Editor’s Note : “In case anyone is listening!” article was first shared on Social Media in Amharic language. Hiwot Emishaw offered the English translation.
On 16 July 2021, the popular American magazine Foreign Policy published an article on its website (foreignpolicy.com) on how Afghanistan was betrayed by the United States (https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/08/16/pakistan-united-states-afghanistan-taliban/). The article contains important lessons for Ethiopia.
Since the article touches on many things, I will focus only on the part that is surprisingly similar to the situation in Ethiopia.
If you read this article and put it in to context with the speech from Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres on Ethiopia on August 19, 2021,( https://youtu.be/RaiKk1dB-Po) , it suggests Ethiopia could get into trouble unless it moves cautiously.
I will start with the Foreign Policy article. Anyone who wants to read the English version can read the last four paragraphs.
Washington forced the Afghan government to engage in peace talks with the Taliban. The Afghan government, however, knew better than anyone that the Taliban and their main allies, Pakistan, were not ones to keep their words.
The peace talks were important to Washington. The hope was the negotiations would cover up the defeat of the United States through a fictitious transfer of power through negotiations. Truthfully, there was nothing to negotiate. The Afghan government was committed to constitutional rule, including elections, while the Taliban is pushing to throw out the constitution and declare the elections un-Islamic. The Taliban waited for the US withdrawal, using the sham of peace talks to reinforce its group, to deploy its troops wherever it wanted, and to hideaway weapons everywhere.
As the 2020 peace talks led to no outcome, the United States has threatened to cut off $ 2 billion in aid if the Afghan government does not return to the peace talks. The US even went as far as forcing the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners. In exchange, the Taliban released hundreds of Afghan government workers. The released Taliban members are now leading the Taliban's offensive.
The United States pressured Gahani (President of Afghanistan) to postpone the 2019 presidential election. The reason the United States chose to put pressure on the government was that the Taliban had set the dissolution of the Government and the inclusion of the Taliban in a transitional government as precondition for peace talks. Gahani rejected America’s idea.
As it did in 1990, the United States is leaving Afghanistan for Pakistan now. It is repeating the same mistake. Washington will have no one but itself to blame when the Taliban once again turns Afghanistan into a hotbed of terrorists.
It is astonishing to see the similarity if we read this text replacing the words Afghanistan and the Taliban with the words Ethiopia and TPLF.
It is clear that the United States pressured the Afghan Government into negotiating with the Taliban, not to hold elections, and threated to impose sanctions, not because it was concerned for the Afghan people. It did it to hide the humiliation of leaving Afghanistan defeated after twenty years of sacrificing its soldiers and financial investment – no longer able to carry Afghanistan’s burden.
The United States has been saying the Ethiopian government should hold peace negotiations, establish a transitional government including TPLF and other extremists forces, and elections should not be held. It also stated that if the Government did not listen, it would impose economic and other sanctions on Ethiopia. Some sanctions were imposed.
The United States has become TPLF’s advocate because of its vested interest. I will not go in to details. But when we look at what happened in Afghanistan, it raises the question whether the United States has analyzed the situation in Ethiopia carefully. Yes, the US left Afghanistan and that is exactly what it wanted. But to whom has she left Afghanistan?
Just as the Afghan people know the Taliban, Ethiopians know the TPLF well. The TPLF is a terrorist and thug group that does not abide by the rule of law, peace, and reconciliation. We have seen the consequences of the actions the Ethiopian Government took, just like the Afghan Government, due to US pressure and threats.
The United States said Eritrean soldiers should withdraw. Even though the US had no right to say so, they did. "There must be peace in Tigray for humanitarian aid to reach the people of Tigray," the US said. The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire. In fact, the Government left Tigray putting the TPLF in charge of distributing food aid in Tigray. But the result was not peace, It did not stop hunger, death, and displacement.
Whenever the TPLF got temporary relief, it continued to arm itself and organize for more conflict. Every time we let the TPLF to its own devices, for fear of American pressure, it became apparent that we will do nothing but create an environment in which Ethiopia will fall into the hands of extremists, terrorists, and descend in to chaos.
In connection with this, it is important to mention yesterday’s speech by the UN Secretary-General. We need to know that the so-called United Nations is primarily there to serve the interests of the United States. While members of the Security Council have the right veto the United States, it is important to remember that the United Nations’ agencies and Secretary Generals advance the United States’ agenda.
It should be noted that without the blessing of the United States, UN Secretary Generals will not be appointed. The UN Secretary Generals have never publicly condemned the United States for committing so many international crimes in violation of UN resolutions. When the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq without the full consent of the Security Council, UN Secretary-Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon did not protest but cooperated .
Today, it is no different.
That's why yesterday's speech by Antonio Guterres was no different from the speech of US government officials. It puts the Ethiopian government, which declared a unilateral ceasefire and the terrorist group TPLF, that continues to wage war on equal footing, and calls for ceasefire.
In fact, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has explicitly stated that his officials held telephone conversations with Debre-Tsion. This is the man leading the group the Ethiopian Government has declared a terrorist group; who ordered the destruction of the national defense force and army, and spearheaded the genocide in Maikadra; and continues to order the killing, looting and displacement of people in Amhara and Afar regions, provides leadership to bring endless suffering to the people of Ethiopia.
Does the UN Secretary-General have the right to talk to a person who is legally designated a terrorist by a country ? Had the terrorist been labeled by the United States or other ‘major’ countries, would the Secretary General have done so?
How will the Ethiopian government respond to this impudence? If Antonio Guterres did not have the blessing of the US government, would he speak or act the same? What should be the response of the Ethiopian government and people to such a dangerous conspiracy by the United States and the United Nations?
We need to find our answer in the US-led humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan. Our response must be based on our own experience and understanding of the TPLF's evil ways over the past thirty years.
We must know that appeasing the TPLF will not result in peace, stability, and development. We therefore must understand we have no option but pay the necessary sacrifice and bury TPLF once and for all.
We agree with the idea put forward by foreign powers that our problem requires a political solution. However, our leaders must make it explicitly clear to all concerned that this solution will never include the criminal terrorist and thug group TPLF.
The people, too, must be vigilant against any forces that, for various reasons, are preparing to negotiate with the TPLF, either by their own initiative or due to foreign intervention. If anyone still fails to understand that any negotiation with the TPLF will result in huge losses for the Ethiopian people and the country, it is only because they don’t want to understand.
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