Yonas Biru (PhD)
There are three elements to war: Military Power, Public Relations and Social Psychology. Neither winning the current war nor destroying the enemy can bring peace to Ethiopia.
One of the most colossal mistakes that the Abiy administration committed in the war was entering Mekele in 2020. Why was it a mistake? It changed the social psychology of the people of Tigray. TPLF was a dying force, the mistake gave it a second chance in life.
The second mistake was our poor (correction utterly stupid) public relations. Where it matters most, the West was on the Ethiopian government’s side, but we insisted it was against Ethiopia and unleashed the #NoMore street “Assiyo Bieliema and Abebayehoy Lemlem” Cacophony with the LemuTu Bandira and all.
Has it occurred to you that every time TPLF is being pounded and hammered by the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, the West is relatively quiet? This was the case in November and the first half of December 2020. This is the case now.
The West becomes vocal and pressures Ethiopia to reach a peaceful settlement only when TPLF is advancing. The only time the US threatened to send its troops to Ethiopia was when TPLF was winning and marching towards Addis. The US was ready to send its troops to stop the TPLF from taking over Addis, not to help it take over Addis.
Ask yourself this: Why is the US not threatening to send its troops when Ethiopian and Eritrean forces march towards Mekele? This was the case in 2020. This is the case now. The #NoMore community has no answer to such questions.
My proposal is based on three assumptions
First, the current war has proven that the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has a permanent upper hand and TPLF is depleted. TPLF’s military superiority exists in their mind, not in reality. My proposal follows.
Second, winning the social psychology of the people of Tigray is as important as winning the war to achieve a permanent peace.
Third, Permanent peace can only come if Ethiopia wins on three fronts: the war, public relations and social psychology.
Only when Ethiopia wins the war and the people of Tigray deliver the last blow in the form of free and fair election will the TPLF be gone forever. That requires a strong military and a robust PR.
Here is my proposal:
- Encircle Mekele with no route for escape
- Provide Humanitarian Aid to the People Outside of Mekele and do everything to dispel their fear.
- Do not appoint administrators. Instead, give the people a chance to pick their administrators.
- Provide TPLF leaders safe passage to exile to a safe haven with the following conditions: (a) The safe haven will not be a border nation; (b) agree not to leave the safe haven for 5 years; (c) agree not to be involved in Ethiopian and Eritrean politics during the five-year period; (d) agree to be extradited to Ethiopia if they violate any of the above three conditions. These are utterly worn-out old men and women. Let them live the rest of their lives in exile. They are not worth undermining the peace process to satisfy our urge to make them pay for the atrocities they committed.
- Agree to offer TPLF fighters who are not involved in crime against humanity and war crimes blanket amnesty
- Do not dismantle TPLF as a party, and do not remove TPLF members from the Tigrayan bureaucracy. Allow Tigrayans to do it. They know they have suffered under TPLF. If given the opportunity to elect their leaders without fear or threat, they will choose new leaders. If they still choose TPLF, let it be their choice.