Lawrence Freeman, October 31, 2021
In the wake of the recent coup in Sudan, it is imperative that President Biden act to prevent any further deterioration of conditions in the Horn of Africa. Thus far, in the first ten months of the Biden administration, the United States has pursued a destructive policy towards Ethiopia, which threatens to cause more suffering and death. Now is the time, before it is too late, for the U.S. to reverse course by supporting the elected government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is attempting to preserve the integrity of Ethiopia.
Sudan is now in upheaval with the military wing of the ill-fated coalition seizing control of the transitional government. For those of us who know Sudan well, not only was this predictable, but one should expect more instability in this poor nation of forty-five million people. This demonstrates how fragile conditions are in this region of Africa. After twenty years of mis-guided policy the U.S. has lost much, if not all of its influence in Sudan. It is now in the process of turning its oldest and at one time, its strongest ally, Ethiopia, into a new enemy, contrary to the wishes of Ethiopians. For decades Ethiopia has been the cornerstone for security in an often unstable Horn of Africa. Is Biden willing to jettison this strategic relationship?
If the Biden administration had supported the Ethiopian government, instead of issuing sanctions and threatening more, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) instigated conflict would have withered months ago. Overt attacks by the U.S. government against Ethiopia, providing tacit support to the TPLF, not only encourages the TPLF to continue their efforts to overthrow the government in Addis, but encourages other rebel groups to do the same.
Those who are screaming the loudest to end this conflict by attempting to bludgeon Prime Minister Abiy into accepting the demands of the insurrectionists, are in fact prolonging the war.
The deceptive and dangerous narrative propagated by Western nations and media, refuse to recognize the necessity of defending the lawful Ethiopian nation-state. Attempting to frame this almost one year old conflict in ethnic terms is specious and designed to undermine the fabric that holds the nation together. Let President Biden be warned: should he continue to listen to foolish advisors, who are parroting those “humanitarian-imperialists” calling for further intervention against the Ethiopian nation-state, than he will be remembered in infamy for the needless bloodshed he brought upon tens of millions of Africans.
Truth Versus False Narrative
The conflict in Ethiopia is not between “two warring parties” or “ethnicities” as many ignorant Western governments and media have repeatedly regurgitated. The government, headed by Prime Minister Abiy, who was duly elected, is attempting, with no support from the U.S., to safeguard the lives of over 110 million Ethiopian citizens. The TPLF rebelled against the government by attacking the Ethiopian National Defense Force, the military arm of the Federal government. The TPLF has declared its intention to march on Addis Ababa, the capital, to overthrow the government. That makes those leaders of the TPLF, not the Tigrayan people, an enemy of the state.
The people of Tigray, led by the TPLF, by adopting the 1995 Ethiopian Federal Constitution, willingly joined the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, thereby accepting the central government in Addis. To reject the Union, which they voluntarily entered, by holding separate elections and declaring war against the Federal government, is a violation of the law, and a threat to the entire nation.
Individual states are not equivalent in law or governance to the Federal government. This lesson was hard fought by the U.S. from the inception of the U.S. Constitution, through the 1800s with the movement of “nullifiers”, who renounced the power of the Federal government. This ultimately led to the Civil War, a war to save the Union, which lasted four years and cost the lives of approximately 750,000 Americans.
The pervasive inundation of a narrative by the West that intentionally obscures the life and death battle to prevent the Ethiopian nation from being torn apart, is itself contributing to the prolonged conflict and loss of life.
U.S. Targets Ethiopian Government
Neither the Biden administration or the U.S. Congress have shown any respect for the sovereignty of Ethiopia, nor deviated from the narrative that the conflict in Ethiopia is between warring parties and opposing belligerent ethnicities. The House Foreign Relations Committee has passed and sent to the full House of Representatives for a vote, House Resolution 445 (H. Res. 445), amended by Congresswoman Bass upon her return from Ethiopia in September. While this resolution has no legal force, it demonstrates the desire by thoughtless members of the U.S. Congress to continue to mis-characterize the conflict in Ethiopia. It reeks with Western arrogance and disdain for the rights of Ethiopia as a sovereign nation.
The resolution demands that the government cease hostilities and reconcile with the TPLF. This intentionally overlooks the fact that the conflict, which has and continues to cause massive suffering among the Ethiopian people, was instigated by the TPLF’s attack on the Ethiopian government’s military, posted in Mekelle, Tigray. Not only is the source of Ethiopia’s humanitarian crisis ignored, but the armed rebels responsible for the attack on a federal military installation are treated with equivalency to a lawful government of a sovereign nation.
U.S. sanctions, supported by the Congress, are intended to punish Ethiopia, exposing the underlying belief by U.S. officials, who beleive Ethiopia is responsible for this protracted conflict.
Conspicuously missing from this ten page document is even the slightest recognition of the June national election that democratically chose Abiy Ahmed as their leader. The peaceful election did happen, and almost forty million Ethiopians actually stood in line to vote. Yet the resolution contemptuously urges Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Samantha Power, Administrator of USAID to “promote democracy in Ethiopia.”
Stoking the flames of ethnic warfare, Western analysts have made deceitful comparisons of Ethiopia to the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, where NATO and the U.S. forces militarily intervened, and to Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide.
Can War Be Just?
War by its very nature is an abuse of human rights and a humanitarian disaster for humankind. Killing a fellow human being, terminating the life of one of the Creator’s children, is always a grave wrong, that must be avoided at all costs. Those living in conflict zones suffer greatly, as a result of shortages of food, medicine, and the basic necessities of life. As one American General put it: war is hell. Therefore, those responsible for initiating armed conflict should be held fully accountable for their heinous actions.
St. Augustine, the fourth century Christian theologian thought that war was always a sin, but a “just war” can be fought if its intention is to bring about peace. Augustine lived before the existence of the nation-state was realized, thus did not specifically address the nature of this present conflict.
We can say with the authority of reason and moral certitude that combat emanating from ethnicity is not a just war. Armed conflict between sisters and brothers, fighting each other for ethnic territorial control or political dominance can never be justified. However, how can we not contemplate that a war to stop the destruction of the nation-state, has justification?