The US Cannot Save Ethiopia from TPLF

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NOVEMBER 2, 2014 |

History shows many things have “gone with the wind”. We should all know that “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” The late dictator Meles and his TPLF disciples today profoundly troubled every Ethiopian house and the house of their neighboring states and for that, they shall inherit the wind – soon!

By Amanuel Biedemariam,

Does Ethiopia need saving, and why? For those that follow the region closely, the signs are clear that Ethiopia faces imminent instability. Outside divine intervention, there appears no credible movement that can bring peaceful change in Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia tried for years unsuccessfully to have their voice expressed at the ballot box and found it impossible.

In its response to Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) Ginbot7, one of Ethiopia’s leading opposition groups, wrote,

“Ginbot 7 was formed as a political movement in order to advance justice, freedom, and liberal democracy in Ethiopia. Ginbot 7 believes that no meaningful and genuinely competitive elections can take place in the country due to the prevailing and ever worsening egregious human rights violations, the closing of political space, the harassment and persecution of members of the legal and peaceful political opposition. Furthermore, an entrenched minority ethnocratic dictatorship in Ethiopia has determined to perpetuate its hold on power by all and any means necessary.”

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) remains hell-bent on staying in power by any means necessary.  This dichotomy has been pulling the nation apart for some time. These and other factors threaten to splinter Ethiopia in ways that can re-shape the geopolitical, strategic makeup of the region. It will also influence US policies in many ways.

The latest report, report on moral of the Ethiopian military personnel and leadership composition, Ginbot7-TPLF’s Minority-ethnic-monopoly-of-the-armed-forces-in-Ethiopia states,

“There is widespread discontent among the regular army as well as rank and file officers that is predominantly drawn from the large non Tigrean Ethnicity some of whom are referring to themselves as becoming slaves to a Tigrean dominated system. For several years now there is widespread and simmering discontent with this domination but questions related to these issues are not normally raised or discussed in public, for fear of prosecution.”

The report continues,

“According to this survey, the existing military governance system is highly skewed to one minority ethnic group, TPLF Tigrians. In general, the survey indicates that the system being followed by the current TPLF government is comparable to the old colonial and apartheid military organization systems, which now have become relics of history.”

The South African (SA) apartheid-era army was considered amongst the most powerful in the world. The countries in the region posed no threats to it. The SA military was full of black South African mercenary foot soldiers that brutalized their kind.

Similarly, the TPLF army’s core leadership is from Tigray, when most Ethiopian armed forces represent other ethnic groups. Like the SA army, the TPLF uses the military as mercenary forces and destroys the opposition with brute force.

History shows that the apartheid army of SA failed, and as such, the TPLF minority clique will fail. However, unlike the South African army, which was independent, wealthy, and nuclear arms, the TPLF army is very dependent on aid. It is not as strong. And it is beset by internal and external threats. When it fails, it will take the country down with it.

Ethiopia is mired with inner conflicts artificially muzzled with brute force, intimidation, coercion, bribes, etc. Recent Amnesty International report details repression and brutality the Oromos face.

Ethiopia faces simmering conflicts in the South with the Oromo, in the West the Benishangul, in the East the Ogaden, in central Ethiopia with the Amhara’s, and in the north with the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement TPDM.

The TPLF forces are fighting against the people in all regions of Ethiopia. The TPLF does not represent the people or the interests of the people; they are interested-only to hold on to power by any means necessary. The aspirations of the people mean nothing to the TPLF.

On the other side, the struggles and conflicts the people of Ethiopia wage are directed against the minority clique from the Tigray TPLF-lead apartheid army.

The TPLF cannot exist in peace based on democracy and within a united Ethiopia. It needs a constant state of conflict to survive. Soon after it assumed power in 1991, the TPLF divided Ethiopia ethnically, handed every ethnic region a flag, and declared Article-39, which gave the regions the right to self-determination and independence if they so chose. The TPLF set the template for division.

Ethiopia’s faultiness is not limited to ethnic divisions. The TPLF has been instigating conflicts with Ethiopia’s religious communities for a while. Ethiopia’s Muslims have over the last 6 years, demonstrated in huge numbers citing various grievances. The Orthodox church is divided.

These simmering tensions are alive in all aspects of Ethiopia’s political, economic, social, ethnic, and military, threatening the nation’s existence.

The massive land leasing and land grab program the TPLF is engaged in displaces Ethiopians in large numbers, further escalating tension between indigenous Ethiopians and the ethnic minority Tirayans led by TPLF in the Gambela region. The TPLF is using brute military force to push populations out of their land.

Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s existential threats are not only confined to its borders. Irrational, short-sighted adventures have made the TPLF a regional pariah thus a target. The TPLF clique is from Tigray, Northern Ethiopia.

The TPLF served as mercenary foot soldiers and engaged in conflicts against countries in the region to pursue US interests. Everything the TPLF did was as an Ethiopian army. The US is technically dealing with the Ethiopian military since the TPLF is a legitimate government representing Ethiopia. However, it was the TPLF army that worked for the sole benefit of the TPLF.

The TPLF was helped to power by Eritrea. However, as soon as they were able, the TPLF made Eritrea their first target, waged devastating wars, and created a protracted state of conflict it called “No Peace No War” designed to destabilize Eritrea.

The TPLF miscalculated and waged the wars assuming it would take six months for Eritrea to fold. It declared regime change, recruited individuals and groups, and attacked Eritrea repeatedly. They trained terrorists, established government(s) in exile, recruited regionalists, religious extremists, susceptible individuals, and declared a government in exile to topple the government of Eritrea. The TPLF continued hostilities while occupying sovereign Eritrean territories in violation of international laws.

However, what the TPLF tried against Eritrea became its reality. Eritrea’s resilience has turned the table on the TPLF.  The genocidal dictator Meles Zenawi is dead. The  No War No Peace plan he put in place has become an albatross that it could not dislodge.

However, the TPLF continued its adventures unabated. In 2006, the TPLF committed another huge blunder when it invaded Somalia. In violation of international laws under the pretext of fighting terrorists, extremist Muslims, the TPLF destabilized a sovereign Somalia.

Ethiopia, touted by the West as a Christian nation, invaded an Islamic state on Christmas and nurtured unnecessary enmity with the people of Somalia. Eight years later, countless lives have been lost, and it destroyed Somalia. Today Somalia is in a worse position.

The TPLF adventures have placed Ethiopia at odds with Egypt by playing politics with the Nile, which poses an existential threat for the people of Egypt.

Recently, at the behest of the US, the TPLF attempted a regime change in South Sudan (SS). The attempt threatened the lives of the leaders of South Sudan and exacerbated the instability in SS. It also placed Ethiopia at odds with SS.

The SS leaders took some major steps to protect their interests. They opted out of the mediation held in Ethiopia, demanded negotiations moved to Tanzania, reaffirmed their commitments to China, and signed military agreements with Uganda and Egypt.

This agreement gives Egypt a backdoor to Ethiopia. The SS have also expressed their discontentment with Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization that the TPLF controls and uses to advance its interests.

As a host nation of the African Union, Ethiopia was supposed to play a neutral role when dealing with African matters. However, by overplaying its hand, the TPLF damaged Ethiopia’s future roles as a neutral location for Africa.

Many factors could propel abrupt change. Ethiopia is the second poorest nation in the world, prone to famine and other calamities. Power outages beset Addis Ababa, and the streets are filled with beggars. Recent reports placed the number of orphans at 4.5 million, which is 5% of the total population.

Ethiopia remains heavily indebted, and it depends on foreign aid, which makes up to 97% of its annual budget. Ethiopia receives help primarily because it serves as a foot soldier to western interests. When the West decides they cannot pursue their interests because the TPLF failed them, it is unlikely that the aid will be forthcoming at the current level.

Additional regional developments could divert western attention away from Ethiopia. For example, recent developments in Yemen could play a game-changing role. These developments can influence events in Saudi Arabia; change how the US acts in the Baab Al Mandeb, Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea; it can shift US stances.

These and other factors can influence western decision-makers on how they deal with and help  Ethiopia. When they do, the TPLF is done because it depends on Western aid for its life.

CONCLUSION

Ethiopia is a pressure cooker. The situation in Ethiopia is unsustainable. The central government is surrounded by various destabilizing factors inside and outside the country. Anything can spark unrest and instability in Ethiopia.

The consensus has been that Ethiopia is a large and strong nation. That perception is serving the people of Ethiopia poorly because it shields the vulnerabilities-the-reality from the international community and denies Ethiopians real solutions.

Instability in Ethiopia will spell disaster for Western presence and influence in the region. It will wreak havoc and make Ethiopia a breeding ground for terror and extremism that will influence the region and beyond.

The West and particularly the US, has so far been irresponsible in the way they manage Ethiopia. Their actions belie the undercurrent that will engulf the nation and, by extension, the region. Ethiopia is a ticking bomb ready to explode.

It will spell disaster if the US fails to change direction. The atrocities the people of Ethiopia and especially Tigray could face will be devastating long term

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