By Andrew Korybko
American political analyst
Ethiopia is facing an unprecedented Hybrid War onslaught comprised of military, political, economic, and information components which requires a comprehensive strategy for countering. Everyone is bracing for a large-scale battle sometime in the coming future due to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) advance towards the capital of Addis Ababa over the past few days and the federal government’s subsequent promulgation of a state of emergency. This terrorist-designated group is tacitly supported by the US through indirect means via the provisioning of material assistance to it through corrupt UN forces and Washington’s equating of the TPLF with the internationally recognized Ethiopian government on the political front. This backing emboldened them to invade the neighboring Afar and Amhara Regions over the summer following the military’s withdrawal from the Tigray Region that was carried out in support of the government’s unilateral ceasefire declaration at the time, continue committing war crimes with scant international criticism, and thus threaten the very existence of the Ethiopian state.
The authorities plan to employ their state of emergency to ensure the defense of the capital and thereafter push back against the terrorist forces. They’ve encouraged their compatriots to join the war effort, which all patriotic members of society should do without a second thought considering everything that’s at stake. The potential return of the TPLF to power would disempower the Ethiopian people by further institutionalizing their externally exploited identity differences through the “Bosnification” scenario so as to indefinitely divide and rule them on that basis. This serves the interests of that group’s foreign patrons, particularly Egypt, which wants to prevent Ethiopia’s emergence as an African power. In effect, the de facto internal partition of the country into a checkerboard of quasi-independent identity-centric statelets could reverse its federal government’s visionary hydroelectric power generating policies, which would prevent Ethiopia from ever reaching its full developmental potential. By making it forever dependent on foreign energy imports, Egypt would ensure that Ethiopia never rises again.
There’s also a more directly focused economic dimension to this Hybrid War that isn’t any less important than the military and political ones. This concerns the US’ plans to revoke Ethiopia’s access to the American market through the “African Growth and Opportunity Act” (AGOA) at the beginning of next year. It’s intended to provoke financial panic and thus immediately worsen the economic situation in the country. The purpose in doing so is to manipulate the population to the point where they lose confidence in their government at one of the most crucial moments in Ethiopian history. Even if anti-government riots can’t be provoked to advance a Color Revolution scenario due to the preventive measures in place connected to the recent state of emergency, the US at the very least hopes that the Ethiopian people will lose hope and thus become less enthusiastic about defending their country. After all, it’s significant to note that this announcement coincided with the TPLF’s latest military advances.
Not only that, but all this happened around the same time that a UN report was released blaming both sides of the conflict for war crimes. Despite this pretense of neutrality, it’s expected that international pressure will overwhelmingly be directed against the Ethiopian government in an attempt to discredit it in the eyes of everyone. This will complement prior efforts to implicate the state in the so-called “genocide” that the TPLF and its supporters have claimed it’s committing. The weaponization of this information warfare narrative is meant to put immense pressure on the government by pushing the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) scenario from Libya under similarly faux “humanitarian” pretexts. In the current context of the country’s conflict, this could be employed as a backup plan if the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) succeed in pushing back the TPLF. The military, political, economic, and information aspects of the American Hybrid War on Ethiopia are all coordinated and converging at this particular point in time in order to provoke an existential crisis for the country.
Having identified the most prominent dimensions of this conflict, it’s now time to discuss the means through which the state is responding to them. The military component was already touched upon with respect to the newly promulgated state of emergency and associated measures for the defense of Addis Ababa. Open source details on this are scarce due to their confidential nature during this time of war so it’s difficult to objectively assess their effectiveness thus far but it can be assumed that the state will do its utmost to ensure everyone’s security considering everything that’s at stake for it and the people that its tasked to protect. As such, observers are expecting a major battle sometime in the coming future, especially since talks between the warring sides presently seem out of the question as each has maximalist demands of the other: the TPLF wants to return to power at all costs while the internationally recognized Ethiopian government regards the group as foreign-backed terrorists with whom no negotiation is possible.
On the political front, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has passionately promoted the cause of national unity. He and his government have emphasized the existential nature of the conflict and urged their compatriots to rally behind their civilization-state. By articulating the exact nature of the threat that the TPLF poses to Ethiopia, they’ve ensured that the population is fully aware of what’s at stake. There can be no excuses among those who don’t support their country at this pivotal moment in its history. Those who decline to do so by default sympathize with the TPLF’s “Bosnification” vision of further institutionalizing their identity differences in order to divide and rule Ethiopia’s diverse people for the benefit of that group’s foreign patrons, especially Egypt. The enormous socio-economic progress of the past few years would be reversed and the country’s population will likely be plunged into an indefinite period of impoverishment. Furthermore, the TPLF can be expected to sell off national assets to its foreign patrons as a quid pro quo for their support in returning it to power. The Ethiopian Renaissance would thus end in a nightmare and Africa’s historical icon of independence would lose its sovereignty.
In terms of economically defending Ethiopia, the solution is more nebulous though the state likely expected to have its AGOA access to the American market revoked for political reasons based on faux “humanitarian” pretexts following the US’ threat to this end a few months ago. It’ll be challenging to replace the role that AGOA had for the Ethiopian economy though it isn’t impossible. Ethiopia should immediately reach out to its Chinese, Russian, Indian, Turkish, and other partners to explore the possibility of obtaining similar access to their markets as it had to the American one. This will take time, though, so it’s expected that there will still be some serious short-term economic and possibly also domestic political consequences at the very least. Some of this can be counteracted through the provisions entailed in the recently promulgated state of emergency as well as the state’s efforts in explaining the existential nature of this conflict for the country. The first is aimed at ensuring hard security in the sense of preventing or responding to unrest that might be triggered by this economic provocation while the second is meant to retain the hearts and minds of the Ethiopian people during this time of crisis.
The state has struggled to respond to the information warfare dimension of this latest American Hybrid War despite its best efforts due to the pressure that the US has put upon its allied Mainstream Media outlets to suppress the truth about what’s happening in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, that country’s activists and their supporters across the world have taken to social media to raise awareness of this on their own, with the most popular campaign at the moment being the #NoMore one promoted by the Horn Of Africa Hub. They aim to inform everyone that the Ethiopian people are united in their opposition to the TPLF’s divide-and-rule vision, foreign imperialist plots, Mainstream Media lies, and related issues. This campaign could potentially go viral and thus break through the US’ “information firewall” for censoring the truth about this Hybrid War. It’s therefore a major asset to the state’s efforts since it could positively reshape the perceptions of those who’ve been indoctrinated by information warfare into falling for false narratives about this conflict. The example being set by these Ethiopian activists and their allies could prospectively be replicated to defend other countries from similar Hybrid War onslaughts in the future.
Everything has suddenly intensified in Ethiopia due to the strategically timed convergence of the various components connected to the US’ Hybrid War against that country. There’s no doubt that the situation will likely get worse before it gets better, though it’s difficult to put a timeframe on when that might happen. The TPLF and its foreign patrons are pushing Ethiopia to the brink of total war. They’ve in effect expanded their strategy of provoking humanitarian crises for political ends from their native Tigray Region to the entire country after being emboldened by the US, Egypt, and corrupt UN forces. This is meant to inflict painful hardships on all of its people in an attempt to provoke them into turning against their government. Be that as it may, the success of this strategy disproportionately depends on manipulating the population’s perceptions. So long as the state can retain a sense of national unity in the face of this existential threat, then the TPLF will struggle to destroy it from within through political, economic, and infowar means. That would in turn drastically raise the importance of the military aspect of this conflict, thus possibly setting Ethiopia up for a series of major battles to determine the ultimate outcome of this war.