The Ethiopian PR Operation in Washington


By Scott Morgan

One cannot help but to notice the smugness and arrogance of the current leadership in Addis Ababa. On April 7, the recently minted Foreign Minister Workeneh Gebeyehu told the Ethiopian Parliament about the recent failure of two US Resolutions in Congress that were written to address the Human Rights Climate in Ethiopia

These two Resolutions S Res 432 (on the Senate Side of the Building) and its partner H Res 861 (in the House) were introduced, last fall, following the crackdown in the Oriomo region left hundreds of people dead after altercations with the Security Forces. There was also concern afterwards when the State Department issued a Warden Message to US Citizens in the country, although the SMS message was blocked by Ethiopian Security Services using software obtained from the Hacking Team.

So, now we ask the critical question of the hour: what is the status of the Legislation? Have they been defeated - as the current Ethiopian Leadership is gloating over? Well not so fast my friends. All legislation that has been introduced into the US Congress is actually available to the general public via the Library of Congress. One of the options that is available is to see what actions have been taken regarding any piece of legislation.

So guess what happened when a search was undertaken? It was determined that these resolutions were introduced by the 114th Congress (the Previous One). So now we must ask: what then is their current status? The Resolution was introduced into the House and referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee, where it currently remains with no action taken according to the Library. The Senate version however has seen traction and movement. It was introduced a year ago (April 20,2016) then sat for a few weeks before being assigned to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In late June, it was reported out of the Committee, by Chairman Corker, and placed on the Calendar # 536

Having said this, can we actually believe the spin that these items have been defeated in Congress? At the very least they may have to be reintroduced as a new Congress has been seated.

But have the Ethiopian Government overplayed their hand? After all, the country boasted of assisting Qatar lobby the outgoing Obama Administration regarding the lifting of actions against Sudan. Recently, a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission discussed the proposed lifting of the sanctions and found that the threshold for their permanent lifting has not been met by Khartoum.

It has been reported that the Ethiopian Government hired the firm SGR to represent its interests in Washington for $1.8 Million. Clearly, the state is concerned about how Washington perceives the current Ethiopian leadership and they are willing to both pay top dollar in the US and lie to themselves back at home with delusions of grandeur.

(Image: Ethiopian Flag - Wikimedia)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]

Comments

  1. Hi Morgan,

    Interesting how some countries that were against Sudan until recently are all lobbying on their behalf now: Ethiopia and Israel seem to be a good example. And it should leave us suspicious too, but that's a different conversation for a different day.

    Ethiopia does need a PR campaign but what it needs the most is to change slightly the way it conducts its domestic policy. Although I understand where the government is coming from. Having said this, Washington needs to start looking at issues not from its own perspective but from the African people's (not leaders') point of view.

    Good job, mate.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know, Sudan was also violating human rights and today Sudan is the pet of the world. Is it now time to make Ethiopia the bad guy? Then who will be next?

    ReplyDelete

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