The Scramble for the Horn of Africa
With its foundations irreparably cracked and its edifices of power crumbling the Ethiopian regime headed by Meles Zenawi is turning more and more to the CIA to make the critical decisions in the ministries of power in the capital Addis Ababa.
Faced with growing nationalist insurgencies, an ongoing economic crisis and calls for regime change from the heights of the religious community, the isolation surrounding Meles Zenawi grows almost by the day. Addis Ababa has become home to an ever shrinking inner circle of regime insiders allowed to share in the spoils of power but with no one able to replace Meles himself as head of state.
When the Egyptian people finally exploded President Mubarak quickly became expendable for the USA had a “Plan B” in the Egyptian military. But no such back up plan exists in Ethiopia for Meles Zenawi knows all to well how quickly he can become “expendable” when it comes to the interests of Pax Americana and has made sure that the Ethiopian army has been purged of any and all who might replace him.
Towards this end earlier this year Meles “retired” some 120 of the last of the top generals and colonels left over from the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front guerilla army that brought Meles to power in 1991.
Hated in his ethnic homeland of Tigray, once his power base, and hated by the Amhara elite, the ethnic minority who previously ruled Ethiopia, Meles has ceded de facto control of his ministries to technocrats from the CIA and US State Department.
The USA is desperate to keep Meles in power, for without anyone they trust to replace Meles from within or outside the regime the options facing Pax Americana should be causing a growing sense of anxiety in the White House offices of President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor on Africa, Gayle Smith.
The last five years has seen an historic shift in world economic power, with Asia, headed by China, and Europe, headed by Germany, becoming the major trade partners on the planet. And all of that trade, hundreds of container ships a day, must pass through not only the Suez Canal, guarded by a mercenary Egyptian army, but the Red Sea and the potential choke point Bab al Mandeb where it joins the Indian Ocean.
So far $7 billion a year in western aid has kept Meles Zenawi and his army, the largest, best equipped in Africa, in power and able to do Pax Americana’s dirty work in the Horn of Africa. But with Meles gone and no pro-USA replacement waiting in the wings the options facing America will be daunting.
Ethiopia is not so much a nation as a prison house of nations. The people of the Ogaden, Oromia, Gambella and Afar, some two thirds of of Ethiopia’s 80 million people, are demanding the right to self determination, de facto independence. Once this happens, and matters have gone to far to prevent such, there will no longer be an Ethiopia and no longer an Ethiopian army to do the bidding of the USA.
The result will be that Eritrea, population 5 million, will have the strongest, most capable army in the Horn of Africa with Eritrea’s national motto being “Never Kneel Down”.
So no matter how many drones it may have the USA may find itself having to put thousands of American boots on the ground in the Horn of Africa alongside a permanent naval fleet, a task that is a political and public relations disaster in the making.
No matter the control wielded by the CIA inside the ministries of power in Ethiopia the end of the Meles Zenawi regime grows closer and with it will come the end of Ethiopia as the world has known it. And with the end of Ethiopia as a regional power and policeman on the beat for the imperial interests of the USA all bets are off in the Horn of Africa and America will be left to scramble for a solution to maintaining their control of one of the most critically strategic areas of the world.
Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. His interviews can be seen on RT and PressTV. He can be reached at thomascmountain at yahoo dot com.
Source: (www.counterpunch.org ) “American`s Best Political Newsletter”.