Abiy Ahmed and Prosperity Party revoked all their promises of hope and unity for Ethiopia

The growing paradox between what Abiy Ahmed promised and what reality has emerged under his leadership

The glow of hope was replaced by the tarnish of despair in just three years after Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018 as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The world watched initially with awe as the new leader freed political prisoners, took up the plight of Oromo interests being ignored in the growth of Addis Ababa, promised democratic elections, and a dialogue with all of Ethiopia’s varied and many ethnic groups. But this new wave of democracy would not last.

A major part of his rise in political popularity was the civil actions of the Qeerro demonstrators and support of Oromo activists including Jawar Mohammed who accompanied the new Prime Minister on his tour meeting diaspora in the United States. Today Jawar Mohammed and others sit in jail without a real due process. The Oromo whose cause was once championed by the Prime Minister suffer extrajudicial killings without restriction.

Early in his new role, Abiy Ahmed complimented the Tigray as an example of a good regional government in discussing with the Ethiopian parliament what should be expected of elected officials.

Now Ethiopia is involved in a civil war with an ever growing number of participants from almost all regions of Ethiopia joining the Tigray and Oromo fighters who clearly see that the Prime Minister has violated his supreme duty to follow the Ethiopian constitution and act in the best interests of Ethiopia.

The Tigray regional state had only 9000 armed forces in its service in November 2020 not the 250,000 claimed. Build ups in Eritrea and Amhara as well as severe cutting of budgets normally allotted by population and most importantly the characterization of the Tigray leadership as “terrorists” even after they had left power peacefully created an intolerable environment. It is literally a miracle that they were able to survive the initial onslaught of the combined forces of Ethiopia and Tigray estimated to be over 150,000. No doubt that a part of this revival was due to the will to overcome the intentional and massive genocide being acted upon the innocent Tigray population.

As someone who has lived and worked in Tigray for the past 7 years until I was forced to evacuate I have spent time in many regions talking to farmers, city dwellers, and thousands of patients and their families. The representation that the Tigray were subjugated to an unpopular despotic regional government is nonsense. What ever differences existed have been dismissed as the vast majority of Tigrayans, the Tegaru, are united in the purpose of avoiding an intended complete genocide. No doubt this is why Abiy Ahmed and his followers have such a fear of children, the elderly, and mothers of the Tigray that they want to arrest all of them immediately.

Today, Ethiopia is a failed state due to the chameleon nature of the Prime Minister and his followers which have now revoked all their promises. Many of his former supporters are now in prison. There is no free speech, no free press, no growing economy, and now Ethiopia is becoming identified most closely with outlaw nations like North Korea, Iran, and yes especially Eritrea. Ethiopia has allied itself with the enemies of all the values it once promised to hold most dear.

 

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?

Turkish failed actions supporting Ethiopia has global repercussions

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Turkey in August 2021 which was initiated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ethiopia purchased weapons including technology not allowed to be shared outside NATO.

As the Tigray Defense Force begins the final motions of capturing Dessie and Kombalcha international chaos affecting much more than Ethiopia is becoming evident. Turkey’s attempt to change the course of the Ethiopian Tigray war may in the end not only fail but cost it much in relations with other NATO members.  The Ethiopian Tigray genocidal conflict has cost existing and future partnerships and investment with many Western democracies for Ethiopia and Turkey.

The expulsion of many Western diplomats from Turkey today in response to their public denouncement of the arrest and detention since 2013 of a prominent Turkish businessman and philanthropist, Osman Kavala,  is the latest in a deteriorating relationship between Turkey and fellow NATO members. Through NATO confidential technology used in weapons systems including combat drones was shared with Turkey to allow them to share in producing NATO weapons. However Turkey has taken advantage of these technological secrets to sell weapons to participants in conflicts outside those normally allowed such as Ethiopia. Members of Congress in the USA have called for blocking further technology transfers.

Acquisition of weapons from Turkey, Iran, and possibly North Korea is also resulting in further deterioration of USA and other NATO members with those countries as well. Yesterday the Ethiopian Air Force tried to trick Mekelle Air Defense systems to mistakenly shoot down a UN aid flight. They did an airstrike on Mekelle while the UN flight was approaching to land. Although this did not happen, the Ethiopian government has caused the UN aid flights to be suspended. However, this flagrant and provocative action will only further increase calls for sanctions against the Ethiopian government.

 

Abiy Ahmed’s Recent Action reminds of Hitler’s “Nero” Decree

A child was one of several civilians killed and injured by the Ethiopian airstrike on a market in Mekelle claimed to be the main communication center by the ENDF

Reminiscent of Hitler’s actions in the face of defeat in World War II Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has done his own “Nero” Decree. Devastating loss of soldiers and equipment in the past week  to Tigray Defense Forces have only hardened the Ethiopian Prime Minister to escalate further his grotesque acts of war crime and inhumanity. Many military analysts are saying setbacks of the Ethiopian National Defense Force may have reached a point of no return. 

Ethiopian jet aircraft attacked a busy market in downtown Mekelle calling it the center of Tigray Defense Force communications near a well known hotel, Planet Hotel.  Ayder Hospital reports there were 3 causalities. This is the latest action whereas earlier in the week the jets repeatedly area bombarded areas along the A2 highway in Amhara killing at least hundreds of Amhara and Afar civilians, his own Amhara forces, and destroying many businesses with little effect on the Tigray Defense Forces.  Throughout the past 11 months under his command hundreds of thousands of innocents have been summarily executed, starved, raped, striped of health care, possessions, and communication. 

In March of 1945 when Allied Forces crossed the Rhine and Russian forces were moving in fast from the West, Adolf Hitler made his infamous “Nero” Decree. He admitted to a few of his generals that defeat was imminent. He called for the destruction of Germany’s infrastructure and stepped up arrests of Jews and other undesirables as well as their executions.  The similarity of using genocide and deprivation of Abiy to Hitler seems to become closer and closer with each passing day. One wonders if Abiy Ahmed has read Mein Kampf. 

In public remarks Abiy Ahmed rambled between talking about avocados and that every Amhara citizen should stand by his house and fight to the death. While at the same giving frantic calls to the United States State Department to help him even though he does not want to negotiate with “Terrorists”. Meanwhile his supporters continue their chants “Hands off Ethiopia!” meaning they want no interference from the United States while complaining they want more food aid to Amhara even as they block it to Tigray.

Eritrean Army Beni Amir tribe factions committed atrocities in Tigray

Eritrean troops promised to withdrawal from Tigray after committing rape, ransacking, stealing, and killing but never did

Commanders in the Tigray Defense Army are now reporting in several Tigray media sites that atrocities suffered by the people of Tigray were committed by Beni Amir factions of the Eritrean Army. This news comes after many Eritrean army soldiers have been captured and interrogated.

Easily identified by their dialects and characteristic facial markings they are now being heavily implicated in the raping, ransacking, and killing which happened in Tigray and still happening in Western Tigray. TDA sources say that Eritrean soldiers were acting under orders from the Eritrean and Ethiopian command structure.

Witnesses to the killing of more than 80 civilians and priests at St. Mary’s Church in Axum, an important Ethiopian Orthodox shrine, told Al Jazeera in February 2021 that many Eritrean soldiers had the dialect and facial markings of the Beni Amir tribe. Investigations by Amnesty International also report Eritrean Beni Amir soldiers committed many killings of civilians in Tigray.

Eritrea is semi-divided between Christians in the mountains and Muslim tribes in the valleys and periphery.  Beni Amirs are a clan originally based in Sudan and present day Eritrea which traces its roots to at least the 15th century CE of the clan leader, Amer Ibn Kunnu. They have similar lineage to Kushites along the Nile River rather than the Tegaru people of modern day Tigray who are Semitic in origin. For centuries they were allied with Egypt and Sudan and then with the Italian colonists. They frequently have a facial scar on the cheek below the eye consisting of two lines which is different then the “eleven sign” of the Tegaru of Tigray.

Beni Amir tribal markings on a young man

A Beni Amir leader known as Awate (Hamid Idris Awate) who trained and served in the Italian Army is credited with starting the armed struggle for independence. Then Idris Mohammed Adem started the Eritrean Liberation Front in 1960. 

A little more than 50% of the Eritrean population are Tigrinya (Semitic origin). While Beni Amir make up only a small percentage they have a long history of involvement with the Eritrean Army. Although initially in the 1970s the tyrant leader of Eritrea, Esaias Afwerki, was associated with the Christian Eritrean People’s Front which defeated their Muslim rival it now appears that Esaias who is now an atheist has created new bonds with at least a faction of the Beni Amir who have stayed in Eritrea serving in the military while many others left. They now have been reported as accepting Esaias Afwerki fascist ideology as their own.

The Beni Amirs were once cattle grazers but destruction of farmland drove them to city dwelling. Over the past century they have frequently been involved in land disputes and conflict between Sudan and Eritrea. 

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.

Ethiopia needs prayer and a reality check

For Ethiopians previously not affected by the Ethiopian Tigray conflict it is now time to come to reality. Now is the time for all to realistically assess where to go from here. It is a time for prayer and contemplation. Ethiopians not affected by the war so far need to realize they soon will be.

Wars always start too early and end too late. Having fantasy notions about a coming Ethiopian miracle will only cause more misery. Whatever becomes of Ethiopia is going to happen regardless of what further futile military action is done by Ethiopia.

Captured prisoners of the Amhara militia and Ethiopian National Defense Force on Mount Guna August 16, 2021 where the TDF repeated their historical victory which turned the tide against the Derg.

One in four people in all of Ethiopia are approaching a state of famine and for Tigray that is approaching 500,000. Ethiopian Airlines and mining interests are so disrupted by the war that the economy of Ethiopia is falling fast. Abnormal rain patterns as well as war now occurring in Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, Beningshugal, Somali, and the SNNPNR will surely reduce the major harvest this year. Inflation for the year is approaching 50% and the birr may reach 75 to the US dollar very soon.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has left to meet Isaias in Eritrea and then on to Turkey. It may happen that the Bole Airport may be overtaken by Oromia Liberation Army forces before he makes it back if he really intends to comeback. So far Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has refused to negotiate but instead promising a massive counterattack which has never materialized. The Tigray and their allies have at least offered to negotiate.

At this point it is clear by many military and strategic analysts that Ethiopia cannot mount a significant counterattack to defeat Tigray. Now the Tigray Defense Force is being joined by fighters of liberation armies from Agew, Afar, Somali, Beningshugal, Oromia, and Gambella.

The Tigray Defense Force and their allies are driven by a need to free their people from perceived tyranny and abuse from Amhara elitism. The Amhara elites and their allies claim they want to preserve a chance for a unified Ethiopia that will become a more modern state. Unfortunately they cannot force their point of view upon others. As I and others have stated previously Ethiopian has always been an empire of subjugated nations. The prejudiced view of a united state of Ethiopia quickly fades from view as soon as you leave Addis for the countryside.

Thousands of Ethiopians are displaced now. Dessie Hospital and others in Amhara are overwhelmed with casualties. Most of the fighting equipment of the Ethiopian national defense force has been destroyed or taken by the Tigray Defense Force. Supply lines to both Tigray and Amhara as well as from Djibouti and Kenya are cut off. It may be just hours to days before the Bole Airport is closed. As of now no Ethiopian airline  flight is flying domestically. Civilian traffic between major cities is severely restricted. The isolated and tormented people of Western Tigray will soon be freed.

A prayer from His Eminence Archbishop Abba Kewestos Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate:

In the name of the Father and of the Son
And of the Holy Spirit one God, Amen.

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

And who is he that will harm you if you will be followers of that which is good?

But if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meakness and fear;

Amen.

Estimate of total civilian deaths of the Tigray in the conflict with Ethiopia

Civilians of Mahibere Dego, in a mountainous area of central Tigray were reportedly massacred following this photo

Total deaths of the civilian Tigrayan population from genocide, starvation, and absence of health care could easily approach 750,000 in the next few months.  Now almost 10 months since the conflict began Tigray remains blocked from trade, food aid, medical supplies, power, communication, fuel, in other words just about every thing. International aid agencies including the United Nations have done preliminary investigations with findings that at least 100 trucks of food aid is necessary everyday to avert fatal starvation. They found there is no real working medical facility or supply in Ethiopia. Ongoing killing is still present in Western Tigray by the Eritrean, Amhara militia, and Ethiopian Defense Forces.

Lack of Health Care Will Increase the Crude Death Rate in Tigray
The crude death rate for Ethiopia defined as the percentage of deaths in a population was first estimated in 1950 at about 32 deaths per 1000 population. By 1971 with the beginning of building of medical schools and development of a health system it was reduced to 21.11. Years later in 2020 with major teaching hospitals in every region, rural health care, and a stronger national health system the crude death rate had been dramatically reduced to 6.29 per 1000 population. Unfortunately it is perfectly logical to assume that if you take away all health care and medical supplies in Tigray the crude death rate just from the absence of health care will soar to 32 deaths per 1000 per year. For the 7, 070,260 population of Tigray measured in the last census that means this lack of health care will bring about 226,248.32 deaths annually in Tigray.

Ethnic genocidal killings by military and militia groups in Tigray
International human rights groups have done some preliminary investigation and estimate that so far 1,900 people have been killed. There is continuing violence in Western Tigray which remains occupied by Eritrea, Amhara militia, and Ethiopian national defense forces where floating bodies have been discovered at about a 40 in the Tekeze river flowing from the occupied city of Humera. The Ethiopian military plans to execute 17,500 Tigrayan soldiers who were detained at the onset of the conflict. From battle field reports it appears Ethiopian federal forces did not take prisoners of combatants only of civilians “collaborators” such that is possible that perhaps 10,000 Tigray Defense Forces have been killed.

Death From Starvation in Tigray
The United Nations relief agencies and other groups have determined that 100,000 children and over 250,000 adults are at critical stages of risk of death from starvation. The routes of delivering the necessary 100 trucks a day to help relief this emergency pass through active battlefield. Many in the Amhara political structure are espousing the view that no aid should be given to Tigray unless they unilaterally give up the fight now. 

 

Growing dissension between Ethiopian National Defense Forces and Amhara militia for defense of Northern Amhara

Growing dissension between Ethiopian National Defense Forces and Amhara militia of the defense of Northern Amhara. The FANO militia group is attacking ENDF soldiers and even civilians for retreating from Tigray Defense Force movements to capture Amhara cities.

As of today August 5, 2021 the cities of Lalibela and Woldiya have been captured by the Tigray Defense Force. We know from multiple sources that several occurrences have happened this week to indicate a weakening of the resolve of the Ethiopian National Defense Force in the face of a string of defeats as well as increasing friction with the Amhara militia.

The FANO Amhara militia group blocking the ENDF from withdrawing from Woldiya in anticipation of TDF capturing the city

When the regular ENDF forces tried to withdrawal from W0ldiya their movement out of the city was opposed by the Amhara militia group, FANO, who actually shot the Oromia commander and blockaded the street with large objects including trees. Anonymous sources have also revealed that the commanders of Lalibela had expressed their displeasure of the tenure of the war because the tactics used in Tigray had inflamed such a passion in the TDF forces attacking them. Similar to W0ldya we are hearing reports that there were sometimes violent clashes between FANO and the regular ENDF before the TDF captured the city today.  It was reported that FANO robbed and killed civilians as they left the city to avoid fighting TDF. Then a few hours later placed Woldiya under an artillery bombardment that have injured and killed civilians.

Multiple civilian victims suffered when FANO left Woldiya before the TDF capture. Civilians were shot and then the next day an artillery barrage injured and killed more from the FANO directed forces.
On August 4, 2021 a group of Tigray civilians trying to make back to Tigray from near Woldiya were killed by attack of their bus from Fano directed forces

The President of the Amhara, Agegnehu Teshager, region has consistently for the past two weeks complained to the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that he is not receiving enough support from Addis Ababa in terms of reinforcement. Now he is called for all adults to join the fight in the face of the TDF advances.

President of Amhara region Agegnehu Teshager calls for complete mobilization of adults to defend Amhara just a week after denying TDF had successfully invaded the Amhara region

As the TDF advances northwest into Amhara it has now come to light that official  communication released today from the Amhara Prosperity Party have become even more genocidal and bizarre. They are spinning that the ENDF and Amhara militia are doing a strategic withdrawal to lead TDF into the mountains of Northern Amhara where a “trap” will be sprung.  Great sacrifice of the Amhara will be necessary they say to defeat the TDF however for the TDF  they say “Our farmer is determined to fight the herd, to strip the barn, to rape his wife, to kidnap his son, to kill the young”

Tigray Defense Force using weather to win

 

There is heavy rainfall in the mountainous regions of Ethiopia during the summer months from the book, Nile River Basin :Ecohydrological Challenges, Climate Change and Hydropolitics Chapter: 6 Publisher: Springer Science Publisher

The rapid movement of the Tigray Defense force in recapturing Tigray and moving into the Amhara region is due to their successful understanding of fighting in the mountains during the rainy season. The Tigray-Ethiopian conflict is centered in Northern Ethiopia which for the most part is a very mountainous regions. From June through September especially in the mountains is the rainy season called Kiremt . It has been known for centuries that weather must play a role in how a war is fought if it is to be won.  In 1917 the Harvard Climatologist, Robert Ward, wrote about the effect of weather on World War I being fought in Europe. He said “ war does not make the weather but weather does make the war” 

The soldier must have weather protection, be able to move to contact the enemy efficiently , and have functional armament. He must be disciplined and trained to make difficult maneuvers. The added stress of fighting the elements as well as the enemy requires that the will to fight is present. The surrender of enemy forces now numbering over 30,000 to the Tigray Defense Force demonstrates this factor is with the Tigray Defense Force. The video attached shows the TDF marching on foot through a city near Lalibela in the cold rain. Many of the fighters do not have uniforms but they have multiple layers of clothing and rain gear which often the ENDF does not have.

The current rapid movement of the Tigray Defense Forces through the northern Amhara region is an example of military tactics made with weather in mind. Soldiers must be trained and equipped in a way that they can move through mountainous and often slippery terrain efficiently. During much of the year in Northern Ethiopia valleys and low points are dry but during the rainy season can be transformed to rivers. There are few good highways so often corridors of travel may be little more than a dirt path which can become so muddy that it becomes to difficult to even move in it.

Tigray Defense Forces crossing a seasonal wash in the mountains of the Amhara region

The frequent rain and thunderstorms curtails the ability of the Ethiopian forces to move their troops by airplane or helicopter. It also makes it difficult to carry out airstrikes with any precision. The placement of artillery units becomes difficult because they get stuck in the mud or cannot be placed accurately. The Tigray Defense forces tend to move over mountain trails in unexpected directions making it difficult for the Ethiopian forces to pursue or track them in the weather.

Whilst the TDF moves on foot through mountains the ENDF prefers to use trucks on highways that are passable during the rainy season making it easy to guess where they will pass. They practice poor convoy management in their movement to contact which is why they are so often ambushed successfully by the TDF.