As Israel continues its massacres in Gaza, tensions are intensifying over the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the wider North African and Western Asian region. After three US soldiers were killed by a drone strike in Jordan, the US responded with strikes inside Iraq and Syria, killing 40. White House national security spokesman John Kirby then told Fox News that the strikes were "just the first round,” making it clear that hegemony is Washington’s only horizon. Meanwhile a related conflict is heating up on the southern side of the Gulf of Aden, triggered by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland, the breakaway state that has been trying to secede from Somalia since 1991 but has not been recognized by any of the UN’s 193 member states or by the African Union.
The world’s eyes are now on the geostrategic Red Sea waterways where Yemen’s Ansar Allah fighters have stopped Israeli and Israel-bound ships from passing. Other regional tensions have come into play since Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Somaliland, a secessionist state within Somalia that has claimed its independence since 1991. Given the geostrategic importance of the Red Sea, the US/EU/NATO are no doubt involved behind the scenes. I spoke to Somali Kenyan scholar Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad about Red Sea politics and the MOU.
Most Important Stories Of 2023: Gaza, Ukraine, China, BRICS, Dedollarization, Bank Crises, Inflation
These were the most important geopolitical and economic issues of 2023, including the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, US-China tensions, BRICS expansion, growing de-dollarization, inflation crisis, crypto fraud, bank crashes, European de-industrialization, and more.
Federal investigators caught New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine with $180,000 worth of gold bars, $550,000 in cash, plus furniture and a $60,000 Mercedes Benz that they didn’t pay for. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York alleges that these were bribes from three New Jersey businessmen and co-defendants, and that one of them, Egyptian American businessman Wael Hana, also paid $23,000 to bring Nadine Menendez’s mortgage current and promised to put her on the payroll of his corporation for a “low-show-or-no-show” job.
Danish journalist Rasmus Sonderriis has spent seven of the last nineteen years living in Ethiopia, beginning in 2004. He just published “Getting Ethiopia Dead Wrong ,” a free Substack e-book, in which he gets it dead right. This is his account of Western media and officialdom’s disgraceful and deeply damaging deceptions and distortions about the November 2020 to November 2022 Ethiopian civil war, which is now commonly known as the Tigray War. Cutting straight to the chase, he notes that the war began when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked the Northern Command base of the Ethiopian National Defense Force on November 3, 2020, and the government responded, as any government would, by sending in troops to reestablish its legitimate monopoly on the use of force.
For 40 years, Eritrean Festivals have been held around the world to sustain the diaspora community’s connections to their homeland and to one another. But this year, a violent, well-coordinated international campaign of sabotage left festival goers badly injured and property damaged. Major Western media reported the pogrom-style attacks as “clashes,” “riots,” “fights” and “violence” in a way that implied these had broken out between two sides, masking the reality – that hooligans had attacked peaceful festival goers. They also implied that the violence was warranted because Eritrea is run by a “repressive” government on the wrong side of the new Cold War.
Washington is well aware that the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) tried to regain power militarily and failed. The TPLF has essentially been Washington's proxy in the region. This was a two-year war, and in war, unfortunately, atrocities are committed, but most of the documentation that I have seen places the atrocities on the TPLF side of the fence, and they have been, quite frankly, horrific. Having failed to overthrow the Abiy government and bring the TPLF to power, the United States tried to control the outcome diplomatically, through the Pretoria peace agreement, which Washington orchestrated from the sidelines to save the TPLF from complete defeat. The pressure that is being put on them through this IMF agreement is an example of that.
Stephen Were Omamo served as Director of the World Food Program in Ethiopia from 2018 to 2021. From that viewpoint he saw the international community misrepresent facts on the ground in the two-year Ethiopian civil war in service to what he called the “good-guy TPLF vs. bad-guy Government story line that was already fully developed and circulating globally” shortly after the war began in November 2020. The US and its Western allies had designated Tigrayans and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as the good guys, what Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman called “worthy victims” in Manufacturing Consent.
United States plans for aggression and disruptions abroad are developed by current and former officials whose names may not be well known. They often leave government positions to become fellows at a plethora of think tanks that are connected to high level policy makers. It is important to know what they are saying, as their words have an impact on US foreign policy decisions. Michael Rubin is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) , the rightwing think tank in Washington, DC, that mostly disseminates a neoconservative interventionist agenda, and where Rubin spends his time churning out misleading information and lies about the Red Sea State of Eritrea and the Horn of Africa. Rubin was a Pentagon staffer from 2002 to 2004, and an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority during America’s disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003.
As someone who spends a lot of time studying African conflict, I often witness and find myself drawn into discussion with groups demanding that “the international community” do something to stop genocide and mass atrocities in their country. Of course I sympathize with any community under attack because of their racial, ethnic, clan, national, class, or political identity, but why would anyone in Africa or elsewhere in the Global South expect “the international community”—meaning the US-dominated West—to stop genocide and mass atrocities? The US dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan even though the Allies had already won WWII in the Pacific, turned Korea and Vietnam into human barbecue pits during the 50s and 60s, and overthrew or attempted to overthrow 47 governments between 1949 and 2014.
Continuing the wave of progressive wins in 2021, Latin America saw two new critical electoral victories: Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil. When President Biden’s June Summit of the Americas excluded Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, several Latin American leaders declined to attend, while others used the opportunity to push the United States to respect the sovereignty of the countries in the region.
Western officials and pundits never stop trying to drive a wedge between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Their screams that Eritrea must get out of Ethiopia have grown louder and louder every day since Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a peace agreement to end the two-year civil war. The US should get out of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and outer space before it brings an end to life on earth, but of course that’s not on the table. Instead we hear that the Ethiopian peace agreement is likely to collapse if Eritrean troops don’t leave Ethiopia. Biden, Blinken, and rabid pro-TPLF Congressmen like Brad Sherman, D-CA, continue to threaten Ethiopia, but even more so Eritrea, with sanctions.
On October 31st, thousands of Congolese in Goma, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu Province, protested the war of aggression waged by Rwanda and Uganda’s M23 militia, which has reportedly tightened its grip on surrounding countryside. One sign read “Rwanda and Ouganda Is Killing in DR Congo,” and Congolese activists are using the hashtag #RwandaIsKilling. Mambo Kawaya, a civil society representative, told AFP, “We denounce the hypocrisy of the international community in the face of Rwanda’s aggression.” Nowhere is this hypocrisy more vivid than in the contrast between the US/Canadian/EU engagement in the Ethiopian and Congolese conflicts. As Ethiopia nears victory in its war with the US-backed, insurrectionist Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), huge crowds of Ethiopians have taken to the streets to protest US intervention and demand respect for Ethiopian sovereignty.
The Ethiopian and Eritrean armies now seem close to winning a two-year war with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF,) a US-backed clique that ruled Ethiopia brutally for 27 years, from 1991 to 2018. As I write this, on October 24, 2022, Ethiopian and Eritrean forces are in control of most major cities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region. They are reported to have surrounded Mek’ele, the Tigrayan Region’s capital, but it’s not clear whether or not they are inside. On Saturday, October 22nd, huge crowds rallied for Ethiopian sovereignty in Addis Ababa and across the country, holding up signs that read “No More to a Proxy War,” “USA Respect Ethiopian Sovereignty,” and “No Intervention in the Name of Humanitarian Aid.” Establishment outlets including the Associated Press and Bloomberg News felt compelled to report the rallies.
Events in Ethiopia continue to rapidly develop. Ethiopian federal forces have taken control of a string of major towns and cities in Tigray Region in recent days, and they are now reported be on the outskirts of Mekelle, the regional capital. The city’s airport, located some kilometers from the heart of the capital, was taken over by federal forces on Tuesday evening following fierce fighting. Meanwhile, high-level delegations from both the Ethiopian government and the TPLF have reportedly flown to South Africa for much-anticipated peace talks. Like all conflicts, the one that has been raging in northern Ethiopia during the past two years has been fought both on the ground and along the information front. Within the latter battle, a recurring, ever-present element has been disinformation.