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Posts Tagged ‘ኤርትራ’

CNN | Eritrean Troops Disguised as Ethiopian Military Are Blocking Critical Aid in Tigray

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 12, 2021

🔥 Cruelty at its peak! 😈 Abiy Ahmed Ali & Isaias Afewerki 😈 are the most evil monsters of the planet. It’s mind-blowing and disappointing that The U.S. Department of State is sending the special envoy to these two war criminals! Are they working for them?

🔥 የጭካኔ ድርጊት በከፍታው ላይ!😈 አብይ አህመድ አሊ እና ኢሳያስ አፈወርቂ 😈 የፕላኔቷ እጅግ መጥፎ ጭራቆች ናቸው፡፡ የአሜሪካ የውጭ ጉዳይ መስሪያ ቤት ልዩ መልዕክተኛውን ወደ እነዚህ ሁለት የጦር ወንጀለኞች መላኩ አእምሮን የሚንጥ እና የሚያሳዝን ነው! ለእነሱ እየሠሩ ስለሆነ ነውን?

Eritrean troops are operating with total impunity in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region, killing, raping and blocking humanitarian aid to starving populations more than a month after the country’s Nobel Peace Prize winning leader pledged to the international community that they would leave.

A CNN team traveling through Tigray’s central zone witnessed Eritrean soldiers, some disguising themselves in old Ethiopian military uniforms, manning checkpoints, obstructing and occupying critical aid routes, roaming the halls of one of the region’s few operating hospitals and threatening medical staff.

Despite pressure from the Biden administration, there is no sign that Eritrean forces plan to exit the border region anytime soon.

On April 21, a CNN team reporting in Tigray with the permission of Ethiopian authorities traveled from the regional capital Mekelle to the besieged city of Axum, two weeks after it had been sealed off by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. An aid convoy also made the seven-hour journey.

Ethiopia’s government has severely restricted access to the media until recently, and a state-enforced communications blackout concealed events in the region, making it challenging to gauge the extent of the crisis or verify survivors’ accounts.

But CNN’s interviews with humanitarian workers, doctors, soldiers and displaced people in Axum and across central Tigray — where up to 800,000 displaced people are sheltering — indicate the situation is even worse than was feared. Eritrean troops aren’t just working hand in glove with the Ethiopian government, assisting in a merciless campaign against the Tigrayan people, in some pockets they’re fully in control and waging a reign of terror.

The testimonies, shared at great personal risk, present a horrifying picture of the situation in Tigray, where a clash between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in November has deteriorated into a protracted conflict that, by many accounts, bears the hallmarks of genocide and has the potential to destabilize the wider Horn of Africa region.

Sign at Axum Referral Hospital. ???Blood Campaign, for mothers, for children, for all those that need it.???

Ethiopian security officials working with Tigray’s interim administration told CNN that the Ethiopian government has no control over Eritrean soldiers operating in Ethiopia, and that Eritrean forces had blocked roads into central Tigray for over two weeks and in the northwestern part of the region for nearly one month.

As the war and its impact on civilians deepens, world leaders have voiced their concern about the role of Eritrean forces in exacerbating what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to spokesperson Ned Price, has described as a “growing humanitarian disaster.” In a phone call with Abiy on April 26, Blinken pressed Ethiopia and Eritrea to make good on commitments to withdraw Eritrean troops “in full, and in a verifiable manner.”

CNN’s efforts to reach Axum were thwarted by both Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers multiple times over several days.

On one of the first attempts, the CNN team encountered what it later learned was the aftermath of a grenade attack, where a group of local residents were flagging down cars, warning passersby not to go any further. But before we reached the scene, a large army truck drove up and parked sideways, blocking the road. Our cameraman got out of the car and started filming only to be confronted by Ethiopian soldiers, who threatened the team with detention, demanding that we hand over the camera and delete the footage. But we refused and were able to conceal the footage until we were eventually released.

On another occasion, CNN was turned back by an Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) Command operating out of a former USAID distribution center in the outskirts of the city of Adigrat, where several trucks laden with sacks of desperately needed food sat languishing in the hot sun. The aid, bound for communities in Tigray’s starved central zone, had been stopped from going any further despite daily phone calls from humanitarian workers pleading for access.

Even after being granted entry to Axum by the Ethiopian military, CNN’s path was obstructed by Eritrean troops controlling a checkpoint on a desolate mountain top overlooking Adigrat. The forces were wearing a mixture of their official light-colored Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) fatigues and a woodland camouflage with a green beret, which military experts verified as tallying with old Ethiopian army uniforms.

Hannibal ??? Shot in the leg as he was sitting on his mother???s lap. Shown here at Axum referral hospital where he is receiving treatment.

It is one of the first visual confirmations of reports — relayed in recent weeks by the UN’s top humanitarian official Mark Lowcock and US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield — that Eritrean soldiers are disguising their identities by re-uniforming as Ethiopian military, in what Thomas-Greenfield described as a move to “remain in Tigray indefinitely.”

CNN was informed by aid agencies that they had also been turned back by Eritrean soldiers manning the same checkpoint. Ethiopian military sources in the region confirmed to CNN that Eritrean soldiers were in control of key checkpoints along the route to Axum. The military sources said they had requested multiple times for the Eritreans to allow cars and convoys through, but had been refused.

CNN has reached out to the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments for comment.

After repeated phone calls to Ethiopian central government and senior military officials, CNN was finally allowed into Axum on its fourth try. On the same day, international medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres demanded that the 12-day blockade of the road into Axum be lifted.

Many aid agencies are still being barred from the besieged city, where one of the few hospitals operating for miles is running out of essential supplies, including oxygen and blood, humanitarian workers working in the region told CNN.

On arrival at the Axum University Teaching and Referral Hospital, patients are greeted by a sign asking for blood.

7 yearold Latebrahan Fessahaatsion, from Chilla, 100 Kms from Axum near border of Eritrea where famine has arrived.

The medical staff we spoke to asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, but requested that CNN identify their hospital — they say that they want people to know that they are still here.

Inside one of the under-resourced examination rooms, a malnourished 7-year-old was lying on a gurney, wrapped in a blanket to cushion her fragile skin. Latebrahan’s emaciated legs could no longer hold her weight and she lay wide-eyed, staring up at the crowd of doctors gathered around her bed.

The medical team were doing their best to keep her alive, but they had run out of a therapeutic feeding agent due to the blockade, the only way to help her gain weight without disturbing her delicate system.

Latebrahan’s father, Girmay, who asked to be identified only by his first name, told CNN the journey from their home in Chila, around 60 miles north of Axum, near the border with Eritrea, had been dangerous and costly.

“There is no help, no food, nothing. I didn’t have a choice though — look at her,” Girmay said.

Like many other rural border towns, Chila has been blocked off from receiving aid since the conflict began six months ago. Humanitarian workers say famine could have already arrived there and they would have no way of knowing.

“Based on guesswork there is a sense that in these areas that we are not able to access, out in the countryside for instance, places are falling into pockets of famine. But we’re not able to verify that and that’s part of the problem,” Thomas Thompson, the UN World Food Programme’s emergency coordinator, told CNN.

The fighting erupted during the autumn harvest season following the worst invasion of desert locusts in Ethiopia in decades. The conflict has plunged Tigray even further into severe food insecurity, and the deliberate blockade of food risks mass starvation, a recent report by the World Peace Foundation warned. The Ethiopian government itself estimates that at least 5.2 million people out of 5.7 million in the region are in need of emergency food assistance.

USAID handing out aid in the town of Hawzen. They hadn???t had much-needed aid here for 2 months.

Eritrean soldiers have been blocking and looting food relief in multiple parts of Tigray, including in Samre and Gijet, southwest of Mekele, according to a leaked document from the Emergency Coordination Centre of Tigray’s Abiy-appointed interim government obtained by CNN. In a PowerPoint presentation dated April 23, the center states that Eritrean soldiers have also started showing up at food distribution points in Tigray, looting supplies after “our beneficiaries became frightened and [ran] away.”

That report was corroborated by humanitarian workers in Tigray, who said they had “protection” issues around distributing aid in some areas as civilians were later robbed of the aid by Eritrean soldiers. Emily Dakin, who leads the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team in Tigray, also told CNN that she had received reports of health centers being looted, which was “contributing to some of the dysfunctionality of the hospitals.”

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel has rejected these claims.

Eritrea’s power in the region feels absolute even in the Axum Teaching Hospital, where Eritrean soldiers are among the gun-toting troops roaming the corridors, dropping off wounded soldiers and threatening medical staff. It is a terrifying scene for patients, many of whom say they were injured either directly or indirectly by soldiers.

One doctor, who asked not to be named, told CNN that the siege had prompted a surge in patients. In addition to cases of malnutrition like Latebrahan, doctors and nurses are treating a grim array of trauma from shrapnel, bullets, stabbings and rapes. In a desperate attempt to keep pace with demand, medical workers have also begun donating blood.

But despite this, there wasn’t enough blood on hand to save one young woman, who had been attacked by soldiers who tried to rape her.

The doctor treating the woman told CNN that the hospital had seen a spike in sexual assault cases over recent weeks, but that the rise was just “the tip of the iceberg,” as many were too scared to seek medical services.

An alarming number of women are being gang-raped, drugged and held hostage in the conflict, in which sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war and its use linked to genocide. According to one agency’s estimate, almost one-third of all attacks on civilians involve sexual violence, the majority committed by men in uniform.

An autopsy photo of the young woman seen by CNN showed her internal organs spilling out from a wound in her lower abdomen.

“She came to our emergency department and she had a sign of life initially. [But] if you find blood for a patient, it’s only one or two units and one or two units could not save this woman. She bled [out] and she died,” the doctor said haltingly, overcome with emotion.

He took a deep breath, then added, “I see this woman in my dreams.”

This reporting would not have been possible without the support of dozens of Tigrayans, who shared their stories at great personal risk. CNN is not naming them to protect their safety. It also builds on a series of investigations into massacres and sexual violence in Tigray by CNN’s Bethlehem Feleke, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Katie Polglase. Read CNN’s full Tigray coverage here.

Source

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Al-Jazeera on Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church patriarch condemnation of #TigrayGenocide

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 8, 2021

The United Nations is warning aid convoys to the Tigray region in Ethiopia are being blocked, leaving thousands without humanitarian relief and hundreds malnourished.

Now, after six months of conflict, one of the country’s top religious leaders has spoken out against what he describes as “genocide” in Tigray.

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አቡነ ማትያስ፤ “የትግራይ ሕዝብ ምን ቢያደርጋችሁ ነው ከምድረ ገጽ ልታጠፉት የፈለጋችሁት?”

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 8, 2021

እንግዲህ አሁን ቃኤላውያን የዋቄዮ-አላህ-አቴቴ ጭፍሮች የሚቀድማቸው የለምና እንደ ቁራዎች መንጫጫት ይጀምራሉ። እስከ አሁን “አባታችን ይፍቱን!” ሲሉ የነበሩት ሁሉ አሁን “ጁንታችን ይተውን!” ማለት ይጀምራሉ። እንግዲህ ምን ይደረጋል ይቅበዝበዙ እንጅ! ግን ልብ ብለናል፤ ብጹእነታቸውንም ሆነ ሌሎች የቤተ ክርስቲያን አባቶችን ለማነጋገር ወይም ቃለ-መጠይቅ ለማድረግ የሞከረ/የፈለገ አንድም “ኢትዮጵያዊ” ሜዲያ የለም። ባለፉት ስድስት ወራት ይህን ቃለ-መጠይቅ ያደረጉት ባዕዳውያን ፈረንጆች ብቻ መሆናቸው ለኢትዮጵያውያን ትልቅ ውርደት ነው። ብዙ የትግራይ ልጆች የሚከታተሏቸውና ኢትዮጵያ ያሉ እንደ “ኢትዮ-ፎረም” + “አውሎ ሜዲያ” ለምን ይህን የቤት ሥራ ሊሠሩ አልቻሉም/አልፈለጉም? ጋዜጠኛ ነን ለሚሉ ሁሉ ከዚህ የበለጠ ትልቅ ዕድልና አጋጣሚ እኮ የለም።

የትግራይ ልጆች ከእነዚህ ሜዲያዎች “ተጠንቀቁ፤ መስማት የምትፈልጉትን እየነገሯችሁ በስሜታቸውና በመንፈሳችሁ እየተጫወቱባችሁ ነው፤ እግረ መንገዳቸውንም ትንሽ የውጭ ገንዘብ ይሰበስቡ ዘንድ ነው” ብያለሁ። እስኪ በቻነሎቹ የአስተያየት መስጫ ሳጥኖች ውስጥ የሚቀመጡትን መል ዕክቶች አንብቡ፤ በተሰራጨው ዜና ላይ ሳይሆን አስተያየት በመስጠት ፋንታ ቻነሎቹን/ባለቤቶቹን “የሚያመልኩ” ነው የሚመስሉት። ተጠንቀቁ እንጠንቀቅ! ባሁኑ ሰዓት ኢትዮጵያ ሆኖ ትግራይን በመደገፍ የአረመኔውን ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድን አጀንዳ የማያራምድ ሜዲያ በጭራሽ ሊኖር አይችልም፤ በሃሳቤ ስህተተኛ ብሆን ደስ ባለኝ፤ ግን በኢትዮጵያ ነፃ የሆነ ሜዲያ በጭራሽ ሊኖር አይችልም፤100% እንኳን ትግራይን የሚደግፍ። ዛሬ የትግራይ ሕዝብ ከእግዚአብሔርና ቅዱሳኑ በቀር ማንም አጋርና ወዳጅ የለውምና፤ የስሜት ማስታገሻ ወገኖችን፣ ልሂቃንን፣ ሜዲያዎችን፣ ስልኮችን በመፈለግ ፈንታ መጽሐፍ ቅዱስን ማንበብ እጆቹን ወደ እግዚአብሔር ብቻ መዘርጋት ይኖርበታል።

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Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch Blasts Tigray ‘Genocide’

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 8, 2021

The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in his first public comments on the war in the country’s Tigray region is sharply criticizing Ethiopia’s actions, saying he believes it’s genocide: “They want to destroy the people of Tigray.”

In a video shot last month on a mobile phone and carried out of Ethiopia, the elderly Patriarch Abune Mathias addresses the church’s scores of millions of followers and the international community, saying his previous attempts to speak out were blocked. He is ethnic Tigrayan.

The video comes as the conflict in Tigray marks six months. Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting between Ethiopian and allied forces and Tigray ones, the result of a political struggle that turned deadly in November. Dozens of witnesses have told the AP that civilians are targeted.

“I am not clear why they want to declare genocide on the people of Tigray,” Abune Mathias says, speaking in Amharic and listing alleged atrocities including the destruction of churches, massacres, forced starvation and looting. “It is not the fault of the Tigray people. The whole world should know it.”

He calls for strength, adding that “this bad season might pass away.” And he urges the world to act.

The comments are a striking denunciation from someone so senior inside Ethiopia, where state media reflect the government’s narrative and both independent journalists and Tigrayans have been intimidated and harassed. The video also comes as Ethiopia, facing multiple crises of sometimes deadly ethnic tensions, faces a national election on June 5.

Dennis Wadley, who runs the U.S.-based Bridges of Hope organization and has been a friend of the church leader for several years, told the AP he shot the video in an impulsive moment while visiting him last month in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

“I just pulled out my iPhone and said if you want to get the word out, let’s do it,” Wadley said on Friday after arriving in the U.S. “He just poured out his heart. … It’s so sad. I actually hugged him; I never did that before.”

A church official reached on Friday confirmed the video and the interest of Abune Mathias in making it public. The church patriarch serves alongside a recently returned exile, Abune Merkorios.

“I have said a lot of things but no one allows the message to be shared. Rather, it is being stifled and censored,” Abune Mathias says in the video.

“Many barbarisms have been conducted” these days all over Ethiopia, he says, but “what is happening in Tigray is of the highest brutality and cruelty.”

God will judge everything, he adds.

Ethiopia’s government says it is “deeply dismayed” by the deaths of civilians, blames the former Tigray leaders and claims normality is returning in the region of some 6 million people. It has denied widespread profiling and targeting of Tigrayans.

But witnesses have told the AP about seeing bodies strewn on the ground on communities, Tigrayans rounded up and expelled and women raped by Ethiopian and allied forces including those from neighboring Eritrea. Others have described family members and colleagues including priests being swept up and detained, often without charge.

Churches have been the scenes of massacres — one deacon in Axum has told the AP he believes some 800 people were killed in a November weekend at the church and around the city — and of mass graves.

“People were dropped over the ground like leaves,” the patriarch says of Axum, Ethiopia’s holiest city.

Abune Mathias, born in 1942, has been outspoken in the past. In 1980, he became the first leader of the church to denounce the rule of Ethiopia’s communist regime “and was forced to live abroad for more than thirty years,” according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Source

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#TigrayGenocide | Africans are Being Massacred & The World is Ignoring it

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 6, 2021

Biden’s Brewing Problem in Ethiopia

War broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in November. Five months later, the scale of the carnage, destruction, and destabilisation is becoming evident.

The spark for the fighting was an attack on army bases by soldiers loyal to the region’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front which was at odds with the federal government headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. But wars don’t happen overnight: the European Union, International Crisis Group, and many others issued warnings. Most worryingly, Eritrea — with whom Prime Minister Abiy had made a much-heralded peace agreement in 2018 — had a scarcely-hidden war plan.

Abiy’s initial goal was cutting the TPLF down to size. But his coalition partners’ war aims appear to go much further. For Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, the aim is nothing less than the extermination of any Tigrayan political or economic capability. For the militia from the neighboring Amhara region it is a land grab — described by the U.S. State Department as “ethnic cleansing.”

Since then, we have learned of massacres, mass rape, ransacking of hospitals, and hunger as a weapon of war. It’s an urgent humanitarian crisis—and a threat to international peace and security.

For the first month, the Trump administration endorsed the war, backing up Abiy’s depiction of it as a domestic “law enforcement operation” and praising Eritrea for ‘restraint’ — at a time when divisions of the Eritrean army had poured over the border and reports of their atrocities were already filtering out.

The Biden administration is building a sensible policy — but is hampered by the slow process of putting its senior team in place. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made reasonable demands. President Biden dispatched Senator Chris Coons to convey how seriously Washington is taking the crisis. A special envoy for the Horn of Africa — reported to be the senior diplomat Jeffrey Feldman — is due to be appointed, short-cutting the process of confirming an Assistant Secretary of State for Africa. The new USAID Director Samantha Power, a passionate advocate of action against mass atrocity, is awaiting confirmation.

The Ethiopian government is providing just enough of a plausible impression of compliance to postpone or dilute effective action

But Biden’s approach is not working. To be precise, the Ethiopian government is providing just enough of a plausible impression of compliance to postpone or dilute effective action.

Blinken’s first demand was that Eritrean forces should withdraw. This pushed Abiy — after months of dissembling — to admit that the Eritrean army was actually present and that he would request Pres. Isaias to pull them back. Abiy’s problem is that if Eritrea withdraws, he loses Tigray: the Tigrayan resistance would overwhelm his depleted army. Isaias is a veteran operator and he has prepared for this: his security agents and special forces are now so strategically placed inside Ethiopia that Abiy’s fragile government would be endangered if he withdrew.

Second, the U.S. insisted on a ceasefire and political negotiations. This is essential to stop the battlefield slaughter — thousands were killed in combat in March—and the ongoing scorched earth campaign that is reducing Tigray’s economy to the stone age. But Abiy rejected this. He and Isaias appear determined to try one more offensive to vanquish the Tigrayan Defense Forces. What they fail to see is that inflicting atrocities only stiffens the resolve of the Tigrayans to fight back. Speaking on April 3 Abiy belatedly conceded that a “difficult and tiresome” guerrilla war is in prospect — but he has made no mention of peace talks.

Third, Blinken demanded unfettered humanitarian access for international relief agencies to provide food and medicine for to the starving. He might have added, without a pause in the fighting, farmers cannot prepare their lands for cultivation. The agricultural cycle brooks no delay: ploughing needs to begin soon, before the rains come in June. If there’s no harvest this year, hunger will deepen.

The World Food Program and international agencies are reaching about 1.2 million of the 4.5 million people estimated to need emergency relief. But there are reports that as soon as food is distributed, soldiers sweep through and take it from civilians at gunpoint. The aid effort is, at the moment, too little and too late.

Last, there should be an independent investigation into reports of atrocities, which the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has begun, but in partnership with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. This has the drawback that it’s unrealistic to expect the staff of an Ethiopian government body—whatever their personal integrity—to withstand the personal pressure that the authorities will put on them. And many Tigrayans will automatically reject their findings as biased.

The United States has other policies in this complicated mix too. Last year, the Treasury took on the task of trying to mediate in the Nile Waters dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt. Abiy inherited a huge dam, under construction on the Blue Nile, from his predecessors. It’s a point of national pride, the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s development. Egypt sees any upstream state controlling the Nile waters as an existential threat.

To protect the “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” project, Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs had constructed a coalition of African riparian states, which isolated Egypt and minimised the danger of direct confrontation.

Abiy upended this: 18 months ago he went into direct talks with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who invited the United States to mediate — confident that the Trump administration would lean his way. Sudan, the other party to the talks, had no option but to line up with Cairo and Washington. By the time he had realised his error, Abiy was stuck, and the scenario foreseen by his diplomats was unfolding: Ethiopia was the one isolated as Egypt pressed home its advantage and the United States suspended some aid. Since then the talks have repeatedly broken down, with each side escalating its rhetoric.

The African peace and security order lies wrecked

To compound the error, in preparing for his assault on Tigray, Abiy antagonised Sudan. A few days before the war, he asked Sudanese leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to seal the Sudanese border. He hadn’t anticipated that this would trample over a delicate live-and-let-live border agreement, whereby the Sudanese allowed Ethiopian farmers to cultivate land inside their territory. They were ethnic Amharas. In sealing the frontier, the Sudanese troops drove those villagers out — enraging the powerful Amhara regional government and igniting a needless border conflict.

To complicate the picture still further, Isaias’s planned axis of autocracy extends through Ethiopia to Somalia. A painstaking process of stabilising and reconstructing Somalia is imperiled by President Mohamed Farmajo’s failure to agree an electoral timetable with the opposition, and refusal to step down when his term of office expired in February. Farmajo’s special presidential forces have been trained in Eritrea and many Somalis believe that he plans to use them to impose a military solution on his rivals.

The African peace and security order lies wrecked. The African Union has failed to act. Ethiopian diplomacy and pressure (the organisation’s headquarters are in Addis Ababa) has kept Ethiopia’s war and Eritrea’s destabilisation of the wider region off the AU agenda. Abiy rebuffed African mediators and convinced enough of his fellow African leaders that it was a purely domestic affair to prevent an African consensus position against the war.

At the centre of the chaos is Abiy, at every turn he has blundered

In turn, Africa’s inaction gave a green light to Russia and China to threaten to veto any resolution at the UN Security Council. Last month, the U.S. tried and failed this route. This passes the baton to the U.S. and Europe acting alone — at the G7 last week and next week at the Spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

At the centre of this chaos is Abiy. At every turn he has blundered. He has overpromised, mistaken image for reality, made needless enemies and locked himself into dangerous alliances. Those who once embraced his rhetoric of reform and peacemaking are looking naïve at best. He’s not a consensus-builder, rather an agent of polarisation. Perhaps most significantly for the incoming U.S. diplomatic team, the Ethiopian leader has demonstrated an explosive combination of hubris and poor judgement that make him an unreliable interlocutor — sitting atop a fragile country of 110 million people in a volatile region.

There’s no obvious solution: it’s a problem from hell.

Source

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US Senators Meet Tigrayan Refugees in Sudan | የአሜሪካ ሴናተሮች በሱዳን ከትግራይ ስደተኞች ጋር ተገናኙ

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 6, 2021

Delegation members have met some of the refugees who have fled across the border to escape the conflict in neighbouring Tigray at Um Rakuba camp in Sudan’s Gadarif state.

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፴/30ቱ የጉዕተሎ መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተክርስቲያን ሰማዕታት እነዚህ ናቸው

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 5, 2021

👉 ገብርኤል 👉 ማርያም 👉 ኡራኤል 👉 ጊዮርጊስ 👉 ተክለ ሐይማኖት 👉 ዮሴፍ 👉 መድኃኔ ዓለም

✞✞✞ በቤተክርስቲያኗ የመድኃኔ ዓለም ዓመታዊ ክብረ በዓል ዕለት፤ ማክሰኞ ታህሣሥ ፳፯/ ፪ሺ፲፫ ዓ.ም የሰማዕትነት አክሊልን የተቀዳጁት ፴/30 የጉዕተሎ መድኃኔ ዓለም ልጆችን ነፍስ በቅዱሳኑ እቅፍ ያኑርልን ከማህበረ ፃድቃን ይደምርልን። ✞✞✞

👉 የ ፴/30ውን ሰማዕታት ስም እየጠራን ለመድኃኔ ዓለም “እልልል!” 😊😊😊 እንበል!!! ይብላን ለገዳዮቻቸው!👹 ወዮላቸው!

👉❤️ የሰማዕታቱ የስም ዝርዝር

ስምጾታማዕረግ

1ቄስ ገብረ ዮሐንስ ደስታወንድየቤተክርስቲያን ሊቅ
2ቄስ ነጋ ተስፋይወንድ
3መሪጌታ ኪዳነ ማርያም ተፈሪወንድየቤተክርስቲያን ዋና ሊቅ
4ቄስ ሐዱሽ ኃይለ ማርያምወንድቄስ ገበዝ የቤተክርስቲያን ሊቅ
5ቄስ ገብሬ አጽበሐወንድየቤተክርስቲያን ሊቅ
6.ሀጎስ ሃይሉወንድ
7ኪዳኔ ተክለ ሐይማኖትወንድ
8ብርሃኔ ገብረ አረጋዊ (አንገታቸው ተቀልቷል)ወንድ
9ግርማይ ንጉሤ (ከልጃቸው ሚኪያስ ጋር)ወንድ
10ሚኪያስ ግርማይ ንጉሤ (ከአባታቸው ግርማይ ጋር)ወንድ
11ዲያቆን በርሔ ደስታ ወልደ ገብርኤልወንድ
12ዲያቆን ብርሃኔ ገብረ ሥላሴወንድ
13ዲያቆን ጽጋብ አለም ፊትዊወንድ
14ደሳለኝ ተስፉ ሀጎስወንድ
15አታክልቲ መሰለ ገብረ ዮሐንስወንድ
16ሴት መነኩሴ እታይ ዘሀፍታሴት
17ምሕረት ገብረ እግዚሴት
18ሀደጋ ለማሴት
19ካሕሳ ገብሬሴት
20ኪዳን ወልዱሴት
21ኪዳን ረዳሴት
22ለታይ ገብረ ማርያም (ከሴት ልጃቸው ብርሃን ጋር)ሴት
23ብርሃን ገብረ ጻድቅ (ከእናታቸው ለታይ ጋር)ሴት
24በኩረ ጽዮን ደስታወንድ
25ደስታሰላም ግርማይወንድ
26ብርሃኔ ገብረ ኢየሱስወንድ
27መሪ ጌታ ደሳለኝ ካህሳይወንድየቤተክርስቲያን ሊቅ
28አብረኸት እቁባዝጊFemale
29ተስፋይ ገብረ ሥላሴወንድ
30አንገሶም ገብረ ሥላሴ ታደሰወንድ

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#TigrayGenocide | Massacre in The Church of Medhanie Alem Gu’etelo, on The Parish’s Most Important Day of The Year, The Festival of Jesus The Savior of Gu’etolo

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 5, 2021

In Tigray, parishes celebrate, once a year, one main religious festival in their church and their homes. The parish’s church is invariably named after a patron which can be a saint, an angel or God and the festival is a yearly celebration of the church’s patron. On the eve of the festival, the parishioners and guests from outlying areas come to the church and spend the night praying, chanting and partaking in the religious celebration. On the day of the festival (in the morning or afternoon, depending on whether it is a fasting season or not), the parishioners and guests move the celebration to each of the parishioner’s houses. Every parishioner’s house hosts guests from outside the parish and the guests can stay upto 4 days.

The parish of Medhanie Alem Gu’etelo in Gulomekeda (Eastern Tigray) celebrates its main yearly festival, the Annual Festival of Jesus the Saviour, on 05 January of the year. On 05 January 2021, however, it was not a day of celebration, but rather a day of gruesome massacre.

From the eve of the festival, parishioners and guests gathered in the Church of Medhanie Alem Gu’etelo – Gu’etelo Jesus the Saviour Church – to celebrate and partake in the annual Festival of Jesus the Saviour. Battles and gunshots had been heard, but nonetheless the people gathered in the church, for this is the most important day of the year for the parish, but also to pray and seek refuge.

From 5 AM to 9 Am, Eritrean troops fired artillery at the church and the congregation, and the surrounding areas. More than thirteen artillery strikes hit the church and its compound alone, damaging and destroying the church, shattering its windows and roof, and killing its congregants. Many fled, but some remained in the church’s compound.

Around 9 AM the Eritrean troops came to the church, asked the remaining congregants to stand in one line. They then shot them dead. They also went to the small residence of the church’s elderly teacher, Priest Kidanemariam Teferi. In the house were other three scholars of the church who were with him after the church service was discontinued. These were Priest Gebreyohannes Desta, Priest Desalegn Kahsay (Meri-Geta) and Priest Gebre Atsbeha. The Eritrean troops shot four of them dead in the small house.

In the church and the church compound alone, a total of 28 people were shot dead. 27 of the victims have been identified by name. We have also identified three others killed in the surrounding areas of the church. The list is obtained from family members and eyewitnesses. 21 of the victims are males and the remaining 9 are females. The victim in number 24, Bekuretsion Desta, had mental health problems.

List of People Massacred in The Church and its Compound

NoFull NameGenderTitle


1Priest Gebreyohannes DestaMaleChurch scholar
2Priest Nega Tesfay (Aba Majur)Male
3Priest Kidanemariam Teferi (Meri-Geta)MaleThe church’s main scholar
4Priest Hadush HailemariamMaleGebez(Church leader)
5Priest Gebre AtsbehaMaleChurch Scholar
6.Hagos HailuMale
7Kidane TeklehaimanotMale
8Birhane Gebrearegawi cut his neckMale
9Girmay Niguse (with his son, Mikias)Male
10Mikias Girmay Niguse (with father, Girmay)Male
11Berhe Desta Weldegebriel (Deacon)Male
12Tsigab Alem Fitwi (Deacon)Male
13Desalegn Tesfu HagosMale
14Atakilti Mesele GebreyohannesMale
15Etay Zehafta (Nun)Female
16Mihret GebreezgiFemale
17Hadega LemmaFemale
18Kahsa GebreFemale
19Kidan WelduFemale
20Kidan RedaFemale
21Letay Gebremariam (with daughter, Birhan)Female
22Birhan Gebretsadik (with her mother, Letay)Female
23Birhane Gebresilassie (Deacon)Male
24Bekuretsion DestaMale
25Destalem GirmayMale
26Birhane Gebreyesus (near)Male
27Priest Desalegn Kahsay (Meri-Geta)MaleChurch scholar

Some Names of People Killed in The Surroundings Of The Church

No.Full NameGenderTitle
28Abrehet OqubazgiFemale
29Tesfay GebreselassieMale
30Angesom Gebreselassie Tadesse (Wedi Ageray)Male

The area is still under Eritrean control. Asked about their situation now, one resident said “no one is left here, only the old and sick that can not flee. We are not allowed to let our animals graze and we are dying of hunger. Our women are being abused. They asked my son where his parents were and when he said they went to church, they hit him hard. Please let the world know that we are perishing”. Another resident said “we need peace. We live now in terror”. A third, elderly father said “we have nothing this year. We did not collect our harvest and our animals have been slaughtered or looted. Without help, we won’t be able to make it”. A priest added “not only do we have nothing left, but also to do anything or even move, you have to pay a huge bribe, or you are simply robbed. We are in a time when a human eats a human”.

Asked whether they have been visited or comforted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church or any official from the Ethiopian government, a priest from the parish responded saying “none”. Speaking about the church in particular, the priest said “which church? There is no church, we know that. We know who the so-called church sides with”, referring to the church’s history of being Amhara politicians’ political tool.

There seems a trend of in the invading forces committing massacres on special religious holidays. The massacre in Mariam Dengelat was also committed during the annual celebration of the festival of Saint Mary of Tsion, which is the patron of the church and the parish. The Bora massacre was committed on the Christmas time, the destruction and looting in Gulle was committed on the day of Timqat, and the shelling of a church in Daero was committed on Sunday.

Source

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Focusing on Eritrea for The Withdrawal of its Troops from Tigray

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 25, 2021

With the humanitarian crisis in Tigray getting worse every day, humanitarian organizations and leaders of the western world (US, EU, Germany, etc.) and world bodies (G-7, UN, etc.) have been despairing to find a workable solution to the problem. Torn between taking too strong an action against Ethiopia and meeting the demands of the people of Tigray in their suffering, they have yet to find the elusive balancing act they are seeking. While all the balancing act does is provide the illusion of a coming resolution, it neglects the fact that in this humanitarian crisis time is everything.

Sadly, the three partners-in-crime (Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara leaders) are maximally exploiting the time ‘in between’ to execute their mission: first by delaying the withdrawal of Eritrea as much as they can; and, second, by conducting an all-out assault within that extended but limited time. The first requires diplomatic maneuverings to convince the West that they are complying with its demands; and the second requires an expedited, enlarged and widened war-and-famine campaign on the ground.

What is odd about the West’s response so far is that even as it puts pressure on Ethiopia, it completely bypasses Eritrea in its punitive approach—that is, even when the main issue is the withdrawal of its troops. Odd as it may seem, it has outsourced that task to Ethiopia, the partner-in-crime of Eritrea. There is no doubt more should be done in pressuring Ethiopia to make it comply with the West’s demands, but the shortest route to resolving this crisis happens to be through Asmara. And this is not meant to seek the Isaias regime’s agency, but to enforce the denial thereof.

Eritrea remains to be the most indispensable party in the military and humanitarian crisis in Tigray as well as in the wider regional crisis. Thus, forcing out Eritrea of the tripartite alliance would be the beginning of peace not only in Ethiopia, but also in the region.

So where has the West gone wrong? The idea that somehow it would be easier to convince Abiy than Isaias is the faulty premise upon which the West has been building its diplomatic edifice. To the contrary, it is easier to convince Isaias to withdraw his troops, if it only knows how to speak his language. He would comply with the demand of the West if the threat happens to be real. The problem is, through his dealings with the West for the last 30 years, he is able to sense when such a threat is harmless, late-coming or bogus.

Genocide to the rescue of Abiy and Isaias in their failed war campaign

Ethiopia seems to be dead set not to let aid reach the neediest people in Tigray. Now that it has realized it cannot win the war against TDF (Tigray Defense Forces) any time soon, it has put all its hopes on the emerging genocide to deliver it a victory. Already, at the initial stages of this genocide, massive ethnic cleansing, the displacement of millions and the killings of tens of thousands of civilians have taken place. The almost total destruction of the health system is meant to guarantee, at minimum, tens of thousands more victims. And the impeding famine is meant to deliver hundreds of thousands more victims in the final stage of that genocide.

Among Ethiopian nationalists, cooperating with the outside world to alleviate the suffering of the people of Tigray is taken as self-defeating. If even millions have to die for ‘Ethiopia to continue’ (as Abiy and Amhara nationalists love to put it), then the people of Tigray would have to be sacrificed—so goes the convoluted logic of the genocidal mind that is tragically dominating the political discourse in today’s Ethiopia. Sadly, the Ethiopian elite are becoming comfortable with the necropolis state they have been building; and death and displacement in huge proportions are getting normalized among the general population.

Similarly, the Eritrean government is unwilling to withdraw from Tigray without a fight. It is willing to test the will of the world, in general, and that of the US, in particular, before it relents. It too has put all its eggs in the same basket as Abiy’s. Isaias keenly realizes a premature withdrawal from Tigray will be the beginning of his end. Having gambled big time in this war, now he is afraid that Eritrea itself may soon turn into a battle ground. As the Isaias regime’s ‘last and final’ military offensive in Tigray seems to go nowhere, it too is counting on the genocide to deliver it a victory.

As the world is catching up in getting the greater picture of the Tigray crisis, it has become louder in demanding Eritrea’s withdrawal from Tigray. At least on that point, a consensus across the Atlantic seems to be emerging. But the incremental pressure on Ethiopia to enforce such a withdrawal it has adopted is not working. And this is mainly due to the West’s poor understanding of the nature of the genocidal beast they are dealing with; namely, Abiy.

A wedge between Abiy and Isaias that doesn’t exist

So far, the West’s strategy seems to be based on a false premise: on a distinction between Abiy and Isaias.

Various versions of this alleged distinction have been aired: that Isaias has been a bad influence on Abiy, but that the latter freed from the influence of the former would still be salvageable; or that Abiy is childish, but not the monster that the war and the humanitarian crisis portray him to be; or that he is comparatively young leader and still impressionable, but one that, with enough pressure, could still return to his reform days; or that he has blundered a number of times, but still remains indispensable to the unity of Ethiopia; etc. The Nobel Peace Prize has added one more layer—that of a ‘man of peace’—to an already multi-layered confusion.

This untenable distinction happens to be invoked both among dubious analysts, who strain to find a vindicating angle whenever writing about Abiy, and among sincere ones, who otherwise are appalled by the humanitarian crisis in Tigray.

The strained attempt to humanize Abiy is to be seen in almost every report the ICG (International Crisis Group) produces. Legitimizing the above mentioned distinction, it writes, “Getting Eritrean forces out may not be easy, given Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s apparent determination to crush the Tigrayan leadership, but Ethiopia’s foreign partners should hold Abiy to his pledge that these forces will leave.” Notice how Abiy is made to lack “the apparent determination to crush the Tigrayan leadership” despite him being loud and clear about it being his top priority a number of times. The ICG needs that fabricated distinction to make Abiy’s ‘pledge’ plausible.

Further, in its reports, ICG’s worry over what may happen if Eritreans troops leave Tigray remains as palpable as any Ethiopian nationalist’s, betraying the sincerity and purpose of the distinction between Abiy and Isaias it invokes. In one of its reports, it has suggested that the Abiy government “should curtail [instead of total withdrawal] the Amhara and Eritrean troop presences and let aid flow”. Another deceptive phrase it uses in the same briefing is for the government to “roll back Eritrean deployments”, hinting that it should be gradual rather than immediate.

Alex de Waal, who is earnestly worried about the developments in Tigray, also writes, “Abiy’s initial goal was cutting the TPLF down to size. But his coalition partners’ war aims appear to go much further.” No such distinction has ever existed; Abiy desperately wants what his partners-in-crime want: the total destruction of Tigray and the ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans from Amhara-annexed areas. When it comes to Tigray, Abiy has shown his genocidal tendencies soon after he came to power. His hate over everything Tigray or Tigrayan has been on exhibit from his early days as Prime Minister, something that the Amhara elite quickly realized and latched onto. How is it that Western analysts who know the region fail to see now what the Amhara nationalists saw early in the game?

Based on this faulty premise, Western governments (especially the EU and US) have adopted a strategy of creating a wedge between Abiy and Isaias. Their entire effort has been on how to convince Abiy to abandon Isaias—to evict Eritrean troops from Tigray—and to work for the return of peace not only in Tigray, but also in the wider region. The US has adopted the most quixotic approach: every time it fails in getting its message through, it keeps changing the messenger. This way, it has managed to keep its faith in Abiy intact.

But Abiy is not a fool when it comes to maintaining his political interests. He knows that his fate is now irrevocably tied to that of Isaias; if the despot of Asmara goes, so does he. If Eritrean troops withdraw from Tigray, he knows the Ethiopian army will find it hard to keep fighting for long. Under such a scenario, his only choice would be to settle for peace, one that would probably require his eventual resignation. But there is no such nobleness in him that would make him abandon his ambition for the sake of the nation. The only way he could end up doing that is if he is forced to, either through defeat at the battle ground or through the forced withdrawal of Eritrea by the outside world.

Thus, the world has gotten the logical order wrong. Per impossible, the world is trying to convince Abiy to agree to the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray. Instead, what it should do is enforce the withdrawal of Eritrean troops on its own and then ask Abiy to come to the negotiation table. That is, it is necessary to weaken Abiy first before he is made to accept a truce. Those who are proposing a ceasefire now may have goodwill on their side, but not good judgement; for they are attempting to do the impossible.

It is not surprising then that Abiy has been plotting with Isaias to make it seem as if such a wedge does indeed exist—that is, as if he is salvageable.

Consequences of US statements if not followed by action

President Biden doesn’t seem to realize his mere being in the White House, let alone his statements, has unintended consequences on the people of Tigray. The main reason why the two leaders—Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea—are rushing to finalize the war in Tigray is the change of leadership in the White House.

Anticipating the Biden administration’s move, Abiy and Isaias finalized a ‘last and final’ offensive they hoped would deliver a knockout blow to TDF just after Biden moved to the White House. With Eritrea’s expanded presence, that final offensive is now being waged all over Tigray. And as Eritrea finds itself bogged down in all fronts, it has been increasing its presence by tens of thousands. The influx of soldiers from Eritrea to Tigray has not stopped till this day, with the mobilization of the last kind—women, child-soldiers, and retired men included—being scraped from the hollowed-out population of Eritrea.

It is by that much then that the Isaias regime has been heeding Biden’s warning.

But the point is that this expedited, enlarged and extended campaign is coming with huge consequences to the people of Tigray. Besides the usual ravages of the war, the unusual brutalities of the three armies mean daily massacres, thousands of rapes, burnings of villages, large-scale lootings, massive displacements, etc. Isaias is a desperate man; hence, his kitchen sink approach, throwing everything he has at the TDF (and the people of Tigray)—and all of this because he feels the Biden administration will not tolerate it for long.

So, it is essential to understand that for Isaias and Abiy this is a do-or-die mission. The total war conducted against Tigray with genocide as its ultimate goal is the wish of these two leaders. Any measure that the West entertains should take this as given.

Expedited ethnic cleansing

Another unintended consequence is the Amhara forces’ reaction: alarmed by the US’ warning for them to withdraw from Tigray, they have been expediting their ethnic cleansing at a massive level.

Secretary Blinken’s demand that the Amhara forces move out from Tigray was made with the aim of stopping the massive ethnic cleansing that has been going on in West Tigray—hundreds of thousands—in the four months since the start of the war. Yet, that very demand became a further reason to evict tens of thousands of Tigrayans more. These evictions are always accompanied with gross atrocities, not only with the intention of chasing out ethnic Tigrayans but also Tigrayan ethnicity from that area. Mass rape and the prohibition of Tigrinya language are meant to put a final dagger at the heart of the Tigrayan identity. Those who have been evicted have been repeating the glee with which the Amhara nationalists have been forcing them out of their homes, “Now we will see if America is going to save you!”

But this is not simply vindictive hate at work; there is a well thought out plan behind it. This is done with active collaboration from the Abiy government, with the intention of creating facts on the ground. Even as he claims that the incorporation of these lands into Amhara shouldn’t be done by force (meaning that he has no problem if it is done through ‘legal’ means), he has never opposed the actual ethnic cleansing—not even a word! And now, he has created a commission to eventually legalize the forced annexation. That is to say, it is with the full blessing of the Abiy government that the ethnic cleansing has been going on.

Having now established facts on the ground through terror and decrees, there is no doubt that eventually the Abiy government will claim that the Amhara forces cannot be asked to withdraw because these lands are officially located outside of Tigray. Part of the plan is, after having squeezed Tigray to a manageable size, to make it impossible for it to come to the negotiation table.

These new ‘facts on the ground’ will thus be a precondition for rendering Tigray as the belligerent party, and a sinister way of keeping the wedge theory alive. The ICG has notoriously proposed the land disputes between Amhara and Tigray should be assessed by “a federal boundary commission”—that is, literally by Abiy himself, since there is no such independent body that could adjudicate such a case in Ethiopia. To think that a nation at a time its genocidal hysteria has reached its highest level could be fair to Tigray could only come from an organization that is trying to save the Abiy administration no matter what.

Anyway, the point is again: if a statement made by the strongest nation on earth is not followed up with action, it creates unintended consequences to the very victims that statement is meant to help. If so, what is it that should follow up now, given the damage already done?

The answer is: focus on Eritrea. It would be a shortcut to all this mess.

Why focus on Eritrea?

Why should the world focus on Eritrea? Because Eritrea is the linchpin that holds it all together, be it in the military, humanitarian or regional crisis.

First, there is no way the Abiy government could defeat the Tigray forces without Eritrea’s help since it remains the backbone of the tripartite alliance. And now, with tens of thousands of Eritrean troops spreading to all corners of Tigray, the Abiy government’s dependence on Eritrea has become complete. Yet, even with all this support, the chance of winning the war is getting slimmer by the day. So, the best way Abiy could be coaxed towards the peace table is only if he sees the war option as impossible to attain; and that could be done sooner than later, and with certainty, only if Eritrea is forced to withdraw from Tigray.

Second, Eritrea’s share in creating the humanitarian crisis—this ongoing genocide—in Tigray is huge. That is to say, it is equally indispensable in creating the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding in Tigray; in fact, it pioneered all the atrocities used in generating and facilitating this genocide.

It is no surprise that the Eritrean troops’ main targets to destroy and loot happen to be health centers, food supplies, livelihoods, universities and schools, worship places, historical sites and factories and businesses. Nothing should be left to chance: the totality of Tigray—its body, mind, spirit, history, industriousness, continuity and material possession—should be attacked. Within five months, this total war has achieved a spectacular success in creating the conditions for genocide. Already, there are 2.5 million IDPs and 4.5 million are believed in dire need of food aid, a huge share of this being accomplished by Eritrean troops. Already, 50 to 100 deaths per day due to starvation are taking place, these numbers being hints of the coming famine.

The absurdity of the West’s response to the humanitarian crisis without factoring in Eritrea’s (and Amhara’s) genocidal behavior can be seen in the ever-worsening crisis, as exemplified in the increasing number of IDPs. As the West is trying to meet the needs of the displaced and impoverished people, the three armies are doing their utmost to increase those numbers. With the Eritrean army now spreading all over Tigray, it is repeating all the horrors it has accomplished in northern Tigray. Lately, it is getting bolder: it is blocking trucks loaded with food aid from reaching their destination areas. It becomes a futile game where the West increases its help while the Eritrean army does its utmost to increase the misery, thereby creating a crisis that needs further help. USAID’s ever-increasing help follows this pattern.

But that is not all; while the world is preoccupied with addressing this crisis, Eritrea is already planning ahead for next year’s famine. The Eritrean troops have been killing and looting oxen and donkeys and destroying all kinds of farming tools (yoke, plough, etc.) everywhere they go, depriving peasants of the means with which to plough their farmlands. And, lately, they have been more brazen about their evil intention: they have been directly preventing farmers from ploughing or working on their fields—again, with the making of next year’s famine in mind. To talk about helping these peasants (as the West is doing) while a diabolical enemy is undoing what is being done and plotting to undo the future is the height of absurdity. First, that diabolical enemy will have to be removed from Tigray’s landscape for any aid to make a difference in the lives of Tigrayans, be it now or in the near future.

Thus, with the withdrawal of Eritrean troops, the huge humanitarian crisis the Eritrean occupation has generated would come to an end. And if done in time, the apocalypse of the genocide—at least, to the scope the three partners-in-crime have in mind—might even be averted. That, by itself, would be a monumental achievement.

Third, the mere presence of Eritrean troops everywhere in Tigray, and the genocidal horror that follows them wherever they go, has become a further reason why the Addis Ababa government doesn’t want to allow foreign entities (from humanitarian organizations to journalists) into much of Tigray. So far, the camouflages the Abiy government is coming up with are not working. It has been dressing up the Eritrean troops with Ethiopian military uniforms, even as their famous shida (sandals)—without which they can neither fight nor run—and their emaciated bodies keep betraying them. It has even tried to hide them, moving whole battalions around in a hide-and-seek game with journalists and aid workers. That is one of the major reasons why little of the aid has reached Eritrea-occupied areas.

Besides, even if food aid is allowed to enter areas occupied by Eritrean troops (and, in some cases, it already has), it doesn’t necessarily mean that the needy party will get it. The world can be assured the aid that reaches the most affected areas won’t be stolen only if the chronically looting Eritrean army is gone for good.

Thus, with the withdrawal of Eritrean troops, this bottleneck that is keeping millions on the verge of starvation would be totally gone.

And, last, this focus on Eritrea should also have a long-range aspect to it, since much of the problem in the region is instigated by its vindictive leader, Isaias Afwerki. For a long time now, Isaias has found out the only way he could remain relevant in the region is by involving the nation in multiple confrontations. Once, in a 2009 article, I wrote:

“The only good thing about Isaias is that he has never been a nationalist, but armed with his super-size ego this quality turns into a disaster for his ambition recognizes no borders. The problem with Isaias is that once he put himself in the nationalist straight jacket called ‘Eritrea’, he never managed to disentangle himself from it. He (and ghedli [the revolution]) needed to instill ultra-nationalism in his followers to be where he is now. Once he reached the goal of independence, that very ultra-nationalism became a hindrance to his insatiable ambition to be the most relevant leader in the neighborhood.”

With the coming of Abiy, Isaias found a rare opportunity to get out of that nationalist straightjacket to be relevant again; something that was eventually denied to him by Meles Zenawi. With the Tigray war, he has carved out the most indispensable role for the Eritrean army. Now, both Abiy and the Amhara nationalists depend on him for their morbid dreams to come true. If so, it is essential the evil man of Asmara be denied the relevance he actively seeks through endless confrontations—against Djibouti, Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, and now, Tigray—in the neighborhood. The forced withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray would be the beginning of his downfall.

With that, the possibility of sandwiching Tigray between two mortal enemies (Eritrea and Amhara), a phenomenon that has been tempting genocidal elements from Ethiopia, would come to an end. Abiy (and the Amhara elite) would have never attempted to conduct total war against Tigray without having Eritrea on his side. Thus, any attempt at resolution that doesn’t include the end of the Isaias regime will fail, even if it succeeds in achieving a temporary truce between Ethiopia and Tigray. The genocidal elements will always attempt a comeback to wipe out Tigray so far as they believe Eritrea is on their side.

Time-sensitive action needed

What is needed is an action that takes the time frame within which the war-induced famine does its work into consideration.

All the steps that the world has been entertaining so far fail the time-sensitivity test. Cutting financial aid, imposing arms embargo or other sanctions, however harsh, won’t do the job because Abiy and Isaias believe they can weather any ‘sanctions’ imposed on them for a few months. They believe that is all the time they need for their dual war-and-famine strategy to deliver them a victory. After that, they believe the world would have no alternative but to accept the new reality on the ground, as usual prioritizing ‘Ethiopia’s stability’ in the region.

But the point is, whether they win or not, such an attempt is coming at a huge expense to the people of Tigray. If so, sadly, it is those who are wielding genocide as a weapon of subjugation that are heeding the time constraint, and not those powers that are alarmed by this humanitarian disaster—the EU, US, UN, G-7, etc.

What is needed is a tool that delivers in the shortest time possible. Any delay on Biden’s side to act would come at a colossal expense to the people of Tigray—as it has already done, to some extent—who will be massacred in enormous proportions because of the morbid calculations of Abiy, Isaias and Amhara leaders.

The gradual and incremental approaches that the EU and US are using to pressure Ethiopia are time-insensitive that do not take the war-and-famine strategy into consideration. So is it with the UN-led strategy: its procedural bottlenecks meant a lethal delayed action, if ever. Thus, there is a need for a strategic shift in both the enforcer and the target of the enforcement. The West (the US or EU or both—NATO) should act unilaterally to enforce the withdrawal of Eritrean troops by focusing mainly on Eritrea.

It is only by taking these two measures that the West could escape the dilemma it has created for itself, and be able to deliver on a timely basis. Eritrea should be given an ultimatum to pack its armaments and get out of Tigray. Even as aid cuts, arms embargo and other sanctions for both Ethiopia and Eritrea are welcome, the latter nation should be singled out for additional punishment.

The West could start with a no-fly-zone imposed over Eritrea, to be extended to Tigray if Ethiopia does not comply with the demands of the outside world. A no-fly-zone would not be considered as harmless as the various forms of sanctions (not when time is factored in, anyway) and as invasive as outright armed intervention. Besides giving respite to the people of Tigray, it would be taken as a serious move to be followed up by further action if not adhered to.

And as a last resort, there is one acceptable target with the least collateral damage: Isaias Afwerki himself. Targeting one of his many hiding places (they don’t even have to kill him) would bring immediate results than any other aid cuts, arms embargo or sanctions would ever deliver.

Whatever action the West takes though, the main focus should be on Eritrea, and with a big stick behind it. That is the only way the world can avoid a genocide of epic proportion, one that could easily surpass that of Rwanda.

Source

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What Ethiopia Needs is a UN Probe into Genocide in Tigray

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 20, 2021

From The Citizen, Tanzania

I was astonished to read an editorial in The Citizen of Sunday, April 18, 2021 supporting the call by the Ethiopian ambassador to Tanzania for international intervention to back his government in rebuilding the Tigray region. The ambassador, Yonas Sanbe, was earlier quoted in a story in The Citizen saying the Ethiopian government was striving to rebuild the region following extensive damage to roads, bridges and power and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as restore financial services.

The Citizen followed up with an editorial that fully and unquestioningly supported the envoy’s remarks. It was shocking to see the story, and extremely sad to read the editorial. No reference whatsoever was made to the suffering of the people of Tigray. There was no mention of the causes of the war, or Eritrea’s involvement in ethnic cleansing in Tigray. It was irresponsible journalism, to say the least.

Numerous independent international reports, including Amnesty International’s recent statement, laid bare the extent of violence that civilians in Tigray have had to endure over the last three months, and in particular the atrocities that took place in November 2020 during an offensive to take control of Axum by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops. The report issued in February 2021, concluded that the indiscriminate shelling of Axum by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops may amount to war crimes, and the slaughter of hundreds of Axum civilians by Eritrean troops could amount to crimes against humanity.

CNN conducted an investigation, and verified footage of massacres in Tigray. Doctors also said rape was being used as a weapon of war in what amounted to genocide.

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for an independent investigation into claims of genocide against the Tigrayan ethnic group – Persistent, credible reports of grave violations in Tigray underscore urgent need for human rights access: Bachelet

All these calls by credible international organisations have gone unanswered by the Ethiopian government, and it was astounding to hear the Ethiopian ambassador instead call for support to rebuild the region his country has destroyed – that is, appealing for international assistance to help Ethiopia clean up its own mess. What about the atrocities committed against the people of Tigray, including mass killings, rape and destruction of property?

These rampant and blatant human rights violations must be strongly condemned, and the perpetrators brought to justice in line with international humanitarian law that requires all parties involved in conflict to protect civilians, including women, children, refugees and internally displaced people (I D Ps).

What is particularly flabbergasting is the fact that a prime minister could invite another nation to invade his own country, kill his own people and allow women to be raped. The war that started on November 4, 2020 was an opportunistic conflict started to coincide with the US elections.

However, the gamble backfired spectacularly as the new US administration has shown a clear stand in siding with the international community through the UN to stop the senseless bloodletting in Tigray. The Ethiopian government must bear responsibility, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed should be charged with war crimes.

The Ethiopian ambassador to Tanzania should have been summoned by Tanzania’s Foreign ministry to explain the massacres in his country instead of addressing a news conference and asking for foreign assistance. Tanzania’s foreign policy is built on a strong foundation of justice and non-discrimination.

I had expected The Citizen, like any other reputable newspaper, to call on the international community to take urgent steps to halt further atrocities in Tigray in line with our collective responsibility to protect the people of that region. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union and the United Nations must act now to protect civilians in Tigray, and work with domestic stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the conflict.

It is time the African Union and the UN redoubled efforts to ensure that Eritrean forces leave Tigray as soon as possible; an independent investigation is conducted by the UN, and the people of Tigray are given the liberty to decide on their future. It is time reputable newspapers such as The Citizen reported responsibly, and side with the oppressed. As Che Guevara once said, “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”

Source

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