—-why the USA gives a free ride to the TPLF–
Aklog Birara (Dr)
Part 5 of 8
“In his U.S POLICY TOWARDS ETHIOPIA Professor Donald Levine says America has been a friend of Ethiopia since World War II.
You might tell that to a less informed public, or to a public silenced by the desire to live and make money – that is, the American dream!
Given my professional interest in history and politics, this is a subject which I have at heart, which I feel strongly about, and which has tormented me for a long time as a powerless mortal incapable of influencing the course of events and change the sad condition of life of my compatriots. Professor Levine, there is no way to escape the fact, that once again in our history, a fair amount of our woes and tribulations since World War II are the result of the rise of the U.S as the new world power in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa, replacing the former European colonial powers, particularly Great Britain, and our association with the super power hegemony of the United States of America, in rivalry with the Soviet Union in the context of the Cold War, and the struggle against Communism.
It is common knowledge that superpowers, have no friends, but strategic interests. Ethiopia has no petrol or diamonds. But it is a Red Sea littoral region, a major international route, and in proximity to Arab and Persian Gulf. Oil, a vital U.S interest.”
The late Professor Alem Eshete, 2001
I spend sleepless nights asking myself when Ethiopia’s agony might end. I do not have a solid answer. But I can legitimately argue that Ethiopia continues to suffer because of the following geopolitical factors:
- Ethiopia’s strategic geopolitical location as a hub in the Horn of Africa
- Ethiopia’s rapprochement with the government of Eritrea that affects the Red Sea
- Ethiopia’s national determination to harness its transboundary waters, especially the Abbay River for the betterment of its 120 million people and as a lynchpin for manufacturing and industrialization, and,
- Ethiopia’s fiercely independent foreign policy in the new Cold War with China and Russia
I have argued vociferously that Ethiopia faces hybrid and proxy wars, cyber-attacks, and punitive measures from different sources. Its internal ethnic polarization feeds into these relentless attacks.
I am not at all surprised the TPLF started another devastating war. It rejected peaceful settlement for a reason. Among other things, the European Union and the United States emboldened it and gave it a free ride. In other words, it had signals that gave it confidence that TPLF can launch another insurgency with a sense of impunity.
Two examples illustrate this point
- US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his team have been unabashed in stating that Amhara and Eritrean forces must leave “Western Tigray,” a land mass TPLF annexed using force, depopulated the land from Amhara and repopulated it with Tigreans; and,
- UN specialized agencies like the World Food Program, WHO headed by a former member of the TPLF Politburo and TPLF’s Ambassador at large, Tedros Adhanom, etc. (the good Samaritans) failed to demand accountability from the TPLF for diverting foods, medicines, petroleum, trucks, and other essentials and diverted these for TPLF’s latest insurgency.
In the most recent episode of crimes by the TPLF, the UN World Food Program determined that the TPLF diverted 570,000 liters of petroleum to its war chest. In earlier months, media reported that TPLF failed to return hundreds of humanitarian food trucks. It is simple to figure out humanitarian agencies are providing foods, medicines, trucks, petroleum, and other essentials without accountability. This deeds in the name of humanity are instead enabling the TPLF to wage war.
Instead of demanding for accountability, the good Samaritans place all blame on Amhara, Eritrean and Ethiopian defense forces, the victims of TPLF aggression. TPLF aggression, human atrocities, and immense economic destruction against the Afar and Amhara population are still fresh in the minds of millions of Ethiopians and independent international observers.
What did the EU, USA and UN specialized agencies do? Nothing. They continued the same narrative of blaming the victims.
This is the essence of a free ride. So, I ask myself, what is going on here? What is the plot behind? What forces are providing TPLF with weapons, coordination, strategic inside information and the like?
Remember the Western Corporate narrative that Tigray is encircled; that Tigray faces famine and so on. If food is captured and redirected, it goes without saying that Tigreans will starve. If encircled, how does the TPLF access the requisite materials to wage war again? Is not war insanity? How come the EU, US and UN agencies fail or ignore to demand accountability from TPLF?
The US designated TPLF as a terrorist organization. Its ideology, programs and actions have never changed. It is a menace to peace and stability in the entire Horn and Eastern Africa. If terrorism is repulsive and unacceptable in the EU and the USA, why is it tolerable or acceptable in Ethiopia?
Failing to demand accountability from the terrorist TPLF that diverts food aid from ordinary Tigreans reinforces my thesis of granting TPLF a free ride to do more harm with impunity. The ultimate victims are ordinary Tigrean and other Ethiopians. The other victim is Ethiopia as a country.
It was inevitable TPLF will launch another war of atrocities and destructions. Those foreign forces that emboldened it are thus responsible for this tragedy.
I am convinced that, no matter what the Ethiopian people and the federal government of Ethiopia do, the EU, USA and UN specialized agencies will continue to give direct and indirect support to the TPLF. They have been doing this since November 2020. I do not expect them to acknowledge this fact. They will not.
I no longer trust what they say. I watch what they do. What matter are their day-to-day deeds; their narratives to sway international public opinion placing blame on victims rather than victimizers.
There is a play book that Ethiopians and the rest of Black Africa must never forget.
Ethiopia lost its access to the Red Sea and became landlocked because of Egyptian, British, and American pressure, influence, and massive aid to liberation fronts.
The US suspended Ethiopia from AGOA because of US indirect support to the TPLF.
Ethiopia had to fight in defense of its sovereign rights to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) against threats of war from Egypt, direct support of Egypt’s colonial natural and historical rights claims of hegemony and veto power over the Abbay (Blue Nile) River from the EU, the Arab League, and inconsistent signals from the Biden Administration.
The EU, US and Egypt either in concert or bilaterally assess Ethiopia scrupulously and monitor its positions and relations strategically because of the mistaken perception that its relations with China and Russia endanger long-term Western dominance and influence in the Red Sea Corridor, Eastern Africa, and the larger emerging African continent.
The Government of the United States approaches US policy towards Black Africa as a struggle between the West and emerging China, Russia, and their allies. This new cold war like policy is dangerous for all concerned. The EU and the US must refrain from forcing Ethiopia and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa to choose between East and West. They must respect their sovereign rights.
Article 2 (1–5) of the UN Charter stipulates the following principles:
“The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
- The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
- All Members, to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
- All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
- All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
- All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
Following the war that TPLF started unprovoked in November 2020, Sudan attacked and annexed Ethiopian territories. The EU, US and the UN failed to express outrage in line with Article 2 (4).
Egypt continues to wage cyber-warfare, Hybrid, and proxy wars; supports the TPLF, the Oromo Liberation Army and terrorist groups against Ethiopia. This is a violation of the UN Charter too. The EU, US and the UN failed to demand restraint from Egypt.
TPLF waged a people’s war in which an estimated 500,000 Tigreans perished, most of them child soldiers. TPLF committed atrocities against Afar, Amhara, raped girls, and women, destroyed an estimated $10 billion worth of investments. The second war TPLF launched on August 24, 2022, is an aggression banned under international law.
War crimes and crimes against humanity the West ignores
In a principled and ideal world, the EU, the USA and the UN would have held the TPLF leadership accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the Mai-Kadra Amhara massacre. Below is an extraction from Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgement of the Tribunal that stipulates as follows:
On 21 November 1947, one year after the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trial, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 177 (II) entrusting the International Law Commission with the formulation of the principles of international law recognized in the IMT’s Charter and final judgment.
The Commission formulated seven principles, listed below. The UN adopted them on 29 July 1950.
Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible, and therefore liable to punishment.
The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law functioned as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(a) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances.
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment, or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
In summary, there is a plethora of evidence that the TPLF committed crimes highlighted above. The question I pose to the EU, the US and the UN is why they continue to provide license or cover to the TPLF to commit more heinous war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic genocide, and further incalculable destruction of social and physical infrastructure?
It is my assessment that Ethiopians must recognize the geopolitical dimension of the war and the external forces involved.
May God Help Ethiopia Prevail!!!!
August 26, 2022