The Soviet Union and Its World Influence Part XIV

About Eritrea - History & Culture


The solidarity between the struggle of the Eritrean and Palestine people, when seen from the perspective of the relations between the organizations of the two people, had declined. When the Dergue allied itself with the Soviet Union, many Palestine organizations maligned the Eritrean revolution, which they had been supporting, as a “tool of imperialism”. Consequently relations were broken. Furthermore, PLO solidarity with the Eritrean revolution cooled, when the Dergue allowed it to open an office in Addis Ababa. The EPLF had tried to preserve it relation with the PLO and other Palestine organization, but it did not receive a positive response.

South Yemen and Libya were openly hostile to the Eritrean struggle. Both have intervened military on the side of the Dergue, causing damage and destruction. Though South Yemen withdrew its forces from Eritrea, it was, until it encountered internal crisis, offering air and naval logistic support to the Dergue. Libya too continued to support the Dergue, although their relationship had cooled, Egypt remained reserved on Eritrea because and wanted to improve its relations with Ethiopia as part of effort to protect its interest in the Middle East, and, particular in the Red Sea and Nile basin. The Mubarek regime began to lobby for the Dergue and against the Eritrean revolution. This could have been prompted by the decline of Egyptian influence in the Sudan. Although, the EPLF strived to establish friendly relation with Egypt, as with other Arab countries, it expressed its objection to the Mubarek governments stand.

Saudi Arabia as a wealthy nation had great influence in the region. After its first organization congress, the EPLF actively worked to establish a friendly relationship with Saudi Arabia. But from the start, Saudi Arabia did not like the EPLF’s independent political line, and embarked in the task of creating and consolidating Eritrean groups that would serve its regional interest of ensuring its dominance by destabilizing others. Over the years, it intensified its efforts to weaken the EPLF and played a major role in setting up the defunct ELF-United organization on the basis of the “Jeddah Agreement”. The EPLF expressed its opposition to Saudi interference but more importantly, it called upon Saudi Arabia to play positive and constructive role to bring about the unity of Eritrean organizations, but to no avail. To further strain the relationship, Saudi Arabia closed the EPLF’s office and confiscated EPLF weapons. Even though, the “Jeddah Agreement” had failed it was busy setting up sabotage groups.