Tens of thousands of young Ethiopians who answered the call to serve in the national army are fighting for Eritrea. As Eritrean long-range artillery pounds Tigrayan positions, Ethiopian soldiers are sent into battle on the orders of Isaias Afwerki. The Eritreans control every aspect of the operation. They have special squads behind the front lines to shoot troops who won’t obey orders…If Isaias prevails in this war, the Tigrayans will face genocide. He will be the master of Ethiopia, pulling the strings over a collapsed state. And the African leadership and international community will not be able to say they weren’t warned.
Source: The Elephant
This is how low the Ethiopian government has stooped. It is sending its own troops to serve a foreign country to fight Ethiopians. Many will die. If they occupy any part of Tigray these troops will be ordered to rape, torture and kill civilians.
Isaias has made no secret of his plans for Ethiopia. He thinks it is destined for fragmentation (like Yugoslavia) or state failure (like the Democratic Republic of Congo), and he will do his best to help it on its way. Isaias’s vision for Ethiopia is as a backwater for Eritrea, providing it with raw materials and cheap labour.
Isaias’s formula for government is dictatorship. He tore up Eritrea’s constitution and stuffed it into his back pocket 25 years ago. His formula for foreign relations is destabilization. He has attacked all his neighbours and created havoc in others.
Last year we saw how the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) acted when they were an occupying power in Tigray. Its ranks are filled by conscripts who are doing indefinite unpaid national service and are subject to unending indoctrination to hate Tigrayans. They went on a looting and pillaging spree, taking everything from industrial equipment to basic household goods such as kettles and crockery. They broke into the little kiosks of shoeshine boys to steal the brushes; that is how deprived they were.
The EDF servicemen and women are victims. But they are also killers. And rapists. And torturers.
When the Tigrayan Defence Forces’ Operation Alula Aba Nega destroyed most of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) divisions in June last year, the EDF divisions hastily retreated across the border back to Eritrea. Isaias didn’t want to risk them being defeated too. Since then, he has focused on his preferred tactic: to get Ethiopians to kill one another until he can become king of the wreckage.
EDF ranks are filled by conscripts who are doing indefinite unpaid national service and are subject to unending indoctrination to hate Tigrayans.
Naively, Western diplomats seemed to have believed PM Abiy Ahmed’s assurances that Eritrea would withdraw, or that it was a benign presence. The Tigrayans never bought that line. They knew that even if Abiy were sincere in wanting peace, his personal intention was absolutely irrelevant while Isaias still had his claws deep inside Ethiopia. Isaias is single-minded in pursuit of his goal and he would override Abiy’s tactical manoeuvers if they ever seriously transgressed his interests.
General Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union Commission’s high representative and envoy, proposed last month to invite Eritrea as a full partner to the peace talks. He must have known that the Tigrayans would object totally to any step that legitimized Isaias and his murderous role.
And while those diplomats, with sunny optimism, kept their fingers crossed that Isaias would reverse decades of policy and practice if asked nicely, the Eritrean despot planned his war. About 30 ENDF divisions relocated from Amhara and Western Tigray into Eritrea last month, placing themselves under Eritrean overall command. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision.
The Eritreans are keeping their artillery and tanks at a safe distance, firing long-range across the border. It’s the ENDF conscripts who will be ordered into battle, probably with machine guns at their backs to shoot any who think of running away. They are under orders to kill Tigrayans. Presumably if they occupy Tigrayan towns and villages they will be under orders to kill, rape, torture and loot the Ethiopians of Tigrayan identity they find there. Orders from the Eritrean president, that is.
About 30 ENDF divisions relocated from Amhara and Western Tigray into Eritrea last month, placing themselves under Eritrean overall command.
Isaias suffered a setback earlier this year when Somalis rebuffed Mohamed Farmaajo as his choice of president for the Somali Federal Government. Isaias had been schooling Farmaajo as a dictator and training his special forces. Isaias has also faced setbacks in his efforts to destabilize Sudan. But he continues to have his way in Ethiopia.
Only the Tigray Defense Forces stand in the way of Isaias’s ambitions. Every other African and international leader has been wilfully blind to the facts that should have been evident for so long.
If Isaias prevails in this war, the Tigrayans will face genocide. He will be the master of Ethiopia, pulling the strings over a collapsed state. And the African leadership and international community will not be able to say they weren’t warned.