scapegoat in Eritrea. 

It is to be recalled that five out of the eight countries accused of breaking the arms embargo were African states.  As everyone knows, the AU which has consistently been manipulated by successive Ethiopian regimes against Eritrean people’s right to self determination and the implementation of final and binding verdit of the EEBC has singled out Eritrea for punishment. In the same way, of all those that have been accused, Eritrea is the only country expected to provide proof that it has not supplied weapons.  In a more just world, the burden of proof should lie with the accuser and in this case, the UN Security Council should not assume the role of the accuser, the judge and the jury all at the same time without providing any proof. Sadly, the fact remains that the UN Security Council, the US and the UK seem to be hell bent on imposing sanctions against Eritrea. One could only speculate as to the reasons behind the timing and the rush to get the draft resolution tabled. The bottom line is, however, this action is politically motivated and is aimed at weakening Eritrea for placing its own interest above all else. It must be time that they realise that this scare tactic has failed to intimidate the leadership of the Eritrean government and the measures that may be taken will be counterproductive.

The UN Security council, having passed a resolution condemning the increase in the flow of weapons to Somalia in contravention of the arms embargo imposed in 1992, endorsed the US call for the embargo to be lifted so that they can supply weapons to Somali’s warring factions.  The US supplied tonnes of weapons by their own admission with most of it ending up in the hands of the insurgents by way of desertions.  Somalia is awash with weapons and has more than enough to export. There is no reason why Eritrea would need to supply it with more.  There is also no reason why Eritrea should be blamed for the appalling situation that others have created. 

The UN Arms Monitoring Group seems to believe in the notion that ‘if you have to lie, lie big,’ when presenting its fabricated evidence against Eritrea in 2006.   The Group was then caught red handed.  This time, it appears, that Britain, the head chef, wants the evidence to be well cooked and spiced up before being served.  The assistant chefs in the Horn are playing their part and the ever obedient servant, Uganda, is willing to present it on a silver platter.