The Collaboration of Ethiopia’s Regime with Foreign Powers to Terminate the Tigrayan Ethnic Group
Desta, Asayehgn, Sarlo Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development
Under the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopia was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Consistently, it registered double-digit percentage annual growth in Gross Domestic Product (Smith, Nov 17, 2020). Despite some setbacks, the EPRDF also had the intention of transforming Ethiopia into a full-fledged, decentralized, multinational federal system of government that cherished self-rule and local autonomy.
In contrast to his service as a peacekeeper for the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Rwanda in 1994, and antithetical to the 2019 Noble Peace Prize that he won for forging peace with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy (hereafter referred to as Abiy), due to his infatuation with a unitary system of government for the last two years, has been selecting the administrators for all the regional states (except Tigray) and negating the autonomy of the federal states.
Currently, with the assistance of foreign powers (Eritrea, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abiy has embarked on a deadlier and protracted, seemingly never-ending war against the Tigrayans that have been demanding the enforcement that all nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia be allowed to practice the unconditional rights to self-rule enshrined in the 1995 Ethiopian Constitution.
That is, rather than following civility and using healthy dialogues to settle conflicts with the TPLF, over the years, the Abiy regime decided to crack down the Regional State of Tgray. Initially, Abiy used the following methods of economic sabotage: - 1) cutting the Federal budget that should have been allocated to the Regional State of Tigray; 2) remaining aloof to the blockage of the interstate highways that run into Regional State of Tigray; 3) failing to assist the Regional State of Tigray when it was infested by swarms of desert locusts, and 4) not protecting the Tigrayans when their properties were ransacked by organized criminals.
Later, in order to fulfill the dream that his mother had for him that he would be the seventh king of Ethiopia, Abiy purposely sided with those who had nostalgic images about the past Ethiopian regimes and those who felt that they were disenfranchised by the 1995 Ethiopian Constitution.
As the tit-for-tat argument between Abiy and the Tigrayan leaders lingered and progressed to the extent of rejecting each other’s legitimacy (Sew, Dec 23, 2020), Abiy treacherously formed a devious friendship with Eritrea’s dictator President, Isaias Afework. Being Isaias’ former secret agent, Abiy wanted to exploit Isaias’ ingrained desire for revenge against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that recklessly defeated Isaias’ armed forces during the 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrean border conflict.
Contrary to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, downplaying the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and less concerned that Ethiopia’s economy had declined from 6.2 in 2019 to 1.9 percent in 2020 (IMF, October 2020); Abiy used a phony excuse that the TPLF had caused a spate of attacks on the Northern Command Federal Army to anguish war on Tigray. Abiy launched an outlandish war on November 4, 2020 to wipe out the rulers of Tigray (the Wayanas) from power and absorb the disgruntled Tigrayans into his Prosperity Party.
It is unusual for a nation’s governing regime to solicit the assistance of foreign powers to intervene and help calm down domestic upheavals. Galvanizing the Ethiopian Federal armed forces and some fanatic Amhara militias, Abiy has collaborated with Isaias, Somalian armed forces, and the UAE’s drones to indiscriminately ravage and bomb Ethiopia’s Tigrayan ethnic group.
Over the course of ten weeks of war, many innocent Tigrayans have been left massacred and mutilated. Crop fields s have been burned, cattle slaughtered, and roads, churches, mosques, and hospitals devastated. In addition to the displacement of 950,000 people, by swimming on the Takeze River and walking long distances, more than 52,000 young children, mothers, and senior-aged Tagarus were rushed to sheltering places in Sudan. Currently, Sudan is faced with a fragile economic crisis and insurmountable coronavirus pandemic.
More than 50 percent of those who flee from Ethiopia to seek refuge in Sudan are under the age of 18 years. Having lost family members, and friends, these refugees are suffering through physical and psychological trauma.
Due to the poor living conditions and debilitated health facilities in the Sudanese refugee camps, a number of the young Tagaru are susceptible to poor sanitation and pneumonia, not to mention the coronavirus. Furthermore, it is worth understanding that the teen-aged have been out of school in Ethiopia. Given that the school- age Tigaryan refugees and the other refugees in Sudan are in a very detestable condition, the need support now more than ever.
Inside Tigray, the Abiy -caused war has contributed to a serious threat on the hundreds of American citizens, journalists, and aid workers present there. For example, a number of investments in Tigray that were owned by Diasporas—brought back from their naturalized homes to their ancestral home with the offer of relocation expenses, and import and tax relief—have now lost their investments and are being personally attacked by Abiy’s armed forces and his foreign collaborators.
In the inner cities and towns of Ethiopia, the Abiy regime has undertaken ethnic eviction and mass harassment of innocent Tigrayans, amounting to ethnic cleansing. As mentioned above, collaborating with Isaias’ Eritrean forces, Abiy has instituted mass surveillance of Tigrayan civilians. Medical institutions and UNESCO-declared world heritage and other historical landmarks have been ravaged. Abiy’s armed forces have fully ravaged higher learning institutions. In addition, Isaias’ forces have looted, ruthlessly burned farmlands, devastated industries, despoiled developmental infrastructures, and disseminated a number of irrigation canals.
As summarized by the highly esteemed organization, DEFUNDTIGRAYGENOCIDE (2020), following the war that started on November 4, the Ethiopian government and Abiy’s collaborators have been persecuting ethnic Tigrayans with indiscriminate airstrikes, blackouts of telecommunication, internet, and electricity services, and blocking access to banks, food, water, and sanitation systems.
Furthermore, Abiy’s regime has indoctrinated and encouraged some fanatic Amhara and young Fano perpetrators to cross their boundaries and falsely claim Tigrayan farm plots as their own.
As enumerated above, at the highest level of government, because of their ethnicity, Abiy has orchestrated ethnic cleansing and genocidal practices in Tigray. As a result, Tigrayans throughout Ethiopia are facing irreparable damage to their civil rights.
For instance, a number of professionally trained Tigrayan employees of the armed forces and the national security system have been not only purged from their duties, but also prohibited from gathering in groups of more than two people, and have been required to carry special type of identification documents. Similarly, Abiy has instituted mass surveillance, instructing Tigrayans residing in Addis Ababa to reregister and prove to their local authorities that they have been residing in the city prior to the outbreak of war in Tigray.
As narrated by Nur (December 2020), the Abiy regime has instructed Ethiopian Airlines—the largest airline in Africa—to hand in pink slips and lay off all its Tigrigna-speaking pilots, technicians, and security officers.
Against international law, the action taken by Eritrean troops has amounted to a serious crime—about 100,000 Eritrean refugees residing in Western Tigray camps have been raided and some were transported back to Eritrea (Ateweberhan 11, 2020, O’Grady, Nov 23, 2020).
Similar to the Rwandan genocide, in which the international community failed to react in timely manner, the international community has delayed interjecting to resolve the horrible genocide that is happening in Tigray. Nonetheless, the United Nations Security Council and the United States have recently condemned Abiy’s Government. For example, the United States has joined calls by the UN “…for the Ethiopian government to uphold its obligation under international law and to take appropriate measures to ensure the protection and safety of all refugees in Ethiopia” ( Pompeo, Secretary of State, December 23, 2020). In addition, the United States has promised to provide more than $18 million in assistance to humanitarian needs arising from the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region (Pompeo, Secretary of State, December 23, 2020). Similarly, the European Union has decided to scrap all financial aid to Ethiopia. As the Ethiopian government continue its genocidal acts on Tigrayans, it is attracting the attention of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, leading them to not lend funds to the Ethiopian regime currently in power (Smith, 2020).
To summarize, as it stands now, the egomaniac Eritrean dictator Isaias has regained control of land on Ethiopia’s borders. With the assistance of Abiy’s army, UAE drones, and Somalia’s army, Isaias has also tentatively achieved his lifelong wish of disseminating Tigray’s historical sites, industries, and developmental infrastructures.
On the other hand, Isaias is likely worried about possible upheavals in Eritrea and the United Nations introducing sanctions against Eritrea for intervening in Ethiopia’s internal affairs. Given these possible scenarios, it is likely that Isaias, as a Machiavellian, will soon retreat his armed forces to Eritrea to maintain his authoritarian leadership and keep the Tigrayan forces at bay.
Based on this possible scenario, Abiy would be left stranded to face alone the major ethnic upheavals mushrooming throughout Ethiopia’s landscape. Therefore, it is high time that all the multiethnic and national groups in Ethiopia diligently cooperate and strategize to disintegrate Abiy and his genocidal Prosperity Party, removing them from power.
Abebe, H. (Nov. 24, 2020). “War of Annihilation in Tigrai as the world watches in real life.” Tigrai Online. Cited from www.tigraionline.com/articles/abiy-isaias-war-on-tigrai.html.
Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu (11 December 2020). “Eritreans caught in dilemma over Tigray conflict.” The Africanreport. Cited from https:www.theafricareport.com/53978/erireans-caught-in-dillema-over-tigray-conflict/.
Ethiopia: The 1995 Constitution of the federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
International Monetary Fund (October 2020). “Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa a Difficult Road to Recovery.” IMF, World Economic and Financial Surveys.
Nur, Selam (11 December 2020). “Institutional Ethnic Cleansing, the Case of Ethiopian Airlines.” Ethiopian Observer.
O’Grady, Siobhan, “What is behind the conflict in Ethiopia?” The Washington Post (November 23, 2020).
Pompeo, M. (December 23, 2020). “The United States’ Humanitarian Assistance Response to Conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region.” Cited from Https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-humanitarian-assistance-response-to-conflict-in-ethiopias-tigray-region.
Sew, M. (December 23, 2020). “The secret war in Tigray.” Ethiopian Insight. Cited from https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2020/12/23/the-secret-war--in-tigray.
Smith, E. (Nov 17, 2020). “Escalating Conflict could threaten Ethiopia’s economic success story.” CNBC. Cited from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/17escalatin-conlflic-could-threaten-ethiopias-economic-success-story.html
United Nations Office of Genocide (2020), “DEFUNDTIGRAYGENOCIDE” https://www.defundtigraygenocide.com.
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