By Aklog Birara (PHD)
Ethiopians are eager and hopeful that the New Year will usher in durable peace for all. I too am eager to see this happen. Ethiopia’ s young people, Fano, Afar and Amhara Special Forces, Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces are shedding their lives in defense of their country. Girls and women are mobilized in support of their gallant heroes.
Their resolve and determination to root out the cancerous TPLF IS ADMIRABLE. IT IS ONLY THEN ETHIOPIA WILL ENJOY A SEMBLANCE OF HUMAN SECURITY AND PEACE.
The international community must recognize the incontestable fact that the genetic makeup of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is unlikely to change.
Further, it is improbable that the foreign forces behind the TPLF will condemn the TPLF and urge this satanic group to stop the mayhem and commit to peace. Ethiopia’s mortal foreign enemies do not want a united, strong, stable, and prosperous Ethiopia.
In my assessment, the UN, EU and the USA are now part of the problem concerning the entire Horn of Africa. Despite a plethora of evidence that the TPLF squanders the peace option, diverts international humanitarian aid and fuels in support of its insurgency, deploys hundreds of thousands of child soldiers as fodders, targets physical and social infrastructure with intent to diminish the Ethiopian economy and conspires with foreign governments against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a founding member of the UN, the West led by the United State emboldens TPLF to do more damage.
It concerns me deeply that reverting an Ethiopian domestic issue to the UN Security Council for the thirteenth time will degrade and politicize the UN system. The young generation of Ethiopians and other Africans are giving up hope in the fairness and impartiality of the UN system and in the Western powers that dictate policies and programs in international relations. Urging the UN Security Council to address Ethiopia again and again is another form of gross interference in the domestic affairs of an independent and sovereign African state in which the UN Security Council has no business.
I commend Graham Peebles for his timely September 3, 2022, Op-ed in Eurasia “Renewed TPLF Terror War Against the Ethiopian People.” He confirms facts I and other concerned Ethiopians within, and outside Ethiopia have been hammering but that the UN, EU and US ignored.
TPLF “ started the war in November 2020 and was forced to retreat just over a year later, but not content with the level of human suffering resulting from their initial barbarism, they are, it seems, determined to kill and kill again; to rape and beat their Ethiopian brethren; to once mor destroy property, burn farmland, slaughter livestock, sending fear through communities, deepening the pain of a nation in their frenzied quest for power.”
The cost of TPLF wars
In the first two wars led by TPLF, more than half a million Ethiopians perished, many of them young. TPLF destroyed or degraded tens of billions of dollars of social and physical infrastructure that will take decades to recoup.
TPLF ignored the fact that it cannot change geography. Even if it wins the war, Tigreans would have to live with Afar, Amhara and Eritreans as neighbors. It also forgot the psychological pains and traumas that treason entails.
In the latest round of TPLF insurgency, an estimated 70,000 more people have perished; and the war is not over. This latest number is close to lives lost during the Eritrea Ethiopia war.
The West ignores genuine efforts on the part of the government of Ethiopia for peaceful resolution. Instead of responding to peace, TPLF used repeated calls for peaceful resolution to acquire more weapons from foreign powers, recruit, and force Tigreans as young as 11 years old and the elderly in their late sixties to join and die.
Peebles put it succinctly “The TPLF used the months of peace, not to enter unto constructive dialogue with the government, to address the needs of people in Tigray impacted by the war and beg for forgiveness, but to actively re-unite and rebuild its forces. The Crisis Group relate that they have “solid evidence” of at least 10 Antonov planes making deliveries (of arms it is assumed) “to two airports in Tigray,” certainly from Sudan. One such aircraft, in-route from Sudan and loaded with weapons, was recently shot down by the Ethiopian air force.” Another Antonov was just shot down last week.
Ethiopian government leadership failures
It is stunning and inexcusable to me that “The government of Ethiopia had known about these arial shipments for some time but failed to clamp down on them. This lack of decisive action, particularly in relation to law-and-order issues has been a feature of the Abiy premiership and is something that needs to change.”
Abiy Ahmed must explain to the Ethiopian people and to those who are fighting and dying why his government failed to defend Ethiopia’s airspace. The Abiy Ahmed regime must also demonstrate to the Ethiopian people its determination and resolve that TPLF is an existential threat and must be rooted out this time. There must not be a boundary for terrorism and mayhem in Ethiopia.
The tell and tell story of hypocrisy
UN specialized agencies like WFP, UNESCO, WHO are partisan. “Whilst TPLF thugs lit the fuse of renewed conflict in Tigray’s southern border, other misguided fighters, many little more than children, raided a World Food Program (WFP) warehouse in Mekelle (capital of Tigray region).
“12 full fuel tankers with 570,000 liters of fuel” were taken, and UN staff detained, reported, Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “These fuel stocks were to be used solely for humanitarian purposes, for the distribution of food, fertilizer, and other emergency relief items. This loss of fuel will impact humanitarian operations supporting communities in all northern Ethiopia.”
Peebles could have added these incidents have occurred repeatedly before the war began in November 2020. But the UN ignored them completely.
TPLF has a track record of diversions of food aid and other essentials from its inception. He recognizes repeated illegal behavior of TPLF leaders when he says “Stealing from the UN to enable war is nothing new for the TPLF.
From July-September 2021 the WFP state that, “445 contracted non-WFP trucks entered Tigray, but only thirty-eight …. returned,” – 407 were stolen by the TPLF. The lack of vehicles the agency said, was “the primary impediment to ramping up the humanitarian response” within Tigray. The inability of UN agencies to deliver humanitarian aid is of no concern whatsoever to the TPLF leadership, who care not a jot for the people of Tigray, and even less for other ethnic groups throughout Ethiopia.”
Why does the UN fail to hold TPLF accountable for theft and graft?
The UN and Western argument of “unfettered access” to Tigray is a political ploy. I say this because the critical path to normalization of access is durable peace. For this to occur, the UN and Western powers have an obligation to demand that TPLF abandons its insurgency and commit to durable peace. There is not a single evidence or indication that TPLF wants peace.
The preconditions the TPLF demands for peace are so outlandish that the demand amounts to a de jure Tigrean government negotiating with an equal, namely, the government of Ethiopia. This presumption has been encouraged by UN specialized agencies, the EU leadership and the US Department of State that refer to the government of Tigray at par with the government of Ethiopia. These entities never once said to the TPLF that preconditions do not serve the cause of durable peace.
What do they do instead? They take the matter to the UN Security Council as if two independent and sovereign states, Tigray and Ethiopia are at war with one another. This undermines Ethiopia’s long-established status as a sovereign and independent state with clearly defined territories that includes Tigray.
TPLF and its major weapons supplier Egypt intend to balkanize Ethiopia.
Egypt’s involvement in the war is no longer indirect or secret. It is in the open. Equally troublesome for me is the UN system, the EU and the USA that collude with a terrorist group and a for3eignh government that undermines peace and stability in the Horn, Eastern Africa, and the Middle East.
During my recent visit to Ethiopia, I did not meet a single Ethiopian who trusts the EU or the USA. In fact, many academics and activists told me in confidence they do not want American aid (NO MORE was mentioned to me repeatedly).
The longer the TPLF survives the greater the mistrust in the West.
When I worked with the World Bank for three decades, and when TPLF ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist and milked it for 27 years, I challenged the donor community why they allowed theft, graft, corruption, repression, and human atrocities in Ethiopia.
Thirty years later, it is the same treasonous, corrupt, and brutal group the UN, EU and the US still consider legitimate and treat at par with the elected government of Ethiopia. Peebles is right.
The TPLF is a “malignant force” that oppresses Tigreans and sends children to die instead of attend school.
Ordinary American and European citizens do not know that their governments behave in the same manner today as European and American colonial and imperial powers did during and after the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. They treat African states, including Ethiopia—a beacon of freedom and independence in Africa—as second or third class among the community of nations. In this sense, the UN that replaced the League of Nations has not changed. Those who wield power and influence are the rich and powerful; and they happen to be in the West.
In my assessment, the UN, EU, and the US lost credibility immediately after the TPLF initiated its treasonous war in November 2020. Their narratives, demands and prescriptions have not changed at all. Peebles is on the mark when he says “Unsurprisingly, given their addiction to regional meddling (the West’s led by the USA), the main sponsor of TPLF terror is the US government. Successive administrations, together with the UK, and to a lesser degree the European Union, have backed the TPLF, empowering them financially, politically, and throughout their war on the Ethiopian State, it is widely believed, militarily.”
I would include to this conclusive and factual statement Egypt’s direct involvement in the war and the West’s deliberate reluctance in challenging Egypt and Sudan for meddling. “With western political support and lasting TPLF influence in Washington, London, New York, and Geneva, has come media collusion. CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, New York Times etc., all have been guilty of mis/dis-information; biased or just poorly researched stories ranging from outright lies to nauseating both-sidesism as with Voice of America (VOA) reporting of the recent theft of WFP fuel by TPLF fighters, witnessed by UN staff.
VOA state that Tigrayan forces are condemned for “allegedly stealing” the fuel: allegedly!”
It is an allegation when the TPLF does it. It is fact when Amhara, Eritrean and Ethiopian forces do it. Remember Tigray genocide and famine. Whoever wields power and resources over the UN and corporate media is heard. The truth is buried deliberately and systematically.
In conclusion, Ethiopia suffers from multiple fronts: TPLF and OLA within; Egypt, Sudan and the West without.
Ethiopia holds a most coveted geopolitical space in Africa, adjacent to the Red Sea, sitting on the sources of life, the Abbay River (Blue Nile), as the seat of the African Union and the second largest population in Africa.
Ethiopia is technologically backward but has enormous potential and drive to succeed and join the family of middle-income countries in s short time. So, why derail it?
Ethiopia’s potential success is worrisome to the West. If Ethiopia succeeds; the rest of Black Africa will succeed.
The reason for the gyration in UN, EU and American policy has nothing to do with Ethiopia’s determination to alleviate poverty. Alleviation of poverty is core to UN Sustainable development goals. Rather, the policy has a lot to do with the perceived imperative of restoring the subservient, corrupt, and treasonous TPLF to power.
In the long term, the way out of the current war is through peaceful negotiation among Ethiopians.
The UN, EU and USA must make a choice whether to support peace or prolong agony.
The later will entail huge costs for ordinary Tigrean and non-Tigrean Ethiopians. It may also lead to irreparable damage in the relations between Ethiopia and the USA.
Editor’s note :- views in the article reflect the views of the writer, they do not necessarily reflect the views of ethionegari.com