By Teshome Debalke
(Abbay Media) — Ethiopia in a mess more than the world distracted by many crises around the globe realize. The Tigray People Liberation Front(TPLF) that masquerad as government of Ethiopia since 1991 fooling the world is harvesting the seed it planted and reached a point of no return. Susan E. Rice and Gayle E. Smith unrepeating complicity and lobbying under the Clinton and the Obama Administration played the vital role to get the regime in Ethiopia where it is.
The two US officials that singlehandedly staged the unleashing of the most radical Marxist insurgency led by the self-described Tigre ethnic group with no question asked left their mess for the new Trump Administration ill-prepared to pick up the pieces at the expenses of American taxpayers and the lives and liberty of the people of Ethiopia.
President Obama’s unprecedented endorsement of his officials’ debacle by personally declaring the regime as “democratically elected government of Ethiopia” for wining 100% of the vote on his first state visit to the nation in 2013 admitted; he has no clue US foreign policy was driven by personal friendship of his officials with the Ethiopian depot than pragmatic policy deliberation by professional public servants. Until there is a paradigm shift in the status qua, the same policy will linger for the foreseeable future to come with far more incremental consequences.
The point persons on US-Ethiopian policy since the Clinton Administration were Susan E. Rice and Gale Smith along member of African policy team that come-and-go in the election cycle primary duty was and remained to be dispensing US foreign aid for one despotic regime or another contrary to American interest.
Nothing demonstrates the US ‘policy of no policy’ on Africa than the confession of the Former Head of State Department Bureau of African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield that handled US relations with 49 sub-Saharan African countries.
In her June 4, 2015 interview on BBC Hard Talk, Greenfield to the amusement of the host not only admitted there is no coherent African policy beyond dispensing foreign aid but, admitted; the Obama Administration relinquished US economic interest in Africa to China and European nations.
Susan Rice, the Former National Security Advisor, UN Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State on African Affairs and, Gayle E. Smith, the Former Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that vacate her post to join ONE CAMPAIGN as President and CEO, a fund raising campaigning ‘to end extreme poverty in Africa’ primarily designed US African policy of the last two decades in favor of despotic regimes.
The two US officials’ personal favorite African depot was the late Prime Minister Melse Zenawi where Gale Smith covering the civil war met the rebel leader Zenawi 1984. Ever since and until she left her top USAID job in Jan of 2017 join ONE CAMPAIGN , the relationship grew with Susan Rice joining in the mid-90s when she was appointed as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs in the Clinton Administration. The regime continues to be # 1 recipients of US foreign aid in Sub-Sahara Africa ever since.
Up on Melse’s unexpected death, the two top US officials along State Department delegates traveled to Ethiopia for the funeral.
The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor Selam Salmon in 2012 titled Susan Rice and Africa’s Despots describe the attitude of President Obama’s Former National Security Adviser towards African Depots as;
“ON Sept. 2, Ambassador Susan E. Rice delivered a eulogy for a man she called “a true friend to me.” Before thousands of mourners and more than 20 African heads of state in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ms. Rice, the United States’ representative to the United Nations, lauded the country’s late prime minister, Meles Zenawi She called him “brilliant” — “a son of Ethiopia and a father to its rebirth.”
Few eulogies give a nuanced account of the decedent’s life, but the speech was part of a disturbing pattern for an official who could become President Obama’s next secretary of state. During her career, she has shown a surprising and unsettling sympathy for Africa’s despots.
This record dates from Ms. Rice’s service as assistant secretary of state for African affairs under President Bill Clinton, who in 1998 celebrated a “new generation” of African leaders, many of whom were ex-rebel commanders; among these leaders were Mr. Meles, Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Jerry J. Rawlings of Ghana, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda.”
He went on;
“Critics, including Howard W. French, a former correspondent for The New York Times, say that in the late 1990s, Ms. Rice tacitly approved of an invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo that was orchestrated by Mr. Kagame of Rwanda and supported by Mr. Museveni of Uganda. In The New York Review of Books in 2009, Mr. French reported that witnesses had heard Ms. Rice describe the two men as the best insurance against genocide in the region. “They know how to deal with that,” he reported her as having said. “The only thing we have to do is look the other way.”
Her alleged “look the other way” statement and denial on Congo invasion is consistence with her alleged statement and denial for on the Rwandan Genocide of the early 90s while she was the Assistance Secretory of State for African Affairs.
For such high-level US official to have uninterrupted relationship and unflinching affection for the late Ethiopian depot above and beyond a call-of-duty resulted what the world is witnessing unfold in Ethiopia and the region.
It says more about systemic breakdown of oversite on officials involved in Africa affaires for many Americans to wonder who have oversite responsibility what is being done behind close doors .
The question that keep coming is, how Susan Rice that graduated from New College, Oxford 1990 with DPhil with dissertation titled Common Wealth Initiative in Zimbabwe that worked for McKinsey & Company as a Management Consultant in Toronto Canada office ended up as Assistance Secretory of State for African Affairs of the Clinton Administration in mid-90s in to end up as the top National Security Adviser of the Obama Administration prop up African depots remained a mystery.
At the meantime, the low-profile Gale Smith that started a freelance journalist in the mid-80s covering the civil war in Ethiopia and the region left the top Administrator of USAID at the end with close relationship with the same rebels that at one time that hired her to raise fund with the Irish pop star an associate Sir Geldof in One Campaign Smith join as President and CEO 35 years later is another mystery.
Regardless, the final result is clear. According to The World Bank’s 2012 “Diagnosing Corruption” study relives;
“Roughly half of the Ethiopian national economy is accounted for by companies held by a business group called the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) closely allied with the ruling EPDRF party. EFFORT’s freight transport, construction, pharmaceutical, and cement firms receive lucrative foreign aid contracts and highly favorable terms on loans from government banks. “Generals” and other military leaders have managed to accumulate properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration revelation was not far behind. On its January 13, 2017 report titled ‘Ethiopia Market Challenge’, it reviles;
“The [Ethiopian] government is engaged in a slow process of economic reform and liberalization, and the state remains heavily involved in most economic sectors. GOE [Government of Ethiopia] retains control over the utilities sector, such as telecommunications, and prohibits foreign ownership of banking, insurance, and financial services. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and ruling political party-owned entities dominate the economic landscape, reducing room for the private sector to flourish. SOEs actively encourage joint venture and equity partnerships with foreign companies.”
The record on the ground reinforces the same reality of the ruling party affiliated business enterprises excessive involvement with the help of US State Department Officials. For instance, Alameda Textile PLC, the largest garment factory in Ethiopia and the biggest exporter to the US under AGOA privilege was made possible by USAID in the name of helping the private sector in violation of US corruption laws.
Likewise, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) Smith worked in the mid-80s and the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) both operated by the ruling party are the largest charities in Ethiopia with operation in US and Europe and the biggest recipients of US foreign aid — reviling again how US interest as well as US laws have been violated for as long as one can remember.
The damage Susan Rise-Gale Smith policy team in the State Department and their associates at home and in Ethiopia caused by entangled with web of unholy charities and business dealing in the last two decades in broad view is impossible to believe it can happen in the US.
The Clinton Foundation’s alleged unethical fund-raising technics from oligarchs of the developing nations or the Gate Foundation’s alleged unethical spending on despotic regimes including Ethiopia are not helping to mitigate the problem but, made it worst. The newly formed Obama Foundation is not expected to do any better either.
The policy of Charity-for-Despotic-Regimes of two decades on Africa designed primarily by Susan Rice-Gale Smith team also took a toll on US interest in the African continent as the record shows.
Unfortunately, no one in Congress seems to give it priority to change policy course. The inward-looking Trump Administration bogged down on domestic politics of polarization most likely won’t master the necessary temperament to deal with it – leaving the field open for usual nations to play unchallenged.
Nevertheless, President Obama, his two officials and associates must be held accountable by all concerned Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopians by alerting responsible policymakers and Department of Justice officials and international organizations and religious institutions as the regime continue its atrocities and corruption refusing to surrender power with arms and training provided by US taxpayers to fight international terrorism. How ironic.