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US Allows North Korean Arms Deal With Ethiopa

Old 04-08-07, 08:25 AM
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US Allows North Korean Arms Deal With Ethiopa

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...d/4696294.html

WASHINGTON Three months after the United States successfully pressed the United Nations to impose strict sanctions on North Korea because of the country's nuclear test, Bush administration officials allowed Ethiopia to complete a secret arms purchase from North Korea, in what appears to be a violation of the restrictions, according to senior U.S. officials.

The United States allowed the arms delivery to go through in January in part because Ethiopian troops were in the midst of a military offensive against Islamic militias inside Somalia, a campaign that aided the U.S. policy of combating religious extremists in Africa.

U.S. officials said that they were still encouraging Ethiopia to wean itself from its long-standing reliance on North Korea for cheap Soviet-era military equipment to supply its armed forces and that Ethiopian officials appeared receptive. But the arms deal is an example of the compromises that result from the clash of two foreign policy absolutes: the Bush administration's commitment to fighting Islamic radicalism and its effort to starve the North Korean government of money it could use to build up its nuclear weapons program.

Since 9/11, as the administration has made counterterrorism its top foreign policy concern, the White House has sometimes shown a willingness to tolerate misconduct by allies that it might otherwise criticize, such as human rights violations in Central Asia and anti-democratic crackdowns in some Arab nations.

U.S. officials from a number of agencies described details of the episode on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal Bush administration deliberations.

Several officials said they first learned that Ethiopia planned to receive a delivery of military cargo from North Korea when the country's government alerted the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, after the adoption on Oct. 14 of the U.N. Security Council measure imposing sanctions.

"The Ethiopians came back to us and said, 'Look, we know we need to transition to different customers, but we just can't do that overnight,'" said one U.S. official, who added that the issue had been handled properly.

U.S. intelligence agencies in late January reported that an Ethiopian cargo ship that was probably carrying tank parts and other military equipment had left a North Korean port.

After a brief debate in Washington, the decision was made not to block the arms deal and to press Ethiopia not to make future purchases.

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Just remember folks, the term "Axis Of Evil" is very flexible. And meaningless.

Someday in the future, we'll probably find out some of the weapons were sold to terrorist groups.
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Old 04-08-07, 08:32 AM
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Yeah, this is pretty much "my enemy's enemy is my friend" mentality.

That mentality has served the U.S. so well in the past.
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Old 04-08-07, 08:45 AM
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More like "My enemy, who supplies my enemy's enemy, ain't so bad, really."

These are not very hi-tech weapons either, not at all like trading in nuke or (long range) missile parts. Still, it seems hypocritical if the goal is not to allow trade in anything. The more important question, if you are an Ethiopian, is how do you feel about fighting with arms which are cheap North Korean copies of obsolete Soviet weapons systems.
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Old 04-08-07, 12:30 PM
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why allow this? does the u.s. not have any we could sell them?
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Old 04-08-07, 12:50 PM
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That was a question I had as well, V. We could have sold them something from somewhere other than North Korea. I mean hek, we could have arranged for arms from China. Or even India. Or Russia.
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