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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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