Escalating Tigray civilian detainment is moving towards holocaust

The detainment of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa increased with the retreat of Ethiopian forces from Tigray

The intentional escalation of hate of the Tigray demonstrated by Abiy Ahmed and his supporters beginning well before the onset of the Ethiopia Tigray conflict closely mirrors how the Nazi movement in Germany labeled and then persecuted the European Jews. The Nazi movement lead by Adolf Hitler began its rise to power in part by naming European Jews as the cause of Germany’s economic woes in the post World War I period. Although initially seen as radicals  the failure of German democratic movement to effect jobs and economic growth in the face of a punishing treaty that called for punitive payments eventually found the Nazi’s gaining popular support. Abiy Ahmed intimated by naming his new political party, Prosperity Party, like the Nazis could bring economic success by attacking a minority just as Hitler had done.

The Nazi’s capitalized on this idea that they had majority support in the same way as Abiy Ahmed supporters currently proclaim to begin a gradually escalating policies toward the Jews and other non-Aryans who became the strawmen for all of Germany’s woes. First they were labeled as different then the majority and seen to have evil motives to the general population. Public badges of Jews were then legislated into place to point them out. Then in 1941 and increasing rapidly through 1942 the concept was put in place to detain all Jews and place them in concentration camps leading to millions becoming slave labor and executed. This progression from labeling to genocide seen again in the Ethiopia Tigray conflict to be coming true.

Although he once praised the Tigray People Liberation Front as  an ideal regional government to his Parliament after agreeing to a cooperation pact with Isaias Afwerki the praise turned to condemnation. At first the scenario painted was that the Tigray population was a victim of a despotic TPLF leadership. During the initial takeover of most of Tigray, Abiy Ahmed placed many TPLF Tigrayan critics in key interim administration positions. However these appointees began to complain almost immediately about the conduct and policies of the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces. This included destruction of factories, high rates of violations against women, and blocking of farmers planting a harvest.

The resurgence of the Tigray Defense Force following the occupation of Mekelle leading  to the Ethiopian Defense Forces forced withdrawal and defeat marks an important change in the Ethiopian rhetoric towards the Tigray. Now Abiy Ahmed was saying that the strong support of the Tigray fighters by all Tigray justified actions against Tigray civilians. This was the beginning of a spiraling decline from the recognition of Tigrayans as Ethiopian citizens with rights to conversely all be enemy combatants so evil that even the elderly, small children, and mothers must be urgently confined as necessary for “national security”.

At this moment nobody knows the exact number of detainees but estimates now exceed 70,000 throughout Ethiopia. No clear definition of what constitutes a dangerous person requiring detainment has been given. Under terrorism law and the emergency state there are no clear cut rights to legal representation or due process. Many are being held in warehouses without provisions for bathrooms, feeding, or medical care. Family members have no rights to know where their loved ones or in what condition they are in. We know by way of a statement of a member of the Federal prosecutors office that some extrajudicial killings have already occurred. FANO leaders and others in the Prosperity Party have already posted on the internet that these Tigray and other detainees should be executed automatically to force the Tigray Defense Force and their alliance to surrender.


Why Eritrean forces have not left Ethiopia?

Ethiopia’s story about Eritrean troop involvement changes every day. Currently they say they have left but if they were there it would be reasonable to assist their allies in Ethiopia claims Ethiopian MFA.

Why has Eritrea not left Ethiopia? No one believes the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs notice this week stating this lie. Multiple sources report that Isaias Afwerki is controlling Ethiopian intelligence services as well placing commanders with Amhara militia and the Ethiopian National Defense Force. Why has Afwerki not left the basically defeated Ethiopian state?

Going back to 1991 it has been well documented that Afwerki wanted to unite Eritrea and Ethiopia into a confederation. This would give him access to the Ethiopian economy, a more stable currency, hosting the African Union, and legitimacy on the world scene.  Being the second worst nation in terms of human rights violations and lack of any election since he came to power would be placed aside by a new confederation with the naïve Abiy Ahmed.

Although political integration under the larger Ethiopian state had been discussed since 1952 the rise to power of Afwerki made it more of an realizable idea. His stalemate with the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front in the 1990s over the Eritrea Tigray border and subsequent hostility that remained rendered this idea mute until the Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister of Ethiopia causing the TPLF to recede from national power.

Here was the perfect situation. The master schemer manipulated the young inexperienced Abiy Ahmed into a secret pact ostensibly as far as the world was concerned creating peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea but in reality a war plan to dominate Tigray once and for all. This would pave the way for Isaias Afwerki to become the de facto leader of the new Ethiopia Eritrean state.

Even though the military confrontation with Tigray has failed there is still hope that international heavy weights and the United Nations concerned with severe famine, refugees potentially streaming to Europe, and a failed Ethiopian state leading to chaos in the Horn of Africa will push hard for some immediate ceasefire. With this ceasefire a promise of food and medical aid will be allowed into Tigray but Tigray will have to withdraw into its borders. Both Esaias and Abiy Ahmed are counting on the international call to be strong to end any further fighting thus preventing capture of Addis Ababa or Asmara.

No doubt this pause will give Isaias time to strengthen his armed forces and those of Ethiopia as well with a plan to reinvade Tigray. Of course the leaders of the Tigray National State realize this is exactly what will happen. They know Ethiopia will only let a trickle of aid come in while complaining all the while that everyone bringing aid is really plotting to help the Tigray. Many more months will go by until Ethiopia and Eritrea can once again attack in force. This is why the Tigray Defense Force and the Oromo Liberation Army must continue to march on.

Abiy Ahmed the spoiled child who mislead the international community

The noted publication Ethiopia Insight stated Abiy Ahmed preaches unity but is a “solo flyer” and his opinion is the only one that counts

Why is the international diplomatic community treating Ethiopia like the spoiled child ? Their  fatal flaw is not coming to terms with the truth that Abiy Ahmed is not and never will be the leader they imagined.  History always has told us that playing into the fantasies and manipulation of such a person never ends well. As an example of how dangerous dallying with such a leader one only has to look at the failed view British Prime Minister, Nivel Chamberlain, had of Adolf Hitler which served only to bolster Nazi Germany’s ultimate attempt at European domination.

Since the onset of the Ethiopian Tigray conflict the Ethiopian leadership including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been incessantly petulant towards the Western democracies whose trade and aid programs have played a significant role in building a successful economy. These same countries who were often critical of the previous Tigray Peoples Liberation Front and who clearly harbor great reservations about a return to power of this group continue to go out of their way to forestall an invasion of Addis Ababa by the Tigray Oromo alliance basically demanding Abiy Ahmed not be forcefully removed.

Undoubtedly many in the international community including some American diplomats cannot accept that they were so wrong about Abiy Ahmed, that somewhere inside him there are redeemable qualities that can still be coaxed out to yield a real unified Ethiopian democracy with a strong central government. Abiy Ahmed made mistakes they belief but it was not his fault they hold with fervor in midst of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Members of the United Nations and Western democracies ask the world to forget and put no importance to the following actions of Abiy Ahmed and his followers. They should think hard if they really wish to continue to:

  1. Ignore the fact that he is voluntarily starving a population of over 7 million people as a part of a targeted law enforcement operation. Every minute the elderly, mothers, the sick, and young children are dying of starvation.
  2. Ignore the fact that he has destroyed and cut off all supplies to more than 80% of medical facilities in Tigray such that the crude death rate from treatable conditions has likely increased five fold.
  3. Ignore the fact that thousands of women have been violated and thousands of male children and babies killed by specific orders to Eritrean and Ethiopian forces.
  4. Ignore the fact 80,000 law abiding Tigrayan citizens have lost their businesses and bank accounts without any due process.
  5. Ignore the fact that now more 50,000 Tigrayans are imprisoned without right of trial.
  6. Ignore the fact that he broke treaties signed by Ethiopia regarding the functioning with the United Nations and African Union as well as the United States.
  7. Ignore the fact that he falsely accuses Western democracies of using established nonaligned charities as tools for regime change.
  8. Ignore the fact that at one moment Ethiopian leaderships asks for hands off to deal with “criminals” whom they claim to have defeated and the next demands salvation from an enemy who can only win Ethiopia false claims because they are being helped by Western powers who like the TPLF.
  9. Ignore the fact the the Eritrean peace pact was really a war pact with one of the most egregious tyrants in history making him a partner in genocide.

Ignoring the truth of who Abiy Ahmed and his genocidal followers are will surely just bring more suffering and death.

Washington hosts decentralization alliance against Abiy Ahmed government

Nine opposition factions against the Ethiopian Federal Government met and announced their alliance in Washington DC this week

The announcement of the cooperation of nine antigovernmental citizen’s armed groups from Ethiopia including the Tigray, Oromo, Gambella, South Omo, Benigshagul and others in a Washington DC meeting is very telling about the United States intentions as regards Ethiopia. The current situation all parties including the Tigray People Liberation Front is different then that in 1991 when the TPLF defeated the Derg regime. 

We know the United States is strongly considering that the Tigray have suffered a genocide under Ethiopian and Eritrean military assault. This hosting of allied opposition groups in Washington D.C. clearly indicates that the United States is not seeing the Ethiopian situation as portrayed by the Ethiopian Federal government of solely the illegitimate rebel Tigray against the lawful national authority. The resolution will not be a return to status quo for Abiy Ahmed.

However, the claims by Abiy Ahmed supporters that the TPLF is seeking a new state dominated by one ethnic group are not supported by this movement called the United Front of Ethiopian Federalists and Confederalists Forces. They are jointly acting under the conviction that Abiy Ahmed violated the current Ethiopian constitution Article 39 in denying appropriate regional state autonomy. 

They are seeking if possible a negotiated peace as purposed by the United Nations and the United States which invokes the current Ethiopian constitution but so far Abiy Ahmed has only responded with rhetoric of “bury all Tigrayans” and no peace talks. It seems this united movement is the only chance to restore peace without further bloodshed. In that the Tigray and their allies agree with USA.


The Tigray are following war ethics of the African Saint Augustine

North African Saint Augustine of Hippo (painted by Berto di Giovanni) defined when a war is justified by Christian morals

A North African Bishop some 1,600 years ago would write about how and when Christians have the right under their faith to battle in war. He later lived in Rome while it was under constant threat of attack by pagan tribes in the 5th century AD.  Saint Augustine of Hippo has been widely recognized by Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians as one of the main influences in Christian thinking . He wrote about the ideal society in The City of God where he created the term jus ad bellum meaning just war.

The Sixth Commandment given by Moses had said “do not kill”. Apart from complete pacifism there seemed to many Christians no other alternative response to violence or the threat of violence to a population.   Augustine stated that the wrongdoing of the aggravating party was the initiator of war not the responder to the threat. The reason to respond to this violence or threat of violence was to achieve peace.

In fighting a just war the use of force should only be that necessary to reach the peace and also that it is directed to the combatants.  Augustine’s criteria were latter clarified by Saint Thomas Aquinas to include the war needed to waged by a legitimate authority, have a just cause, have the right intentions, have a reasonable chance of success, and be proportional to the force applied by the enemy.

The Tigray have agreed to peace talks to end the conflict but the Ethiopian government has refused saying that they are doing a law enforcement action. Law enforcement actions under international law cannot be directed to endanger innocent civilians. The parties must agree to seek peace when one offers it realistically. The Ethiopian offer of a temporary truce to allow planting while the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces stopped farmers from planting was a false pretense as noted by the Abiy Ahmed appointed interim administration during Tigray occupation.

Let us examine this criteria with respect to the Ethiopian Tigray Conflict

Application of Use of Force to Combatants not Noncombatants
A. In the “fog of war” injury to civilians must be avoided as much as possible. Intentional starvation, withdrawal of health care, livelihood (banking, communication, education)  of civilians and children at the approval and command of Ethiopian and Eritrean authorities grossly violates this mandate.

  1. Tigray Legitimate Authority
    Although the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed claimed falsely the election of the TPLF to rule the Tigray State was illegal it is clear as documented by many international researchers that the vast majority of Tigray voters by a margin of over 90% voted for TPLF. The opposition party, Tigray Independence Party, joined with the TPLF in supporting the war action. The Arena Party who was placed as interim administration would once there within a few months admit that the Abiy Ahmed government’s intentions was to starve the population and prevent agricultural food production by stopping farmers planting. Abiy Ahmed never allowed Tigray to vote in any Ethiopian election.
  2. Tigray Just Cause
    Proponents of the actions of the Ethiopian Federal Government claim there was an unprovoked attack on the Ethiopian Army North Command in November 2020. However many analysts have noted that Ethiopia began preparing for war months before November 2020 including building up forces on the Amhara and Afar borders. Pre-paying Esaias Afwerki, ruler of Eritrea, over $500 million USD beforehand and promising another $500 million upon starting the war. Arranging medical facilities in the Amhara region for a planned war. Reducing the necessary operating budgets to sustain Tigray government functions for months. Declaring the TPLF terrorists who could not hold office while just a few months before claiming in a speech to Parliament that they were exemplary leaders. The Tigray State government has claimed that Article 39 which allows for self determination of a regional state and that territorial disputes should be handled by civil litigation where violated. This has been recognized also by many members of the African Union and United Nations.
  3. Right Intentions
    The intentions of the Tigray State have been to remove the threat of loss of life, abuse, starvation, communication, property, and making a living imposed by the Ethiopian state on anyone who is a Tigray by ethnicity.
  4. Proportional Use of Force
    While the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have widely attacked noncombatants by the deprivation of food, communication, transportation, fuel, electricity, personal security, livelihood, in a severe and constant manner clearly under order from commanders and government leaders this has not been the case for the Tigray forces. They have openly invited any and all investigations by unbiased bodies of any accusation. They have set up civilian administrations by local authorities in compliance with international rules of war.
  5. Reasonable Chance of Success
    In spite of the complete siege by Ethiopia denying food, medicine, fuel, health care, communication causing civilian death increasing daily the Tigray forces have reclaimed most of Tigray but not Western Tigray and temporarily occupied parts of Amhara to provide a buffer from invasion. They have asked for peace talks in lieu of demanding a complete military victory to which the Ethiopian government refuses.

A lesson for Ethiopia is elections have consequences! Amhara now suffering is the end result!

Those who voted for Abiy Ahmed endorsed his inhumanity and cruelty in his election

The supporters of Abiy Ahmed endorsed his inhumanity and cruelty in the election booth and are now paying the price of fostering division and tyranny. 

In September 2020 in the midst of growing distrust of the Ethiopian Federal government and against the will of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the Tigray Regional State held an election for its parliament.

Officials at the time noted that more than 90% of the eligible voters came out to vote for the 152 seats open in the 190 member regional parliament. All but 38 seats went to the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front. The closest contender to the TPLF was the Tigray Independence Party who wanted secession from Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed would declare this election illegal and the TPLF terrorists. Then Ethiopia in the midst of holding a war with Tigray as well as fighting insurgency in the Oromo region held an election in July 2021. This election did not include Tigray and two other regions. Many opposition groups in Oromia and other places boycotted the election saying the Prime Minister was controlling who could run. Abiy Ahmed supporters claimed an overwhelming victory that showed the country wanted to buy in to Abiy Ahmed’s false promise of medemer and unification.  They endorsed his inhumanity and cruelty.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of women were raped, hundreds of thousands of civilians mutilated and killed, and millions more subjected to starvation, lack of health care, banking, and communication in Tigray. 

Today the Tigray Defense Force, the Oromo Liberation Army, Agaw Liberation Army, and others are defeating Abiy Ahmed and Esaias Afwerki forces in Amhara and Oromia. I feel sorry for every civilian that is suffering as it is all unnecessary. But there is an important lesson here. Elections have consequences. Strong support for evil does not make it good. The suffering of the Amhara people now in the war has been brought on to a great extent by their own actions.  Instead of sympathy for suffering of their fellow “Ethiopians” they and their leaders make fun of the injustice, mutilation, and death sanctified by them. Elections do have consequences!.

Ethiopia and Eritrea planned the Tigray conflict well before November 2020

The first meeting of Abiy Ahmed and Esaias Afwerki in Asmara was the beginning of the genocidal plan for Tigray

A well thought out plot for a military takeover over Tigray by a joint Ethiopian Eritrean operation was put in place months before the November 2020 North Command incident.  False government propaganda says an innocent Ethiopian government who only wanted peace was “surprised” by a sneak attack on Ethiopia Northern Command on November 3, 2020.

With growing unrest and displacement of many ethnic groups in Ethiopia Abiy used the excuse of COVID19 to delay elections from their appointed time in 2020. The Tigray went ahead with their election and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front won over a 90% margin with a majority of the voting population participating.  They argued that the delay of the elections in the rest of the country had rendered the government in Addis Ababa illegitimate. Ethiopia for the past year before November 2020 had been cutting the budgets to hospital, universities, agriculture and other vital functions but now decides to give a full cut off unless Tigray agrees the election is illegal.

Before Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 the situation for the Eritrean government was very rocky. They were under heavy sanctions from the United Nations for a war with Djibouti  and supporting Al Shabab rebels in Somalia.  Eritrea’s economy was being sustained by mining financed by Qatar interests and developed by Canadian interests bringing in about $1 billion revenue per year. However Esaias government was falling behind in interest payments to Qatar. Qatar recently filed lawsuits in the United States in excess of $300 million to claim against Eritrean assets. Additionally legal cases were building in Canada about the slave labor conditions of workers in the Eritrean mines. Esaias badly needed cash. Even though Canadian interests were mostly sold to Chinese interests 10% was kept.

In July 2018 the beginning of what would be a partnership in genocide begins. Esaias and Abiy discuss many things including the troublesome TPLF who is trouble for both of them. Also Esaias discusses the rich mineral deposits that are in Eritrea and what likely lies in the ground in Tigray. Even though the Irob people, Ethiopians,  who live on the disputed border of Tigray and Eritrea do not want to be a part of Eritrea due to a long history of human rights abuses Esaias insists he wants that border area because it has potential for gold and precious stone mining. Esaias makes an offer to solve the  problem that if Abiy  will support his claim he will wipe out the Tigray but only for a generous payment. What exactly is in the treaty signed by the two leaders has never been fully revealed but we know that Abiy agreed to pay Eritrea a prepayment of $500 million to invade Tigray before November 2020. Abiy also agreed to reduce the protective status of Eritrean refugees who were previously given full protections. The peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia so impressed the naïve international community that all sanctions were lifted and Abiy and Esaias were given the Nobel Peace Price. Little did they know that it was not a peace deal but a plan for genocide.

We know that the Abiy government had been impatient with mining interests in Tigray for being slow to develop leading to many cancellations of mining contracts in May 2021. However following meetings with Esaias Afwerki and with the Tigray leaders out of way decided to make deals with Chinese and Canadian interests for mining in Tigray for which no benefit would come to the Tigray region. Abiy Ahmed was upset that artisanal miners from Tigray were making profits like the founder of the Sapphire Hotel in Addis Ababa whom he placed in prison.

The Ethiopian military budget which had been about $400 million suddenly rapidly increases in 2019 and 2020 before the Tigray conflict. Clearly Abiy Ahmed was anticipating and planning for war. Between November 2020 and July 2021 Abiy Ahmed reveals that he spent $2 billion which is equal to the whole of the Ethiopian government budget. Many observers noted that for the months preceding the November 2020 North Command incident there was a military build up of Eritrean forces on the Tigray border and of Amhara militia and Ethiopian National Defense Forces in Amhara selecting officers that were not Tigrayan. Amhara politicians were sounding the need to return disputed land in Western Tigray but took no action that would be legally called for to settle this dispute under the Ethiopian Constitution likely because they had been told by Abiy Ahmed that a war was coming to claim it back.

UN protects sovereignty of a tyrant, Abiy Ahmed, it once lauded as reformer

Some world leaders still cling to the deception of Abiy Ahmed as a democratic reformer

Prejudice to preserve sovereignty of tyrants like Abiy Ahmed even in the face of severe violation of human rights especially for those whom the international community previous lauded is a UN fatal flaw. The case of Abiy Ahmed shows the damage such long standing practices can do to add to death and destruction arising from his unchecked leadership.

First reported by the Ethiopian Tigrayan  website OmnaTigray in March 2021 United Nations officials in Ethiopia were doubting and trying to cover up the high incidence of sexual atrocities committed by the Abiy Ahmed order of invasion of Tigray starting in November 2020. Since that report there has been a lot of excuses given by the United Nations that fail to pass the test of honesty and transparency notes a recent review of the situation in Foreign Policy magazine.

Just this week many were baffled when during open discussion of the Tigray Ethiopia conflict at the United Nations where very little mention was made about human rights violations and atrocities or the role of Eritrea. Some representatives were seeming to suggest that the Tigray forces fighting for their peoples survival should just withdrawal with no guarantees of any relief except for pleas by the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

At the World Economic Forum in 2019 Abiy Ahmed was the golden boy of the meeting. Representatives of the prosperous nations swooned over the presence and words of the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia. There he described how the economy, GDP, and foreign investment over the past ten years had improved dramatically by previous Tigray lead government which he later condemned. He presented reforms to benefit all in Ethiopia. He proposed medemer uniting and combining the differing ethnicities of Ethiopia. Three pillars of progressing Ethiopia he  presented were “vibrant democracy, economic vitality, regional integration and openness to the world”. None of which came to pass.

Following this he went on to receive the Nobel Peace Price for ending war with Eritrea. We know now this was about helping Eritrea escape crippling economic sanction in return for which Eritrea would help wipe out the existence of the Tigray in an unholy alliance with one of the worlds worst tyrants, Isaias Afwerki.

Now August 2021 is coming to an end and the world’s perception of Abiy Ahmed has turned 180 degrees. Under his leadership the number of political prisoners has skyrocketed, many of them his former allies who played key roles in his personal rise to power. Ethiopia’s debt is growing in excess of $40 billion with the birr value itself falling faster then ever.. By his command millions have been sexually abused, killed, and displaced. Rebellion against his government not just restricted to Tigray and Oromia but now includes strengthening factions in Beningshagul, Afar, Somali, Sidamo, Gambella, as well the Agew of the Amhara region. Everyday the portion of Ethiopia he controls gets smaller as the forces of rebellion approach the capital city of Addis Ababa.

Jawar Mohammed predicted Abiy Ahmed would bring civil war and state collapse

Jawar Mohammed predicted in October 2020 that Abiy Ahmed would build a personal authoritarian rule that polarized Ethiopian society leading to civil war that collapsed the state.

Jawar Mohammed accompanies new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his USA tour in July 2018(photo from Ethiopian MFA twitter)

In late October 2020 Jawar Mohammed an Abiy Ahmed ally who was key to Ahmed coming to power wrote a prophetic prediction of a disaster the leadership of Abiy Ahmed could bring to Ethiopia. His work was published in the Addis Standard, the leading newspaper of Addis Ababa on October 28, 2020 but had been written some time before. Jawar Mohammed was in prison awaiting trial for terrorism and remains there still. A review of his predictions is chillingly accurate to the chaos and loss of life that has come to pass. Note that the members of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front expressed similar views having known Ahmed well during his time in the security services.

From 2014 through 2016 growing protests occurred in the Oromo Regional State of Ethiopia which constitutes in excess of 30% of the total 110 million Ethiopians. An Oromian, Jawar Mohammed  ran a media company based in the United States emerged as a leader of the new movement. He lead a nonviolent but very massive uprising called the Qeerroo (young unemployed unmarried men) movement which spread to all of Oromia, Addis Ababa, and inspired similar actions in other regions.

As they gained momentum the leaders including Jawar Mohammed felt they had three options in changing from an authoritarian state under the coalition organized by the late TPLF leader Meles Zenawi. They felt an overt overthrow was too dangerous and a prolonged negotiated transplacement was too complicated and lengthy. Instead they decided a transformation through a transitional leader was the best way to join moderates throughout Ethiopia together.

Working with Lemma Megersa, the leader of the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization, a “soft coup” was done. In the course of this process Lemma suggested that his protégé , Abiy Ahmed be the new leader. However, Jawar Mohammed had his doubts because of Ahmed’s inexperience with politics and administration. He felt Abiy Ahmed demonstrated a simplistic view and extreme personal ambition which was concerning..

Despite his concerns Jawar Mohammed became an ally of Abiy Ahmed who initially welcomed the return of Oromia opposition groups with open arms. He felt could play three roles to Ahmed including advisor, providing constructive criticism, and working for stability. However soon a downward spiral began. As soon as he assumed power, Ahmed began to remove other reformers who had helped him. Suddenly they became terrorists. Jawar Mohammed sees the disunity of the reform movement as being complicit in allowing Abiy Ahmed to rapidly change from reformer to autocrat.

Abiy Ahmed and Internal Colonialism in Ethiopia

Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and head of the Prosperity Party

Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and head of his self created Prosperity Party, to many rather than bringing a new vision which encourages development of a universally accepted national unity has instead re-aggravated old flames. His inability to escape internal colonialism, a recurring theme in Ethiopian politics, may be the straw that broke the camel’s back in breaking up the Ethiopian empire.

The rise of Abiy Ahmed was propelled first by the strong calls for inclusivity of the Oromia who make up at least 30% of the Ethiopian population in government. However the initial enthusiasm in cooperation was tempered when a division of the goals developed between many Oromia leaders and the Prime Minister was created. The Prime Minister switched allegiances to the Amhara elites who argued for a more traditional Amhara led model of government giving more power to the central government and less to the regional states. Even though currently the Tigray “rebellion” gets the most national attention there now opposition groups many of which are carrying out armed insurrection in most of the regional states of Ethiopia.

Jawar Mohammed seen on the right was instrumental in mobilizing young Oromian men to the cause of Abiy Ahmed. However now he is in jail on charges of terrorism

Internal colonialism is a reoccurring theme in the struggle for control of the Ethiopian federal state. We often hear the term colonialism and see it most commonly applied as an external phenomena referring to the history of European powers attempts to colonize and control African states over the past two centuries but internal colonialism especially in the case of the Ethiopia, a country which claims it has never been colonized by an outside nation, is one of the dominant forces against sustainment of peace in a empire of many nations.

In 1925 Adolph Hitler described the concept that Germany as an integral part of Europe, had the right to acquire adjacent lands that were poorly utilized and under populated as a result of the unfair treaties ending World War I in 1925. He saw his ethnic group as a part of greater Europe who by right of superiority which was inherent in their nationality had not only the right but the obligation to take control of his neighbors. A description of this type of justification for political action would wait until many years later.

Pablo González Casanova the Mexican socialist who defined internal colonialism in his book “Democracy in Mexico

Although first used briefly to describe the situation in South African apartheid in 1957 this concept becomes well defined by the Mexican sociologist, Pablo González Casanova, in his 1965 book, Democracy in Mexico where he defined internal colonialism as a result of the structure of social relations and exploitation between heterogeneous cultural groups. Although the term is named “internal” he notes the effect of outside powers global and regional does have an effect on this interaction. Traditional social struggle theory as one between classes such as in Europe and the United States is not the only relevant or maybe even predominant factor. Patrimony and oligarchy tend to develop in the push to create strong capitalist systems to engender economic viability of the state. Paulo Henrique Martins , French scholar has described that there is a relationship between social, political, and intellectual imagery that develops and helps steer political action by the dominate group over the lesser ones.

A well known phenomena commonly seen in developing countries as noted by the World Bank is that their capital cities tend to develop much faster then the rest of the country. I have written about how the Addis Ababa identity differs significantly than that of the rest of the Ethiopia. Peter Calvert has described how this accelerated growth of cities and its effects on the surrounding area becomes the center of power, identity, and social action. It should be noted that Ethiopia is most rural country in world (90%) such that Addis Ababa with a population of 4 million in a country with 110 million represents barely 0.4% of the population. As I have previously written the growth of other cities and universities is beginning in other regional states but they have little political impact.

Ethiopia was ruled by Amharic royal for centuries until attempted coups began in 1960 ultimately leading to a socialist communist takeover in 1974 called the “Derg” or worker’s party which was heavily supported by the Soviet Union. It was quite repressive although ideally not specifically linked to any particular ethnic group. Then a popular uprising revolted against the Derg leading to new leadership lead by the Tigray Liberation Peoples Front in cooperation with other ethnic fighter groups. Following the death of Melez Zenawi in 2012 uprisings in the Oromia and Amhara regions eventually lead to the placement of Abiy Ahmed, a half Oromia, half Amhara as the Prime Minister in 2018.

Although initially promising free speech, welcoming of opposition groups, political prisoner release, free press, and creating a new political party based upon a unifying national identity all was short lived. He went on to imprison Oromia allies who helped bring him to power, made dissent illegal by person or press, outlawed the leaders of the Tigray regional state calling them terrorists and finally invaded Tigray with the help of an old enemy Eritrea.

When you look at Ethiopia it is a tough region in which to thrive. There is very little water for agriculture and very little land which is really productive for food. The term internal colonialism was used by Oromia opposition groups against the TPLF during their dominance as they felt the federal government was interfering too much in land use and distribution decisions. Similarly the area of Western Tigray which is also very fertile has increasingly been claimed by Amhara elites.

As I previously discussed there has never been a strong claim of a national unity except by the Amhara peoples. Many other groups continue to claim national ethnic identity that trumps their Ethiopian identity. Those who are more educated and/or spent significant time living or being in university in Addis Ababa are more likely to see their Ethiopian identity over their regional one.

Meles Zenawi here seen in his youth as a rebel to the Ethiopian regime became the spokesman for the TPLF leading the revolt against the Derg. His democratic developmental state concept created dramatic economic growth in Ethiopia

Meles Zenawi the late leader of the TPLF developed the concept of the democratic developmental state. This was based in large part in how South Korea recovered following World War II and the Korean conflict where at first their was a military oligarchy that had a first priority to create an infrastructure and lead business initially but then over time would allow more economic Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). freedom of private interests but with significant government input. Although there was a vision of a coalition of nations in forming the government via Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) Meles realized that there was in fact a danger of internal colonialism taking root. The argument of one nation versus a confederation of nations was continued by opposition groups which magnified upon his death in 2015.