On reading “US Threatens to Invade Eritrea“ (17 Apr 09) and then the apparent human rights justification for this possibility given in ”Eritrea becoming ‘a giant prison’“ (16 Apr 09) this question arose: ”Why does Israel want the US to do that?” Because they generally seem to be the hidden hand pushing US foreign policies and actions in the region. This led to the following information –
Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Oded Ben-Haim, in an interview with Ethiopia’s Walta Information Center, charged that Eritrea is trying to destabilize the peace process in the Horn of Africa, and serving as a save haven for terrorist groups. Ben-Haim especially accused Eritrea of supporting and arming al-Shabab, the insurgent group in Somalia, and also asserted Eritrean ties to the Palestinian Hamas. He called upon Ethiopia to “continue bringing stability in the Horn of Africa and to the whole continent.” (WIC, March 19) ~Israel: Eritrea destabilizes Horn of Africa
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Press Department)
In reference to the remarks of Israel’s Ambassador in Ethiopia (Thursday, March 19 2009), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to clarify the following:
In his statement about Eritrea, the Ambassador of Israel in Ethiopia exceeded his authority and position.
His comments were made without instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, which was surprised by his remarks.
Israel expresses its regrets that these remarks were made, and reiterates its position, which desires a peaceful solution to the conflicts in the Horn of Africa.
-Clarification of statement by Isael’s ambassador to Etheopia regarding Eritrea (2 Apr 09)
Three years earlier…
According to the Center for Political and Strategic Studies’ report, Israel has some clear motives for establishing and improving ties with Eritrea. They wanted Eritrea to become the most important strategic ally to the Zionist entity in every corner of the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. Their motives can be summed in two points:
1. The geostrategic importance of the 360 Eritrean islands, especially Dahlak and Fatma islands. They are located in the southern gateway of the Red Sea occupying some 1080 kilometers. The two islands have important features that affect the international and regional naval balance. The two islands can also be used for stationing marine and land forces and for monitoring all naval activities in the region. Israel thought that by controlling these islands it can avoid any Arab attempts to impose a naval blockade on Israel under any circumstances. Israel’s presence on the islands will also stop the Red Sea from turning into Arab waters.
2. Another advantage is the importance of Eritrea’s location in serving the Israeli strategies in motoring and spying on Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan. The three countries are not Israel’s allies. In 1998, the British “Foreign Report” bulletin, specializing in intelligence affairs, reported that Israel maintains close intelligence relations with Ethiopia and Eritrea, and that the Israeli spy agency Mossad has established in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a center for gathering intelligence information.
According to the British weekly, Eritrea permits Israel to carry out vast activities on Dahlak Island on the Red Sea. Because of the presence of the Israelis on this island, the Mossad can carry out monitoring operations and collect important information about Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
The Foreign Report bulletin also stated that the Mossad has a very active intelligence gathering station not far from Eritrea’s borders with Sudan.
-Israel’s second largest base is on Eritrea’s Dahlak Islands (31 Aug 06)
So Israel wants control of Eritrea, one way or another, and the threats are loud and clear, even when retracted or disavowed, yes? A president labeled in the West as the world’s 13th worst dictator (Parade, 2007) may have been seen by them as preferable to the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement, but perhaps they are now looking to assert more control over him or to put a new leader/government in place, someone they believe they will have more control over, perhaps along with some strategic population reduction? Russia and the US and Israel are all known to be selling weapons to both sides of the Eritrea-Etheopia conflict.
In a brief historical look at Eritrea and Etheopia, The Winter of Islam and the Spring to Come says:
One of the reasons for the endless conflict, anarchy and war in Eritrea, one of the poorest regions in the world despite its socio-economic and geo-strategic importance, is the strategy of countries that dominate regional policies there, which is based on their own interests, totally ignoring the needs and demands of the people living in this region. Israel comes first among these countries.
Previous Ethiopian and Eritrean regimes had only one thing in common with the state of Israel: their anti-Islamic line. As we saw at the beginning of this book, Israel sees Islam as the greatest danger to its dominance over the Middle East, itself built on cruelty, violation and oppression. That is why there is always an Israeli presence in all regions where Muslims are oppressed and face extinction, from Bosnia to the Philippines, from East Turkestan to Eritrea. In his book The Israeli Connection: Who Arms Israel and Why? Professor Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi of Israel’s Haifa University characterizes such activities by his country all over the world over as “Israel’s world war.” As prominent Israeli newspaper columnist Nahum Barnea has noted, “Israel will become the Western vanguard in the war against the Islamic enemy.’”38
Israel still has two exceedingly important strategic bases in Eritrea, one in the Dahlak islands, the other in the Mahel Agar mountains near the Sudanese border. Israel’s close relations with Ethiopia began in the 1950s. The Israeli-Ethiopian alliance began in 1952 with civilian trade relations, and developed into a dialogue at the highest levels when an Israeli representative began meeting Emperor Haile Selassie and his most senior officials in 1956. Israel began to provide military aid, intelligence and training to the Selassie regime and its army, in order to put down radical movements in the region and Muslims who rise up and attack Christian Ethiopians. Professor Hallahmi describes the ideological basis of the Ethiopian-Israeli alliance in these terms:
The ideolological basis for this alliance was the perception of the Israelis “as a brave people surrounded by hostile Muslim forces that seek to seize their historic homeland, a situation the Ethiopian Christians consider analogous to their own history in the midst of a threatening Muslim sea.”39 [Kaplan, I, et. al. Area Handbook for Ethiopia, Washington, D.C.; Goverment Printingoffice, 1971, cited in Benjamin Beit Hallahmi, The Israeli Connection:Who Israel Arms and Why, Pantheon Books, 1987, p. 50]
….The Eritrean Muslims were well aware of the alliance they were facing, of course. Abu Halid, leader of the Muslim Eritrean forces, discussed it during an interview in 1970 which was covered by the Turkish press:
Ethiopia and Israel have combined their destinies. Israeli officers train the Ethiopian soldiers who cut Muslims’ throats… The war of June 5, 1967 broke out on the pretext of the closure of the Gulf of Aqaba by Egypt. Israel wants to see the port of Eilat and the gulf kept open, since they are the doors to its trade with the Eastern world. If we in Eritrea manage to achieve independence, we could close this waterway to Israel in cooperation with southern Yemen south of the Red Sea. That is why Israel is helping the Ethiopians. Six million Jews in the United States support this thesis. There are still 400 Israeli officers in the Ethiopian army. Our three great enemies are the Ethiopians, the Israelis and the United States.40
The Israeli officers who trained the Ethiopian commandoes and anti-terrorist teams were also important in keeping Haile Selassie in power. According to Gen. Matityahu Peled, formerly the most senior official in the Israeli army, Selassie was saved from three attempted coups thanks to Israeli agents who were particularly influential in the Addis Ababa secret police.
The Israeli agents did little to intervene against the Marxist coup staged to overthrow Selassie in 1974. That was because the new regime would be one entirely in accordance with their own standards, and would continue to be anti-Islamic and to wage the war against the Eritrean Muslims. As Professor Hallahmi puts it, “The continuing ties with Israelis were explained by the common stance of the two countries against Islamic groups in the region.”41
This strange-seeming “Judeo-Christian” Zionist alliance and their unified position against Muslims in particular and humanity in general is examined further in Jerusalem in the Qur’an and An Islamic View of Gog and Magog in the Modern Age by Imran N. Hosein.