Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"No African red carpet for King of Kings"

I'm quoted in David Clarke's Reuters story "No African red carpet for King of Kings." Here is the quote:
"Eritrea has close relations with Gaddafi and Isaias does not seem concerned about the views of his African colleagues," said David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Eritrea's neighbour Ethiopia.

As long as Isaias remains in power, Gaddafi should be safe from any international prosecution.
Here's the full statement I provided Clarke in response to his questions about where Gaddafi might theoretically seek refuge in Africa if he is forced to flee:
Much would depend on the circumstances of his departure from Libya. If he left in utter desperation, it is difficult to identify a single African state that would be interested in taking him. In my view, the two most likely candidates would be Zimbabwe and Eritrea. Zimbabwe already has Mengistu Haile Mariam. Eritrea has close relations with Gaddafi and Isaias does not seem concerned about the views of his African colleagues. South Africa would not take him and I can’t imagine that Senegal would do so. Burkina Faso is also an unlikely candidate. Chad and Niger are too close and would be fearful of cross border activity. Equatorial Guinea is an outside possibility, perhaps together with the Comoro Islands. The rest of the world might think of them as island prisons.

Should Gaddafi leave as part of a negotiated arrangement to end or prevent a civil war, then the situation changes. The receiving country could argue that it was doing a favor for all of Africa. In such a situation, possible recipients include Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Comoro Islands and perhaps a half dozen others. Neighboring countries would not, however, want Gaddafi for fear that it would lead to retribution.

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