Category: United Eritrea Media

King Salman goes swiftly to war, but will find it hard to end it

SAUDI ARABIA’S recently enthroned King Salman pulled off a striking diplomatic coup last month when he gathered a ten-country coalition of Sunni states to bomb the upstart Shia rebels in Yemen known as Houthis. Even Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, rivals in regional politics, put aside their differences to confront a perceived Iranian proxy. Egypt sent planes and ships. Countries as far apart as Morocco and Pakistan pledged help, too.

Saudi Arabia is usually shy about speaking loudly and taking part in military action. Its uncharacteristic assertiveness may be a sign of the influence of the new king’s son and defence minister, Muhammad, who is in his 30s. Sunni states no doubt want to draw a line against further encroachment by Iran, which exerts strong influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. But Saudi Arabia, which treats the Arabian peninsula as its backyard, is particularly sensitive about trouble in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has long relied on America for its own security. Its army has many weaknesses. “The military has some excellent niche capabilities, but it doesn’t yet reflect the country’s massive defence budget,” says Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British-based think-tank. During its latest foray into Yemen, in 2009, the Saudi army achieved a draw at best against the Houthis, then confined to their northern stronghold. A leaked American cable called Saudi strikes “imprecise”.

On March 30th an air strike hit a camp for displaced people in northern Yemen, killing at least 29. A day later, a bomb hit a dairy factory near Hodeida, killing 23. The Saudis have not admitted to any mistakes.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have bombed airfields, arms dumps and missile launchers in the hands of the remnant of the Yemeni army loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has allied himself with the Houthis (see article). Ships are blockading Yemeni ports to stop arms deliveries. But the Houthis still appear to be advancing. “Bombing from the air is unlikely to do much more than inflict pinprick damage,” says Kristian Coates Ulrichsen of Rice University in Texas.

A land intervention is a different matter. The Houthis are renowned as fearsome fighters. And any ground force might also have to contend with al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups that have expanded amid Yemen’s chaos. Who else would offer ground forces? Egypt, which has a large army, still remembers Yemen as its “Vietnam” from the days it fought there in the 1960s. Pakistan is reluctant to be drawn into a war when it is fighting its own militants, the Taliban; it also fears exacerbating its own Shia-Sunni troubles.

Ultimately Yemen will have to be pacified by a political agreement. King Salman seems bent on reinstalling Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the internationally backed president and, it is said, on excluding the Houthis. Saudi imams are said to be under orders to denounce them as “enemies of Islam”. The trouble is that Yemen’s Zaydis represent only about 40% of its population, so the Houthis will be hard to exclude. Mr Hadi, moreover, is discredited among many Yemenis, and has fled the country. As America has discovered in recent years, ending a war is harder than starting it. Saudi Arabia’s enemies would not be sorry to see it bogged down: Iranian comments on social media already talk of Yemen being the “Saudis’ Afghanistan”.

Rebels in Yemen Battle for Control of Strategic Port City By SAEED AL-BATATI and KAREEM FAHIMAPRIL 1, 2015

AL MUKALLA, Yemen — Houthi fighters backed by tanks pushed into the center of Aden on Wednesday and were battling for control of the southern port city, despite a weeklong Saudi military offensive against them.

Witnesses reported fierce street battles and high civilian casualties in the Yemeni city on Wednesday night, including in the Khormakser district along the coast. Local journalists said the Houthis were facing stiff resistance from fighters allied with the exiled president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A Houthi victory in Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, would be a significant setback for the Saudi-led military coalition, which has declared an open-ended operation intended to restore Mr. Hadi to power. Houthi control of the city would most likely expose it to even greater turmoil, as local fighters opposed to the Houthis continued to resist their presence and as coalition forces intensified their efforts to dislodge the Houthis using airstrikes and naval shelling.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed as Yemen has been consumed by combat over the last few weeks, with clashes stretching from southern provinces around Aden to the border with Saudi Arabia in the north.

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The Geography of Chaos in Yemen

Annotated maps showing the Houthi rebels’ drive south, U.S. airstrikes and historical divisions.



The Saudi-led coalition, which includes the Sunni monarchies on the Persian Gulf and is backed by the United States, began its offensive last week, largely in response to the Houthi push toward Aden. Saudi officials accuse the Houthis, a militia from northern Yemen that also controls Sana, the capital, of acting as a proxy for Iran.

The Houthis acknowledge an alliance with Tehran but insist that they are acting as an independent force. The coalition has threatened to escalate military action, perhaps with ground troops, if the Houthis do not capitulate.

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Aftermath of Yemen Factory Explosion

By Reuters on Publish DateApril 1, 2015.


The Saudi intervention has deepened the turmoil of Yemen’s longstanding civil conflict. Many international aid agencies, fearing for the safety of their workers, have withdrawn. Those that remain say the air and sea blockade has prevented supplies from getting through.

The battle between Mr. Hadi’s loyalists and Houthi-allied fighters has resulted in strikes on hospitals, ambulances and civilian vehicles, according to medical workers. Human rights organizations have accused the Saudi military of bombing indiscriminately and of killing civilians as it tries to hit Houthi positions. Saudi officials have either denied the accusations or accused the Houthis of opening fire from populated areas.

At least 33 people were killed in an explosion overnight in a dairy factory near the coastal city of Al Hudaydah. Factory executives said the explosion was caused by a Saudi airstrike that may have been intended for a Houthi base less than a mile away.

The director of the city health bureau in Al Hudaydah, Abdulrahman Jarallah, said the victims were employees working the night shift at the factory, owned by Yemen Dairy and Juice Industries.

Yemen crisis: Fighting intensifies in Aden posted by 5 hours ago

  • People stand on a tank that was burnt during clashes on a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on 29 March 2015.
Rebel forces are reported to have continued their advance into Aden despite Saudi-led coalition airstrikes

Concern is growing over the number of casualties after heavy clashes between local militia fighters and rebel forces.

Witnesses have reported bodies lying in the street after rebel shelling and sniper attacks.

The fierce fighting has continued despite airstrikes on Houthi forces by a Saudi-led coalition.

Houthi rebels allied with troops loyal to the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have reportedly advanced deeper into Aden to try and wrest control of the city from fighters loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The BBC’s Security Correspondent Frank Gardner says that if reports of rebel tanks entering the centre of the southern port city are confirmed, then the rebels will have consolidated their grip on the most important parts of Yemen.

Civilian deaths

As the fighting continues, there have been increasing concern about the number of casualties.

A spokeswoman for the aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) told the BBC that its hospital in Aden had received more than 500 injured people from all sides in the conflict over the last two weeks.

“The major injuries are gunshots and since the bombs we have some people with injuries linked to explosions,” said spokeswoman Marie-Elisabeth Ingres.

A Yemeni man inspects his house damaged by an airstrike allegedly carried out by a Saudi-led coalition against a Houthi rebels' position in the central city of Yarim, Yemen, 1 April 2015.
Aid agencies have expressed concern over civilian casualties

On Wednesday, AFP news agency reported that at least 19 people had been killed, including six civilians, in clashes in the city’s Khor Maksar district.

The UN has also expressed alarm at the rising number of civilian deaths in Yemen.

On Tuesday, the high commissioner for human rights warned that the country seemed to be “on the verge of total collapse”.

Factory blast

President Hadi fled abroad last week after rebels advanced on Aden, where he had taken refuge after the Houthis took full control of the capital Sanaa in January and placed him under house arrest.

A Saudi-led coalition is attempting to help Mr Hadi in his fight against the Houthis by conducting airstrikes against the rebels and their allies.

On Wednesday, at least 35 workers were killed by a blast at a dairy factory in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah.

Aftermath of explosion at diary factory in Hudaydah, Yemen (1 April 2015)
A fire and explosion caused parts of the factory to collapse with workers still inside

There were conflicting reports about the cause of the overnight explosion but witnesses said coalition aircraft hit warehouses belonging to the factory.

The latest violence comes as dozens of Yemenis are reported to have crossed the Gulf of Aden in small boats to get to Somalia and Djibouti to escape fighting and airstrikes on the city of Taez.

The arrival of the Yemeni refugees reverses a decades-old trend in which thousands of Somalis have sought sanctuary in Yemen to escape their own country’s violence.

The Houthis have said their aim is to replace President Hadi’s government, which they accuse of being corrupt. Their leader has refused to surrender to what he called the “unjustified aggression” by the coalition.

UN chief urges protection of civilians in Yemen

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called on all parties involved in military operations in Yemen to ensure the protection of civilians, a media report said on Wednesday.

Ban voiced his deep concern about reports of numerous civilian casualties resulting from ongoing military operations in Yemen, which have left dozens dead and many more injured, among them children, according to a statement issued here by his spokesperson, Xinhua reported.

“The Secretary-General reminds all parties involved in military operations in Yemen of their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians. This includes the strict adherence to the principles of proportionality, distinction, and precaution,” the statement said.

Ban also stressed that hospitals and other medical installations have a special protected status under international law.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his firm belief in the necessity to resolve the conflict through peaceful means,” said the statement.

Fighting has been ongoing in Yemen since January 22, when the legitimate government under President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was ousted by Shiite Houthi forces, provoking the recent military campaign by a coalition of 10 countries lead by Saudi Arabia.

The air raids have left 83 people killed and about 350 others injured across the country.


የመን ኣብ መጋርያ – ካልኣይ ክፋል By assenna on March 31, 2015

yemenኣዒንትና ብደም ዝተዓለሱ ሰባት ብቓረዛ ተጸይሮም ክወጽኡን:ኣብ ልዕሊ ዝዓነወ ኣባይቲ ሰባት ዘወን ክብሉን ዘሰክሕ ምርኢት ካብ ዝከታተላ ሰሙን ኮይኑ:: እታ ብፕረዚደንት ኦባማ ኣብ ማእከላይ ምብራቕ ትእምርቲ  ሰላማዊ ምስግጋር ናብ ዲሞክራስያዊ ስርዓት  ዝተባህለላ ሃገረ የመን: ኣብ ከቢድ ወተሃደራውን ፖለቲካውን ወጥሪ ተኣሊኻ: ዓውደ ኩናት ዞባውያን ሓይልታት ኮይና::

100 ነፈርቲ ኩናት ስዑዲ ዓረብ ኣብ ልዕሊ እቶም ሓይሊ ደሊቦም ዝግስግሱ ዘለው ብኢራን ከምዝድገፉ ዝንገረሎም ሑቲ ሽዓ ከቢድ ደብዳብ የካይዳ ኣለዋ::ኣብቲ ድሮ ዞባውን ዓለማውን ጽልዋታት ኣሕዲሩ ዘሎ ኩናት : ስዑዲን ምስርን ኣጋር ሰራዊተን ንምውፋር ዘትየን::መራሕቲ ስዑዲ ንሓይልታት ሑቲ ከየዳኸሙ ከምዘይለቁ ምግላጾምን እቲ መደብ ኣብዚ ቐረባ መዓልታት ክትግብረኦ ትጽቢት ከምዘለዎን  ሚኒስተር ጉዳያት ወጻኢ የመን ርያድ ያሲን ገሊጹ::

ስርሒት ወሳኒ ማዕበል-እቲ ኣብ ልዕሊ ሑቲ ዝካየድ ልፍንታዊ መጥቃዕቲ ስዑዲ ዓረብ.ምስሪ:ቐጠር:ክወየት:ባሕረይን:ሕቡራት ኢማራት:ሱዳን:ሞሮኮ:ጆርዳን ኣብ ሻርማልሸኽ ግብጺ ኣብ ዘካየድኦ ኣኼባ ዝተሃንደሰ ኮይኑ :ፓኪስታን እውን ከምእትጽንበሮ ገሊጻ:: ኣሜሪካ ዒላማታት ንምውቃዕ ሓበሬታ ብምምጣው ትሳተፍ ከምዘላ ጸብጻባት የመልክቱ::ነፈርቲ ኩናት ንሰማያት የመን ብሒተን ኣብ ልዕሊ ጸረ ነፈርቲን መኽዘን ኣጽዋርን ሑቲ ከቢድ ዕንወት ከምዘውረዳን:ኣብ መዓስከር ዑቕባት 40 ሰባት ከምዝቐተላን 250 ከምዘቑሰላን ማዕከናት ዜና ሓቢረን::ማዕረ እዚ ወተሃደራዊ መጥቃዕቲ: ኣኼባ ሻርማልሸኽ ሓይልታት ሑቲ ካብ ትካላት መንግስቲ ብህጹጽ ክወጽኡን ኣጽዋሮም ነቶም ”ሕጋውያን ሰበስልጣን” ከረክቡን ጸዊዖም::

መራኽብ ኩናት ምስሪ ንወደብ ዚንጅባር ምስ ዓደን ኣብ ዘራኽባ መስመር ከምዝደብደባ ሓደ በዓል ስልጣን ምንቅስቓስ ደቡብ የመን ሓቢሩ::እቲ መጥቃዕቲ ነቲ ብምብራቕ ናብ ዓደን ዘእቱ ኣገዳሲ መስመር ንምብታኽን  ንግስጋሰ ሑቲ ንምግታእን ዝዓለመ ከምዝኾነ እቲ ምንጪ ጠቒሱ: ነቲ ካብ መትረብ ስወጽ ናብ መጻብቦ ባብ ኤል መንደብ ዝሓልፍ ማያዊ መራኸቢታት ንምሕላው መራኽብ ኩናት ምስሪ ዝሓለፈ ዓርቢ ከምዘንሳፈፋ ሓቢሩ::ሑቲ; ነፋሪት ኩናት ሱዳን ወቒዖም ብምውዳቕ ኣብራሪኣ ከምዝማረኹ ንዝፈነውዎ ሓበሬታ ተኣማኒ ንምግባሩ ብስእሊ ኣሰንዮም ዘርጊሖም::

ሑቲ ሽዓ-እንተደኣ ሓይልታት ልፍንቲ ብኣጋር ኣትየን ካብ ሑቲ ዘጋጥሞም ግብረ መልሲ ከቢድ ከምዝኸውን ወተሃደራውያን ክኢላታት የጠንቅቑ:: ሑቲ ብኩናት ዝላደዩ ደባይ ተዋጋእቲ ኢዮም:: ኣኽራናዊ ቅርጻ መሬት የመን ንረብሓኦም ከምዝውዕልን መቓብር ወረርቲ ከምዝገብርዎን ብምግላጽ:መራሕቲ ሑቲ እቲ እሳት ንስዑድያ ከምዝልብልባ ብርእሰ ቅትለት ዝካየድ መጥቃዕቲ ከምዝፍንው ይፍክሩ ኣለው::

ድሕረ ባይታ- ሑቲ ካብ ፖለቲካዊን:ቁጠባውን መሳርዓት የመን ተገሊሎም ዝጸንሑ ኣብ ሰሜን የመን ዝነብሩ ክፋል ሽዓ ኢዮም::እቲ ን 33 ዓመት ነታ ሃገር ዝመርሐ ፕረዚደንት ዓሊ ዓብደላ ሳልሕ ኣብ 2011 ብህዝባዊ ናዕቢ ምስ ተኣልየ: ቦታኡ ብፕረዚደንት ዓብዱረቦ መንሱር ሃዲ ተተኪኡ:: ዓሊ ዓብደላ ሳልሕ ብብልሽውና ዘቆማጥዖ ቁጠባዊ ትካላትን ወተሃደራዊ መሳርዓትን ሱር ሰዲዱ ብምጽንሑ ፕረዚደንት ሃዲ ብኣጋ ክኣልዮ ዓቕሚ  ብምስኣኑ: ሽዓ ሑቲ ኣንጻር ብልሽውና ብምብጋስ ንዝተነፍገ መሰሎም ኣብ ዝገበርዎ ምንቅስቓስ ብዙሓት ሰዓብቲ ኣጥረዩ::

ኣብ ውሽጢ ሰራዊትን ስለያን ዝነበሮ ጽልዋ ተጠቒሙ ዓሊ ዓብደላ ሳልሕ ብዝገበረሎም ምትሕብባር ድማ ኣብ መስከረም 2014 ሰፊሕን ቅልጡፍን ወተሃደራዊ ገስጋስ ኣካይዶም ንርእሰ ከተማ ሰንዓ ተቖጻጸሩ::ፕረዚደንት ሃዲ ንተግባራት ዓሊ ዓብደላ ሳልሕ  ”ጸላእትና ሕነ ክፈድዩ ብውሽጢ የዳኽሙና ኣለው” ብምባል ገሊጽዎ ምንባሩ ይዝከር::እቲ ብጽድያ ዓረብ ዝተሰምየ ምንቅስቓስ ንለውጢ ድማ ናብ ዘይተደልየ ኣንፈት ማለት ግርጭት ኣብ መንጎ እቶም ብዙሓት ሱናን ውሑዳን ሽዓ ሑቲ ኮነ ::ሽዓ ሑቲ ንፕረሲደንት መንሱር ሃዲ ኣብ ማሕዩር ኣእትዮም: ኣንጻሮም ንዝተኻየደ ናዕቢ ብሓይሊ ንምምካን ኣብ ዝፈተኑሉ ዓሰርተታት ሰባት ተጎዲኦም እቲ ፕረዚደንት ድማ ናብ ደቡብ የመን ሃዲሙ::ዓደን እውን ካብ ሑቲ ከምዘይተድሕኖ ምስ ኣረጋገጸ ድሕሪ ክልተ ዓመት ሰንኮፍ ስልጣን ቅድሚ ሓደ ወርሒ ናብ ርያድ ሃደመ::

ኢራን- ሑቲ ምስ ኢራን ኪዳን ገይሮም ካብታ ሃገር ኣጽዋር :ብመንገዲ ሂዝቡላህ ናይ ሊባኖን ድማ  ወተሃደራዊ ስልጠና ከምዝወሃቦም ስለያ ሃገራት ምዕራብ ይገልጹ:: ንሰንዓ ምስ ተቖጻጸሩ ውድቀት ንእስራኤልን ኣሜሪካን ብምጭራሕ ዘከየድዎ ሰላማዊ ሰልፊ ንመርገጺኦም ዘነጽር ኣብ ርእሲ ምንባሩ: ኢራን ንምትእትታው ስዑድያ ብትሪ ምኹናና ጽልዋኣ ከይትንከፍ ስግኣት ከምዝሓደራ ዘረጋግጽዩ::ሓለቓ ስታፍ ሰራዊት ኢራን መጀር ጀነራል ሰይድ ሓሳን ፊሮዛባዲ ንዝምድንኦም ኣብ ምግላጽ”ጸሎት ጥራይ ነብጽሓሎም” ንዝበሎ ኣማኻሪ ኣህጉራዊ ጉዳያት ንላዕለዋይ መራሒ ኣያቶላ ዓሊ ኽመይኒ: ዓሊ ኣኽባር ቫላይቲ ”ከምቲ ኣብ ሊባኖን ሂዝቡላህ ንግብረ ሽበራ ዝደምሰሰ ኣንሳሩ ኣላህ ድማ ኣብ የመን ተመሳሳሊ ግደ ክህልዎ ተስፋ ንገብር”ኢሉ::

ኢራን ኣቐዲማ ኣብ ሶርያ:ዒራቕን ሊባኖንን:ሕጂ ድማ ኣብ ኣፍደገ ገዝአን ንእትገብሮ ምንቅስቓስ ብፍላይ ንስዑድያን ምስርን ከቢድ ፈተነ ኢዩ::እቲ ጸገም ግን ካብዚ ናይ ሱናን ሽዓን: ኢራንን ስዑድያን ዝዓመቖ ኢዩ::

እቲ ኣሜሪካ ዝዓበየ ስግኣት ግብረ ሽበራ እትብሎ ኣልቃዒዳ ኣብ ወሽመጥ ዓረብ ኣብ የመን ሰፊሕ ምንቅስቓስ ኣለዎ::እስላማዊ ሃገር ዒራቕን ሶርያ(ISIS) እውን ነዚ ዕግርግር ክጥቀመሉ ከምዝኽእል ድሮ ኣብ ሰንዓ ኣብ ልዕሊ ክልተ ኣብያተ መሳጊድ ብዝወሰዶ ሂወት 140 ሰባት ዝቐዘፈ መጥቃዕቲ ተራእዩ::ኣብ ደቡብ የመን እውን ካብ ማእከላይ መንግስት ንምፍላይ ዝንቀሳቐስ ውድብ ኣሎ::ኣብቲ ውድብ ገለ ወገን ፈደራላዊ ምምሕዳር ክጠልብ ከሎ ዝተረፈ ወገን ድማ ንምፍላይ ዝቃለስ ኢዩ::

ሓደ ዲፕሎማት ውድብ ሕቡራት ሃገራት ነዚ ናይ የመን ኩነታት ብኸምዚ ገሊጽዎ ”ሓድሕድ ውግእ ኣሎ:ዞባዊ ውግእ ምስኡ” ቀጺሉ ንሱ ” ብዙሕ ንመጋርያ ዝተቐረበ ኣጉናድ: እቲ ይነድድ: ይነድድ ንነዊሕ ጊዜ ዝቕጽል መጋርያ” ኢሉ::

ንሓበሬታ- ባብ ኤል መንደብ ካብ ህንዳዊ ውቅያኖስ ናብ ማእከላይ ባሕሪ ዘሰጋግር ዝሓጸረ መስመር ባሕሪ ኢዩ::

ኣብ መዓልቲ ኣስታት 3.8 ሚልዮን በራሚል ነዳዲ ዝጸዓና ብገምጋም 55 መራኽብ በዚ መጻብቦ ይሓልፋ::

ኣብ ዓመት ኣስታት 20ሽሕ መራኽብ የስግር::

ቅድሚ መትረብ ስወጽ ምኽፋቱ ካብ እስያ ናብ ኢውሮፓ ዝግበር ዝነበረ ብደቡብ ኣፍሪቃ ነበረ ::ድሕሪ ምኽፋት መትረብ ስወጽ ብ1869 ግን እቲ ካብ ኤውሮጳ ናብ እስያ ዝግበር ነዊሕ ጉዕዞ ብባብ ኢል መንደብ ብምብታኽ ብፍርቂ ነክዩ::

ንኣብነት ካብ ክወየት ናብ ሊቨርፑል(እንግሊዝ)ብደቡብ ኣፍሪቃ 13,500ማይል ዝነበረ: ብቀይሕ ባሕሪ መጻብቦ ባብኤል መንደብ ናብ 7,000ማይል ተበቲኹ::

ደጎል ድራር


Eritreans flee camps but find they’re in psychological prisons

Eritreans flee camps but find they’re in psychological prisons
By Ismail Einashe
March 17, 2015

Eritrean refugees
Eyes hungry for Freedom: Eritrean refugees (An undated on a UNHCR site)

Television journalist Temesghen Debesai had waited years for an opportunity to make his escape from Eritrea, so when the country’s ministry of information sent him on a journalism training course in Bahrain he was delighted, but fearful too.On arrival in Bahrain, he quietly evaded the state officials who were following him and got in touch with Reporters Sans Frontières. Shortly after that he met officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who verified his details. He then went into hiding for two months so the Eritrean officials in Bahrain could not catch up with him and eventually he escaped to Britain.

Debesai told no one of his plans, not even his family. He was concerned he was being watched. He says a “state of paranoia was everywhere” and there was no freedom of expression. Life in Eritrea, he explains, had become a “psychological prison”.

Crackdown on dissent
After graduating top of his class from Eritrea’s Asmara University, Debesai became a well-known TV journalist for state-run news agency Erina Update. But from 2001, the real crackdown began and independent newspapers such as Setit, Tsigenai and Keste Debena, were shut down. In raids, journalists from these papers were arrested en masse. He suspects many of those arrested were tortured or killed, and many were never heard of again. No independent domestic news agency has operated in Eritrea since 2001, the same year the country’s last accredited foreign reporter was expelled.

The authorities became fearful of internal dissent. Debesai noticed this at close hand, having interviewed President Isaias Afwerki on several occasions. He describes these interviews as propaganda exercises because all questions were pre-agreed with the minister of information. As the situation worsened in Eritrea, the post-liberation haze of euphoria began to fade. Eritrea went into lockdown. Its borders were closed, communication with the outside world was forbidden, travel abroad without state approval was not allowed. Men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 could be called up for indefinite national service. A shoot-to-kill policy was imposedfor anyone crossing the border into Ethiopia.

Debesai felt he had no other choice but to leave Eritrea. As a well-known TV journalist he could not risk walking across into Sudan or Ethiopia, so he waited until he got the chance to leave for Bahrain.

The world’s most secretive state
Eritrea was once a colony of Italy. It came under British administrative control in 1941, before the UN “federated” Eritrea to Ethiopia in 1952. Nine years later Emperor Haile Selassie dissolved the federation and annexed Eritrea, sparking Africa’s longest war. This long, bitter war glued the Eritrean people to their struggle for independence from Ethiopia. Debesai, whose family went into exile in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, returned to Eritrea as a teenager in 1992, a year after the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) captured the capital Asmara.

For Debesai, returning to Asmara had been a “personal choice”. He wanted to be a part of rebuilding his nation after a 30-year conflict and, besides, he says, life in post-war Asmara was “socially free”, a welcome antidote to conservative Saudi life. Those heady days were electric, he says.

An air of “patriotic nationalism” pervaded the country. Women danced in the streets for days to welcome back EPLF fighters. Asmara had remained largely unscathed during the war thanks to its high mountain elevation. Much of its beautiful 1930s Italian modernist architecture was intact, something Debesai was delighted to see.

But those early signs of hope that greeted independence quickly soured. By 1993 Eritreans overwhelmingly voted for independence and since then Eritrea has been run by Afwerki, the former rebel leader of the EPLF. Not a single election has been held since the country gained independence.

Today Eritrea is one of the world’s most repressive and secretive states. There are no opposition parties and no independent media. No independent public gatherings or civil society organisations are permitted. Amnesty International estimates there are 10 000 prisoners of conscience in Eritrea, who include journalists, critics, dissidents, as well as men and women who have evaded conscription. Eritrea is ranked the worst country for press freedom in the world by Reporters Sans Frontières.

No way out but on foot
The only way for the vast majority of Eritreans to flee their isolated, closed-off country is on foot. They walk over the border to Sudan and Ethiopia. The UN says there are 216 000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and Sudan. By the end of October 2014, Sudan alone was home to 106?859 Eritrean refugees in camps at Gaderef and Kassala in the eastern, arid region of the country.

In Ethiopia, Eritrean refugees are found mostly in four refugee camps in the Tigray region, and two in the Afar region in northeastern Ethiopia.

During the first 10 months of 2014, 36 678 Eritreans sought refuge across Europe, compared with 12 960 during the same period in 2013. Most asylum requests were to Sweden (9 531), Germany (9 362) and Switzerland (5 652). The UN says the majority of these Eritrean refugees arrived by boat across the Mediterranean. Most are young men, who had been forced into military conscription. All conscripts have to go to Sawa, a desert town and home to a military camp, or what Human Rights Watch has called an open-air prison.

Many young men see no way out but to leave Eritrea. For them, leaving on a perilous journey for a life outside their home country is better than staying. The Eritrean refugee crisis in Europe took a sharp upward turn in 2014, as the UNHCR numbers show. Tragedies like the drowning of hundreds of Eritrean refugees off the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013 demonstrate the perils of the journey west and how desperate these people are.

Frightened asylum seekers
Eritrean refugees who go no further than Sudan and Ethiopia face a grim situation. According to Lul Seyoum, director of International Centre for Eritrean Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Eritrean refugees in a number of isolated camps inside Sudan and Ethiopia face trafficking and other gross human rights violations. They are afraid to speak to, and meet, each other. She said the situation had worsened since Sudan and Eritrea became closer politically.

Eritrea had a hostile relationship with Sudan during the 1990s. It supported the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, much to the anger of President Omar al-Bashir who was locked in a bitter war with the people of now-independent South Sudan. Today tensions have eased and Afwerki has a much friendlier relationship with Sudan – to the detriment of the tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees in Sudan.

A former Eritrean ministry of education official, who is a refugee in the United Kingdom and who is afraid to be named, believes Eritreans have no freedom to speak out in Ethopian camps such as Shimelba.

The official says that in 2013 a group of Eritrean refugees came together at a camp to express their views about the boat sinking near Lampedusa and Ethiopian authorities fired live bullets at them.

Traffickers in cahoots with authorities
Seyoum believes the movement of Eritreans in camps in Ethiopia is restricted. “The Ethiopian government does not allow them to leave the camps without permission,” she says.

Very few of those who do get permission to leave end up in Ethiopia. Instead, through corrupt mechanisms, they are trafficked to Sudan.

According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of Eritreans have been enslaved in camps in Sudan and Egypt over the past 10 years, many enduring violence and rape at their hands of their traffickers in collusion with state authorities.

Eritreans who make it to the West are afraid to speak publicly and are fearful for their families back home.

Now based in London, Debesai is a TV presenter for Sports News Africa. As an exile who has taken a stance against the regime of Afwerki, he has faced harassment and threats. Over coffee, he shows me a tweet he’s just received from Tesfa News, a so-called “independent online magazine”, in which they accuse him of being a “backstabber” acting against the government and people of Eritrea.

Others face similar threats, including the former education ministry official. A number of Eritreans said they did not want to be interviewed by me because they were afraid of the consequences.

Debesai said: “It takes time to overcome the past, so that even for those in exile in the West the imprisonment continues.” He adds: “These refugees come out of a physical prison and go into psychological imprisonment.”

Mail&Guardian) – An African-American news and views website.
Copyright 2013


Israel to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to third countries

Authorities will give people 30 days to leave; those who refuse will face a hearing to determine their indefinite imprisonment

African asylum seekers gather around a fire during protests outside the Holot detention centre in the Negev
African asylum seekers gather around a fire during protests outside the Holot detention centre in the Negev. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

Israel will begin deporting asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan to unnamed third countries in Africa even if against their will, the immigration authority announced on Tuesday.

The assumption is that the third countries are Rwanda and Uganda, althoughIsrael has not revealed details.

According to the interior minister, Gilad Erdan, the move will “encourage infiltrators to leave the borders of the state of Israel in an honourable and safe way, and serve as an effective tool for fulfilling our obligations towards Israeli citizens and restoring the fabric of life to the residents of south Tel Aviv”.

Until now, the state exerted pressure and provided a one-off monetary incentive for asylum seekers to leave voluntarily, but only if they signed written consent. Now the state will give them 30 days to leave; those who refuse will face a hearing to determine their indefinite imprisonment.

People in Holot, a detention facility in the Negev, currently requesting asylum will not be immediately affected by the new measure.

Mutasim Ali, a detainee in Holot who fled Darfur and is a leading activist in Israel’s African asylum seeker community, said the new policy was not that different from the current grim reality.

“This is just another technique Israel is using to make our lives miserable and force people to leave,” he said. “There is not a big difference between being detained in Holot and being imprisoned in Saharonim [a prison in the Negev desert]. If we had other options we wouldn’t be in Israel.”

According to Asaf Weitzen, the head of the legal department at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrant Workers, the new policy is the state’s way of circumventing a recent supreme court ruling that limits detention to 20 months.

“Determining that someone who does not leave ‘voluntarily’ will be incarcerated for an indefinite amount of time is a blatant violation of the principles of international law,” said Weitzen, adding that there was no guarantee they would have any rights once they reach the third country.

Eritreans and Sudanese are entitled to collective protection under the 1951 UN refugee convention, to which Israel is a signatory, because their lives would be in danger if they were sent back to their countries of origin.

An estimated 42,000 Eritrean and Sudanese nationals currently reside in Israel, of whom about 2,000 are being held in Holot. According to the immigration authorities, 1,500 left with consent to a third country in 2014 and 7,000 returned to their home countries.

U.N. Warns of ‘Total Collapse’ in Yemen as Houthis Continue Offensive By KAREEM FAHIM and NICK CUMMING-BRUCEMARCH 31, 2015


A police officer surveyed a crater where homes once stood near the airport in Sana, Yemen, as a Saudi-led offensive targeted suspected Houthi militia sites. CreditKhaled Abdullah/Reuters
 CAIRO — The United Nations’ human rights chief warned on Tuesday thatYemen was on the brink of collapse, as health officials in the southern port city of Aden described a medical system failing after weeks of urban warfare that had left scores dead and hospitals overflowing with bodies.

The warning from the human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, came as a Saudi-led military offensive against the Houthis, a militia group from northern Yemen that Saudi officials have accused of serving as a proxy force for Iran, threatened to burst into a broader conflict.

The Houthis, acknowledging their alliance with Iran but denying acting on its orders, have been able to extend their offensive despite intensifying airstrikes by Saudi warplanes across Yemen.

Israel will deport Eritrean, Sudanese refugees to Africa under new policy Authorities believe there is no legal barrier to forcing Eritrean and Sudanese citizens to leave Israel for a third country that is not their native country – even if this is done against their will. By Ilan Lior | Mar. 31, 2015 | 9:38 AM

African asylum seekers at the Holot detention facility protest their comrades' expulsion from Israel

Israel will begin to deport Eritrean and Sudanese citizens to countries in Africa – even without their consent – under a new policy in the works at the initiative of the Israel Population and Immigration Authority.

Until now the state would impose considerable pressure on Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to leave on their own accord, either to their native countries or to other African countries, but refrained from deporting them. Those who have left Israel have done so only after signing a document declaring that their departure is voluntary. This is because Israel grants group protection to asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea, as it is bound to by the Refugee Convention the state has signed. Group protection means that Israel cannot deport people whose lives would be in danger in their own country.

However, in the last few months the Population and Immigration Authority – a branch of the Interior Ministry – along with Justice Ministry representatives have been discussing a policy change. The authority believes that there is no legal barrier to forcing Eritrean and Sudanese citizens to leave Israel for a third country that is not their native country – even if this is done against their will. The Justice Ministry is expected to permit their deportation to neutral states. In the initial stage, the target countries are Rwanda and Uganda. The policy change will most likely not take place until it has the approval of the new interior minister, a post likely to go to Shas leader Arye Dery.

Two months ago, a representative of the state hinted at such a policy change during a High Court of Justice discussion of the issue. If an asylum seeker in Israel was offered the option of moving to Canada, the person would not have the right to refuse, argued attorney Yochi Gnessin, who heads the State Prosecutor’s Office department that deals with illegal immigrants. “A person who is offered a move to a state that does not constitute a danger to their life or their freedom does not have the right of veto,” she said.

There are currently about 42,000 citizens of Eritrea and Sudan in Israel, of which some 2,000 are being held in the Holot detention facility in the Negev. According to data the state provided the High Court, 5,803 citizens of Sudan and Eritrea left Israel last year, 1,093 of them to third countries. Until now, Israel has not revealed the names of the third countries or the nature of the agreements, if any, reached with them, but it is known that asylum seekers have been sent to Rwanda and Uganda.

A Haaretz investigation published last April revealed that those asylum seekers who left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda had no basic rights and no legal status in those countries. This made survival virtually impossible, prompting them to leave Rwanda and Uganda and resume being refugees once again, according to reports by human rights groups.

According to the United Nations refugee convention, asylum seekers cannot be sent to any country unless there is an agreement with that country that ensures safeguarding their rights and welfare, notes Oded Feller, an immigration lawyer with the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.

“The government of Israel has refused to expose any agreements with the governments of Uganda and Rwanda, and it is doubtful if any such agreements exist in writing. Those countries deny there are agreements at all,” added Feller.

The Population and Immigration Authority declined to provide a response.