Friday, November 20, 2009

Wycoff this!

I just read a news item that said the US is concerned about the restriction on Ethiopian opposition groups ahead of elections in May of 2010. The AFP quotes Karl Wycoff, the deputy assistant secretary of state for East African Affairs, as saying:
The US is concerned by what we see as reduction in political space and the ability of opposition parties to operate and do what opposition parties should do.
Hallelujah! I guess the US gets it, eh! The Obama Administration seems to be worried that the Ethiopian regime is closing down the political space. But, in all seriousness, isn't this the same administration that gave its stamp of approval for a Zenawi-$hawel deal just three weeks ago while knowing fully well that the Ethiopian regime is not remotely interested in openning up the political space? Who are they trying to fool?

If such a concern had been voiced publicly when foreign minster Seyoum Mesfin
visited with Hillary Clinton at the State Department a couple of weeks ago, a case could have been made that the US is serious about its concern. But it was not, and that was done deliberately. Instead, that burden was was left to Karl Wycoff, a mid-level official whose main expertise is counter-terrorism.

It is quite evident that the reason
Karl Wycoff was sent to Addis has nothing to do with pressuring the Ethiopian regime into openning up the political space but, rather, it had everything to do with the situation in Somalia and punishing the Eritrean regime for its cynical support of Somali Islamists.

Enough with such nonsense! It is now apparent that there isn't a dime's worth of difference in US foreign policy towards Ethiopia between this administration and its predecessor. Shame on me for believing that a change of political party in Washington could be a harbinger of better days for Ethiopia.

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