This paper will discuss the ability of Eritrea, a nation that is in the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's (CJTF-HOA) Area of Responsibility (AOR), to influence an issue of regional importance and it's affect on the interests of the United States (U.S.). The regional instability that Eritrea creates or exacerbates has a global impact on the goals of the U.S. Eritrea provides support to armed groups, who commit violence and terrorist acts. Some of the groups have a direct connection to al-Qaeda, whom the U.S. has been fighting for more than a decade. Eritrea's continued support of these armed groups, will only serve to further destabilize the region.
CJTF-HOA's vision statement: "CJTF-HOA builds and strengthens partnerships to contribute to security and stability in East Africa. The task force’s efforts, as part of a comprehensive whole-of-government approach, are aimed at increasing our African partner nations’ capacity to maintain a stable environment, with an effective government that provides a degree of economic and social advancement to its citizens. An Africa that is stable, participates in free and fair markets, and contributes to global economic development is good for the United States as well as the rest of the world. Long term stability is a vital interest of all nations" ("CJTF-HOA fact sheet", 2012). Eritrea's support to armed groups goes directly against the stated goal of increasing the African partner nations' ability to maintain stable environments and effective governments.
There is evidence that links Eritrea to providing support to armed groups in the following countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. One of the most well known groups is the Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin (al-Shabaab) in Somalia. The U.S. designated al-Shabaab a Foreign Terrorist Organization, on 29 February 2008 ("al-Shabaab - terrorist"). The Eritrean Government does not deny it has a political relationship with al-Shabaab but they do deny any involvement in military, material or financial support. The United Nations' (UN) Monitoring Group acquired evidence that includes: records of financial payments, eyewitness interviews and data relating to maritime and aviation movements. This evidence indicates Eritrean support for Somali armed opposition groups that is not limited to political or humanitarian support (Bryden, Roofthooft, Schbley & Taiwo, 2011). The leader of al-Shabaab, Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair, posted an audio message, on the group's website, stating that his followers "will march with you as loyal soldiers," in a statement to the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri (CNN Wire Staff, 2012).
Eritrea's war for independence from Ethiopia lasted for 30 years. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front, which became the political party referred to as the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), has controlled Eritrea since its victory over the Ethiopian military forces in 1991. The deaths from this war resulted in...