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 Reexamining Ethiopia’s Foreign Alliances

September 24, 2021 

PM Abiy Ahmed (Photo : SM)

By Addissu Admas

PM Abiy’s response to Biden’s threatened sanctions and restrictions are rather mild compared to the reaction displayed by Ethiopians behind closed doors. This current US administration has essentially decided to remain deaf to the plight of Ethiopians and is shamelessly siding with the TPLF, despite this party’s abysmal record, and its stated plan to drive Ethiopia into civil war in the hope of regaining its hegemonic position. The strategy these days is to depict Dr. Abiy as a megalomaniac despot, impervious to reason; and the TPLF as a victim of cruel persecution. I do not know who advises Biden or Blinken. To be perfectly honest, that is the least of my concerns. I have come to the conclusion than even many of those holding prestigious and endowed chairs in institutions of higher education have sold their souls to this manipulative and cruel party. I need not dignify them here by naming them. Those who read their questionable academic papers know who they are. Much ignorance, blatant calculation and capricious partiality, and who knows, plain old corruption may be the reasons behind their grandiloquent pronouncements. Believe me they know nothing about the hearts and minds of the Ethiopian people. What they know about Ethiopia was poured into their ears and minds by the TPLF; may be even with a dash of corrupting pampering!

I say to PM Abiy that the West has decided not to consider our present predicament with the impartiality, equanimity and objectivity owed to our well-established ancient country. We are, and we will remain a troublesome Third World country where seditious and murderous parties have the same-standing as governments elected by a super-majority of the people. For the West, we are no more than brawling children in the schoolyard deserving the same number of lashes each, without establishing who the guilty party is. It matters not who started the brawl: discipline must be maintained! 

The Ethiopian government does not need to be told what to do. It has acted and will continue to act within the powers granted to it by the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). It should not succumb to the pressure exerted by the U.S. or its allies. If the American government refuses to continue in its stubborn determination to completely ignore the very destabilizing group that is the TPLF, then PM Abiy’s government has no other option than reexamine and re-direct its alliances.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, the youthful Zhao Lijian tweeted recently “[in part]…we believe the parties concerned in Ethiopia have the wisdom and capability to properly resolve their differences, realize national reconciliation and restore peace and stability”. This is a model of how a sovereign nation treats another sovereign nation, i.e. with the dignity and the deference it deserves. The U.S. is going around the world with a big truncheon intimidating its own allies to submission. This has not worked and it will never work.

I say to PM Abiy and his government that it is time to reexamine or even reorient his alliances if America continues to refuse to acknowledge the fact that this war was ignited by the TPLF for the sole purpose of regaining its lost hegemony and the advantage of the people it claims to represent. And not, obviously, because it has profound concern for the country, or much less because of “ideological differences”. If the U.S. and the EU want to continue to believe in the false narrative the TPLF is feeding them, it is time for PM Abiy to seek support elsewhere. 

I am convinced that the PM continues to be well disposed towards the U.S. and the EU not only because they are the main source of humanitarian aid to the country, but also because he has clearly indicated to favor their economic and political ideologies. Nevertheless, I would say that it is time for him to choose his friends carefully in order to preserve the integrity and wellbeing of a nation under his stewardship. 

If Jimmy Carter had simply lent a helping hand to the beleaguered military regime in its war against Somalia in 1976-77, he would have most likely prevented the cruel excesses of the Derg, and the country may have stirred most likely in a different direction. However, Carter’s refusal to help Ethiopia forced the Derg to embrace the Soviet Union unreservedly. I need not recount here what happened after; it is a well-known part of our modern history. Similarly today, Biden is pushing the Government of Ethiopia to ally itself to the other superpowers of the globe for no other reason that it being obtusely deaf to what the super majority of Ethiopians are demanding. That is that the TPLF stop attacking the Amhara and Afar regions for no other reason than the hope of “securing” a better bargaining position should there be a negotiation proctored by the U.S. If the U.S. wants genuinely peace in Ethiopia, it should demand that the TPLF savage and destructive incursions in neighboring Killils (ethnic enclaves) stop. It needs to be added here that the TPLF, even though it may claim to be the sole representative of the Tigrean people, cannot decide for the total and irreversible independence of Tigray. This is a decision that only the Tigrean people can decide in a universal suffrage, and thus cannot be part of TPLF’s negotiation strategy, or much less the objective of their military campaign. After all, regardless of what is happening today, the Tigrean people are still under the dictates of the Constitution of the Federal State. 

As things stand, I have a distinct feeling that the Biden administration is self-righteously entrenched in its position, and PM Abiy’s government has no choice but to embrace whomever is willing to provide a lending hand to end this miserable war. I have confidence that the PM, as Mr. Zhao Lijian stated, will have “the wisdom and capability” of choosing the best allies in helping him maintain the integrity and well-being of Ethiopia and of all Ethiopians.

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