Aspects of the War in Northern Ethiopia Explained

✍️Seble Giorgis

The war in Northern Ethiopia (Tigray War) seems to have been one that is stalked by the specter of a politically motivated stand of the US and its allies against Ethiopia’s national interest more seemingly to reassert their geopolitical hegemony in the Horn of Africa (HoA). One of the strategies is restraining the new ordering around the HoA that is being spearheaded by China and Russia as it poses a significant threat of alienating their historical allies in the HoA. Moreover, China’s policy of a “peaceful” global rise provided a massive opportunity for countries in HoA and this partnership is misconstrued by the US as China’s geopolitical tool. Therefore, they invoke a coordinated hybrid war either to debilitate targeted countries or to plot regime change.
In the same vein, the US and its allies use Egypt to execute those agendas for the HoA, Notwithstanding the US, Egypt has also its own hidden agenda of keeping the HoA in crisis by weakening the established political systems in the region. Recently, Egypt in collaboration with Sudan has been officially extending military support to the belligerent Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) group in Northern Ethiopia. This subversive action in Ethiopia’s internal affairs cannot be a bolt from the blue, it has been there for years and will not stop soon. The unholy convergence of interest between the two countries is an extension of their long-standing behavior of exploiting any dispute in Ethiopia, and currently, jointly intensifying a proxy war for the game they already lost on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). All the same, the overall objective is to detract Ethiopia from its development endeavors fueling internal conflict.
More so, Ethiopia is in a political hotspot region, and that positions the country to deal with various contentious issues and militarized conflicts driven by external actors. Especially this has been deepened by the gradually changing concept of the principle of non-intervention which has resulted in the shrinking of the domestic jurisdictions in many countries as the US and the West have been recklessly exerting strong power for their greedy causes against the agreed international principles. The interference and subversive actions in the current conflict in Tigray/Ethiopia are the extensions of such international practices over time.
In addition to the external dimensions of the war, contextualizing TPLF provides more insights on the connections. Once at the helm of the state machinery of Ethiopia, TPLF is an ethnically constituted political front and surprisingly degenerated into an insurgent since it returned to the Tigray region in 2018. This group declared a war on the country it had led for 27 years. During this period, it divided the people along ethnic lines and spread hatred among people. Generally, jeopardized the social fabric with the help of foreign hands that were determined to disintegrate Ethiopia. Not to dwell on who fired the first shot, this war was preceded by various processes of escalations ranging from conducting elections that were rejected by the central government to opening war on the Amhara and Afar regions including expansion of the war on the neighboring country of Eritrea to give it a regional nature.
In this war, TPLF destroyed innumerable public infrastructures, killed humans and animals, raped women and children in IDP sites, recruited child soldiers, and conducted genocides that caused psychological distress to millions of women and children in the Amhara and Afar regions, amounting to grave violations of international humanitarian laws and other pertinent instruments that prohibit such actions. The US and its allies never wanted to denounce TPLF for terrorizing the people but rather decided to impose political and important economic sanctions on Ethiopia inflicting another pain on the wound. It is astonishingly bad to sanction and deny the legitimate right of the country to defend millions of its citizens from a homegrown terrorist attack within its domestic jurisdiction.
The political gesture by the US and its allies in the Tigray war has been influenced by their political imperatives in the HoA, one that matters a lot to them. It is a known fact that those imperatives are met means the collapse of the present sovereign states in HoA and their predicaments. This is the reason the international community turned a deaf ear to the plights of millions of Ethiopians and augment TPLF’s operation under the guise of humanitarian access. This is proof that the international community has double standards on violations, hence they cannot diagnose our problems nor be expected to provide a remedy because our problems are unique to us. The outcome of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US for the so-called action ‘preempt terrorism’ (Al Qaeda) and Iraq with the same rationale explains how the US and its allies use the humanitarian logo for their own purposes. Unfortunately, their action left the countries with huge destruction of infrastructures, loss of life and properties, and a huge humanitarian crisis in the region. All these are expressions of the US and the West’s approach to reasserting their position as global hegemons.
As one aspect of the war, it is important to evaluate whether TPLF fits contemporary politics and there appears a huge and visible gap – TPLF leadership has not yet evolved nor is agile to adjust itself to global political developments. it is a group that is standing still ruminating on the old ideological thoughts of the 60s when the focus of the period was, to name a few, identity, race, the balance of power, and irridentism. That had heavily undermined the value of the consensual society, even more, difficult to construct an agreed narrative than fragmentation. Hence, TPLF is still captive of those ideals that were famous over half a century ago. This situates the aging TPLF group as an incompatible body with 21st-century ideals and projects that are beyond irridentism, insurgency, ethnic politics etc… For this group, the comprehensive languages of collaboration, integration, interconnectedness, globalization, and interdependence are very complex to understand.
So, for this archaic group to be a thing of the past, it is important to endeavor to finish the war once and for all and establish accountability for the loss. It is obvious that the people of Tigray are currently held hostage by the tyrant TPLF and they need freedom, stability, lasting peace, and justice. There are indicators of the endurance of the people of Tigray running over, and they are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair, a condition that will declare the end of homegrown terrorism from its roots.
To sum up, an important lesson drawn from what is transpired by the action of the TPLF group in Ethiopia provides a sufficient analytical basis to shift the narratives and reflect on how the key elite interests are the main drivers of the conflict. The horrendous results are witnessed by huge destructions and humanitarian crises in the Northern Ethiopia region that will take years to rehabilitate.



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