By Ermias Haile
I met an Egyptian diplomat in 2012 just two months before the death of Prime Meles Zenawi and we had a discussion on the geopolitical issues in the Horn of Africa and Egypt. What amazed me most was the diplomat’s knowledge of the internal issues of Ethiopia including the political rivalries among the various ethnic groups and the history of Ethiopia. My understanding following to the discussion with the diplomat was that Egyptians have been carefully studying the internal issues and weaknesses of Ethiopia in order to identify the soft spots that enable them to destabilize and weaken Ethiopia.
History tells us that for obvious reasons, related to the Nile issue, Egypt has been behind to the weakening and destabilization of Ethiopia for generations. After the miserably failed attempt of Egypt to conquer Ethiopia, in 1875 and 1876, thanks to bravery of Emperor Yohannes IV and the
intervention of God, Egypt resorted to behind the curtain conspiracy against Ethiopia to keep it on perpetual conflict both from within and from outside.
During Emperor Haile Selassie time the main destabilizing internal cards were Eritrea, the Ethiopian Somalia region and Oromia. During the Derg time Tigray also became one of the cards. As it is a well-known fact the TPLF was indirectly and directly supported by Egypt and its progress was closely followed by the Egyptians intelligence. In relation to Eritrea the predecessor of EPLF which is the Eritrean liberation Front (ELF) was created in Cairo in 1960 and the rest is an ugly history and quagmire that is hunting Ethiopia until today. During the EPRDF time OLF, Ginbot 7 and other so called liberation fronts that come and go from time to time are directly or indirectly funded by Egypt.
Among the external destabilizing factors Egypt used during King Haile Selassie time was Somalia under the motto of the creation of the so called ‘Greater Somalia” which ultimately resulted in the disintegration of Somalia. Egypt also worked relentlessly toward marginalization of Ethiopia by the
Western powers, which lasted until September 11, 2001 and relentless lobbying to deny Ethiopia any loan to develop its water resources. Last but not least, following the disintegration of Somalia, Egypt has been effectively using Eritrea as external destabilizing card and for a proxy war front with Ethiopia.
When Prime Minister Meles Zenawi laid the foundation for the GERD in 2011 , I am sure that he was aware of its consequences and could sacrifice his life for daring to cross the red line that Egypt has set for Ethiopia. It is high time for the Ethiopian government to tell the Ethiopian people on how Egypt killed PM Meles Zenawi and expose Egypt’s evil activities to Ethiopian people unless it prefers to continue to hide its head under the sand.
As I mentioned it above Egypt directly or indirectly supported TPLF as a gorilla front to weaken Derg. Once TPLF/EPRDF came to power the Egyptians wanted a quick agreement on the Nile issue and PM Meles flew to Cairo in 1993 to sign the 1st ever agreement between Ethiopia and Egypt. As far as I know, no agreement that the EPRDF signed with Egypt makes Ethiopia’s commitments to be conditional to Egypt’s cessation of destabilizing Ethiopia.
Today’s Ethiopia is unfortunately moving in the direction that Egypt has planned for us. Egypt’s short & medium term goal is to delay the completion of GERD and its long term goal is to fragment Ethiopia to smaller weak nations that will not be a threat to Egypt. To that effect Ethiopia is being pushed toward ugly ethnic driven civil war and it is very sad to hear innocent civilians that come from one ethnic group ( Tigrians) are considered as an arch enemy of other ethnic groups( Amhara and Oromo).
This is shameful development in the long history of peaceful co-existence of Ethiopians and it has to be immediately condemned and stopped by all Ethiopians and all political establishments including the ones funded by Egypt and Eritrea.
Let us assume that the current government reaches to the point where it cannot govern Ethiopia and the Tigrians are forced to go out of Amhara and Oromia. What is next? The ugliest most likely scenario is for Oromo’s and Amhara’s to be on the throat of each other fighting for dominance in the post EPRDF Ethiopia. My fellow Ethiopians there is no end for ethnic based conflict and it is going to destroy Ethiopia exactly the way Egypt wants it to be.
The main accountability & responsibility to where Ethiopia is today goes to EPRDF government for the following main reasons:
(1)Though it stayed in power for 25 years, it has not been able to establish a democratic system that allows peaceful transition of power. The last two elections were fake elections that created a defacto one party system that created the fertile ground for Egypt to plan and execute the current riots that we see in Oromia and Amhara.
(2) As a byproduct of EPRDF’s zero sum political game to sustain its absolute power, EPRDF governance system from bottom to top is full of corrupted individuals which give priority to themselves rather than to the people that are supposed to serve or to the party they claim to represent. We have repeatedly herd EPRDF talking about its weaknesses on good governance and its promise to radically transform it. However, EPRDF has time and again failed to contain corruption and ensure good governance and this has frustrated the people of Ethiopia. This has created additional fertile ground for Egypt to easily ignite riots.
(3) The “no war no peace strategy” that was crafted by PM Meles with regard to our relation with Eritrea has failed to contain Eritrea’s destabilization of Ethiopia through the support of Egypt.
In a very alarming development, Eritrea has leased the Asseb port to countries that are in strong ally to Egypt and Egypt can easily bomb and destroy GERD from Asseb in case its strategy of destabilizing Ethiopia failed to deliver timely results.
It is to be remembered that when PM Meles faced with questions why he recognized Eritrea without securing Asseb for Ethiopia, he used to claim “Asseb will only serve as camel drinking place if Ethiopia would not use it”. The PM knowingly or unknowingly made one of the gravest mistakes of his political carrier which generations of Ethiopians would agonize unless reversed.
(4) It looks the EPRDF under estimated Egypt’s reaction to the launch of GERD and it did not take timely measures to deny Egypt the fertile ground it is using to destabilize Ethiopia. If Egypt fails to destabilize Ethiopia, the last likely option is for Egypt to bomb and destroy the GERD. I hope our
military has the capacity to defend us and for counter attack of the Aswan dam. I am very concerned that the Ethiopian government have become reactive (fighting to put of fire rather than preventing it), unfocused, too much talk but little action since the death of PM Meles. Current developments in Ethiopia requires EPRDF to be led by strong strategic and tactical leader that is able to analyze external and internal threats proactively and takes timely action not fire fighter.
Living in Ethiopia both in Addis Ababa and Oromia for so many years until recently and as a supporter of the EPRDF, I would like to give the following recommendations mainly for EPRDF and the competition (other political entities).
– EPRDF has to recognize and accept the obvious fact that its system of governance is aged, chronically and fatally ill and it has reached to point of no repair. To save Ethiopia from further instability and sustain the successful achievements over the last 25 years, EPRDF has to work out the ground for smooth transfer of power through fair and free democratic election.
– The competition(other political parties) have to understand ethnic based attack on innocent Tigrians is igniting a fire that will destroy Ethiopia just as exactly Egypt planned it to be. Peaceful resistance that pressurizes the EPRDF to come to realistic negotiation position could be guided in such a way that no innocent Ethiopians will be targeted because of their ethnic group or other differences.
– Ethiopians are fed up of repeated claim of the Ethiopian government accusing Eritrea doing that and this. There are two options for the EPRDF with regard to Eritrea. Option 1 is to resolve the problem peacefully or the 2nd option is to stop the threat from Eritrea by force once and for all.
– Any agreement or understanding with Egypt with regard to the Nile issue has to be conditional to Egypt’s cessation of any of its activities of destabilizing Ethiopia. Ethiopia has to immediately revoke all bilateral agreements with Egypt and renegotiate them.
– Considering the fact that destabilized Ethiopia will greatly benefit the expansion of terrorists’ sphere of influence and control in the Horn of Africa, the international community especially the African Union, USA and Israel have to mediate the different political parties of Ethiopia for free and fair democratic election and peaceful transfer of power without affecting the territorial Integrity of Ethiopia.
– Egypt has to recognize the fact that it is leaders are operating by the old paradigm of zero-sum game and are living in the past. Ethiopians shall unite, counter and frustrate Egypt’s evil plans. It will not be long for Egypt to come to real peaceful negotiation table where the water issue shall be resolved based on win-win comprehensive commercial, trade, political and security agreement. The Egyptians shall ultimately sallow the bitter bill of accepting the fact that Ethiopia has the right build cascade of dams along the various rivers that feed the Nile river and to sale its natural resource( water) in excess of the share that will be allocated to Sudan and Egypt.
GOD shall defend Ethiopia and it shall prevail!