One of the facts that Ethiopia’s two years of devastating war revealed was the degree of control (and “influence”) that the United States has over Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration. The tools of influence are combinations of aid, advocacy for human rights, diplomatic campaigns and media mobilizations – just to mention some.
In the course of the conflict, the U.S. proposed sanction regimes in the United Nations Security Council were not a success mostly because they were vetoed by China and Russia.
However, the U.S. was active on the ground from facilitating support to the TLF rebels ( and it has always been under the guise of humanitarian aid and “advocacy for human rights”) in their logistical needs. There were even rumors that the United States orchestrated military support by way of providing sensitive military information to the rebels.
When the rebel groups finally agreed for a peace talk in South Africa in late October, they were flown from Mekelle via a United States military plane – something that critical analysts saw as inappropriate. The news about the military plane was in fact covered by Reuters.
Although the United States was present at the peace talk in South Africa in an “observer” capacity, it was clearly influencing the outcome of the talk. At one point, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed could not hold the level of interference that Ethiopia was experiencing. He told Chinese broadcaster CGTN about the level of interference from “left and right” without naming names.
Now the United States is hailing Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration for “unhindered humanitarian assistance and restoration of basic services in the Tigray Region as well as in the neighboring Afar and Amhara Regions. ”
Anthony Blinken, the United States Secretary of States, on Tuesday tweeted :
“Ethiopian Prime Minister @AbiyAhmedAli and I discussed the urgent need to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement and to secure lasting peace in northern Ethiopia. The United States remains committed to supporting the @_AfricanUnion -led process.”
However, the material that came out in the form of a statement from the State Department sounds a bit different. It is a “recognition.”
It said, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about efforts to bring lasting peace to northern Ethiopia. Secretary Blinken recognized ongoing efforts by the Ethiopian government to work towards unhindered humanitarian assistance and restoration of basic services in the Tigray Region as well as in the neighboring Afar and Amhara Regions. The Secretary underscored the importance of immediately implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement, including withdrawal of all foreign forces and concurrent disarmament of the Tigrayan forces. He noted that the United States remains committed to supporting the African Union-led process, including the AU monitoring and verification mechanism. ”
The United States has been entrenching unprecedented influence over institutions in Ethiopia. From media to the health sector to agriculture, the United States is penetrating controlling institutions under the guise of “capacity building.” The United States has gone to the extent of establishing direct contact with regional states bypassing federal authorities.
The United States has employed a considerable work force in Ethiopia through different “development programs” in the country.
The Ethiopian government has yet to disclose to the public details regarding the implementation of the agreement.
A faction with the rebel TPLF group disowned the Pretoria agreement saying TPLF did not send representatives both to South Africa and Kenya. The United States did not remark on that yet.
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