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Ethiopian Defense Force mired in Political  Work on the situation in Amhara region 

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Toronto – There appears to be clear evidence that the goals of the military operations in the Amhara region of Ethiopia failed repeatedly. Initially, the government intended to “disarm” Fano within a few weeks after it declared a six months long state of emergency in the region. 

However, the state of emergency ended in February without the government achieving its military goals. There was even unintended consequence as the Fano forces emerged stronger and more armed. The government ended up extending the state of emergency by four months on alleged grounds that there “are some minor tasks that need to be completed.”  The result was not different after four months of extension of the martial law.  It has been nearly two weeks since the extended version of the state of emergency ended. 

The Fano forces drew broad grassroot support from the Amhara region and beyond – apparently one of the reasons why it proved difficult for the Ethiopian Defense Force to defeat the group. 

In the course of the military campaign in the Amhara region, key military commanders were engaging with the public in the Amhara region with an apparent move to isolate Fano from the people.  There are reports that indicate the military commanders consider the political structure and the politicians in the Amhara region as ineffective.  Ethiopia’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs and president of the Amhara region, Gedu Andargachew, made a speech at the Ethiopian Parliament as the parliament was about to approve the state of emergency in August 2023. His key message was that the ruling prosperity party has no future whatsoever in the Amhara region and that the war will not bring about any solution. 

Ethiopian Defense Force meeting _ Addis
Participants during a meeting that Deputy Defense Chief led in Addis Ababa (Photo : PD)

The political engagements that Military commanders were having in the Amhara region of Ethiopia did not bear any desirable fruit. This week, the Defense Force brought the political engagement work to the capital Addis Ababa. This time the target audience is ethnic Amhara ; it is to be noted that ethnic Amhara constitute a majority in Addis Ababa but many were in the city for generations implying that they are natives to Addis which implies they might not have influence over Amhara region to the point of ending the war in the region. The criteria for selecting participants to the meeting was unclear.   It was the Deputy Defense Chief of Staff, General Abebaw Tadesse who led the meeting which was organized at Adwa Hall. General Belay Seyoum, Head of Defense Operations, and Federal Police Deputy Commissioner, Zelalem Mengiste, were flanking Defense Deputy Chief. They are ethnic Amhara and the arrangement was a deliberate one. 

News update from the defense force said “participants expressed themselves in freedom about the problems that they think are existing.” 

Furthermore, the Defense Force said that the “questions will be organized and forwarded to the regional and Federal government.” 

The Defense force seems to be optimistic about this particular meeting but it is hard to tell if it helps to solve the military conflict in the Amhara region.  

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