To the great ire of their political adversaries here and in the Diaspora…

To the great ire of their political adversaries here and in the Diaspora, the Revolutionary Democrats have finally fastened a relationship with the United States, gossip observed. The American administration in the White House appears to be determined not to see this fact get lost. It is behind the Ethiopian government squarely, in the way America is with Israel in the Middle East, despite the many things its opponents have to say against it, claims gossip.

Never mind that the EPRDFites always have couple of fans within American administrations whether Republican or Democrat, claims gossip. Gayle Smith, who is now nominated to be at the helm of USAID, goes way back in the 1980s when she began her relationship with senior leaders of the TPLF. Susan Rice, current security advisor to the president, has her attachment to Ethiopia due to a friend of her father’s who had fought alongside Ethiopia during the Italian occupation in the Second World War. Colonel John C. Robinson, who served in the nascent Ethiopian Air Force, was buried here, a location which could possibly be of sight-seeing interest to the American high level delegation due to visit Addis soon.

Interestingly, there was never a time in the past when senior administration officials take hajj to Addis Abeba in such a large and frequent manner as now, gossip observed. The highlight of such visits is that scheduled by Barack Obama, despite mild objections from his inner circle. To the disappointment of the foes of the EPRDFites, the source of the objection is far from Ethiopia’s democratic deficit, but on the grounds of the logistical nightmare (in the case of Ethiopia), and security concerns of his visit to Kenya, gossip disclosed.

President Obama’s planned visit to both Kenya and Ethiopia at the end of July is not his first, for he was around here while serving as a senator. As a resident of the White House, however, this will be the first time that a sitting American president has ever visited Ethiopia.

The EPRDF’s Ethiopia has proved to be an oasis of stability in a region of great tragedy, claims gossip. From Yemen to Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia, the United States has hardly any reliable partner to depend on in the region but Ethiopia; hence the recent visit by Siraj Fergessa, minister of Defence, and Samora Yenus (Gen.), chief of staff, to Washington D.C.

Their visit was preceded by Wendy R. Sherman, under secretary for political affairs, to Addis Abeba where her lavish praise of the Ethiopia regime earned the wrath of the EPRDFites foes. Nonetheless, there are other less publicised but crucial visits recently made to Addis Abeba by people such as John O. Brennan, director of the CIA; and Lloyd J. Austin (Gen.), US CETCOM commander, gossip disclosed.

On the surface, these visits are touted as a cosy relationship Messieurs Obama and Hailemariam Desalegn have reportedly developed lately, claims gossip. Yet, scratch that surface, all these frequent visits go beyond personal rapport, revealing a paradigm shift in the United States where its hawkish policymakers decided to put all their eggs in the Ethiopian basket, according to gossip. Read the statements made by both US and EU in the aftermath of the recent national elections, the importance of cooperation on security matters and fighting antiterrorism is written all over in bold ink, gossip noted.

EPRDFites nemesis up in the north, Eritrea’s Issayas Afeworqi, is flirting with America’s archenemy Iran to furnish the Port of Assab for their base, despite the fact that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia recently made their presence felt there, for their joint operations against the Houthis in Yemen, gossip revealed. China, a country the United States watchfully follows, has struck a deal with Djibouti’s Ismael O. Guelleh, to have a foothold there in establishing its naval base, gossip disclosed.

These are all of deep interest and concern to the Americans, claims gossip. Above all though, could such sudden interests be prompted by the high value prisoners (otherwise described as assets in the security establishment), that Ethiopian defence forces captured during their recent surgical military offensives against Al-Shabab, gossip wondered?

Published on Jun 28,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 791]



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