One cannot help but to notice the smugness and arrogance of the current leadership in Addis Ababa. On April 7th the recently minted Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu recently 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 after the crackdown in the Oromo region left hundreds of people dead after altercations with the Security Forces. There was also concern after the incident when the State Department issued a Warden Message to US Citizens in the country but the SMS message was blocked by Ethiopian Security Services using software obtained from 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 the question becomes 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 Committee by Chairman Corker and placed on the Calendar # 536. No further actions was reported
So 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 earlier this year.
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. They have also in the past intervened in both Somalia and in South Sudan at the behest of previous administrations in Washington.
It has been reported that the Ethiopian Government has also hired the firm SGR to represent its interests in Washington for $1.8 Million. Clearly the concerns of the image that is seen in Washington of the current leadership of Ethiopia is a paramount concern and they are willing to both pay top dollar in the US and lie to themselves back at home with delusions of grandeur.