About Prof. Muse Tegegne

Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change & Liberation in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Americas. He has obtained Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva. A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies. He wrote on the problematic of the Horn of Africa extensively. And Lecture at Mobile University..
Website: http://ethiopianism.net
Prof. Muse has written 348 articles so far, you can find them below.

10 things that make Ethiopia extraordinary and 10 things that makes Ethiopia Extraordinarily sad !

Fairy tale castles, superb coffee and the Ark of the Covenant (OK, possibly) are just some of the unexpected attractions of this African country

By Oliver Robinson, for CNN 20 July, 2013Ethiopian vista

Freebies on an Ethiopian road trip: the extraordinary views around every corner.

What sets Ethiopia apart from its African neighbors?

The excellent coffee?

The fact that it was never colonized?

Or that Rastafarians regard it as their spiritual home?

Or could it be the smooth, well-maintained roads, so rare on the continent, that make exploring the country by car such a joy?

After a 1,430-kilometer drive through Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit — up mountains, through Martian-like landscapes, into lost kingdoms of yore — we found 10 crucial things that define the country.

1. The best Italian restaurant in the world (according to Bob Geldof, anyway)

The buzzing bedlam of Mahatma Gandhi Street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is the setting for Castelli’s — arguably the best Italian restaurant this side of Bologna.

An Italian soldier, Francesco Castelli, founded the modest-looking eatery at the end of WWII. Since then it’s gained a global profile thanks to endorsement from celebrity diners such as Bob Geldof, Bono and Brad and Angelina.

But, high-profile praise aside, it’s the food that makes Castelli’s worth a visit before setting off from Addis into the Ethiopian wilds.

Ristorante Castelli, Mahatma Gandhi Street, Addis Ababa; +251 1 563 580, +251 1 571 757

2. Italian-style coffee

Like great Italian food, coffee is one of the legacies of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia during WWII.

While Mussolini’s men proved inept colonists (the Allies defeated them in 1943), their tenure in the country did at least ensure that an Italian-style espresso machine was installed in most cafes, restaurants and — weary travelers will be pleased to know — even dilapidated roadside shacks.

Ethiopians love their coffee and take pride in the fact that the plant’s invigorating effects were first discovered in the Oromia region of the country (see the 2006 documentary Black Gold).

3. Chinese roads

Ethiopian roadMade in China. Actually made by China. The country is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ethiopia’s infrastructure.Aside from coffee and pasta, Ethiopia excels in roads.

Other African nations have roads — it’s just that few are a patch with those in Ethiopia.

The quality tarmac comes courtesy of huge Chinese investment — in 2009, it was estimated that China had poured $900 million into Ethiopia’s infrastructure, a figure that’s since increased exponentially.

Anyone who’s driven into Ethiopia from Kenya, via the perilous Marsabit route (fraught with bumps, brigands and bandits) will attest what a difference a nice road makes.

Ethiopia’s incredible mountain-top highway vistas don’t hurt, either.

Zanzibar: A very cultural beach holiday

4. Tanks … lots of them

Ethiopia tankSwords into ploughshares … or tanks into unusual climbing frames for kids, in the case of Ethiopia.Don’t worry: unless you get horribly lost and venture into Somalia, the tanks you’ll see along the roadside are burned-out remnants of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (1998-2000).

Seen throughout the country, these defunct war machines stand as forbidding reminders of Ethiopia’s troubled past — and double as fun climbing frames for local children. (Next door Eritrea is the place to see if you really dig disused materiel.)

5. Underground churches

LalibelaLalibela’s monolithic churches still impress nine centuries later.Ethiopia sags under the weight of its cultural treasures, such as those at the UNESCO World Heritage site Lalibela.

In the late 12th century, Gebre Mesqel Lalibela had 13 churches — Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations — carved out of solid rock.

His achievement (meaning that of his stonemasons and slaves) is still incredibly impressive nine centuries on.

Lalibela — the first major point of interest on the Northern Circuit — is a 10-hour journey from Addis Ababa.

Head north up Route 1, passing through Debre Birhan, Kombolcha and Dessie. At Weldiya, leave the highway and follow the road west to Gashena.

At Gashena, take the road north to Lalibela.

6. Martian landscapes

Danakil Depression“The cruelest place on Earth?” Pretty, though.Located in the tumultuous Afar region on the Eritrean border, the Danakil Depression is strewn with volcanoes and salt lakes and is one of the hottest places on the planet.

So why visit what National Geographic calls “the cruelest place on Earth?”

Well, this also happens to be one of the most arresting natural sights you’ll see in Africa — or anywhere else.

With an unforgiving landscape that’s difficult to navigate, it’s also one of the few places in Ethiopia where you shouldn’t travel alone: most people go with an escort or in a convoy.

Tours can be arranged in Abbis. Reputable agency Ethiopia Travel and Tours (info@ethiotravelandtours.com) charges around $550 for a four-day trip.

7. Men-only monasteries

Debre DamoDebre Damo houses some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa. Gentlemen: you’ll have to describe it to the ladies.Just off the main road between Lalibela and Aksum lies Debre Damo, a monastery that can be reached only by scrambling up a 15-meter-high cliff face.

There is, however, a discriminatory door policy: only men are permitted to make the perilous ascent to the monastery.

That rule doesn’t apply just to female humans — even livestock of the fairer sex apparently risk distracting the monks from holy contemplation.

Gents who brave the climb can enjoy stunning vistas, as well as a chance to eye some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa.

Be warned that unofficial “guides” will try to extort inflated fees for their services before letting you back down the cliff — negotiate the charge beforehand.

It’s practical to visit Debre Damo en route to Aksum.

The monastery lies just outside the small town of Bizet, 12 hours’ drive north of Addis and about 50 kilometers west of Adigrat, the last stop on Route 1 before turning west on to Route 15.

Follow the road to Bizet and keep a keen eye out for the turn to Debre Damo on the right.

25 of Africa’s best beaches

8. The Ark of the Covenant

AksumFinal resting place of the Ark of the Covenant? Nice if you could get past the tracksuit guys and see it.The Lost Ark? In Ethiopia?

Someone should have told Indiana Jones that before he set off for Cairo.

According to enthusiastic local sources, the historic town ofAksum — focal point of the Aksumite Empire (AD 100-940) — is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

The catch? No one’s actually allowed to see it.

The closest you can get is by paying a few dollars to one of the tracksuit-clad men posturing as guards outside the temple where the ark is purportedly kept.

Luckily, Aksum is home to plenty of ancient tombs and other monuments, which makes the drive to one of Ethiopia’s northernmost towns worthwhile — ark or not.

Though Aksum can be reached by a small road west of Mek’ele, people wanting to visit Debre Damo monastery as well should take Route 1, turning west on to Route 15 at Adigrat, and join Route 3 at Adwa.

9. Roadside Rastafarians

Rasta child, EthiopiaRastafarian kids in Ethiopia, regarded as the movement’s spiritual home.The Rastafari movement is most often associated with Jamaica, but it was the Ethiopian Haile Selassie who inspired the religion.

Ethiopians are proud of their former ruler’s supposed status as Jesus incarnate and some have adopted the dress and lifestyle habits of their Jamaican counterparts — which makes meeting them in the Simien Mountains all the more bizarre.

The roadside Rastas you’re likely to meet are a friendly bunch, who’ll happily talk you through points of interest in the area (often relating to high cliffs off which Italian soldiers were thrown), as well as hawking red, green and yellow hats and accessories.

10. A fairy tale kingdom

Ethiopian castleEthiopian fairy tale: an imperial castle in Gondar.British and Dutch colonial buildings attract the most architectural attention in east Africa, but Ethiopia again stands out as the only country on the continent with its own fairy tale castles.

Aside from a few eye-catching art deco buildings left over from the Italian occupation, the castles of Fasilides, Iyasu and Mentwab, in the former imperial capital of Gondar, are the structures that stay in the mind.

Gondar is a five-hour drive southwest of Aksum. Follow Route 3 through the Simien Mountains.

A good stopping point is Debark, with its mountain vistas.

What defines Ethiopia to you? Let us know in the comments section.

 

Leave a message…
  • Avatar
    Prof. Muse Tegegne • a few seconds ago

    My 10 Extraordinarily sad  things about Ethiopia :-

    1. Dictatorial Regime,

    2. Land Grabbing while the people are starving,

    3. No Free Press,

    4. All journalists in prison,

    5. No Free & Fare Election,

    6. All land is nationalized like soviet era,

    7. Most of the educated elites are in exile,

    8. Young girls are sold as slaves to the middle East and tortured,

    9. one party system,

    10. All rivers are unnaturally dammed..

  • Avatar
    Alex Tessema • 6 hours ago

    Good presentation of Ethiopia except some of them are not described well. There are a lot of stuffs to talk about the country. It is one of the oldest and beautiful country in Africa with its own unique tradition, nice culture and old history. You could at least mention about that it is the origin of man kind, for eg. you could mention about Lucy. The people’s beauties, specially the ladies beauty, could be mentioned too. You used wrong picture of the roads to describe what chines did. You could show other modern ring roads, bridges and highways to present the correct pictures of the roads. you could state more about Lalibela, Axum, Gonder, or how the economy is changing now etc The other thing is Ethiopia is the origin of coffee not Italy. So don’t relate Ethiopia’s coffee with Italy except their espresso machines.

    I suggest to the word to explore this beautiful country, because most people don’t know about Ethiopia while the country is rich with many historical, cultural and amazing places in the world which need to be visited. The country is just not rich to show what it has to the world.

    But something is better than nothing. CNN at least tried to show the picture of Ethiopia to the world, even if there are many more! Go CNN!

    Visit Ethiopia and do your own judgement!

10 things that make Ethiopia extraordinary and 10 things that makes Ethiopia Extraordinarily sad !

Fairy tale castles, superb coffee and the Ark of the Covenant (OK, possibly) are just some of the unexpected attractions of this African country

By Oliver Robinson, for CNN 20 July, 2013Ethiopian vista

Freebies on an Ethiopian road trip: the extraordinary views around every corner.

What sets Ethiopia apart from its African neighbors?

The excellent coffee?

The fact that it was never colonized?

Or that Rastafarians regard it as their spiritual home?

Or could it be the smooth, well-maintained roads, so rare on the continent, that make exploring the country by car such a joy?

After a 1,430-kilometer drive through Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit — up mountains, through Martian-like landscapes, into lost kingdoms of yore — we found 10 crucial things that define the country.

1. The best Italian restaurant in the world (according to Bob Geldof, anyway)

The buzzing bedlam of Mahatma Gandhi Street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is the setting for Castelli’s — arguably the best Italian restaurant this side of Bologna.

An Italian soldier, Francesco Castelli, founded the modest-looking eatery at the end of WWII. Since then it’s gained a global profile thanks to endorsement from celebrity diners such as Bob Geldof, Bono and Brad and Angelina.

But, high-profile praise aside, it’s the food that makes Castelli’s worth a visit before setting off from Addis into the Ethiopian wilds.

Ristorante Castelli, Mahatma Gandhi Street, Addis Ababa; +251 1 563 580, +251 1 571 757

2. Italian-style coffee

Like great Italian food, coffee is one of the legacies of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia during WWII.

While Mussolini’s men proved inept colonists (the Allies defeated them in 1943), their tenure in the country did at least ensure that an Italian-style espresso machine was installed in most cafes, restaurants and — weary travelers will be pleased to know — even dilapidated roadside shacks.

Ethiopians love their coffee and take pride in the fact that the plant’s invigorating effects were first discovered in the Oromia region of the country (see the 2006 documentary Black Gold).

3. Chinese roads

Ethiopian roadMade in China. Actually made by China. The country is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ethiopia’s infrastructure.Aside from coffee and pasta, Ethiopia excels in roads.

Other African nations have roads — it’s just that few are a patch with those in Ethiopia.

The quality tarmac comes courtesy of huge Chinese investment — in 2009, it was estimated that China had poured $900 million into Ethiopia’s infrastructure, a figure that’s since increased exponentially.

Anyone who’s driven into Ethiopia from Kenya, via the perilous Marsabit route (fraught with bumps, brigands and bandits) will attest what a difference a nice road makes.

Ethiopia’s incredible mountain-top highway vistas don’t hurt, either.

Zanzibar: A very cultural beach holiday

4. Tanks … lots of them

Ethiopia tankSwords into ploughshares … or tanks into unusual climbing frames for kids, in the case of Ethiopia.Don’t worry: unless you get horribly lost and venture into Somalia, the tanks you’ll see along the roadside are burned-out remnants of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (1998-2000).

Seen throughout the country, these defunct war machines stand as forbidding reminders of Ethiopia’s troubled past — and double as fun climbing frames for local children. (Next door Eritrea is the place to see if you really dig disused materiel.)

5. Underground churches

LalibelaLalibela’s monolithic churches still impress nine centuries later.Ethiopia sags under the weight of its cultural treasures, such as those at the UNESCO World Heritage site Lalibela.

In the late 12th century, Gebre Mesqel Lalibela had 13 churches — Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations — carved out of solid rock.

His achievement (meaning that of his stonemasons and slaves) is still incredibly impressive nine centuries on.

Lalibela — the first major point of interest on the Northern Circuit — is a 10-hour journey from Addis Ababa.

Head north up Route 1, passing through Debre Birhan, Kombolcha and Dessie. At Weldiya, leave the highway and follow the road west to Gashena.

At Gashena, take the road north to Lalibela.

6. Martian landscapes

Danakil Depression“The cruelest place on Earth?” Pretty, though.Located in the tumultuous Afar region on the Eritrean border, the Danakil Depression is strewn with volcanoes and salt lakes and is one of the hottest places on the planet.

So why visit what National Geographic calls “the cruelest place on Earth?”

Well, this also happens to be one of the most arresting natural sights you’ll see in Africa — or anywhere else.

With an unforgiving landscape that’s difficult to navigate, it’s also one of the few places in Ethiopia where you shouldn’t travel alone: most people go with an escort or in a convoy.

Tours can be arranged in Abbis. Reputable agency Ethiopia Travel and Tours (info@ethiotravelandtours.com) charges around $550 for a four-day trip.

7. Men-only monasteries

Debre DamoDebre Damo houses some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa. Gentlemen: you’ll have to describe it to the ladies.Just off the main road between Lalibela and Aksum lies Debre Damo, a monastery that can be reached only by scrambling up a 15-meter-high cliff face.

There is, however, a discriminatory door policy: only men are permitted to make the perilous ascent to the monastery.

That rule doesn’t apply just to female humans — even livestock of the fairer sex apparently risk distracting the monks from holy contemplation.

Gents who brave the climb can enjoy stunning vistas, as well as a chance to eye some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa.

Be warned that unofficial “guides” will try to extort inflated fees for their services before letting you back down the cliff — negotiate the charge beforehand.

It’s practical to visit Debre Damo en route to Aksum.

The monastery lies just outside the small town of Bizet, 12 hours’ drive north of Addis and about 50 kilometers west of Adigrat, the last stop on Route 1 before turning west on to Route 15.

Follow the road to Bizet and keep a keen eye out for the turn to Debre Damo on the right.

25 of Africa’s best beaches

8. The Ark of the Covenant

AksumFinal resting place of the Ark of the Covenant? Nice if you could get past the tracksuit guys and see it.The Lost Ark? In Ethiopia?

Someone should have told Indiana Jones that before he set off for Cairo.

According to enthusiastic local sources, the historic town ofAksum — focal point of the Aksumite Empire (AD 100-940) — is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

The catch? No one’s actually allowed to see it.

The closest you can get is by paying a few dollars to one of the tracksuit-clad men posturing as guards outside the temple where the ark is purportedly kept.

Luckily, Aksum is home to plenty of ancient tombs and other monuments, which makes the drive to one of Ethiopia’s northernmost towns worthwhile — ark or not.

Though Aksum can be reached by a small road west of Mek’ele, people wanting to visit Debre Damo monastery as well should take Route 1, turning west on to Route 15 at Adigrat, and join Route 3 at Adwa.

9. Roadside Rastafarians

Rasta child, EthiopiaRastafarian kids in Ethiopia, regarded as the movement’s spiritual home.The Rastafari movement is most often associated with Jamaica, but it was the Ethiopian Haile Selassie who inspired the religion.

Ethiopians are proud of their former ruler’s supposed status as Jesus incarnate and some have adopted the dress and lifestyle habits of their Jamaican counterparts — which makes meeting them in the Simien Mountains all the more bizarre.

The roadside Rastas you’re likely to meet are a friendly bunch, who’ll happily talk you through points of interest in the area (often relating to high cliffs off which Italian soldiers were thrown), as well as hawking red, green and yellow hats and accessories.

10. A fairy tale kingdom

Ethiopian castleEthiopian fairy tale: an imperial castle in Gondar.British and Dutch colonial buildings attract the most architectural attention in east Africa, but Ethiopia again stands out as the only country on the continent with its own fairy tale castles.

Aside from a few eye-catching art deco buildings left over from the Italian occupation, the castles of Fasilides, Iyasu and Mentwab, in the former imperial capital of Gondar, are the structures that stay in the mind.

Gondar is a five-hour drive southwest of Aksum. Follow Route 3 through the Simien Mountains.

A good stopping point is Debark, with its mountain vistas.

What defines Ethiopia to you? Let us know in the comments section.

 

Leave a message…
  • Avatar
    Prof. Muse Tegegne • a few seconds ago

    My 10 Extraordinarily sad  things about Ethiopia :-

    1. Dictatorial Regime,

    2. Land Grabbing while the people are starving,

    3. No Free Press,

    4. All journalists in prison,

    5. No Free & Fare Election,

    6. All land is nationalized like soviet era,

    7. Most of the educated elites are in exile,

    8. Young girls are sold as slaves to the middle East and tortured,

    9. one party system,

    10. All rivers are unnaturally dammed..

  • Avatar
    Alex Tessema • 6 hours ago

    Good presentation of Ethiopia except some of them are not described well. There are a lot of stuffs to talk about the country. It is one of the oldest and beautiful country in Africa with its own unique tradition, nice culture and old history. You could at least mention about that it is the origin of man kind, for eg. you could mention about Lucy. The people’s beauties, specially the ladies beauty, could be mentioned too. You used wrong picture of the roads to describe what chines did. You could show other modern ring roads, bridges and highways to present the correct pictures of the roads. you could state more about Lalibela, Axum, Gonder, or how the economy is changing now etc The other thing is Ethiopia is the origin of coffee not Italy. So don’t relate Ethiopia’s coffee with Italy except their espresso machines.

    I suggest to the word to explore this beautiful country, because most people don’t know about Ethiopia while the country is rich with many historical, cultural and amazing places in the world which need to be visited. The country is just not rich to show what it has to the world.

    But something is better than nothing. CNN at least tried to show the picture of Ethiopia to the world, even if there are many more! Go CNN!

    Visit Ethiopia and do your own judgement!

Ethiopia The Rising Opposition ?

By William Lloyd-GeorgeReprint |       |  Print | Send by email

On Jul. 14 several hundred opposition protestors gathered in northern town of Gondar to and called on the government to stop exploiting the antiterrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPSOn Jul. 14 several hundred opposition protestors gathered in northern town of Gondar to and called on the government to stop exploiting the antiterrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

GONDAR, Ethiopia, Jul 18 2013 (IPS) – Since the violent quashing of political protests after the ruling party won Ethiopia’s 2005 elections, this East African nation has seen little in the way of political dissent. That is, until the last few months.

Since June, the country has witnessed mass protests in three of its major cities. Despite the significance of these protests, observers disagree over how much they signal a rebirth for the country’s opposition movement and the government’s tolerance of it.

“Until the recent protests, most had lost faith in the democratisation process and opposition parties,” Hallelujah Lulie, a political analyst from the Ethiopia-based Institute for Security Studies told IPS.

When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front won another term of office in 2005, thousands of protestors took to the streets in protest, as the party has been in power since 1991. It had appeared that the ruling party rigged the vote as many expected the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces to win.

The crackdown led to the arrest of several opposition party politicians, with many others being forced to flee the country and give up politics.

“We need legislative change in order for proper liberalisation where opposition groups are free to operate without arrests and other harassment.” — Hallelujah Lulie, political analyst

 

“Recent opposition activities, however, show that people are beginning to recognise the opposition again, which could be a big boost for the domestic opposition parties,” said Hallelujah.

On Jun. 2 a new opposition group, the Blue Party, organised mass protests in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. Thousands marched down one of the city’s main avenues, calling for the release of political prisoners and journalists and the reform of government policies.

The protest was given permission, and no arrests were made during, before, or after the demonstration, leading some to believe that the government had become more tolerant towards opposition activities.

“While there have been no arrests so far, we have credible information that the government is plotting to break up our movement and label us as terrorists. We have seen no change in the government or a willingness to engage in dialogue with us,” Yilkal Getnet, chairman of the Blue Party, told IPS.

Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office, told IPS that they would not negotiate with the protestors, as there are proper legal channels to address issues that the opposition politicians had not exhausted.

“Despite a lack of response from the government, we believe that the opposition movement will continue to gain momentum and are deeply encouraged by the (recent) protests,” said Yilkal.

On Jul. 14, the major opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), organised protests in two major cities, Gondar and Dessie, in north and north-central Ethiopia, respectively. It was part of a campaign ‘One Million Voices for Freedom’, which sought to get one million signatures on a petition with demands similar to those of the Blue Party.

In Gondar, protestors marched through the capital and called on the government to stop exploiting the anti-terrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison, including political prisoners andjournalists. But bad weather and reports of intimidation prior to the march meant that the protestors numbered in the hundreds at most.

“Numbers do not matter right now, it is just very symbolic that the recent protests took place out of Addis, as most the activism is in Addis where it is easier to mobilise supporters,” said Hallelujah. “It shows that the opposition movement could be on the path to regaining popular recognition and trust again.”

Hallelujah believes the protests could be a sign that the opposition is emerging again, he argued that they still face huge challenges that could hinder their chances of success. He said that it is hard for opposition parties to increase their membership freely, to raise funds and even to rent a hall for party meetings.

“They are still operating in a very tight and unfriendly environment,” said Hallelujah. “We need legislative change in order for proper liberalisation where opposition groups are free to operate without arrests and other harassment.”

In the run-up to the protests in Gondar, UDJ party leaders say they faced extreme harassment by the regional state authorities. According to the UDJ, on Jul. 13 local police surrounded the office and would not let their members out all day. Only at the last minute an unofficial deal was reached with the local commander to hold the protest, or so claim party members. Also, over 10 members of their group were arrested for distributing leaflets to the general public in the days leading up to the protest.

Peering through rusty metal bars at Gondar’s Police Station 3, a simple mud hut structure, Amedemakryam Ezra, a UDJ party member, said he was arrested two weeks ago for distributing leaflets.

“They beat my legs so bad, I could not even walk for a week,” Amedemakryam told IPS from the prison. “We have not been allowed out of this cell since. It’s horrible.”

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Before he could finish his sentence, another party member who was also arrested for distributing leaflets appeared. Maru Ashagere, a hairdresser, told IPS that the local authorities went to his parents’ chicken farm and said they would poison all the chickens as punishment for their son’s political activities.

“This kind of harassment makes it very difficult for us to operate but we will struggle through none the less to achieve our goals,” Asrat Tassie, Secretary-General of UDJ, told IPS at the police station.  “Despite all this, we were able to go on with our protest and mobilise the people.”

Not only were party members harassed, but some Gondar residents told IPS they were too scared to join the protests due to threats made throughout the city.

While some might have not have joined out of fear, it appears that many around Gondar did not join because of a lack of faith in the UDJ and the opposition movement. Several residents told IPS that they did not trust the UDJ or believe that it could find real solutions.

“If they can show us real policies to replace the ruling parties, then maybe more for us would join,” said Tesfaye, 34, a local shopkeeper. “They just shout against the government but don’t offer a decent alternative, or solutions to the problems. That is not helpful to anyone.”

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Meskerem Legesse, Ethiopian Olympic runner collapsed and died After food poisoning in Chinese restaurant ? Her baby made It , and her body is said to be send to Ethiopia without any autopsy .

 A former Olympic and professional runner from Ethiopia who was due to give birth in three weeks collapsed at a  Chinese restaurant food poisoning and died ? Her  baby is alive.
Meskerem Legesse, 26, who lived in Westport, was with her 2-year-old son when she collapsed at a Chinese restaurant in Hamden on Monday. She was transported to a hospital, where she died and the baby was saved.
The cause of death suspected of food poising family was waiting for the  autopsy, but ut it seems that her body will be send to Ethiopia precipitately with out the right autopsy in order to find her reason of death.
Legesse ran in the 1,500-meter competition at the Athens Olympics in 2004. She finished 12th in a first-round heat with a time of 4:18:03 and didn’t advance to the medal race. She moved on to a professional running career in the U.S., competing in events including the Boston Indoor Games, Fifth Avenue Mile in Manhattan and the Millrose Games in New York. She apparently hadn’t raced within the past few years.
Legesse’s death was first reported by Hartford-area CBS affiliate WFSB-TV, which obtained surveillance video from the restaurant showing Legesse entering with her son.
Hamden firefighters and paramedics with American Medical Response were called to the restaurant about 2 p.m. Monday and performed CPR on a pregnant woman who collapsed, according to fire and police officials who did not release the woman’s name.
Doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital were able to save the baby because of the CPR efforts both in the restaurant and in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Hamden fire chief David Berardesca said.
A spokeswoman for the state medical examiner’s office said the agency declined to perform an autopsy with a pretext of her  past health problems. She declined to elaborate. She has had a strong heart and finished two Olympic marathon with not problem, thus the prtext of her sickness has no ground.
A Yale-New Haven Hospital spokesman on Wednesday said he had no information about Legesse being brought there Monday.


To influence Somalia, Eritrea pays warlord- U.N. experts

Louis Charbonneau

Somali opposition alliance in Asmara , executive council officials
September 25, 2007

Eritrea is undermining stability in conflict-ravaged Somalia by paying political agents and a warlord linked to Islamist militants to influence the Mogadishu government, U.N. sanctions experts said in a confidential report.

The Eritrean government has long denied playing any negative role in Somalia, saying it has no links to Islamist al Shabaab militants fighting to overthrow the Somali government. It says the U.N. sanctions imposed on it in 2009 for supporting al Shabaab were based on lies and has called for the sanctions to be lifted.The latest annual report by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea to the Security Council’s Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee casts fresh doubt on Asmara’s denials, undermining its case for lifting the sanctions against it.

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“The Monitoring Group has received numerous reports about the warming of relations between Asmara and Mogadishu, and has obtained evidence of Asmara’s control of political agents close to the Somali presidency and some of the individual spoilers,” the group said in the report, seen by Reuters.

One such operative, the monitors said, is “Eritrean agent of influence Abdi Nur Siad ‘Abdi Wal,’ … who is reported to have a close relationship with a senior al Shabaab commander.”

The monitors describe Abdi Wal as a “warlord.”

“Abdi Wal is now a close ally of former ARS-Asmara (a Somali Islamist network in Eritrea) leader Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi, for whom he provides security in Mogadishu,” the monitors said. “He is known to command the allegiance of about 100 fighters in Mogadishu and is involved in contract killings.”

The monitors said in their report that they have “obtained direct testimonies and concrete evidence of Eritrean support to Abdi Wal and Mohamed Wali Sheikh Ahmed Nuur.” The Monitoring Group has reported on Ahmed Nuur in the past, describing him as a “political coordinator for al Shabaab” and a recipient of funds from Eritrea.

“A source on the Eritrean payroll in direct contact with Abdi Wal has confirmed that Abdi Wal has admitted in closed-door meetings that he is acting as an agent for the Eritrean government,” the group said in its latest report.

Eritrea’s U.N. mission did not respond to a request for comment.

RUSSIAN AND ITALIAN COMPLAINTS

The latest report said that Ahmed Nuur, also known as Ugas Mohamed Wali Sheikh, has repeatedly held meetings in Khartoum with Mohamed Mantai, Eritrea’s ambassador to Sudan and, since December, Iran.

“During these meetings, options for Eritrean financial support to Ahmed Nuur were discussed,” the report said.

“Mantai, a former military intelligence officer, has a history of operating in Somalia and was expelled from Kenya in 2009 after he returned from Somalia following meetings with al Shabaab agents,” the monitors said.

In addition to their nearly 500-page report on Somalia and Eritrea, the Monitoring Group produced a separate report of around 80 pages focusing solely on Eritrea.

Council diplomats said the longer Somalia/Eritrea report will be made public soon, but the shorter Eritrea report will not be published because of Russian objections.

According to a letter the Russian delegation sent to Ambassador Kim Sook, chairman of the Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee, Russia “objects to the publication of the (Eritrea) report due to the biased and groundless conclusions and recommendations contained in it.”

Italian Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini also wrote to Kim complaining about the report because of “misleading information and undocumented implications of violations of the arms embargo.” Reuters has obtained both letters.

According to diplomats familiar with the U.N. monitors’ shorter Eritrea report, an Italian helicopter exported to Eritrea for mining survey purposes was seen at a military facility there, raising the possibility of a sanctions breach.

The monitors said Italian authorities failed to provide additional information as requested, the diplomats added.

Ragaglini dismissed that allegation, saying “we did provide the information they requested (e.g. on financial flows), but there is no evidence whatsoever of military assistance from Italy to sustain the undocumented claims of the experts.”

China, diplomats say, is annoyed about references in the Eritrea report to Chinese machine tools procured for a large government depot in Eritrea that houses tanks, missiles and dual-use civilian trucks. But the envoys said there was no suggestion the Chinese government was violating U.N. sanctions.

Gonder and Dessie Towns of Ethiopia held government staged Show manifestation

The Ethiopian government staged manifestation is held for the 2nd time in the cities of Gonder and Dessie.

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The so called  “Ethiopian opposition activists” on Sunday demanded the release of journalists and political prisoners jailed under anti-terror legislation in demonstrations in two major towns.

In these planned rare public outpours of anger, people marched peacefully in the towns of Gondar and Dessie, chanting “freedom” and carrying pictures of jailed politicians and journalists.

Government officials said there were around 1,500 protesters in total in both towns, while the activists themselves claimed the number to be as high as 20,000.

“The protests were peaceful and successful,” said Senegas Gidada, protest organiser and chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) party.

“We are unhappy about the lack of human rights and democratic freedom in Ethiopia,” he added.

The demonstrations follow a rally last month in the capital Addis Ababa when several thousand activists demanded the government adhere to basic human rights.

The recent rallies are the largest since post-election violence in 2005 resulted in 200 people being killed and 30,000 arrested.

“The cost of living is too high. We have no rights. They took away my family’s property and land and gave us no compensation,” said one young unemployed protester, who asked not be named, but who was speaking by telephone from Gondar.

“The dogs on the street have more freedom than we do. We are here to demand freedom and we will continue to protest until the government makes fundamental changes.”

But the government dismissed the protesters’ calls.

“The protesters are demanding the release of prisoners who have been convicted of terrorism, these are not pro-democracy protests,” government spokesman Shemeles Kemal told AFP.

“Most of these demonstrators are Islamic extremists. The government is not concerned by these demonstrations. They are meddling in religious issues and mixing them with political matters.”

The government had allowed the protests to go ahead despite earlier saying they had not received official permission.

Protesters have said they will continue to demonstrate until the government addresses their grievances.

Journalists, opposition members and religious leaders have been jailed under Ethiopia’s 2009 anti-terrorism legislation, which rights groups say is used by the government to stifle peaceful dissent.

Ethiopian journalist, Eskinder Nega, and UDJ Vice-Chairman, Andualem Arage, were both jailed last year under the government’s anti-terror legislation for treason and conspiring to commit acts of terror.

Another such government planned  demonstration is planned for next month.

“Ethiopian Regime Middle East Slave Trade” as Young maids Aljazeera’s Covering up

 

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This  a video organized by Aljazeera to cover the recent accord between the Ethiopian regime and that of Qatar government  which we have criticized as “Slave Trade young Ethiopian Girls sold to Arabs in  Middle East.” Calling back our article criticizing this accord, the two governments set this program to clean their images. Aljazeera as an organ of the government of Qatar acted to make this video for both states to assure the good functioning of the modern slave trade.

Many Ethiopian girls lost their lives either by direct killing or abuse of the slave master in Libya and Lebanon and other gulf countries. We invite you to see the following videos here under. Many lost their precious life thrown out of building tops, other burned with host water by a jealous wife of the master.

We condemned the accord and the media Aljazeera serving as a mouth piece to the dictatorial regime  of Ethiopia’s modern slave trade as a media of cover-up.

Writing the following big lie – “Ethiopia has one of the world’s fastest growing economies, but half of the country’s young workers are out of a job.”

Moreover, to cover that the 20 years of Ethiopian dictatorial regime’s inhuman  practice Aljazeera wrote “

This situation is prompting some people to use desperate and sometimes dangerous measures to find better opportunities elsewhere, including paying to be smuggled into other countries.”

Shamelessly  Aljazeera claim “ they chose to go to Middle Eastern countries as an alternative of their choice –“

Others choose the legal path and apply for work in Gulf countries. “

Shame on the government of Ethiopia and and shame on Aljazeera to cover up this in human modern slave trade.

 

 

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Read our our first article:-

 

Ethiopian regime made pact with Qatar to continue  the modern day slavery   of Young Ethiopian girls

Ethiopian Dreamliner caught fire being the first to flyafter lithium-ion battery incident that down all liners

A fire on an empty Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Friday forced London’s busy Heathrow Airport to temporarily close both its runways and attracted more unwelcome attention to the high-tech but problem-prone jet.

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The cause of the blaze on the Ethiopian Airlines plane has not been determined.

But based on the location of the damage — in a section of the plane made in North Charleston — analysts said it doesn’t seem to be a recurrence of the battery problem that grounded all 787s for more than three months this year.

Early theories ranged from human errors like something left in the plane or left on in the galley to airplane malfunction, such as a wiring fault.

“Until we even know where the fire started, you just can’t say,” Scott Hamilton of Issaquah, Wash.-based aviation consulting firm Leeham Co.

There were no passengers aboard the plane at the time of the afternoon incident, according to the London airport.

Television images showed firetrucks and fire-retardant foam around the jet, which was parked on a remote stand. They also showed serious damage to the top of the jet’s rear fuselage near its green, yellow and red tailfin.

The fire, wherever it started, breached the crown of the composite fuselage, leaving a hole and raising questions about how or if that can be repaired.

Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said American and British investigators will be interested in the fire’s effect on the plane’s skin.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending an “accredited representative” to Heathrow to assist in the investigation.

“Here they’re going to want to know how hot it was, and if it was so hot that you would expect anything to burn and melt, or if it wasn’t, what the implications of composites are,” said Schiavo, now an attorney at Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant.

According to several reports, the plane was sitting on the tarmac for eight hours before smoke was detected.

Asked what she thinks the most likely cause was, Schiavo said wiring.

“Because it was powered and if it had ground power it shouldn’t have been drawing much power from the battery unless it was a situation where it was overcharging,” she said.

Boeing released a statement on Twitter shortly after the incident was reported.

Ethiopian dream liner caught on fire

“We’re aware of the 787 event @HeathrowAirport and have Boeing personnel there,” the statement said. “We’re working to fully understand and address this.”

The plane in question, which bore the name “Queen of Sheba” and registration ET-AOP on its side, was one of four 787s Boeing has delivered to the African airline through last month, all from its 787 factory complex in Everett, Wash. According to reports, the plane was the first 787 to resume flights after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its grounding order in April.

While this 787 did not undergo final assembly or delivery at the North Charleston Boeing complex, like all 787s, its aft-fuselage section was made here and its mid-body was assembled here.

The incident is likely to put pressure back on the Chicago-based aerospace giant, which seemed to be moving past the troubles it had with the 787’s lithium-ion battery in the first half of the year.

In those incidents, one on the ground in Boston and one in the air over Japan, the damage was to the bottom side of the jet, toward the middle and front of the fuselage.

Before the grounding, Boeing had delivered 50 787s, and was ramping up to make up for the years of delay before it delivered its first 787 in September 2011. Boeing is now making about seven 787s per month, with 1.5 per month coming out of North Charleston and the rest out of Everett.

Boeing shares, which had reached a 52-week high of 108.15 Friday, plunged down as much as 7 percent following news of the fire. The stock rebounded somewhat to closed down 4.7 percent at $101.87.

The British airport had reopened its runways by 6 p.m. BST – 1 p.m. EST – the airport reported on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a Thomson Airways 787 traveling from England to Florida on Friday had to turn back after experiencing a technical issue.

The British airline said that its from Manchester Airport to Sanford, Florida had returned to Manchester “as a precautionary measure.” Thomson said all passengers had disembarked from that plane and engineers are inspecting the aircraft.

Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ethiopian Dreams back in the air next week

BBC News – Boeing 787 Dreamliner returns to service in Ethiopia flight

Leaked report sparks disagreement between Egypt and Ethiopia over dam

Mohammed Yahia

A Google Earth mapNile_dam showing the location where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be built in the Ethiopian Highlands.

When Ethiopia diverted part of the Blue Nile river at the end of May 2013 to begin construction of what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, it sparked outrage from the now ousted Egyptian government, which was concerned the dam would reduce its water supply.

The Blue Nile is one of two main tributaries that feed the Nile River, which supplies 97% of Egypt’s population with water. Ethiopia seeks to abolish a 1929 British mediated colonial-era agreement between Egypt and Sudan that gives 90% of the Nile’s water to the two countries and gives Egypt the right to veto the construction of dams in countries upstream.

In May 2012, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt appointed a panel of experts, with each country appointing two experts, alongside with four experts from non-member countries, to evaluate the environmental impact of the dam on the region. The panel submitted its report on 1 June. Though the report is yet to be published, each government has leaked details of the panel’s findings.

While the Ethiopian ministry of water and energy produced a press release saying the report recommends the building of the dam, the Egyptian state information service contends that the scientific evidence cited by their Ethiopian counterparts either lacked sufficient detail or was out of date.

“While Ethiopia has announced that the dam will have many beneficial effects and no negative ones on the two downstream countries, the final report stressed that the studies and designs presented by Ethiopia had several deficiencies in the methodologies used to produce them. Additionally, some of these studies need to be updated in light of the new information that was collected from laboratory and field work,” read the statement released by the presidency’s office in Egypt.

Risk concerns

 

“Dams are constructed today with much more care to livelihoods and environments.”

 

“There were no sufficient geological studies done. The risk is that the dam might create earthquake zones,” says Elnaser Abdelwahab, former regional software developer of the Nile Basin Decision Support System, a component of the Nile Basin Initiative, which is a partnership setup among the Nile riparian states to handle cross-border issues regarding the river.

Abdelwahab says that the construction of the dam will create a man-made lake in the mountains, which will contain around 74 billion tonnes of water. This lake could lead to seismic activity that could collapse the dam and cause a massive outpouring of water. “The Ethiopians also used optimistic data when considering rainfall rather than using a worst case scenario.”

Abdelwahab, who was not a member of the expert panel but worked with an Ethiopian–Egyptian team to set up the Nile countries’ first water management decision support system, claims that the report included no environmental studies. “This is considered to be an extremely negative point. Dams are constructed today with much more care to livelihoods and environments.”

Tilahun Amede, a researcher on natural resource management at the International Crops Research Institute in Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), says the dam’s design will not be the main factor in the effect it has on the environment and peoples’ livelihoods. “It is also about how the dam is going to be managed and water regulated. It is about protecting the upper watersheds of the dam to increase water yield, reduce siltation and improve overall environmental services.”

When complete, the dam will be one of the world’s tallest at 145 metres and produce 6,000 MW of power, an equivalent of six nuclear power stations. Amede, who was not on the expert panel but has studied water use in Africa for the past four years, says the design and height of the dam means the reservoir will be deep rather than wide to lower evaporation. The cool, humid climate of the Ethiopian highlands should further reduce evaporation, thereby minimizing the amount of water loss from the dam.

All three governments agree that the dam will reduce water flow to downstream countries while the reservoir forms. The reduction in water flow will depend on how fast Ethiopia decides to fill the dam. The original plan aimed to fill the reservoir in three years, but Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, said his government is willing to spend up to six years filling the reservoir to address the concerns of downstream countries.

According to a document released by the Egyptian government, the Ethiopian members of the expert panel failed to present any research on the potential impact on countries downstream in the event of the dam collapsing.

Politics over science

 

“The current rhetoric will do little for the best shared vision of the three countries.”

 

Abdelwahab says he is frustrated that both the Egypt and Ethiopia governments are ignoring scientific evidence and technical information. “[The Nile Basin Decision Support System] contains the necessary computer simulation tools to design and test dam projects before construction. However, the countries did not use it and now they deliver such poor studies with such poor scientific arguments.”

When the panel presented its findings to the three governments behind closed doors, they outlined the need for further research and it was not supposed to be made public until after agreement was reached. However, both Ethiopia and Egypt leaked details, prompting some Egyptian politicians suggesting military intervention could be taken to sabotage the dam’s construction.

Both Abdelwahab and Amede say that the latest political exchanges between the two countries will bring no resolution to the disagreement over building the dam. Instead, they should be collaborating on the science and technical aspects of the dam construction, such as the design to be used and the environmental effects it may have.

“My worry is the current rhetoric will do little for the best shared vision of the three countries,” says Amede. “Given their experience with the Aswan High Dam, the Egyptian government could play a pivotal role in helping Ethiopian engineers ensure that the dam construction and overall management is of high quality and will have no negative effect on Egypt.”

“Unless they consider the dam construction a technical not a political piece of work, I don’t see any resolution to the problem because the politicians will continue to force science out,” adds Abdelwahab.

 

A Tale of Two Dams – Comparing Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance to Hoover

By:  

Lori Pottinger

Hoover Dam's low water exposes a "bathtub ring"Nile_dam

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Hoover Dam’s low water exposes a “bathtub ring”

Once upon a time, massive dams were built on the US West’s mighty Colorado River, bringing scarce Depression-era jobs, water for farms, and electricity for industry. In the fairy tale version of the Hoover Dam story, everyone lived happily ever after. That’s the story that Ethiopia wants us to believe, as it tries to convince the world of the merit of its own “Hoover Dam”– the giant Grand Renaissance Dam, now under construction on the Blue Nile.

But in recent years, the Hoover story has been taking a turn for the worse. A changing climate is wreaking havoc with the largest dam in the United States. The huge dam’s reservoir, which has been dropping for over a decade, is now less than half full. The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea because of the large storage at Hoover and Glen Canyon dams.

Ethiopian engineers recently compared the Grand Renaissance Dam to Hoover as a project that can lift a struggling nation out of poverty, and a project whose accomplishments will go down in history.  Yet the darker lessons from Hoover’s long history might be equally relevant for Ethiopia to review. Consider:

Shrinking electrical output: The Colorado River is in an extended drought, and is likely to see more “megadroughts” as the climate warms. Lower reservoir levels mean less electricity output from large dams. Already at record low levels, Hoover Dam could drop another 13 feet this summer. Researchers at the University of California in San Diego predict that Hoover Dam has a 50% chance of decreasing to a point too low for power generation by 2017, and an equally high chance of going dry by 2021.

Downstream Devastation: The Colorado River Basin has been transformed by its large dams, in both intentional and unintentional ways. Jacques Leslie, author of the remarkable book Deep Watersummarizes some of these impacts: “Take away the Colorado River dams, and you return the silt gathering behind them to a free-flowing river, allowing it again to enrich the downstream wetlands and the once fantastically abundant, now often caked, arid, and refuse-fouled Delta. Take away the dams, and the Cocopa Indians, whose ancestors fished and farmed the Delta for more than a millennium, might have a chance of avoiding cultural extinction. Take away the dams, and the Colorado would again bring its nutrients to the Gulf of California, helping that depleted fishery to recover the status it held a half-century ago as an unparalleled repository of marine life.”

Competition for Water: Just as damming the Colorado has created winners and losers, it has also increasingly created tension over who gets to use its waters. The river is shared by seven states and two countries; other stakeholders include Indian tribes, farming interests, environmental groups and cities. Peter McBride, who has just published a book on the Colorado River conflict, says, “The big question is how we’re going to address it and on whose shoulders that these are going to lie. Basically, it’s going to be those who have money, those that can pay are going to get water.”

There some signs of cooperation in this saga: Mexico, home to the Colorado River’s delta (now mostly a dead zone), will once again see some water flow into its borders. A historic agreementsigned in November 2012 commits both the United States and Mexico to deliver flow back to the Colorado Delta. The agreement calls for a five-year pilot program to increase water flows to restore the lower river and its delta, and increased water to Mexico during droughts. Although the amounts of water called for are less than American and Mexican environmental groups had argued for, they say it’s a good first step, and hope the agreement will become permanent.

Ethiopia is clearly hoping that its huge dam will make history. Yet it’s possible that the Grand Renaissance Dam will face similar problems as its American cousin, and go down in history for all the wrong reasons. If the dam does founder on the shoals of drought and water conflict, it will be harder for a poor nation like Ethiopia to recover. A thorough environmental impact assessment (EIA) might have turned up some answer, but we’re told the project’s EIA is woefully inadequate (it has not been published). The dam’s downstream impacts were so poorly addressed in the original EIA that conflict over the dam began even before an ounce of concrete was poured. Ethiopia finally agreed to allow experts from Sudan and Egypt to join a panel of experts mandated to look at the dam’s impacts on the downstream neighbors, but the process has been flawed and Egypt is calling for more complete studies on the downstream impacts (something that should have been done before construction was begun).

The Hoover Dam was built in a time when we didn’t fully understand the dire consequences of damming off major rivers. Today we do, and large dams such as Hoover would never be built in the US today. In fact, we’re taking down dams to help restore rivers and the communities they support. The megadam model is a dinosaur. Ethiopia would be better off leapfrogging over it to a more modern and efficient system, and find less provocative ways to assert its interests over the Nile waters.


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Morsi ousted planing to attack Syria’s Assad and Ethiopian Dam

By Dr. Webster G. Tarpley

The combination of Morsi’s aggressive designs against Syria, together with some trial balloons from presidential circles about a possible conflict with Ethiopia, plus the massive anti-Morsi demonstrations organized by the National Salvation Front and the Tamarod movement, convinced military leaders that the incompetent and erratic Morsi, who had destroyed his own popularity by selling out to the demands of the International Monetary Fund last November, represented an intolerable risk for Egypt.”

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Convincing evidence suggests that Egypt’s President Mohammad Morsi was ousted from power in a military coup in part because the Egyptian army feared he was plotting to order them to invade Syria in support of the embattled death squad insurgency against the Assad government there.

The combination of Morsi’s aggressive designs against Syria, together with some trial balloons from presidential circles about a possible conflict with Ethiopia, plus the massive anti-Morsi demonstrations organized by the National Salvation Front and the Tamarod movement, convinced military leaders that the incompetent and erratic Morsi, who had destroyed his own popularity by selling out to the demands of the International Monetary Fund last November, represented an intolerable risk for Egypt.

According to the Washington Post, the dissatisfaction of the Egyptian military with Morsi “peaked in June, when Morsi stood by twice as officials around him called for Egyptian aggression against Ethiopia and Syria, threatening to suck Egypt into conflicts that it could ill afford, former military officials said.”

Morsi’s call for Holy War against Assad came just three days after US Secretary of State John Kerry, at a meeting of the Principals’ Committee of the US Government, tried to ram through an immediate bombing campaign against Damascus, but had to settle for the option of arming the Syrian terrorist opposition, leading many observers to conclude that the Egyptian president was acting as part of a US anti-Syrian strategy.

June 15: Morsi Breaks Diplomatic Relations with Damascus

The beginning of the end for Egypt’s first elected president came in mid-June, when he attended a militant Islamist conference “in support of the Syrian uprising” at a 20,000-seat indoor stadium in Cairo. As the packed hall chanted and applauded deliriously, Morsi announced: “We have decided to close down the Syrian Embassy in Cairo. The Egyptian envoy in Damascus will also be withdrawn. The people of Egypt and its army will not leave Syrians until their rights are granted and the new elected leadership is chosen.”

By thus breaking off diplomatic relations with another Arab state, Morsi was joining the dubious company of the NATO-backed puppet regimes in Libya and Tunisia, the only Arabs so far to have called home their envoys from Damascus. And for Cairo, such a move has far greater significance, given that Egypt and Syria were politically united between 1958 and 1961 in a single nation as the United Arab Republic, one of the fruits of President Nasser’s Pan-Arab Socialism.

Using the now familiar Moslem Brotherhood doubletalk, Morsi urged NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Syria – a measure which would entail a bombing campaign of many weeks, with inevitable heavy losses for the Syrian population. But Morsi them shifted his ground to condemn foreign interference in the Syrian conflict, declaiming that “Hezbollah must leave Syria; there is no place for Hezbollah in Syria.” Morsi was accompanied to the anti-Syria rally by his top political affairs and foreign policy advisers, one of them a leading Salafist.

In a crescendo of doubletalk, Morsi intoned: “The Egyptian people have stood by the Lebanese people and Hezbollah against the [Israeli] attack in 2006, and today we stand against Hezbollah for Syria.” According to the Jerusalem Post, he also asserted that Syria was the target of “a campaign of extermination and planned ethnic cleansing fed by regional and international states,” which the Israelis claimed was a veiled reference to Hezbollah and Iran.

Responding to the Cairo anti-Syrian rally, a Syrian government official told the news agency SANA that Morsi had joined the “conspiracy of incitement led by the United States and Israel against Syria by announcing the cutting of ties yesterday…. Syria is confident that this decision does not represent the will of the Egyptian people.” This official branded Morsi’s severing of diplomatic relations as “irresponsible… the Syrian Arab Republic condemns this irresponsible position.”

Sunni Extremists Declare Jihad against Syria, Morsi Silent

The Cairo crowd had been warmed up for Morsi by extremist Sunni preachers like Mohammed Hassan and Mohammed Abdel-Maqsoud (leader of the Islamic Legitimate Body of Rights and Reformation), who both ranted about the “necessity of declaring Jihad in Syria, in which Syrians and any capable Moslems shall take part.” There were also calls to Morsi to keep Shiites out of Egypt, on the basis that they are “unclean.” About 1% of Egypt’s population are Shiites, and about 10% are Coptic Christians.

According to the Irish Times, “at the June 15th rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word ‘infidels’ to denounce both the Shias fighting to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mr. Morsi at home. Mr. Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr. Assad…”

On June 13, Morsi had attended a gathering of sectarians from across the Middle East labeling itself “The Position of the Nation’s Scholars on the Developments in Syria.” Here he had rubbed elbows with the fiery preacher Qaradawi, who regularly incites violence against Syria before an audience of some 60 million viewers worldwide on his program entitled “Shariah and Life,” broadcast on the Al Jazeera Arabic service from Qatar. One June 13 there was already much talk of jihad against Syria, which was obliquely endorsed by Morsi’s Presidential Coordinator for Foreign Affairs Khaled al-Qazzaz, who noted that the Egyptian government would not undertake any measures against Egyptian citizens who go to fight in Syria, since the right to travel is always open. It was practically a call for volunteers.

Egyptian Generals Warn Morsi: Army’s Task Is Defending Borders

Egyptian military leaders were deeply concerned about the inevitable radicalization of Islamist militants who might return from waging war against the Assad government in Syria. But they were most immediately alarmed by the idea that Morsi might try to deploy the considerable forces of the Egyptian army against Syria. They quickly distanced themselves from the reckless plan for aggression which the president had been toying with at the June 15 mass rally. As the Irish Timesreported, Morsi’s bellicose bluster lead to “a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders.”

According to one anonymous military source reflecting the views of the Army staff quoted by the Irish Times, “the armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conferences at a time the state was going through a major political crisis.” Yasser El-Shimy, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, stressed that from the point of view of the Army, Morsi’s performance at the Syria rally had crossed “a national security red line” by prodding Egyptians to fight abroad, thus threatening to create a new generation of violent jihadists.

Morsi’s anti-Syrian turn was also a deeply unpopular among the top bureaucrats of the Egyptian government, many of whom had advised him not to go down this path, reported Al Ahram Online on June 16. According to this paper, some powerful bureaucrats saw the potential damage as “irreversible,” and viewed the breaking of diplomatic relations as “a decision made by the President against the advice of top bureaucratic aides….” This account also stressed that, by praising the mediation efforts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but by pointedly excluding Iran, Morsi was jettisoning the four power contact group he himself had proposed for a Syrian settlement at the nonaligned conference in Tehran last August. “This would simply mean that Egypt has decided that its relations with Tehran would have to be sacrificed in favor of winning the support of Washington, and maybe even Riyadh,” said one source quoted by Al Ahram.

Egypt’s Generals Fear “Devastating Sunni-Shiite War”

These developments were considered extremely ominous by top Egyptian civil servants. As Al Ahram wrote, “Egypt, according to concerned quarters in Egyptian bureaucracy, is now being driven to take part in a ‘devastating Sunni-Shiite war’ that could wreck the entire region. The concern is not just about Syria, but about the entire Arab Mashraq, including Lebanon and Iraq particularly. Al Ahram pointed to a possible additional venal motive for Morsi and his controllers in the Muslim Brotherhood: “Egypt has been trying to break the ice with Saudi Arabia for a few weeks now in the hope of soliciting desperately needed financial aid. Saudi Arabia has been adopting a strictly sectarian approach towards developments in Syria since the beginning of the uprising there, and all the more so since the entrance of Hezbollah into the war in Syria on the side of the Assad regime.”

In a country like present-day Egypt, a coup d’état should not be undertaken lightly. But one consideration which might justify such coup is the urgent need to prevent an erratic and incompetent ruler like Morsi from embroiling the country in a ruinous foreign war. To be able to respond to Morsi’s war talk in such a timely and decisive way, the Egyptian army must contain officers of exceptional intelligence and determination, gifted with that quality which Machiavelli called virtu and von Clausewitz called Entschloßenheit. (Since the firing of General Douglas MacArthur in 1951, this quality has been largely extinct from the US officer corps.) We may thus be justified in hoping that the great tradition of President Nasser is alive among Egyptian military and government leaders.

Leftists See Morsi as Cat’s Paw For US Against Syria

The leftist April 6 Movement (aka Democratic Front) suggested that Morsi was acting as a tool of the US campaign against Syria, saying in a statement that “The decision to open the doors of jihad is coming from Washington sponsored by … Salafist Sheikhs.” The anti-Morsi umbrella organization Tamarod added that “Morsi’s speech reveals that the Syria file has been handed over from Qatar to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and that Morsi is answering America’s instructions.”

The fateful rally attended by Morsi was backed by the Asala Party, a Salafist group, by a number of prominent Salafist preachers, by the Islamic Legitimate Body of Right and Reformation, and by the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood, meaning Morsi’s own controllers. Another sponsor was the Gama Islamiya movement.

As Morsi encountered more and more hostility from centrists and leftists, he attempted during the last phase to gain backing from Salafist and other doctrinaire and holier-than-thou forces to his right. This included the appointment of the “retired terrorist” al Khayat of Gama Islamiya as the governor of Luxor province, the site of the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, and one of the greatest international tourist destinations. In 1997, a terrorist action had resulted in the deaths of almost seventy foreign tourists, who were killed deliberately as part of a campaign designed to discourage foreign infidels from coming into Egypt. Khayat was a member of the political arm of Gama Islamiya, and his appointment was hardly designed to encourage tourism.

Post-Qusayr Climate of Imperialist Desperation

Since the fall of the Syrian rebel stronghold of Qusayr on June 5, aggressive circles including Cameron and Hague of the British Tory regime, the Vichy socialists Hollande and Fabius, the Israelis, the US neocon faction, and Secretary Kerry have been pressing for immediate military action against Syria to save the international terrorist forces from as far away as Chechnya and Afghanistan who now face looming defeat. These efforts have included an attempted cold coup or palace coup by Kerry in the June 12 meeting of the White House Principals’ Committee, when his demand to start bombing Syria was blocked by a combination of military figures and Obama loyalists, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey. For the aggressors, the essential problem is the refusal thus far by Obama to launch a large-scale bombing campaign with several hundred aircraft, followed in all likelihood of by an invasion requiring several armored and infantry divisions – resources which the United States simply cannot afford.

The aggressive forces have attempted to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. They have also supported the limited hangout around purported NSA leaker Edward Snowden, whose short-term effect has been to weaken Obama’s support from his own liberal base, as well as to undercut his ties to NATO Europe, making the White House more susceptible to Anglo-French pressure for war. Attempts have been made to goad Turkey into an attack on Syria, but the embattled Erdogan regime is now determined not to get out in front on this project.

With the failure of the anti-Syrian Egyptian gambit, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, the neocons, and Foggy Bottom must now be on the verge of total hysteria. These are the circumstances in which recourse to a new Gulf of Tonkin incident or a new false flag terror attack to be blamed on Syria, Hezbollah, and their allies becomes a clear and present danger.

Morsi Cronies Discuss Striking Ethiopia

Egyptian military is not anxious to undertake armed interventions abroad. One exception was Egypt’s participation in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. But since then, Egypt has declined US requests to send troops to fight in Afghanistan in 2001, and any Iraqi been 2003.

In the spring of this year, tensions rose between Egypt and Ethiopia when the government in Addis Ababa announced its intention to build a dam on the Blue Nile, prompting concerns by some in Egypt about future water supplies downstream. On June 2, with Morsi in attendance, Islamist politicians recklessly discussed how to sabotage the dam by funding Ethiopian rebel groups, followed by an attack by the Egyptian air force. Unknown to the participants, this incendiary discussion was broadcast on live television. Many were long to see that Morsi did not repudiate these proposals for naked aggression, but instead later commented that “all options are open.”

Qatar signed agreement to continue to import Ethiopian young girls for modern day slavery

Ethiopian regime since 1991 is known selling young  girls as a mid wives  and servant in gulf and middle eastern  Arabic countries. As we have seen in 2011 in Libya how the young girl boiled live and 2012 in Lebanon hanged. Many had thrown themselves  from a top of building to end their suffering in Lebanon. And other were beaten to death by a jealous wives.

Ethiopian_slaves

The recent agreement between Qatar and Ethiopian dictatorial regime is a continues of of this modern time slavery instituted since 1991.  Ethiopia has agreed to send domestic workers, including maids, to Qatar but said it would need seemingly  monthly reports about salary payments to them and that their work timings should not exceed that agreed upon in their job contracts.

The dignity and rights of Ethiopian workers must be protected in Qatar, the country’s Minister of State for Labour and Social Affairs, Dr Zerihun Kebede known for making his riches selling Ethiopian girls to Arabs , told a visiting delegation of Qatar Chamber, representative body of the private sector.

He said requests to recruit Ethiopian domestics will need to be submitted to the country’s embassy in Doha, and it would be sent to manpower agencies in Ethiopia for approval in order to collect in the name of tax good some of their salary to the regime in the name of protection

However, an extensive mechanism is being put in place for the recruitment process to take off based on terms and conditions agreed on by both sides benefiting both regimes on the back of the Ethiopian slaves.

The wages paid to the Ethiopian domestics will be uniform, the Qatari delegation told Ethiopian officials. There are 120 manpower agencies in Qatar while the number of recognized recruitment agencies in Ethiopia is 380.

Those shortlisted for recruitment will have to undergo medical tests in Ethiopia, and later on here. If a worker is sent home on health grounds, all costs would be borne by the Ethiopian agency concerned. 

 

 

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ERITREA’s FAILED DREAM

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After the Eritrean independence war ended in 1991, Eritreans threw themselves into reconstructing the country’s shattered infrastructure, with whole villages helping out to build small dams, terrace-eroded hillsides, and plant thousands of trees. Photos by Dan Connell.

Once a revolution is over, how do you judge its success? A victory for Mao’s vision of the People’s Republic of China was not exactly a victory for the people of China. A glorious, clean revolution isn’t easy. Look at Russia, France, Cambodia, Iran. Look at Egypt today. In the coming decades, we will see the result of revolutions played out across the Arab world and, quite possibly, across Europe as well. Will they be deemed successes by anyone other than the victors?

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A crucial, but little reported, example of a hard fought revolution and its troubling aftermath can be found in the Horn of Africa.

Twenty years ago, Eritrea—in the northeast of Africa—became a legally independent nation, having won its de-facto independence from Ethiopia two years earlier, in 1991. This independence was the end result of a 30-year war with Ethiopia. The revolutionaries who won the war were heroes, champions of freedom standing up against an oppressive, murderous Ethiopian regime backed by the Soviet Union and tacitly supported by the West. They had reestablished an independent Eritrean nation and the future looked bright. But revolutionary opposition and day-to-day power are two totally different things. Once you’ve gotten used to glorious victories, the thrills of red tape and responsibility may well be lost on you. As such, creating a free and democratic society is a total pain in the ass.

Eritrea had been an Italian colony since 1890, Ethiopia since 1935. After the Second World War, Eritrea became part of Ethiopia but maintained a measure of independence. In 1962, and in contravention of a UN resolution, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea. The UN and other world powers looked on, unwilling to jeopardize their relationship with the strategically-vital Ethiopia. As John Foster Dulles, who would go on to be the United States’ secretary of state, said in 1950, “From the standpoint of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interest of the United States in the Red Sea basin and considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country has to be linked with our ally, Ethiopia.” Eritrea had been screwed.


An EPLF member outside Asmara, 1979.

When Eritrea gained its independence in the early 1990s, it was the Marxist revolutionary group The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) that took power in Asmara, the nation’s capital, having fought a long and hard guerrilla war against Ethiopia. With their ruthless discipline, encouragement of abstinence and collective focus, the EPLF were—in the words of one leading Eritrean historian—“the most successful liberation movement in Africa.” They were tough, and while their intolerance of dissent galvanized their fighting potential, it merely made them tyrants once they were in power.

Led by Isaias Afewerki, they continued their flair for strong, Marxist-sounding names by becoming the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). And, with Isaias front and center, the PFDJ has remained in power ever since independence.

Today, criticism of the government is not tolerated. Only four religions are officially recognized. Worship in any other church and you’ll be persecuted. There is no civil society to speak of and, every month, kids cross the border to escape national service, which has no fixed end and is essentially a form of government-sponsored slavery. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates the number of fleeing Eritreans at 1,000 a month (it’s worth noting that escaping means going through the Sahara into mine-strewn Ethiopia while avoiding being shot by border guards). Reporters Without Borders ranks Eritrea 178th out of 178 in the world for press freedom, which basically means anything approaching journalism is banned.


A UN-supplied refugee camp near the border of Ethiopia, accommodating some of the thousands of Eritreans who flee across the border every year.

By 2012, hundreds of thousands of young Eritreans had fled the country to escape the deepening political repression and to avoid what had become open-ended national service in both the armed forces and state and party-controlled businesses. Three hundred refugees were showing up in Ethiopia each month and being placed in UN-supplied camps near the border.

In May, to coincide with Eritrea’s 20th anniversary celebrations, Amnesty International released a damning report entitled Eritrea: 20 Years of Independence, but Still No Freedom. The report claims that there are, at minimum, 10,000 prisoners being held illegally without trial in Eritrea. The human rights organization’s Eritrea researcher, Claire Beston, told me that this figure did not include those people jailed for “avoiding national service or trying to flee the country.” The report is littered with the testimony of people who have been affected by the actions of the government:

“I last saw my father at the beginning of 2007, they took him away from our house. I know nothing about what happened afterward.”

“This generation, everyone has gone through the prison at least once. Everyone I met in prison has been in prison two or three times.”

“Everybody has to confess what he’s done. They hit me so many times… Many people were getting disabled at that military camp. During the night they would take them to a remote area, tie them up, and beat them on their back.”

There are many more like this. It’s not exactly light summer reading.


The 1984 to ’85 African famine put Eritrea’s war for independence on hold as the liberation front trucked aid into the country to prevent both mass starvation and a wholesale exodus from the contested areas. Ethiopia sought to isolate the Eritreans using food as a weapon.

Tesfamichael Gerahtu, Eritrea’s ambassador to the UK and Ireland, told me that while Eritrea have “some challenges in human rights,” there “are no people incarcerated on the basis of their political beliefs.” The Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an angrily-worded response that rejected Amnesty’s “wild accusations.” The release concluded that Amnesty would ignore the 20th anniversary celebrations, “smug in its selfrighteous belief that it can, with impunity, attack and denigrate a young nation, which despite many odds, manages to progress and improve the lives of its citizens.”

Amnesty’s Claire Beston told me that Eritrea’s refusal to acknowledge its illegal detention of its own people was “incredibly disappointing for the families of those affected.” Additionally, she pointed out that Eritrea’s imprisonment of innocent people was in direct contravention with a number of international treaties it had signed up to. Drawing parallels with another country known for imprisoning innocent citizens, the human rights activist Khataza Gondwe has referred to Eritrea as “Africa’s North Korea.”

Eritrea, then, has not become the country many hoped for. “I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t believe that promises were betrayed,” Eritrean exile Gaim Kibreab—a university professor and author of Eritrea: A Dream Deferred—told me. Kibreab left Eritrea in 1976. For him, the actions of the current government “affect us all. I have relatives in Sudanese refugee camps. I have dear friends in prison in Eritrea.” The deferred dream of a free Eritrea was not just Kibreab’s, but one shared by many of his countrymen, though possibly not Isaias Afewerki and his revolutionary army.

Kibreab wishes for a pluralist democracy in which there is a free press and a flourishing civil society. But was this ever going to be a realistic proposition for a group of hardened guerrilla warriors at the end of a 30-year struggle? Decades of uninterrupted power is probably a closer approximation of Isaias’ dreams. He’s said to be full of contempt for humanity, to be a big drinker and a mean drunk. He’s a human rights violator and a petty thug who’s known to break bottles over people’s heads once he’s had a few.

As such, being boss probably suits him just fine. His former foreign minister, Petros Solomon, a key fighter and comrade in the revolution, was imprisoned in 2001 for speaking out against the government as part of the G-15 group of dissidents, who wrote an open letter to Isaias denouncing the lack of freedom in Eritrea. Solomon has not been heard from since his imprisonment.


Petros Solomon in an underground bunker in the frontline town of Nakfa, in 1979.

Some ex-revolutionary fighters and other defenders of the Eritrean government are scornful of exiled, “so-called intellectuals” like Gaim Kibreab. They believe that the people who now talk about human rights in Eritrea are hypocrites, people who didn’t fight and stand up for the violation of Eritrean human rights in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. There is still a significant amount of support for Isaias in the Eritrean diaspora. The Eritrean ambassador told me that “you must respect that we have had our human rights violated,” in relation to Ethiopia’s annexing of—and then war with—Eritrea, as well as the international support of Ethiopia.

Kibreab, in a way, agrees with him. He told me that when you talk about Eritrea, you have to talk about Ethiopia, which—secure in its importance strategically to the United States—has continued to run roughshod over Eritrea and, in doing so, has alienated Eritrea from the rest of the world. A world that now regards it as a small rogue state with a potential for Islamism, while viewing Ethiopia as a large, roguish, but vital state—a key ally in the “War on Terror.”

“The international community,” Kibreab pointed out, “has never been charitable to the Eritrean government. But if they moved towards liberal democracy, they’d help themselves.” However, this lack of support is worth remembering, particularly since it has been true ever since John Foster Dulles admitted that Eritrea was to be the victim in an international power game. Freedom from the machinations of foreign powers was one of the driving forces of the revolution. Now, still isolated, Isaias and his government continue to battle on, proudly proclaiming survival in the face of international contempt.


In 1998, the Eritreans went back to war with Ethiopia. The country’s youth were quickly mobilized to go back into the trenches.

The interminable military service, for example, makes some sense in the context of Ethiopian aggression. In 1998, the two countries went to war over a small portion of disputed territory surrounding the barren, rock-strewn town of Badme. The war, which lasted for over two years and resulted in the death of up to 100,000 soldiers, was described as “two bald men fighting over a comb.”

Since the end of the war, Ethiopia has failed to recognize an international court ruling that stipulates that Badme is part of Eritrea. Eritrean government officials have repeatedly told me that if Ethiopia recognized the boundary, they would be ready to make friends with their neighbors. Ethiopia funds many of the strands of opposition in Eritrea and, along with the United States, plays a crucial role in a paranoid narrative put forward by the Eritrean government: that Eritrea’s very existence is under constant threat from dark powers beyond its borders.

There is an element of truth to this, but of course Isaias and his government spin it out for all its worth. As far as propaganda goes, Ethiopia is Isaias’ greatest ally.


An EPLF member outside Asmara, 1979.

What I’m also talking about here, when I talk about Eritrea at 20 years, is the difference between the idealism of revolutionary opposition and the practical day-to-day reality of running a government. After years in the mountains fighting a guerrilla war, how was a revolutionary movement going to smoothly transition into power? Just like with the Taliban in Afghanistan, we’ve seen that life in grizzled, iconic opposition is perhaps not the best preparation for a calm, moral government. In opposition, those around Isaias let him do what needed to be done. There was a sense that he was “our bastard.” But, since then, the bastard has never stopped.

Ex-revolutionaries in Eritrea are often characterized as great drinkers, good talkers, and terrible diplomats. They grew up fighting in a revolutionary struggle, and the intricacies of international diplomacy were not for them. Paranoid and wary of showing weakness, they have punished innocent people for their own failings.

This is the sadness of all revolutionary dreams turned sour: the reality of freedom is never the same as the promise of freedom. It’s unlikely that when the EPLF were fighting for their country’s independence they looked up at that East African sky and thought: We dream that some day we will imprison people without trial, that our people will do anything they can to escape the country, that our youth will be locked into national service and that there will be no such thing as journalism.

Every generation reacts against the previous one, though. Isaias is getting old, and with the post-independence generation now 20 years old, the next few years could see some upheaval, hopefully for the better, in Eritrea.

Follow Oscar on Twitter: @oscarrickettnow

See more of Dan’s work at danconnell.net.

More stories about troubled African countries:

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The VICE Guide to Liberia

Watch – Ground Zero: Mali

 

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Egypt – A victory for revolution, not for democracy

If the Brotherhood consents to Morsi’s ouster, it could yet regain the presidency; if not, Egypt is heading into a cycle of violence with regional implications

Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, center, flanked by military and civilian leaders in including reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei, far left, Tamarod leader Mahmoud Badr, second left and Pope Tawadros II, second from right, as he addresses the nation on Egyptian State Television Wednesday, July 3 (photo credit: AP/Egyptian State Television)

Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, center, flanked by military and civilian leaders in including reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei, far left, Tamarod leader Mahmoud Badr, second left and Pope Tawadros II, second from right, as he addresses the nation on Egyptian State Television Wednesday, July 3 (photo credit: AP/Egyptian State Television)

The statement issued Wednesday evening by Egypt’s Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi confirmed the expectations of the last few days: the army, backed by the masses, had carried out a coup.

Yes, tens of millions had taken to the streets in recent days, illustrating just how badly the majority of the population wanted to see president Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood out of office. But Morsi was installed just a year ago, having been democratically elected. And he was overthrown by the military.

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Several major figures in Egypt’s political system sat next to al-Sisi when he delivered his statement — among them former International Atomic Energy Agency head (and would-be president) Mohamed ElBaradei, Coptic Pope Tawadros II, and Al-Azhar University President Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb.

But to the left of al-Sisi, slightly behind him, sat a young, bespectacled, long-haired man to whom the defense minister owes the takeover. This man, Mahmoud al-Aziz, was the representative of Tamarod (the revolution) a group that began operating only two months ago. Tamarod succeeded where opposition politicians had long failed and led protests unprecedented in size that eventually resulted in Morsi’s ouster.

For al-Sisi, it was the speech of a lifetime. He started off by explaining that the military’s High Command had tried several times, to no avail, to reason with the presidency to accept the “people’s” terms. And therefore, he explained, it had been decided to present the “road map” to get Egypt out of its crisis.

For Hamas, the news out of Cairo Wednesday night was especially grim. They’re losing their most substantial ally

The Egyptian general, who has yet to turn 60 and was appointed by Morsi to the job just 11 months ago, has been transformed into Egypt’s strongman. He is the one who appointed Supreme Constitutional Court chairman Adli Mansour as interim president. And he is also the one who will dictate the spirit of the new constitution and set the date for new elections. Mansour is expected to be sworn in and take on presidential authorities, alongside al-Sisi and the army, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the army has isolated Morsi and banned senior Muslim Brotherhood officials from leaving the country. Wednesday evening also saw the closure of some of the television networks associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. It appears that al-Sisi, like a good military man, does not dally but, rather, charges with full force in order to eliminate the enemy.

Yet the enemy, as far as al-Sisi and much of Egypt are concerned, is impossible to eliminate. At best it can be temporarily reduced in scale. In order to ensure the defense minister’s move is a success, he needs the cooperation of the Muslim Brotherhood, or at least some of the Islamists. For now the ball is in “al-Ahwan’s” (the Brotherhood’s) court. If it consents to Morsi’s ouster, it may even win the next presidential elections with a more effective candidate. If it refuses and orders its followers to battle the new regime, Egypt may spiral into a bloody cycle of violence.

Morsi, minutes before he was removed by the army to a secure place, was able to smuggle out his reaction speech, in which he made clear that he refused to accept the military’s takeover. “I will not accept this attempt to take us backwards,” he said. Morsi called on the army to resume its traditional role of protecting the people. “I am the elected president of Egypt,” the Islamist politician said. “It is now demanded of the people to defend this legitimacy and … for legitimacy to be constitutional,” he added, saying that he was willing to call for new elections, but only for the parliament.

It was too little, too late. Five people were quickly reported killed Wednesday evening in clashes between supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are not likely to be the last casualties.

Morsi’s ouster and the success of the secular protest in its clash with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt may presage the fall from power of other Islamist movements in the region, like Tunisia and Gaza.

In Tunisia, a protest against the Islamist constitution has already gotten underway.

But for Hamas, the news out of Cairo Wednesday night was especially grim. The Palestinian organization is losing its most substantial ally, one that gave it vital political support. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s parent organization and in many ways its “Godfather,” lost its power to a military establishment that is hostile to the Palestinian group’s goals.

Hamas, which has clashed with Syria and Iran over the course of the last year, now finds itself nearly isolated in the Arab sphere. Perhaps the new reality in which it finds itself will lead the weakened Hamas to conclude its reunification with Fatah.

Time will tell. As of Wednesday night, all eyes were focused on Egypt, where the short-lived presidency of Mohammed Morsi underlined, in case anyone was still in doubt, that the holding of one round of free elections does not constitute a transition to democracy.

 

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Morsi out thrown The Justice minister leading the transition

 

Egypt’s military deposed the country’s first democratically elected president Wednesday night, installing the head of the country’s highest court as an interim leader, the country’s top general announced.

Gen. Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi said the military was fulfilling its “historic responsibility” to protect the country by ousting Mohamed Morsy, the Western-educated Islamist leader elected a year ago. Morsy failed to meet demands to share power with opponents who thronged the streets of Cairo, and those crowds erupted as the announcement was made.

Ahead of the statement, troops moved into key positions around the capital and surrounded a demonstration by Morsy’s supporters in a Cairo suburb. Citing an unnamed presidential source, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that “the General Command of the Armed Forces told President Morsy around 7 p.m. (1 p.m. ET) that he is no longer a president for the republic.”

At the final hour, Morsy offered to form an interim coalition government “that would manage the upcoming parliamentary electoral process, and the formation of an independent committee for constitutional amendments to submit to the upcoming parliament,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page. He noted that hundreds of thousands of supporters and protesters had packed plazas around the country, and he urged that his countrymen be allowed to express their opinions through the ballot box.

Egyptian demonstrations from aboveEgyptian demonstrations from above

Video shows clashes at Cairo University

Morsy defies military’s ultimatum

Photos, videos capture Egypt in crisis

“One of the mistakes I cannot accept — as the president of all Egyptians — is to side with one party over another, or to present the scene from one side only. To be fair, we need to listen to the voice of people in all squares,” the statement read.

But as night fell Wednesday, troops surrounded a pro-Morsy demonstration at a Cairo mosque and took control of a key bridge across the Nile River. Gehad El-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, reported via Twitter that tanks were on the streets.

Morsy was said to be working from a complex belonging to the country’s Republican Guard, across the street from the presidential palace, according to Egyptian state media. Reuters reported that troops were setting up barricades around that facility.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. government — Egypt’s leading ally — could not confirm reports of a coup. Psaki said the United States is not taking sides and urged all parties to come to a peaceful resolution to the “tense and fast-moving” situation.

Coup allegation

An aide, Essam El Haddad, said in a Facebook posting that a coup was under way and warned that the generals risked bloodshed by moving against Morsy.

“Today, only one thing matters. In this day and age, no military coup can succeed in the face of sizable popular force without considerable bloodshed,” wrote El Haddad, who works in the office of the assistant to the president on foreign relations. “Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?”

“In a democracy, there are simple consequences for the situation we see in Egypt: The president loses the next election or his party gets penalized in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Anything else is mob rule,” he added.

But Naguib Abadeer, a member of the opposition Free Egyptians Party, said what was under way “is not by any means a military coup. This is a revolution.”

“The people have decided that Mr. Morsy was no longer the legitimate leader of Egypt,” he told CNN.

Abadeer said Morsy lost his legitimacy in November, when he declared courts could not review his decrees and ousted the country’s prosecutor-general. He said Morsy’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood — the Islamist movement that propelled Morsy to the presidency — “hijacked the vote of the people” by running on a religious platform, “so these were not democratic elections.”

On Tuesday night, Morsy had vowed that he would not comply with the military’s 48-hour ultimatum and demanded that the armed forces stand down.

“If the price of upholding this legitimacy is my own blood, I am, therefore, ready to sacrifice my blood for this country and its stability,” he said.

But political analyst Hisham Kassem said the speech was Morsy’s “final bluff.”

“He was trying to give the impression ‘We are there in numbers, and we are going to retaliate, we are not going to allow this to happen.’ However, with almost 24 hours since his message, it’s clear his supporters will not dare challenge the crowds on the street,” Kassem said.

All eyes on Egyptian military’s deadline

Egyptian ministers resign amid unrest

He added, “I think President Morsy effectively is no longer running the country.” And faced with the throngs that filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “the military had to intervene. Otherwise this crowd was going to get Morsy from his palace.”

Egypt’s anti-Morsy protestors — in their own words

Reports of a TV studio takeover

Reuters and several other news organizations reported that Egyptian troops had “secured the central Cairo studios of state television” as the deadline approached and that staff not working on live shows had departed.

CNN has not confirmed the reports; state television denied in an on-air banner that there was any additional military presence at its studios.

Massive demonstrations for and against the former Muslim Brotherhood leader who was elected to office a year ago have been largely peaceful.

But 23 people died, health officials said, and hundreds more were injured in clashes overnight at Cairo University, the state-funded Al-Ahram news agency reported.

Protest leaders have called for nonviolence.

Opinion: Give Morsy a chance to fix this

Egypt’s military met Wednesday with religious, national, political and youth leaders to address the crisis, Egyptian military spokesman Ahmed Ali said through his Facebook page.

Egypt protesters’ message to Morsy: Go

Hours earlier, an opposition spokesman accused the United States of propping up Morsy out of concern for neighboring Israel.

“The hour of victory is coming,” said Mahmoud Badr of the Tamarod opposition group. He predicted that the “illegitimate president” would be gone by the end of the day.

“Not America, not Morsy, not anyone can impose their will on the Egyptian people,” Badr said.

Opinion: Egyptians are fed up with Morsy

Switching sides

With the ultimatum, the armed forces appeared to have thrown their weight behind those opposed to Morsy’s Islamic government.

Early Wednesday, soldiers and police set up a perimeter around the opposition’s central meeting point, Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “to secure it from any possible attack,” the state-run EgyNews agency reported.

It was the police who, on the same spot in 2011, killed hundreds when they fired upon democratic, moderate and Islamic demonstrators seeking to overthrow Hosni Mubarak, the country’s longtime autocratic leader and U.S. ally.

Mubarak had repressed the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political movement that emerged as the nation’s most powerful political force once Mubarak was ousted.

At a pro-democracy protest in Cairo, demonstrators expressed anger and fear over what the coming hours could bring.

The Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, told CNN that tanks and armored vehicles — accompanied by thugs carrying knives, pistols and ammunition — had been moved to the northern and southern entrances of the square in an apparent attempt to drive them out.

The military fired warning shots into the air, and shot one Muslim Brotherhood member in the leg, El-Haddad said, but the remaining protesters were standing in defiance in front of the tanks.

Some of the protesters oppose Morsy but also oppose pushing from power a democratically elected leader, he said. “Under no circumstances will we ever accept a military-backed coup,” he said.

But many of the democratic reformers and moderates who accused Morsy’s government of moving in an authoritarian direction now support former Mubarak allies and others fed up with the nation’s direction in calling for the restoration of order through the military.

They have been pushing to oust Morsy and his Muslim conservative government, whose leaders were drawn primarily from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. They say they have collected more than 20 million signatures on a petition to remove him — millions more than the number who voted Morsy into the presidency.

In recent days, anti-Morsy demonstrators have ransacked Muslim Brotherhood offices all over the country.

Protesters: We’re not going; he must go

Morsy’s close adviser speaks to Amanpour

Interactive map: Explore the locations of protests in Cairo, Egypt. Photos: AFP/Getty Images

Governments issue warnings against travel to Egypt

The military’s plans

Military leaders have told Arab media that they were planning to suspend the constitution, dissolve the parliament and sideline Morsy.

In his place, they would install a mainly civilian interim council until a new constitution can be drafted and a new president elected.

The military’s ultimatum was intended to push all factions toward a national consensus, not to seize power through a coup, a spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said Monday in a

 

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Nile Dam of Ethiopia Could Destroy Egypt’s Way of Life

    • MARK BYRNESEthiopia is currently building Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. When it opens next year, the “Great Renaissance Dam” will tap into the Nile River. Unsurprisingly, Egypt, a country whose identity and way of life are tied to that body of water, feels threatened by its neighbor’s ambitions.

The new dam will help provide electricity to a country where more than 80 percent live without it. But in Egypt, most of its population is centered near the Nile valley and delta. The former chairman of the National Water Research Center tells Time that the dam will reduce water flow anywhere from 1,300 billion gallons to 6,600 billion gallons per year. It will also increase river pollution, harming fisheries and making it difficult for boats to navigate the river. As Egypt’s foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said recently, “no Nile, no Egypt.”

Tensions between the two nations over the dam project have been palpable. Egypt president, Mohammed Morsi said in a speech on June 10, “we will defend each drop of the Nile with our blood.” During a televised cabinet meeting the week before, several members told the president that “he must destroy the dam through any means available.” Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn however said recently that “nothing and no one” will stop construction of the dam.

Politics aside, the Nile does play a defining role in everyday life for Egyptians, whether they be farmers or floating restaurant owners. Below, via Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih, we get a glimpse of the wide ranging ways Egyptians use their treasured river:


A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boat passes buildings under construction and the two towers of the Bank of Egypt building (R), overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A woman rows, while another holds a net as they fish in the river Nile in Cairo April 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boats sail past the burned out headquarters of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, on the banks of the Nile in Cairo June 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Women wash clothes in the river Nile in Cairo May 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boy jumps into the river Nile as people celebrate the spring holiday of Sham el-Nessim on the outskirts of Cairo May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boy washes his horse in the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Men help a priest disembark from a river taxi on the river Nile April 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A fisherman rows his boat on the river Nile in Cairo April 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A farmer stands near his cow while it drinks from the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boys play on a ferry jetty on the shore of the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


People sit on chairs set out by a cafe on the banks of the river Nile in Cairo April 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


People sit in a cafe overlooking the barrages of al-Qanatir on the river Nile in Cairo May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A woman looks out as she sits in a boat during a cruise on the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boats housing restaurants and nightclubs float on the river Nile in Cairo May 8, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

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