Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Senseless War: Ethiopia at a Crossroads

Sunday, March 17th, 2024
A senseless war and conflict is raging in the Amhara region and the rest of Ethiopia. This conflict in the Amhara region, emerging from the ashes of the struggle with the TPLF, has morphed into a poignant emblem of Ethiopia’s fractured state. This paper echoes an urgent call for unity and reform beyond ethnic federalism. Click here for Amazon to purchase books  on Ethiopia and more: Click to to read a captivating history of Ethiopia and more
The Fanos, an armed faction within the Amhara region, initially took up arms at the federal government’s behest to combat the TPLF, with no intention of overthrowing the regime but rather to maintain their right to bear these arms for self-defense. Despite assurances from the government that they could retain their weapons post-conflict, a policy reversal aimed at disarming the Fanos ignited the current conflict. The government’s attempt to disarm them met with refusal, which led to the declaration of war against the Fanos.
The Fanos Plight: A Struggle for Survival
The Fanos, embroiled in the current conflict, originally sought not power but the means to protect their communities and uphold border security. Their battle, borne from desperation and sacrifice, reflects a deeper crisis within Ethiopia’s governance—a reliance on ethnic federalism that has exacerbated divisions and sown discord across regions.
Ethnic Federalism: A Divisive Legacy
Ethiopia’s experiment with ethnic federalism, while well-intentioned, has led to catastrophic outcomes, fragmenting the nation along ethnic lines and inciting conflict. The aftermath of these policies is starkly visible in the ongoing turmoil in the Amhara and Oromo regions, underscoring the urgent need for a governance model that fosters unity rather than division.
A Call to Action: Learning from Rwanda’s Unity
The international community, including African leaders who have successfully navigated their countries through ethnic strife, has voiced support for Ethiopia to abandon its divisive governance model. UAE and Rwanda leaders are good examples of unifying their countries despite ethnic and other differences and undertaking credible political and economic strides. President Kagame’s leadership in Africa is a powerful testament to the benefits of prioritizing national unity and cohesive governance over ethnic division.
Towards a New Dawn: Envisioning a Unified Ethiopia
The solution to Ethiopia’s current impasse is twofold: an immediate ceasefire in the Amhara region and democratic provincial elections in the Amhara region by allowing the people to elect their representatives. More fundamentally, Ethiopia must undertake a profound structural reform by abolishing ethnic divisions and reinstating provincial boundaries led by governors, not presidents, as there should be only one president of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the only country where regional states are called governments and administrators are called presidents. This is a recipe for disintegration similar to the one that took place in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. This reform is crucial for Ethiopia to avoid the pitfalls of fragmentation and conflict that have befallen other nations.
Visionary Leadership for a Prosperous Ethiopia
As Ethiopia stands at a crossroads, the legacy of its leadership hangs in the balance. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is called upon to transcend reactionary measures and embody the visionary leadership that the moment demands. By embracing reforms that unify rather than divide, Ethiopia can forge a path toward lasting peace, prosperity, and a cohesive national identity.
A Clarion Call for Unity: Rethinking Ethiopia’s Future
Ethiopia’s journey towards peace and unity is fraught with challenges, yet it is a path that must be taken. The nation’s survival and prosperity hinge on its ability to transcend ethnic divisions and embrace a governance model that celebrates diversity as a strength, not a weakness. In this pivotal moment, Ethiopia’s leadership must seize the opportunity to steer the country away from the brink of fragmentation towards a future marked by harmony and collective aspiration. Only through bold action and a commitment to unity can Ethiopia hope to avert the tragedies of its past and realize the full potential of its diverse and vibrant populace. To emerge from this chaos, Ethiopia must embrace a comprehensive reform that transcends ethnic federalism, fostering a governance system that unites rather than divides, and prioritizing the collective well-being of all its citizens.

Did Ethiopians Influence the Senatorial Race in GA?

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Ethiopians and the diaspora may have decided the winner in the senatorial race in Georgia. The margin of victory between senatorial candidates Herschel Walker and Senator Warnock was less than 96000. It was close to the number of Ethiopians living in the Atlanta metro and a lot less than the total African diaspora population in Georgia.

Even though there was controversy about whether to support Senator Warnock or not, it was obvious that many Ethiopians decided to support Warnock over Walker given his connection to the King’s legacy and lack of interest by the Republican Party in attracting diaspora and minority votes.

It is alleged that close to 100000 Ethiopian live in Atlanta alone. The total population of the diaspora that claims roots in Africa including Ethiopians, Eritreans, Nigerians, and People from the Caribbean is estimated to be over a quarter of a million.

Thus one can conclude the margin of victory in a swing state like Georgia may have come from the diaspora population. Ethiopians and their cohorts organized under an umbrella organization AEPAC (American-Ethiopian Political Action Committee) can have a strong impact and make a strong presence in politics in the USA. The political influence of AEPAC and the diaspora is bound to increase going forward in a number of swing states. It is also worth remembering that in 2020, President Biden won Georgia by less than 12000 votes.

Ethiopians have shown their power in recent elections. They played an essential role in helping flip the governor’s race in Virginia and in helping defeat representative Tom Malinowski, who drafted a very anti-Ethiopian Bill, HR6600.

Ethiopians are becoming an important player in American politics because of the formation of a PAC, the American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC). Through AEPAC, they have flexed their power in American politics by making a contribution and organizing Ethiopians and other Diasporas.

During the midterm election, most of the candidates AEPAC supported won. Out of 35 candidates, AEPAC supported 32 won their race. This includes 20 house members, four senators, and two governors.

The demographic situation and the political divide in the US empower organized groups like the American Israelis, Cuban and other groups.

The Ethiopians have a strong advantage given they are spread out exceptionally well throughout the US. Unlike Cubans who are concentrated in one state, Florida, Ethiopians on the other hand are located in major swing states like Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, and more.

Both the Democratic and the Republican parties need to be cognizant of this fact in order to control congress and the white house. Of course, the diaspora population needs to hone on this message to both parties so that they give due credence and acknowledgment to the diaspora, especially to AEPAC

Ethiopians – the New Kingmakers in US Politics

Sunday, November 20th, 2022

Ethiopians are the new kingmakers in US politics. With their recent success in helping flip the governor’s race in Virginia and in helping defeat representative Tom Malinowski, who drafted a very anti-Ethiopian Bill, HR6600, Ethiopians are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the US.

Formation of AEPAC

Ethiopians are becoming a consequential player in American politics with the formation of a PAC, the American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC). Through AEPAC, they have become influential in American politics by fundraising and organizing Ethiopians to vote. 

“The 2022 election was a turning point for the Ethiopian diaspora: 32 of the 35 AEPAC-endorsed candidates won their races. We now have friends of #Ethiopia in legislative offices across the US.” Mesfin Tegenu, AEPAC Chair.
Swing Estate Dynamics Favors Ethiopians

Unlike Cubans, who had a concentration mainly in Florida, or Armenians in California, the Ethiopians are spread out exceptionally well. They have become a significant voting bloc, especially in swing states, by registering Ethiopians and other Africans, including Eritreans. Once Florida went red, Cubans lost their leverage thanks to Governor Desanto, whose success is based on oppressing minority votes and gerrymandering.

Ethiopians Versus Cubans

Ethiopians, unlike Cubans, reside in many critical swing states like Georgia, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio, and more. By organizing Ethiopians, Eritreans, and other people of African origin, Ethiopians are making their presence felt financially and with their votes. Most of the candidates they supported in the midterm election won, which is essential for any political PAC. This includes 20 house members, four senators, and two governors. Tight races in Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, and other states show the importance of any organized group like Ethiopians that has the potential to deliver a bloc of votes. Their candidates include Republicans like Chris Smith of New Jersey and Democrats like Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, TX.

Georgia is a Battle Ground and the Role of Ethiopians

Now that all eyes are on Georgia, the importance of Ethiopian vote for either party remains critical. In the midterm election, disappointed with Senator Warnock’s ambivalent position on Ethiopia and Hershel Walker’s lack of sophistication in foreign policy forced them to stay neutral. Their role remains critical in the presidential election, where Biden eked out a crucial win in 2020 with 11000 votes to win Georgia. Without the support of Ethiopians, who number close to 100,000, and cohorts such as the Eritreans, Caribbean, and other Africans, Democrats can lose the senate and the presidential races in Georgia. So far, neither Democrats nor Republicans realized the potential impact of the Ethiopian vote. In 2020 Ethiopians voted overwhelmingly for Democrats disgusted with Trump’s vulgar language regarding Africa and his support for the Egyptian dictator, who is acting as the new Gadhafi by aligning with dictators and supporting anti-government rebels in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Ignoring Ethiopians can be Costly to Both Parties.

Until the demographic of the various swing states changes where Ethiopians reside, Ethiopians will potentially be the new kingmakers in American politics, dwarfing any diaspora organizations. Failure by Democrats and Republicans to realize this new Ethiopian political power could be costly, especially in swing states. 

Dula Abdu is a US-based writer on foreign policy and economics and chair for AEPAC-TX.  

Delisting From AGOA could be a Blessing in Disguise

Monday, December 27th, 2021

There should be a silver lining to the AGOA situation. Ethiopia can move from manufacturing to a high-tech country for more sustainable development. When France refused to sell planes and parts to Israel during the Six-Day War, Israel immediately opted to build its airplanes and technology not to be hostage again. Consequently, with a population of 9 million, Israel is a powerhouse of technology and one of the strongest economies in the Middle East.

Industrial Parks are not sustainable solutions
Industrial parks, as they are set up now, are transients. They are temporary solutions to unemployment. Ethiopia uses cheap labor to attract companies to establish cloth and textile-driven manufacturing plants. Manufacturing plants based on labor alone are transient and do not provide good or living wages or sustainable solutions; like rivers; they flow in one direction with cheap labor. Most of the manufacturing plants moved from China, Bangladesh, and other regions to take advantage of cheap labor in Ethiopia. I am sure they will move whenever such an opportunity arises anywhere else. The life expectancy of industrial parks can be cut short and leave people without Jobs and the area with environmental damages. Of course, the suggestion is not to dismantle such plants immediately but to transition to a long and lasting solution to Ethiopia’s economic woes.

 Ethiopia can be like Israel, China, and other Asian tigers in 10-15 years by planting the seeds for sustainable development bolstered by technology. Turning Industrial Parks into technology parks or hubs by fostering and promoting innovation for technology, where a high density of startup companies, engineers, and other innovators cluster together to produce goods and services driven by markets can be the solution. Besides technology parks, universities and cities can provide co-working spaces for technology hubs and incubators with funds supplied by diaspora, private companies, and the government for equity interest or loans. Alternatively, the Ethiopian government can issue bonds to sell to the diaspora or the diaspora can set up their own venture capital to fund these projects.

Moving to the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the Solution

 To catch up with the rest of the world, Ethiopia needs to leap to the fourth Industrial Revolution that focuses on robotics, AI, nanotechnology, blockchain, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, and others without totally discounting manufacturing. The government should prioritize the introduction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by opening up Internet access, broadband, and Research and Development in these areas.

To grow the economy, the current government is promoting manufacturing by inviting companies from China, Turkey, India, and others by enticing them with low wages and tax breaks. Dr. Abiy should prioritize direct foreign investment in high technology transfer jobs rather than low-wage manufacturing to provide a platform for sustainable economic development.

The typical trajectory of moving from agriculture to manufacturing is no more an option for Ethiopia. Because of TPLF’s fear of social media and denial of access to technology, Ethiopia failed to enjoy the full benefit of the digital revolution. Given this failure, Ethiopia has no time to go through these stages and catch up with the rest of the world technologically and economically. Jumping to the Fourth Industrial Revolution will accelerate its economic and technological development, save it from future famine, ecological damage emanating from manufacturing, and massive economic disruption that arises in manufacturing phase-out.

Manufacturing undertaken by Chinese and other companies will not save Ethiopia from its permanent third-rated status or fill empty stomachs. Huajian is one of the most celebrated Chinese Companies with over 5000 employees. According to AP “Amazing China” (May 2, 2018), Ebissa Gari, a 22-year-old employee of Huajian, earns 966 Birr ($35) a month. The average worker at Huajian factory earns $50 a month. According to Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, a basic living wage was about 3000 Birr or ($109) a month in Ethiopia. On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence (AI) specialists with little or no industry experience can make between $300,000 and $500,000 a year in salary and stock. “Top names can receive compensation packages that extend into the millions” (NYT, April 19, 2018).

The increased productivity, efficiency, lower operating costs, and high wages are a product of access to technology. The Heritage Foundation recently reported that not all Ethiopians had enjoyed economic growth evenly. It argued that more economic freedom is needed to grow the economy and reduce civil strife.

Ethiopia will need 177 years to catch up with the U.S

Given the economy and the state of technology, Ethiopia is pre-industrial, where Britain was in the 1840s. Unless Ethiopia skips some steps, it will need hundreds (100) of years to catch up. Of course, this assumes the rest of the world will stand still and wait for Ethiopia. For example, at a reasonable growth rate of 5%, Ethiopia will need 177 years to catch up with the U.S. growing at an average of 2.5% holding everything constant. At a 10% rate, it will take 60.5 years. The calculation is derived using a per capita of $50,000 for the U.S and $700 for Ethiopia.

Technology has the potential to be a tremendous tool in advancing the well-being of humankind by improving the quality of life and lifting the standard of living. Leveraging technology allows us to work from anywhere and enhances productivity. The progress of the industrial revolution from the steam engine, electric power, and digital and information technology is the foundation for the fourth industrial revolution.

 Over 80% of the jobs will be AI and IT-driven in the next two decades.

Artificial intelligence will be pervasive based on autonomous products, from cars to robots. Over 80% of the jobs will be AI and IT-driven in the next two decades. AI will increasingly take over mundane tasks to the most sophisticated, including fabrication, surgery, and ground and space warfare.

 Ethiopia is 120th out of 139 countries in the Network Readiness Index (NRI)

According to Global Information Technology 2016, Ethiopia is 120th out of 139 countries in the Network Readiness Index (NRI), which measures access to the latest technologies to individuals, businesses, and government, ease of starting a business, the efficiency of the legal system, infrastructure, capacity for innovation and more. Ethiopia’s ranking could have been much better had it not been for TPLF’s fear of technology and lack of interest in advancing Ethiopia’s technological and digital capability.

Leveraging technology underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create a solid and sustainable economic foundation. The people who generate the wealth (the next Apple, Google, etc.), the carpenters, the risk-takers, and inventors should be appreciated much more than talking heads or politicians. After all, the hard-working and creative Ethiopians with strong work ethics will be the catalyst to propel Ethiopia to be an economic and technical juggernaut.

The technology revolution is taking place at a breakneck speed led by Artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, the cloud, and 3D printing. Ethiopians need to demand unfettered access to technology and the internet as a right for their survival and to avoid future famines.

Dr. Abiy needs to leapfrog Ethiopia to the fourth Industrial Revolution and unleash innovation to create a better future for Ethiopia. If he does not leverage the technology revolution, grow the economy with open competition, transparency, property rights, and unfettered access to technology and the internet, he will leave Ethiopia with a distressed economy and more hungry and angry people.

Dula Abdu, a retired banker, economist and is the founder of a non-profit that promotes access to technology to underserved communities. Currently supports underserved schools in the US and in Ethiopia by providing a STEM-based educational database that works without the internet. The article was adapted from a previous article entitled “Ethiopia needs to leapfrog to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Letter to Former US Ambassadors to Ethiopia and Others

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

Former U.S. ambassadors to Ethiopia and some Western institutions are lambasting Ethiopia based on information gleaned from social media or their contacts, enlisted during the last three decades of TPLF rule, an ethnic cabal famous for silencing the opposition, disinformation and dazzling Westerners.

Critics of the current reformist government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia are responsible  for propagating misinformation, creating an impression of a monster regime bent on abusing its citizens in Tigray by serving as a conduit for the TPLF, which created the current unstable and conflict-laden environment in the country, not only by firing the first shots at the various military barracks in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia , but also by establishing ethnic federalism that has been the main source of ethnic conflicts and of displacement of millions of people around the country.

Western Critics use Unreliable Sources and engage in Exaggerated Narratives

One of the major problems with Westerners is their failure to differentiate between the people of Tigray, and the TPLF Junta, which was an “equal opportunity oppressor” of the people of Tigray and Ethiopia. Most of the critics of Dr. Abiy are members of the junta, as well as friends and beneficiaries. If the Junta really cared, millions of people in Tigray would not have remained dependent on international food aid to this day.

Furthermore, crying foul by external critics and internal detractors of PM Ahmed over the presence of Eritrean troops is a clear illustration of a double standard. The U.S. or its Ambassadors to Ethiopia, for example, never complained when Ethiopians troops went to Somalia to fight Al Shebab at the behest of America and other Western countries, or found fault with the U.S. presence in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, S. Korea, Japan, or Europe.

Eritrea Saved the Horn from Imploding with Chaos

If Eritrea is present in the northern region of Tigray at the invitation of Ethiopia, there is no reason to deride Eritrea based on unproven Twitter and social media allegations of misconduct. If it were not for Eritrea, Ethiopia and the whole Horn of Africa might have imploded with violence and social upheaval. Besides warning Sudan and Egypt not to take advantage of Ethiopia while at war with a rebellious regional government in the north (Tigray), Eritrea enabled Ethiopia to end the conflict in a matter of weeks by allowing Ethiopian troops to retreat and regroup in Eritrea.

From all indications, it is clear that there is an organized effort to distort facts and portray Ethiopia in a negative image, to the extent of branding it as an aggressor or provocateur of war in the media. This is true even in the eyes of some members of the U.S. Congress. Such a narrative is orchestrated by agents of TPLF and their highly organized PR machine in the U.S. and Europe.

Critics of Ethiopia were Coopted or Hoodwinked by TPLF

Critics like Susan Stigant of USIP charged that Ethiopia may be characterized as a failed state during a congressional testimony last December. But she failed to mention that it is the system, which many of the current critics supported during the 27 years of TPLF’s minority ethnic rule that is responsible for the predicament in which Ethiopia finds itself today. Ms. Stigant and her colleagues failed to condemn such system despite numerous warnings and pleas from the opposition about the danger of creating ethnic federalism in Ethiopia, which the TPLF championed while governing under an ethnic-based oligarchy.

The disinformation about the war in Tigray and Eritrea’s involvement in it is fanned by TPLF social media, critics, and friends of TPLF in the academia, and in some diplomatic circles. For example, BBC apologized to Dr. Abiy Ahmed for falsely accusing him of a plan to bomb civilians in Tigray, based on uncorroborated report.  The Washington Post discovered that TPLF agents took over or monopolized the Twitter traffic with their false narrative portraying Ethiopia as the aggressor and then demanding a ceasefire when TPLF started losing the war. This was also to obfuscate the fact that TPLF initiated the war by killing Ethiopian soldiers, many of them while in sleep at their military posts guarding the international border with neighboring Eritrea, looting their equipment, and forcing the rest to flee naked to Eritrea.

TPLF PR and Money Spread Disinformation

The TPLF Junta ruled the country for 27 years by using a strategy of silencing the Ethiopian Diaspora and muzzling the domestic opposition from revealing its criminal enterprise, which included stealing from Ethiopia billions, and disproportionately controlling the military and commerce, and other parastatals, as well as powerful state agencies. Consequently, most of the billionaires and millionaires in Ethiopia today are Tigrayans, though they constitute only 6% of the population.

Many intellectuals and government representatives, such as Tony Blair of Great Britain, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Laureates, and others were victims of a highly organized PR propaganda that prevented them from acknowledging the plight of the Ethiopian people as they were fed with distorted narratives. To show their power, recently TPLF agents supposedly garnered over 2300 signatures from “who’s who” in academia and other professions around the world in less than a week to sign in support of TPLF narratives, leading some political pundits  in Europe and the USA to demand Ethiopia to stop defending itself; EU suspended aid to Ethiopians a result. One wonders what Ethiopia would have looked like if TPLF’s coup attempt succeeded.

Should Ethiopian Soldiers Have Surrendered to TPLF?

As a historical illustration, the American Civil War was started when Southern rebels attacked federal forces. Would a reasonable person ever expect Lincoln to acquiesce to the confederate takeover, slavery, or the breakup of the Union? Some countries including the U.S. engage in preemptive attacks against an enemy because of perceived threat or fear without the other party firing one single shot. However, Ethiopia was blamed for responding in a proportionate and calculated manner while protecting civilians and historical sites, and for coming to the rescue of its soldiers.

Another illustration is the recent attack on Capitol Hill by white nationalists and supporters of former President Trump, which was condemned universally, but none of you condemned the TPLF attack using thanks, rockets, and machine guns to slaughter Ethiopian soldiers while asleep, or even the most recent Sudanese invasion of Ethiopian territory for that matter.

In an interview with BBC, US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Tibor Nagy, had corroborated that Ethiopia was attacked, its soldiers were killed, and its military hardware looted. We believe most of your colleagues have access to the same information as that of the diplomat. The false narrative focusing on Ethiopia and Eritrea without mentioning this egregious TPLF heinous crime against Ethiopian soldiers is demonstrably biased and unforgiveable. To attack a poor country like Ethiopia, USIPCSIS and other U.S. agencies are often fooled by propaganda hatched and disseminated by agents of the former regime. For many Ethiopians, TPLF was the worst regime ever came to power in Ethiopia, and some even compare it to Khmer Rouge and other notorious regimes around the world. TPLF posed a mortal danger to the survival of Ethiopia as a state and brought untold misery and agony on the Ethiopian people without the world ever realizing it.

TPLF Left Ethiopia Ungovernable and Unlivable

I argue that the TPLF regime and the ethnic federalism it created, which some of you fervently supported, made Ethiopia unstable, unlivable, ungovernable, and difficult to live in, to trade or travel for the majority of Ethiopians due to the ethnic animosity the system created.

Ethiopians are deeply dismayed about the Western media and the disinformation campaign they are waging against Ethiopia by relying on opinions of so-called regional experts, who have very limited knowledge about the complexities of politics, economics, and history of the Horn of Africa. For instance, Alex De Waal, a British national at Tuft’s university, memorialized Seyoum Mesfin, the politburo   member and foreign minister of TPLF and the architect of the coup.  Martin Plaut, another former BBC correspondent, reported, “The Ethiopian government stole the Ark of Covenant from Axum and executed 750 priests in front of the church.” This false statement could only have come from the most zealous supporter of the TPLF, not a professional journalist who reports for one of the most renowned foreign news agencies. As a longtime observer of Ethiopian politics, I know these statements are not based on facts but on fabricated, partisan accounts that normally originate from agents of the TPLF. I also suggest in the strongest terms possible that you read the distorted reporting of the Economist, another British magazine’s innuendo alleging that Ethiopia is deliberately starving the people of Tigray to win the war.

Ethiopians Dismayed by Western Critics and Media

Because of these and many negative portrayals of Ethiopia, American citizens of Ethiopian descent here in the states feel that our country of origin is becoming the “punching bag” of the Western media. We feel that Ethiopia is not getting a fair treatment by Western media and so-called Ethiopian experts of foreign backgrounds. Of course, TPLF built a huge PR machine, a strong relationship in the media and other important places during the last 30-40 years using stolen funds from the country and was able to stifle the voices of the opposition. As a result, we are very concerned about the continuous distortion of facts, disinformation, and the appearance of a double standard used against Ethiopia. We regard USIP, CSIP, and former American Ambassadors to Ethiopia as allies only if they take the time to check all the facts on the ground and not be swayed by disinformation and past personal relationships that they built with some members of the criminal TPLF regime.

                                                                             

 

Weaponizing Disinformation to Destabilize Ethiopia

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Social media-driven misinformation against vaccination, election, and other issues are causing considerable discord and fear in America; however, the impact of disinformation on Ethiopia could be very destabilizing and catastrophic. In a country with more schism because of the country’s constitution that is gerrymandering ethnic groups into enclaves, it is easy to drop a match to burn the whole country.

In 2018, a glimpse of hope for democracy and unity rose above the Ethiopian horizon, with the election of Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who quickly went to work to correct the wrongs of TPLF.  He immediately established peace with Eritrea, released thousands of political prisoners, and invited opposition parties in exile to join him in transforming the country. Unfortunately, this did not go well with Tigray Peoples Liberation Front or TPLF, so they fled to Tigray, the province they represented.  On the morning of November 3, 2020, TPLF forces attacked Ethiopian troops while asleep, killed thousands, and took more prisoners to overthrow the Abiy government. UN:TPLF’s pre-emptive strike started the war.

TPLF Ruled as an Ethnic Cabal

TPLF ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist for 27 years. They designed and implemented various tactics to destroy Ethiopia’s social fabric and national identity, including denigrating its former leaders and history. close to what Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia. Unlike the Khmer Rouge, TPLF operated as an ethnic cabal, controlling every aspect of the government, army, economy, and foreign policy establishments, even though TPLF accounted for only 6% of the population. Many government officials became billionaires and millionaires by embezzling while Ethiopians starved. TPLF family members and loyalists took advantage of government-funded scholarships at home and abroad, thus becoming the country’s wealthiest and the best educated. They called all the shots.  Nothing happened without their approval, whether opening a business, hiring, firing or even enforcing the law. In effect, they were the judge, jury, and executioners.

Foreign Media is Being Hoodwinked

Boko Haram victims were placed in Axum, and the photograph was shared with Amnesty International and BBC; unfortunately, both published this false report Click here to read more.

While any atrocities should be condemned and independently investigated, there are indications TPLF supporters are going beyond reporting such atrocities but fabricating. Pictures of Boko Haram victims in Nigeria are photo-shopped with a caption to make them appear victims in Tigray and sent to social media, to CNN, BBC, Amnesty International, and other organizations.

Michael Berhe aka Woldemariam, an imposter orthodox priest, falsely claimed he was in Axum to witness a massacre. He is lives in Boston, and he is a catholicMicheal Berhe Video.

A former TPLF soldier named Mona Liza told  BBC and Aljazeera that she was attacked by Eritrean soldiers but was wounded in combat with Ethiopian soldiers in the Raya zone, according to her father. TPLF supporters show a picture of a plane shot down in Ukraine as evidence of TPLF’s success in downing the Ethiopian plane BBC -on Fake News. Michael Berhe living in Boston, claims he witnessed a massacre in Axum and sends out a video that is picked up by BBC and Amnesty International. These and some real atrocities have generated a massive backlash against the Ethiopian government, which claims it is only engaged in law enforcement operations after a coup attempt, not attacking civilians. Worse supporters of the TPLF, such as Martin Plaut and Alex De Waal, and other friends are engaged in fabrications. For example, Martin Plaut tweeted on January 9, 2021, stating that 750 individuals and priests were taken out of the church and massacred to steal the Ark of the Covenant from the Axum Zion Church. The church denied all of his allegations. Alex De Waal claimed that the Ethiopian government is deliberately starving Tigray’s people, despite the government spending billions in meeting this need. One other ridiculous lie was a post claiming that the U.S. is going to Bomb Ethiopia: Click here to read.

Martin Plaut falsely alleged Ethiopia massacred 750 people to steal the Ark of the Covenant.

TPLF supporters mastered the art of fabricating stories through their domestic and foreign surrogates and supporters (Lawrence Freeman-Disinformation Campaign by TPLF). So far, the Ethiopian government is not responding to or countering these allegations, and the media is not doing an excellent job in investigating or checking TPLF sources or informants. Most of their sources are setups or TPLF soldiers who fled to Sudan as refugees. TPLF supporters are banging on the doors of Congress, the White House, and the UN to sanction Ethiopia, often based on unsubstantiated charges. Martin Plaut caught teaching according to the attached video https://youtu.be/LKlDCoosMfM?t=200 TPLF supporters how to fool the western media by creating plausible or fabricated videos and documentaries about Ethiopia. He said most media outlets are hungry for news about Ethiopia, especially VOA and BBC Amharic services.  In the same idea, Dr.  Natalia Vasquez, an Eritrean government critique shares her finding where TPLF forced Eritrean refugees to dress like Eritrean troops and forced them to slash the breasts of innocent women. The purpose was to ascribe the blame to Eritrean troops. Please note the video is mostly in Amharic.

Weaponizing Disinformation to Punish Ethiopia

TPLF is weaponizing disinformation to shame and charge Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers with a massacre, with a crime against humanity, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and more without corroboration. Furthermore, they are appealing to the international community to impose economic sanctions on Ethiopia. This does not mean that combatants from either side or both sides don’t commit such crimes, but the fabrication makes it difficult for the truth to be told.

Unfortunately, TPLF may have mastered the art of disinformation. At first, they targeted Eritreans, now Ethiopia. Daily, TPLF is sharing with BBC and others unbelievable crime videos involving Ethiopian troops. Here is another storytelling how TPLF fabricates:  Refugees forced to dress up as Eritrean troops to make a false documentary

In one episode, you see Ethiopian soldiers digging a grave and throwing TPLF soldiers and shooting them inside the tomb, and one of the soldiers is heard saying, don’t waste no more than one bullet for each. Ethiopian soldiers are not monolotic, each unit and division is represented by various ethnic groups. So there is likely Tigrayan officers who not let such atrocities take place and for one 

In another location, Ethiopian soldiers are seen shooting civilians and throwing them over the cliff. Ethiopian soldiers record all these and share them with TPLF and to the media. Both videos start and stop as if they have been put together in a studio.

This criminal act is unbelievable that any soldier with the right mind, let alone a professional soldier, will commit such crimes against their own people and share them with the media. The conclusion is that TPLF is concocting and fabricating these videos to shame Ethiopia and to seek UN and US intervention, and put economic sanctions.

Massacre of Ethiopian Soldiers / Waging a Coup d’état

TPLF staged an unsuccessful coup, resulting in thousands of Ethiopian troops’ death and the looting of Ethiopia’s military equipment. Due to the war with Eritrea from 1988-2000, most Ethiopian forces and equipment were located in Tigray. Many Ethiopian soldiers were killed while asleep, and others were shot after they refused to join the coup d’état. Those who survived and fled narrated their predicament with tears, describing the horror as betrayal, humiliation, and being condemned to death at the hands of their comrades or fellow Ethiopians who happened to be from a different ethnic group. To isolate the soldiers and finish them off, TPLF disabled all communication networks, forcing surviving units to defend themselves during 8-12 days without food, water, or any supplies.

Impact of the conflict

Now the conflict has resulted in making an already precarious life more portentous. Close to two million people in Tigray were already reliant on international aid. Locusts wiped some of the crops, and most of the remaining harvest was disrupted because of the war. The six million people living in Tigray are in danger of starving because of the conflict. The blame for this tragedy should lie squarely on the TPLF that created the condition for both the war and oppressive and corruption-riddled governance for 27 years.

TPLF’s Seasoned PR Machine

The current Ethiopian government being new, does not yet have the sophistication to articulate or frame the issues and influence media reports. Consequently, it is being simmered by TPLF’s surrogates, vast networks, highly educated elites, and massive resources. In the past, the PR effort by TPLF has swayed many political luminaries, such as Tony Blair and Jimmy Carter, and academicians to support their oppressive and anti-democratic system without a wince. Now the PR machine is in full display, leveraging social media like Twitter, as exposed by the Washington Post on Twitter War by TPLF Supporter.

As Washington Post reported, TPLF planned the coup well in advance, as evidenced in the Twitter attack that started at the outset of the war and was continuing after that. TPLF knew a coup would be brutal to sell to the international community, so it set up a PR machine to sell it before starting the war. TPLF supporters monopolized the Twitter narrative immediately in the wee hours of the war to shape the agenda in their favor. That continues to this day.

 TPLF Motto was filled with Greed and Arrogance

The majority of Ethiopians detests TPLF’s rule because they thought of themselves as having a God-given right to rule and abuse. There was no mercy and shame in their heart. To achieve such power, they devised ethnic federalism, a divide, and rule system like Apartheid that kept all ethnic groups at bay and to feud against each other. TPLF is still trying to resurrect itself by weaponizing disinformation to absolve itself from its criminal history and extend its rule in northern Ethiopia. Remember, Dr. Abiy, like Abraham Lincoln in 1861, was forced to go to war due to a gruesome attack in the dead of night against Ethiopian forces in 100 locations by a 250,000 strong TPLF army.

Ethiopia is one of the longest surviving African nations, a key partner against terrorism, one of the most significant contributors to the U.N. peacekeeping mission, and the headquarters of the African Union. Western governments should refrain from accepting every TPLF’s disinformation campaign to punish and destabilize a long-standing ally, Ethiopia. Dr. Abiy Ahmed has shown his progressive and transformational vision by freeing political prisoners, opening markets, and promoting peace in the region.  U.S. intervention in many countries, including Iraq, was based on disinformation provided by the like of Curveball or al-Janabi (Read WMD Story).  The Democrats, through TPLF allies, are making a similar mistake in Ethiopia.  Ethiopia lasted for over 3000 years; a betrayal by the Democrats is not going to change that equation or stop Ethiopia from protecting its sovereignty from outside and inside forces. However, the U.S. position will suffer lasting damage in sub-Sahara Africa, and Democrats will pay a heavy price come to the next election in swing states like Georgia, where Ethiopians and Africans can be a factor.

 

TPLF Plotted With Egypt and Sudan to Overthrow the Abiy Government

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

Various indicators suggest that TPLf was in cahoots with anti-Ethiopian forces to restore its hegemony for another 27+ years. Thanks to Eritrea and Ethiopian armed forces, it did not happen. The devastating and horrendous attack on Ethiopian armed forces on November 3, 2020 was planned and executed in consultation with Egypt and Sudan. There is no specific public document yet, but the surprise visit by Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to Ethiopia on December 13 was to salvage a failing enterprise without realizing that Ethiopia had already destroyed most of TPLF forces.

The agreement TPLF engineered was meant to satisfy Sudan’s claim on land and to address Egyptian concern on the Abay Dam in return for their support of TPLF to reclaim power. Helping TPLF win the war was designed to accommodate both Egyptian and Sudanese demands.

Eritrean involvement in helping Ethiopia became clearer because Eritrea did not want TPLF in Addis again. According to Egyptian and Sudanese calculations, if TPLF can destroy 60-80% of Ethiopian armed forces and equipment that was located in Tigray, Ethiopia’s ability to fight back would be impossible or insignificant. In case, if Ethiopia tries to fight back and the war becomes extended, Egypt and Sudan will come to the aid of TPLF.

Tedros visit to Egypt is a good indication of coordination

Egyptian public and media statements and visit by Tedros Adhanom to Cairo all indicate coordination. Tedros’s visit was to urge Egypt to intervene when TPLF’s so called blitzkrieg (lightning war), as described by Sekuture Getachew did not work and TPLF started to retreat (TPLF Admits Starting the Conflict). Instead of directly intervening, Egypt may have given a nod for Sudan to make a move on Ethiopia’s territory. Egypt is very careful in rushing into a war since June 1967, after Israel stunned Egypt by destroying the entire Egyptian air force on the ground in in a single day. However, if the war has dragged, it was possible for both Egypt and Sudan to enter in some capacity. For the sake of Ethiopia, the swift end of the war has frustrated this plan.

Eritrea saved itself and Ethiopia by helping Ethiopia in some capacity, such as allowing retreating Ethiopian troops to enter and regroup. Whether Eritrea intervened materially or not, Eritrea’s support was pivotal.  We may never know the truth, but without Eritrea’s support Ethiopia’s situation would have been quite different and dreary.

Failure of Intelligence by both Eritrea and Ethiopia 

Failure of Ethiopia and Eritrea to anticipate and abort TPLF’s plot is disturbing and one hopes they learned their lesson now and work to end Sudanese and Egyptian machination. Sudanese move to claim land from Gonder or the Amhara region, while leaving out area controlled by TPLF, shows a clear indication of a coordinated plot. Dr. Abiy took a chance given improved relations under his administration with Sudan and out of urgency to move troops to counter TPLF attacks, leaving the Sudanese border unprotected.

Ethiopians are accustomed to disappointment and frustration. However, the Sudanese invasion and TPLF attacks and betrayal were quite shocking and unexpected.

Diplomacy is critical for both Eritrea and Ethiopia

Hopefully, Ethiopia and Eritrea mend their past differences, build their intelligence network, and work towards building their economy while avoiding an unnecessary war with Sudan. Though the combined forces of Sudan and Egypt pose an existential threat, Ethiopia or Eritrea should not rush into war despite provocations from Sudan and Egypt. Frankly, none of them can afford to go to war at this time. The most potent instrument is enhancing more than ever their diplomatic campaign to expose Sudanese invasion as a violation of international law and garner IGAD, African Union and UN support with utmost urgency.

U.S. Diplomacy Wreaks Havoc on Lives of Millions around the World. Americans Rarely know the Truth.

Friday, July 9th, 2021

            While people across Texas and other parts of the U.S. recently suffered from a lack of electricity and water as a result of a winter storm, millions of people in other countries live with blackouts year-round. One of those countries is Ethiopia, where 60% of the population of 115 million has no electricity, and the rest regularly endure blackouts that last hours or even days. And while many developing countries have no way out of their predicament, Ethiopia is one of a few with a plan to change its situation. Ethiopia’s objective depends, however, on the completion of a controversial dam on the “Blue Nile” or Abay River, which contributes the biggest share of the water needs of Egypt and Sudan. Those countries are opposed to Ethiopia’s completion of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as any activity affecting the flow of the river may have an adverse impact on their share of the water, and U.S. involvement in the matter has not helped.

            The role of former president Donald Trump in resolving the dispute between Ethiopia and the two upstream countries was a disaster. Trump decided to become a mediator among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, as a favor to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and to help himself win the Nobel Peace Prize. Trump referred to General Al-Sisi as his “favorite dictator” after Al-Sisi supposedly made a $10 million donation to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. General Al-Sisi enjoyed President Trump’s support despite engaging in egregious human rights violations in his own country, declaring himself “president for life” and overthrowing a democratically elected government. According to Tom Campbell, professor of economics at Chapman University, Ethiopia accepted U.S. mediation thinking that the U.S. was a neutral party and a friend to the country.

            When Ethiopia refused to accept a deal crafted by Egypt, however, Trump suggested Egypt bomb the dam if Ethiopia proceeds without the proposed agreement, leading some to speculate that Trump’s stance would embolden Egypt to go to war with Ethiopia. Moreover, Trump froze all economic aid to Ethiopia as long as Ethiopia does not sign the agreement, effectively giving Egypt “veto power” regarding the dam. Last year, Egypt received $1.42 billion from the U.S. – a substantial increase from previous years. Egypt has garnered over $81 billion in foreign aid from U.S. taxpayers’ money since 1946. Some of the funds are used to purchase Russian arms, oppress civil society, install puppet regimes in the Horn of Africa, and destabilize non-cooperating states in that part of Africa.

            Although the Ethiopian dam is designed to produce power, not irrigation, Egypt is still apprehensive of its consequences. As a result, Egypt is using domestic and foreign proxies to thwart any development efforts in Ethiopia. Egypt was given a monopoly by Britain that ruled Egypt as a protectorate from 1882 to 1956. The British colonial treaty signed in 1929 excluded Ethiopia and gave virtual control over the Nile River to Egypt, even though the Blue Nile originates in Ethiopia, with that country supplying 86% of the water. Another British treaty in 1959 between Sudan and Egypt assigned 55.5 billion cubic meters of the river flow to Egypt and 18.5 billion to Sudan, but none to Ethiopia or other downstream states. Egypt is using diplomatic, military, and economic pressure on Ethiopia to derail the completion of the dam. It indirectly supported Sudan’s invasion of Western Ethiopia and is accused of plotting with the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on November 3, 2020 to overthrow the reformist government led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed in the capital Addis Ababa.

            Meanwhile, most Ethiopians continue to suffer from a lack of access to water and electricity, without which the country cannot escape its current hardship, grow its economy, and end recurring famine and poverty. Despite its need for electricity, the country was unable to secure financing from the World Bank or other financial institutions on which Egypt had put pressure, so Ethiopia has to rely exclusively on internal financing to build the dam. Now, Egypt and Sudan are threatening Ethiopia with an invasion or sabotage if it proceeds with the dam without their approval or an agreement favorable to their own water supplies. This comes in total denial of Ethiopia’s entitlement to use the Blue Nile for its development to overcome the poverty and famine to which the country has been subjected for many decades.

            The U.S. role in expanding access to water and electricity is critical for humanitarian reasons and to promote stability around the world. Also, the U.S. should serve as an impartial mediator to solve world conflicts when needed. Many people lack electricity in developing countries, while others suffer outages and rolling blackouts. In countries like Ethiopia, water is scarce and dirty, and deaths including child mortality from waterborne diseases occur regularly. Because electricity is a scarce commodity, women and young girls are forced to fetch wood in the forest to make a living, rendering them vulnerable to attack. The use of firewood as fuel leads to carbon monoxide poisoning, another common cause of death.

            The excruciating life experience pervasive throughout the developing world by no means minimizes the suffering and deaths that took place in Texas and other states – tragedies that could have been avoided with proper preparation. Until countries such as the U.S. set aside greed and ideological and political differences in the interest of managing resources carefully, water, electricity, and other essentials of living will remain scarce for millions of people – not only in Ethiopia but also throughout the world. More importantly, failure to apply U.S. diplomacy in a fair and judicious manner can also create a permanent havoc on the lives of millions around the world.

 

 

Ethiopian Muslims Rights Should be Respected

Monday, May 10th, 2021

Ethiopian Muslims, as taxpayers, have the right to use any public facility in Ethiopia. The recent controversy raised by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church through its patriarch Office or other government officials to deny Ethiopian Muslims to use Maskel Square for Grand Ethiopian Iftar or for any other purpose is unwarranted. Maskel Square is just a name, it does not say it belongs to Christians only or to anybody. It will serve the enemies of Ethiopia to divide Ethiopians now among religious divisions. Since a TPLF supporter leads the Orthodox Church or other reactionaries, there should be a severe analysis if this is designed to drive a wedge among Ethiopian Muslims and Christians to serve narrow nationalist or TPLF interest or the actual wishes of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers. This denial in Addis may be in line with the philosophy in Axum, where Muslims are not allowed to build a mosque since the beginning of time. 

 After TPLF took over the Orthodox Church, TPLF had its eye on the Muslim leadership. In the process, it tried to pit Muslims against the Orthodox Church, especially against Amharas. However,  through the leadership of Imam Haji Zumakan Jemal of the grand Anwar Mosque, Ethiopian Muslims refused to join TPLF. Consequently, many Muslims were killed and imprisoned, including Imam Zumakan, when TPLF sent armed people to remove the leadership and put its appointed leaders.

The recent controversy could be a scheme by the current Patriarch or others to drive wedges between Christians and Muslims and to serve anti-Ethiopian interests. Furthermore,  this can antagonize Ethiopian Muslims and make them feel like second-class citizens, which was often the case before 1974.

The intervention of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) and statement led by the Patriarch’s Office suggesting that the event be held somewhere else other than Mesqel Square was unfortunate, as this negates the equality of all religions in Ethiopia and equal access to public venues for Muslims. This could be interpreted as EOTC wants to keep its dominance and preferred status and delegate other religions to second-class status or drive a wedge between the two religions.

The Abiy regime has always stayed silent when tragedies happen in Ataye, in Wollega, and elsewhere. It cannot prevent conflicts before they happened because of poor intelligence or intervene with force when they happened. 

I recall the celebration of Irreechaa and other festivals at the Maskel Square/Adebaby. I am not sure if Maskal Square is the proper venue for religious or traditional celebrations. However, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If it can be used by any religious group or by traditional groups, it would have been fair to allow Muslims to access it. This is a clear indication that there are forces bent backward to destroy Ethiopia by any means necessary, either inflaming ethnic tension or religious differences. 

The Abiy regime has failed so far to curtail these forces either by lack of will, lack of power, or in cahoots with them. Nobody knows, but it looks like, in matters of importance to the nation’s survival, he often goes AWL. 

Despite his flowery rhetoric and reconciliatory speeches, he is driving Ethiopia into the abyss. People have to be cognizant of this fact and make sure Muslims, Christians, and ethnic groups do not fall for this trap. Imam Haji Zumakan Jemal was my uncle, and I was proud of him when he defied Meles Zenawi to collude with him against Christians. He paid a small price; nonetheless, Ethiopia is in a mortal danger than ever before. If a leader cannot comprehend the gravity of such a mistake, such as oppressing or antagonizing almost half of the country’s population in a trivial matter like this is unfortunate. Furthermore,  failure to respond to a TPLF patriarch’s damning press release, allowing Jawar, and others plot to kill Hachalu to start an ethnic war,  allow Asamnew Tsege to plot the assassination of Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen, and allowing TPLF to slaughter Ethiopian soldiers while asleep because of poor intelligence shows lack of wisdom and the foresight and abdication of responsibility. It might be time for new leadership or for a new party or for both.

Withdrawing my Articles About Tigray

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
Given some doubts about the situation in Tigray in terms of possible multiple human rights violations, I am withdrawing all my pieces about the situation until further notice.
Despite my opposition to TPLF, I have great respect and admiration for the people of Tigray for their hard work and spirit of Ethiopiawinet.
So I hope any human rights violation against the people of Tigray stops immediately and without any delay.