厄立特里亚:未来转型的方案
厄立特里亚:未来转型的方案
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
Eritrea’s One-man Rule
Eritrea’s One-man Rule
Report 200 / Africa

厄立特里亚:未来转型的方案

执行摘要

过去十二个月中发生的事件表明,在厄立特里亚受到严格控制的政权内部,不满情绪正日益增长,同时,政治和社会分裂也在加深。事件发生的数量不断增多,表明伊萨亚斯总统的政权是很脆弱的,人们越发担忧他是否有能力继续执政。同时,在转型期或者转型后,厄立特里亚会面临许多体制、社会-经济和地缘政治上的障碍。事实证明,暴力性质的权力争夺对非洲之角而言是很危险的,可能对红海国家——因为厄立特里亚是一个濒海国家——也是如此。要想防止在厄立特里亚发生暴力性质的权力争夺,当务之急是要对上述障碍以及邻国和更广泛的国际社会所扮演的角色进行仔细评估。

2012年4月伊萨亚斯总统从公众视野中消失了几个星期,其间有传言称他生病并去世了。这清楚表明他的政权缺乏一个继任计划。2012年3月和5月,埃塞俄比亚军队对厄立特里亚的入侵,揭露了厄立特里亚军队力量极为脆弱的事实。紧接着,一连串的叛变引起了媒体的注意:10月,总统专机的飞行员潜逃;11月,信息部长(总统的亲密盟友)突然消失;12月,国家足球队要求政治庇护。与此同时,每个月都有数以千计的厄立特里亚人——大部分是年轻人——逃走,他们宁愿接受难民营或者非法移民路途的危险和不确定性,也不愿意生活在没有希望的祖国。2013年1月21日,大约100名士兵在首都阿斯马拉叛变,控制信息部达一天时间。

很难预测厄立特里亚在后伊萨亚斯时代会是什么样子:尽管经过了21年强势的国家建设,分裂,尤其是民族之间、地区之间和宗教之间(基督教与穆斯林)的分裂仍然存在,其中一些分裂程度比过去更甚。由于国家缺乏制度性机制来实现权力的和平过渡甚至是明确指定一位继任者,因此可以预计会出现不稳定因素,有可能会由腐败的军队来裁决谁会是这个国家的下一任执政者。但是,就连军队的将军们对总统的忠诚程度也不尽相同。

要想减少厄立特里亚及其周边地区不稳定的风险,由国际社会行为体组成的一个广泛联盟需要采取谨慎的措施,包括展开迅速的和决定性的努力,来推动防止内部权力争斗和调解实现和平过渡的对话。这样做可能会达成如下结果:厄立特里亚开放政治空间,实现国内和国际关系的正常化。阿斯马拉方面应该抓住任何可能的机会来摆脱困境。联合国对厄立特里亚的制裁(原因是厄立特里亚支持索马里青年党以及进行了其它一些危害稳定的活动)应该受到积极的审查。欧盟和美国应该与其他一些国家如卡塔尔和南非等进行合作,这些国家与厄立特里亚统治阶层有着更好的关系,有助于与厄立特里亚进行建设性的接触。地区组织“政府间发展管理局”(Intergovernmental Authority on Development,IGAD)的成员国应该欢迎厄立特里亚的回归,并鼓励与厄实现关系正常化。

许多人相信正式的外交途径会继续受阻,如果确实如此,那么埃塞俄比亚、苏丹和吉布提应该与流亡的反对派(包括民族武装战线)进行接触,以此来鼓励与阿斯马拉异见分子进行的积极接触,推动对话,敦促他们同意不使用武力,从而防止发生旷日持久的冲突并对整个地区造成影响。

本报告探讨了厄立特里亚政权的薄弱之处,为后伊萨亚斯时代的厄立特里亚描绘出六种可能的情景,并明确指出该国和该地区会面临的主要危险和机会。有关的西方伙伴以及与阿斯马拉有特殊关系的邻国和政府能发挥关键作用,阻止一场大规模人道主义危机的发生,甚至是该国的毁灭。

内罗毕⁄布鲁塞尔,2013年3月28日

Executive Summary

Events in the last twelve months indicate growing discontent inside Eritrea’s tightly controlled regime, as well as deepening political and social divisions. While the mounting number of incidents suggests that President Isaias Afwerki’s regime is vulnerable, with increasing concerns over its ability to stay in power, the country would face numerous institutional, socio-economic and geopolitical obstacles during and after any transition. A careful assessment of these, as well as the role neighbours and the wider international community could play, is urgently needed to help avoid a violent power struggle that could prove dangerous for the Horn of Africa and potentially – as Eritrea is a littoral state – for the Red Sea region.

Isaias’s disappearance from public view for several weeks in April 2012 amid rumours of his illness and death made evident the lack of a succession plan. In March and May 2012, the Ethiopian army made incursions, revealing the Eritrean military’s disastrous state. Subsequently, a number of defections reached media attention: pilots flying the presidential plane absconded in October, the information minister (a close ally of the president) vanished in November, and the national football team requested asylum in December. Meanwhile several thousand – predominantly young – Eritreans fled every month, preferring the danger and uncertainty of refugee camps and illegal migration routes to the hopeless stasis at home. Then, on 21 January 2013, approximately 100 soldiers rebelled in the capital, Asmara, taking control of the information ministry for a day.

It is difficult to predict what an eventually post-Isaias Eritrea will look like: after and in spite of 21 years of forceful nation-building, fault lines, especially of ethnicity, region and religion (Christians versus Muslims) are still there, some deeper than before. Since the state lacks any institutional mechanisms for peaceful transition of power or even a clearly anointed successor, instability is to be expected, with the corrupt army the likely arbiter of who will rule next. But even the generals appear split over loyalty toward the president.

To reduce the risk of instability in Eritrea and its neighbourhood, a broad coalition of international actors should take precautionary moves, including immediate and decisive efforts to promote dialogue on avoidance of internal power struggles and mediation of a peaceful transition. This could lead to opening of political space and normalisation, both domestically and internationally. Any opportunity should be seized to bring Asmara in from the cold. UN-imposed sanctions (imposed for support of Al-Shabaab in Somalia and other destabilising activities) should be kept under active review. The European Union (EU) and U.S. should work with others, such as Qatar and South Africa, that have better relations with Eritrea’s ruling elite and could facilitate constructive engagement. Member states of the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should welcome Eritrea back and encourage normalisation of relations.

If, as many believe, formal diplomacy remains blocked, Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti should engage with exiled opposition parties (including armed ethnic fronts) to encourage proactive engagement with dissidents in Asmara, promote dialogue and agreement by them not to use  force that could lead to a protracted conflict and have repercussions for the entire region.

This report examines the regime’s vulnerabilities, maps out six possible scenarios for a post-Isaias Eritrea and identifies the main risks and opportunities the country and the region would face. Concerned Western partners, neighbours and governments with special relations with Asmara could play a vital role in preventing a major humanitarian crisis or even the state’s collapse.

Nairobi/Brussels, 28 March 2013

 Join Alan Boswell and his guests for Season 2 of The Horn podcast.
Podcast / Africa

Eritrea’s One-man Rule

Eritrea continues to be an enigma few outsiders know well. This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell is joined by author and journalist Martin Plaut, who offers unique insights on the Horn of Africa’s most off-the-radar country and President Isaias’ autocratic state.

President Isaias Afwerki has become virtually synonymous with the state of Eritrea, having single-handedly moulded the country in his image since its inception in 1991. Alan is joined this week by Martin Plaut – author, journalist and now Senior Fellow at the University of London – who has covered Eritrea’s trajectory for almost 40 years.  

Together they explore how Isaias has maintained his unyielding grip on power while pursuing his geopolitical ambitions in the region and further afield. Martin describes a country pervaded with regime paranoia, extreme domestic repression and isolationism that has somehow also managed to leverage itself into strategic partnerships with actors ranging from the UAE and Saudi Arabia to insurgent groups.

This in-depth conversation offers insights into the inner workings of the Horn of Africa’s most off-the-radar country, the shape-shifting quality of Isaias’ shrewd foreign policy as well as the uncertain future of a post-Isaias Eritrea.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.