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“A tiger doesn’t change its spot”

Desta Hailu

There is this saying – “a tiger doesn’t change its spot”. This saying is about the unchanging nature of human nature. I raised this saying in relation to the comic attempted flip-flop of the Eritrea regime.

Recently there have been stories that the Ato Isaias led government is courting the attention of the newly elected US President Donald Trump. This attempt of the Eritrea regime is not aimed at changing its objective of disturbing the peace of the region, but an attempt to realize its daydream of being the ‘boss of east Africa’.

As far as I can understand, the Eritrea government cannot change its mayhem characteristics – just as tiger can’t change its spot. Although it is possible to mention instances that show the non-changeability of Shabiya’s nature, I think it is enough if I just show the regime’s ties to Al-Shabaab.

As it’s known, Al-Shabaab is the east Africa liaison of Al-Qaeda. It is also branded as terrorist group by our country’s house of people’s representatives. The world knows that the group is responsible undertaking terror attacks and for the death of many civilian lives in various countries of the region especially Uganda and Kenya.

As a result to this, the international community not only condemned the support Eritrea government gives to Al-Shabaab, but also imposed sanction on it – twice. After its ‘chaos and destruction’ web stretching from Asmara through Ethiopia into Mogadishu was destroyed by the heroic members of the Ethiopian military and the involvement of our people, it turned its attention to the recent internationally recognized Somalia’s federal transitional government by official declaring its intention to oust the government.

The ‘I’m scared–of–peaceful–living–and–developmental undertakings’ Isaias government ; executing its ‘belligerent’ policy , there wasn’t an ammunition and rocket left to shot; any bombs or left to be thrown in Somalia, by backing up the fundamentalist Islamic courts union and the self – proclaimed Al-Shabaab. The Asmara squad, on one side appearing all peaceful and diplomatic propagate in many International media and journalists that ‘Somalia problems can only be solved by Somalis’, while on the other hand  they are running to shut down the bourgeoning peace in the country by giving logistical and financial backings to fundamental terrorist groups like the lights of Al-Shabaab. And this fact is not hidden to the international community.

Shabiya’s continuous delivery of a plane and ship full of load weapons, rockets, clusters and bombs to Somalia’s terrorists, while its economy is worsening and its people are suffering from poverty goes out to show the regime’s anti-public and anti –peace (at least with its neighbors) attitude to the rest of the world.

By declaring itself as the ‘alpha and omega’ of the region, it has danced to its own song of ‘terrorist-in-chief’. However, as the song misses its beat, it attracted unwanted attention from the international community.

After the UN investigated closely these mischievous antics in its own way by assigning a monitoring group on the case, the Security Council declared the Shabiya regime as ‘a danger to the region’s peace & security’ and sanctioned the government, which included weapon embargo and a travel ban on the officials.

Not satisfied with the first round UN sanction, the regime did not stop with its havoc antics. The Ato Isaias regime instead of restraining itself from its full-time terror job, and cooperating with the regions’ countries, it exploits spiraled. At the time, the ‘United Nations expert panel monitoring compliance with sanctions against Somalia and Eritrea’ thoroughly investigated the East Africa region and came up with 417 pages long report.

The report explains briefly that the Ato Isaias led government has continued with its terror proclivities by undermining the Security Council’s sanction on weapon, which kept up consistent with the other UN issued reports. This report which was conducted neutrally and delicately exposed the Asmara’s administration ‘soft–spot’ for creating havoc and chaos in the region.

Shabiya’s close ties with what Isaias proclaimed as ‘freedom fighter” Al–Shabaab has been also documented by the report. According to the report Shabiya not only trained and armed the Somali terror group but also put Al-shabaab on its payroll like every other Eritrean government officials, paying a monthly sum of 80 thousand dollars from its Kenya embassy.

Not only this – the monitoring group also saw (investigated) that the Eritrean government invaded Djibouti by violating the country’s sovereignty. And as it can be recalled, the monitoring group at the time found out that the seized c-4 (cluster bombs) about to be used in 16th African Union summit by Shabiya’s lackey terrorist group ‘OLF’ was identical with the one al-Shabaab detonated in Uganda –Kampala where 76 civilians were killed.

After taking into account the monitoring group’s report with an additional information from IGAD and AU, the UN security council decided on to sanction Shabiya by imposing ‘a travel ban and an asset freeze against its officials’, and for member States to prohibit any payment of 2% national taxes the government collects from Eritrean expatriates, which usually goes to support Shabiya’s military activities. And this fact is fully known by either United States or the United Nations.

It would have been behooving of the Eritrean regime to comply with these resolutions and terminate its terror collaborations. Instead Ato the Isaias government according to very recent monitoring group report has continued with its internationally renowned and its beloved terror profession.

I recall the monitoring group putting out a brand new report three years ago – an 80 page long report solely on Eritrea. The monitoring group report revealed that the Eritrean agent of influence Abdi Wal who is a Mogadishu –based fundamentalist also believed to be working secretly with former ARS-Asmara (a Somali Islamist network in Eritrea) leader Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi, is fully supported  by Ato Isaias Afwerki’s government.

On top of this the report indicated that other fundamental groups have also been sponsored by the Ato Isaias led Cowboys, especially al –Shabaab’s political wing coordinator Sheikh Ahmed Nuur was credited as major recipient of the regime’s financial recipient.

For this, the man’s secret meetings and discussions with the Eritrean Ambassador to Sudan, Mohammed Mantai, has been presented as evidence. And this has revealed to the international community how much Shabiya is a chief of terrorists that lives within havoc and chaos.

I don’ think that all these facts will be forgotten just because there has been a change in the US presidency. Therefore, I don’t think the talked about relation that is being trying to be formed by the “new Eritrea” with the newly elected president would absolve it of its yesteryears identity. The international community very well understands that the ties the Eritrea government have with terrorist could easily be untied.

Al-Shabaab is branded as terrorist group by US also.  Nevertheless, if Shabiya believes this ‘new look’ will work, then it should know that this thinking is same as drinking new wine on old glass. As long as Shabiya doesn’t change its identity, then its effort to manipulate others through this ‘new look’ charade will not work.


Source: Walta Information Center

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