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Volume :2 Issue : 8 1976      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

ERITREA: AN ARAB CONCERN

Auther : By: Dr. Aabdallah Al-Nafisi

 
 
With its very long coast on the Red Sea, and its various resources Eritrea forms a strategic location.  It has a population of 3 million mostly Muslim Arabs.  For about 300 years it was under the Islamic Turkish rule.  When Italy occupied it in 1890, Eritrea was then a part of Egypt.  In 1941, the British forces replaced the Italians in their occupation of Eritrea.  Under the pressure practiced by the USA, the U.N. imposed on Eritrea a Federal Union with Ethiopia in 1950.  But in 1962, Ethiopia occupied Eritrea and prohibited the usage of Arabic as a medium of teaching.  Thus Ethiopia came to possess a 1000 km. Strategic coast on the Red Sea.  In return, Ethiopia rewarded the USA by giving her the right to establish military bases in Eritrea.
 
Despite the fact that Eritrea is an Arab country, yet the West tries to make the “Ereitrean case” appears as if it were an East-African problem.  Meanwhile, Ethiopia claims that the Eritrean problem is an internal Ethiopian matter.  The other side of the problem is the fact that the American-Israeli presence in Eritrea, and the Red Sea threatens the security of Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, North and South Yemen as well as the Gulf States.
 
The evacuation of the British forces from Libya, Egypt, Kenya and Aden, and the withdrawal of the USA from South East Asia emphasize the strategic importance of Eritrea.  The USA petroleum strategy which is based on the fact that the Middle East petroleum has become the main source of power in the world, adds much to the importance of Eritrea.  American bases in Eritrea represent the American existence East  and South of the Suez and in the Indian Ocean.  No wonder then that Ethiopia receives 50% of the total USA economic and military assistance allocated to countries of Africa.  The major American bases in Eritrea are (CANYO STATION) for radar services, (MASSAWA) a naval base that serves the Seventh Fleet, and the air base in (HALIB) Island.
 
The Israeli strategy is clearly expressed by Moshe Dayan who declared in 1952 that the security of Ethiopia is in itself a security for Israel.   Consequently, Israel exerts all efforts to strengthen its economic and military ties with Ethiopia.
 
The Israeli economic presence in Eritrea is embodied in the Israeli companies: (AMIRAN) and (HAROUN BROTHEERS CO.) dominate Eritrean commerce, and export and import activity.  Israel obtains 95% of the Eritrean fisheries products.  (ANCODI) produces canned and frozen meat.  Israel has also bought the Italian company (SIA) which grows and gins cotton close to the Sudanese borders.  The Ethiopian government helped in the settlement of Jews in Eritrea by giving 72,000 acres of the richest Eeritrean agricultural land to Israeli farmers.
 
The main Israeli military bases are in (HALIB) and (FATIMA) Islands as well as on other usurped Yemeni islands such as (ZUQOR) and Ethiopian guerillas how to terrorize and fight the Eritrean people.  The Israeli training enabled the Ethiopian troops to execute massive massacres against the Eritrean people.
The aims of Israeli strategy in Eritrea are:

1. To secure Israeli military (mainly naval) presence in the Red Sea area.
2. To secure a strategic depth and a military presence in the Red Sea capable of checking any Arab military activity in that area.
3. To break up Arab political blockade.
4. To guarantee the safety of tankers carrying oil from Iran to Elat in Israel.
5. To protect Israel’s Afro-Asian foreign trade.
 
The Arab countries should draw a unified strategy to counter the growing aggressive existence on the waters and coasts of the Red Sea.  They should bear in mind that the Red Sea is an Arab lake, and that they have to protect the mineral wealth that lies under their territorial waters.  They should also co-operate with the Eritrean Liberation Organization in its struggle for independence.
 

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