Will Bahir Dar be Abiy Ahmed’s last stand?

Does Abiy Ahmed feel safer in Bahir Dar then Addis Ababa? Here he is seen with his wife who now has been sent to Switzerland

Yesterday Abiy Ahmed held a day long meeting with military and other government officials in Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara region where he stated according to the Addis Standard the Tigray military mission cannot be defeated by the Ethiopian military. Now that the Tigray Defense Force has captured Dessie and soon will have Kombalcha which will allow them to join forces with the Oromo Liberation Army no doubt the next step is to topple the government. 

The Bahir Dar meeting ended with a call for all citizens of Ethiopia to rise up in an effort to stop the Tigray. No doubt Abiy Ahmed feels his strongest support is in the heart of Amhara. Geographically Bahir Dar is farthest from the Tigray Defense Force and has considerable untouched ground defenders as well as an airbase west of the city well protected which could hold drones and fighter aircraft. The lake to the north of the city is a natural barrier to invasion. The Oromo surround Addis Ababa but not Bahir Dar.

Abiy Ahmed has also been called to appear before Parliament by many members to explain his failure and plan for finding peace. By staying in Bahir Dar he can avoid this requirement.

So far today no official statement has been made from Addis Ababa. Did Abiy Ahmed stay in Bahir Dar? Will Abiy Ahmed make his last stand in Bahir Dar? Does he feel safer in Bahir Dar surrounded by Amhara loyalists then in Addis Ababa which is long contested as really being Finfinne, an Oromo city. Is it likely that if he stays in Addis Ababa local spontaneous revolt by disaffected Oromos will start up?

OLA forces reach Addis outskirts increased trade sanctions against Ethiopia coming

Abiy Ahmed meets with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey

At this moment multiple sources report Oromo Liberation Army elements are fighting in the neighborhood near Entoto Mountain on the edge of Addis Ababa just a short distance from the airport. At the same time Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a hasty visit to see the President Erdoğan of Turkey.  The Tigray Defense Force continues to advance toward both Bahir Dar and Gondar while also pushing into Western Tigray. The supply of weapons and trained combat soldiers seems to have run out for the Amhara militias trying a last stand near Bahir Dar and Gondar.

Meanwhile Germany and the United States are setting up to increase sanctions on the Ethiopian government.  Many are asking will the Prime Minister be able to come back if a take over of Addis is imminent?

Although there are all out call outs for volunteers many of the new fighters have no training and only sticks for weapons

Assuming for the moment his Prosperity Party will stay in power at least for a while recent diplomatic actions or lack there of predict poor relations with the United States. The snubbing of USAID Head Samantha Powers last week and now Jeffrey  Feltman, the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, by Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, raises the high likelihood that Ethiopia will be declared in violation of the AGOA which allows Ethiopian exports to the USA in hundreds of millions of dollars. Should the Ethiopian government survive which many seem to doubt at this point Ethiopia .


Graph of the trade balance between Ethiopia and the United States in millions of dollars

The United States State Department requests for peace talks with the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front by the Ethiopian government have been soundly rejected as well as requests for military forces invading Tigray to withdrawal, restoration of power, internet, access of aid and investigatory bodies to be allowed to enter Tigray. Growing impatience with the American State Department as well as members of Congress who have passed several resolution condemning the treatment of Tigrayans and the atrocities attributed to the Ethiopia and Eritrean fighting forces have resulted in no response.

U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Ethiopia totaled $151 million in 2019. Leading categories include: unroasted coffee ($130 million), nursery products ($6 million), spices ($3 million), planting seeds ($357 thousand), and wine and beer ($271 thousand)

Only 9% of total imports to Ethiopia come the United States. Ethiopia main imports are: foodstuffs, textile, machinery and fuel. Ethiopia main trading partners are: China (18 percent of total imports), Saudi Arabia (13 percent),  Russia and India (9 percent)

The African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2001 gave Ethiopia a chance to export 1800 different products to the United States duty free. However to participate in AGOA To meet AGOA’s there are strict eligibility requirements including ” countries must establish or make continual progress toward establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process.  Additionally, countries must eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment, enact policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption and protect human rights.”