Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Millennial Challenges: Nature, Nurture and Perspectives of the Horn

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity- www.globalbelai4u.blogspot.com

Re: Millennial Challenges of the Horn: Nature, Nurture and Perspectives

The Horn continues to be challenged by nature that is climate change; nurture that is relationship of different cultures and communities and most importantly perspectives by the international communities, especailly the Great Powers of Europe, Asia and the United States.

The recent congressioinal review of the Horn in the context of HR2003, is creating a lot of interest from all contending parties. However, the regional humanitarian activities are also undermined by the proxy wars of the Middle East spreading to the region.

One has to navigate the continous challenges of nature, nurture and perspectives of the internatinoal community and this week has been no exception.

Below is a report from Addis, London and here in the US about the different perspectives of the same region- vulnerable and strategically critical Horn.

Here are three perspectives on the same region and we need to pay attention.

1. http://www.addisfortune.com/One%20Step%20Closer%20with%20Long%20Road%20Ahead.htm
2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7022193.stm
3. http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-77KEBX?OpenDocument

Source: Fortune, Ethiopia
September 30, 2007
1. One Step Closer with Long Road Ahead

TAMRAT G. GIORGIS: Menur Seman, Fortune Staff Writer, contributed to this story

For critics of this administration last Wednesday, September 26, was their field day at the United States (US) House of People’s Representatives. To its supporters, nothing is alarming, but it is the start of a diplomatic battle yet to be fought for the years to come.

Nevertheless, the “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”, popularly known as “HR 2003”, has entered a momentous phase last week, after being unanimously voted for by 50 congressmen and women in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House.

It took four years to reach to where it was last week, after Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) first authored it four years ago. Congressman Payne is also chair of the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee of the House, where the “HR 2003” bill languished for the first two years.

“It has just been frustrating time after time that every time we come up with this bill there is some technical thing that just does not suit an individual,” Payne said, responding to congressmen who unsuccessfully had wanted an amendment to include the reinstitution of properties to Ethiopian-Americans. He was also defending criticism that the Ethiopian government’s lobbying effort has succeeded in “watering down” the bill.

Payne authored the bill following the May 2005 electoral violence that led to the deaths of at least 190 people and seven policemen as well as the arrest of tens of thousands, including leaders of the CUD.

"I was dismayed to learn of the hundreds of people killed and the thousands arrested as they attempted to exercise their right to protest the outcome of the May 2005 elections in Ethiopia," he said at a hearing on the bill in July 2007.

The bill calls for “the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, ensuring an independent judiciary and free print and broadcast media”, while it urges for the “punishment of security personnel involved in unlawful killings”.

It was introduced to suspend American aid to Ethiopia and would restrict the US’s security and other assistances. It also imposes a visa ban on Ethiopian officials allegedly involved in authorising lethal force or accused of human rights violations.

Great discretion, however, would be given to the US President to gauge progress by the Ethiopian government. If passed, the Bill will authorise 40 million dollars for the next two years to promote human rights, democracy and economic development in Ethiopia.

“I would point out to my colleagues that this legislation attempts to free those political prisoners and bring at least some measure, some modicum of democracy, transparency and accountability to the Ethiopian government,” said Republican Congressman Chris Smith.

Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), one of the 85 House members who cosponsored the Bill, is positive about the assistance to local rights groups, development of a support network for alleged torture victims as well as training of private media outlets.

“We are going to assist the judiciary in Ethiopia by exchanges between Ethiopian and US jurists, law professors, law schools and students,” she was quoted by VOA as saying.

After passing the Subcommittee last April 2007, a scheduled mark-up in the full Foreign Affairs Committee of the House in June 2007 was delayed after the release of CUD leaders sentenced to life in prison.

The sense of accomplishment felt by critics of the EPRDF-led government and supporters of the bill followed recent consultations by these released opposition leaders in the US that met with presidential hopeful Senator Barrack Obama (D-Ill.), Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mr. Payne.

Their delight is not shared by all parties.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the US, Samuel Assefa (PhD), chides the actions being taken by Congress.

"his legislation goes against the positive relationship built-up between our two countries,” Samuel told Fortune, on a telephone interview. “It represents intermeddling by misinformed members of Congress . . . in support of a partisan Ethiopian political agenda.”

His office put out a press release immediately after the passing of the bill by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Wednesday. It described the Committee’s actions employing harsh words such as “reckless”, “unconscionable” and “irresponsible”.

“The legislation would put in place sanctions consistent with measures taken by the US only against dictatorships it has identified as its worst enemies around the world,” said the statement.

It recounted what it called recent positive developments in Ethiopia “in creating a competitive, pluralistic system of government and a more open civil society”. It sees the bill as a partisan agenda that would embolden those who seek confrontation over dialogue and encourages politics of extremism.

There is still a long road ahead for the legislation to take effect. Last week’s development will send the bill on to the full 435-member House before it reaches the Senate members who must also debate, approve it and send the legislation on to the President for his signature. Only a two-thirds majority could overrule the Executive’s rejection, if the President maintains opposition to the Bill, according to the customs of lawmaking in the US.

Ambassador Samuel is optimistic that last week’s advance will be the last progress for “HR 2003”, considering the heightened diplomatic relations pursued by the Bush Administration which sees Ethiopia as a crucial ally in the volatile Horn of Africa.

“The legislation will not proceed any further,” Ambassador Samuel told Fortune.

He seems to be banking on what he claims is the support of the current administration in office that “carefully considered opposition to the legislation”.

Te White House is not very enthusiastic about the bill, according to a report by VOA, despite a “provision giving the president authority to ignore the ban on security assistances in the interest of US national security”.

Source: BBC

1. African conflicts at critical stage; Martin Plaut
Monday, 1 October 2007

A new UN-AU force should deploy soon in Darfur
The killing of African Union troops in Darfur underlines the critical situation in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

An arc of conflict stretches 3,000km from Somalia to the Central African.

Republic posing a challenge the international community is struggling to cope with.

Five groups of international peacekeepers - in various guises - are trying to halt the fighting - and they are now joined by a new American military initiative, known as Africom.

Across the area, rebels are clashing with government forces, while peacekeepers attempt to contain the violence.

Arc of conflict

In the dusty streets of Mogadishu, Ethiopian troops are struggling to contain a fierce insurgency.

They are supported by a tiny African Union force.

Violence is a daily reality in Mogadishu

So far only Uganda has provided troops, and few other African nations show much appetite to back them up.

To the West, Ethiopia itself is fighting rebels on its own soil, in its eastern region - the Ogaden.

Further north, 200,000 Ethiopian and Eritrean forces are in places separated by just 80 metres along their contested border.

Ethiopia has threatened to tear up the peace agreement that ended their last war, increasing the possibility of a renewal of fighting.

Neighbouring Sudan is not only dealing with the crisis in Darfur.

The peace deal which ended its 20-year long North-South conflict is now also under strain and there have been rumblings or war here too.

The fighting in Darfur has spread westwards, spilling over into neighbouring Chad and the Central African Republic.

More than 100,000 Chadians alone have fled attacks from Darfur, and last week the UN Security Council mandated a French-led, European force to try to tackle the problem.

These crises are linked by a complex network of alliances.

For example, Eritrea backs the Somali insurgents, to reduce the threat on its border from Ethiopia.

Sudan is involved in the hostilities in Chad. So the crises feed off each other.

US role

The United States has just increased its military influence on the continent.

The US has a military base in Djibouti

In the past it split responsibilities for Africa between its European and its Central Commands.

Now a new organisation, Africa Command, has come into existence.

Based, at first, in Germany, it is attempting to find an African base from which to operate.

But Africa has been less than receptive to the advances from Washington.

While Botswana is thought to be receptive to the idea, South Africa has been deeply hostile.

The African Union, never a powerful organisation, can do with help from almost any quarter in attempting to deal with the continent's multiple conflicts.

So far it has received some help from Nato and the UN on Darfur, but there is little appetite to intervene in Somalia.

The wider international community is so bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan that it has little time to devote to Africa's perennial problems.

The result is immense suffering for the millions caught between these competing forces.


Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
01 Oct 2007

2. Relief Bulletin: Weekly Humanitarian Highlights in Ethiopia 01 Oct 2007


Based on the recommendations of the recent UN inter-agency assessment mission, an inter-agency response plan is currently under development.

The response plan will address needs in all sectors including food aid, health and nutrition, agriculture and livestock, water and sanitation, protection and human rights issues.

The Government has in principle approved the allocation of food for some 600,000 beneficiaries in the five zones under military operation - Fik, Degehabur, Korahe, Gode and Warder.

As part of UNICEF’s health and nutrition response, several trucks with health supplies left for Jijiga and Gode last week, to replenish essential drugs and nutritional supplies in health facilities. WHO has also deployed a consultant in Jijiga, a surveillance officer, and an Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) focal point. For more information contact: ocha-eth@un.org and wfp.addisababa@wfp.org


A team comprised of the Afar Regional DPPB, the Regional Water Bureau, UNICEF, CARE and OXFAM Great Britain visited the flood affected woredas of Gewane and Bure Mudaytu. The findings of the team indicate that out of a total of 14 kebeles that were inundated, Meteka, Adbaru and Brieforu kebeles in Gewane woreda, and Debel, Gefremu and Beidaforu in Bure Mudaytu woreda were the most severely affected.

These communities have no safe water supply. In addition, public facilities, including schools and the health clinic in Debel have been submerged by the flood waters. Although, no major epidemics have been reported thus far, there is an increased risk of malaria and other waterborne diseases including AWD.

Among the outstanding needs identified are: boats for the relocation of people in Beida and Adbaru kebeles; medical supplies and drugs including ITNs and Coartem; the continuation of food aid for the coming three months; health education; strengthening the woreda AWD and flood control committee and the provision of potable water to the affected community. For more information contact: ManderT@care.org.et


There are reports of landslides from Tigray, Amhara and SNNP regions. The affected woredas include: Atsbi Wenberta (Eastern Tigray); Meta Robi (West Shewa); Kindo Dadiye (Wolayita); and Bonke (Gamo Gofa).

The landslides in these areas resulted in displacements and have caused damages to crops, grazing areas, residential houses and soil conservation structures. For more information contact: wfp.addisababa@wfp.org


Four new woredas were affected by AWD during the week namely Awbere and Erer woredas in Somali Region and Alamata and Tahtay Koraro woredas in Tigray Region.

AWD cases continued to be reported in the six affected regions: Amhara, SNNP, Oromiya, Tigray, Afar and Somali. The hot spot areas are Lode Hitosa and Digsis woredas in Arsi zone, Oromiya Region, Dara and Chuko woredas in Sidama zone, Alaba Special Woreda in Alaba zone, SNNPR, Asgede Tsimbala woreda in Western Tigray zone, Naeder Adet in Central Tigray zone, Tigray Region and Jijiga and Erer woredas in Somali Region.

Provision of safe drinking water and promotion of environmental and personal hygiene with strong coordination and collaboration of stakeholders are among the key interventions needed to tackle the disease. Shortage of staff and medical supplies in the health facilities are among the major challenges. For more information contact: who-wro@et.afro.int


The findings of the recent joint Government-humanitarian partners’ verification assessment in nine woredas of SNNPR indicate that approximately 81,000 people have been affected by both natural and manmade disasters.

Flooding affected 40,536 people in five woredas - Humbo, Mirab Abaya, Dasenech, Hammer and Loka Abaya. In Kindo Dadiye and Bonke woredas, an estimated 12,720 people were affected by landslides. The most severe impacts of which were particularly felt in Kindo Dadiye woreda where 12 people were killed and 218 households were displaced.

Tensions in Burji and Amaro woredas, following intense conflict between the Gujis and Amaros and Burjis in October 2006 continues to prevent agricultural activities in certain areas due to security concerns.

The assessment team has recommended that assistance should be extended for the last four months of the year to 21,576 emergency beneficiaries that were identified in the visited woredas. For more information contact: wfp.addisababa@wfp.org

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