By Dr. Aklog Birara

War Wary FacesEthiopians are eager and hopeful that the New Year will usher in durable peace for all. I too am eager to see this happen. Ethiopia’ s young people, Fano, Afar and Amhara Special Forces, Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces are shedding their blood in defense of their country. Girls and women are mobilized in support of their gallant heroes. Their resolve and determination to root out the cancerous Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is admirable. It is only when they succeed that Ethiopia will enjoy a semblance of human security and peace.

The international community must recognize the incontestable fact that the genetic makeup of TPLF is unlikely to change. Further, it is improbable that the foreign forces behind the TPLF will condemn the TPLF and urge this satanic group to stop the mayhem and commit to peace. Ethiopia’s mortal foreign enemies do not want a united, strong, stable, and prosperous Ethiopia.

 In my assessment, the UN, EU and the USA are now part of the problem concerning the entire Horn of Africa. Despite a plethora of evidence that the TPLF squanders the peace option, diverts international humanitarian aid and fuels in support of its insurgency, deploys hundreds of thousands of child soldiers as fodders, targets physical and social infrastructure with the intent to diminish the Ethiopian economy and conspires with foreign governments against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a founding member of the UN, the West led by the United State emboldens TPLF to do more damage.

It concerns me deeply that reverting an Ethiopian domestic issue to the UN Security Council for the thirteenth time will degrade and politicize the UN system. The young generation of Ethiopians and other Africans are giving up hope in the fairness and impartiality of the UN system and in the Western powers that dictate policies and programs in international relations. Urging the UN Security Council to address Ethiopia again and again is another form of gross interference in the domestic affairs of an independent and sovereign African state in which the UN Security Council has no business.

I commend Graham Peebles for his timely September 3, 2022, Op-ed in Eurasia “Renewed TPLF Terror War Against the Ethiopian People.” He confirms facts I and other concerned Ethiopians within, and outside Ethiopia have been hammering but that the UN, EU, and US ignored.

TPLF “ started the war in November 2020 and was forced to retreat just over a year later, but not content with the level of human suffering resulting from their initial barbarism, they are, it seems, determined to kill and kill again; to rape and beat their Ethiopian brethren; to once more destroy property, burn farmland, slaughter livestock, sending fear through communities, deepening the pain of a nation in their frenzied quest for power.

Is Ethiopia Falling Apart?In the first two wars led by TPLF, more than half a million Ethiopians perished, many of them young. TPLF destroyed or degraded tens of billions of dollars of social and physical infrastructure that will take decades to recoup.

TPLF ignored the fact that it cannot change geography. Even if it wins the war, Tigreans would have to live with Afar, Amhara and Eritreans as neighbors. It also forgot the psychological pains and traumas that treason entails.

In the latest round of TPLF insurgency, an estimated 70,000 more people have perished; and the war is not over. This latest number is close to lives lost during the Eritrea Ethiopia war.

The West ignores genuine efforts on the part of the government of Ethiopia for peaceful resolution. Instead of responding to peace, TPLF used repeated calls for peaceful resolution to acquire more weapons from foreign powers, recruit, and force Tigreans as young as 11 years old and the elderly in their late sixties to join it and die.

Peebles put it succinctly “The TPLF used the months of peace, not to enter unto constructive dialogue with the government, to address the needs of people in Tigray impacted by the war and beg for forgiveness, but to actively re-unite and rebuild its forces. The Crisis Group relate that they have solid evidence” of at least 10 Antonov planes making deliveries (of arms it is assumed) “to two airports in Tigray,” certainly from Sudan. “One such aircraft, in-route from Sudan and loaded with weapons, was recently shot down by the Ethiopian air force.” Another Antonov was just shot down last week.

While TPLF and its supporters bear the responsibility for the war atrocities, The Ethiopian government also shares some of the responsibilities. It is stunning and inexcusable to me that the Ethiopian government knew about arial shipments of weapons to Tigray but failed to clamp down on them. This lack of decisive action, particularly in relation to law-and-order issues has been a feature of the Abiy premiership and is something that needs to change.

Abiy Ahmed must explain to the Ethiopian people and to those who are fighting and dying why his government failed to defend Ethiopia’s airspace. The Abiy Ahmed regime must also demonstrate to the Ethiopian people its determination and resolve that TPLF is an existential threat and must be rooted out this time. There must not be a boundary for terrorism and mayhem in Ethiopia.

Why does the UN fail to hold TPLF accountable for theft and graft? The UN and Western argument for the unfettered access to Tigray is a political ploy. The critical path to normalization of access is durable peace. For this to occur, the UN and Western powers are obliged to demand that TPLF abandons its insurgency and commit to durable peace. Yet, there is no evidence or indication that TPLF genuinely wants peace because its preconditions for peace are so outlandish that the demand amounts to a de jure Tigrean government negotiating with an equal, namely, the Ethiopian government. This presumption has been encouraged by UN specialized agencies, the EU leadership and the US Department of State that refer to the government of Tigray at par with the government of Ethiopia. These entities never once said to the TPLF that preconditions do not serve the cause of durable peace.

Yet, in the long term, the way out of the current war is through a peaceful negotiation among Ethiopians. The UN, EU and USA must make a choice whether to support peace or prolong agony. The later will entail huge costs for ordinary Tigrean and non-Tigrean Ethiopians. It may also lead to irreparable damage in the relations between Ethiopia and the USA.