Aklog Birara (Dr)
Part 7 of 8
The purpose of this commentary is to ask UN, EU, US, AU, Russia, China, Turkey GCC nations and friends of Ethiopia across the globe to demand cessation of another carnage the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and their foreign government allies are inflicting on the Ethiopian people.
I take umbrage to the deafening silence of the West, Amhara scholars, civil society, and non-Amhara Ethiopian intellectuals and groups. These groups do not openly condemn the axis of evil—TPLF, OLA, Al-Shaba, Egypt, Sudan that target and continue to inflict pain and suffering on the Afar and Amhara regions and people. The geopolitical location of the war tells the story. The axis of evil believes by assailing and assaulting the Amhara and Afar population, they can end Ethiopia as we know it.
I am deeply concerned the third inexcusable TPLF war deploying a human wave targeting key parts of Amhara and Afar regions will spread, engulf, and devastate the entire Ethiopia, Horn, and Eastern Africa. Silence is the same as acquiescence.
Since its inception, TPLF has demonstrated that it is incapable of embracing Ethiopia as one country, subscribing to peace, stability, and shared prosperity. Negotiating with the devil is impossible.
The international community must acknowledge and urge the governments of Egypt and Sudan to refrain from adding fuel to the fire by providing arms, planning, intelligence, public relations, and diplomatic support to the terrorist TPLF and its coalition forces.
It is time for the people of Tigray on whose behalf TPLF is waging a reckless war to abandon the TPLF and demand peaceful negotiation now.
It is time for all Ethiopians to close ranks and condemn both internal and external forces that are colluding to dismantle Ethiopia.
I do not remember a time during TPLF’s insurgency or after TPLF and its ethnic allies took power in 1991 when Ethiopian society experienced peace, stability, and human security. Behind the semblance of peace, stability and rapid growth commended by the West were human atrocities like the slaughter of hundreds of Annuak by TPLF forces, targeted and large-scale killings of Amhara by OLF and TPLF associates, jailing of thousands of political activists and civic leaders and massive fraud, theft, and corruption. TPLF emptied Ethiopia’s budgetary resources that would have alleviated poverty.
Unbearable atrocities singling out Amhara that TPLF designated as inimical to Tigreans prompted eminent Surgeon and Professor Asrat Woldeyes to form the All-Amhara Peoples Organization (AAPO).
In 1993, TPLF leader and later Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, expelled Professor Asrat and twenty-one other Amhara professors from Addis Ababa University. The reason for their expulsion is because they were Amhara, opposed to the ethnicization of politics in Ethiopia. This dismissal followed political agitation and dramatic change during which time Eritrea gained its independence. Ethiopia became land locked.
TPLF Treason 1
The first treasonous act committed by the TPLF is Meles Zenawi’s formal letter to the UN Secretary General abandoning all Ethiopia’s sea ports including Assab. Professor Asrat opposed Zenawi’s treasonous decision. He became the government’s fiercest critic, especially ethnic federalism that regionalized the country based on ethnicity and language; and Article 39 that allowed secession.
The root cause of Ethiopia’s recurring ethnic mayhem and the third TPLF insurgency emanate from this constitutional arrangement supported by foreign powers.
In 1994, the Zenawi government sentenced Professor Asrat to two years imprisonment for allegedly encouraging Ethiopians to revolt against government repression. Zenawi kept him in solitary confinement. Appalled, Amnesty International considered Professor Asrat “a prisoner of conscience” and demanded for his immediate release. Instead, Zenawi extended Asrat’s prison term by three years for “high crimes and inciting violence.”
TPLF’s punishment of Professor Asrat exemplifies its cruel and revengeful genetic make-up, hatred for Ethiopia and incurable animosity towards Amhara.
In the second round of insurgency, TPLF committed atrocities on the Afar and Amhara population. It then reversed blame and accused Amhara, Eritrean and Ethiopian defense forces for Tigray “genocide and famine” and for sealing off Tigray from access to basic human services. The West, including UN Specialized agencies bought into this make-believe narrative. This emboldened TPLF.
TPLF Treason II
When he served as a senior member of the TPLF dominated government of Ethiopia, Abay Tsehay, a member of the TPLF politburo in charge of federal matters had talks with Sudanese authorities and transferred large tracts of Amhara lands to Sudan. The intent was to harm the Amhara population of Gondar. It was also to create a safe corridor for the future Tigrean state. Further, he wanted to push the Amhara regional state to go to war with Sudan. Sudan used this precedent, attacked Ethiopia in December 2020, and annexed huge tracts of land that it still occupies.
This is the second treasonous act by the TPLF.
TPLF Treason III
In the wee hours of November 4, 2020, just one day after America’s Presidential election, TPLF attacked Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) Northern Command headquarters in Mekelle and simultaneously bases in Adigrat, Agula, Dansha, and Sero in the Tigray Region. Armed forces loyal to the TPLF preselected non-Tigrean soldiers and officers and killed them. The Mai Kadra massacre of Amhara followed.
This constitutes TPLF’s third treasonous act.
TPF Treason Iv
Documentary and video evidence that I shall present later show TPLF plotted, conspired, and coordinated its latest war of insurgency, the third in two years, with logistics, material, and intelligence support from foreign governments, most notably Egypt and Sudan, TPLF amassed and deployed a reported “200,000” combatants, most of them child soldiers and attacked the Afar and Amhara regions. It captured the city of Kobo. This human wave is unlikely to change the course of history. But thousands of Tigrean youth and non-Tigrean civilians will perish.
Ethiopia is fighting more than TPLF
There is incontestable evidence including the shooting down of an Antonov 26 aircraft loaded with arms-laden aircraft by the Ethiopian Airforce on August 24, 2022. The plane that crossed the Ethiopian border from Sudan was carrying heavy weapons, including rockets. The origin of the plane and cargo is Egypt, with Sudan serving as a reliable conduit. I have no doubt both Sudan and Egypt will deny this.
Relations between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand and Ethiopia on the other had deteriorated owing to disagreements on two matters a) Sudan’s annexation of the disputed Al-Fashqa corridor, a huge fertile land mass that belongs to Ethiopia and that Sudan claims; and b) Ethiopia’s refusal to sign a binding agreement in conjunction with the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The signing of a binding agreement would have undermined Ethiopia’s sovereign rights over waters within its own territory. It would have affirmed Egypt’s hegemony and veto power over the Abbay (Blue Nile) River that provides 86 percent of Nile waters.
TPLF has an established history of collusion with Ethiopia’s adversaries. TPLF opted and sought direct military, coordination, and intelligence support from Egypt. In return, TPLF agreed to support Egypt’s claim over the Abbay River, and the binding agreement Egypt wishes to impose on Ethiopia.
This constitutes TPLF’s fourth treason act.
In the latest round of attacks by TPLF that began on August 24, 2022, months, and months after concerted efforts to arrive at a peaceful and negotiated settlement under the auspices of the African Union’s former President of Nigeria, Obasanjo, TPLF no doubt determined that it had the military capability to launch another people’s war, occupy territories from the Afar and Amhara regions that it claims belong to Tigray and march on to take the power it lost four years ago. TPLF and its allies believe this reckless and arrogant move will strengthen TPLF’s position to demand retake of lands that do not belong to Tigray.
TPLF Treason Act V (an inheritance)
The Battle of Adwa and Ethiopia’s victory against Italian colonial aggression on Sunday, March 1, 1896, elevated Ethiopia’s place on the world stage. Ethiopia defeated a European power and defended its cherished independence. At the time, history tells us there were Tigrean notables who felt Ethiopia could not win and must welcome Italian colonization.
TPLF inherited a culture of treason and ethnic superiority, the former embedding treason and the latter ethnic suspicion and division.
How did TPLF access arms and coordination?
in April 2022, William Davidson of the International Crisis Group reported that he “had solid evidence” of the TPLF “rearming itself, thanks to dozens of Antonov flights from Sudan to the Tigray regional state of Ethiopia.”
Did Ethiopia know? The answer is yes. On August 24, 2022, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that “Ethiopia was fully aware of “arms laden foreign cargo flights flying” in the wee hours of night from Sudan to Tigray. In fact, Ethiopian intelligence had, for months, known such flights were moving arms to Tigray.
But the Ethiopian Airforce refrained from shooting them down for reasons that I do not understand. Since then, as the war by the TPLF intensified, the Ethiopian Airforce has downed an Antonov 26 plane on its way to Tigray.
It defies logic for Ethiopia to have allowed illegal flights of “arms laden foreign cargo flights” into Ethiopian airspace. Was not the government of Ethiopia aware the TPLF was preparing to launch a third large scale attack? Is not allowing such flights the same as giving de facto recognition of an independent state of Tigray?
The lead point is that Egypt has been supplying TPLF with armaments for months. In effect, it colluded with TPLF in launching war against Ethiopia that coincides with the third filling of the GERD, installation of a second turbine and generation of electricity.
What about UN humanitarian agencies? Are they enablers?
Since the TPLF started the war on November 4, 2020, UN specialized agencies, Western policy and decision-makers and corporate media have been one sided in addressing the war. They rarely if ever criticized TPLF.
This has now changed. I hope it is not just a fluke. On August 26, 2022, the US embassy in Addis Ababa released the following statement to the press.
“The United Nation Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator on Ethiopia, Martin Griffiths and the Administrator of United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, have condemned the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) theft of World Food Program’s (WFP) fuel on August 24, 2022.”
Griffiths issued a statement “I was disturbed to learn of the forcible removal of fuel tankers from the warehouse of the World Food Program in Mekelle, in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. These supplies – 12 tankers carrying over 570,000 liters of fuel – were meant to help the UN and its partners bring humanitarian supplies to people who badly need assistance. Without them, people will be left without food, nutrition supplements, medicines, and other essential items. At a time when malnutrition and food insecurity are rising, the consequences can be dire.”
To his credit, Griffiths condemned TPLF diversions of aid assets; as did Samantha Power.”
The UN community and others noticed the latest diversion because it was massive and done shamelessly. TPLF has an established record of diverting food aid, medicines, and other essentials; while at the same time demanding for unrestricted access; blaming the government of Ethiopia for not responding.
USAID Administrator Samantha Power, often criticized for her pro-TPLF position was blunt. In addition to condemning TPLF theft and harassment of aid workers, she said “Impeding efforts to help feed Ethiopian civilians is deeply cruel, and we call on the TPLF to return the fuel and respect humanitarian operations. “
I applaud her for recognizing Tigrean victims as Ethiopians and for characterizing TPLF as “deeply cruel.”
TPLF is now on notice from the international community for its cruelty and for diverting aid that the people of Tigray deserve to receive.
The rest of us have been urging the UN, EU, and USA to do the right thing by making TPLF accountable for weaponizing aid, for diverting aid, for blaming its failures and cruelty on Amhara, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.
The TPLF that I know from its inception is cruel, sub-human, treacherous and treasonous.
The TPLF that I know conspires with Ethiopia’s mortal enemies. Regardless of their international status and ethical obligations, TPLF leaders such as Tedros Adhanom are unabashed in reaching out to and colluding with Ethiopia’s mortal enemies.
Adhanom is a co-conspirator in the war against Ethiopia. He too has committed treason by establishing strategic personal relations with the President of Egypt shown in the below picture.
Further, Adhanom is also responsible for TPLF’s mobilization and deploying of Tigrean child soldiers who are dying in droves in the current war as they did in the previous two (See the composition of TPLF combatants in successive photographs.
UNICEF reports that “Thousands of children are recruited and used in armed conflicts across the world. Between 2005 and 2020, more than 93,000 children were verified as recruited and used by parties to conflict, although the actual number of cases is believed to be much higher.
Often referred to as “child soldiers,” these children suffer extensive forms of exploitation and abuse that are not fully captured by that term. Warring parties use children not only as fighters, but as scouts, cooks, porters, guards, messengers and more. Many, especially girls, are also subjected to gender-based violence.”
The question I pose is whether TPLF deployment of child soldiers is a crime under international law.
According to UNCEF “Children become part of an armed force or group for assorted reasons. Children are abducted, threatened, coerced, or manipulated by armed actors. Others are driven by poverty and are compelled to generate income for their families. Still others associate themselves for survival or to protect their communities.
No matter their involvement, the recruitment and use of children by armed forces is a grave violation of child rights and international humanitarian law.”
There is no doubt in my assessment that TPLF is committing crime under international law. The UN system has an obligation to hold Adhanom and his party accountable.
TEDROS ADHANOM COLLUDES IN THIS PICTURE (Ethiopia is fighting more than TPLF)
An estimated 500,000 Tigreans, young and old perished in the last two wars. The current war is likely to increase this number.
Generations of Ethiopian scholars and civil society will cite collusions of TPLF with Egypt as one of the worst, if not the worst, episodes of treason in Ethiopian history. The collision with Egypt compounds the stain on the people of Tigray too.
Egypt used Antonov Aircraft supplied by Russia (shown on the next page) to transport weapons from Egypt via Sudan.
In summary, Ethiopia is fighting a coalition of forces.
Egypt, Sudan and the TPLF colluded to attack Ethiopia. Egypt supplies the aircraft and weapons and finances the pilot or pilots. Sudan facilities the flight from its airspace into Ethiopian airspace.
Egypt’s singular motive is to punish or dismantle Ethiopia by financing and arming TPLF as a “Trojan horse” for Egypt.
Behind this plot is Egypt’s determination to maintain hegemony and veto power over the Abbay (Blue Nile) River.
Egypt’s rulers are furious that Ethiopia is on the verge of completing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egypt has consistently financed, armed, and encouraged ethnic liberation fronts, including TPLF, OLF, Beni-Shangul Gumuz and Gambella liberation fronts as well as Al-Shaba. It has conducted economic and cyberwarfare.
in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Egypt befriended and supported the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. Ethiopia lost its access to the sea and became landlocked in large part because of collusion between Egypt and ethnic national liberation fronts.
Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, and Australia are the four top importers of weapons in the world. The US, and Russia are their lead sources. Egypt imports its weapons from Russia. It also acquires sophisticated weapons and aircraft form other sources.
It is understood that Egypt would use its Russian made Antonov aircraft. It demonstrates to the world community Egypt has access to Russian arms and aircraft. This way, Egypt avoids adverse and immediate reactions from Western countries where it has also accessed aircraft. Russia’s preoccupation with Ukraine makes this sleek and clever option possible.
- It is time for UN specialized agencies like the World Food Program and UNICEF, EU, US, and UN to demand for peace; and to hold the entire leadership of TPLF including Tedros Adhanom accountable for diverting food aid, war crimes, crimes against humanity and for deployment of child soldiers.
- While peace is the best option; the Government of Ethiopia, the UN, AU, EU, and the US should no longer trust that peace will come from the TPLF leadership. Peace must not be a TPLF prisoner.
- Ethiopians must accept the fact that TPLF never ever believed in a united, peaceful, stable, and prosperous Ethiopia unless it rules and exploits it. At the same time, Ethiopian political and social elites must swallow the bitter pill that ethnic-federalism as a system triggers constant ethnicity-based conflict. This leads me to suggest that Ethiopia must change its Constitution to a citizenship based federal system.
- TPLF imposed ethnic federalism that allows secession to suit its goal of divide and rule and to allow secession.
- In my considered opinion, TPLF is Ethiopia’s incurable epidemic. Ethiopia must dismantle TPLF from its core. Otherwise, it will never have peace, stability, or human security
- TPLF’s treasonous acts no longer require additional evidence. It has colluded with Ethiopia’s mortal enemy, Egypt.
- The rest of us must challenge the orthodoxy of ethno-nationalists who subscribe to the concept of “convince or confuse.” Because it leads to the phenomenon of “my time to eat.”
- The recent shout out by the international community is commendable. The next step is for the USA to redesignate TPLF as a terrorist organization.
Finally, I urge the people of Tigray to rise and help topple TPLF before it inflicts more pain and suffering on all Ethiopians, including Tigreans.
Ethiopia Shall Prevail!!!!
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