Kazakhstan as source of military equipments
On June 29, 2017, shabait.com reported that a senior Eritrean delegation comprising Foreign Minister Osman Saleh, Presidential Advisor Mr. Yemane Gebreab and Ambassador Petros Tsegai are on a working visit to Kazakhstan. It is not a surprise if the only existing mouth of the totalitarian regime reported the news as a diplomatic visit by hiding the secret deal behind it. However, one sentence between the 99 words news report has every clue we can predict on. The sentence reads:
“They also reached to understanding on the priority areas of cooperation in the sectors of trade, investment mining as well as agriculture and transportation.”
one may wonder then what type of trade agreement could have been reached. It is is not that difficult to synthesize and reach a conclusion that the sole purpose of such trade agreement is basically on “military equipment.” Eritrea has a severe sanction on importing military types of equipment.
Since the border crisis of 1998-2000, Eritrea is suffering for getting a reliable source of military equipment that goes with its poor economic status. Russia, Ukraine, Iran and China were the principal sources. However, because of Eritrea’s immature diplomacy and its exposure to world scrutiny, no country is willing to give a sustainable market for its demand.
When Russia and Ukraine went into political crisis, and Crimea decided to separate from Ukraine, a high-level Eritrean delegation headed by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and including Mr. Yemane Gebreab visited Crimea and gave an official recognition for its separation. Ukraine condemned Eritrea’s visit. All these were done to please Russia. Russia and North Korea were by then the only source of military equipment to Eritrea. Because of Russia’s interference on extended war zones and huge market opportunity for military equipment, and Eritrea’s accusation by the USA on its military deal with North Korea, and China’s shift in its global strategy, Eritrea got itself in a limbo. Exploring new source of military equipment is a must to be looked for.
With the No-war-No-peace situation with Ethiopia, constant alert of conflicts along the Red Sea basin, The Gulf crisis, potential conflicts within Sudan and South Sudan, and now the renewed border crisis with Djibouti, all obliges Eritrea to equip itself with military equipment stocks.
Within scenario and the already existing sanction, open markets are not favored by Eritrea. Instead, least known countries like Kazakhstan is a good opportunity for Eritrea to make trade agreements that can supply its military equipment deficit.
Kazakhstan, a former USSR member, has a modest technology of producing military equipment. It is also a strategic marketplace for the Far East countries juncture of trades. Russia, China, North Korea and all other countries that are actively producing military equipment can land Kazakhstan to trade their materials.
Some facts about Kazakhstan
A. During the Soviet Era (Source: click here)
- Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan was the most significant site of military-industrial activity in Central Asia. The Republic was home to roughly 3 percent of Soviet defense facilities, including more than fifty enterprises and 75,000 workers, located mostly in the predominantly Russian northern parts of the country.
- A plant in Öskemen fabricated beryllium and nuclear reactor fuel and another at Aqtau produced uranium ore. Plants in Oral manufactured heavy machine guns for tanks and antiship missiles. In Petropavl, one plant produced SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles, and other plants manufactured torpedoes and naval communications equipment, support equipment for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), tactical missile launcher equipment, artillery, and armored vehicles. There was a torpedo-producing facility in Almaty as well. Chemical and biological weapons were produced in Aksu, and chemical weapons were manufactured in Pavlodar.
Though Kazakstan suffers from the inadequate budget on its military expenses, it is continuing its traditional military partnership with Russia. For example, the Second International Exhibition of Weapons System and Military Equipment (KADEX-2012) held in 2012 in Kazakhstan shows its military equipment production potential and its active engagement in the provision of such products to the world market. In the 4th international exhibition of the year 2016, an agreement reached between Jordan and Kazakhstan is the best example to see how serious is this country in this trade.
Those above trends show that 2017 Eritrea’s delegate visit to Kazakhstan is nothing but an agreement of army equipment.
Eritrea has chosen war over peace with its neighboring countries. The existing border conflict with Djibouti needs a peaceful negotiation to settle the border dispute. The building of military forces will help neither Eritrea not Djibouti. The withdrawal of Qatar should not be a reason to stop peace agreements. Rather another force, preferably African Union(AU) should replace the role of Qatar so that the conflict to end as soon as possible.
Eritrea will continue to create havoc in the horn of Africa; What other countries should learn is that Eritrea loses nothing as it is already a failed state. What those other countries should refrain from is that getting under the trap of Eritrea’s warmongering mindset is not a solution but a disaster for their own peace and security. Therefore, a careful method of containing Eritrea should be followed to avoid further conflict.
Those countries which are supplying Eritrea military equipments should also know that Eritrea is not using it’s for its own security but to disturb the peaceful existence of the horn of Africa. They should, therefore, abstain themselves from making any military equipment trade agreements. Otherwise, they are selling arms to a terrorist regime.
Kazakhstan as non-permanent member of UNSC
Eritrea is under UN sanction since 2011. So far, no hope exists on lifting this sanction. however, Eritrea never stopped from looking countries within the UNSC that can sympathize so that this sanction can be uplifted.
As Kazakhstan is a non-permanent member of UNSC, Eritrea hopes Kazakhstan to cooperate in lifting the sanction. Though it is impossible, if Eritrea continues to engage in trade activities, there could be possibilities of showing some interest in the Eritrean matters.