On Saturday, September 14, 2 infantry divisions and a tank division of the Eritrean army crossed the borders with Tigray, taking violent discounts with the North Diviosion, militias and local Tigrinya police, giving the conflict a dangerous regional dimension. In response, the rebel troops of the TPLF Tigrinya movement launched 3 missiles on the Eritrean capital, Asmara, hitting the international airport. This is what the Tigray regional government is saying. The Eritrean government categorically denies that its troops are fighting in Ethiopia alongside the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The involvement of Eritrea in the Ethiopian civil war would be the result of an agreement signed a few weeks ago in the presence of the Prince of the Arab Emirates and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, according to some African diplomatic sources. The agreement would be signed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and the Eritrean dictator Isaias Afewerki with the mediation of Prince Bin Zayed. An agreement that would focus on the elimination of the Tigray People Liberation Front which for 30 years ruled Ethiopia and has always been considered the irreducible enemy of the Eritrean regime.
There is an irreducible ethnic link and rivalry for power between the Eritrean regime and the TPLF. Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) was founded to fight in close alliance the Stalinist dictatorship of the DERG giving way to the Ethiopian civil war in 1974, which ended with the victory of the rebel forces (TPLF and EPLF) over the regime of the DERG (Provisional Military Government of Ethiopia Socialist) led by Mengistu Haile Mariam now in exile in Harare, Zimbabwe. At the time, Eritrea was an Ethiopian province. As a reward for having contributed to the liberation of the country, the TPLF favored the independence of Eritrea. Two years after the victory over the DERG, in April 1993 Eritrea acquired independence under the control of the EPLF led by Isaias Afewerki. Soon the EPLF reveals itself to be a ferocious dictatorship, contemptuous of human rights which in less than ten years will transform the former Italian colony into a North Korean-style concentration camp.
In May 1998, the war between Asmara and Addis Ababa broke out from an unresolved dispute concerning the Tigray border territories claimed by Eritrea. A frightening trench warfare where about 3 million Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers died until June 2000 when a ceasefire was signed. Peace with Asmara was restored in 2018 under the initiative of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. A peace that facilitated the Nobel Peace Prize for the young Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who had just come to power within the ruling coalition controlled by the TPLF.
The majority of the hierarchs of the Eritrean regime are of Tigrinya ethnicity. There are both ethnic and family ties and an unsolvable political and military rivalry between them and the Tigray leadership. The TPLF has always denounced the peace of the Premier Abiy as a betrayal of the nation. Dictator Afewerki will be rewarded for military support to the federal government in Addis Ababa by granting sovereignty to some strategic Tigray territories on the border with Eritrea, according to African diplomatic sources contacted.
The Eritrean intervention was necessary because, two weeks after the conflict, the federal army fails to achieve the lightning victory hoped for by Prime Minister Abiy. There are currently 16 divisions of the federal army fighting the mighty Northern Division and the Tigrinya militias. Despite this disparity in strength, the Tigrinya resistance remains difficult to break. Many federal divisional soldiers suffer from poor training. Many units are composed of young recruits who have clashed with the elite of the Ethiopian army: the Northern Division. Mass desertions to Sudan and the flight of other federal divisions into Eritrea to save himself from annihilation clearly demonstrate the difficulties Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy is facing in achieving a lightning victory and eliminating his dangerous political rival: the TPLF ( ofwhich, let us not forget, Abiy held important police roles of cybernetic social control until the appointment of Prime Minister).
To face the Tigrinya resistance, supported by the population, Addis Ababa was forced to call back the expert troops stationed in Somalia to fight the Islamic terrorists of Al Shabaab and DAESH. The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops risks favoring Islamic terrorists who could regain lost territories and put the weak central government of Mogadishu in serious difficulty. Since 2019, the Ethiopian contingent had taken the lead of the AMISOM African military contingent in Somalia. Guide held by Uganda. After the withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops the government of Mogadishu can count on the contingents of Burundi and Uganda. Two countries that have strong internal political crises that compromise the military capacity of their soldiers intent on fighting Islamic terrorism. Since 2019, AMISOM troops have stood on the defensive, interrupting military offensives against the last Somali territories still controlled by Al Shabaab and DAESH.
The federal army has blocked the border with Sudan, cutting off the TPLF’s only supply of food, fuel, weapons and ammunition. Experienced Ethiopian divisions from Somalia and Eritrean troops are expected to break the Tigrinya resistance in a short time. So Prime Minister Abiy hopes. The UAE is also allegedly participating in the war against Tigray through the use of combat drones, according to the TPLF government.
To break the Tigrinya resistance, the federal government is massacring the civilian population. The capital Mekelle suffered intense bombing in the industrial area and residential districts with a very high number of civilian victims. Massacres of civilians by federal troops are reported in the localities of Megala, Digaya Kebelle, Gato Kebelle, Garcha Kebelle, Turo, Ayolatta Dokatu Kebelle of Konso.
The massacre of more than 300 civilians near the Tigrinya city of Mai-Kadra on November 9 is also the work of federal troops according to the government of Mekelle. Amnesty International blamed it on Tigrinya militias according to third-hand testimony provided by unidentifiable actors on the ground. A.I. reported the news of the massacre without having any direct contact with surviving witnesses.
Testimonies of refugees who survived the massacre and took refuge in Sudan, disavow (third-hand) news from Amnesty International. “Together with family and friends I managed to escape the Mai-Kadra massacre. It was an ethnic cleansing operation ordered by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Federal troops killed many Tigrinya civilians. They stole our money, our livestock and our crops from our homes and we ran away with only the clothes on our backs “this is the testimony of Barhat, a 52-year-old Tigrinya woman collected along with dozens of other testimonies, from the news site of the Eritrean democratic opposition Eritrea Hub.
The federal government yesterday announced that within this week the Tigrinya resistance will be broken, the leaders of the TPLF arrested and tried. The region will be placed under the trust of Addis Ababa. The Prime Minister has announced the capture of another city in Tigray. Now federal troops, supported by Emirati drones and Eritrean troops, are reportedly marching against the capital Mekelle. According to the rosy forecasts of Addis Ababa, the blitzkrieg will end in a few days with the final victory and the elimination of the TPLF Tigrinya movement. This is the reason why the federal government rejects ceasefire requests made by the African Union, United Nations, European Union, United States, Pope Francis, Giubiti, Kenya and Uganda.
How realistic is a lightning win? Although the Tigray is small, it is well armed and its forces are battle hardened. The Tigray Regional Special Forces, which a senior Ethiopian diplomat estimates have grown to at least 20,000 – led by senior Tigrinya officers forced to retire by Abiy, plus a standing reserve special forces corps made up of military-trained militias and farmers armed – together they have an estimated total of up to 250,000 armed fighters. Until recently, however, it lacked the heavy weapons needed to directly take on a fully equipped division.
Since last week, the TPLF has taken control of half the soldiers of the five divisions of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) that remain in Tigray, meaning it has gained 15,000 troops, according to three sources: an Ethiopian diplomat senior briefed on the latest developments, a retired senior intelligence officer in Tigray who continues to work for the TPLF and a source in Tigray who monitors the situation. But the seizure of Ethiopian military hardware and equipment has heightened the importance of logistical supplies for the TPLF, which will inevitably depend on Sudan’s position.
Eritrea’s entry into the war could trigger the involvement of Sudan and Egypt, already at odds with the Ethiopian government over the Nile water issue and in bad relations with Eritrea. “Sudan has a number of strategic reasons to support, or at least to be perceived as support, the TPLF in the civil war against the government of Ethiopia. While Sudan has officially closed the borders between Tigray and Sudan’s border states of Kassa and Gadaref, which are Tigray’s only landlocked logistical links to the outside world in terms of fuel, ammunition and food, could use the threat of support for the TPLF to extract concessions from Addis Ababa on the disputed Fashqa triangle. This explains FP.
Fashqa is a territory of approximately 100 square miles of prime agricultural land along the border with the Amhara state of Ethiopia, which Sudan claims under an agreement signed in 1902 between the United Kingdom and Ethiopia under Emperor Menelik II and subsequently strengthened by various Ethiopian leaders, including the TPLF. The Fashqa dispute remains a major complaint for Ethiopian Amhara peasants near the border, seeking to cultivate the land, and is an obstacle to negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Like Egypt, Sudan has rejected Ethiopia’s proposal for guidelines sanctioning Ethiopia’s future ability to manage the annual flow of the Blue Nile on a discretionary basis, and Khartoum is already using the issue as leverage to put pressure on Abiy. on Fashqa, where Ethiopia and Sudan continue to hold. a military presence.
“If Sudan supports Tigray, which also borders Eritrea, the civil war will certainly become a long-lasting affair, and the strategic fallout in Khartoum’s relations with Addis Ababa and Asmara may be too high. Indeed, the region could quickly revert to the state of proxy conflict that preceded the rise of Abiy and the collapse of the regime of former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, or precipitate a wider regional conflagration ”.
The risk seems real. Witness the surprise visit of the Eritrean dictator Afwerki to Khartoum on 11 November. For the occasion, he met with the President of the Sovereign Transitional Council of Sudan, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, presumably to ask the Sudanese army, which holds true power, to cut off any potential logistical support to the TPLF.
Egypt is also on the move. Official spokesperson for the Egyptian Armed Forces Tamer al-Refeai announced on Saturday November 14 that Egyptian military units have arrived in Sudan to participate in joint military exercises. Units of the Egyptian Air Force and Command Forces have arrived at Marwa Air Base in Sudan to participate in the ‘Nile Eagles – 1’ training session. This training, the first of the two neighboring nations, will continue until November 26 and is part of the joint training plan of the Egyptian armed forces with friendly countries. The military base is only 250 km from the Ethiopian Great Rebirth Dam. Is the dam the real target of the Egyptian Air Force and the Egyptian special forces?
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