British analyst for NYT admits link with TPLF in Ethiopia

First published on March 2021

British politician Alex De Waal admitted Tuesday that he has connections with Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters, who sparked a deadly insurrection in northern Ethiopia. He was the key analyst used by a New York Times (NYT) article spreading TPLF propaganda of “ethnic cleansing” in Tigray, without providing evidence. (Alex De Waal also became the Director of the World Peace Foundation (WPF), with TPLF member Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe currently the lead Africa researcher for WPF)

In a new commentary defending the TPLF, the British analyst said he received “phone calls” that an Ethiopian army division was destroyed by “Tigray’s defense forces” (TPLF) and they informed him of the existence of “five Eritrean divisions.” Despite DeWaal’s past close relations with members of the TPLF dictatorship who ruled Ethiopia for 29 years, there was no previous evidence he had active links with the TPLF insurgents, until his recent admission. 

In January, Mr DeWaal wrote a controversial tribute in honor of the late TPLF leader Seyoum Mesfin, who infamously promised to “turn Ethiopia into Syria” in October 2020. De Waal has also went on a media blitz, publishing Op-Ed articles and allegedly presenting himself as “independent researcher” in various European and United States media outlets. Despite publishing Mr DeWaal’s partisan comments, the New York Times refused to include a response by the Ethiopian government, even refusing to publish the reaction by Washington DC based Ethiopian ambassador Fitsum Arega.

De Waal is one of the top western analysts who have abruptly sprung up since the November TPLF insurrection; often ignoring or downplaying the massacre of Amharas and other minorities in Tigray by TPLF, while blaming only the government’s response to the insurrection. Another analyst, also British, is Martin Plaut who has allegedly overtly declared his allegiance to the TPLF and in some cases went on TPLF-affiliated media to provide military strategy in order for the rebellion to succeed in overthrowing the Ethiopian government. 

Reacting to the unverified New York Times article, top US official Anthony Blinken outraged many Ethiopians, by demanding Amharas leave the Welkait region of Ethiopia, a place Amharas have lived in for over a millennia. Amhara officials of PP called the US State Department’s anti-Amhara comments “reckless” and an “incitement” that legitimizes the ostracizaton of ethnic minorities in Ethiopia. In light of the inclusive policies of the Democrat Party of the United States, several Ethiopian-Americans were also shocked of Anthony Blinken’s comments and some expressed regret online for voting for Joe Biden.

Both Tigrayans and Amhara have lived in Welkait peacefully for hundreds of years before the TPLF annexed the land in 1991 and made it part of “Western Tigray.” 

Eritrean Refugees “Shot”

European anthropologist Natalia Paszkiewicz reported the plight of Eritrean refugees since TPLF trigged the war and a massive humanitarian crisis. Up to 300 Eritrean refugees in Hitsats camp were “shot” by a Tigrayan militia and the women were robbed by local Tigrayan “villagers,” according to Paszkiewicz. The villagers told the refugees “you are all Shabia anyway” as they plundered the camp. 

The term “Shabia” refers to the current ruling party of the Eritrean government. 

Such incidents add to the pattern of Tigrayan civilian active involvement in the conflict as TPLF leaders like Debretsion and Getachew Reda illegally demanded that all “Tigray people” raise arms in order to use a whole population as human shield, a violation of the Laws of war. Amnesty International’s latest report has also confirmed that even Tigrayan civilians were urged to use “improvised weapons” to join the war; which has exasperated the humanitarian crisis


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