Sunday, 29 July 2018

The politics of retreat: Soviet Union/ Ethiopia

The politics of retreat by Prof. John Keane, a 1990 article on the process of dismantling of the Soviet Union by Gorbachov.

The politics of retreat of the totalitarian state:

The politics of retreat is an article that was written by John Keane (a Professor of Politics at the Polytechnic of Central London) in 1990. The article analysed the changes that were taking place in Soviet Union under Gorbachew. The writer addressed the retreat of the totalitarian state. Though Ethiopia and the Soviet Union are different to compare and 2018 is not 1990; the changes taking place in Ethiopia look similar to those that took place in the Soviet Union, then. The Gobachew phenomenon looks like the ‘Abiy’ phenomenon. Does Abiy intend to dismantle the EPRDF totalitarian state? This makes the article an interesting read.

The politicians of retreat are a new specie of political animal. Although schooled in the arts of conventional politics; politicians of retreat always begin their careers in the corridors and committee rooms of state power-they are not driven by lust for power or visions of grand victories through conquest. They are instead skilled in the art of unscrewing the lids of despotism by forming new compromises and withdrawing and retreating from unworkable positions.

The politics of retreat is naturally a delicate and a dangerous process. Its leaders  are trapped within the quicksands of politics. They risk their lives at every step, and they are always surrounded by enemies operating in the shadowy corners of state power. The legitimacy problem confronting politicians is partly due to the fact that they hasten the disintegration of the existing despotic regime, thereby threatening certain individuals and groups whose power base lie within the system. Politicians of retreat help dramatically to widen the political spectrum. They tend to speak of future gains. They know one thing best: the despotic regimes can die of of swallowing their own lies and arrogance, and that fear and demorilisation can not govern forever. Their actions often have unintended consequences of fostering the growth of social power groups acting at a distance from which they help to dismantle. The politicians typically sow the seeds of their own downfall.
The politics of retreat is a dangerous bussiness. There comes a point when it intensifies the crisis it is supposed to resolve. Events become pregnant with unforseen consequences. Many  subjects become active citizens who are no longer impatient. Controlled retreat begins to turn in choas.

Thanks to Niels Harbitz for making aware of the article

Friday, 29 June 2018

A History of Ethiopia, Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928

A History of Ethiopia, Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 by Sir Wallis Budge

a 423 page book in 2 volumes with 49 plates, 31 illustrations in the text and a map

Thanks to Abo Homed for sharing

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Book: Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935

Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935

Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935 looks in detail at the evolution of the
Italian Fascist regime’s colonial policy within the context of European
politics and the rise to power of German National Socialism. It delves
into the tortuous nature of relations between the National Fascist Party
and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), while
demonstrating how, ultimately, a Hitler-led Germany proved the best
mechanism for overseas Italian expansion in East Africa. The book
assesses the emergence of an ideologically driven Fascist colonial policy
from 1931 onwards and how this eventually culminated in a serious
clash of interests with the British Empire. Benito Mussolini’s successful
flouting of the League of Nations’ authority heralded a new dark era
in world politics and continues to have its resonance in today’s world.

Can be accessed and downloaded:

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Eritrea: Initial National Report (1999-2016) by State of Eritrea


For the first time the Eritrean Regime has written a 100 page report on the State of Affairs in Eritrea prepared on 28 March 2017 by the State of Eritrea,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR)

OR download it from the link below:

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Saddam and High-Ranking Officials Discussing Khomeini, the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, 1979

February 20, 1979 
Saddam and High-Ranking Officials Discussing Khomeini, the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, the Potential for Kurdish Unrest, and the Iranian Economy

 من محضر اجتماع عقد يوم ٢٠ فبراير١٩٧٩ حضره صدام حسين ومسؤولين عراقيين رفيعي المستوى يناقشون الخميني والصراع الإثيوبي الإريتري واحتمال الاضطرابات الكردية والاقتصاد الإيراني، وتقيمهم للثورة الارترية

Saddam Hussein: Of course, the Eritrean revolution has become weaker than its previous state. When Ethiopia was preoccupied with Ogaden [An Ethiopian region that was the subject of conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia] in Somalia and when Somalia failed to provide quick advice to the Eritreans, we told them [the Eritreans] before they rearrange themselves and since they have not recovered yet from the events [inaudible], as an assessment of them in this phase. But they did not listen and continued in their ways. We do not expect the Eritrean revolution to end in a complete victory or full retreat in a short time because it became a part of the international equation [dynamic] with different parties, ethnic groups, and trends fighting each other. We do not have something intrinsic in our analysis to our stance or position, but it can be summarized by saying that their position is weaker than before. They are not expected to achieve victory in a short period or to be defeated in a short period because it has become a part of the international equation. What makes it easier on them, of course, is that the discussions have become broader, where their position is based on the Soviet weight in Ethiopia. Now, Africa and the events in Iran have become more interesting than Eritrea for the Soviet Union, which is more interested now in events in Indochina than Eritrea. This is an issue that depends on the orientations, interests, and points that have priority in the agenda. Sure, the Soviet weight is going to ease on Eritreans through Ethiopia, but I do not believe that the Eritreans are capable of achieving an imminent victory or have the power to defeat them soon. But their position is weaker than before. Comrade Sa'doun, do you have other remarks about this subject, the subject of Eritrea?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Eritrea/Ethiopia/Somalia - Soviet Bloc relations confidential declassified documents

Eritrea/Ethiopia/Somalia - Soviet Bloc relations confidential declassified documents

On Eritrea: 14 confidential declassified documents 1977 - 1991

On how the Soviet Union and Germany wanted to solve the Eritrean problem and on the secret negotiations they conducted between delegations of the Derg and Eritrean Liberation Fronts

Ethiopian - Soviet Bloc relations:  86 confidential declassified documents (1956 - 1991)

Among other issues, on the Ethiopian-Somali war of 1977 and how they tried to prevent it and later solve it; on how they assessed the final years of the Derg

Somali  - Soviet Bloc relations:  52 confidential declassified documents (1971 - 1991)