American political analyst
Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Evgeny TerekhinÂ pledgedÂ that his homeland will help rehabilitate his hosts after getting a clearer understanding of the full extent of the damage that the terrorist-designated Tigray Peopleâ€™s Liberation Front (TPLF) inflicted on the northern part of the country throughout the course of its approximately half-year-long occupation of the Afar and Amhara Regions. Chinaâ€™sÂ XinhuaÂ recently cited official Ethiopian government statistics about this which claim that the Amhara Region suffered damages upwards of approximately $5.7 billion.
According to their data, the TPLF partially or fully damaged 1,466 health facilities and vandalized water, electricity, and transport infrastructure. 1.9 million children are out of school in that region after more than 4,000 schools were damaged by the group. Over 1.8 million people were displaced from the Afar and Amhara Regions while 8.3 million there are suffering from food insecurity. The scale of this humanitarian crisis is massive and the direct result of theÂ US-led Westâ€™s Hybrid War on EthiopiaÂ that was waged to punish the country for its balanced foreign policy between the US and China.
Itâ€™s here where Russia can rely on its recent experiences in helping to rehabilitate Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to optimize its pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopian. Those two countries are much more war-torn than Ethiopia is, the latter of which only saw fighting in its northern regions instead of the entirety of its territory like the prior two did. The most urgent task is to ensure security in the liberated areas, which can be advanced by summer 2021â€™sÂ military cooperation agreementÂ between Russia and Ethiopia.
This pact could potentially see Russia sharing more details of its earlier mentioned experiences in order to enhance the Ethiopian National Defense Forceâ€™s (ENDF) security and stabilization operations in the northern part of the country. Syria and the CAR survived very intense Hybrid Wars that utilized cutting-edge military tactics and strategies against them similar to those that were subsequently directed against Ethiopia by the TPLF. It would help the ENDF to learn more about the challenges connected to ensuring security in areas that have been liberated from such contemporary Hybrid War forces.
The next order of business is to help the many victims of that countryâ€™s humanitarian crisis. Russiaâ€™s experience with assisting Syria in this respect, which suffered one of the worldâ€™s worst humanitarian crises in decades, can be of use to Ethiopia. This is especially the case when it comes to aiding its internally displaced people. Their immediate needs must be met and maintained, which might require urgent support from that countryâ€™s trusted partners such as Russia. Provisioning such in an effective and timely manner can also improve Russiaâ€™s international reputation too, especially among Africans.
Northern Ethiopiaâ€™s post-war rehabilitation must be comprehensive and sustainable. The countryâ€™s Medemer philosophy — which has been translated as â€œcoming togetherâ€ â€“ will form the basis of these efforts. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed touched upon this in hisÂ 2019 Nobel Peace Prize speechÂ and his book of the same name that was released earlier that year. Its English translation hasnâ€™t yet been published but Medemer was explained at length by high-level Ethiopian officials during an early 2020Â US Institute of Peace panel talkÂ and in Ethiopian writerÂ Linda Yohannesâ€™ insightful book review.
An oversimplification of it in the economic context is that Medemer preaches the need for comprehensive, inclusive, and sustainable growth through public-private and other partnerships that bring prosperity to all of its people, which in turn strengthens socio-political relations between them. It seeks to apply positive aspects of foreign models while avoiding the bad ones. The Medemer mentality aspires to balance cooperation with competition, constantly improving itself as needed, in order to synchronize and synergize Ethiopiaâ€™s natural economic advantages in people, location, and resources.
In practice, this could see Russian public and private companies partnering with Ethiopiaâ€™s primarily public ones to rehabilitate the northern regionsâ€™ damaged infrastructure. Since sustainable growth is one of Medemerâ€™s key concepts, the countryâ€™s Russian partners could also train more laborers, social workers, teachers, and doctors throughout the course of these projects while offering scholarships to some internally displaced youth for example. In that way, Russia and Ethiopia could truly embody the Medemer spirit by literally bringing their people closer together as a result of these noble efforts.
All the while, Russiaâ€™s international media flagships ofÂ RTÂ and Sputnik should be active on the ground documenting the entire experience. The immense influence that Moscow has in shaping global perceptions can be put to positive use in exposing the foreign-backed TPLFâ€™s countless crimes against humanity in northern Ethiopia. This can powerfully counteract the US-led Westâ€™s information warfare campaign against its government, which misportrays the TPLF as innocent victims of the â€œgenocidalâ€ ENDF, exactly as similar Russian media efforts have done in debunking Western lies against Syria.
The world wouldnâ€™t only benefit by learning more about the US-led Westâ€™s lies against Ethiopia, but also in seeing how effectively Russia is working to reverse the damage that their TPLF proxies inflicted in the northern part of that country. Russia is also a victim of their information warfare campaign, which misportrays the Kremlin as a dangerous and irresponsible international actor. The truth, however, is that Russia is a peaceful and responsible international actor that has a documented track record of cleaning up the Westâ€™s Hybrid War messes in Syria, the CAR, and prospectively soon even Ethiopia too.
Upon taking the lead in rehabilitating northern Ethiopia, Russia should diversify the stakeholders in that countryâ€™s prosperity in coordination with its hosts. Itâ€™s in Ethiopiaâ€™s interests as well to receive assistance from as many responsible and trusted partners as possible. Russia can help by requesting that relevant aid and multilateral rehabilitation efforts be placed on the agenda of the proposed heads of state meeting between the Russian, Indian, and Chinese (RIC) leaders that presidential aide Yury UshakovÂ saidÂ was discussed for early 2022 during President Putinâ€™s latest video call with President Xi in December.
The RIC countriesÂ stood with in solidarityÂ with Ethiopia at the United Nations in the face of the US-led Westâ€™s subversive attempts to weaponize international law against it. Theyâ€™re strong economies in their own right, not to mention through their cooperation via BRICS and the SCO, the latter organization of which also has anti-terrorist and other security dimensions. These two multipolar platforms could potentially be used to extend economic, financial, humanitarian, and security cooperation to their Ethiopian partner to complement bilateral and trilateral efforts in this respect.
Russiaâ€™sÂ increasingly strategic tiesÂ with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could also lead to Moscow working more closely with Abu Dhabi on related rehabilitation matters with their shared partners in Addis Ababa. Observers shouldnâ€™t forget that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) played aÂ crucial roleÂ in brokering peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2018. He evenÂ awardedÂ their leaders his countryâ€™s highest civil honor when they both visited the UAE that summer. Furthermore,Â Al JazeeraÂ alleges that the UAE has maintained a humanitarian (and possibly even military) air bridge to Ethiopia.
Regardless of whether or not the military aspect of this reported bridge is true or not, thereâ€™s no denying that the UAE has emerged as a major stakeholder in Ethiopiaâ€™s success. ItÂ depositedÂ $1 billion in Ethiopiaâ€™s central bank in summer 2018 as part of its $3 billion aid and investment pledge at the time. The UAE also plans to build anÂ Eritrean-Ethiopian oil pipelineÂ in order to help the latter export its newly tapped reserves in the southeast. Additionally, DP World signed a memorandum with Ethiopia in May 2021 to build aÂ $1 billion trade and logistics corridorÂ to separatist Somalilandâ€™s Berbera port.
Considering the closeness of Emirati-Ethiopian relations, it would therefore be fitting for RIC to incorporate the UAE as an equal partner into any potential multilateral plan that those countries might come up with during their proposed heads of state summit sometime in early 2022. It enjoys excellent relations with all three of them so itâ€™s a perfect fit for complementing their shared efforts. Plus, the UAE has the available capital needed to invest in high-quality, long-term, but sometimes very expensive infrastructure projects, which can ensure northern Ethiopiaâ€™s sustainable rehabilitation.
Itâ€™s pivotal for Russia to prioritize its pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopia ahead of the second triennial Russia-Africa Summit thatâ€™s expected to take place in October or November after fall 2019â€™s first-ever summit saw Russia return to Africa following a nearly three-decade-long hiatus. Coincidentally, EthiopiaÂ requestedÂ last April to hold the next event in Addis Ababa. That would be a sensible choice since its capital city hosts the African Union headquarters, has sufficient infrastructure, and can serve most of the continent through its Ethiopian Airlines, whichÂ regularlyÂ winsÂ awardsÂ as Africaâ€™s best airline.
The interest that Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia Alemayehu TegunuÂ recently expressedÂ in courting more Russian investment ahead of the next summit goes perfectly well with Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Terekhinâ€™sÂ vowÂ to heighten cooperation between those countriesâ€™ ruling parties. This in turn raises the chances that the present pieceâ€™s proposals could hopefully serve as the blueprint for beginning relevant discussions as soon as possible on Russiaâ€™s pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopia with a view towards achieving tangible successes ahead of the next Russia-Africa Summit.
That timing is so important since Russia mustnâ€™t miss the opportunity to showcase its bespoke â€œDemocratic Securityâ€ model in Ethiopia. This emerging concept refers to the comprehensive thwarting of Hybrid War threats through economic, informational, military, and other tactics and strategies such as the action plan that was proposed in the present piece. â€œDemocratic Securityâ€ approaches vary by country as evidenced from the differing ones that Russiaâ€™s practicing in Syria and the CAR, but the concept could attract many more African partners if itâ€™s successful in Ethiopia by next fallâ€™s summit.
Russia must therefore do everything in its power to bring this best-case scenario about. Rehabilitating Ethiopia wonâ€™t just improve millions of lives, expose the war crimes committed by the US-led Westâ€™s TPLF proxies, and enable Russia to showcase its â€œDemocratic Securityâ€ model to other African countries, but ensure that the continentâ€™s historical fountainhead of anti-imperialism and pan-Africanism survives its existential struggle. Upon that happening, Ethiopia can then serve to inspire a revival of these ideas all across Africa through its complementary Medemer concept and thus strengthen multipolarity.