Ethiopia’s Anatomical Perspectives: A Procrastination for Head over Nose

The Queen of Sheba

The Sudanese army has made major incursions in the Ethiopian territory, as deep as 40 kms. It has killed several farmers, displaced over two hundred, and burnt crops, tractors and equipment estimated at one billion birr. And more. The cowardly—and disgraceful—betrayal took place just a week after Ethiopia got fully preoccupied in the conflict triggered by the Tigrayan cabal.

In my earlier piece “Somalia’s Miscalculation: A Reading for the Sudan” I lamented that “It is with deep regret—and wrath—that we are witnessing the invasion of Ethiopian territories by curiously aggressive Sudanese army at a time when Ethiopia has been preoccupied in a major endeavor to bring the rebellious TPLF cabal to justice—an effort hailed by many, including the African Union Commission.”

Now that the Tigray operation is effectively over, one would expect the Sudan to de-escalate the situation. But to the contrary, it is pushing with a new offensive while declaring a propaganda war play-acting as a victim of the Ethiopian army and air forces.

Earlier on a Sudanese army general bombastically pronounced that “We have re-taken 80 percent of our land that was occupied by Ethiopia 26 years ago…”. It appeared that the renewed offensive is to complete the remaining 20 percent. What is however perplexing is that the Sudanese incursion is happening far and beyond the disputed borders.

When one examines another debacle on the current GERD negotiations, where the Sudan is dangerously wobbling, it shows a country with multiple—and powerful—players in the region—and within the country. The struggle within the two power structures—of the civilian and the military—in the country is manifested in these incoherent pronouncements—and actions. It makes it all the more difficult for Ethiopia to deal with these provocations—and thus any action requires extreme care, a big dose of wisdom—and immense patience.

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It is, of course, imperative that Ethiopia pushes on multiple diplomatic fronts—primarily with IGAD and the African Union to resolve this matter amicably—and peacefully. In doing so, it should not also overlook friendly Arab countries, though the Arab League, as a body, has been historically hostile.


The Nose Versus the Head

In a press conference on 12 January 2021, the spokesperson of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Dina Mufti, in reaction to the aggressive attack stated that the  Sudanese “force is seizing more lands in violation of the agreement reached between the two countries. Ethiopia has been working patiently to resolve the issue peacefully and through dialogue, realizing that war will not be an option for the problem. Any type of unilateral exercise is not helpful in finding a lasting solution and what Sudan is doing at the moment is unprecedented and it did not reflect the interest of its people.”

In a charming and simple, but powerful, analogy using key body parts, he underscored the virtue of patience. He proclaimed: “You may not promptly opt to punch back someone on the nose in a self-defence, as you may chop off his head later.” (Author’s translation from Amharic.)

One would remain hopeful that neither the nose nor the head would be a victim of this miscalculated provocation. If, however the nose or the head is to be appropriately dealt with, it should be executed methodically, patiently and vigorously.

Read Aloud:   Zehabesha Daily Ethiopian News June 3, 2018

I wonder why Ethiopia should go for the head when the Sudan has gone for the nose. While the chopping of the head may remain as a last resort, Ethiopia could go for arms, fingers or other critical body parts. For instance, Ethiopia should leave all its options on the table including a measured incursion to any part of the Sudanese territory along the long stretch of their common borders. Who said, it should be an eye for an eye? A head for an eye is equally, if not more, mortal as an effective deterrent.

Ethiopia may consider bringing the conflict to a different level by overstretching the Sudanese army to defend its long borders. This would be a colossal task for the Sudan as the UN peacekeeping forces are leaving its troubled regions.

Well, many vulnerable spots in the Sudan are public secret.


Consolidating the National Forces

Time and again, Ethiopia has confronted invasion and betrayal by neighbors—and others beyond. It has witnessed provocation and outright wars when they felt that the country is at its most vulnerable—as in now. This leaves the country with no option but to defend itself by all means necessary—regardless of the cost.

The first important action should be rallying the country behind the government similar to the operation in Tigray. And more so, when the invader is a foreign force, galvanizing the country, history shows, may not be that difficult a task. Victory is inevitable when an army is fully endorsed and supported by its people.

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The second critical action should be consolidating all the national and regional forces under one central command. In this case, all the special forces of the regions—whose constitutionality has been a subject of conversation for a while now—could be strategically and systematically integrated into the force—in the process building a massive, well-organized and formidable force.

It is important to recall the history of the Ethio-Somalia war of the 1970s, when the country trained and equipped 300,000 militias in three months to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. With an already trained, equipped and armed special forces, the task this time should be much easier, notwithstanding the political wind that this may cause. But, this could be successfully defended in the interest of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Third, all political parties, specially the more prominent ones, should speak in one loud voice—and send unequivocal message denouncing the invasion and mobilizing citizens to stand behind the government. Squabbling over zonal infractions and internal political matters must give way to national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


In Conclusion

Countries which are feeding, drinking and living off of Ethiopia continue to be aggressive, deceitful, ungrateful—and greedy towards it. Ethiopians should stand shoulder-to-shoulder to thwart the Sudanese aggression—backed by known historical enemies whose undying wish has been a weak—and divided—Ethiopia.

No amount of resources and energy is big enough to defend the invasion of the country.

But patience is a virtue. And yes, a head is more rewarding than a nose—and thus worth the wait.


  1. What is the hell in Sudan border? A Benishangual administrator Ato Ashandile Hassen has to be liable on the hidden agenda, why government of Ethiopia didn’t take measure on him. These all the mess that TPLF junta group have been worked for past 27 years. Military leaders of Sudanese government will be liable for the consequence of aggression, war & illegal claiming of Ethiopian border states; including Benishangule because it is a strategic point as GERD located there. Ethiopia government shall do aggressive diplomatic campaign soon to international communities before taking serious military measures as they are liable for the consequences.

    Ethiopia military force, air force never let down in history.
    Long live to Ethiopia!!

  2. @The Queen of Sheba,

    Thank you for the very thoughtful article of yours. Certainly, your suggestions are immensely sensible and therefore they are something the Abiy Ahmed government should follow and apply if it has the interest of the country as a whole – as opposed to that of a small group of ethnic agitators and profiteers – in its heart.

    Unfortunately, the Abiy Ahmed government has almost always acted to advance the interests of the ethno radicals and profiteers at the expense of the whole country – employing empty rhetoric to confuse the rest, continuously concocting and spreading potpourris to cover up the stench of tribalism which is at the heart of his administration.

    It is interesting, Abiy Ahmed has never come across an ethno radical agitator and profiteer that he would not empower and give a stage to and protect – e.g., Shimelis Abdisa, Taye Dendea, Addisu Arega, Lencho Leta and so on and so forth. Well, that is, unless anyone of them get it into their heads to threaten his hold on to power – e.g., Jawar Ahmed and that dimwit, excruciatingly embarrassing idiot Bekele Geraba – in which case they are off to jail, indefinitely.

    One wonders if there are any moderate Oromo politicians who are intellectually respectable, pragmatic, sensible, generous as opposed to the narrow minded, greedy, radical ethno nationalists we are being subjected to everywhere we turn ourselves to.

    Well, I am certain there would be many, many such individuals, there has to be – though none of them would ever be empowered or given any stage to present an alternative direction and/or vision for the Oromo and the country as a whole than that currently being dictated by the radical ethno nationalists whom Abiy Ahmed greatly favors – because, among other things, they are all corrupt and corruptible, and hence, very easy to control.

    Anyway, why do they have to have a vision of one group being more equal than equal, what about all being simply equal, at least working towards that, is the only model that they could think of is the one that passed down to them from that moronic group -TPLF? Well, to call TPLF moron or moronic is to do a great injustice to that term, a great injustice!

    In any case, a minor point of disagreement with the article, in regard to terminology, specifically, the use of TPLF cabal and so on. I am sorry but it is a bit of nonsense, cabal, junta, and so on, that is. TPLF is TPLF – a criminal, a terrorist group through and through, a group which should have be designated as such long time ago.

    So too OLF – calling them OLF Shane or some such is an empty political theatrics. OLF is OLF – another criminal, terrorist group through and through, which must also be designated as terrorist group – just like the TPLF. By the way, the war with TPLP is not over, at least, not completely, there seems to be a fair amount of fighting is still going on, various reports suggest. . .

    And that will continue to make it difficult to deal with the current threat and the invasion of Sudan – as such, it is not only Sudan, it is also the remnants of the TPLF – as well as Egypt – that the country has to deal with. . . Well, the only way forward now is for Ethiopian government is to start acting with some degree of honesty, work to bring the country together, put a stop to the genocide and the ethnic cleansing that is being perpetuated by the forces that it seems it has been tacitly supporting. . .

    Abiy Ahmed’s government need to be very, very careful now – in many ways than one – lest it will bring not only its own doom but also that of the county’s as a whole.

    Let’s remember that one of the very significant reasons that the TPLF was able to get a free ride to Addis Ababa was because the Mengistu Haile Mariam’s government was so hated and abandoned by the people of Ethiopia, they thought nothing worse than it could come – as it happened, TPLF proved itself to be worse, but that was the feeling of the people at the time. Granted that this time we are facing a foreign enemy, Sudan, that might change that type of calculus somehow. . .

    Still, once in power, TPLF ruled Ethiopia as a foreign occupying force, corrupting and sabotaging everything, including unilaterally imposing the cursed thing that they called ‘Constitution’ and the education system that they downgraded to almost nothing. As such, most of the Ethiopian youth was subjected to university education that was not even equivalent to a high school education in a better run country.

    Moreover, they almost destroyed the moral fabric of the entire country – some of the narrow minded, greedy, corrupt ethno radical agitators and profiteers we have to contend with now are direct results of the TPLF’s sabotaging of the country.

  3. ዝነኛው: ኢትዮጵያዊ: and ittu aba farda

    you are busy here misinforming the world and dessiminating lies after lies; Yes, I am 3 grader men. I didn’t go to amhara mass media and its foundation to learn histroy of amhara fabricated by yosef yitna, daniel kibret, memhir debteras and metetamoch. Your churchmen know how to write a fake hagiography and book of satan for them to stay in power and kill enemeis. Yesterday, one debtera from gonder said: I killed many Tigrean forces by calling special names of God, metet and tenkola; Yetenkoy lijoch silehonachu aygebachuum. Where did Ittu studied ? In refugee camp ?? Harvard, Howard, Sawa ? UNHCR gave him a certifcate ?

    Very interesting progress made by Sudan and they will keep on coming forward . Success !!

    Please help me understand ?? I can understand you are busy defending PP and your master Abiy, the killer. Did he promise you to grant you a job in one of his companies ?We know amhara elites like you are endowed with insults and lies just like that fallen dragon, satan, your father.

    This election is like bunatetu meeting among elders after they let children fall asleep , killing and imprisoning the mostpowerful and influencial men , so that they start their elderly talk .some kill their own people with foreign power and take part in traison hoping to get a seat in UN peacekeeping mission like arkebe uqubay ;

    Power could even urge egoist men like arkebe to kill their own people .

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