HARGEISA, 12 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) – I have just read Sophia Tesfamariam’s diatribe of character assassination and vilification against Professor Peter Pham on American Chronicle entitled “ETHIOPIA-Meles Zenawi’s latest ´Intellectual for Hire´ Exposes Himself” and dated 23 October 2009.

Ms Tesfamariam’s rant does not merit discussion here and Professor Pham’s credentials, objectivity and work are well known to those with an interest in the Horn of Africa, hence he needs no defense against this type of intemperate, personal attack. However, the piece did make me reflect upon the history of Somali-Eritrean relations and the current status of this relationship.

Historically, the Somali people have had warm, neighborly relations with the people of Eritrea residing as they do in the same locale. During the 1960s this relationship became one of close political allies as both peoples were victims of the collusion between the European colonialists and the Haile Selassie regime in Ethiopia to deny them their national aspirations for self determination.

Indeed, when the Somali Republic was formed in July 1960 by the union of the ex-British Somaliland Protectorate and the Italian-administered UN Trust Territory of Somalia to the south, support for the aspirations of the Eritrean people for self-determination and statehood became an integral cornerstone of the new Republic’s foreign policy.

To this end, the Eritrean liberation movements were supported politically and materially, and political offices for them were established in Mogadishu before any other African country. In fact, such was Somalia’s backing of the Eritrean quest for statehood that Eritrean refugees were routinely issued Somali passports to enable them to travel internationally, and many Eritrean refugees were awarded government scholarships alongside Somali students.

Thus, the Somali people were the first supporters of Eritrean independence and the Somali Republic was the first country to provide the Eritrean liberation movement with financial, material and moral support, in its cause for freedom. In one of those ironies that defy a deterministic and mechanical view of history, the Republic of Somalia began to collapse in 1991 just as Eritrea began to achieve its nationhood.

Since the achievement of independence in 1993, Eritrea has shown its appreciation for Somalia’s long and unstinting support of their struggle for self determination, by providing refuge and support for those members of Siyad Barre’s dictatorial regime that chose (or were compelled) to request same, e.g. Ahmed Suleiman Abdullah (“Dhafleh”).

It is indeed ironic, and rather bizarre, that the architects of Somalia’s collapse and erstwhile oppressors of the Somali people are now the beneficiaries of the support and largess these people extended to the Eritrean liberation movements.

While it might be understandable for the Afewerki regime to provide a safe haven for the members of the Siyad Barre dictatorship that assisted them in their liberation struggle, what is beyond the pale is their support for the murderers of Al-Shabaab and for the megalomaniacal dreams of Hassan Dahir Aweys.

Of course, it is self evident that Afewerki’s decision to support these terrorists was made as part of his strategy to confront Ethiopia at every possible turn pursuant to the unresolved conflict over Badme. Clearly, he is pursuing the time-honored tenet of realpolitik which holds that ´my enemy’s enemy is my friend´, and he saw an opportunity to bloody Ethiopia’s nose when it invaded Somalia in 2007.

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However, it is also true that ´if you lay down with dogs, you will get fleas´, and the maniacs that Afewerki has chosen to lie with are not only reviled in Somalia and Somaliland, but throughout the region and further afield. Further, Ethiopia’s ill advised invasion of Somalia has failed ignominiously and Ethiopia withdrew its troops over a year ago, yet Afewerki continues to arm and bankroll the jihadists, even as they behead, dismember, oppress and blow up their own brethren in a doomed, nihilistic quest to reverse the course of human progress and development.

Perhaps Afewerki should ponder that these ´friends´ of his perceive him as an infidel and that he would suffer death should he ever find himself in their version of the Caliphate. What is undeniable, however, is that the families, relatives and countrymen and women of the many thousands of victims of his ´friends´ in Somaliland, Somalia and Puntland will neither forget nor forgive the Afewerki regime for arming and succoring these murderers.

In modern parlance, it is considered smart humor to quip “no good deed goes unpunished”, but nothing could be a more apropos summation of the long and sustained support the Somali people extended to their Eritrean brothers and sisters and the evil with which the Afewerki regime has repaid them.

In fairness to them, it must be said that this regime is an equal opportunity evil-dispenser; after all it has managed to find a reason to fight a war against every single one of its neighbors. Thus, perhaps the people of Somalia should not feel too bad about the fraternity extended to them by the Afewerki regime; they share this gift of evil with the Sudanese, the Ethiopians, the Djiboutians and the Yemenis, not to mention, of course, the Eritreans themselves.

Since independence the Afewerki regime has done nothing to promote economic development and social progress for its citizens, but has instead chosen to squander the meager resources of this poor country in endless conflict and war.

After emerging from the agony of the longest armed struggle for freedom and independence on the entire continent of Africa, the Eritrean people had every right to look forward to developing their country and leaving a better future for their children.

Instead, they are the beneficiaries of the Afewerki regime’s policy of permanent war. Where Trotsky promoted the concept of ´permanent revolution´ as the embodiment of true Marxism-Leninism, Afewerki and his cohorts have implemented an actual policy of permanent war.

We can only hope that divine providence deliver the Eritrean people from this stunted cabal that can only trade in the currency of war, death and destruction instead of peace, fraternity and construction. As for the rest of the region, they must isolate and shun this regime of rogues.

By: Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Egal

Source: Somaliland Times


  1. Didn't the Al-Shabaab said they are going to invade Eritrea, please form your argument at least to make some sense.

  2. Dont blame the situation in Somalia on the Eritrean president. Blam eit on somalians that cant unite and fight off external forces, you should take great advice from the man who brought ndependence to a country that had so many enemies, like you do now, like the U.S and the rest of the West and Ethiopia.

    and that you called the horrific invasion from ethiopia an ill advised invasion is comical, liberate your country like Eritrea did, stop blaming it on Afwerki.

  3. Where is the information you are hiding that Eritrea give a shelter to curent president of Somalia Mr Sherif Ahmed. What about the information that Eritrea opposed the IGAD agrement to invade Somalia by Ethiopian. Somlians, Ethiopians and Eritreans have the same enemy those who write incorrect information.

  4. It is amazing how much clout a racist Asian American has over the writer of this article. Mr. Pham has been known to be wrong on several occasions in his analysis simply because he gets his funding from right wing organizations who support Ethiopia which in turn supports Somaliland's outlook towards a selfish interest. Please spare us Mr. Egal. Sophia Tesfamariam does her research before she writes and 99% of the time she has been accurate when it comes to the horn of Africa region. Get your house straight and then you can accuse Eritrea. We Eritreans openly have said we appreciate what Somali's did for us and it does not refer to Somaliland only but all Somalis. So becareful when you accuse Eritrea and try to be a tool for a racist Asian American who thinks he knows what is best for the horn of Africa. To begin with he has not been to the region recently and by sitting here in the US and penning racist articles for cash, his point of view amount to nothing.

  5. We say in Amharic, “Ahyawn tito dawlawn”. He has preferred to hop on a bandwagon with those blaming Eritrea for the ills of Somalia. It is not Afeworki who invaded Somalia and caused incalculable damage. It is not Afeworki who has been supplying weapons to Somali warlords for so many years. It is not Afeworki who is dividing Somalis and imposing leaders. Afeworki gave refuge to the current Somali President. Has the President suddenly changed from a terrorist to a Statesman in a matter of a year? I don’t think there are many naive people in the Horn who would buy the writer’s argument or take Pham seriously. Stop blaming Afeworki and address the real issue.

  6. The camel pursues its journey while the dog is still barking!Afwerki doesn’t have time to run after fabricated roumers.His vision is as clear as crystal,to see a strong united democratic somalia.Afwerki never entertained with suffering of the somalian people,who deserves peace and prospority and to be masters of their own afairs.Unfortunately,the somalian people has been traped by the ill concieved political ploy of the TPLF regime the US administrations.

  7. I don't know where you get your facts my brother, but to the best of my knowledge, Eritrea supports no single group against another. Eritrea policy from the got go is one and only one . { Somali problem should be solved by somalis only} and Eritrea invited all somalis to the confrence in asmara, and somalis from all walks of life participated to hummer out their problems. That is what real friends do. But the nosion that Eritrea supports Shebab or other groups is the same repeted lie that comes from the ethinic minority regime an Addis to confuse the real situation in Somalia and cover thier attrocities they commited agains somali people. So far there is not a single evidence that Eritrea supplies any weapon or money or involever in military activities in Somalia, including the 2000 eritrean troops troops that was said to be in Somalia. As for Mr. Pham, i can say as a layman, i am better informed than him when it comes to the horn of Africa. No outsider could be an expert in my own household, especially the Pham character.

  8. keep talking nonsence about eritrea its not gonna take you far

    and the end of the day eritrea has done nothing to harms somililand !!!! and has not try to hurt anybody thats the truth/reailty of the matter

    so for you to create a fraud of a story only reflects YOUr mind set !!!! and your intentions

    this article talks volume about your mind set it tells me you are a lier , you have little knowledge about history and you are confuse about how is your enemy

    eritrea will not forget this newspapers lies !!!

    go play with ethiopia and america thats how you wants as friends go on then


  9. What do you stand in life Sr? Is money everything to you. What do you want to be remembered with. why do you just go make up stories every day. Africa has its own problem and we don't need people like to add more shit to our life. Why don't you stand for truth, poor and helpless. You are not helping – Mr. We are talking about people – I know you have to earn money but not this way Sr. How do you go to sleep – Sr. Do you have any eithic at all. I know the West is busy pouring fuel to the fire every day – for a long time know. What do you call your reporting – what is the purpose of it. I beg you to think and think hard about your values – stop getting used by money. Have some value. If this is all you report – find something else to do – find some meaning to your life.

  10. Mr President Isias afewarqi this is my adivrce: Please stay away from somalia and their problems.they burned their own country & people,Ungrateful and weak peolple don't merit to sacrifice our indipendence.Mr Presidente get my adivice and let ethiopia do her job to conquist this damn somalia and let rebild our country in peace. Thanks Mr. Presiden.

  11. I totally agree with the writer, the so-called president of Eritreaa is a psycho, for the last 15 to 18 years since Eritrea declared Independence from Ethiopia, the people of Eritrea had no chance to rebuild their shattered Country from 30 years of previous war with Ethiopia.

    Eritrea today is poorer nation then it has ever been even when it was under the Ethiopian rule. This psycho should know leadership means nothing if you do not care for those you lead.
    It's time for Afework to leave Eritre to those Eritrean who can truly lead

  12. I am not sure if you speak for Somalians. You is joining part of writers who are commissioned to write unsubstantiated allegation against Eritrea. They Say History does repeat itself Eritrea has won before and will win again.
    There are many who are not really interested to see peace in Somalia but the truth is the People and government had wish only for Somalia. That is because of we really Love the people of Somalia and we are upset when we see Somalia’ns are mistreated by Ethiopia and others.

  13. It is just an opinion folks, you can disagree with merits of argument, but don't throw insults back and forth at each other. Put the hatred and anymosity away and engage in a constructive dialogue with out hating each other, I for one like Eritrea, and had high hopes for that country, but it has been squandered by its inept, power hungery leader and those he control….that is not to say the people are our enemies..Somaliland will always keep the best interest of its neighbors at heart because as Africans we share common bond. Despite the issues that divide us, we still share that bond.

    We all know where alshabab gets its support and the evil it is instigating. we should not turn blind eye on these horors. it is changing the fabric of our society…importing unislamic ideologies that kill and harm other muslims. Or it will haunt us forever. Our goal should be getting rid of this evil with united effort. Remember no matter how u justify killing or hating another Muslim or Neighbor, your God is watching and you will pay for it in the Hereafter if also not in this world… Those of you who bad mouth other people in the name of Somaliland, you know u don't represent Somalilanders…we all know what Somalilander stand for Peace, Justice and Free Spirit…Good bless.

  14. Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Egal,

    How disappointing to read this from A Somali. We are neighbors and brothers, if that means anything these days. Eritrea's got enough problems of its own to try to assume the role of puppet master. If Somalis wish the country to be divided into a hundred pieces, we respect their choice, fine. But as neighbors our obligation is to calm things down if members of the same family are fighting, we stay neutral and and let everybody be heard. Because the only alternative to co-existence is co-destruction. If one is weak today, tomorrow he is strong, It's a never-ending cycle. Get it right sir!