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THE HORN, THE COLD WAR, laboration would not only enable the allies apparently hoped to anchor them-
AND DOCUMENTS FROM THE new Ethiopia to take deserved credit selves firmly on the Horn in an attempt

FORMER EAST-BLOC: from the international scholarly com- to position themselves to play impor-
AN ETHIOPIAN VIEW munity, but also to reap the intellectual tant political and/or military roles in the

reward of a better understanding of a whole volatile region.
by Ermias Abebe

regime that it fought so gallantly and Nevertheless, at the beginning of The materials presented here as with immense sacrifice to topple. the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974, Mospart of a collection of recently declas- My specific comments on these cow was slow to react to the overthrow sified documents from the former East- documents will focus on three major of imperial rule and the military takeern bloc begin to shed invaluable light themes—Soviet influence on: (a) the over in Addis Ababa led by the Provion the intricacies and evolution of military regime; (b) the Ethio-Somali sional Military Administrative Council former Soviet, East German, and Cu- war and; (c) the Eritrean secessionist (PMAC) or Derg. This hesitancy might ban interpretations of and influence on movement.

be explained by a legitimate Soviet rethe politics of the Horn of Africa be

luctance to antagonize Somalia, espetween 1977-1978. The word begin is I. Soviet relations with the PMAC cially in light of recent setbacks the emphasized because, at the same time,

Sudan and Egypt, where Moscow had these documents are far from compre- Soviet interest in winning a posi- lost influence in spite of massive ecohensive in that a number of very criti- tion of strength on the Horn of Africa nomic and military aid to these councal events and developments during this dates from the 1960s. Probably, the tries. It must be remembered here that period find scant or no mention. Some major explanations are related to the Somalia had a territorial dispute with of these issues will be mentioned in this area's strategic value. First, two impor- Ethiopia over the Ogaden and that the commentary. Nevertheless, reviewing tant international confrontations cu USSR, at this time, had already cultithese documents, it will be difficult in- across the Horn: the Arab-Israeli con- vated a strong presence in Somalia. deed to underplay the crucial signifi- flict, and the Sino-Soviet rivalry, whose That presence was cemented with Gen. cance of the East-West standoff which geographic expression involved the Mohammed Said Barre's successful served as the context in which the whole area stretching from the Western military coup in October 1969 after former USSR and its allies compre- Pacific, to Southeast and South Asia, which he turned his country's orientahended and attempted to shape the poli- and into the Indian Ocean littoral. Also, tion sharply toward Moscow, signing a tics of the region. Ultimately, this prism the Horn's strategic location along East- Soviet-Somali Treaty of Friendship and led to the gradual choice of cultivating West communication and transportation

West communication and transportation Cooperation in 1974. Under the treaty, close ties and rendering decisive sup- routes enables it to serve as a critical the Somali government was generously port to the military government in vantage point to command or interdict supplied with military aid and the SoEthiopia beginning in 1976. In turn, this oil shipments from the Middle East and viets acquired access to the strategic choice molded that regime and guaran

elsewhere. Furthermore, in the post- port of Berbera. With all this at stake, teed its survival until 1991 when only colonial setting, newly liberated Afri- Moscow had reason to be prudent in the end of the Cold War and diminished can states had increasingly become tar- assessing the PMAC's reliability before Soviet support coupled with the Eritrean gets for Marxist-Leninist ideological considering a new commitment. and Tigrean liberation front victories led expansion to alienate “Western imperi- The PMAC, on the other hand, had to its collapse.

alist states." As Soviet leader Leonid I. two serious problems of its own which The publication of these documents Brezhnev had once remarked, “Africa inhibited it from seeking an immediate should therefore serve as a valuable [had become) a main field of battle for embrace from Moscow. One was that stimulus for international scholarship on communism."] Moreover, in one of the initially it was unclear about its ideosuperpower involvement in Africa dur- documents published here, Cuba's Fi- logical preference and international oriing the Cold War and also arouse schol- del Castro reinforces this idea in an entation. An illuminating account of ars on Ethiopia in particular to reexam- April 1977 meeting with his East Ger- this confusion is provided by Major ine and enrich conventional wisdom man counterpart, Erich Honecker, by Dawit Wolde Giorgis, a high ranking about the political history of the stating that “in Africa we can inflict a official of the military regime who later Mengistu era. Furthermore, the fact that severe defeat on the entire reactionary defected to the United States and wrote the country now has a completely dif- imperialist policy. We can free Africa a book. In it he stated that the PMAC ferent leadership which is not tainted from the influence of the USA and of was so “ignorant in the realm of ideolwith the atrocities of Mengistu and the the Chinese . . . Ethiopia has a great ogy that at one point in the early stage Derg means, at least theoretically, that revolutionary potential ... So there is a of the revolution delegations were sent it will have nothing to lose by collabo- great counterweight to [Egyptian Presi- to Tanzania, Yugoslavia, China, and rating in international research efforts dent Anwar] Sadat's betrayal in Egypt India to shop for one for Ethiopia.”2 It and releasing pertinent documents from ... We must have an integrated strat- is important to note that the Soviet Ethiopian archives (unlike Angola for egy for the whole African continent.” Union was apparently not even considexample). On the contrary, such a col- Thus, the Soviet Union along with its ered as a possible source of ideological

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inspiration by the military rulers at an ation. With the help of the chief of the Ethiopian leadership prior to the coup early stage.

palace security force commander, he which is implied between the lines of The other problem was that the essentially carried out a mafia-style one of the discussions of the CPSU Council engaged in three major succes- coup by simply ambushing and execut- Third African Department Report. This sive rounds of bloody power struggles ing the ringleaders of the restructuring refers to a late-1976 Cuban and South before Mengistu emerged as the uncon- who were unsuspectingly preparing for Yemeni initiative to provide mediation tested leader. In providing a very short a regular Council meeting in the palace in the Ethio-Somali dispute. The report account of these struggles, an important grounds. The following day he was mentions that the Somali government, point to underline at the outset is that “unanimously voted” chairman by the while not rejecting the proposal, had unlike some of the contenders he ulti- remaining PMAC members.

spoken out in favor of including direct mately managed to annihilate, Mengistu The documents from the Commu- Soviet participation in the negotiations. had neither educational exposure to nor nist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) Ethiopia, on the other hand, the report interest in communist ideology and/or and Socialist Unity Party of [East) Ger- notes, regarded the mediation initiative the Soviet Union prior to the PMAC's many (SED) presented here begin with favorably, but did not express an analoformation. As he admitted in one inter- activities dating from early February gous wish" (about Soviet participation) view, his first encounter with Russians 1977. Notably, the first two documents, and thus the Cubans and Yemenis (on happened only after the revolution. Per- the memorandum of conversation be- their own) were taking diplomatic steps haps one of his phenomenal abilities lay tween Soviet Counselor-Minister in to organize mediation. Could this have in his capacity to understand quickly Ethiopia S. Sinitsin with the Political been a factor causing Soviet apprehenand adopt new ideas when they served Counselor of the US Embassy in Ethio- sion about the Ethiopian leadership's a useful purpose in his quest for power. pia Herbert Malin as well as the CPSU's reliability prior to Mengistu's consoli

The first round of weeding out op- Third African Department Report on dation of power? The answer at this ponents was carried out in November Somali-Ethiopian territorial disputes are point can only be conjecture. 1974 when Gen. Aman Andom, the first both dated February 2, i.e., one day be- The first head of state from the PMAC chairman, along with a few fore Mengistu's bloody coup. It will communist bloc to meet with Mengistu other members of the Council and more be recalled that at the time it was widely after his coup was Castro. He visited than 50 former high-ranking officials, reported that the USSR Ambassador to Addis Ababa on March 14-15, just a were summarily executed, shocking Ethiopia Anatolii Ratanov was the first little more than a month later. On March both Ethiopians and the international person to congratulate Mengistu imme- 16 he then flew across the Red Sea to community. The second round of ex- diately after the carnage, leading to Aden, South Yemen, to co-chair a joint ecutions occurred in July 1976. This speculation by some Western authors Cuban-Yemeni mediation effort to settle time the victims were active educated that the Soviets might have had a hand the Ethio-Somali dispute to which officers within the PMAC, like Major in the affair by providing intelligence Somali's Barre as well as Mengistu Sisay Habte and Lieutenants Bewiketu

support or, at least, had prior informa- were invited. It is not clear from the Kassa and Sileshi Beyene, who main- tion and might have provided tacit ap- documents whether this meeting had tained connections with radical ele- proval before the killings occurred.? If been prearranged before the coup or ments among university students, teach- that were the case, certainly these docu- whether it was hastily scheduled after ers, and labor organizers and who were ments shed no light. In fact, the first it. Whatever the case, a few weeks later, instrumental in initially steering the document distinctly mentions the visit on 3 April, Castro went to East Berlin Council to the Left from its original of an Ethiopian delegation to Moscow to report about his African mission and nationalist orientation. A major restruc- in July 1976 and the resulting joint So- consult with the East German leader turing of the PMAC in December 1976, viet-Ethiopian communique as the pre- Erich Honecker. The transcript of that when its members voted to strip lude to closer ties between the two meeting presented here records Castro's Mengistu of power and institute "col- countries after the Ethiopian revolution. vivid first impressions about Mengistu, lective leadership,” served as the pre- On the Ethiopian side, that delegation revealing the latter's apparent success lude to the third and decisive round of was led by Mogus, one of the casual- in winning over both the heart and supkillings. The architects of the restruc- ties of Mengistu's coup. It seems the port of the Cuban leader in such a relaturing included respected PMAC mem- Soviets would have been unlikely to tively short time. Castro spoke of bers like the nominal chairman who highlight this information had they Mengistu as a "quiet, honest, and consucceeded Aman Andom: Gen. Teferi known about the impending events. Of vinced ... revolutionary leader ... an Banti, Maj. Alemayehu Haile and Capt. course, one can also argue that given intellectual personality who showed his Mogus Wolde Michael. Again, espe- that the Soviet Counselor-Minister was wisdom on February 3." His massacre cially the last two, like those mentioned dealing with his American counterpart, is portrayed and condoned as “a turnearlier, were important figures in intro- disinformation would have been the ing point in the development of the ducing socialism to the Council. How- order of the day.

Ethiopian revolution when ... a conseever, on 3 February 1977 Mengistu It might be valuable to point out a quential decision was made to meet the embarked on a sudden and swift retali- possible Soviet displeasure with the

possible Soviet displeasure with the challenge by rightists” in the PMAC.

To the extent that the communist states alist positions. By contrast to him, with Beijing to the minimum and to shared information with each other and Berhanu Bayeh and Fikre Selassie as devise measures against Chinese ideowith Moscow to devise and coordinate well as Legesse Asfaw and others are logical penetration in Ethiopia. That policy, as it is assumed they did, marked by nationalism although they same month, yet another conversation Castro's account provided an excellent are faithful to him . . . I emphasize record, this time between Mengistu and report card for Mengistu. Furthermore, again, we have to apply maximum cau- Ratanov, reveals Soviet apprehension as it is known from other sources that tion, circumspection and tactfulness to- about the dissemination of anti-Soviet Castro later flew to Moscow to report ward Mengistu so that the nationalists (Maoist) literature in Addis Ababa. That on his trip, one may presume that he will not grasp him by the throat.

September, the Ethiopian Foreign Minpresented the same glowing assessment

ister Felleke Gedle Giorgis “especially of Mengistu to the Soviet leadership. According to the views of many dwelled on the Chinese position on the

Mengistu also indulges in a diplo- Ethiopians, including former insiders in Ethiopian Revolution” in his talks with matic contribution to widen the emerg- the Mengistu regime such as Dawit Ratanov. Admitting to PRC economic ing rift between Somalia and the social- (cited above), nothing could be further aid at the initial stage of the revolution, ist states by discrediting the revolution- from the truth except for the remark on he noted the changing Chinese stand as ary potential of its leadership. In one loyalty. First of all, between February the revolution deepened (perhaps alludrecord of conversation held on March and November 1977 Mengistu had con- ing to the forging of closer ties with the 18, his head of foreign affairs, Maj. solidated absolute power. Secondly, he USSR). China then began to render Berhanu Bayeh, quotes the Egyptian was raised and trained in the traditional comprehensive assistance to Somalia newspaper Al-Ahram to point out to Amharised Ethiopian military tradition during the military conflict. By FebruSinitsin the possibility of Somalia join- and therefore, by background, the most ary 1978, according to a joint report by ing Sudan, Egypt and Syria in a unified ardent nationalist of them all. After the the CPSU Third Africa Department and political command. He adds that Barre revolution he had repeatedly and suc- the Political Department of the GDR had been on record declaring that So- cessfully maneuvered between dressing Embassy in Moscow, the Soviets noted malia achieved its revolution indepen- up as an ideologue and as a nationalist (presumably with satisfaction) Beijing's dently and can acquire help from other whenever each was politically expedi

whenever each was politically expedi- hostile attitudes toward the Ethiopian countries besides the Soviet Union and ent. Mengistu evidently fostered this leadership as well as the minimal popuits allies. Given the recent Soviet loss misperception apparently to bolster his lar support enjoyed by pro-Maoist of Egypt and Sudan, this information own image (as an internationalist) and, groups in the country. was probably intended to arouse at the same time, to limit demands and Another noteworthy issue disMoscow's apprehension.

pressures from the socialist community, cussed in three documents concerns Supporting his own professed com- Interestingly, Mengistu's regime “Operation Torch"-an alleged impemitment to Marxism-Leninism and the repeatedly employed the “China card” rialist conspiracy spearheaded by the Soviet Union with practical deeds, at to attract Soviet support. In one docu- CIA to assassinate Ethiopian leaders the end of the following April Mengistu ment discussing Ethiopia's desire to ac- and destabilize the revolution in Sepordered the closure of the U.S. commu- quire U.S.-manufactured arms from tember October 1977 with the help of nications station in Asmara, the U.S. Vietnam with Soviet help, Berhanu regional forces hostile to the country. Information Service (USIS) center, and emphasizes that “in contrast to the past Again allegedly, Ethiopian authorities the American military assistance advi- the PMAC intends to consider this is- received a letter revealing the pending sory offices, and abrogated the Ethio- sue with the Vietnamese directly, rather plot from unknown sources in Africa U.S. Mutual Defense Assistance Agree- than running to the People's Republic and then conveyed this threat to the ment—the official treaty of alliance of China (PRC) for mediation." The ambassadors of the socialist countries. with the United States dating from reference to the past alluded to the left- A few days later, the Permanent Secre1953. It is also remarkable how ist elements of the Military Council who tary of the Foreign Ministry, Dawit Mengistu was apparently successful in were liquidated in the coup. In another Wolde Giorgis, visited the Soviet emprojecting himself to the Soviets as a conversation report, in July 1977, bassy and provided a copy of the letter genuine, pro-Soviet, revolutionary Cuba's military specialist in Addis to Ratanov. Interestingly, Dawit menleader constantly challenged by nation- Ababa, General Arnoldo Ochoa, con- tions this incident in his book.4 He alist elements within his own Council. veys to Soviet Ambassador Ratanov notes an unsuccessful attempt by the In one May 1978 conversation report, that Mengistu had personally assured Ethiopian government to verify the letRotislav Ulianovskii, an influential se- him about the decline in Ethiopian-Chi- ter through follow-up inquiries and denior Third World policy analyst in the nese relations following the PMAC's scribes the great sense of panic and susCPSU, instructs his East German coun- finding that the PRC was providing picion it had created in the Foreign Ofterpart Friedel Trappen, arguing: military assistance to the Eritrean fice. Moreover, while he alludes to the

People's Liberation Front (EPLF). possibility that the letter may have been Mengistu deserves to be regarded by Mengistu, according to Ochoa, had ex- fabricated, he unfortunately does not us as a man who represents internation- plained the decision to limit all relations state a likely source. The mysterious letter provides the names of two Ameri- because of Mengistu's resistance, and Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Yemen. can officials, alleged masterminds of the to the disappointment of the Soviets, the In his meeting with Honecker the folplot, with their ranks and positions at party didn't come into existence until lowing month, Castro provides a dethe U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. 1984. Two documents presented here tailed report about the attitudes of the If it is true, as Paul Henze asserts in this refer to Soviet anxiety about repeated two leaders, Mengistu and Barre, topublication, that even the names are fic- delays from the Ethiopian side in ac- ward the proposal. Mengistu is referred titious, it is odd that the Ethiopian au- cepting the arrival of “a specially se- to in glowing terms while Barre is dethorities convened a socialist ambassa- lected group of experienced CPSU scribed as a chauvinist whose principal dors' meeting in panic instead of easily comrades” to help in the party forma- idea is nationalism, not socialism. The verifying through elementary diplo- tion process. One of them notes that report vividly shows Castro trapped as matic inquiry and concluding that it had “Mengistu apparently has no concept of a victim of his own ideology. Having been a fabrication. The theory of a cha- the cooperation with the advisers (and erroneously assumed an absolute conrade—a make-believe drama enacted on that) it is necessary to convince him that nection between perceived global false information—will thus have to they could be a real help and relief.” trends-depicting socialism as the include the Ethiopians as well as So- Obviously, at this early stage in the world's dynamic force—and the local viet authorities as actors if it is to be revolution, the Soviets did not realize situation in the Horn, he had expected considered a plausible explanation. that Mengistu was intentionally pre- a successful outcome to his efforts. His In addition, a few other documents venting Moscow's infiltration into his

venting Moscow's infiltration into his sharp disappointment in Barre's personprovide accounts of some early reser- power structure before completing a ality, on which the report dwells, should vations the Soviet Union and its allies prolonged process of weeding out po- have been subordinated to the more cruhad about Mengistu's handling of cer- tential contenders and adversaries. cial realization that national and ethnic tain issues. It should be noted that in

rivalries peculiar to the region had earlier Western writings, some of these

II. Ethio-Somali War

doomed the confederation from the outreservations were usually associated

set. Also in this document, the Cuban with a later period, after Gorbachev as- A substantial number of the docu- leader, perhaps for the first time, forcesumed power in Moscow in 1985. But ments presented here address the So- fully raised the impending dilemma facas early as December 1977, a conver- viet bloc's involvement in the conflict. ing the Soviet bloc in the Horn of Afsation between the East Germans and Indeed, for Moscow, Barre's aggression rica. He tells Honecker, “I see a great Ratanov points toward the need for against Ethiopia, which began in early danger ... if the socialist countries help Ethiopia to adopt a mixed economy 1977 under the guise of a Western So- Ethiopia, they will lose Siad Barre's along the lines of the Soviet NEP (New mali Liberation Movement and which friendship. If they don't, the Ethiopian Economic Program) of the 1920s. The escalated into full-scale intervention the revolution will founder.” Faced with leadership's perception of the national following July, was both a welcome an either/or situation within six-eight bourgeoisie as an enemy of the revolu- event and a potentially dangerous de- months, Moscow bet on Ethiopia at the tion and the alienation and exclusion of velopment. On one hand, it provided risk of irretrievably losing Somalia. this group as well as of the liberal- the Soviets with the opportunity to rap- Another issue warranting mention minded functionaries of the state appa- idly penetrate Ethiopia, the prized state is a probable justification for the ratus from the economy and national life of the Horn, while, on the other hand, it Kremlin's massive air- and sealift of is criticized as a dangerous trend with entailed a potentially painful risk of los- military equipment (worth about one negative consequences. In another con- ing another state where Moscow had billion dollars), 12,000 Cuban combat versation the following February, a cen- already built a presence: Somalia. The troops, and about 1500 Soviet military tral player in the CPSU's Africa policy documents help in tracing Moscow's advisers to Ethiopia in November-Degroup, Boris Ponomarev, expressed his policy in the region which began in cember 1977. This measure immediconcern over extremes in the Ethiopian 1976 as a strategy of courting "Social- ately followed Somalia's unilateral abRevolution—the mass executions of ist Ethiopia” without disturbing its rogation of the 1974 Treaty of Friendprisoners and the government's Red longstanding friendship with Somalia.

longstanding friendship with Somalia. ship and Cooperation with the USSR. Terror-directing the transmittal of By 1978 it had gone through a complete

By 1978 it had gone through a complete Why was such an overwhelming show these concerns to Mengistu using vari- somersault with the Soviet ejection of force necessary? Moscow's apparous channels.

from Mogadishu and its entrenchment ent objective in this spectacular move Finally in this section, the issue of in Addis Ababa after a massive supply was to guarantee the swift and decisive Moscow's relentless prodding of of arms which decided the outcome of end of the Ethio-Somali war with a Mengistu to set up a Marxist-Leninist the conflict in favor of Ethiopia. My quick and unconditional withdrawal of vanguard party to institutionalize the comments, however, will only briefly Somali forces from Ethiopian territory. revolution as well as to transform the focus on three particular issues. Two documents, the joint memorandum country into a reliable Soviet ally is a One is on the 16 March 1977 Cu- of the CPSU Third Africa Department subject addressed by many authors and ban-Yemen effort at creating a Marx- and the Political Department of the the focus of my own study) Primarily ist-Leninist confederation consisting of GDR Embassy in Moscow, and the Soviet Foreign Ministry/CPSU CC Inter- understanding of the Soviet dilemma: have any relations with the USSR, but national Department report on the So- rendering military assistance to Ethio- it went on record as advocating Albamali-Ethiopian conflict, shed light on a pia at the risk of losing its opportunity nian-style socialism, thus relations with probable motive: "to avoid a situation in Somalia. He also articulates Albania or China are not altogether inanalogous to the one in the Middle Ethiopia's revolutionary indebtedness conceivable. The few documents preEast”—where Sadat was taking his own and obligation to take Moscow's inter- sented here shed some light on Soviet spectacular initiative in making an un- est in the region into account. The docu- and East German links with the EPLF precedented visit to Jerusalem-from ment doesn't make clear whether he and its much smaller rival organization arising in the Horn.

was responding to a Soviet request; but, in Eritrea—the Eritrean Liberation According to the documents, the particularly if he raised the issue on his Front (ELF)—in the context of the two Soviet Union wanted to avert at all costs own initiative, the fact he makes such socialist countries' efforts at facilitatthe internationalization of the conflict an indirect commitment appears to have ing mediation with the Mengistu reand the possible involvement of the UN been subtle and timely maneuver to at- gime. In particular, in 1978 the East Security Council which it believed tract Moscow toward Ethiopia. Germans had arranged two direct highwould be in the interest of Western pow

level talks between Mengistu's repreers. Such an outcome, Moscow argued, III. The Eritrean Secessionists sentative, Berhanu Bayeh, and EPLF would be possible if an armistice were

leader Issaias Afeworki, the results of reached without the withdrawal of So- An interesting paradox in the which were promptly communicated by mali troops from occupied Ethiopian Ethiopian revolution can be noted. With Honecker to Brezhnev. territory while Western powers simul- the exception of the Ethiopian Demo- What is clear from these docutaneously pushed for Security Council cratic Union (EDU) (an entity associ- ments is the fact that the EPLF had apinvolvement. A takeover by the Secu- ated with the remnants of the Selassie parently maintained well-established rity Council, moreover, would delay a era), the other four major organizations contacts with the SED and Issaias talked resolution of the conflict in a similar which struggled to topple Mengistu's directly with Honecker as a leader of a fashion as in the Middle East, possibly regime all ironically professed alle- revolutionary party. This level of conincreasing the danger for superpower giance to Marxism-Leninism, just like tact may well not have been to confrontation as the West and other un- their principal adversary. While two of Mengistu's liking. On the other hand, , friendly states demanded Soviet exit them, the Ethiopian People's Revolu- Moscow apparently exhibited sensitivfrom the region as a precondition and tionary Party (EPRP) and the All Ethio- ity to the views in Addis Ababa in that blame it for causing the conflict. The pian Workers' Movement (MEISON), the ELF and its leader Ahmed significance of this logic is better ap- all but perished during the violent con- Mohammed Nasser were less closely preciated when recalling Sadat’s dra- frontations of the late 1970s, the other linked with Moscow through the matic announcement in early Novem- two, the Eritrean People's Liberation USSR's Solidarity Committee. Moreber that he would visit Israel. It was a Front (EPLF) and the Tigrean People's over, in one of the documents, move that crushed plans for multilat- Liberation Front (TPLF) ultimately suc- Ulianovskii rejects an East German proeral talks on the Middle East at Geneva ceeded in coordinating their efforts to posal that Issaias meet with him in and suddenly removed the Soviets from renounce Marxism after the late 1980s, Moscow so that the CPSU could exert a direct role in the Arab-Israeli peace dislodge Mengistu from power in 1991, pressure on the EPLF to compromise talks. In the face of such a setback, and establish two independent states- with Mengistu. Nevertheless, it is clear Moscow apparently showed its deter- Eritrea and the Federal Democratic that both Berlin and Moscow had apmination to anchor just at the other end Republic of Ethiopia—by 1993-1994. parently coordinated a concerted effort of the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia in a To what extent these various (pre- at finding a political solution to the desperate attempt to balance, in some viously?) revolutionary organizations Eritrean problem by pressuring both the degree, the loss of influence in Egypt had forged parallel relations with Mos- government of Mengistu as well as the by consolidating a strong presence in cow and other socialist countries re- rebel movements toward constructive the greater Middle East conflict zone. mains an interesting question to explore. dialogue. The results, however, had not

The final issue of interest in this The EPRP claims to have established been encouraging. section addresses one of Mengistu's contacts with the CPSU as early as In conclusion, the documents prefirst reactions about the possible Soviet 1972.6 MEISON had purportedly de- sented here are indeed important conuse of Ethiopian port facilities in the veloped links through associations with tributions to the study of the politics of likely event of the Somalia's denying European Communist parties in the the Horn during 1977-1978 in the conMoscow access to the port of Berbera. 1970s.7 Until the Ethiopian revolution, text of the Cold War. Their value is not He addresses this issue with Ratanov the EPLF had been openly assisted by so much in the amount of “new” inforin a conversation dated 29 July 1977. countries like Cuba, possibly offering mation they present, although there is He, interestingly, doesn't provide a clear indirect ties to Moscow. The TPLF, as some. Rather, they are priceless in procut commitment to provide the USSR an organization founded after Ethiopia viding unique first-hand insight into the access to its ports. Instead he states an joined the Soviet orbit, probably didn't

joined the Soviet orbit, probably didn't perceptions and attitudes of the major

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