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:
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.
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.
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.
Ignore the fact 80,000 law abiding Tigrayan citizens have lost their businesses and bank accounts without any due process.
Ignore the fact that now more 50,000 Tigrayans are imprisoned without right of trial.
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.
Ignore the fact that he falsely accuses Western democracies of using established nonaligned charities as tools for regime change.
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.
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.
The biggest Ethiopian lie is that Ethiopia itself sent relief to Tigray during its occupation from November 2020 to July 2021. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, his Foreign Press Secretary and the Ethiopia Representative to the United Nations have continually claimed that during the early phases of Ethiopian and Tigray war up through the claimed unilateral ceasefire Ethiopia intended to allow planting and Ethiopia spent millions in birr in reconstruction, food, and medical aid to Tigray. The truth is however, what aid got in that was not blocked on way by Ethiopia was supplied by international aid agencies not Ethiopia. Soon after the Tigray resurgence that pushed Ethiopian and Eritrean forces out of most of Tigray the the strict blockade of all aid was started by July 2021.
From the onset of the Ethiopian Tigray conflict to early January 2021 I was present at Mekelle University. During that time and continuing after we received no food supplies, no medical supplies, no fuel for generators or civilian needs, and all commercial traffic was blocked. International aid agencies sent containers through Djibouti which remained at the port not allowed to pass. The heads of the Tigray Interim Administration admitted that the Federal government intended to block planting and cut off supplies to Tigray to force their capitulation.
Shipments of medical supplies including consumables, medications, and other things were hijacked by Amhara militia, Ethiopia federal forces, and others before they reached Tigray.
I witnessed attempts at communication with the local Tigray Interim Administration, local military commanders, and even satellite calls to Ministers of Health and Education in Addis Ababa. The conversation was always that upper level Ministry officials accountable to the Prime Minister were reviewing the situation or sometimes just frankly saying it is not a “priority”. Several members of the Tigray Interim Administration during the Ethiopian occupation have at their own personal risks now admitted that the intent of the Ethiopian government was to starve, destroy, and kill Tigrayans so as described by Abiy Ahmed all that was left was “a fine dust that would blow away in the wind”.
When will Africa learn that protecting evil dictatorships like Eritrea will always be an impediment to building a better and stronger Africa? Passing the one year mark of the human caused catastrophe of the Ethiopian war what most strikes me is the lack of discussion of the role Eritrea has played.
The 1995 movie, The Usual Suspects, has a quote that has become iconic “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist “. This most aptly describes the tyrant of Eritrea. While we hear constant commentary about Ethiopia and Tigray we hear next to nothing on how the most notorious master manipulator Esaias Afwerki masterminded not only what is going in Ethiopia but adding to chaos in Sudan.
Even though Eritrea competes with North Korea as to who is most egregious violator of human rights among the countries of the world it shamefully was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council mostly by endorsement of other African nations. The faulty notion that protecting African sovereignty and prominence in international affairs means accepting cruel and vicious leadership is allowable contributes significantly to much of Africa’s human rights struggles. The situation is so bad in Eritrea that a special envoy to follow it was created by the UN. Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, presenting his oral update, said this year he had seen no concrete evidence of progress or actual improvement in the human rights situation in Eritrea.
If one wants to be generous to Abiy Ahmed that initially he had better intentions toward building Ethiopia this assumption can only be defended by pointing the finger to his naivete to the mal-intentions of the diaspora clerico-fascists and Isaias Afwerki. Yet these two entities remain obscured in the discussions of how this cataclysm developed.
At this moment Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed has decided that he is justified to starve millions of innocents of whom children are the first to die. Not only Tigray but even before the war started 1 in 4 Ethiopians was getting international food aid from the UN and others. Many Amhara, Orom0, Somali, Afar, SNNP as well as others are also facing food shortages with displacement, new locust swarms, poor rains, and inflation which limited the planting material this year.
The English pastor, John Dunne, wrote that “No Man Is an Island” in his Meditations centuries ago. Apparently this was never a reading of the Prime Minister. The United Nations was created so that nations can help each other in times of crisis. The vulnerable including women, children, and elderly have traditionally been protected by international agreements to which Ethiopia is a signatory. Abiy Ahmed believes he is above treaties. In the name of sovereignty no atrocity is forbidden.
Yet today we see a man who just a short time ago received the Nobel Peace Prize and the hope of a nation but now has become one of the most evil in history. Overseeing and approving widespread rape, male child killing, destruction and theft of health care facilities, cutting of supplies of electricity. communication, fuel, and lastly intentionally starving the Tigray population with an intent to kill as many or more as the Nazis killed the Jews or the Turks killed the Armenians.
Meanwhile his maniacal supporters cry Ethiopia for Ethiopians. Forgetting the Eritreans and Somalis were called in to assist with the killing and destruction while the Tigray who at least when this war started were Ethiopians.
Ethiopia has zero capability to survive by itself economically. Ethiopia is $30 billion USD in debt such that it has to pay $2 billion USD annually just to cover the interest which is equal to a normal whole budget. The birr is worth almost nothing while rampant inflation for everything from diapers to food is rising daily. Without any outside support the Ethiopian economy will surely collapse. Now with sanctions surely coming it will crash viciously for the perpetrators.
Once aligned with the western democracies to help its development now Ethiopia has become pimped to Eritrea, North Korea, Iran, and Turkey. Eritrea has stolen many of the personal vehicles of the FANO Amhara militia and other valuable in Gondar and Western Tigray. The rebellion against the Abiy Ahmed grows in every region every day.
Additionally they are killing Amhara occupiers of Western Tigray while they ravage it. All this to “payback” a deposed Tigray group that had returned to just rule Tigray. Never mind that the Bible, a book the PM claims to follow, bands starvation as a weapon in both the New and Old Testament. Perhaps he should read it again to learn about justice, peace, mercy, and love. Many have talked about Abiy Ahmed ultimately ending up in the International Criminal Court for his complete loss of respect for human life. Now this may be necessary to find peace.
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-Monitorthat 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.
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.
Is it reasonable to starve your enemy? At this time the United Nations and members of the African Union are calling upon the Ethiopian government and allied militia of the Amhara state to stop the intended blockage of food aid to Tigray which has resulted in dangerous ongoing famine for millions especially children. There are those promoting starvation of the Tigray region saying that it will weaken them and bring fighting to an end sooner. The Bible in both the New and Old Testament specifically forbids this practice. Classic Judeo-Christian values sees violence to easily become a self propagating recycling of increasing harm to the parties involved.
I have previously written about the recognized justifications of both Islam and Christianity for a just war and how the Tigray Defense Force for the most part has met and exceeded this criteria. Additionally I did say that there was an argument that Christ calls for complete pacifism as the only way to go. Which of these is correct has been controversial for centuries?
Now I am going to write about justification from the point of view of the Ethiopian government and recent statements by the President of the Amhara region that what they are doing is a holy war.
In the Old Testament in Proverb 25:21-22 it says
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”
Here the burning coals recalls an Egyptian expiation ritual, during which a guilty person, as a sign of repentance, carried a basin of glowing coals on his head. Meeting violence and hate with charity and generosity stops this escalation of harm.
This message is repeated by Saint Paul in Romans 12 where he writes:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As I have previously written, invoking Jesus name to commit clearly forbidden acts is a form of blasphemy so severe that it is recognized as the sole unforgiveable sin.
The failure of definitive action of the United Nations to decisively act against genocide since World War II predicts the victims of Ethiopian genocide on Tigray can expect no real help. As a result of the genocidal actions of the Ethiopian government under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed towards the Tigray beginning on November 4th, 2020 it is possible that 750,000 people will die, thousands have suffered rape and other humans rights atrocities, and a population of more than 6 million people have been deprived of food security, personal safety, shelter, education, health care, transportation, and all means of communication for 9 months.
Unfortunately this catastrophe is just the latest of many genocides that have occurred in which the United Nations having recognized the crisis and its potential for horrific damage to human life yet accomplished nothing to stop or prevent it.
Critiques of the United Nations (UN) have noted that it has a history of acting “as a slow, reactionary bureaucracy, failed to effectively combat the genocides”. The UN is guided by the principle that military action is always to be avoided and that prolonged negotiation is the only answer. Unfortunately what this means is that usually the aggressor will get to maintain whatever territory or enslaved population already captured and often the oppressed have little chance for return to the previous status quo. This type of response is recognized by aggressors who know they have weeks to months to quickly do whatever immoral and egregious action they wish to take before the UN will even begin to discuss it. Knowing this the government of Ethiopia has taken a strong stand that it will not negotiate with the Tigray believing it faces no real threat of significant sanctions from the international community. For the Tigray it means they have no other course of fighting to overturn the government of Ethiopia.
Even when UN peacekeepers have been deployed they have failed to protect civilians when confronted by threat of attack by aggressors as they are directed basically to never engage as was seen in Bosnia in the 1990s. Former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon acknowledged, for example, that UN troops were pulled out of Rwanda “when they were most needed” and further acknowledged that the innocent at Srebrenica were “abandoned to slaughter” in 1995.
Genocide was recognized officially in 1946 in response to the genocide of 6 million Jews by the German Nazi regime. Polish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin, in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe which lead to the UN Resolution 96(1), 11 December 1946 formally recognizing it. The definition of a genocide was created in this resolution:
“Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings; such denial of the right of existence shocks the conscience of mankind, results in great losses to humanity in the form of cultural and other contributions represented by these human groups, and is contrary to moral law and the spirit and aims of the United Nations. Many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part.”
Yet only three genocides have been officially recognized by the UN Rwanda in 1994, Bosnia (and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre), and Cambodia under the 1975-79 Pol Pot regime.
Human nature is that we will take action to protect another based upon what their relation is to us. Evolutionary biologists talk about actions which preserve those closest to the same gene pool. Although the religions of the Abrahamic covenant (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) preach universal brotherhood mans ability to selfishly not see that the needs of others beyond his immediate circle of family and local community makes us reluctant to get involved. In Christianity this concept noted by Saint Paul was felt to be the greatest impediment to becoming a true Christian.
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.
The government of Ethiopia while claiming a law enforcement operation has committed genocide to the people of Tigray and turned Tigray into a concentration camp.
What is the definition of a concentration camp?
According to the highly respected encyclopedia Britannica a concentration camp is “defined as an internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order”. What the Ethiopian government has done to the Tegaru, Irob, Agaw, Kunami, Afar, Orthodox, Catholic, Christian, and Muslims who live in Tigray meets every requirement stated in this definition of a concentration camp and in every way just a deadly as those recalled from previous examples when evil predominated a society.
Actions of Ethiopia against Tigray are more than law enforcement
When the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and Eritrean Army units invaded the Regional National State of Tigray in November 2020 the leadership of Ethiopia specifically stated that was being undertaken was a law enforcement action to capture the leaders of a “terrorist group”, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and that there was no intent to take action against the civilians of Tigray. In fact they explicitly stated they were proceeding with this invasion to not only capture the leadership but also to protect the security and life of their “brother” Ethiopians.
At the time of invasion I was Chief of Neurosurgery and on the faculty of Mekelle University, a federal university not under the Tigray state, which had medical students and specialty trainees from almost every regional state in Ethiopia as well as surrounding countries. Additionally it administered Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital which served a population of about 10 million including not only Tigray but also Afar, northern Amhara, and recently even Eritrea intermittently when the border was open. Additionally we occasionally cared for patients from Addis Ababa and the SNNP (Southern Ethiopia).
Following the complete take over of Tigray we were initially told by the Interim government and military commands that the government, medical, and educational services would be quickly restored. But instead they quickly deteriorated well before the reorganization and re-emergence of the Tigray Defense Forces. Except for a very short time of a few weeks early on the following have been cut-off and never restarted including banking services, electricity, telephone and cell, internet, water, civil infrastructure management, hospital supply, schooling, etc.
Although the Federal government claimed it was giving 70% of the trickle of very basic aid that was coming in reviews by well established international authorities revealed it was less than 3% of the total which was in itself dramatically less than required.
As the weeks progressed the undeniable evidence was increasingly seen that sexual abuse of women now estimated to be in the thousands, extra judicial killing of whole villages, routine execution of males even those below or above that generally considered to be militarily capable were reported even by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Although there may be a possibility of some actions by Tigray militia which also require investigation the exponentially greater magnitude affecting hundreds of thousands of violation of human rights and killing by soldiers under the direct command of the Ethiopian government cannot be denied. If not stopped the number being threatened will rapidly accelerate to millions.
Instead of taking corrective action to improve the humanitarian situation which would possibly yield the benefit of making the civilian population of Tigray more peaceful instead new arguments surfaced from mouthpieces of the Prime Minister’s advisors that due to previous claims of unfair treatment by the TPLF that justified the violations of human rights currently underway. Videos emerged stating that every Tigray should be killed at birth. Eritrean and ENDF soldiers have stated to neutral third parties that they were instructed to rape women to destroy the chance for Tigray to have children.
Religious institutions, artifacts, and worshipers were targeted for destruction which had nothing to do with a “law enforcement” action. One of the most important Mosques in the world in Negash where the followers of Mohammed took refuge from prosecution from pagan Saudi rulers at the invitation of a Christian king was intentionally bombed and ransacked. What does that have to do with “law enforcement”? Monasteries in Western Tigray with religious texts hundreds of years old were attacked with their treasures destroyed and clergy assassinated. The ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church which traces its roots to the early Jewish religion of Menelik I and then the Christian kingdom of Ezana in Axum was desecrated with the murder of at least 80 unarmed worshipping civilians. What does that have to do with “law enforcement”?.
It is well documented that Eritreans, ENDF, and Somali mercenaries destroyed factories and businesses including those of foreign investors who generated income for the Ethiopian government and provided employment for civilians. Many pieces of equipment of not only these but also the national Ethio-telecom company were taken by Eritreans as war bounty to Eritrea. How does this destruction of Ethiopian federal property qualify as “law enforcement”?
The invading forces were instructed to destroy seeds and prevent farmers from planting crops. Many livestock were killed to be consumed by no one or taken to Eritrea in trucks. Both aid and commercial food supplies where blocked from entry to Tigray. Gradually both the Federal Government and the government of Amhara began to change their tune to explain this by saying that the population of Tigray was too supportive of the TDF and that NGOs were smuggling weapons with the aid. They accused organizations with much greater long standing reputations of wrong doing with no evidence instead trying to cover their own genocidal intent.
The government of Ethiopia as late as 2019 was a signatory to the Genocide Convention of the United Nations which states verbatim any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The treaty recognizes the following two elements of the crime
A mental element: the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”; and
A physical element, which includes the following five acts, enumerated exhaustively:
Killing members of the group
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group