ASMARA, Eritrea -- Ethiopia, one of the world�s poorest
countries has Africa�s largest, best-equipped army. Ethiopia is the largest
recipient of aid in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving up to 90 percent some years.
Ethiopia, with millions starving and tens of millions more just surviving, has
spent at least $20 billion on its military since 1999.
Ethiopia�s chief economic advisor estimated that by 2001
Ethiopia had already spent $3 billion on the Eritrean invasion.
Ethiopia has at least a million troops under arms, dwarfing
the other armies in Africa. When I say best equipped, I am speaking of at least
15 armored divisions (10,000 soldiers to a division with each division
including a tank brigade, a heavy artillery brigade, a heavy machine gun
brigade and an anti-aircraft-artillery brigade).
I am referring to an army that in 2000 invaded its former
colony, Eritrea, in a two-month long war that saw the Ethiopian government
release a figure of 123,000 dead for the conflict. Being that for every one
soldier killed you must expect three wounded, about 500,000 killed or wounded
in a war that remains almost completely unknown to most of the world is pretty
When it comes time to add up the total cost of Ethiopia-gate
one cannot only include the Western �aid� that was diverted to arms purchases,
mainly from Russia and Bulgaria, even North Korea. You also have to include all
the so-called �loans� given to Ethiopia by the likes of the World Bank, IMF, EU,
etc. Ethiopia has received tens of billions of dollars in �loans� this past
decade, almost all of which have been or are scheduled to be �forgiven.� So
much for �debt forgiveness� helping Africa.
And all of this while famine stalks the land, few if any
have clean drinking water or know a full stomach let alone have electricity,
schools or medical care. Tuberculosis and even polio remain endemic and AIDS
kills an untold number every year.
Yet try and find something putting all of this together in
one article in the Western media and you will search in vain. Since 1999, even
finding out basic information on Ethiopian arms purchases has become nearly
impossible. Of course, Yemen, Ethiopia�s neighbor and another one of the
poorest countries in the world, is reported to be buying billions of dollars in
arms, though even this story has disappeared from the media.
When you do put it all together, adding one of the poorest
countries in the world, recipient of a lot of Western cash in the form of aid
and loans, with an enormous, well-equipped army and you come up with
Ethiopia-gate, the aid to arms diversion scandal in the Horn of Africa. Why?
Because the West needs someone to do its dirty work in East Africa and Ethiopia
was chosen to be its local enforcer, its cop on the beat some may say.
Yesterday it was the invasion of Eritrea, today the invasion of Somalia.
Of course, knowingly allowing all this aid and loans from Western
governments and financial institutions to not go to the starving children it
was claimed to be appropriated for violates innumerable laws. Maybe this is why
Ethiopia-gate remains the worlds number one covert military operation.
Stay tuned to Onelinejournal.com for more news from the Horn
of Africa that the so-called �free press in the West� refuses to cover.
Thomas C. Mountain, the last white man living in
Eritrea, was in a former life, educator, activist and alternative medicine
practitioner in the USA. Email thomascmountain at yahoo.com.