In section 5.3 of the Dictator's Handbook we discuss the militarized society, forced conscription into the military, and the like. Eritrea is a great example of this in practice, and we call out President Efawerki for using the military as somewhat of an obligatory indentured service. Turns out, young men are pouring in droves over the border to escape the practice. Surprised?
Here it is from the Mail and Globe of South Africa.
Former soldiers say that most Eritrean Defence Force units are now operating at 25% of capacity or lower and the overall strength of the army, often estimated by outsiders at 250 000 to 300 000, may actually be less than 80 000.
Perhaps to compensate, Eritreaâ€™s unelected president â€“ former liberation front commander Isaias Afwerki â€“ has ordered all able-bodied men not in the uniformed military to join village and neighbourhood militias and is issuing AK-47 assault rifles to them. He also ordered a shake-up in the defence force command structure, diminishing the authority of General Filipos Weldeyohannes, his favourite for the past five years, and elevating General Tekali â€œManjusâ€ Kiflai. It is something he does periodically with top generals and political appointees to prevent anyone from accumulating a base of support.
A great read.