The United States has called for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the neighbouring region of Tigray in Ethiopia, following credible reports of their involvement in the civil war unleashed by Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy Ahamed Ali. The reports, drawn up by military observers would date the intervention of the Eritrean troops from the first day of the hostilities, November 4, 2020. An important date that authorizes us to assume agreements signed between the Ethiopian Premier and the bloodthirsty Eritrean dictator Isias Afewerki before the political crisis with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – TPLF turned into open war. Consequently, the conflict was already on a regional scale before it even started.
“This is a serious development,” a US State Department spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement to US media. “We ask Eritrea that the troops be withdrawn immediately.” The news of Eritrea’s involvement was given well in advance by the TPLF but not considered credible. Now US military reports lend credence to former Tigray rulers’ allegations of secret agreements between Asmara and Addis Ababa for the destruction of the TPLF and the territorial dismemberment of Tigray.
The presence of Eritrean troops was the cause of the attack on the UN humanitarian convoy near the city of Shire by federal troops. The convoy, which was on its way to the Eritrean refugee camp, encountered a column of Eritrean soldiers. In a desperate attempt to gain access to the population in need of aid, the Secretary General of the United Nations declared that there was no evidence of the presence of Eritrean soldiers in northern Ethiopia. An act of useless servility as the presence of Eritreans (already noticed by the UN convoy) was revealed by the United States, embarrassing the United Nations.
As a thank you, Abiy continues to block humanitarians from accessing Tigray. Only the International Red Cross was able to access it but under close military surveillance. Access to humanitarians is denied as a mass deportation of some 96,000 Eritrean refugees based in Tigray is underway. A joint operation between federal and Eritrean soldiers. According to the first testimonies, the refugees are forced to return to their country and there are several cases of sexual violence. All are loaded onto trucks as cattle headed across the border.
To hide the presence of the Eritreans, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Abiy had circulated fake news that TPLF soldiers wore uniforms similar to those of the Eritrean army to “accuse the Eritrean government in false claims of aggression against the people of Tigray“. This time the confirmation does not come from the ‘ethnic enemy’, nor from some European journalists ‘paid to spread the propaganda of the TPLF’ ( as been declared in an Amharic TV press release) referring to those rare journalists who follow the drama had been defined, reporting the war crimes and dreams of absolute power of Abiy, now popularly called ‘Menelik III’. Confirmation comes from the White House and the Pentagon. The astute Ethiopian leader has not yet reacted to the American request to get the Eritrean troops out. Eritrea also did not comment.
According to the report by American observers, Eritrean troops have committed human rights violations in Tigray. The White House has called for an independent investigation into the matter. “All parties must respect human rights and international humanitarian law,” the State Department said.
Eritrea’s involvement in the Ethiopian conflict seems to be the epilogue of a real plot devised by Abiy Ahmed Ali and the dictator Isaias Afewerki to eliminate the TPLF from the government, attack Tigray and divide the territory. A plot which required the participation of the nearby Amhara which for years has had pending territorial disputes with the Tigray region.
To attract the Amhara elite, Abiy began promising them access to the port of Assab, Eritrea. He also assured his firm will to settle the score with the TPLF once and for all. Yet the involvement of the Amhara militias cannot simply be explained by economic convenience. Unresolved ethnic disputes played a major role until the time of Menelik I, who emerged victorious from the war of Zemene Mesafint ‘Age of Princes’, which lasted 100 years. The Amhara elite and intellectuals call the current military aggression on Tigray the ‘Campaign of the Meneliks to the North’ referring to two military expeditions of Menelik I in the north (1889 and 1896), where he clashed with the Tigrayans causing immense suffering to the Tigray.
The support of the Amhara elite is even more important given the hostilities latent with the Oromo. In the first phase of his mandate, Abiy waved the Oromo flag and then expropriated other lands around the capital to expand it (Addis Ababa is located in Oromia, despite being a separate region) and shoot Oromo youths during demonstrations. The initial honeymoon with the Oromo was used to weaken and defeat the independent armed group Wollega.
Peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia was not a merit of Abiy but of the Arab monarchies (Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) eager to get the Eritrean dictator, their darling, out of isolation. This peace cooked in an Arab way had the sole objective of rehabilitating the Isaias regime and stopping the international economic sanctions imposed for the crimes against humanity committed, the aiding and abetting of terrorism, the systematic violation of human rights.
The Eritrean people have not been consulted on the peace agreement with Ethiopia. Neither was the Tigrinya people. The TPLF has always been against peace for economic and clanic reasons. They feared an economic colonization of Tigray by Eritreans, who were smarter in business. The clan grievances (Isiais is a Tigrigna) date back to the border war interpreted by the TPLF as a betrayal of the years of common struggle against the DERG together with the EPLF Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. The peace agreement brought Abiy great international prestige and a Nobel Peace Prize but it was the first spark of today’s doomsday.
Various Tigrinya intellectuals and the TPLF himself compare Abiy to Menelik I, the first emperor of the Amhara Solomonic dynasty who reunified the country by conquering it militarily. From the Tigrinya point of view, the reign of Menlik I was savage and brutal. Never inclusive and fair. A well-founded accusation. Menelik to unite Ethiopia demanded the subordination and dominion for all non-Amhara Ethiopians and the imposition of the Orthodox faith.
Ultimately, the ongoing conflict is a settling of scores between ethnic groups and clans involved in secular disputes. Opposing Tigrigna cousins and the war between the Tigrigna and the Amhara. As at the end of the Epoch of Princes, behind this conflict there is an ambitious politician who dreams of absolute power: Menelik III.
The Eritrean people are once again a victim. Eritreans fought to liberate Eritrea from 1961 to 1991. Their vision of Eritrea was a peaceful and sovereign state. A dream suddenly hijacked by life president Isaisas Afewerki. Not only was the population defrauded of freedom but it became a simple tool at the disposal of the bloody dictator. In these hours, 96,000 Eritrean refugees are brutally deported to Eritrea. Maybe we will never hear of them again …
While the American request for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops has not yet received official responses from the governments of Asmara and Addis Ababa, on Sunday 13 December the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met his Ethiopian counterpart to discuss the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Tigray (Sudan is already hosting 50,000 refugees which could double this month), on the trespassing of the Sudanese army in the disputed border territories of Berkat Norain and Al-Fushaqa and on regional security issues.
“I look forward to having productive discussions on political, humanitarian and security issues of common concern that serve to build a future of peace, stability and prosperity for our two sister nations and the region,” said Prime Minister Hamdok. to the Ethiopian media upon arrival at Bole International Airport. News leaks speak of an attempt by the Ethiopian federal government to persuade Sudan to remain neutral in the conflict. For Addis Ababa it is of utmost importance to convince Khartoum not to support ‘enemies’ of the TPLF and to ease military cooperation with Egypt, made in a clear anti-Ethiopian vision due to the unresolved and dangerous regional dispute over the waters of the Nile which directly involves the mega dam of the GERD.
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