Collaboration of Ethiopia’s Regime with Foreign Powers to Terminate the
Tigrayan Ethnic Group
Asayehgn, Sarlo Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development
Under the Ethiopian People’s
Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopia was one of the
fastest-growing economies in the world. Consistently, it registered
double-digit percentage annual growth in Gross Domestic Product (Smith,
Nov 17, 2020). Despite some setbacks, the EPRDF also had the intention of
transforming Ethiopia into a full-fledged, decentralized, multinational
federal system of government that cherished self-rule and local autonomy.
In contrast to his service as a
peacekeeper for the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Rwanda in
1994, and antithetical to the 2019 Noble Peace Prize that he won for
forging peace with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy (hereafter referred to as
Abiy), due to his infatuation with a unitary system of government for the
last two years, has been selecting the administrators for all the regional
states (except Tigray) and negating the autonomy of the federal states.
Currently, with the assistance of
foreign powers (Eritrea, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abiy has
embarked on a deadlier and protracted, seemingly never-ending war against
the Tigrayans that have been demanding
the enforcement that all nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia
be allowed to practice the unconditional rights to self-rule enshrined in
the 1995 Ethiopian Constitution.
That is, rather than following
civility and using healthy dialogues to settle conflicts with the TPLF,
over the years, the Abiy regime decided to crack down the Regional State
of Tgray. Initially, Abiy used the following methods of economic sabotage:
- 1) cutting the Federal budget that should have been allocated to the
Regional State of Tigray; 2) remaining aloof to the blockage of the
interstate highways that run into Regional State of Tigray; 3) failing to
assist the Regional State of Tigray when it was infested by swarms of
desert locusts, and 4) not protecting the Tigrayans when their properties
were ransacked by organized criminals.
Later, in order to fulfill the dream
that his mother had for him that he would be the seventh king of Ethiopia,
Abiy purposely sided with those who had nostalgic images about the past
Ethiopian regimes and those who felt that they were disenfranchised by the
1995 Ethiopian Constitution.
As the tit-for-tat argument between
Abiy and the Tigrayan leaders lingered and progressed
to the extent of rejecting each other’s legitimacy (Sew, Dec 23, 2020),
Abiy treacherously formed a devious friendship with Eritrea’s dictator
President, Isaias Afework. Being Isaias’ former secret agent, Abiy
wanted to exploit Isaias’ ingrained desire for revenge against the
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that subdued Isaias’ armed
forces during the 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrean border conflict.
Contrary to the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, downplaying the effects of the
coronavirus pandemic, and less concerned that Ethiopia’s economy had
declined from 6.2 in 2019 to 1.9 percent in 2020 (IMF, October 2020); Abiy
used a phony excuse that the TPLF had caused a spate of attacks on the
Northern Command Federal Army to anguish war on Tigray. Abiy launched an
outlandish war on November 4, 2020 to wipe out the rulers of Tigray (the
Wayanas) from power and absorb the disgruntled Tigrayans into his
It is unusual for a nation’s
governing regime to solicit the assistance of foreign powers to intervene
and help calm down domestic upheavals. Galvanizing the Ethiopian Federal
armed forces and some fanatic Amhara militias, Abiy has collaborated with
Isaias, Somalian armed forces, and the UAE’s drones to indiscriminately
ravage and bomb Ethiopia’s Tigrayan ethnic group.
Over the course of ten weeks of war,
many innocent Tigrayans have been left massacred and mutilated. Crop
fields s have been burned, cattle slaughtered, and roads, churches,
mosques, and hospitals devastated. In addition to the displacement of
950,000 people, by swimming on the Takeze River and walking long
distances, more than 52,000 young children, mothers, and senior-aged
Tagarus were rushed to sheltering places in Sudan. Currently, Sudan is
faced with a fragile economic crisis and insurmountable coronavirus
More than 50 percent of those who
flee from Ethiopia to seek refuge in Sudan are under the age of 18 years.
Having lost family members, and friends, these refugees are suffering
through physical and psychological trauma.
Due to the poor living conditions
and debilitated health facilities in the Sudanese refugee camps, a number
of the young Tagaru are susceptible to poor sanitation and pneumonia, not
to mention the coronavirus. Furthermore, it is worth understanding that
the teen-aged have been out of school in Ethiopia. Given that the school-
age Tigaryan refugees and the other refugees in Sudan are in a very
detestable condition, the need support now more than ever.
Inside Tigray, the Abiy -caused war
has contributed to a serious threat on the hundreds of American citizens,
journalists, and aid workers present there. For example, a number of
investments in Tigray that were owned by Diasporas—brought back from their naturalized
homes to their ancestral home with the offer of relocation expenses, and
import and tax relief—have now lost their investments and are being
personally attacked by Abiy’s armed forces and his foreign
In the inner cities and towns of
Ethiopia, the Abiy regime has undertaken ethnic eviction and mass
harassment of innocent Tigrayans, amounting to ethnic cleansing. As
mentioned above, collaborating with Isaias’ Eritrean forces, Abiy has
instituted mass surveillance of Tigrayan civilians. Medical institutions
and UNESCO-declared world heritage and other historical landmarks have
been ravaged. Abiy’s armed forces have fully ravaged higher learning
institutions. In addition, Isaias’ forces have looted, ruthlessly burned
farmlands, devastated industries, despoiled developmental infrastructures,
devastated a number of reservoirs, and irrigation canals.
As summarized by the highly esteemed
organization, DEFUNDTIGRAYGENOCIDE (2020), following the war that started
on November 4, the Ethiopian government and Abiy’s collaborators have
been persecuting ethnic Tigrayans with indiscriminate airstrikes,
blackouts of telecommunication, internet, and electricity services, and
blocking access to banks, food, water, and sanitation systems.
Furthermore, Abiy’s regime has
indoctrinated and encouraged some fanatic Amhara and young Fano
perpetrators to cross their boundaries and falsely claim Tigrayan farm
plots as their own.
As enumerated above, at the highest
level of government, because of their ethnicity, Abiy has orchestrated
ethnic cleansing and genocidal practices in Tigray. As a result, Tigrayans
throughout Ethiopia are facing irreparable damage to their civil rights.
For instance, a number of
professionally trained Tigrayan employees of the armed forces and the
national security system have been not only purged from their duties, but
also prohibited from gathering in groups of more than two people, and are
profiled to carry special type of identification documents. Similarly,
Abiy has instituted mass surveillance, instructing Tigrayans residing in
Addis Ababa to reregister and prove to their local authorities that they
have been residing in the city prior to the outbreak of war in Tigray.
As narrated by Nur (December 2020),
the Abiy regime has instructed Ethiopian Airlines—the
largest airline in Africa—to hand in pink slips and lay off all its
Tigrigna-speaking pilots, technicians, and security officers.
Against international law, the
action taken by Eritrean troops has amounted to a serious crime—about
100,000 Eritrean refugees residing in Western Tigray camps have been
raided and some were transported back to Eritrea (Ateweberhan 11, 2020,
O’Grady, Nov 23, 2020).
Similar to the Rwandan genocide, in
which the international community failed to react in timely manner, the
international community has delayed interjecting to resolve the horrible
genocide that is happening in Tigray. Nonetheless, the United Nations
Security Council and the United States have recently condemned Abiy’s
Government. For example, the United States has joined calls by the UN
“…for the Ethiopian government to uphold its obligation under
international law and to take appropriate measures to ensure the
protection and safety of all refugees in Ethiopia” (Pompeo, Secretary of
State, December 23, 2020).
In addition, the United States has
promised to provide more than $18 million in assistance to humanitarian
needs arising from the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region (Pompeo,
Secretary of State, December 23, 2020). Similarly, the European Union has
decided to scrap all financial aid to Ethiopia. As the Ethiopian
government continue its genocidal acts on Tigrayans, it is attracting the
attention of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, leading
them to not lend funds to the Ethiopian regime currently in power (Smith,
To summarize, as it stands now, the
egomaniac Eritrean dictator Isaias has regained control of land on
Ethiopia’s borders. With the assistance of Abiy’s army, UAE drones,
and Somalia’s army, Isaias has also tentatively achieved his lifelong
wish of annihilating Tigray’s historical sites, industries, and
On the other hand, Isaias is likely
worried about possible upheavals in Eritrea and the United Nations
introducing sanctions against Eritrea for intervening in Ethiopia’s
internal affairs. Given these possible scenarios, it is likely that
Isaias, as a Machiavellian, will soon retreat his armed forces to Eritrea
to maintain his authoritarian leadership and keep the Tigrayan forces at
Based on this possible scenario,
Abiy would be left stranded to face alone the major ethnic upheavals
mushrooming throughout Ethiopia’s landscape. Therefore, it is high time
that all the multiethnic and national groups in Ethiopia diligently
cooperate and strategize to disintegrate Abiy and his genocidal Prosperity
Party, removing them from power.
Abebe, H. (Nov. 24, 2020). “War of
Annihilation in Tigrai as the world watches in real life.” Tigrai
Online. Cited from www.tigraionline.com/articles/abiy-isaias-war-on-tigrai.html.
Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu (11 December
2020). “Eritreans caught in dilemma over Tigray conflict.” The
Ethiopia: The 1995 Constitution of
the federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
International Monetary Fund (October
2020). “Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa a Difficult Road
to Recovery.” IMF, World Economic
and Financial Surveys.
Nur, Selam (11 December 2020).
“Institutional Ethnic Cleansing, the Case of Ethiopian Airlines.” Ethiopian Observer.
O’Grady, Siobhan, “What is
behind the conflict in Ethiopia?” The
Washington Post (November 23, 2020).
Pompeo, M. (December 23, 2020).
“The United States’ Humanitarian Assistance Response to Conflict in
Ethiopia’s Tigray Region.” Cited from Https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-humanitarian-assistance-response-to-conflict-in-ethiopias-tigray-region.
Sew, M. (December 23, 2020). “The
secret war in Tigray.” Ethiopian
Insight. Cited from https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2020/12/23/the-secret-war--in-tigray.
Smith, E. (Nov 17, 2020). “Escalating Conflict could threaten Ethiopia’s economic success story.” CNBC. Cited from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/17escalatin-conlflic-could-threaten-ethiopias-economic-
Nations Office of Genocide (2020), “DEFUNDTIGRAYGENOCIDE”
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