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Alex de Waal: a scholar or a hired gun of the TPLF?

Alex De Waal _ TPLF _ Ethiopia
Alex de Waal (Photo credit : World Peace Foundation )

By Addissu Admas

I do not enjoy – nor indulge in – attacks against a person. However, when that person occupies a position of some responsibility and importance and continues to engage in a stream of unfounded and damaging accusations, I feel it a duty to respond to him or her at least to set the records straight; and hopefully, disqualify him or her as reliable source of healthy opinions. Such is the case with Alex de Waal.

In an article he wrote recently on Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper closely associated with the New York Times, he, as is his wont, indulged in a series of unfounded and very partial accusations against the Ethiopian people and government. Apparently, Mr. De Waal has long ago decided, for reasons that still escape me that he will only listen to the TPLF, and its Tigrean sympathizers, which are of course, even now in the majority. Not once in this article, has he indicated that he is willing, even for an instant, to give the Ethiopian people and their government, a token benefit of the doubt. Like a good TPLF sympathizer or agent (I let the reader decide which) he decided that the guilty ones were all south of the Tigrean border. He deliberately chose to ignore all the destruction, looting, murder, rape, that has been committed by the invading Tigrean people’s army led and organized by the TPLF since July of this year. Even the UN and other human rights groups have clearly reported the rapes and murders committed by TPLF forces, despite the pressure of the US department of state. But de Waal decided to ignore all of them completely. 

I do not know where his blind devotion to such a heinous party comes from. It is certain that he enjoyed the friendship of its high-ranking officials while they reigned supreme over Ethiopia. The TPLF cadre, it must be acknowledged, did a fantastic job at cultivating the friendship of many so called “scholars” and diplomats. Most likely offering them special treatment, or bribes of sorts they could never expect from their own institutions and governments. Now, I guess, it is time to stand up to save an old friend.

If Alex de Waal had a modicum of integrity, he would have paused and listened to the immense suffering Ethiopians endured during the 27 years of TPLF rule. He was happy to receive all his information apparently from the TPLF, as he continues to do today. The mark of a good scholar is to listen to all parties, read the literature of both sides, and make one’s considered judgment. Mr. de Waal, had decided that the TPLF provided him with all he needs to know. This has tremendously shaken my trust in these so-called “prestigious institutions” of the West. Are they really engaged in finding out the truth, or are they simply engaged in trying to find rationalizations and justifications for their government ill-conceived policies? Any government that is willing to listen to Mr. de Wall will be making a disastrous mistake because it would be only getting a very lopsided and biased view. 

Mr. de Waal states that the Ethiopian people are characterizing Tigreans as cancerous. This is an outrageous lie. The government of Ethiopia stated that the TPLF, and not the people of Tigray, is cancerous. This is not to deny that thanks to the hateful campaign perpetrated by the TPLF, and its desire to alienate the Tigrean people from their fellow Ethiopians, that some unsavory and hateful words have been exchanged over social media. But this cannot be taken as the word of Ethiopians. To do so would be, to say the least, an unscholarly and malicious reporting. 

The Ethiopian militia are not on the frontline, neither literally nor figuratively, as Mr. de Waal writes. They are engaged in liberating their territories from the most destructive force that Ethiopia has known since the invasion of Muhammed Gragn (Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi) in the 16th century! Can Mr. de Waal tell us how many Amhara and Afar men have been killed in this senseless war? How many women have been raped? How many schools, hospitals, businesses being destroyed? No! He would not, because he does not care to know what happened outside Tigray. His bandying about the word “genocide” to indicate what happened in Tigray is not only sickeningly irresponsible, but should make him liable for a lawsuit! He should know, however his bias is incurable, that especially someone who holds a position such as his cannot make such an accusation so lightly. What would he then call what happened in May Kadra? If that was not an instance of genocidal action or ethnic cleansing, however you may want to label it, then what comparable act has been committed against Tigreans? Name one! 

It is obvious that De Waal wrote this peace to have Israel put pressure on the UAE to end its military cooperation with the Ethiopian government. However, it fails miserably to achieve its goal, since it is entirely biased and lopsided. If state department foreign policies are based on such kind of opinion pages, then we are in for a very troubling outcome. 

I take this opportunity to reiterate again the facts of this war, not to remind my fellow Ethiopians who are immersed in its intricacies, but to inform those foreigners who happened to read this piece and are not acquainted with the basic facts of this war. 

  1. This war was started by the TPLF when it stormed the weapon warehouses of the Northern Command, the largest of the Ethiopian Defense Force, with the apparent intention to arm itself and wage war against the EDF. In the process, it killed uncounted military personnel of non-Tigrean origin. 
  2. The government of PM Abiy countered by moving into Tigray to restore order and the sovereignty of the government of Ethiopia. This move was backed by the current constitution of Ethiopia.
  3. While the Ethiopian government of Ethiopia maintained order for 8 months over Tigray, it was pressured by TPLF’s Western allies to abandon Tigray since it was under a constant accusation of all kinds of crimes. The official reason given by the government of Ethiopia was “ceasefire” which the TPLF simply ignored and continued to fight.
  4. The TPLF decided, for reasons that still needs to be investigated, and has most likely a foreign origin, decided to unseat a government that was installed legitimately through an election that has been praised, even by Western media, as the fairest in Ethiopian history.
  5. While the TPLF apparently succeed to reach deep into Ethiopia, within a couple of hundred kilometers from the capital, it quickly began to unravel, and is now in the throes of complete annihilation. 
  6. During this entire southern campaign of the TPLF, the Western media and governments decided not to report on the slaughter of Amhara and Afar people. But it instead continued to harp, as De Waal has done in his piece, on the tragedies that happened in Tigray, ignoring the much greater destruction, rape, and killings that has happened on a vast scale in Amhara and Afar.  
  7. The Western media and governments are continuing to work relentlessly, despite the apparent defeat of the TPLF, to destabilize and ultimately dismember Ethiopia. Ethiopians continue to be baffled and completely outraged by Western media and governments determination to see Ethiopia become a failed state. Many speculate that Egypt is behind this campaign to undermine the Ethiopian state because of the dispute over the Renaissance dam. Or, is it really that, as a poor nation, Ethiopia is an expandable pawn in the global war America is waging against its arch-rival China? It remains to be seen!

Mr. de Waal, as an “Africa scholar” is supposed to give us a serious analysis on these facts, not take sides blindly and become the megaphone for TPLF grievances, and worse, lies. It is a mark of good scholarship to put aside personal sympathies and biases to listen to voices that we have no empathy for to arrive at a balanced view. Alex de Waal has failed on all the characteristics of good scholarship. He, therefore, should never be consulted, and much less followed through, in his recommendations. 

1 Massacres, rape, siege: Why Israel must stop its UAE ally aiding Ethiopia’s atrocities – Israel News – 

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  1. The engagements of some western scholars such as Alex de Waal. and Kjetil Tronvoll are to be understood as pro-TPLF activism and these individuals are to be discounted as mere hirelings. I have heard from some die hard TPLF supporters that these guys are paid or hired as lobbyists.
    Thus based on what I gathered from these TPLF supporters, the motive behind the engagements and activism of Alex de Waal and Kjetil Tronvoll is money. The TPLF have billions they have stolen from the Ethiopian poor at their disposal and afford hiring such lobbyists and activists including the so called `presstitutes`in the west.

  2. It means there is symbiotic relationship between Tigrayan rebels and White European TPLF activists hiding behind human rights groups and different places!!!
    That is why we keep looking at only Whites and no Tigrayan representing the Tigrayan rebels on various international media outlets and NO black Tigrayan terrorist rebel group representing themselves. Only Getachew Reda from Tigray is the only black from Tigray.

  3. No matter how lopsided is his opinion this man seemed to have gotten his wishes. Today the UN human rights council has voted to create a task force to investigate Ethiopia for its ‘gross human rights violations’, It look like it is following the same pattern as it did in Libya in 2011. First comes setting up an investigating body followed by a report then demanding free access. When access is denied, which is expected by Abiy’s administration, more reports of new and gross atrocities will be reported. After that the game will begin. Who knows, that can lead to the whizzing sounds of Mirages and F16’s over the skies of the old country. Folks, be prepared for anything. They may wait until Abiy assembles his soldiers just at the borders of Debre’s joint. They will the world Abiy is poised to carry out an unimaginable massacre and genocide and the world must stop it. The world should never let another Rwanda 1994 happen again, we will be told. The Amhara region will receive the brunt of the mirage and F16’s missiles and guided bombs. You think that and the Afar regions have been left in shambles by Debre’s thugs wait until those fighters, bombers and guides missiles arrive. These guys have been accusing Abiy in the same manner they were accusing Muammar Gaddafi. When he told his citizens the goons of Debre will be buried with his and his citizens’ blood and bones they screamed like ‘Oh No! Abiy is planning genocide’. When he takes about annihilating Debre’s riff raffs they accused him of preaching genocide. Everything coming out of his mouth is genocide!!! I’m telling you folks, be ready for news of bombers and missiles sonic booming over the skies of that country. Debre’s killings of innocent Amharas, Oromos and Afars don’t count. Those Amharas are ‘fascists’ anyway and good riddance!!! Those Afars and Oromos are their collaborators anyway so they don’t count and good riddance. Let me put it this way for you. Who cares about those tens of thousands of innocents residents of Dresden who were burned alive by incendiary bombs that rained on top of them day and at night after the war was ending? Who cares? They were a bunch of Nazis anyway. That bombing qualified for war crime but was there anyone tried for it? Heck no! The bright spot about today’s vote is there were countries that were vehemently against the resolution and there were several others that abstained from it. So it is time to go to work for the diplomatic community of the old country and also for those concerned men/women of legal matters among us. Meanwhile, Abiy’s government should watch its steps and mouth so not to fall in the trap.

    • Just looked at the details of the vote there were 15 countries that opposed the resolution. It includes the other superpower India, Pakistan, China, Russia, Bangladesh and The Philippines, countries with a combined population of more than 3.3 billion. There were also 10 countries that abstained. In practical terms there were 25 countries that either objected to the resolution or don’t want any of it.

      Meanwhile, the Abiy government should intensify its own investigations and bring those who were involved in the alleged war crimes to an open trial and must stop rounding up citizens because of their ethnicity. It is a proven fact that those deacons of Marx, Lenin and Mao of the TPLF are using civilians as human shields. They will open fire at soldiers and intentional run into civilian quarters. They don’t give a flying hoot about the possible harm that can cause to the innocent civilians. All they are shooting for is a propaganda piece. Propaganda material whether you are dead or alive!!! That is Debre’s motto. That is how all commies and their darasaas are!!! Don’t start with me on that one!!!

    • The US and its allies have less political and military appetite to use any force to intervene in Ethiopia now. The recent fiasco in Afghanistan is fresh in the minds of their voters and doing the same again (intervention) in Ethiopia will have political risks in these countries. However, it is to be expected that western lobbyists and media will continue to press for interventions.

      • I agree with you all the way. There could be a few cowboys in NATO who get high from pulling triggers of those ‘beautiful’ military hardware so they can say ‘I shot me niggers today’. We all remember that general stationed in Djibouti said recently. He told us his forces are ‘ready to respond’. What did he mean by that? Who did he think he was talking to? I hope he was given a serious counseling(pinch in his loose lips) from his superiors. That is very concerning. Generals with ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’ mentality may be sitting there somewhere itching to pull the trigger. Then we will hear news of suspension/dismissals because some dude pulled the triggers ‘prematurely’ just to be sent into retirement with golden parachute. Then we will see him on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC or Fox as ‘military affairs consultant’. The call for intervention by all means will intensify once the ENDF starts entering Debre’s joint. Remember Debre and his predecessors are known to use the dirtiest tactics in warfare history. They order their rag tags to fire on soldiers and then run into civilian quarters or they fire at you hiding behind civilian dwellings. In such environment the best you can do is limit civilian casualties. That has been how all commies and their darasaas fight. That was how commies fought in Vietnam and many other places. They don’t keep that as secret as they always tell their people ‘you have nothing to lose’. Then at the first instance of civilian casualties Debre’s propaganda will go into overtime. He will use his paid media outlets AFP, AP, Reuters, BBC and Al-Jazeera telling the world ‘thousands’ of civilians are massacred. That will happen again and again. Then those cowboys will say ‘the world cannot sit idle and watch ’genocide’ taking place. That will be followed by cranking up the engines of those Mirages and F-16’s that have been gathering dusts at hangars in Europe.

  4. No one should be surprised at the west’s game. Alex is not an intellect – he is just an obeying goon. Look at his shoddy writings. Must have stashed a good amount of money to retire by the North Sea side and muse how stupid the whole world is. In the meantime, Abiy and Ethiopia know all the plot and the characters, and the play. The worst that can happen is a nuclear bomb on East Africa……….

  5. On Monday, February 1, 2021, 12:45:43 PM EST, Teketel Haile-Mariam wrote:

    Sent: Monday, February 1, 2021 7:08 PM

    To: World Peace Foundation Mailbox
    Cc: Office of the Provost ; Collins, Patrick ; Knight, Kalimah ; Silver, Mike ; Smyton, Robin K.

    Subject: Re: Alex de Wall and Ethiopia

    I have read (and continue to read) articles on Ethiopia written by Alex de Waal of Tufts University. He accuses the Ethiopian government of widespread human rights abuses, usually targeted at certain ethnic groups, without checking his ‘facts’ with concerned govern officials, or even better conducting basic research on the ground. I find his approach and writings to be unprofessional by basic standards of research deserving to be associated with major university like Tufts. And that has potential to tarnish the image of Tufts University as unbiased research institution on international affairs.

    The link between Alex de Waal and Tufts University also raises important questions about the University’s presence in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. What is in it for the University? Establishing local offices involves heavy expenditures for Tufts, which include rent, utilities, employment of local staff, purchase of vehicle(s), etc. What were the justifications for use of scarce university funds for such purpose, if not reflected in the quality and substance of “research” on Ethiopia by the likes of Alex de Waal using the name of Tufts University?

    Thank you.

    Teketel Haile-Mariam
    Dear Dr. Teketel Haile-Mariam,

    Thank you for your email.

    Alex de Waal is an instructor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and as head of the World Peace Foundation, he enjoys academic freedom to conduct his research and develop his scholarship and pedagogy in the classroom. The Fletcher School prides itself on this freedom, and as an interdisciplinary school of global affairs with a student body and faculty from across the world, many views reside within the school. In the classroom, we expect our faculty to expose students to multiple views for the sake of a rigorous education.

    We respect that your views differ from those of Professor de Waal, and just as you are entitled to yours, he is entitled to his.

    Thank you for your interest in the school. We all hope that the humanitarian situation improves quickly.

    With best wishes,

    Rachel Kyte

    Dean, The Fletcher School


    Thank you, Dean Kyte.

    Alex de Wall is very controversial among Ethiopians for his biased, and often emotional, writings on Ethiopia. He appears to side with political activists originating in a rogue tribalist region called Tigrai in the north. The Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front or TPLF ruled Ethiopia for nearly 30 years until they were ousted peacefully about two years ago, by pitching one ethnic group against another to weaken cohesion among the major ethnic groups while tightly controlling cohesion among their ethnics, so they would benefit from conflicts among other ethnic groups. The TPLF was very angry for losing power and financial benefits to go with it, and decided to mount coup de etat last November but was thoroughly defeated. The leadership has been by and large eliminated, and the remaining are in the hunt to bring them justice in front of the law. Ethiopians are relieved and very happy about that. Those are the people (group) that Mr. de Wall loves and supports.

    Tribalism is very dangerous for Ethiopia and Africa. As an academic, I expect Mr. de wall to write about creating cohesion and promoting equity among tribes, rather than exacerbating conflict. That is partly why nearly all Ethiopian academics despise Mr. de Wall. I consider him to be a neo-colonialist.

    Tufts University has a local presence in Ethiopia, and staff interested in doing research about Ethiopia and Africa should use that valuable resource. Mr. de Waal did not seem to have utilized resources available to the university in Addis Abeba.


    Teketel Haile-Mariam

    • Dear patriot Dr. Teketel,

      Thank you for valuable effort. You can tell the subject in not alone but he has the full backing of his employer. These are know-all arrogant individuals and no one will tell them what to do. In their school of thought black folks don’t know how and what to think. In fact we never think and they have to do all the thinking for us. They see us thru their tainted prism as people laid bare for their entertainment. Just look at her response. She is tell you and all of us that no matter what the consequences he is entitled to his opinion, end of story! Wow!!!

    • Mr Worqu Belayneh you are doing well and working hard as usual in spreading baseless accusations, defamatory propaganda, and we could understand you are hitting the target since many of your amharas are
      not willing to condemn the atrocities committed by Fanos, ENDF, Eritrean soldiers but still joining the evil genocidal team in every amhara cities and villages. “He (Alex de Wall)appears to side with political activists originating in a rogue tribalist region called Tigrai in the north. ”

      Just as a sick animal , you are defaming every western journalist, politician and renowned figure who condemn your genocidal actions, mass killings and torturing innocent civilians. You are demeaning and scolding the entire people of Tigray calling ” Rogue”. This will not bring a surprise to us , since you are committing the worst crime that makes scolding a tiny misdemeanor, even if insulting the entire population is not a minor offense. Experts say” genocide starts with demeaning words and calling names .

      You better stop it NOW before it is too late. You guys , why do not you go to leave US and EU and go to the UAE, Russia, Turkey and China and try to lead a better life there . You are calling names every US official who is not in favor of your genocidal mission.

      • The TPLF thugs like you are soliciting the sympathy and support of the Oromo people whom your regime had been imprisoning, torturing and killing for decades. Even one of the TPLF henchmen Siye Abraha spoke of the Afaan Oromo being the language of prisons in Ethiopia to show the extent of the persecution of the Oromos. With the exception of some sell out souls, the Oromos will never forget (can pardon) the crimes the TPLF has committed against them.

      • You think you are smarter than anybody else as junta did when it occupied and ruled Ethiopia for nearly 30 dark years. Believing in that and still trying to use that strategy is, by itself, a mark of stupidity. The junta’s military defeat, which it practiced using old and outdated tactics, is another mark of backwardness and stupidity. Ethiopians today are not the same as those of over 30 years: they are quick learners, and much smarter than any junta. Abiye Ahmed is an example of them.

  6. What can be an oxymoronic than listing to TPLF caring for the welfare of Oromo people. Who would forget the brutality and disrespect of TPLF towards OLF and Oromo people when Woyane invaded and ruled Ethiopia during its 27 years? Of course some like Bekele Gerba lost their memory from the blow they received on the head and eye. During Woyane repressive rule Prison language had changed to Afaan Oromo. because it was filled with Oromo and OLF. Many of OLF prisoners hunted and brought from Kenya, Somalia and Sudan to fill the prison?
    Paid White agents of TPLF are parroting TPLF narratives and telling the same lies they received from their TPLF bosses. Of course the money they get paid came out of the 27 years of loot 30+ billions stashed around foreign bands and coffers.

  7. Your analysis is correct. Alex de waal a friend of TPLF and its leaders which had been met each other in Sudan in 197os in hotel where life music and alcohol sell to foreigners. since then TPLF leader had arranged a trip to Tigrai province where rebels were actively engaged. their he met TPLF leaders like Seyum Mesfen, Meeks zenawi and the like. He had eagerly revealed to do business with TPLF leaders and they had been very successful. He played anvital role in the work called middle man ( broker) . In this regard he had been collaborated the selling of thousand tones of wheat which had been given to the people of Tigrai province where famine and drought had been appeared. Today he is still against the people of Ethiopia and the government.

  8. Alex de waal, a paid journalist , doing business with TPLF leaders in the name of famine and minority’s right since 1980s. He is also a,well known smoker of marijuana. Some times he is in not in his mind. a failed man.

  9. Alex de waal has / had called Ethiopia a failed state since 1980s, what does he need from Ethiopia? as the world now ,Ethiopia is a home for African , Rasteferian diaspora communities and many more. Of course Ethiopia has defeated colonialism. Does Alex de waal revenges Ethiopia because of his ancestors defeated? Ethiopia is requesting.

  10. Alex de waal ‘s agency called world peace foundation Ethiopia branch,headed by TPLF central committee leaders had a motive to dismantle Ethiopia. They had involved in conspiracy against Ethiopian citizens. They disliked Ethiopia and Ethiopian..Alex de waal is shameless

  11. Alex De Waal is in terrorist tplf payroll for the past 40 years. He is a blood sucker who benefits from bloodshed. British MI6 is his main….


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