Opinion: Ethiopia’s Civil War: The Tigray Conflict

Civil war breaks out between  the Ethiopian federal government,  led  by  the  Noble Peace Prize-winning Prime  Minister Abiy Ahmed,  and  defiant authority  in  its  Northern  Tigray Region  have erupted in  a  military confrontation, hundreds  of people  die and thousands wounded  and  flee to the neighbor country Sudan from  airstrikes. as  the war threatens  to further undermine the strategic Horn of Africa region. The root causes of this conflict can be linked  to  the political  system  of  Ethiopian  government,  a  federal  system  where different regional ethnic states share the power and the resources since 1994.

Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF)was the leader of an alliance of four parties that was ruling Ethiopia since1991,  when the military junta being replaced.  Meanwhile,  when  Mr Abiy  came  into  power  in  2018,  he  made  (the  Prosperity  Party),  and replaced the  prominent Tigrayan  government officials alleged of  corruption. He resolved the  decades old territorial dispute  with Eritrea, made him get a  Nobel  Peace  Prize  in  2019.The Tigray’s elites see  Mr Abiy’s actions as  an act  of centralizing power  and eradicating the federal  system.  The  feud came  to  a  head  in  September2020,  when  Tigray denied the federal government  to  hold  its own regional  election.  The federal government delayed all state elections  because  of coronavirus, said it was unacceptable.

The current involvement of Eretria would be their interests and occupying the Tigray region the city Mekelle and defeating the Tigray People’s Liberation Front would reinstate national pride lost during the 1998-2000 war.However,this would come at price of the Horn region stability.Meanwhile the Tigray Rebel Forces began  entering  the  regional  capital early this week after  Ethiopian  government  troops  retreated  from  the  city Mekelle. Also,Tigrayan Rebels had  entered  the  city  and  had  seized  control  of  the  airport  and  telecommunications network.

What consequences will Ethiopian Conflict have on East Africa Region?

The Ethiopian government  fell  into a civil  war  with a  large  number  of  the  Tigrayan  people crossing  border  to Sudan.The conflict  between  Egypt  with  Ethiopia’s Grand  Renaissance Dam  of  the Blue  Nile  River has  as  well seemed engaged  with Sudan early  last  year  2020.Meanwhile,Egypt  and  Sudan  have  demonstrated  what  seemed  a  military  cooperation exercise which can be translated the friendly relation between them against Ethiopia. According  to Reuters“International  Crisis Group,  a  think-tank,  warned  on end  of  last year that any involvement by Eritrea in the conflict could in turn draw in Sudan.”

The greater region of East Africa could be hugely impacted by the Ethiopia’s civil war crisis with Tigray state which could reach outside of it. There are military bases of China and US in the region especially Djibouti.In earlier2021,Reuters reported that Russia had allowed the building  of  a  military  facility earlier  that  week  in  Sudan  which  could enable  nuclear  power basement,paving  the  way  Russia’s  first potential presence  in  the  region  since  the  soviet collapse.Foreign big  powers  could  also  get  a  chance  to  engage  the  region’s  conflict  if  their military  bases feel  threatened. “The stability of Ethiopia  is  important  for  the  entire  Horn of Africa  region.  I  call  for  an  immediate  de-escalation  of  tensions  and  a  peaceful  resolution  to the dispute,” UN Secretary General António Guterres had said in a Twitter post last week.

Water Scarcity and Instability

If we look the other side of the story, the rivals of Ethiopia in the region will see Ethiopia’s civil war a big chance to confront and resist the Renaissance dam of Ethiopia to be function well. The Egyptian government sees this huge project of the Damto be a problem causing a water scarcity in the Blue Nile River which directly effects Egypt’s agricultural production.

In the  last  year, it  is believed that  Egypt  tried  to  establish  a  military  basement  in the internationally  unrecognized republic  of Somaliland.This seems  difficult  for  Somaliland  to allow it. This shows Egypt’s strong desire in strengthening relations with other East African states and widening its military reach in the region by confronting the Ethiopia’s influence in the region.

In this side,  the  Sudanese  government  which  will  profit  the control  of  the  floods  and  the affordable   electricity   resulted   by   the   Great   Dam   of Ethiopia had   willing   to   engage diplomatically  with  Ethiopia  on  the  Dam  matter.  meanwhile,  Egypt  has  great  influence  in Sudan.the civil war in Ethiopia, particularly if it did not stop in the near future, might weaker Ethiopia’s capability to improve forward with what Egypt sees as un negotiable matter of the Great Dam and can interrupt viable engagement of Sudan on the matter of the Dam

Ethiopia’s possibility of being fragmented as a Nation-State

Despite the seemingly engagement of the regional powers like Egypt,Ethiopia’s power in the region  could  easily  weaken  because  of its  internal  civil  war, which in  result  could  loweri ts political  shape  in  the  country’s internal government structure.  If the  current  situation  in  the country  did  not  back  into  the  normal  way, Ethiopia might experience and became  a fragile and  fragmented  nation  state  where  the  regional states  maintain  the  upper  hand  the  central authority  loses  much  control.  the Prime Minister of Ethiopia should  see  the  future  of  the country  by listening  and  compromising the Tigray region  to avoid  other  regions follow  that example country  by listening  and  compromising the Tigray region  to avoid  other  regions follow  that example.

The balkanization of Ethiopia could happen if the Aby Ahmed’s administration did not open the negotiation door to the Tigray leaders, because the other regions in Ethiopia could easily breakaway and fallow that of the Tigray if the central government did not solve the issue by anyway.in the meantime, the conflict could  cause to hundreds of thousands being forced to cross   the   borders to   scape   the   dangerous   conflict   which   could escalate further   to unprecedented  level.  thousands  have already crossed  to Sudan  and  the  UN  refugee  agency has predicted if the refugees number increase it will need an overwhelming capacity of aid to help them in order to maintain their wellness.

The Ways International Community Can Help Ethiopia

The International Community could   consider   the   following   steps to   help   them:

  1. To Call out Aby  Ahmed’s  accused pressuring and targeting the Tigrayan officials  in the Tigray Region and the country as whole, including those who have being jailed or are being harassed by the central government.
  2. To Pressure Ethiopia’s central government to stop its communication disturbance and bring back humanitarian access to the people of the Tigray region in order to  ensure their wellness and safety.
  3. To force  Aby Ahmed’s  central  government  to  lessen the  war  between  the Tigray region and the federal government, the longer the hostility continuous the broader and likelier  the  conflict  spread  into  a  devastating  level  of humanitarian conditions. the political stabilization of the country depends more to the consideration of the federal government,  Aby Ahmed prop  up  his  international fame  on  being  a  charismatic and openminded forward leader who will cause a broader reform to his nation.

Author: Abdirahman Said Nur
Email: dhago_54@hotmail.com