There’s nothing quite like the demise of a U.S-allied dictator to get the Paper of Record talking about the “clash” between U.S. “ideals” and the actual policies the country carries out.
Today’s New York Times (8/22/12) carries the headline “Ethiopian Leader’s Death Highlights Gap Between U.S. Interests and Ideals,” under which Jeffrey Gettleman lays out the case that the United States kept Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi, who died early this week, in the “good guy” column despite our normally idealistic approach to world affairs. Gettleman writes that Zenawi
extracted prized intelligence, serious diplomatic support and millions of dollars in aid from the United States in exchange for his cooperation against militants in the volatile Horn of Africa, an area of prime concern for Washington.
But he was notoriously repressive, undermining President Obama’s maxim that “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”
But, Gettlemen explains:
Despite being one of the United States’ closest allies on the continent, Mr. Meles repeatedly jailed dissidents and journalists, intimidated opponents and their supporters to win mind-bogglingly one-sided elections, and oversaw brutal campaigns in restive areas of the country where the Ethiopian military has raped and killed many civilians.
The real trick is the first word: “Despite.” Readers are supposed to see these as unusual characteristics for a leader backed by the United States, which of course would much rather the world be governed by those who respect international law and human rights.
That supposed commitment is difficult to locate. After his death, Gettleman reports, Hillary Clinton
praised his “personal commitment” to lifting Ethiopia’s economy and “his role in promoting peace and security in the region.” But she made no mention of his rights record and gave only a veiled reference to supporting “democracy and human rights” in Ethiopia.
Gettleman deserves some sort of award for this passage:
Ethiopia is hardly alone in raising difficult questions on how the United States should balance interests and principles.
Saudi Arabia is an obvious example, a country where women are deprived of many rights and there is almost no religious freedom. Still, it remains one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East for a simple reason: oil.
In Africa, the United States cooperates with several governments that are essentially one-party states, dominated by a single man, despite a commitment to promoting democracy.
One could spend considerable time compiling a list of the tyrants, dictators and human rights abusers the United States has supported, from Suharto in Indonesia to Mubarak in Egypt. Or consider the Reagan-era policies of Latin America, which saw the United States supporting strongmen and fielding armies to overthrow governments we didn’t care for.
Elite institutions like the Times need to maintain the comfortable fiction that the United States has a unique and laudable commitment to spreading democracy and human rights. Most people with a passing knowledge of U.S. history would know that there are too many exceptions to this rule to make it a rule at all. Thus, every now and then, an article like this is written to demonstrate that there is in fact some awareness that the United States does not practice what it preaches. An effective propaganda system requires these small openings.
- Obama condoles Ethiopian PM’s death (thehindu.com)
- The Strongman Who May Be Missed: Meles Zenawi, 1955-2012 (world.time.com)
“Imperialist powers have always labeled as terrorists the people who fight for their right. Irishmen were terrorists until they signed an agreement. Abbas was a terrorist. Now, he is a friend,” Mohamed Hassan, former Ethiopian diplomat in Washington, Beijing and Brussels.
“Israel sees Islam as the greatest danger to its dominance over the Middle East, itself built on cruelty, violation and oppression,” – Professor Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi (Haifa University).
The Ethiopian Muslim majority is sick of the US-Israel backed Meles Zenawi crime dynasty and want regime change. Tens of thousands of Muslims and Christians are demonstrating in various cities especially the country’s capital Addis Ababa against the Meles Zenawi regime. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s Holy Synod in exile, Archbishop Abune Melketsekik, and other church leaders have called on the people of Ethiopia to boycott all businesses that are affiliated with dictator Meles Zenawi’s ruling party, TPLF.
Meles Zenawi, the chairman of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) militant group, is half Eritrean and naturalized Yemeni. He maintains very close relations with both Tel Aviv and Washington. Meles’ legal adviser, Fasil Nahom is half Eritrean and half Jewish.
Meles Zenawi as country’s prime minister visited the Zionist entity in 2004 where he was praised a “friend of Israel” by then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. There is a 125,000-strong Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel whose members are routinely targeted by the racist Jewish majority.
The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and several other groups have asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Meles Zenawi for the 2003 genocide of the Anuak people of the Gambella region in Ethiopia. However, ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo has refused to take an action in this regard.
The Zionist entity’s collaboration with anti-Muslim Ethiopian regimes goes back to King Haile Selassie rule. Selassie’s 3,100-strong ‘Emergency Police’ was trained and supplied with arms by the Israeli armed forces and Mossad. It was in 1971 when Gen. Haim Bar-Lev visited Ethiopia – two strategic islands (Halep and Fatima) were opened for the Israeli Navy. Late Israeli Gen. Matti Peled had admitted that it was Israeli protection which saved the King from three assassination attempts. When Haile Selassie was overthrown by a Marxist coup lead by Mengistu in 1974 – the Zionist regime changed its loyalties to continue their genocide of Muslims in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Tel Aviv increased its military and diplomatic links with the new Marxist-Leninist regime. The Israeli cooperation has continued under the Ethiopian prime minister Meles, a horrific human rights abuser, in power since the fall of Marxist-Leninist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Muslim presence in Abyssinia (currently Ethiopia) goes back to the early 7th century when its powerful Orthodox Christian King Ashama (Nejash in Arabic) converted to Islam during the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life time (in 616 CE).
Thomas C. Mountain, an independent journalist living in Eriterea, recently wrote an article, entitled ’Islam Ignites in Muslim Majority Ethiopia ‘ exposing Washington’s strategy to maintain dictatorships in the African continent.
While Ethiopia is historically portrayed as a Christian country, in reality, most Ethiopians are of the Islamic faith. Starting with the Oromo people, who make up at least half or more of the Ethiopian population, 40 million or more, and are almost entirely Muslim; and then adding the Afars and Somali people of the Ogaden, it becomes indisputable that Ethiopia is a majority Muslim country.
So when for the first time in modern Ethiopian history the leadership of the Islamic community called for the overthrow of the government, and are joined in this call by the leadership of the Ethiopian Christian Orthodox Church, it means only one thing, that the end of the hated USA backed Meles Zenawi regime is finally in sight.
With insurgencies growing in size and strength throughout Ethiopia, in the east, south, west and north; soaring inflation and economic hardships; and now the unprecedented politicization of the leadership of the Muslim community, the consensus of those in the know in the Horn of Africa is that the foreign funded rule of Meles Zenawi may last a year, a year and a half at best, possibly even less.
And once Meles is driven from power and his military either destroyed or having joined the uprising, who will the USA have left to enforce Pax Americana in the strategically critical Horn of Africa?
- Ethiopian Regime war on ancient Ethiopian Monasteries (ethiopiahot.wordpress.com)