“Susan Rice’s destabilizing role in the region continues to this day. She has also helped stop the implementation of the final and binding arbitration of a territorial dispute in the Hague, Netherlands, under the auspices of the U.S., the EU and the U.N., which both Ethiopia and Eritrea had agreed to.”
By Desale Yacob
Regarding Bret Stephens’s “Failing Up with Susan Rice” (Global View, Dec. 4): The events in Benghazi, Libya, may have brought Ambassador Susan Rice to the attention of the American public, but to those who follow events in Africa, hers is a familiar name. The Eritrean and Ethiopian rebels led by Isaias Afewerki and Meles Zenawi, respectively, came to power after having fought side by side to defeat their common enemy, the Ethiopian government of Mengitsu Haile Mariam.
When a border skirmish in 1998 put these two former friends at each other’s throats, the U.S., by virtue of its close relationship with both governments, had the ability to put an end to the conflict before it blew up. Despite Ethiopia’s much larger size, its military wasn’t as robust as Eritrea’s, which had been battle-hardened in the war for independence. This is important to your point of how Susan Rice assumed the Eritrean side was the weaker side and therefore the side to be strong-armed, while the much bigger Ethiopia was clearly the one to be appeased.
Ambassador Rice was wrong and misinformed, and the consequence of her mistake was deadly, costing the lives of thousands and displacement of millions. The Ethiopian-Eritrean border war has been a disaster for the region, and by implication for the entire world. I truly believe the U.S. had an excellent opportunity to prevent the war had someone who understood the region well been in charge of brokering the peace.
Susan Rice’s destabilizing role in the region continues to this day. She has also helped stop the implementation of the final and binding arbitration of a territorial dispute in the Hague, Netherlands, under the auspices of the U.S., the EU and the U.N., which both Ethiopia and Eritrea had agreed to. Ethiopia disputed the verdict because the disputed area was awarded to Eritrea. She has spearheaded the passing of U.N. sanctions against Eritrea based on accusations by her friend, the late dictator of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi. Ms. Rice has proven time and again to be unfair and very partial in her judgement while representing a country that we all love and cherish.