Chemical weapons use in Tigray is seen as the latest “irresponsible” effort to fuel more tension in Ethiopia
The pressure on Ethiopia in connection with the law enforcement operation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, most mainstream media in the west frame it as “Tigray war,” in mounting.
Reports published in those media have been accusing Ethiopian government of carrying out “genocide” in the region and obstructing humanitarian activities with the claim that over 5 million Tigreans are vulnerable to starvation.
The latest accusation seems to have taken the propaganda campaign a step further. The British newspaper, Telegraph, on Monday published a report in which it made allegations that Ethiopian and Eritrean forces used chemical weapons in the Tigray region.
Mr. Will Brown, the reporter for the aforementioned media, wrote “…civilians in northern Ethiopia have suffered horrific burns consistent with the use of white phosphorus, a potential war crime.”
Ethiopia called the allegations about chemical weapon use “malicious and irresponsible” with the objective to fuel more tension.
The Ministry of Foreign Affair of Ethiopia has issued a brief statement in reaction to it. ” … The Ministry would like to categorically reject this allegation,” it said.
Furthermore, the statement said “Ethiopia has not employed and will never use such banned munitions because it takes its international obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention extremely seriously.”
On Sunday, the Ministry published a statement warning the international community about an upcoming publication alleging chemical weapons use in the Tigray region.
It said, “Most recently, it has come to our attention that a prominent international publication will publish a report in the coming days alleging the use of chemical weapons against the people of Tigray. The charge is malicious and beyond irresponsible. It seeks to further inflame and divide the nation, particularly as it moves towards national elections. The world is forewarned.”
The Ethiopian government sees increasing accusations against the government prevalent in corporate media products in the west as a move by politically interested groups that tend to use “grievance and anger as their mobilizing principles.”
Apart from media outlets, state actors are stepping up pressure on Ethiopia. Last week, the United States Senate passed what it called resolution S.Res.97 calling for an end to hostility in the Tigray region. In the same week, the U.S. State Department introduced visa restrictions and sanctions against Ethiopia.
The sanctions and pressures seem to have the effect of uniting the majority of Ethiopians, although radical ethnic nationalists including the supporters of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – the entity that triggered the conflict in the Tigray region – seem to celebrate the decisions of Joe Biden’s administration.
The reaction from most activists is one that disapproves of the U.S. government’s inappropriate intervention in the internal affairs of Ethiopia.
Abebe Gelaw is a U.S. based journalist and former executive Director of the Ethiopian Satellite Television. In reaction to the U.S. State Department visa restrictions, he said ” The visa restrictions the United States has imposed on “perpetrators” of human rights violations in Ethiopia is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is a positive signal that the U.S. is paying serious attention to developments in Ethiopia. On the other hand, it makes the hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy makers like Susan Rice, the former boss of Secretary Blinken, unmistakably preposterous. By her own admission, Rice was the late tyrant Meles Zenawi’s best friend.She misses her “brilliant” friend a lot.”
Topic : Chemical Weapons, Tigray
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena