Ethiopia: TPLF’s Strategy of Chaos

By Elias Amare

I see the ranting gibberish of this Tigrayan “academic” operative of the TPLF —Mehari Yohannes by name, a lecturer of political science at Mekelle University, which gives you an idea of the abysmal state of education in Tigray — as nothing but an extension of the TPLF’s “Strategy of Chaos”.

But, if there is any doubt in any quarter, we emphasize that what this guy is talking about is absolute nonsense. There is no space for any political movement or entity called “Tigray-Tigrigni” or “Agazian” in Eritrea — maybe this exists in the wild fantasies of the Weyane, but never in Eritrea. There is no people called “Tigray” or “Habesha” in Eritrea. There are only Eritreans. Period — ኣርባዕተ ነጥቢ።

There’s no doubt that it’s “Game Over” for the TPLF in Ethiopia. But, we must also note that the TPLF is now like a wounded beast. It’s not going to fold and call it quits as you would expect any rational political actor would do. It’s not going to easily give up its stranglehold on power in Ethiopia that it has been monopolizing for the last 27 years. It will fight back with all kinds of trickery and violence in its arsenal.

Events in the past week in Ethiopia, and the series of urgent conferences the wounded TPLF beast has been conducting in Mekelle, support my thesis of “TPLF’s Strategy of Chaos” that I wrote over two months ago. Whether it will be allowed to succeed to unleash this chaos scenario is, of course, dependent on many factors outside the control of TPLF — both inside Ethiopia and the global Ethiopian body politic, as well as the immediate region, and geopolitical interests of global powers such as US, UK, Europe and China, etc. As I see it, intelligentsia agent provocateurs like this guy are nothing but desperate manipulations of the TPLF that is in deep crisis. Remember, mortally wounded as it is, the TPLF still possesses significant resources at its disposal:

* The military-security apparatus is still under its control, though PM Abiy Ahmed’s latest moves seem to slowly try to wrest control from the narrow clique to the state. So, it’s gonna be a tug-of-war between the formal state and the “deep kleptocratic state” of the Weyane.

* Getachew Assefa’s “Dihninet” security/intelligence network still has an estimated 100 thousand operatives — death-squad units, assassins, spies, informers, agent provocateurs, etc. — deployed throughout the country. This is a dangerous force for the popular movement of democratic reform.

* MONEY, which the TPLF kleptocracy has vast amounts of. And money is the root of all evil, as the saying goes.

In any case, we in Eritrea emphasize (especially to our Ethiopian brothers and sisters) that we will not rest until the TPLF cancer, its divisive sectarianism and its toxic expansionist nationalism, is completely-annihilated.

Neither Eritrea, nor Ethiopia, nor the Horn of Africa will find durable peace and stability unless and until the TPLF Weyane cancer is completely-destroyed.

Once Weyane is destroyed, there will be an opening for an era of new positive possibilities to be ushered in. We cannot afford to miss this historic opportunity. We are not condemned to repeat the vicious cycle of history of the past decades and what the historian Margaret Tuchman referred to as “The March of Folly”.
——————–

Here is what I wrote over two months ago on March 25 and posted on my timeline, just before the new Ethiopian Prime Minister was appointed:
==============
So, what is this TPLF’s “Strategy of Chaos” in Ethiopia? Well, from our reading and analysis of situation on the ground, it entails several component factors:

• Contain and reverse the democratic gains that the people have achieved so far through their popular struggle in the past three years;

• Appear to ride the waves of reform, release some of the most prominent political prisoners, force the resignation of the figurehead Prime Minister, etc., in order to appease its Western donors and patrons;

• Immediately reinstate the “state of emergency” and martial rule through a “Command Post”;

• Target Oromia region and the OPDO for repressive measures;

• Unleash terror and violence throughout the country, but especially in the restive Oromia region;

• Paralyze the OPDO and its “reformist” allies in the in lengthy endless meetings of the EPRDF dangling the promise of Prime Ministerial position in front of it, while rapidly trying to create facts on the ground through violence;

• Create a wedge between the pro-reform elements within the OPDO and the Oromo masses, especially the Qeerroo youth leading the uprising; Also created a rift between the reformist wings of the OPDO, ANDM, and SEPDM

• Re-arrest the most prominent political prisoners recently released, and arrest thousands more, especially those in key Oromia region administrative positions;

• Continue the reign of terror at an escalated rate, foment “ethnic clashes” where possible in all the regional states (‘Killils”), except Tigray, of course.;

• Ultimately, restore TPLF’s hegemony of power;

• “Après nous, le déluge” (“After us, the flood”) – If the restoration of TPLF’s hegemony of the past 27 years is not possible, and the people continue their struggle nearing regime overthrow, the TPLF’s plan is to plunge the country into a state of endless civil war, inter-ethnic violence and chaos;

• TPLF then withdraws to Tigray with its loot and plunder of the past decades, secede, taking along with it contiguous states/regions such as Afar on the southeast, and Beni Shangul and Gumuz region on the west southwest. It has already annexed huge chunks of territory from Amhara region in Wolkait and Raya-Azebo. This is the culmination of the Greater Tigray dream that was enshrined in TPLF’s manifesto of 1976.
This seems to be the carefully planned TPLF’s “strategy of chaos” which may seem irrational to some analysts. But there is method and logic to this madness of the “strategy of chaos”. In the end, though, it is #GameOverTPLF! The question before the revolutionary progressive forces in Ethiopia is, should the TPLF be allowed initiative to carry on its “strategy of chaos” to its conclusion and bring about untold misery and destruction to the country?

Ethiopia: A Defining Moment for the People of Tigray

https://ecadforum.com/2018/03/01/ethiopia-political-epilepsy-of-tplf/

 

 

 

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The Tiffany Hadish Story and Its Implication to Diaspora Eritreans

The Tiffany Haddish Story and Its Implication to Diaspora Eritreans
Amanuel Biedemariam

The best way one can describe Tiffany Haddish’s commitment to her heritage is, “Inspirational.”

Majority of the Eritrean youth and young adults in their thirties forties in the Diaspora today were raised by parents that came to the US and other countries in the eighties and early nineties. Their parents came from Eritrea through Sudan and other places escaping  death, imprisonment, torture and hardship from the hands of Ethiopian military. 

eriam
EriAm

These Eritreans expressed their love for Eritrea in their daily lives. They lived, breathed, sang and played Eritrea every day. They gathered in Eritrean events, honored Eritrean heroes and supported Eritrean struggle for independence financially, morally and advocated for the Eritrean cause every day. Eritrea was in their heart. It was and remains their purpose, mission and life. They are dedicated backbone of Eritrea. They support their families and Eritrea at the same time equally. Eritreans have demonstrated to the world what it means to love a country, family and community as one.

The kids grew up in these environments and were influenced by it. They knew Eritrea emotionally and grew up loving Eritrea as their parents did. Their houses were decorated with Eritrean arts, souvenirs and memorabilia. They ate Eritrean food, listened to Eritrean music and grew up with Eritrean families in Eritrean communities. They went to all Eritrean events and wherever they travelled Eritrea travelled with them. 

Sandman
Sandman Negus

They grew up understanding their obligations-aware of their responsibilities and know what it takes. They know it takes their commitment, time, dedication and sacrifices. They have learned that their heritage is extremely important and they are dedicated to lift and honor Eritrea. 

Eritreans have been enjoying these children flourish and bring Eritrea to the forefront lifting it like the EriAm sisters Haben, Salina and Lianda did when they burst to the seen in America Got Talent in 2009. These kids went as far as Sawa Eritrea with their parents and expressed their love for the people with music before they became the sensation the world knew them to be. 

YRB 2010 Art Issue Celebration
Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle is thriving, Layne Tadesse is keeping reggae alive and relevant everywhere he goes. The late Sandman Negus left indelible impression. Who can forget Shannon-Ogbani Abeda who made history as the first Eritrean from Africa to compete in Winter Olympics PyeongChang in 2018. There are more than can be mention here. These children are flourishing with Eritrea in their heart and mind. And their need to promote Eritrea is having impact on the life, perception, image, mood, self-esteem, pride and inspiring others. It is a great example how one can do good for the greater good. 

layne
Layne Tadesse

The Tiffany Haddish story is no different from the stories above. What makes here story unique is that she elevated it to a new stratosphere. She took it to a level that is undeniable. She did it with pride, gleeful pride that is infectious. She did it with love and affection for her heritage. In one night, Tiffany brought Eritrea to the world. She inspired millions, particularly her peers. She placed Eritrea in Hollywood’s radar instantly. In doing so she aroused curiosity, interest about Eritrea.

In the last 20 years, Eritrea received unprecedented undeserved negative attention. The vilification campaigns waged against Eritrea has been relentless. Major part of the campaign was directed at Eritreans in the Diaspora. It was meant to cripple their resolve. However, the long struggle for independence is foundation impossible to nudge.

The Tiffany Haddish story therefore, is the untold story of Eritrea that the world is yet to see, hear and experience. It is the story of resolve, resilience, perseverance, struggle and victory. It is the outcome of a struggle that Eritreans waged from all around the world as one. It is an example that the world can learn from. That is, when people are connected by a cause; no distance, time or obstacles can stand on their way.

Tiffany Haddish is a blessing, inspiration and incredible talent. Her late father Tsihaye Reda Haddish must be beaming with happiness knowing that he bestowed the love for her country, people and heritage. It is obvious that he loved Eritrea and expressed it with incredible affection that motivated Tiffany to travel all the way to Eritrea. Her Eritrean dress in the Oscars was the icing that seared her queenly image. 

Thank you Tiffany for the smile you bring to the world.

NBCUniversal Summer Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA - 20 Mar 2017
Tiffany Haddish

Memories of Dr. Nerayo Teklemichael

Memories of Dr. Nerayo
By Samuela Zerai
March 23, 2018

Dr. Nerayo Teklemichael was a man of the people who dedicated his life for his country and his passing away is a loss to the country but is heavy on his family and close associates in the armed struggle.

Dr. Nerayo Teklemichael was not an ordinary person or run-of-the-mill doctor. He comes from Adi Nifas, a village in the vicinity of Asmara. He left the village long before I could remember. I saw him for the first time in Addis Abeba. He was a family friend and became family doctor to all people he knew. When I was a he was my child he was my doctor; when I was a teenager he was my mentor, and later as an adult he was my inspiration and a comrade in the fight for the common goal of liberating the people, him in the field and I in my capacity as a supporter.

The first medical doctor to join the EPLF, Dr. Nerayo brought with him good bedside manner and kind approach to mother and child, which earned him the highest respect among his colleagues and mothers. During the struggle he worked tirelessly to improve medical care of the fighters and the Eritrean people in the liberated areas. He trained countless ‘agar-hakim’ (barefoot doctors), who played important role in the medical area at every level of the struggle.

I left for the USA before he joined the struggle and we first met in the mid-eighties in New York City. I was in ‘kekabi shimagle’ (local area leadership committee} and the heroic doctor came to solicit international medical and humanitarian support to alleviate the suffering of the Eritrean people. At first, he did not recognize me. When I introduced myself, he was amazed and told the people around him “This was a child I saw growing up since she was three years old” jokingly. Actually, I was in the 5th grade when I first met him.

During those days, Dr. Nerayo was the face of Eritrea abroad. He travelled far and wide, knocked at many doors to solicit medical and drug donation everywhere possible. I remember once he was invited to address the medical community at Harvard and one of the attendees asked the question “You are a full-fledged board certified pediatrician, right?” Dr. Nerayo with his good sense of humor replied “I am.” The attendee continued his questions “You know you could have made a million dollars here. Why choose to live such a life?” Dr. Nerayo replied, “But I am happy because I do not have any bills to pay.” The audience broke in laughter.

When our first Eritrean Medical Association Symposium was held in 1986 at Riverside Medical center in Secaucus New Jersey, I witnessed Dr. Nerayo addressing over a hundred medical professionals with the hospital CEO Dr.Joseph Cavalla.

 

You are TPLF, and not Eritrean Opposition

You are TPLF, not Eritrean Opposition 

Amanuel Biedemariam

Between 1998-2000, over 80,000 Eritreans were forcibly evicted from their homes and deported from Ethiopia by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the most horrible ways. Children, elderly, and the very sick were forced to travel hundreds of kilometers via treacherous routs to be thrown away on the hottest parts of the world only because the minority regime from Tigray decided to teach Eritreans. The late genocidal tyrant Meles Zenawi said,

“If we say ‘go, because we don’t like the color of your eyes,’ they have to leave.”

Deportee Refugee 

TPLF then confiscated the properties and gave it to Tigrayans. Ethiopians who lived side by side with the deported Eritreans were shaken and in disbelief. It was a sudden shock that felt like death because these were friends for-life that respected one another and raised their families as one. The idea of ethnic cleansing was unprecedented, and many came to the aid of Eritreans and tried to help them any way they can.

The Tigrayans minority regime was vicious in its attempt to destroy Eritrea. In 30 years of struggle Eritrea lost nearly 70,000 martyrs. During the war with the TPLF however, over 20,000 Eritrean youth died to defend hard won independence. They displaced hundreds of thousands of Eritreans and pushed them out of their fertile farm land. They then littered the farms with landmines which in turn took many lives.

The TPLF’s aim is to destroy everything Eritrea. They dream, plan, strategize to annihilate Eritrea every second of their life. TPLF believes, Eritrea must be destroyed so they can dominate the region. No two ways about it. Nothing is off the table when it comes to Eritrea. If given a chance, and as evidenced by the past 20 years, Tigray People’s Liberation Front planned to destroy Eritrea from its roots. They planned for genocide or in the least, Eritrea becomes another Palestine.

To that end, they waged wars, tried to isolate Eritrea by collaborating with Sudan, Yemen and others. They displaced millions of Eritreans from their homes, tried to lure the youth to flee Eritrea so that Eritrea is left without her productive youth. TPLF campaigned to sanction Eritrea and worked hard to keep Eritrea in continuous state of war by occupying sovereign Eritrean territories. They tried to sabotage Eritrean currency, worked hard to stop remittances and attempted to stop mining companies from doing business in Eritrea.

TPLF’s campaigns against Eritrea is robust internationally. It is actively engaged in campaigns to vilify, destroy the image and history of Eritrea. It works with corrupt Eritreans that claim to be opposition and targets Eritreans in the Diaspora. TPLF pays large sums of money to infiltrate Eritrean communities, create discord along ethnic, religious and regional lines.

The TPLF is knocking on every aspect of Eritrean way of life to weaken and tear it apart. They are in universities reaching out to Eritrean youth to weaken their mindset with falsities. TPLF is recruiting Eritrean musicians and enticing them with money to work and sing against their government and sing for the agendas designed to weaken Eritrean nationalism.

Simply put, the resources the TPLF invests to bring Eritrea to its knees is in the billions. It is the largest and longest campaign waged against any group of people in the history of Africa. If the TPLF succeeded, Eritreans would have had to flee or assume other identities to survive. Because TPLF is amongst the deadliest regimes the world has ever seen. Moyale, the crimes against humanity in Gambela, and the genocides in Ogaden would pale in comparison had the TPLF finalized its wishes against Eritrea.

Their inferiority complex, willingness to serve as mercenaries against people of the region, their hegemonic ambitions, and jealousy against the people of Eritrea has lead them to a dark place. They must have believed, stripping Eritrea’s strength would make them stronger. They wanted to take the power from Eritrea, so they can be powerful.

However, and because of the strength and resilience of Eritrea, the TPLF is in shambles, losing grip and getting hit on many fronts in a manner it cannot overcome. All the international institutions it manipulated (UN, EU), regional and international bodies it exploited (IGAD, AU), money it earned in peacekeeping missions (AMISOM) and international agendas it exploited are no longer enough to sustain it. TPLF received half a billion dollars in one week in February of 2018. That money was stripped clean in a matter of days when the people of Ethiopia decided to shut down the country by stopping the free flow of goods and gas throughout the country. TPLF is bankrupt due to loss of earning from agro-industries in Oromia, Gambela and the imprisonment of Al Amoudi has also added to the financial crisis. The economy of Ethiopia is non-existent rocked by nonstop uprising.

Europe and North America are forced to reevaluate and change their asylum acceptance approaches in large part because Eritrea managed to skillfully turn the geopolitical developments to her advantage.

The Death of the Anti-Eritrea Camp

This is death sentence to the anti-Eritrean camp that operated as Eritrean opposition. They are anti Eritrea because they stand against everything Eritrea stands for.

They have no power, so they must saddle on TPLF’s back to march to Eritrea. They have no principled stands as their causes are based on regional, ethnic and religious issues motivated by self-aggrandizement, opportunism and attention. They are liars that sold their nation and people selfishly. They have stood on the way of development. They have tried to disrupt and create disharmony on behalf of TPLF and foreign agents.

They are members of the former Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) that never recognized Eritrean independence because it was won by EPLF. These mindless losers and cowards (those who work with TPLF) want to be cuddled to power by the hands of enemy. They are disgruntled members of the EPLF that betrayed their nation like Haile Menkerious. Or, like Dr.Bereket Habteselassie with identity crisis that finally admitted he is Ethiopian. These are personalities comfortable with the idea of Eritreans suffering, and working with the TPLF to be hoisted to power on the backs of Tigrayans.

Well, now, that agents of TPLF-Tigrayans are clamoring to make peace with Eritrea, where is it going to leave the sellouts? In the dust bins of history. The minority regime will have no problem discarding them to appease Eritrea not because of love to Eritrea but that is what they do. Betray. Eritrea gave TPLF life and propelled them to power. And how did they repay Eritrea?

You are TPLF, not Eritrean Opposition

At this point, any Eritrean that collaborates with the TPLF is not only enemy of Eritrea, they are in effect enemies of the people of Ethiopia as well. And no matter what they claim to be they are not Eritrean opposition they are TPLF.

The people of Eritrea in the diaspora are kind and forgiving to a fault. Eritreans find it easier to find reasons to look the other way. However, at this point, no two ways about it; you are either with us or against us.

At this point, it is irresponsible to do business with the TPLF in Ethiopia or anywhere. There is absolutely no justification for it. Therefore, those who work with the TPLF against Eritrea today, must realize they are also working against the millions of Ethiopians suffering in the hands of a brutal genocidal regime. Hence, if one is compelled to do business with TPLF based on a narrow self-interest, they are TPLF. At a time when Ethiopians are boycotting the regime’s businesses, urging people from sending money to Ethiopia and succeeding; any Eritrean that engages in business activities in Ethiopia to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else is a crime. That is blood money.

Thousands of Eritreans lost billions after they were forced out of their homes and pursued legal means to regain their properties, businesses and money using international laws. It is, therefore, shamelessness of the highest kind to betray your people at a time of war. It is cowardice and ultimate sign of greed to go behind fellow Eritreans to regain your property simply because you can afford a plane ticket to Addis and by kowtowing to those who humiliated your families in the worst possible ways. Therefore, you are no different than the Tigrayans that took over Eritrean businesses. YOU ARE TPLF!!!

This shows that these people are dumb, unable to see the future, careless and above all they underestimated the Eritrean resolve. They most certainly did not see this day coming. And of course, when one does business with the TPLF, they are betting on the TPLF. One must believe the TPLF will prevail. As the fool hearty Dr. Tekeste Asefaw said, PM Hailemariam Desalegn promised me, Ethiopia will not harm Eritreans. Like most, he believed the TPLF will unseat the GoE and place him on the throne. But one thing those who work to overthrow the government of Eritrea in collaboration with TPLF or other countries forget is that they are agents that serve at the mercy of these countries as mercenaries.

For example: On February 12, 2018 Gedab News released an article about the reappointment of Major General Salah “Gosh” Abdulla as chief of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) of Sudan. This is not the first time Gosh served as security chief. He held the position from 2004-2009. According to Gedab (Kezab),

“Since he became the chief of the NISS in 2004, Salah Gosh has been a staunch supporter of the Eritrean opposition. But once Sudan’s trouble with the ICC started, president Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea who hosted the Sudanese opposition parties, intensified his pressure on Sudan to gain security and economic concessions. Thus, in 2008, the Sudanese government terminated its support of the Eritrean opposition forces that it systematically pushed to the laps of the Ethiopian government.”

This is false and outright lie. The government of Sudan signed the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement in Asmara in 2006. That essentially stopped all hostile actions against Eritrea. After Omer Bashir’s indictment by the ICC, Eritrea was the first country that extended hands to Bashir in 2008. Abdulla “Gosh” was ousted from his post a year later.

The above quote demonstrates Awatista’s false hope that sympathetic Gosh may reopen doors and inability to learn from history. This shows how the pathetic-parasites rely on enemies of Eritrea to do their bidding. They are unprincipled, powerless and shameless servants of enemies. They are short-sighted and too dumb to realize that the people of Ethiopia will destroy the TPLF soon and what happened in Sudan will also happen in Ethiopia and they will be left with no place to go.

Salih Ghadi, Salih Younis and co have been crying to no avail. Everything they have done failed and out of frustration, on a piece, “Eritrean Opposition Faces an Imminent Ultimatum,” February 14, 2018 they penned,

“Since its formation in Hawassa in November 2011, the Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (ENCDC) has been in a coma with no signs of waking up, though not yet declared dead. Many frustrated members and supporters of the ENCDC have all but formally withdrawn their enthusiastic allegiance.” Emphasis added. Folks, it is impossible to make this up. It continued,

“Notably, many opposition elements accuse the Ethiopian handlers of heavy-handedness and unwarranted interference in the Eritrean opposition affairs. They claim that they are more interested in their narrow future regional interests at the expense of the Eritrean cause. Ethiopia provides varying support to different Eritrean organizations, but most of the support it provides is token funds to cover sundry expenses and free office space and bearing the cost of the many meetings. An activist from England asked, what good is an office if not a single tangible contribution to the struggle against the PFDJ cannot be presented?” Emphasis added.

The Awate extremists admitted unwittingly that they work for TPLF’s agenda. There is nothing worse for anyone who claims to be Eritrean to depend on stipends from TPLF in the name of Eritrea, the land of SELF RELIANCE!

Ironically, in the backdrop, Tigrayans are trying to reconcile with Eritreans. The internet is full of campaigns advocating peace between the people of Eritrea and Tigray. As if nothing happened over the last twenty years, Tigrayans are saying, we want to make peace with Eritreans. They say, “even if Badme is Tigray we must hand it over for the sake of peace. We are brothers. We all speak the same language,” and on and on.

Of course, the people of Eritrea know what is going on. For clarification, Badme is Eritrean and not Tigray’s to give. The people of Eritrea have been working with all Ethiopians in all parts of Ethiopia and, Tigray alone cannot speak on their behalf. In other words, the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea are collectively working together to clean the region from the vermin that is the TPLF. Furthermore, Eritrea is comprised of Nine Nationalities, Tigre, Tigrigna, Saho, Rashaida, Nara, Kunama, Hidareb, Bilen and Afar. Eritrea is one.

So, the Game is over for those that enticed Eritrean youth to flee from their homes into life of uncertainty to the desert, open-seas and death. Game over for those that harassed Eritreans in the diaspora. Game over to those that defamed, vilified and denigrated the image of Eritrea. Game over for those that collaborated with the TPLF to harm Eritrea. Game over for those that tried to divide our communities in the diaspora.

Conclusion

Anyone dumb enough to betray the people of Eritrea, and dumb enough to cuddle in the bosoms of genocidal tyrants of the TPLF is not worthy to be called ERITREAN. Anyone who pursued his or her agenda, in collaboration, with means and ways provided by the TPLF directly or indirectly is TPLF and does not deserve to be called Eritrean. Anyone from the diaspora who travelled to Ethiopia for self-benefit and, or, anyone who collaborated and benefited from TPLF in the diaspora does not deserve to be called Eritrean. It is GAME OVER, you lost. Your gamble did not pay off.

And those Tigrayans who pretend to be Eritreans please wake up. You will soon realize that you are exposing yourself because people know who you are and how you got here.

3/19/2018

Secretary Tillerson Read TPLF’s Last Rites

Amanuel Biedemariam 

March 9, 2018 

The differences between the government of Eritrea and the minority regime ruling Ethiopia is that Eritrea does not have malicious intent against the people of Ethiopia. Eritrea is sensitive to the needs of all parties and the plight of the people of Ethiopia. The stand of the government of Eritrea on Ethiopia dates to the days of struggle for liberation. It is unambiguous principled stand that stood the test of time.

EPLF, on Adulis Publication, Vol. I No. 11, May 1985 (pgs. 3-8), “THE EPLF AND ITS RELATIONS WITH DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS IN ETHIOPIA,” states,

“Conscious of this inter-relationship and convinced that the Eritrean Revolution is an integral part of the peoples’ struggles throughout the world, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) has, while leading the Eritrean national struggle, forged links and fully cooperated with Ethiopian organizations capable of setting up a democratic alternative to the Dergue’s military regime. For the EPLF, this cooperation is not based on the belief that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, but rather on the firm conviction that total independence for Eritrea and the emergence of a progressive government with popular support in Ethiopia are inseparable goals. Hence, the front encourages and assists those organizations and movements that push towards this goal while, at the same time, criticizes and opposes those forces and tendencies that harm the cause and push its attainment further away.”

Then, as in now, The Eritrea People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) does not envision a fragmented Ethiopia. EPLF envisioned a country that respects the rights of all nationalities, with equal-rights capable to decide their future collectively. EPLF believed domination of power by one Ethnic group as counterproductive and dangerous. Adulis Vol. I No. 11, May 1985,

“Ethiopia is a multi-national state. Apart from the exploiting classes, the masses of all nationalities have been deprived of the basic rights and the fruits of their labor. This picture is complicated, however, by national oppression which affects nationalities, except the Amharas. These nationalities – Oromo, Tigrai, Somali, Afar, Sidama, etc. – have been deprived of their lands and denied the right to determine their destiny, to participate as equals in the political life of the country and to develop their languages and cultures. National oppression – this powerful weapon of the ruling classes – is, however, a double-edged sword, which harms not only the subject nationalities but the masses of the oppressor nationality as well. Among Amhara- toilers- regardless of how poor they may be – it fosters contempt for the oppressed nationalities, while among the Oromo, Tigrai, Somali and Afar masses, it arouses deep hatred not only for the Amhara rulers but also for Amhara workers and peasants. Moreover, it induces the oppressed nationalities to regard each other with contempt and hatred. The ruling classes fan these feelings of mutual suspicion and scorn as they pit the masses of all nationalities, who have the same interests, against one another and enable the rulers to consolidate their power and perpetuate their exploitation.”

Eritrea’s aspirations for Ethiopia, therefore, are based on peace, equality and governance that respects the aspirations of all involved. Hence, Eritrea’s relations with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) during and after the struggle fall within this context and, as part of the greater Ethiopia picture. Eritrea has a principled longstanding stand on Ethiopia. This principled stand is what guides Eritrea’s Ethiopia policy.

On the other hand, TPLF envisioned Independent-Greater Tigray or, autonomous Tigray capable to stand on its own. TPLF’s struggle, therefore, did not have national aspirations. The Tigray Manifesto is evidence of the desire, motivation and intent the movement was based upon.

Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was and remain determined to see the total annihilation of Eritrea by any means necessary. The TPLF’s spoken and unspoken agenda is devious, brut, conniving, intent to destroy Eritrea by any means necessary. At its core, in order for the manifesto to succeed, defeating Eritrea was TPLF’s number one objective. TPLF was determined to weaken Ethiopia, the region and especially Eritrea in pursuit of its hegemonic agenda. Ethiopia was not important for the TPLF.

And here are some of the tactics the TPLF-Tigray embraced to achieve its plan:

  • Subservience to US or Western agenda. The US was a perfect partner to the TPLF. The TPLF did not have the moral backbone that can hinder foreign agendas. Washington and TPLF created a symbiotic relationship whereby the TPLF can pursue its hegemonic ambitions inside Ethiopia, the region, Africa and by proxy the world whilst the US can pursue its agenda via Ethiopia as anchor state. To that end, TPLF has turned Ethiopian forces to mercenaries for hire and uses Ethiopian boots it provides as the number one hook to win favors from Washington. 
  • Exploit African Union (AU). The TPLF uses the African Union as one of its institutions. After the fall of the Soviet Union nearly all African leaders became yes men or women to agendas that Washington funneled through Ethiopia. Washington wanted Meles Zenawi to be the henchman and Meles, using US-Ethiopia relation as wild card, became the bully in the halls of the AU. The TPLF conducted its affairs fearlessly, confident and unashamed. Hence, and by default, African initiative means US and Ethiopian initiative.
  • Control Ethiopia. Control of the economy, enabled the TPLF to manage and control Ethiopian affairs to suit its needs. TPLF controlled the economy by controlling the financial institutions, all resources, the infrastructure, manufacturing and by controlling mechanism that allow economies to function. They controlled the land, transportation and created personal relationships to impose its will. They also controlled incoming floods of international aid in various forms. They controlled the political, diplomatic and military spaces and denied all ethnic groups access. 
  • Preempt threats to power from other Ethnic groups. The biggest threats to TPLF’s power are united Ethiopia and resistance by one or more Ethnic groups. To counter, the TPLF established EPRDF, a phony coalition of ethnic nationalities to rubberstamp its agenda. The ethnic federalism that the TPLF touts as beacon of stability is in fact designed to divide. Furthermore, the TPLF crafted article 39 of the constitution, that gives (in theory) Ethiopian ethnic groups the right to become independent. 
  • Undermine Eritrean independence. Defeating Eritrea serves many objectives. It solidifies the anchor-state status thus elevate its importance with the US. It makes TPLF relevant on the Red Sea. It appeases Ethiopians that long for access to sea. It also gives the people of Tigray the upper hand when dealing with Ethiopians. The zero-sum game TPLF played was a calculated risk.

Changing Dynamics Pressing TPLF

The foundation TPLF built their thuggish hold on power has crumbled. The rug has been pulled for under their tables. No matter what the TPLF does moving-forward, things will not be the same. This includes US-TPLF relations.

Washington is clear that the TPLF is unhinged, not capable to govern and that it is a threat to American interest. Congressional ultimatum, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s stern statement, US Ambassador in Ethiopia’s statement are indicators on how Washington views the TPLF currently.

The reaction of Tigrayans  to these statements is proof that they are feeling the pinch. Recent article on Tigrayonline.com, “Mr. US Ambassador, please stop poking your nose into Ethiopia’s internal affairs.”  demonstrates the frustration vividly. 

However, absent of alternatives, aware, if the EPRDF coalition crumbles the military will go along with it; Washington is in desperate race to save the TPLF. Sec. Rex Tillerson’s trip to Ethiopia at this dangerous hour reflects the significance and the pressure to try to quell the situation.

That is a fine line to navigate because at this point Washington’s interests are opposing the people’s interests. Washington cannot please the people and the TPLF at the same time. It is therefore, damn if you do and damn if you don’t. Therefore, Tillerson acknowledged the problem by saying, 

“We do firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom”  and, “While we appreciate the government’s responsibility to maintain control … it is important that country moves on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible,”

He then, praised Ethiopian leadership at the AU, stressed upon the important role TPLF plays in Somalia, Djibouti, military cooperation, the war against terrorism and AMISOM. Tillerson’s statements showed the Trump administration will continue old policies.  

The $113 Mil. Washington gave TPLF and $375 Mil. development assistance from world bank amounting to half a billion USD will be used to pay the regime’s military that is killing the people. The aid is a stopgap-Band-Aid. This is not sustainable because Washington must pay that amount every month indefinitely to save the regime.

This is poorly thought out move. The TPLF is fighting for its very survival and Washington will soon find out all the reasons for supporting the regime are invalid.

The situation in Somalia is changing. In South Sudan the TPLF failed militarily and on the negotiating table.

The geopolitical dynamic of the region is changing rapidly. Prior to 2010, Egypt and Saudi Arabia stood with Ethiopia against Eritrea in the Arab League. Today, Eritrea is indispensable ally. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are staunch allies of Israel and the US. Which means, US must consider the interests of its allies.

Secretary Tillerson stressed on Ethiopian leadership in the African Union (AU). That too is in question because there are competing interests. The geopolitical shift in the continent such as Egypt’s relations with South Sudan, Uganda and others could press the AU in a different direction further weakening Ethiopia’s influence. South Sudan’s application to join the Arab League  is evidence that African countries will seek for alternative to pursue their interests.  

Loss of Control

Declaring state of emergency twice in a span of two years is clear evidence of a loss of control. The declaration of state of emergency is no longer about upholding peace, it is about strengthening grip of power.

Declaring state of emergency legalizes the killing, imprisoning and illegal seizure of properties. It is done to free the perpetrators from legal accountability to crimes they commit against the people of Ethiopia. It is to give the regime a free rein to do what it wants violently.

TPLF never stopped the state of emergency it declared in 2016. That however, did not stop the people. Over the last two years the state of emergency was in place the people have managed to live with  it.

This time, however,  the people are fighting in ways that confuses the regime and have brought the nation to a standstill. At this point one can only safely say Addis Ababa is the only stronghold they have left. Even that is in doubt because reports indicate that Addis Ababa is blocked in four corners. Blocked Addis

Another key is that the people of Tigray are supposed to represent 6% of Ethiopia’s total population. What percentage of Tigray’s population does the TPLF get its support from? It is impossible to say. However, recent social media activities and news accounts reveal that the people of Tigray are unhappy and uncertain about their future especially now that they are being displaced from various parts of Ethiopia.

Undoubtedly, today, it is nearly impossible to think of any ethnic group that is in alignment with the TPLF. The people of Ethiopia are looking at a sinking ship and are determined to oust TPLF from power. Persistent demonstrations in the face of fire is good example that the people are willing to die to defeat TPLF. They see TPLF as enemy. Ethiopians, especially in Oromia are no longer fearful. To the contrary, they have lost respect for the regime.  Ethio Revolt

Dangers 

What can Secretary Rex Tillerson achieve? Obviously he can’t accomplish regime change. He can ask for a transitional process. And, or, he can urge the regime to choose a leader that represent the majority. 

The TPLF will not opt for a transitional process that will end its reign. And no matter who they chose to lead them, it makes no difference whatsoever! As long as the military and the core is under TPLF nothing changes. In other words no change will come because of the goodwill of the TPLF.

The danger; If the situation persist as-is, the country will likely descend to chaos because the economic hardship will become unbearable shortly. Hence, western imposed change will-only prolong the suffering and lead to unpredictable end.  

This is an impasse that neither Washington nor the TPLF can overcome. Because the transitional process the people of Ethiopia want and are sacrificing for, is not what Washington or TPLF want. The people want TPLF out of power completely and that includes the military.   

Opportunities

The TPLF is powerless. The people of Ethiopia, particularly, the defiant Oromo protestors have exposed the regime’s limits. The fall of the regime is imminent because the protestors have effectively shut down the country. The TPLF is unable to reach majority of the population in the country. On Nov. 5, 2017 a New York Times, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamuranov penned a piece, ‘We Are Everywhere’: How Ethiopia Became a Land of Prying Eyes, shows that the TPLF does not have the ability to reach majority of Ethiopia. It uses individual militias to control remote villages.

This provides opportunity to opposition leaders to mobilize the people and empower them to self govern. There are reports that locals are self-governing in parts of Oromia. That maybe the only saving grace to a nation in turmoil.

Conclusion

Ethiopia will not be saved by western imposed changes. Foreign powers will try to keep the TPLF going as long as they can to safeguard their interests and investments. The money received as aid, recommendations made for change and tweaks TPLF makes to appease western donors will worsen the situation.

It is undeniable reality that Ethiopia must undergo through indigenous transformational process to realize its future. Only that realization and efforts to that end can save it. Maybe!

Hence, Tillerson’s visit and statements will only will strengthen the resolve of the people which will quicken the demise of the criminal regime.  In a sense, Tillerson Read TPLF’s Last Rights unwittingly.

Furthermore, If the State Department is serious about the future of Ethiopia they must seek the help of the government of  Eritrea.

Part II of this piece will reflect the Puppets of TPLF that operate as Eritrean opposition.