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.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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