Ethiopia persecuted intolerable terror not concern for the welfare of Tigray civilians

There was no attempt by the Ethiopian government to try the traditional approach of winning hearts and minds instead the strategy was one of one intolerable terror.

A review of the actions of military forces supporting Ethiopian invasion of Tigray since November 2020 demonstrates a strategy of persecuting intolerable terror to the civilian population to force an unconditional surrender contradicting the latest pronouncement from the Ethiopian government is that they have deep concern for the welfare of the Tigray. All the while  paradoxically calling for them to bare the sacrifice of suffering concurrently the punishing military operations against their elected leaders in the TPLF. They add that the Tigrayan people need to understand that their sacrifice is necessary during this military operation because ultimately it will be to their benefit.

Over the past two years we have heard and seen time and again from Abiy Ahmed supporters that the military action and removal of human rights of the Tigray people by Ethiopia was necessary. The Ethiopian Prime Minister complained following his “withdrawal” from Tigray in 2021 that he could not persuade the Tigrayans to stop supporting the TPLF. His Social Minister Daniel Kibret said that the Tigrayan people should be totally erased from history. Other leaders in the Amharic community stated that Tigrayans should be killed at birth.

Just to review what has been well documented since the onset of conflict in November 2020. In fact lets start even before that. Whilst about 3 years ago Abiy Ahmed gave a speech to the Ethiopian Parliament that the TPLF was a good example of government that works for its constituency just a year later he called them terrorists. At the time the leaders of the TPLF had pretty much left Addis Ababa and focused on Tigray. They had accepted the change in leadership. Yet Abiy Ahmed and his coalition of Amhara supporters decided that they all of sudden wanted no tigray in the parliament at all so they outlawed the TPLF.

At the same time in the year before the conflict Tigrayans were removed from administrative posts, academic counsels, and budgets for everything in Tigray began to be sharply cut. As the Tigrayans were no longer allowed in Parliament they had no voice. Amhara Prosperity Party members created and voted on a proposal that they were “Terrorists” without any due process. The Ethiopian Constitution which clearly states that the different regional states have a right to maintain defense forces and forbids one region’s defense forces from attacking another.

We know that a military buildup occurred in the regional states adjacent to Tigray well before November 2020. In anticipation of a bloody conflict, the Ethiopian federal government had set medical teams to care for military casualties month before. The “peace agreement” between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea had contained an agreement for military alliance against Tigray. An immediate payment of $ 6 billion was given to Eritrea quickly at the onset of hostilities.

If the Ethiopian government was so concerned for the welfare of the Tigrayans consistently through this conflict the evidence to the contrary stands against this claim. The Ethiopian and Eritrean military forces have killed thousands of civilians, destroyed villages, farms, factories, homes, and places of business estimated to be worth worth one hundred billion birr by the Tigray Interim Administration appointed by Abiy Ahmed before Mekelle was retaken by the TDF.

Thousands of Tigrayans not even in Tigray proper have been detained without due process, allowed no right of free speech, had assets and property confiscated without cause, blocked from receiving medical care, and driven off land their families have worked for generations. Their representation in the Parliament has been effectively abolished.

For more than 2 years Tigray has endured an almost complete blockade of food, medical supplies, and fuel has been performed by the Ethiopian government. Electricity, phone service, and internet have been blocked. Clearly the intent of the Ethiopian government to was to convince the leadership of the TPLF that they would make the Tigrayan people suffer more and more hardship as a way of convincing the TPLF to give up. There was no attempt by the Ethiopian government to try the traditional approach of winning hearts and minds instead the strategy was one of one intolerable terror.

Howard University venue for Ethiopian government healthcare claims claiming Tigray inclusion

Open Letter to Howard University October 13, 2022

Subject: Use of Howard University Venue to promote Ethiopian government healthcare achievement while Tigray under  medical blockade

Dear Sir/Madamn,

Many of us who are concerned with the dire situation in Tigray and are concerned about the use of a Howard University venue for the promotion of a government deeply involved in the deprivation and violations of a minority. Howard University is a historic and important institution in American history which was created to offer those who were denied opportunities a chance to reach their potential which also enriched America as a whole. Today I am writing you about something that denigrates the legacy of your fine institution.

At this moment the 6 million plus population of Tigray is faced with an essentially complete blockade of medical supplies, fuel, and electricity. The 8 major hospitals including the tertiary Federal Mekelle Hospital which is a part of the Federal Mekelle University are not functioning. I was present in Tigray since 2015 including the first three months of the Tigray occupation by the Ethiopian government which began in November 2020.

Even during this time before the Tigray Regional State retook control in July 2021 the Ethiopian Ministries of Health under Dr. Lia Tadesse and Education essentially stopped all support of the hospital and university When Dr. Tadesse came to visit Mekelle she refused to have a meaningful discussion with Tigray health and university officials and just used the visit as a photo opportunity.

Over a half a million people in Tigray have died from lack of health care, starvation, and civilian casualties from military targeting by Eritrean and Ethiopian forces. Thousands of women were raped and mutilated but their suffering is aggravated by the lack of medical services.

Dr. Tadesse has published glowing reports of medical progress in all the “substates” of Ethiopia while neglecting to declare that her office which she oversees provides NOTHING to Tigray. The only medical supplies come from foreign donors and only a trickle of what is donated is allowed to pass through a government inspection. This restricts the vast majority of aid reaching Tigray. While Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed, the Minister of Women and Children, resigned her position when she confirmed the violence against women, Dr. Tadesse has been silent.

This week the United States State Department in cooperation with 6 other countries called upon the government of Ethiopia which is represented by Dr. Tadesse and others who are being given a venue in your university to stop blocking humanitarian access to Tigray and to address the human rights violations that have occurred.

Finally and not the least important, last night I was on the phone with a Tigrayan student at Howard University who informed me that on campus and in Washington DC in general, there is an underground network of Ethiopia government supporters who frequently and in fact openly intimidate Tigrayans and Eritreans. She is fearful to discuss the issues on campus. Imagine the sentiments felt by students who have seen their families killed, violated, displaced, and deprived when their institution is supporting the agent of their despair without reasonable allowance for fair discussions of opposite views.

Wounded fighters for Ethiopia were ill treated by their own government

Fighters for the Ethiopian government against Tigray were denied healthcare for their injuries and even that they existed. They suffered vocal abuse and rock pelting when they return to the border area with Amhara after release from Tigray. Photo source TGHAT

The treatment of war injured Ethiopian National Defense Force soldiers and their allies speaks volumes about Abiy Ahmed’s philosophy regarding the value of the common person. As much as possible Ethiopia wanted to portray the military action taken in Tigray as having few causalities or blood shed. They wanted to hide the fact that many soldiers in the Ethiopian National Defense Force as well as their mercenary allies, Eritreans and Somalis, were even present. When we recognized them as foreign fighters in Mekelle they were whisked away to the stadium as I describe below. This report is based upon my own experience in Mekelle as well as discussion with various persons in many regions of Tigray and Amhara. 

Many fighters for Ethiopia were scooped off the street while working as shoe shine boys or from the homes of their families with promises of bonus payments, land, and other rewards none of which never came true. Even worse when they were injured in battle they were often cursed as cowards and frequently assassinated by FANO militia behind the lines. This was part of a cover-up to minimize the portrayal of war vs a law enforcement operation. 

We know that prior to the onset of conflict between Tigray and Ethiopia on November 4, 2020 there were plans made with prominent Amhara members of the academic medical community in Addis Ababa and other Amhara centers to recruit medical staff for the upcoming expected conflict. The Ethiopian military itself normally has almost no doctors. The few military hospitals such as the largest Torhayloch in Addis Ababa relies upon many civilian full time generalists and part-time specialists usually recruited from medical school staff. In fact several years ago I was consulted by Ethiopian military leaders to discuss how we might train “military physicians” as they knew about my experience in the USA.

A part of this Tigray conflict plan was to avoid the public seeing that there were causalities of Ethiopian military personnel. This would match the concept that the operation was a “law enforcement” operation with little impact on civilians and with little sacrifice of life. In fact it was planned that a triage site and receiving center would be in the town of Woldia in Amhara near the southwestern Tigray border where trusted politically loyal doctors recruited would be established early on the fighting. Remember Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s boasting that there were few military casualties and not even one civilian killed early during the fighting.

When the Tigray Defense Force retreated and the ENDF forces advanced eventually through Tigray and finally into Mekelle they destroyed medical facilities in their path. Within their ranks were ENDF fighters mostly from Amhara and Oromo regions but also Eritrea and Somalia. For the first few weeks of occupation all these  combatants were treated initially at Ayder but not in great numbers. for long. The story we were told is that there many Tigray dead and almost no ENDF injuries. 

However the invading ENDF began to set up a sort of field hospital at the new soccer stadium in Mekelle. They began to transfer all ENDF, Eritrean, and Somali fighters to that facility. They also took almost all Tigray fighters in Ayder  to parts unknown. There was a recently built new military hospital in Tigray which was staffed with part time Mekelle University medical staff but this was closed within a few weeks.

Following the retreat of the ENDF from Ayder we learned that hospitals in Gondar, Dessie, and Bahir Dar were overwhelmed with so many medical causalities that regular civilians services were stopped or at least severally curtailed. Very few Tigrayan prisoners were seen at these facilities leading many to believe that the invading forces most likely executed immediately any potential prisoners.

Of the tens of thousands of prisoners held in Mekelle in the rehabilitation camp many were given adequate food and what health care was available. Many government employed medical personnel as well as Mekelle University faculty volunteered to care for both their own soldiers and captured prisoners in the field in makeshift facilities.

Interviews of ENDF and their allied prisoners have revealed that some were shot were retreating from the battlefield to seek treatment by FANO militia. Additionally it is now well established that commanders in ENDF attempted to hide causalities by blocking when possible their access to medical facilities. Some prisoners in Mekelle have related that many wounded were shot and placed in mass burial site.

Now we are hearing that of the 4,000 prisoners of war released who were screened and found to not have committed war crimes, many of these were captured outside Tigray, were heckled and suffered pelting from thrown rocks when they reached the Amhara borders. Subsequently they were quickly collected in buses by local representatives of the federal government and taken to parts unknown.

USA growing concern for Red Sea security affects Ethiopian relations

The security of the Red Sea is of vital US interest because of its key role in the world economy. Instability in the Horn of Africa, Middle East, and Ukraine has added to the priority of interest.

The announcement of the Biden administration to send troops to Somalia as well as discussion with Somaliland regarding their offer of air and sea base facilities to the United States is the latest development in the scramble to exert influence over the Red Sea. No doubt the Red Sea is of vital interest to the United States. The ongoing instability in the Middle East, Horn of Africa, and now Ukraine has strategists and diplomats focusing more greatly on this area as vital to American interests.

Ethiopia’s move from being unaligned to that of having military treaties with the Russian state and its denial of Russian immorality in attacking Ukraine expressed in the United Nations cast doubt on what it may offer Russia in terms of offering military bases on its territory to Russia or China which could threaten Red Sea security to Western powers. The massive war debt Ethiopia has incurred now approaching $66 billion renders it easily manipulated by China or Russia. Under Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia has gone from being a major force against radical Islamic terrorism in the Horn of Africa to being embroiled in increasing domestic instability with unresolved conflicts with Oromo and Tigray opposition. The tripartite alliance of leadership between Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia has begun to be dismantled by the election of  Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President of Somalia. Still Al Shabab continues to survive creating havoc.

When I was a college student at Texas A&M studying military history in the 1970s and later as young Army officer we studied the strategic importance of the Red Sea mostly stressing the Suez canal which allows movement from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. Historically about ten percent of world trade went through this vital pathway. However today the importance of the Red Sea has been multiplied greatly by growing competition of the major powers, growing influence of the Arab states, Iranian expansion interests, and a late awakening of African states of the concept of naval power to protect their interests.

Analysts such as Alex de Waal  in the The Africa Report  and editorials for the SomiTribune have noted that the growing instability in the Horn of Africa in Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia has progressed due to the weakness of the African Union, United Nations, and ineffectual influence of the Arab states. 

 

 

My personal reflections on NYT article on Abiy Ahmed’s planned war

Today’s NYT article on how the Ethiopia Tigray war really started when Abiy Ahmed and Isaias hatched their plan months before November 2020

Having lived and worked at Mekelle University since 2015 and in Ethiopia since 2012 I am some reflections on the New York Times article today which stated the war began before the Northern Command action by the Tigray Defense Force and what may lay ahead.

In the year prior to November 2020 the relations between Mekelle University and the Federal Ministries of Science and Higher Education as well as Health were deteriorating. Instead of the usual budget increases of about 13% there were discussions that Mekelle University had always gotten “too much” and that it was going to be downscaled even though what the University received was an appropriate amount for the population it served the same as the others. University Department heads and administers were suddenly no longer invited to be part of major discussions at the Federal level.

Several times Federal police showed up in Mekelle unannounced in violation of the Ethiopian constitution leading to tense moments on the streets in Mekelle and at the airport. Security was removed from leading Tigray military officers and Tigray People Liberation Front party leaders leading to the assassination of two generals in Addis Ababa.  We all had the feeling that things were going to get violent eventually even if we prayed they would not.

Following the occupation of Mekelle, the Ethiopian Federal government never lived up to its promise to restore or rebuild society when the TDF looked all but defeated. The University was in effect deconstructed and unbudgeted for education and Ayder Hospital was abandoned by the Federal government as if it did not exist. The Tigray were less than human, they did not deserve healthcare, education, protection, or even food said the self-righteous religious cleric0-fascists directing the mob supporters of the Prosperity Party.

I still have flashblacks about the many hundreds of civilian patients we saw at Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital especially as the Eritrean and Ethiopian forces where coming south from Adigrat through Wucro. Mutilated babies and mothers. Grotesque injuries to women. Many civilians shot in the back trying to flee combat areas. There was an intentional genocide to not just control Tigray but to wipe them out. I am convinced that eventually outside reviews will show the scope of this horror we have seen is just the tip of the iceberg of the mass murder committed. Apart from the Armenian genocide suffered in the early part of the 20th century genocide has never been successfully hidden for a long period of time. The truth will come out. 

Ethiopia’s financial resources are quite diminished now. Some estimate their reserves are less than $150 million as it is reportedly spent $ 150 million in just the past two months for drones and weapons. As a result in every region of Ethiopia there is no money for education, health care, or infrastructure. The supplying “dogs of war” have eaten their fill and not left much left to plunder. Some might even argue that Ethiopia was a demonstration run for Turkey to convince other countries to buy it’s drone weapons which Ethiopia nicely paid for. Now in return for not giving more weapons they will use their new sphere of influence to get new deals from the West. That was a part of the plan no doubt along. They got paid to get in and they will get paid to get out. Like a confidence game criminal they will move on to the next victim when they have exhausted Ethiopia’s treasures. Whatever wealth Ethiopia had has been transferred to the puppet masters who controlled Abiy Ahmed. 

Ethiopia was always the pawn in a larger power game between Arab states wanting to expand their sphere of influence, Russia, China, Europe and the USA. This is not about colonialism or African independence. I do not see how being $80 billion in debt to a foreign country for weapons is a step in the direction of self sufficiency. 

The only winners in this disaster were the weapons dealers and loan providers. Ethiopian development is probably been knocked backwards 10 to 30 years at least even if the war stops now. So much hate has been generated between Tigray, Amhara, Oromo, and other peoples the idea of Ethiopia going forward as a united people seems more remote then ever.

The African Union is quietly abandoning Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa premier investment group Cepheus Capital which promised great investment rewards in a land of milk and honey cannot continue the false promises of high growth and stability. Ethiopia may default on its junk rated bonds in the next quarter. Ethiopia will come out of this most likely more divided or in a state of chronic war. With a primitive quality of living comparable to the times the prosecutors of the war like to fantasize about.  Unfortunately the old saying TIA, this is Africa, which former President Obama warned us about is still true. The never ending cycle of self-destruction continues.

 

 

Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki continuous hatred toward Christians

Still from Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab geolocated a video showing people carrying a dead man on a stretcher in Da’Ero Ela Plaza (14.129918, 38.717113), towards Arba’etu Ensessa church.

Esaias Afwerki and Abiy Ahmed despite his claim of Christianity seemed joined together in their hatred for Christians during the Ethiopia Tigray conflict.

About 40,000 Irob (sometimes spelled Erob) people live on the northern Tigray Eritrean border. They speak a different language Saho then the Tigray and high percentage of them are Roman Catholics due in part to schools and support services placed in the community by the Catholic Church since the 19th century. Traditionally they have been allies with the Tigray in opposing Eritrea and the Derg. 

Many Irob who have lived in the areas recognized as Eritrean since Eritrean independence have suffered extrajudicial killings, imprisonment, displacement, and general deprivation for years. It was not unusual to hear that Eritrean authorities would come to dismantle Irob homes to use the lumbar for government projects. Authorities blocked church functions, funerals, and public gatherings to discuss local issues which were customary to Irob cultural tradition.

Since the Ethiopia Eritrean invasion of Tigray the situation only got worse. Investigation by the European Center for Law & Justice as well as the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights reports numerous murders of priests, Catholic lay, destruction of worship facilities, and also of social supportive buildings for the Irob. Many families report many if not all the men in their family were executed by Eritrean forces. This barbarism against is not only for Catholics but also Tigray Orthodox believers where more than 80 priests and lay worshipers were murdered in Axum .

During the invasion of Mekelle, I witnessed the artillery barrage destroying much of the building housing Catholic Charities. Eritrean forces then came and removed all files and communication equipment. While meeting with lay representatives of the church to discuss how we could help offer medical help, I was accosted by Eritrean soldiers and my cell phone erased by them.

Esaias Afwerki’s prosecution of Christians in Eritrea is rated by Open Doors as the 6th worst in world. He has closed Catholic schools and hospitals throwing sick patients into the street. Even though Abiy Ahmed claims to be a Christian and member of the Mulu Wongel (Full Gospel Believers Church) in Addis Ababa his partner in the war, Esaias has expelled, tortured, and killed many members of this same church in Eritrea.

Vatican News reports that Ethiopian authorities have raided a center in Addis Ababa arresting many priests, Salesian missionaries, volunteers, and employees. Many of the Salesians have lived in Addis since 1975 with strong pacifist sentiments.

The World Council of Churches representing 50 million Christians from 349 churches in 110 countries sent letters to both Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopian Christian churches in February 2021 condemning violence, lamenting displacement, and widespread hunger in Tigray.

The death of the Ethiopian economic dream of prosperity

The International Monetary Fund is so pessimistic about Ethiopian growth it refused to give a report

The conquest obsession of Abiy Abid is rapidly fading any future of economic growth and financial independence for Ethiopia. They seemed to have missed out on the first lesson in any college freshman economic class about the “guns vs butter” trade off.

This month the inflation rate for Ethiopia will reach a record 50% in one year the highest in the world. The consumer price index is expected within a short time to also reach a new high of 300 points above normal. The Central Statistical Agency which normally posts this finding has actually closed its normal reporting website.

The Ethiopian government probably has less the $400 million to run the country for the next 11 months which normally requires about $2 billion. The International Monetary Fund has decided that Ethiopia’s finances are in such disarray that it cannot issue a report on growth. Although the official government report is 6.6% growth this year most analysts are saying it will exceed -2% net loss. Fantasy will not feed the hungry nor create sustainable businesses to drive economic growth.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has spent all cash reserves and transferred most gold reserves out of the country. France and China are trying to broker a new repayment plan for debt that exceeds $40 billion requiring payments of at least $2 billion year alone in debt service. Meanwhile Abiy Ahmed promises to guarantee private loan deals between private companies in Ethiopia and foreign interests have been discovered adding another $25 billion in debt previously hidden. His armies have destroyed hundreds of billions of birr worth of businesses and industries in Tigray. The war damage blight to Tigray now extends to much of Amhara with Ethiopian and Eritrean blanket destruction adding billions of birr in economic production loss and human life. 

At this point the continued war and misery are no doubt going to leave what was formally the prosperous state of Ethiopia in tatters. Severe austerity measures will need to be imposed just to get any country to fund loan repayment and it is likely that natural resources will likely be the mechanism of repayment but not at any significant profit to Ethiopia. The dream of Ethiopia being a second world country that escaped poverty is gone. The previous decades of progress will be just a memory traded for the false promise of conquest and repression. Ethiopia has become another Eritrea. 

The unholy alliance of religious Ethiopia with anti-religious Eritrea

Esaias Afwerki was trained to be an athetist in Communist China under Chairman Mao

The paradoxical alliance of Abiy Ahmed and his religious supporters with the anti-religion regime of Eritrea’s Esaias Afwerki. Look at any survey ranking the world’s countries in religious observance and its importance in daily life and you will usually find Ethiopia near the top. Yet Abiy Ahmed has put together an unholy alliance with avowed anti-religious Eritrea to facilitate genocide as a means to gain power against the very vows of brotherhood and humanity which make up the core of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions of Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed has placed the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on house arrest because he spoke out against genocide. He has conspired with Eritrea in performing acts of murder and desecration against Christian, Muslim, and Jews (Qemont) to their followers and sanctuaries.  

Although Esaias was apparently raised as a Christian as far as anyone can tell he is now atheist. As a young man in the 1960s he was trained in Marxism under Chinese Chairman Mao who advocated a religious free world. In the early 1970s he complained that the early Eritrea independence movement, the Eritrean Liberation Front, was too full of Muslims leading to him to crush the ELF and start the Eritrean Liberation People’s Front. Although he has tried to curry favor with Islamic Arab league nations who deal with him based upon practicality without regard to his religious abhorrence in Eritrea there has been a long history of closing mosques and Islamic schools. In 2017 many demonstrations by Eritrean diaspora occurred in protest of Muslim oppression in a country where at least 1/3 of the population follows Islam.

At various times the Eritrean police state has imprisoned or assassinated religious followers. Like China it wants people to be devoted to the state not to God.  In 2019 all Catholic Church charities including hospitals and schools were closed down and patients thrown into street. During my time in the first three months of Eritrean and Ethiopian occupation of Mekelle, the Catholic Church charities office was the target of artillery barrages, ransacked, and all equipment removed by Eritrean army soldiers. Several times I walked to meet with the representatives of the Catholic Bishop of Adigrat who was detained in Adigrat and was searched, my camera photos reviewed and erased, and warned not to return. The Tigray Ethiopian borders has about 40,000 Irob who are a separate ethnic group who are mostly Catholic and have suffered terribly by the Eritrean occupation.

Members of the Pentecostal Church denomination, Mulu Wongel,  to which Abiy Ahmed claims membership have been arrested, detained, tortured and even worse many times in Eritrea since 2002. Although the exact numbers are unknown we know that at least several thousand Christians have been imprisoned without cause or trail in Eritrea for nothing more than practicing their faith.

The relationship between Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea has been historically mixed. Although an Ethiopian King granted refuge to followers of Mohammed’s new religion from Saudi Araba pagans centuries ago and now Ethiopia is recognized as a special place in Islam the relationship has always had flares of unrest. Some of the diaspora that met with Abiy Ahmed during his visit to the United States in 2018 support the concept shared by many Amhara elites that Ethiopia should be a “Christian nation”.  Now many of his closest advisors echo similar dreams. Yet there are Muslim supporters who buy into his promise of Medemer unity.

Whatever claims Abiy Ahmed and Esaias Afwerki make in public there can be no denying that the orders they give their armies and militias are not to respect religion. Massacres at Axum’s St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church of over 80 civilians and clergy and the near destruction of the Negash mosque in Tigray followed by ransacking and pillaging by Eritrean troops portray a clear aversion to respect of any religion by either Abiy Ahmed, Esaias Afwerki, and their supporters.

Ethiopian relations with Egypt and Sudan worsen while Getachew Reda makes new friends for Tigray

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s problems with Sudan and Egypt are only getting worse by the day. Ethiopia remains in severe disagreement with Sudan, Egypt, and by alliance with much of the Arab league over who has sovereignty over Nile water use relating to construction of the Grand Renaissance Damn in the northeast west region of Ethiopia known as Beningshagul. Abiy Ahmed’s Eritrean alliance and land disputes with Sudan are also playing a big role in creating an increasingly adversarial crisis.

In July 2021, former Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohammed Nasr A’llam told the Al-Monitor that Egypt was closely following developments of the GERD. They believed that the damn had some technical problems otherwise they might have considered military action against the dam at that time.

TPLF advisor to Tigray President Debretsion appeared on Egyptian Television to a receptive audience

Tigray Peoples Liberation Front close advis0r to elected President  Debretsion Gebremichael  of the Tigray State recently appeared on an Egyptian Television interview to discuss the Ethiopia Tigray conflict and other issues. It appears he met a receptive and sympathetic audience in Egypt. Personal sources close to Egyptian leadership have told me that Egypt opted out of military action for two reasons, one that they believe there may be technical problems limiting the filling and secondly they look forward to a Tigray victory that will make for better negotiations. 

The United Nations Security Council has discussed the issue without resolution for months. Apart from saying that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia should have a binding agreement, in effect, giving standing to all three to which Ethiopia disagrees. Now it has referred the case to the African Union for resolution. 

It is notable that President Debretsion was once the head of the Ethiopian Electrical Power Corporation and oversaw much of the GERD construction. Additionally it is now known that Tigray Army units have progressed northwest of Gondar in the direction of the Beningshagul region which has seen uprisings sympathetic to the same cause as the TPLF. Many speculate that the Tigray intend to open a supply route via Sudan.

Widely respected journalist Bashir Hashi Yussuf has suggested that Egypt is secretly supplying arms and aid to the Tigray via Sudan. This has also been raised as possible by Foreign Policy and other analysts. Sudan now has a joint defense treaty with Egypt. Additionally Ethiopia has demanded that Sudan remove its soldiers occupying a disputed region called al-fashaga which had been claimed by Ahmara expansionists supporting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Sudan claims the fertile farm area as its own.

Eritrean opposition groups to Esaias Afwerki, leader of Eritrea and ally of Ethiopia in the Tigray conflict met in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to discuss how they could remove the Eritrean government. They may also be forming an armed movement as well based in Sudan. Sudan has long standing problems with the Esaias regime regarding his support of the Grand Renaissance Damn and respect of Sudanese sovereignty. 

 

 

The Ethiopian response to the Tigray insurgency is not a winning strategy

The Tigray insurgency plan has a considerable chance for success when compared with many previous historical fights.  Insurgency against an established governmental institution have happened since prehistoric times. Scholars in schools of war and government policy have studied these occurrences to see if there are factors which can reliably predict who will prevail? Certain patterns emerge from these studies.

Map of the studied 59 cases of insurgency in the world

Of the past 59 cases of insurgency across the globe those occurring in Africa more than the other regions have tended to favor the insurgent force.

When we apply this type of analysis to the Ethiopia Tigray conflict we find there are some important factors which favor Tigray and go against Ethiopia prevailing with a successful counter insurgency plan.

  1. Allowing the Tigray to switch from a guerrilla type of warfare to conventional warfare. The resurgence of Tigray from being trapped in mountains with only rifles to functioning as an army was an important step towards potential victory.
  2. The large component of experienced professional fighters in the Tigray Defense Force. Upwards of 75% of the experienced officers and all important noncommissioned officers of the pre-existing Ethiopian Army are now fighting with Tigray Defense Force. Many of the leadership of the current Ethiopian National Defense Force were defeated by the the same Tigray leadership in the Derg war.
  3. Ethiopia applying an “iron fist” of repression ethnic punishment. Case after case has shown that ethnic cleansing and repression builds support for the insurgency. A resilient fighting force with determination and high morale is created.
  4. Ethiopian failure to include motives for negotiation and wither Tigray support. Offers to negotiate a peace take the power away from insurgents and tend to favor the government. Abiy Ahmed’s refusal to negotiate goes against conventional wisdom in dealing with insurgency.
  5. Ethiopian reliance on a foreign nation to successfully fights it battles. The requirement of Eritrean support ex parte portrays weakness on the part of Ethiopia and emboldens the Tigray insurgency.
  6. Ethiopia inability to counter diaspora support. World wide support by Tigray diaspora has resulted in condemnation of Ethiopian practices on the Tigray people including starvation, abuse, ethnic cleansing, and discrimination against noncombatants.
  7. Most insurgencies average a 6 year duration yet Ethiopia cannot economically sustain its current military spending more than a few months. Ethiopia has already spent $ 2 billion in one year equal to its whole annual budget. It had only $480 million left to last the rest of year but spent another $51 million on weapons from Turkey. Inflation and the falling birr which may drop to 100 birr to the dollar predicts risk of state failure.