The main objective of the recent media campaign by the Meles Zenawi regime for its incursion and attacks inside Eritrea was to bring the Ethio-Eritrean border issue back to limelight in a hope to find some willing mediators to bring the two sides on a negotiating table.
Meles fully knows that he can’t afford a full scale war with Eritrea at this time. Meles is engulfed by runaway inflation and mounting internal strives.
Meles is literally sitting on a time bomb and it could explode anytime. Having a war with his arch rival Isaias Afewerki could only hasten the ignition time for this bomb which has been gathering its critical mass for a while now.
Meles’ reign of power strongly resembles to the normal growth curve of bacteria in a Petri dish. First the curve goes upward because the bacteria have ample food and their number grow exponentially then the amount food dwindles and the curve starts to flatten and the toxic created by the bacteria themselves start to annihilate them and the curve start a downward trenduntil their total demise.
After entering Addis Abeba, Meles’ upward growth was achieved by divide and rule and brute force. For a decade or so, Meles enjoyed the support of the west and seemed unchallenged. And, at that point Meles thought he put the Ethiopian situation under his control and wants to expand his sphere of influence to the entire horn of Africa. The obstacle to this dream was Eritrea and he felt he could unleash war against Eritrea, occupy its port and become the sole superpower of the horn.
However, the war ended his upward growth and threatened his very existence. The so called Bonapartisim even exacerbated the situation by dividing his power base Tigray into fragments. The signs of Meles loss grip on power were clearly manifested during the 2005 election when the opposition ‘Kinjit’ won hands down.
Just like the number of bacteria in the Petri dish started to perish by feeding on the toxic created by themselves, Meles’ evil actions and rampant corruption that enabled him to stay in power start to come back and haunt him. Yes the chickens start to come home to roost. Meles put himself in an intractable situation. He is stuck between a rock and hard place and another war with Eritrea would be the last thing he would entertain as he already learned his lessons the hard way.
Now Meles’ regime is rotten from inside. His erratic actions in Somalia to please the Americans and his actions internally show actions of a man who is desperate and would do anything to survive. Meles is definitely acting like a compulsive gambler - who would gamble the shirt on his back. He cannot even gamble the shirt on his back because the emperor has no cloth to begin with!!
Again the festering corruption within the regime has reached a critical point and the divide and rule policy that he pursued to create hate and distrust among nations and nationalities within Ethiopia are exposed as these nations are telling Meles enough is enough and are taking matters into their own hands by rebelling in anyway they can. It would be suicidal for Meles then to compound his problems by starting fighting against a battle hardened Eritrean army. If Meles couldn’t win a war with Eritrea during heyday of his power, it is definitely impossible this time around.
The minority regime’s recent media frenzy on attacking inside Eritrean territories is designed to attract the attention of the west and solicit their help to enable him reconcile with Eritrea. So far it seems it is working for him. EU and even U.S. are asking for restrain and negotiated settlement of border dispute.
Meles also caved-in to Qatar and asked for restoration of diplomatic relations. Soon both countries will open embassies in their respective capitals. Why Meles did broke his diplomatic relation with Qatar in the first place and why is he now wants the Qataris back? The answer is clear, Meles wants Qatar’s help to reconcile with Eritrea.
The Melesian economic theory of the no-peace-no-war Eritrea plan fell flat on his face. The Eritrean economy didn’t get crippled as wished. On the contrary, it shows growth at a faster rate, which is to the envy of many African countries. For example, Eritrea is expected to meet most of the MDG with flying colors.
To sum up, I will conclude with what Seye Abraha, a former TPLF war General, has to say when asked if Meles could wage war and succeed against Eritrea. He said, “Meles has neither the backbone nor the guts to fight Eritrea”!
Indeed, he also has no option except to implement the border ruling, demarcate the border and start an economic and political relationship with Eritrea afresh. If not, what option does he have that he hasn’t tried yet anyway?