Meltdown: Threats facing the Horn of Africa

In the last month the signs have been ominous. This website has pointed to them. Now there are suggestions of a wider, regional disintegration.

Warnings of trouble ahead

There have been no shortages of warnings of the growing tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia on the one hand and Tigray on the other.

 

 

 

 

In the last month the signs have been ominous. This website has pointed to them.

  • The commander of Ethiopia’s northern division was forced to return to Addis after being rejected by Tigray.
  • Tigray wrote to 70 world leaders warning of conflict with the Federal government.
  • The Ethiopian parliament cut its ties with Tigray after the Tigrayans held a regional election on 9 September that the Addis government deemed “illegal”.
  • Tigray accused the federal government of freezing the quarterly budget of 285 million birr, that the World Bank provided for the implementation of safety net programs in the region.
  • The ruling Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) issued a statement accusing Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of plotting war against Tigray.

The Eritrean government’s warning

The Eritrean government has released an official statement accusing the ruling party in Tigray, the TPLF of obstructing regional peace and stability.  [The statement in Tigrinya is posted below]

The Eritrean statement was summarised by the Addis Standard. 

Here is an extract.

“Headlined ‘Stabilizing regional peace and friendship,’ the statement, which was also shared by Eritrea’s embassy in Addis Abeba, said that the Horn of Africa region has gone through destructive experiences due to its strategic importance that draws the interest of powerful nations since mid-20th century. This has in turn created destabilization of the region, resulting in various armed conflicts between countries of the region at different times. It also led Eritrea to go through a war for its freedom, and left Ethiopia unstable due to ‘TPLF’s poisonous ethnic based politics’, which caused the rise of armed groups and political opposition.

“The statement hails that today the Horn of Africa is entering into new era following recent political developments in Ethiopia and Sudan. One of the biggest showcases of this stability is the end of the 20 year long tension that followed the 1998-2000 destructive war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The statement said that this was achieved despite the years of TPLF’s reluctance which failed to implement international arbitration regarding the border dispute between the town countries.

“The current peace agreement was therefore not only to end the standoff between the two countries but also to work jointly on different aspects partnerships and to ensure regional and continental peace and security. The statement recalled leaders of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia meeting in Asmara to sign trilateral agreement to work on regional cooperation which has expanded the cooperation between these countries in the past two years.

“However, the statement admits that there were ‘drawbacks that should be overcome with patience and hard work’ because the treachery of distant forces who think the cooperation ‘won’t serve their interest’ are not completely wiped off the region.

“These forces have recently been seen in European countries such as Holland and Sweden, the statement blames; and from the region ‘the TPLF led group’ that has been declared ‘Game over’ for a while is dragging back Tigray from being a part of this change. TPLF is quivering in its ‘death bed’ and won’t reverse this ‘course of history.’

“Eritrea’s statement followed Tigray regional state’s October 26 statement in which the regional government accused ‘the Issais regime’ of ‘doing all it can to bring the people of Tigray, who paid tremendous sacrifices alongside the people of Eritrea during their struggle for independence, to their knees and plunge us into mutual bloodletting by scheming and conspiring with the enemies of the people of Tigray.’ It also warned that ‘responsibility for any and all problems that follow’ the federal government’s latest move the restructure the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF). Which Tigray rejected and called ‘irresponsible… will be appropriately laid at the feet of the two individuals at the helm of their respective unitarist, personalistic dictatorship: Abiy Ahmed and Issais.’

“Similarly, in an October 29 interview, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia’s former foreign minister, said that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who made ‘a one day secret trip to Asmara’ on October 27, was conspiring with the Eritrean dictator to wage a war on Tigray. Ambassador Seyoum also claimed ‘Isaias’ military and security officers were currently in Bahir Dar advising on how [the newly announced north-west Command which will be based in Bahir Dar], they train, organize and lead combat’ and that there the regime in Asmara was recruiting and training the young and old in Eritrea the aim to ‘finish off TPLF.'”

Further signs of trouble

An Eritrean friend went further, pointing to reports of a mobilisation of Eritrean troops.

  • There are country wide round-ups of conscripts for National Service. Newly recruited young men and women from the 33rd round of conscription have been deployed from Sawa directly to the frontlines. Normally Sawa graduates get home leave prior to deployment.
  • There are said to be provocative manoeuvres along the Eritrean border with Tigray.
  • There unconfirmed reports – possibly no more than rumours – of Ethiopian arms being landed at the port of Assab and Ethiopian troops being flown into Asmara at night, and then transported to the western lowlands of Eritrea.

Was it any coincidence that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed became the first Ethiopian Prime Minister to visit Sawa in July?

PM Abiy at Sawa military training camp

My friend concluded: “The hype, the music (in Tigray and Eritrea) reminds me of what was happening in 1998” – just before the outbreak of the last Ethiopia-Eritrea border war.

A regional disintegration

In the past week the International Crisis Group published a report in which it warns of the tensions between Addis and Tigray. But the ICG goes further.

“If the dispute between Mekelle and Addis Ababa is occupying the airwaves in Ethiopia, it is still just one symptom of a broader crisis. Deadly intercommunal violence is now a regular occurrence in the country, amid frequent protests against the government and a rebellion in parts of Oromia region. In early July, popular unrest in Oromia killed 167, with authorities now prosecuting more than 4,000 people, including top Oromo and other opposition leaders. In the country’s south, after Sidama Zone became a region this year, splitting from the Southern Nations region, more than ten ethnic administrative zones still in that federal state are pushing to obtain their own regional status in campaigns to hold referendums that have also involved lethal violence.

 “Deadly intercommunal violence is now a regular occurrence in Ethiopia.”

Friends in the Horn warn that we might be about to witness the end of the system of states brought about at the end of the nineteenth century.

The end of Empire?

It is worth remembering that the borders in the Horn were drawn by Imperial powers. It was the expansion of Ethiopia under Menelik II which resulted in vast areas of what is now the South and East of Ethiopia being forcibly included into the Ethiopian empire.

This French postcard gives an idea of the Emperor Menelik’s conquests in the 1880’s.

Expansion of Ethiopia under Menelik II

Oromo, Somalis and many other peoples were drawn into the empire.

To the North, the Italians carved out their own colony in Eritrea.

It is these imperial borders that are now potentially at risk. As my friend put it: there is concern that Ethiopia could disintegrate into three regions. These might be Tigray, Oromia and an Ethiopian Somaliland. Other peoples might then align themselves with one or other of these larger units.

If war erupted with Tigray, Eritrea would not be immune from disintegration.

  • Eritrean Dankalia might join Ethiopia Afar to form an Afar State.
  • The southern region of Eritrea – the former provinces of Akele Guzai, Serae etc. – could join Tigray.
  • The Beni Amar might seek protection in Sudan.

Both Ethiopia and Eritrea could disintegrate, ceasing to exist in their current form.

This is – of course – not a prediction. It is no more than a scenario. It is against the global trend towards greater co-operation that existed until populists like President Trump came to power. It would be resisted by the African Union.

It is a nightmare that would cost many, many lives and is – surely – not in the interests of the peoples of the Horn. But it is not beyond the bounds of possibility. 


Editorial – Eritrea Ministry Of Information

https://shabait.com/2020/10/31/editorial-41/

 

ሓተታ ቀዳም 31 ጥቅምቲ 2020

 

ምድልዳል ዞባዊ ሰላምን ምሕዝነትን

 

ዞባ ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ፡ ብሰሪ መስሕብ ሓያላን ስትራተጂያውነቱ፡ ካብ ምብቃዕ ኤውሮጳዊ መግዛእቲ (መፋርቕ 20 ክፍለ-ዘመን) ጀሚሩ፡ ብኣዝዩ ኣዕናዊ ተሞኩሮ እዩ ሓሊፉ። ንስለ ግሎባዊ ስትራተጂ ርእሰ ሓያላን ተባሂሉ፡ ኣብ ልዕሊ ኤርትራ ዝተፈጸመ ዘይሕጋዊ ጎበጣን ዘስዓቦ ነዊሕ ሓርነታዊ ኲናትን፣ ናይ ዝሑል ኲናት ውጽኢት ውግእ ሶማልን ኢትዮጵያን፣ ግጭት ሰሜንን ደቡብን ሱዳን፥ ኲናት ሓድሕድን ሕንፍሽፍሽን ሶማል፣ ድሕሪ ናጽነት ኤርትራ፡ ንጃንዳ ወያነ ብምልኣኽ ኣብ ልዕሊ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዝተሃቀነ ድፍረት፥ መርዛም ዓሌታዊ ፖለቲካ ወያነ፡ ዘስዓቦ ውሽጣዊ ምትፍናንን ህዝብታት ኢትዮጵያን ዘኸተሎ ዕጥቃዊን ፖለቲካዊን ተቓውሞ፣ ግብረ-ሸበራዊ መጥቃዕቲታት፣ ገለ ካብቲ ንልዕሊ ፍርቂ ዘመን ሰላምን ቅሳነትን ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ ሓሚሱ፡ ወርቃዊ ግዜን ዕድላትን ህዝብታት’ዚ ዞባ ዘባኸነ ጉሉሕ ክስተታት እዩ።

 

ድሕሪ’ዚ ዘሕዝን ተሞኩሮን ከቢድ ስምብራቱን፡ ሎሚ ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ፡ ምስቲ ኣብ ኢትዮጵያን ሱዳንን ዝመጸ ፖለቲካዊ ምዕባለታት ተኣሳሲሩ፡ ናብ ሓድሽን ፍልይ ዝበለን ምዕራፍ ኣብ ምስግጋር ይርከብ። ሓደ ካብ ዓበይቲ መርኣያታት ናይዚ ሓድሽ ምዕራፍ’ዚ፡ ን20 ዓመታት ኣብ መንጎ ኤርትራን ኢትዮጵያን ዝጸንሐ ኩነተ-ውግእን ተጻብኦን ኣኽቲሙ፡ ክልቲአን ሃገራት ናብ ሓድሽ ናይ ሰላምን ምሕዝነትን መድረኽ ክሰጋገራ ምብቅዐን እዩ። ዕዙዝነት ናይዚ ምዕባለ’ዚ፡ ህዝብታት ኤርትራን ኢትዮጵያን፡ ኣብቲ ብባድመ ተመኽንዩ ዝተወልዐ ናይ 1998-2000 ኣዕናዊ ኲናት ዝደመይዎን ዝኸስርዎን ከይኣክል፡ እቲ ጉዳይ ኣብ መጋባኣያ ፍርዲ ቀሪቡ፡ ሕጋዊ መዕለቢ ምስ ተገብረሉ እውን፡ ካብ ሕጊ ንምህዳም፡ ጉጅለ ወያነ ብደገፍን ምትብባዕን ኣሸቀልቱ ዝቐጸሎ፡ ናይ ነዊሕ ዓመታት ተጻብኦን ሰንፈላል ግዜን ሰጊርካ ዝተበጽሐ ብምዃኑ እዩ።

 

ፕረዚደንት ኢሳይያስ ኣፈወርቂ፡ ድሕሪ’ቲ ብ9 ሓምለ 2018 ኣብ ኣስመራ ዝተኸተመ ኣዋጅ ሰላምን ምሕዝነትን ኤርትራን ኢትዮጵያን ኣብ ዘካየዶ ቃለ-መሕትት፡ እዚ ዕድል ወለዶታት ዘኽሰረ ብድሆታት ዞባና፡ ብቐንዱ ኣብ ዘመነ ዝሑል ኲናትን ድሕሪኡን፡ ብመገዲ መጋበርያ ስርዓታት ከባቢና ዝተሰርሓሉ ግሎባዊ ስትራተጂ ርእሰ ሓያላን ምዃኑ ጠቒሱ፡ ድሕሪ ነዊሕን ዘሕዘንን ምዕራፋት ታሪኽ፡ ዞባና ናብ ሓድሽ መድረኽ ዝሰጋገር ዘሎ፡ ብቐንዱ ሱር ናይቲ ሽግር ብፍሽለት ስለዘብቅዐን ኣብቶም ግዳይ ናይዚ ፖሊሲ’ዚ ዝኾኑ ህዝብታት ኩዂስኰስ ዝጸንሐ ንቕሓት እናበረኸ ስለዝመጸን ምዃኑ ሰፊሕ መረዳእታ ሂቡሉ ነይሩ።

 

ኣዋጅ ሰላምን ምሕዝነትን ኤርትራን ኢትዮጵያን፡ ዝጸንሐ ኩነተ-ተጻብኦ ከኽትም ጥራይ ዘይኮነ፡ ክልቲአን ሃገራት ኣብ ኩሉ መዳያት ዕብየት፡ ብሽርክነትን ተመላላእነትን ክሰርሓ፣ ዞባዊን ኣህጉራዊን ሰላምን ጸጥታን ንምውሓስ ብሓባር ክጽዕታ ምንቃደን ዘበሰረ’ዩ ነይሩ። እቲ ስምምዕ፡ ካብ ክልቲአን ሃገራት ሓሊፉ ዞባዊ ጽልዋኡ ቀሊል ኣይኮነን። ድሕሪ’ዚ ክልተኣዊ ስምምዕ’ዚ፡ መራሕቲ ሃገራት ኤርትራ፡ ኢትዮጵያን ሶማልያን ኣብ ኣስመራ ተራኺቦም፡ ንኣጠቓላሊ ዞባዊ ምትሕብባር ስሉሳዊ ኣዋጅ ምኽታሞም ዝዝከር እዩ። እዚ ተበግሶ’ዚ፡ ኣብ ሰለስቲአን ሃገራት ከይተሓጽረ ንካልኦት ሃገራት ዞባና ክጽንብር ድማ፡ ኣብዚ ዝሓለፈ ክልተ ዓመታት፡ ኣብ መንጎ መራሕቲ መንግስታት እዚ ዞባ፡ ቀጻሊ ርክባትን ዕቱብ ምይይጥን ክካየደሉ ጸኒሑ ኣሎ።

 

ምስናይ ከቢድን መሪርን በሰላታት ዝሓለፈ ታሪኽ፡ ዞባ ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ ረጊጽዎ ዘሎ ድርኩዂት ሓድሽ ምዕራፍ፡ ንህዝብታት ዞባና ክኸፍቶ ዝኽእል ዕድላት ሰፊሕ እዩ። እዚ ሸቶ’ዚ ክሰምር ድማ፡ ብዓቕልን ትዕግስቲን፡ ብሃናጺ ጽምዶን ስራሕን ክእለዩ ዝግብኦም ብድሆታት ከምዘለዉ ካብ ማንም ዝተኸወለ ኣይኮነን። ምኽንያቱ፡ እዚ ተኸሲቱ ዘሎ ምዕባለ፡ “ንረብሓና ኣየገልግልን’ዩ” ብዝብል ቅማረ ዝተሰናበዱ ናይ ርሑቕ ሓይልታት፡ ቅድሚ ሕጂ ብዙሕ ሃሊኾም ከዐውትዎ ዘይክኣሉ ፍሹል ፖሊሲታት ዝፈጠሮ ጭንቀት ተደሚሩዎ፡ ናይ ምሕንኳል ተግባራቶም መጠኑ ነክዩ እምበር መሊኡ ኣየኽተመን። ኣብዚ ቀረባ መዓልታት፡ ኣብ ኤውሮጳዊ ሕብረትን ገለ ውልቀ ሃገራትን ከም ሆላንድን ሽወደንን፡ በጭቕ ክብል ዝተሰምዐ ሒቕታት ሓደ ካብ ምልክትታቱ እዩ። ኣብ ውሽጢ ዞባና እውን እንተኾነ፡ በዚ ሓድሽ ለውጢ፡ Game-over! ተባሂሉ ዝወደቐ ጉጅለ ወያነ፡ “ዓሻስ ገበጣ ክሳብ ዝውዳእ ይጻወት” ከምዝበሃል፡ ክልል ትግራይ፡ ተቛዳሲት ናይዚ ተኸሲቱ ዘሎ ዞባዊ ለውጢን ምዕባለን ከይትኸውን ጅሆ ብምሓዝ፡ ግዳይ ንምግባራ፡ ኣብ ጸወታ ንድየት ምጽንሑ ርኡይ እዩ። እዚ ናይ ጻዕረ-ሞት ቁዘማን ምዕልባጥን ግን መንኰርኰር ታሪኽ ንድሕሪት ክመልስ ከምዘይክእል ብሩህ’ዩ።

 

ኣብ ከምዚ ዓይነት ናይ ምስግጋር መድረኽ፡ ህዝብታት ዞባና ዘለዎም መተካእታ ዘይርከቦ ምርጫ፡ ኣቓልቦኦም ናብ ትርኪ-ምርኪ ጉዳያት ከይተገዝዐ፡ ናብቲ ዝዓበየን ኣርባሒን ዕላማ ብምቁማት፡ ነቲ ተፈጢሩ ዘሎ ሓድሽ ናይ ሰላምን ምሕዝነትን ሃዋህው ብኹሉ መዳይ ምድልዳልን ምድንፋዕን ጥራይ እዩ። እዚ ዘሎ ምዕባለታት፡ በቲ ሒዙዎ ዘሎ ቅኑዕ ኣንፈት ዝያዳ ገስጊሱ፡ ራእይን ድሌትን ህዝብታት ዞባና ከስምር፡ ነቲ ተፈጢሩ ዘሎ ሰላማዊ ዝምድና ምሕያልን ምዕዛዝን ናይ ኩሎም መንግስታት ዞባና መድረኻዊ ተልእኾ እዩ። ሓቀኛ ባህጊ ህዝብታት ዞባና ክዕወትን ውሕስነት ክህልዎን፡ ብሓባራዊ ጻዕሪን ሜላን፡ ትርፍራፍ ውዱቕ ፖለቲካ እናቐረምና፡ ንዞባና ካብ ናይ ግጭትን ተጻብኦን ዞባ ናብ ዞባ ሰላምን ምትሕግጋዝን ናይ ምቕያር ዕማም፡ ብዝለዓለ ምትሕብባርን ትግሃትን ክንዋሳኣሉ የድሊ። ሃናጺ ጽምዶ ንድልዳለ ዞባዊ ሰላምን ምሕዝነትን!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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