Collision with Tigray started since Abiy Ahmed took office, disintegration awaits Ethiopia: researcher


Tue, 17 Nov 2020 - 11:49 GMT

FILE - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – Reuters

FILE - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – Reuters

CAIRO – 17 November 2020: Sudanese Researcher Salah Khalil published an analysis of the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia through the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) tracking the origins of the crisis and speculations on the future of the African country.


The paper titled "Tigray Region: Repercussions of Internal Instability in Ethiopia," began with the "reasons behind (the) rebellion."


Khalil underlines that The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) got marginalized since Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018 prompting its ministers in the federal government to resign. Also, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – of which the TPLF and entities representing other regions – got dismantled.


The TPLF governing the region housing more than five million people had tensions with the federal government over the past months as the prime minister called off the elections that would take place in August.


As a result, the region's government held elections in the region in September. As a consequence, the federal government refused to approve of the results of such elections. Equally, Tigray's government considered Ahmed's government illegitimate since October 5 calling on him to resign and advocating for the formation of an interim government until elections are held.


The researcher points out that half of members of the Ethiopian Armed Forces are affiliated to the TPLF, which possesses 70 percent of missiles, and anti-aircraft warfare systems.


On October 31, the Ethiopian Army issued a firm statement after Deputy Commander of the Northern Military Zone Gamal Mohamed had been captivated upon arrival to the region before he was released, the paper highlights.


Khalil estimates that the incumbent Ethiopian government eyes neither dialogue nor peaceful solutions. Rather, it prefers military operations in a bid to end the federal ruling system, and achieve the plans of Ahmed's Prosperity Party aiming for a central state.


Ahmed called upon Ethiopian expats to transfer money through national banks and not through private firms in order to not fund the war. The researcher argues that Ahmed implied that Ethiopian expats had to be wary of money transfer firms owned by Tigray people.


The researcher speculates that the cost of war as well as the impact of COVID-19 outbreak will come to the detriment of Ethiopia's economy. Further, the country may even be torn apart as many regions currently desire independence to form mini states.


A large number of Tigray military commanders expelled by Ahmed from the Ethiopian Armed Forces and other security agencies have been training elements to defend the ethnicity, the paper notes.


It also showcases that, on the other hand, Ahmed substituted the foreign minister and chiefs of security agencies with others who belong to Amhara.


Regarding likely outcomes, Tigray people will get more unified because of the war that has been waged against their region, and Ethiopians in general will lose all confidence in their state institutions, which has been proved to be impartial, the paper estimates.


On November 4, Abiy Ahmed launched military operations against the Tigray Region. Atrocities occurred, and 20,000 fled to Sudan.


The attacks were carried out by the Ethiopian Armed Forces and the special forces of Amhara Region. Eritrean forces have amassed on borders with Tigray, and reportedly took part in the assaults. Yet, Eretria's authorities deny the allegations.  


It is noted that Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi whose rule extended from 1995 until his death in 2012 belonged to Tigray and was – while in office – leader of the TPLF and the EPRDF.



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