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Where is Eritrea headed?

By Reuters Staff
May 14, 2008

eritrea_president.jpgEritrean President Isaias Afwerki is probably one of Africa’s least-known yet controversial leaders. After a successful 30-year independence war against neighbouring Ethiopia, he won praise from the West in the 1990s for being part of a “new generation” of  progressive African leaders. In recent years, however, the Eritrean president has been increasingly criticised from abroad as running his small Horn of African nation along authoritarian lines.

Not usually keen on giving interviews to Western media, President Isaias Afwerki sat down this week for a nearly two-hour chat with Reuters’ Asmara correspondent Jack Kimball and East Africa bureau chief Andrew Cawthorne. In it, he criticised the United Nations, denied an incursion into Djibouti, outlined Eritrea’s economic policies and accused the United States of trying to destabilise his country.

Has Isaias Afwerki been good or bad for Eritrea and Africa. What do you think?


he is a paranoid and arogant killer of eritrea and eritreaén people. i feel sorry for eritreans who are under his direcr rule. may God bless them.

Posted by henock zaid | Report as abusive

This will be my final comment on this forum. We, Eritreans, are in a critical time, to think that there is a real leadership crisis in the country. When I read his interview with Reuters and now with Al jeezira, I almost broken in tears. Previously, I just thought Isayas is only just a Tyrant, but now I realized that he also needs a medical attention. He is not any match to any one to argue with.

I recall a true story told about a Jewish holocaust survivor from Auschwitz and a Nazi German Gestapo military officer who served in Auschwitz death camp. After the end of the second world war, the Nazi officer was apprehended by an allied forces and faced a court of law. The Jewish survivor was called as a witness in the court against the Nazi guy. This Nazi man was responsible for the death of all the family members of the Jewish man and a reason for his suffering till that day. Both pray an predator in the same room. When the Jewish guy saw the Nazi criminal, he began to cry sadly and intermittently. After the court procedure had finished, some people asked him why he cried so much instead of feeling joyful? He said this, ‘When I had been called to witness against the Nazi killer, I was imagining him as an animal, but when I faced him I just saw the same human being as myself, and I saw myself in him, that is why I was crying.’

When I heard and saw Isayas in Al Jezeera, I felt a real sympathy towards him. Oh! He is so pathetic and needs a real help. I felt the same feeling that Jewish guy felt for the Nazi. I know he will not allow persons like myself to be in hand for him; so You, his supporters, who led him to his destruction, have sympathy on him. Stop coughing while he is sneezing. Develop some sense. It’s time you need to tell him, to quit. Pride leads to a destruction.

And I want to tell you something, the Lord of host has heard our suffering and will heal our land soon. This is what he said;


Those who knows about visions will understand what I mean. God is sending a message with a strange language and word. He is saying he heard our continuous sad cry. So let us focus on the mountain where our help will comes from. It comes from the Lord. He is claiming his land again. He is ready to free his captives. Despite the Tyrant and his supporters have tried for the last 17 years to get God out of the equation, he is coming back with more Glory and Power. Rejoice Eritrea and God’s people.

And I thank to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, our brother Meles Zenawi, for apologizing for the damage done, by the Ethiopian government, in the deportation of innocent Eritreans from Ethiopia and his good wishes about his land Eritrea, in an interview he made recently. I hope he will soon start to talk about compensation. Justice is full.  /4857/11/

And I strongly advise Isayas, not to go in any other Interview and continue to embarrass his blind supporters. Do not exacerbate your situation any more. Wo&feature=user

He looks like a spoiled child who demands an attention in an upsetting way. And I want to remind him that he has still enough time to repent. Learn from your friend, the Cambodian notorious leader, Pol Pot.

God bless Eritrea!

Posted by Theodros | Report as abusive

agame(aidsopian) Keep crying here and act like Eritreans. Reuters will never change the fact in the ground! We love our President and we will keep him for ever! And you qomalat keep crying you will never get a bit of Eritrea not even the smell of it.
Yohana to all my Eri
Long live the leader of the World(Isaias)
Eri for ever!

Posted by cuteguaEri | Report as abusive

Agames keep crying. Reuters are only news reporters’ heheh
Agames keep crying. Reuters are only news reporters’ heheh

Posted by cuteguaEri | Report as abusive

Isias Afwerki is not bad for Africa and the world. If anything, Africa needs more leaders like him and Gadaffi. Just because they don’t agree with the west, it doesn’t mean they’re bad for Africa. Like Kwame Nkurumah said and was reiterated by Gaddaffi, “Africa must unite.”
The problems we are facing can be dealt with here. We need home-grown solutions not those imposed or given to us with strings attached. I don’t believe Africa is ever given anything without strings attached. The west is so bent on exploiting Africa and its resources, and most often than not, that is part of the problem.

Yes, it gives us income, foreign exchange and raises our GDP but what does it really do for us? In the end, it only hurts us. We need leaders who can speak the truth and stand up for what they believe in not cowards who give in to the western leader’s every whim. Those who dare stand up for what they believe in, are the change that Africa so desperately needs and bring development to their respective African nations. Those are the leaders that Africa needs, don’t you agree?

Posted by Diana Ngila | Report as abusive

Is Isayas good or bud to Eritrea?

Obviously, it is anspeakable worst leader in our time and in our history. What acomplishment did Isayas do to Eritrea? nothing except destruction, it is ashured that he destroyed the country and make meserable poeple’s life in this nation.
So, he is not only but he is worst leader in this modern history.

Posted by Beraki Yohannes | Report as abusive

by Dear wediAsmera,

I read your comment, thanks. I was questioning your previous statement “he is the best of all the political players of Eritrea.” I asked who are the players you have in mind, the G13, G15? George Bush? Obama? Who were you comparing Isaias with?

I wish you stand by your statement and provide me the name/ players you have in mind besides Isaias.

As far as Isaias, he is just not fit to lead a “book club” let alone to be president of Eritrea… Nowadays, it is obvious that during the armed struggle Isaias appeared capable, exerted confidence only because he was surrounded/ supported/ advised by many smart Eritreans but when most of those smart Eritreans jailed, fled the country…Isaias true ability become clear for everyone to see. Isaias’ recent Al Jazeera interview is just one proof of that. By the way how old are you? If you above 20 then forget about democracy in Eritrea…you and I will not have a chance to elect any one of our wish in our life time. However, if you are under 10 years old then there is slight chance…. you may have a chance to participate in Eritrean election provided Isaias bless it. That’s what Isaias was saying at Al Jazeera… please listen to that interview…it should be helpful for you to clear your mind and to think straight.

For all of you who are Isaias worshipers, wish you a good mental health.

Daniel Tewelde


cuteguaEri , You don’t know what you are talking about ! your lunatic leader is embarassing Eritreans at large . He is pathetic and nausating to watch.His Al jeezira interview is another prove for his incompetency

Real Eritreans are laughing at your blinded and biased comment;Nobody is surprised with that.The good thing is your stinky verbal diarrhoea and vomitus is not contagiuous.

It’s good for all Eritreans to see that Cyber Tigers like you are facilitating EPLF’S demise.

cuteguaEri, Is USA or Woyanne (TPLF ) behind Al jeezira’s interview ? We are laughing loud ! You can’t even substanitate your comments. As always , keep on giving others name and shift your lunatic & incompetent leader’s failure to USA & Woyanne ( TPLF ).

Posted by Davelando | Report as abusive

well what can i say enough is enough what more does he want even my dog knows he is mad some one who calls him self prsident when he is not elected by his own people except may be by his cult members not the eritrean people who safered 30 long years not for long his days are numberd ayther he likes it or not some good people will rise soon to show him how to led your own people and don’t say i am etiopian just for the record i am 100% eritrean

Posted by alex | Report as abusive

well what can i say enough is enough what more does he want even my dog knows he is mad some one who calls him self prsident when he is not elected by his own people except may be by his cult members not the eritrean people who safered 30 long years not for long his days are numberd ayther he likes it or not some good people will rise soon to show him how to led your own people and don’t say i am ethiopian just for the record i am 100% eritrean fino asmarino

Posted by alex | Report as abusive

He is our hero.good bless you Wedi Afewrqi tsaada.


I think P.I.A has both weaknesses and strengthes.But unfortunately his weaknesses are when dealing with his own people.
Fellow Eritreans what I mean is that,when looking at his internal and external policies, he is very brutal to us. Nobody can ignore the hardships our people are passing through,in all aspects.Don’t try to excuse the causes with the war aginst our foe Ethiopia, because the war is ended almost eight years ago. So to some extent,it is abvious for us to expect some improvements. We can’t consider the construction of roads and bridges as an improvment because they are being accomplished by the free manpower service of our youth. How ever, people are being prisoned because of their belief, hunger is rampant through out the country not because of rain scarcity but because PFDJ’s communist policy. Those of you who were there in Eritrea during the Derg regime recall it how hard living was at that time. It’s really pathetic to see Eritreans inthe same situation as if we are under the previous ethiopian military junta. Freedom of press, lack of consititution and alot other issues to be mentioned.
What P.I.A is good at is,his external policy. I really admire him when coming to this issue. Westerners are intersted in Africa and Africans when they learn that they have some thing to benefit from them. There is no free aid there are strings attached to it behind the curtain. We shouildn’t be fooled fellas. And the issue with Ethiopia is, we are just unlikey to be Ethiopia’s neighbours. It is a curse to have such kinda neighbours,yet you can’t shift somewhere else.
Brothers I have come through a common thinking of so many Eritreans, “yeah, we know he is right but the problem is he is not flexible. There must be flexbility in today’s political environment. But P.I.A is so stiff and stubborn and this has a nagtive impact to our internal and external affairs.” But don’t forget,HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY. And no matter what we gotta stick to this policy and WE AND OUR BELOVED COUNTRY WILL PREVAIL.

I also think it’s time to have an adminstration which embraces the new generation, the new blood.


Posted by Nate Mccall | Report as abusive

All those who are against Isaias Afwerki, lets see you do a better Job. There isnt a better president then him. Yeah i know he doesnt want to get a loan or help from anyone, but that is all good for the country in the long run. Can’t you see. Look how well Eritrea is going. Remember after the 30 year war, Eritrea was a disaster, and look how far it has gone without any help and mind you look how small it is. I think Isias Afwerki is the best that has been for Eritrea, and after his time, I pray that the next leader is a clone of him. You got to remember, being in power means that you got to make choices, and no matter what, there will always be people who disagree. He cant please everyone, but he can please the majority which is what i think he has done.
He is all about peace not war, unless it is a must, then he is a warrior. And that is why Ethiopia got defeated.
I dare anyone else come and try.

Awet Nehafash

Posted by Sally | Report as abusive

Dear sally you must be one of his cult member or some one hasn’t lost any thing , have u ever asked ur self why we have lost 70k pure Eritreans? do u rely think it is about a border issue? one thing u most know is that he is a control fr-eek and because of his weak policy thousands young Eritreans are leaving the country and no one should blame them after serving over 10 years it is about time they should think about them self’s why we can’t have election now gzeuo aykonen when is it then what are we waiting till every one leave the country and they can have it for them self’s

Posted by alex | Report as abusive


Posted by EMBAZAWEL | Report as abusive

yes Danny it is about time u ask ur self what is happening back home and thanks for ur comment me been Ethiopian but not true unless u are too one of their cult member u wouldn’t have said it time to weak up brother that is if u are real Eritrean i suggest u if u can go back home and see it for ur self and tell me if i am wrong all my friends are still doing national service well over ten years. most probable u are writing this from the UK put ur self in their foot and tell me again if i am wrong and don’t forget to sign on, on Monday if not u will not get ur UB40 benifet.

Posted by alex | Report as abusive

Thankyou Isaias and the whole Eritrean leadership for your dedicated and ethical representation of the Eritrean people at large. The work you’re doing now will bear fruit in the near future and we will be looking back at these times as another one of countless hurdles we’ve had to jump over.

Keep doing what you’re doing for the majority of the Eritrean people stand by you!

Posted by Amanuel | Report as abusive

dealing with eritrea’s situation, i believe there is more to it than taking sides or treating the situationby categorizing it in black or white.i believe there are more facts that aren’t of pubblic domain and might be the key to solving this delama.The question isn’t if Isais is a dictator or not the question is how reliable are information the world knows?

Posted by eden zeriun | Report as abusive

The problem of Eritrea is more than the president and his present behavior. It is the product of identity crises, coupled with bravado of a collection of misguided intellectuals who are brainwashed by colonial fascist given identity, followed by resentment of re-joining their poor motherland with no viable political institution to share power and express their desire, followed by the adoption of Marxism for lack of viable alternative ideology in the “struggle” for “liberation”, followed by self dilution righteousness for winning a war of independence and losing sight of the responsibility of being the world citizen and the constant patronage of the Arab dictators of using them to their own agenda confused the hell out of the population and paranoid the ruling party.

There is something the ruling party should understand that it does not live in isolated island but with many potential friends and enemies around it, much bigger and potent than what it thinks. The false bravado it feed the population to maintain power is coming back to hunt him. It is wise to tell the truth to the inhabitant of the area it consider his territory how they came about and if possible draw a common goal to go forward.

The reality is, the territory called Eretria on paper has noting to do with the reality on the ground. What the ruling party and his enablers curved out of the colonial map may be good for the colonialist and the ruling party if it wants to play as an extension of the colonialist, but if the country called Eritrea (a fascist given name) want to be viable, it has to seat down and draw the map with aspiration of the inhabitant of the country not with the desire of a rogue group. The way things are done now is inviting endless conflict of clans who feel they have enough gun to take it from one or another clan.

Reason must prevail

Posted by Addis | Report as abusive

“It has to seat down and draw the map with aspiration of the inhabitant of the country not with the desire of a rogue group”

So by the same token you agree Ogaden should be given back to Somalia, as it is the was part of the Somalia before the colonialist and even after, when it was swindled by Hailesellasie.

Posted by Abdi | Report as abusive

He is very very good to Eritrea & Eritrean people. May God help him & be with him in his daily life. God bless you our president. We will see later when every thing is changed like in 24th May 1991, then that the time to see who is bad & who is good. Let’s live for tomorrow not for today.

Posted by eritrea | Report as abusive

Before we turn to the pain and disasters that america has brought to the world, let us take a brief look at its history.vietnam,iraq,afganistan,somalia, ereteria and know hole horn of africa.According to america, the weak, poor, sick, must be eliminated, and done away without mercy.these people believe that this is necessary for their well-being.

Posted by abdi | Report as abusive

Addis says: “…but if the country called Eritrea (a fascist given name) want to be viable…”, must be recalled that the name Eritrea was given on gen. the 1st. 1890 under the Crispi government much earlier than fascism.


is isayas god or bad, bad for eritreans, good for ethiopians. meaning, the over inflated eritrean ego had to be deflated by all means and he managed to do just that by treating them the way they wanted him to treat them. In the only way they know, which is the Italian legacy “like slaves” and I like him for that….

Posted by elias | Report as abusive

Isayas governs eritrea the way he does for the simple reason that there is no other way to govern eritrean society. Eritrean society has time and again proved ungovernable since the time of Atman. they have always been a curse to ethiopia through which all external enemies tried to penetrate and the society seems to suffer from Identity crisis as a result. in fact Isayas should stay until eritreans get a real test of empty patriotism.

Posted by dave | Report as abusive

Dave you’re an Ethiopian talk about crisis of identity that’s not your real name is it. who ask for your opinion anyway if its not constructive criticism go talk to your own president Meles Zenawi and ask him why some 4.5 million Ethiopians are on the verge of dying .Elias at least your blunt and straightforward and admit your Ethiopian even no your comment is unhelpful and not true. Addis your blunt as well since Addis abbes is the Ethiopian capital I now your interest lie and therefore your statement reflects your opinions and interest which are bias

Posted by Bored | Report as abusive

If Issaias is a good leader or not that should be Eritrea and Eritrean´s bussiness.The problem is the Agames and the Amhara looser can´t understand yet that Eritrea is a Suvrien State and that means no sneeking nose from the Dull Ethiopians.
I am sure that it would irritate any Agame if I send any comment about thier mentality on expectancy on hand outs from the rich countries.
That per definition is the only approprate way to divert thier politics where such kind of winds blow. Our leader work for mucual interesst respecting all the the needs to be fullfield.

Posted by Bengy | Report as abusive

well isseyas was a cerzy guy and is cezy psyco .who is leading a eplf gurila .i think we must get rid of him becouse he is destroying our country or we are gona live like that for ever .if there is gona be a war that is gona be his fult. he looks like he has pesonal proplem with his cosens in ethiopea he is hating too much and very emotinal .i dont think they hate him too much acording to their intervw . this was not a land proplem after all from the biging with ethio . we need to stop him before he complitly destroy our land at list a small thing that we have . or this gona cost our people with every thing he is trying destabelize a huge country and he is gona ended destablize us we need to work for that according to him every body is hater


Well this is an example of what happens to a country, when the west harks about democracy and rule of law then goes back to undermine and manipulate the issue.

With out going back far, if we look at the border issue between Ethiopia and Eritrea, rule of law should have prevailed, but American Strategical interest superseded any international law and UN shamelessly has been manipulated to fit its own criteria. The Eritreans are simply saying do not move the goal post.
Here is the US trying to manipulate the already completed UN border decision that is final and binding.

Here is also another manufactured crisis between Djibouti and Eritrea that no one including Reuters seems to have picked.

“A military source said French forces based in Djibouti had carried out a reconnaissance on Thursday at the government’s request but had not been able to confirm an incursion.” spx?id=753588

Here is another example of Bush Admin. warped reasoning of arming Ethiopia with tax payers money by letting it purchase massive amount of armaments from North Korea, breaking all rules and breaking UN sanctions. The UN seems to be happy about keeping quite while whining and trying to block Zimbabwes’ armed shipment from China that is not breaking any UN rules.  /idUSN0728288520070407

Here is Assistant secretary of state Jendayi Frazer being caught lying about US’s planning and invasion of Somalia with Ethiopia six months ahead of the event. Os

Here is the same woman, denying the horrible atrocities committed by the Ethiopians, giving them cover, while being accused by Red cross, Amnesty etc. Ntg8sIGBjTzDalP38Fz1wFBg

And more handy work here
Somalia Crisis worse than Darfur, says UN

Ethiopia’s ‘own Darfur’ as villagers flee government-backed violence

Ethiopia: Army Commits Executions, Torture, and Rape in Ogaden
Donors Should Act to Stop Crimes Against Humanity

And here is the reason why somalia is in chaos

According to BBC, ICU came out of necessity

Until CIA started paying the very people that were involved in black hawk dawn hundreds of thousands until it backfired big time

NY times article below

So you understand where he is coming from, He is trying to protect the interests of Eritrea, as he can see International rule of law does not mean any thing at all but is a smoke screen of what the west and specially the three members of the Security council want.
As history tells us, they have not been kind to the Eritrean people and they have no plans to start now.

As much as people try to pile accusations on him, I think they should try to do the right thing first and accuse him later.
As has been seen, the border issue has huge implication on the whole of the horn of Africa. If that is not fixed, as the saying goes ” For the want of nail….. “

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

I think Issayas is heading right to show the world that many leaders specialy in the west to think twice about the political agenda that have been running on Africa by most inhumman way not going to contiue indefinetly.
Africa has been blocked not to inter in international political, economical and social arena for centuries.I hope and belive that Eritrean leader is trying to make these things clear even to an ordinary citzen of any country that the dirty political game era is coming to end. I hope the MASS MEDIA will involve and take thier own share of responsability to inlighten the truth.

Posted by Ane | Report as abusive

There is one logic that I have learned from my life so far, when and how to say good leader or bad leader…., that is ” If the west liked a president/leader then its a matter of simple, easy invesigtion and reasearch to prove that, the president/leader is a traitor to his own peopl, if leader is hated then it becomes viceversa. it means the leader is working for the interst of his people and not for Milioners who are fundining charities and other inteligences see for your self”

Posted by Thomas | Report as abusive

Isayas should be not only Eritreas leader but all African countries as he does not kneel down for westerners and does not want their bread. I am sure Eritrea will develop fast than the other African countries and will be the example of all countries. Are the Eritreans starving? let it be, because their martyres gave their lives to make Eritea an independent country. Now the people of Eritrea are working hard to make the future not the present. they will starve, they will die and have difficulties in the face of westerners and their dogs, but their vision is to form a country which is free and developed.


Wedi Afeworki is the right man for the job. Until we can stabilize our country and region elections are not necessary. Do you beleive if there was a regime change that national service would be eliminated? Of course not,its the situation the country is in because of unstable neighbors like Ethiopia. Eritrea can not afford to let their guard down for a split second. Issayas is doing the best he can do with the situation the country is in. If another admin were in office what would change? National security has to be the top priority for any admin for our country.
So how do you ensure you have an adequate number of soldiers when the countries total pop is only 4.5 mil? Even the U.S. which has a voluntary military has problems recruiting and the country has 300 million people. Good leaders make tough decisions and they can not and will not please everyone.

Posted by Freh | Report as abusive

thanks addis for remembering admitting eritrea was independet country. i dont know if you dont want to mention it or dont know but yes our name was “BAHRE NEGASH”. As in H.E president Issayas Afwerki doing more than any president present and pass in the entire world. please dont judge a person when you have an issue and seen it on your way. think they might be right.

Posted by adisu | Report as abusive

Why is Isaias still in power? There are two people who support Isaias. One of them are delusional and the others have interest in Eritrea (you either own some property or you have some kind of business in Eritrea).
Isais is a failed leader. He was a good military leader but he is mediocre leader. Isaias ending is very clear. He will either be thrown from his power by a military coup or die from some kind of disease (I hope that happens very soon).
Stop blaming Ethiopia or the USA. Eritreans could have a better life if they chose to say no to the dictator.

Posted by Bruno | Report as abusive

The media in the west seems to enjoy painting a negative picture of Eritrea and its leader but how come they say nothing about Ethiopia’s invasion of Eritrea? They say nothing about the trouble it caused with Sudan and Somalia? It says nothing about the horrendous plight of the economic situation in Ethiopia due to mismanagement of funds and the horrible suffering of the people? Nothing about Ethiopian conscription? Nothing about Ethiopia’s OWN dictatorship regime? Why turn a blind eye to this? The playing fields have to be fair, and those who really have no insight about international affairs should really shut the hell up and hide their shameful ignorance.

Posted by Helen | Report as abusive

damn wright he is the Man. If it was not for him all these dreamers would have walked all over us there would be no Eritrea at this moment. We the people should complain about his dictatorship atleast he is not selling us like our neigbours are selling out their people milking every opportunity for the millionth time. they hindered our growth we did not get where we should but thank G_O_D their culture did not catch up to us we are not begging. It was just on the news again that they are still starving………..and begging.

Posted by proud eritrean | Report as abusive

Well, If Eritrean President is a good leader or not should only be Eritrean´s bussiness. The whole western world tries to profile him as a dictator, but deep inside and in there unofficial agenda they know that he has the right stand towords the dictatin world politics which they can twist the definition of democracy in thier daly agenda and condem the rest of the world who dont want to run thier arends.The Bush era is over and I belive the same will be for those twittering arognd trendy western politican too. Truth will preveal for ever.

Posted by Mukur | Report as abusive

Thomas !
You put a ward on the confusing Western mass madia propaganda. I hope that time will tell soon. Now a days mass madia has changed it role, not in constractive and comprehencive way but miss informing and aggitating people and political ledears in animosity, distractive
political agenda. It has caused mass distraction, migration , hunger and terror among nations and etnich gruppes in the same teritory.I think it is madness to let such things happen in a modern and globalized world that we are living today.

Posted by yekealo | Report as abusive

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