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The Art of Dominance: Ethiopia must not negotiate its own demise – Part 13

October 7, 2022

Aklog Birara (Dr)

Part 13 of 14

In their seminal work, Secession and Survival: nations, states, and violent conflict, 2009, David S. Siroky, Donald L. Horowitz, David L. Banks, Alexander B. Downs, Bruce W. Jentelson and Erik Wibbels examine “the problem of violent secessionist conflict and address an important debate at the intersection of comparative and international politics about the conditions under which secession is a peaceful solution to ethnic conflict.” They conclude “that secession is rarely a solution to ethnic conflict, does not assure the protection of remaining minorities and produces new forms of violence.”

I agree. Biafra, Nigeria showed the futility of secession in a multiethnic African state. During the war for the survival of Nigeria as an intact state 1967-1970, more than two million Nigerians, 75 percent children perished. Nigeria expended billions of dollars to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Nigeria won the war and the Ibo rebel leader, Colonel Ojukwu and his associates fled to Côte d’Ivoire. This is the reason TPLF does not trust the role that former President of Nigeria, Obasanjo is playing on behalf of the African Union.

More than half century later, TPLF and its foreign allies reverted to an identical model of violent secession that so far, cost the lives of more than half a million Tigrean Ethiopians and tens of thousands of non-Tigrean Ethiopians. The TPLF committed treason, human atrocities and made Ethiopia a blood bath. This is an Ethiopia tragedy.

Ethiopia is not fighting just the TPLF. It is fighting a cohort of foreign powers. Ethiopia tried to compromise and negotiate for a peaceful resolution of the TPLF instigated conflict. But TPLF and its foreign allies refused to reciprocate, instead placing blame on Ethiopia, Eritrea, and so-called ethnic forces (meaning Amhara Special Forces and Fano) —the victims of war.

I have argued passionately that foreign powers are conducting a coordinated and well-funded cyberwarfare, hybrid, and proxy war against Ethiopia and Eritrea. In this treasonous war of TPLF insurgency in which Tigrean child soldiers are dying in droves, I am cognizant that at stake is also a US-led hegemony over the entire Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. Hegemony in today’s multipolar world is dangerous and might lead to World War Three.

Western lop-sided corporate media reporting on the war placing blame exclusively on Eritrea and Ethiopia and favoring TPLF has truly little to do with human atrocities, which is huge and undeniable. It is far worse. Two examples illustrate my thesis a) The Biden administration suspended Ethiopia from AGOA, a critical support in alleviating poverty in Ethiopia and b) The European Union suspended budget support to Ethiopia. The intent of these Western policy measures is to enforce submission and subordination. Experts agree poverty breeds ethnic conflict and terrorism and causes instability. So, punishing an aid recipient to achieve a geopolitical objective does not promote peace and stability in the Horn of Africa. It does the opposite.

On October 5, 2022, the European Parliament issued its “Joint Motion for a Resolution” on the war and resolved the following 29 policy measures of which I shall highlight only four:

  1. “Reiterates its urgent call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and ceasefire in Tigray and the neighboring regions without preconditions.”

I support this call. However, the EU Parliament failed to acknowledge that Ethiopia had declared ceasefires without reciprocity from the TPLF. So, why is the EU reluctant to demand reciprocity? Why is it reluctant to hold TPLF accountable for initiating war not once but three times?

  1. “Condemns the Eritrean forces’ invasion of Tigray; condemns the war crimes and human rights violations by Eritrean forces during the war in Ethiopia; urges the Eritrean government to withdraw its forces from Ethiopia with immediate and permanent effect and to ensure accountability for its war crimes” (Para 5 of the communique)

Is self-defense by Eritrean forces against the TPLF that initiated the war and conducted rocket attacks on Eritrea not justified under the UN Charter? Is it fair or just to supply billions of dollars and an arsenal of weapons to Ukraine to destroy Russia while giving a pass to the terrorist TPLF that wishes to overthrow the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia and to dismantle Ethiopia?

  1. “Strongly condemns the use of starvation as a method of warfare; recalls that obstruction of the delivery of food and healthcare and denial of these services amount to crimes.” (Paragraph 15 of the communique)

Didn’t the TPLF divert foods, fuels and food trucks for the war effort and use this obstruction that causes famine and starvation in Tigray as a tool and then condemn Ethiopia? Are not UN food trucks deployed by TPLF’s for the war effort? Doesn’t the TPLF have a history for diverting hundreds of millions in humanitarian aid during its insurgency against the Socialist government of Ethiopia that it continues to repeat in the current war?

  1. “Welcomes the renewal of the mandate of Olusegun Obasanjo as the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa; expects further action following statements about the anticipated appointment of a trio of high-level AU mediators in order to prioritize an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access to all areas and the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces, and to facilitate accountability and internal reconciliation: calls for these mediators to be appointed without delay.” Paragraph 23 of the communique

In my considered opinion, this is a redeeming feature of the resolution by the European Parliament. The international community must empower and encourage African leaders and African institutions such as the AU to resolve African problems. It can do this without coercive measures, undue pressure, gross interference in the domestic African affairs of African states including Eritrea and Ethiopia; and without reverting to punitive measures and to the UN Security Council. Fear must no longer serve as a blunt instrument of Western of foreign policy.

It is high time for Europe and the United States to treat African states as equal members of the international community. TPLF internationalized the war with deliberate intent to prolong it. The cohort of Western enablers wish to weaken a promising and resurgent Ethiopia. Egypt coordinates and leads the pack.

“You have the confirmed presence of forces who either willingly or unwillingly are fighting in this conflict from the neighboring states: Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan and now increasing signs that forces from as far away as Chad, Niger and Libya may also be playing a role,” report Will Brown, Lucy Kassa and Zecharias Zelalem quoting Cameron Hudson, former head of African Affairs, US National Security Council” in an Op-ed “How a new ‘Great War of Africa’ is raging under the cover of a media blackout,” October 3, 2022. This coordination is hardly accidental.

Western powers (EU and the US) proffer tantalizing but dangerous statements under the pretext of defending human rights and the rule of law, pass punitive measures and other resolutions on Eritrea and Ethiopia to serve their own national geopolitical and regional security interests.

It is my conclusion that Ethiopia must never negotiate its own disintegration regardless of external pressure.


October 7, 2022

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