When Did the War Against the Entire Population of Tigray Start? By Yonas Araya
The War Against the Entire Population of Tigray, When Exactly Did It Start?
<<< This opinion piece appeared on Assenna.com on April, 30,2021 >>>
From 2018 until the start of the war on the people of Tigray in November 2020, Colonel Abiy and Isaias met at least 14 times and spent dozens of hours one-on-one, conferring and plotting.
In the beginning, maybe the Eritreans did not know who Colonel Abiy was, but there was no doubt the majority of them knew who Isaias was, and they knew he always wanted only one thing: wars and endless wars.
When in July 2018, during his visit to Eritrea, Colonel Abiy talked about peace and a world without wars and bloodshed, he appeared to Eritreans as though he was a messiah, sent from God to salvage them from the jaws of the Monster, who had been tormenting them for many decades. Therefore, all Eritreans came out in droves to greet and bless him, from the very young to the very old. They shouted in unison, Abiy! Abiy! Abiy!!! It did not matter to them that Isaias was standing next to him. They believed if anyone in the world could sway the Monster to change his ways or redeem himself, it would be Abiy.
However, soon, Eritreans learned that Col Abiy was a power-hungry zealot and a replica of Isaias. Col. Abiy had not only been a closet admirer of the brutal tyrant, but also, he had been a snitch for many years. He had been giving away Ethiopia’s national secrets to Isaias through Ginbot 7, an Ethiopian opposition group, which had been stationed in Eritrea at the invitation and largesse of Isaias Afewerki for many years. In many nations, transferring national security secrets to a country against which your government is officially at war is considered treason, which usually warrants capital punishment, but, indeed, does not ascend one to a prime minister, but that is another story.
Timeline of events that led up to the start of the war on the night of November 3, 2020:
- July 8, 2018: The new prime minister of Ethiopia, Col Abiy Ahmed, visited Eritrea.
- September 11, 2018: Isaias Afwerki and Col Abiy Ahmed officially opened the Serha-Zalambessa border points, connecting the two countries.
- December 27, 2018: Isaias returned from his three-day visit to Ethiopia.
- This was his fourth visit to Ethiopia since the so-called rapprochement with Col Abiy.
- December 28, 2018: Isaias re-erected the iron curtain; he unilaterally closed the Serha-Zalambassa border points that briefly connected the two countries.
- Isaias re-erected the iron curtain just one day after returning from his 4th visit to Ethiopia.
- To this day, neither Col. Abiy nor Isaias has uttered any word about why the border has been closed.
- The iron curtain had always been on the side of Eritrea’s border but never on the Ethiopian side.
- Around this time, Col Abiy, apparently to appease Isaias and the Amhara political elite, started purging thousands of Tigrayan professionals with proven experience in the military, administration, managerial, diplomacy, running elections and balloting, and others.
- Col Abiy targeted only the members of TPLF in his purging. He did not touch other members of the EPDRF, such as members from the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), and Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM)
- He told the public that many Tigrayans were corrupt; he never charged the Tigrayans with any specific crimes, nor did he bring them to a court of law. The reason was that he knew he could not charge them without implicating other former members of the EPDRF who were working with him. Still, with his repeated innuendos, Col Abiy besmirched their reputation and convicted them in the court of public opinion.
- January 1, 2019: Journalist Martin Plaut reported this story: “Popular protests on Monday prevented the Ethiopian army from transferring its heavy weapons from north-eastern Tigray. The events took place in Gulo Mekeda, close to the town of Zalambessa, which borders Eritrea.”
- This event occurred just three days after Isaias had closed the border.
- Here, one must ask why there was a decision to withdraw the heavy weapons only from the Ethiopian side of the border and why not from the entire common boundary of the two nations.
- Nevertheless, it was a wise decision taken by the Tigrayans to prevent the moving of heavy weapons from their region. Had the Tigrayans allowed those weapons to be taken away from their region, those weapons would have been used against them last year.
- Nonetheless, Col Abiy and Isaias destroyed those weapons with the help of another foreign power, with the UAE’s drones and aircraft, when they invaded Tigray in November 2020. Still, at least Col Abiy and Isaias did not get to use them against the people of Tigray.
- These weapons were the property of the people of Ethiopia, which Ethiopia had bought with billions of dollars of hard cash to safeguard the nation from foreign invaders. But Col. Abiy would rather destroy this Ethiopian property, worth billions of dollars, to please Isaias for a slim chance that Isaias would help him become the “7th king” of Ethiopia, including Eritrea.
- Again, one still needs to ask why there was the need for Col Abiy to station tens of thousands of his army in Tigray after he claimed to have signed a peace treaty with Eritrea. Tigray was one of Ethiopia’s most restive regions, while chaos consumed other parts of the country. Colonel Abiy could’ve moved his entire Northern Command to other parts of Ethiopia to help the police restore law and order there, but he didn’t. Again, why did he want to pull out only the heavy weapons but not the entire army?
- The answer is that there was never peace between the two nations and their peoples, only an unholy alliance between two tyrants. Plus, Isaias may have wanted the Ethiopian army to stay there, as he was strategizing and pondering how to convince Col Abiy to help him conquer Tigray and get rid of the TPLF.
- Since he moved into Arat Kilo, millions of Ethiopians have been internally displaced and killed. Still, instead of addressing and facing the core problems head-on, Col Abiy always looked for an easy way out. He scapegoated the TPLF officials and convinced the public that the problem would disappear after he eliminated the TPLF. Too bad for Abiy now; he can no longer scapegoat the TPLF after he recently declared it as having “vanished into thin air.”
- January 7, 2019: Isaias Afwerki and Col Abiy officially opened the Oumhajir-Humera border. The event was attended, among others, by Dr. Debretsion Gebremicael, President of the Tigray region, and Mr. Gedu Endargachew, President of the Amhara region.
- Why Isaias and Col Abiy saw the need to open the Oumhajer-Humera border without explaining why Isaias had unilaterally closed the Serha-Zalambassa border point has yet to be clear to anyone.
- Also, why was there a need for the participation of Mr. Gedu Endargachew? The Western Zone of Tigray, which includes Humera, is part of Tigray, per the Ethiopian constitution.
- February 2019: Isaias flew the Cultural Troupe of Eritrea over the Tigray region’s airspace to perform in four Ethiopian kilils: Amhara, Oromo, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Addis Ababa. The Tigray region was conspicuously sidestepped by Isaias, even though the performers could be understood and enjoyed the most in Tigray. Here again, no doubt, Isaias was sending a clear message to Col Abiy, and that was, if you want me to get on your bandwagon of “medemer,” you need first to make the “meqenes” (the subtraction) of Tigray from Ethiopia, a reality.
- This effort by Col Abiy and the political elite in the Amhara region to subtract or erase Tigray and its people from Ethiopia to please Isaias may eventually lead to the unraveling of Ethiopia. But that does not concern Isaias. If Ethiopia unravels, Isaias will still declare victory in Eritrea and tell Eritreans, “Look at what democracy and elections nonsense has brought about for Ethiopia. Aren’t you glad we did not follow in the footsteps of Ethiopia?” Isaias’s motto will always remain, in Tigrigna expression: እንተ ቆዶ ቆዶ፣ እንተዘይ ቆዶ፤ ሕንፋጦ። “No harm done.” “ኣይከሰርናን”
- Despite its smaller size, it appears Tigray has been keeping Ethiopia together like glue, and Ethiopia may not remain intact when Tigray leaves. However, the Amhara political elite and Col Abiy don’t seem to grasp this reality. Worse, the Amhara political elites appear to be under the illusion that they can assume ownership of the 3000+ history of Tigray after Tigray leaves.
- However, the Europeans, the Biden Administration, and other Western democracies appear to understand the significance of Tigray in Ethiopia as a nation.
- Apparently, Europeans and Americans want Ethiopia to remain intact more than the Amhara political elites do.
- It is not that the Europeans prefer the Tigrayans over other Ethiopians. They don’t. But they can clearly see where Ethiopia is heading into.
- April 19, 2019: Isaias again re-erected the iron curtain; he unilaterally closed the Oumajir-Humera border points that briefly connected the two countries.
- To this day, neither Col. Abiy nor Isaias has uttered any word about why the border was closed.
- The iron curtain had always been erected on Eritrea’s border but never on the side of Ethiopia.
- February 8, 2020: During his incoherent, monotonous monologue on TV-Eri, a government-owned and only T.V. station in the country, which lasted close to three hours, in no uncertain terms, Isaias affirmed that “he was not going to sit idly” and that he will “directly engage” or interfere in Ethiopia’s internal affairs because Ethiopia’s internal problems would directly affect Eritrea, and that the TPLF might still attempt to come to power in Ethiopia. However, in the same monologue, he implied that his country was a bastion of tranquility, prosperity, and justice, with absolutely no problem whatsoever, but that Ethiopia’s internal affairs were worrying and giving him sleepless nights.
- June 22, 2020: A reputable Eritrean website, assenna.com, reported in Tigrigna something to this effect: In the name of controlling the pandemic, the dictatorial regime of Isaias has declared a nationwide lockdown, not only on movements of civilian vehicles and pedestrians but also on the news. Behind this lockdown on movements and information, flights carrying Ethiopian soldiers from the Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups have been landing at Asmara Airport in the dead of night every night. From there, the regime has been transporting the Ethiopian soldiers on buses to Gergera, a military training base in the Ansaba district.
- Worth mentioning is that the regime has shut down Internet access for over a year. Yes, Eritrea has not had Internet access for over a year.
- July 19, 2020: The prime minister of Ethiopia, Col Abiy Ahmed, landed his airplane in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness of Eritrea; he met Isaias Afwerki in Sawa, the infamous indoctrination and brainwashing Center of impressionable young Eritreans. The Center is highly secure and can only be visited by persons with clearances or explicit government permissions. The Eritrean government press confirmed Col Abiy as the first and only foreign leader to visit that despicable place.
- Here the date and the rendezvous of the two tyrants are significant in that, two years before, Isaias Afwerki had declared “game over” for the TPLF. Still, two years later, to his disappointment, he saw the Tigray region was the envy of all Ethiopian regions as the most restive and secure place in Ethiopia and that the TPLF was still in Mekele and loved more by the people of Tigray than ever before. Isaias could not let that happen; he was convinced that unless he, along with Col Abiy and the Amhara region’s political elite, took drastic action, the TPLF would stay alive, laughing at him from across the border.
- Therefore, he decided that the TPLF and Tigray people would have to be conquered and their region reduced to ashes. Some believe Isaias promised the political elite in the Amhara region to use the port of Massawa, but only if the Amhara region could directly border Eritrea through Oumajir and Humera, hence the quick dispatching of the Amhara region’s army to invade and occupy Humera, in November 2020.
- The land from Humara through Metema, the border of Sudan, was taken away from Tigray and merged with the province of Bege Medir after Emperor Yohannes IV had been killed at the Battle of Metema and succeeded by Menelik II and Haile Selassie I. (This will be addressed at another time.)
- About Sawa: since its inception in 1994, Sawa has indoctrinated hundreds of thousands of young Eritreans, and although it is believed over 90% of its alumni fee the country sometime after the completion of their military training and ideological indoctrination, Isaias has nonetheless kept the Center open at a high cost, for a good reason: owing to the indoctrination seared into their minds, a considerable number of its alumni remain loyal to Isaias and his system, even long after they flee the system.
- September 9, 2020: Tigray held a regional democratic election.
- There is no doubt this must have infuriated Isaias. Isaias does not want the Eritrean people to hear about elections and accountability, especially not from the south of the border. Isaias does not believe in elections. In an interview with Aljazeera journalist Riz Khan on August 30, 2007, Isaias told the Journalist Eritrea would wait for three, four, or even more decades before holding an election.
- Isaias does not want Col. Abiy and Ethiopia to hold elections either. He said during his annual incoherent, monotonous monologue on TV-Eri, in 2019.
- On the other hand, the TPLF, with its holding of the democratic election, no doubt, might’ve been wanting to send a message of elections and democracy not only to Col Abiy and the Ethiopian public but also to Isaias and the Eritrean people.
- September through November 2020: Hundreds, if not thousands, of Ethiopian soldiers, deserted their Northern Command posts and crossed over to Eritrea; then, they were received by the Eritrean government and quietly transported inside Eritrea. This story was corroborated by many Eritreans whose villages lie at the border by phoning their family members in Eritrea. It is suspected that for many months Col Abiy was instructing his soldiers to flee to Eritrea as he, the leaders of Amhara kilil, and Isaias were plotting to invade and conquer Tigray and its people in early November 2020.
- October 7, 2020: The Ethiopian Parliament voted to cut ties with the Tigray region and slash funds for Tigray.
- It appears Col Abiy declared war on the people of Tigray not on November 4, 2020, but on October 7, 2020. What type of democracy do Col Abiy and Ethiopia practice if they cannot tolerate the holding of local elections by a regional government?
- Moreover, by October 7, 2020, Colonel Abiy and the Ethiopian Parliament had already outlived their legitimacy. The Parliament did not have the legitimacy to assemble, let alone to pass laws, and Col Abiy did not have the authority to sign bills into laws.
- October 15, 2020: Isaias Afwerki and his top commanders returned home after a three-day visit to Ethiopia. During their stay in Ethiopia, Isaias and his comrades visited the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has been the bone of contention between Ethiopia and the downstream nations, as well as, for the third time, visited the Head Quarter of the Ethiopian Air Force in Bishoftu, and many other military bases and installations. And upon their flight back to Eritrea, Isaias and his commanders inspected from onboard the plane, from the sky, the soon-to-be war theatre, from Metema to Humera.
- It is believed that Isaias was the first head of a foreign nation in the entire history of Ethiopia to visit any air force base in Ethiopia.
- October 26, 2020: Journalist Martin Plaut reported and quoted Norwegian Professor Kjetil Tronvoll’s Facebook Page as the Professor sounded the alarm to warn the world of the impending war.
- Professor Kjetil Tronvoll is a Peace and Conflict Studies Researcher specializing in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- Some say this war could have been averted, but if only the U.S., E.U… could’ve, or should’ve done this, or that. But I don’t think anyone could have prevented the war because Col Abiy wasn’t going to listen to anyone except Isaias, and Isaias, well, Isaias does not listen to anyone unless there is a threat to his life.
- But I don’t think anyone could have prevented the war because Col Abiy wasn’t going to listen to anyone except Isaias, and Isaias, well, Isaias does not listen to anyone unless there is a threat to his life.
- No amount of pressure or sanction can coerce Isaias to back off unless he faces a threat to his life. During the border war with Ethiopia from 1998-2000, Isaias rebuffed every piece of advice or pressure from all corners of the world, from well-intentioned nations, leaders, individuals, and even the Catholic Pope.
- However, Isaias agreed to compromise and sign the Algiers deal only after he was defeated militarily and his army was in disarray, but also after he feared for his life. That is after he thought the Ethiopian military would march right into Asmara and chase him out to the northern end of Eritrea. Nothing ever matters to Isaias except his own life.
- At this point, it’s clear to anyone that Col. Abiy has voluntarily surrendered his power to Isaias, the power which had been given to him by the Ethiopian people. He is powerless now and can no longer think or speak for himself. It’s as if Isaias has become the ventriloquist and Col Abiy, the ventriloquist’s dummy.
- In a futile attempt, many well-intentioned nations and authorities have advised or begged Col. Abiy to seek a peaceful solution. Still, Col. Abiy cannot defy his master, Isaias. However, if, somehow, Col. Abiy defies his master, his master will immediately turn around and turn his guns to Col Abiy or Ethiopia, or both.
- October 31, 2020: The Ethiopian army stationed in the Guliso District of West Wellega Zone was ordered by Col. Abiy to withdraw its post and head north to Tigray.
- Although anecdotal evidence, if true, shows that Col Abiy was preparing to invade Tigray by November 3 or 4th of, 2020.
- November 1, 2020: Armed men rounded up and executed at least 54 members of the Amhara ethnic group in the Guliso District of West Wellega Zone. On November 2, 2020, Aljazeera quoted AFP: “A survivor who spoke by phone to AFP news agency also said the violence erupted after soldiers stationed in the area abruptly and inexplicably left.” Also, on the same day, A.P. reported this: “Survivors of the attack in Guliso District of West Wellega Zone told Amnesty International that federal troops had withdrawn unexpectedly and the rebels arrived hours later.”
- November 1, 2020: On January 16, 2021, a website, somaliguardian.com, reported these about the presence and movement of Somali soldiers in Eritrea: “After completing six-month training at a training camp in Ansaba, 2,500 out of 3,000 Somali soldiers were transported on buses overnight on November 1, (2020). One of our instructors later told us they were taken to Ethiopia’s Tigray region to participate in the war there.”
- Although anecdotal evidence, if true, shows that Isaias was preparing to invade Tigray by November 3 or the 4th of 2020.
- On January 16, 2021, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, spoke about his November 1, 2020’s, visit to Ethiopia. He said during his visit on November 1, 2020, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia asked him for Sudan’s help to secure the border between Sudan and Ethiopia to “disarm militant members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
- On February 2021, in a press conference in Addis Ababa, when the spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Ambassador Dina Mufti, was asked to clarify al-Burhan’s comments, in what can only be characterized as a Freudian slip, he said, “Prime Minister Abiy did not tell Sudan to occupy but only to keep an eye on the area.” Here, Dina Mufti unwittingly exposed Ethiopia’s preparation for the war in Tigray long before November 3, 2020, and it needed Sudan’s help to “score a quick victory.”
- It appears Col Abiy, wittingly or unwittingly, admitted to Mr. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during his November 1, 2020’s visit to Ethiopia of his impending plan to invade and conquer Tigray and its people from three fronts: from the North, South, and West. For the latter front, Ethiopia needed Sudan’s.
- March 11, 2021: Mr. Agegnehu Teshager, the governor of the Amhara region, as he was gloating over his victory over Tigray to the raucous public, told his audience that the reason the Amharas trounced the TPLF was that his region had long prepared for the war because it had feared the TPLF would start the war. Here, he conveniently omitted that for many months, the Amhara region, Col Abiy, and Isaias were preparing to attack the TPLF and subdue the Tigrayans.
- During the two years before November 3, 2020, Col Abiy, Isaias, and the Amhara region’s political elites, excluding other Ethiopian kilils, huddled several times, including in Bahr Dar, the Capital City of the Amhara region. On more than one occasion, the Amhara region leaders visited Isaias, including his secluded hiding place in Adi Hallo, outside Asmara.
- This proves the leaders of the Amhara kilil were not spectators in the plot to invade Tigray but active participants from the get-go.
The Troika, A Match Made in Hell
The Troika: Isaias Afwerki, Colonel Abiy, and the Amhara political elite, a hodgepodge company of crooks with competing interests: Isaias Afwerki, a sorry excuse for a human being, who wanted to avenge, and if possible, to become the prime minister of Ethiopia; the Amhara political elite, who wanted to revive the old Amhara-centric empire; and a zealot, who yearned to fulfill the “prophesy” of his sorcerer mother, to coronate himself as the “7th king” of Ethiopia.
Note: I would like to demonstrate the following in the strongest sense of the word: The ordinary Amhara population has not gained anything good either from Col Abiy or the political elite of the Amhara, who claim to represent their interests. The ordinary Amhara has nothing to do with the crimes perpetrated on their Tigrayan brethren. The ordinary Amharas are victims of the grand scheme of the Amhara political elites.
Watch Col Abiy in the YouTube video, in Amharic, as he tells the public what his mother told him when he was a child.
(Ethiopia had dozens of kings, but apparently, his mother did not know that)
So, when did the war start, exactly?
By October 2020, it was clear to anyone following the events in Ethiopia and Eritrea that the Troika was deliberating to invade and conquer the Tigray people by November 3, 2020, or November 4, 2020.
The reason those dates were important was this: During the months that led to the U.S. presidential election, many analysts, pundits, and pollsters were speculating of a contested election, which would lead to calls for recounts, demonstrations, and that the U.S. might not even be able to swear in a president on January 20, 2021. So the Troika concluded the Trump Administration would be in disarray and a fight for its life and that Ethiopia’s problem would be the furthest from its mind. They figured they could finish off the TPLF and the Tigrayan people. And that they could do so by waging their war in total darkness, cutting off all forms of communication, and denying Eritrea’s participation in the war. However, they wanted a pretext to blame the TPLF for firing the first shot.
On November 14, 2020, the A.P. quoted Sekoutoure Getachew (TPLF) as saying, “…. pre-emptive strikes were carried out in self-defense against the Ethiopian army’s Northern Command, calling it an ‘internationally known practice.'” Could this have been the pretext the Troika was looking for?
So, did the Troika convey down disinformation through the Tigrayans in the Northern Command post in Ethiopian military ranks to cause a knee-jerk reaction from any members of the TPLF, and not necessarily from commanders in the higher hierarchy of the TPLF Special Forces, or the democratically-elected government in Tigray?
On December 10, 2020, BBC reported this: BBC Afaan Oromoo interviewed an ENDF Sergeant, Bulcha, who said, “I was at a camp near Adigrat city, near the border with Eritrea. At around 23.30 on November 3, I, and other soldiers, received text messages from our comrades at the base in Agula town – about 30km (18 miles) north-east of the Tigray capital, Mekelle – saying: “We are surrounded. If you can come and rescue us, come … Not long after that, our camp near Adi Gray was also surrounded, the shooting started at 01:00 EAT November 4. Sergeant Bulcha claimed ENDF “killed more than 100 of them (TPLF). They killed 32 of us.”
Moreover, the BBC quoted the Sergeant plus another soldier, Corporal Ibrahim Hassan, who was stationed near Mekele, as saying, “After about two weeks,” the TPLF released 9,000 Ethiopian soldiers it had captured in the war and that the two were among the 9,000 released.
The above statement proves few members of the TPLF who were near Adigrat and Mekele might’ve taken it upon themselves to respond to the disinformation. Still, it does not appear there was a deliberate decision by the government or the politicians in Mekele to start a war to invade Eritrea, the Amhara kilil, or the rest of Ethiopia.
However, that did not matter to Col Abiy because the Troika had already been ready and itching to go to war; therefore, Col Abiy immediately declared an all-out war on the people of Tigray by citing the “pretext” a “redline.”
Again, Sergeant Bulcha cited the loss of only 32 Ethiopian soldiers in the fighting. Here, I am in no way diminishing the lives of 32 Ethiopian soldiers because even one loss of human life is one loss too many.
Notwithstanding, Col Abiy has been galvanizing the Ethiopian public as though thousands of soldiers were bayoneted in a gruesome way. Col Abiy is so hateful and divisive that he steered the entire Ethiopian population not just against the TPLF but also against all ordinary Tigrayans. Col. Abiy has given all Ethiopians the green light to call every ordinary Tigrayan minding his own business “junta.” Col. Abiy even justified the rapes of hundreds of Tigrayan women by saying, “Our soldiers were bayoneted in a gruesome way, but the women were raped by men.” Of course, by the same men he had dispatched to Tigray to “keep law and order.” Col Abiy has never mentioned the 9,000 Ethiopian soldiers the TPLF released amid the war
Notwithstanding, the Troika’s plan to hide the active involvement of Isaias was dashed when the U.S. State Department exposed the lie.
The Troika misread the U.S. system of government, and how the various agencies work because, by early December 2020, Trump’s State Department started leaking information about the presence of Eritrean soldiers in Tigray, and on December 8, 2020, Reuters ran this report: “The United States believes Eritrean soldiers have crossed into Ethiopia to help Prime Minister Abiy …. despite denials from both nations, a U.S. government source and five regional diplomats said …. A U.S. government source confirmed Washington’s growing consensus, which has not previously been reported but matches accounts by some residents, refugees, and TPLF leaders”.
Again, on December 10, 2020, Reuters ran another report: “The United States believes reports of Eritrean military involvement in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are ‘credible,’ a State Department spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday, despite denials by both nations. The spokesperson called on any Eritrean soldiers there to pull out”.
Again, it appears there was never any plan by the TPLF to invade Eritrea or the Amhara region, although, understandably, the TPLF was very suspicious, even nervous about the intentions of the Troika. For many months, the TPLF watched the Troika huddling, plotting, whispering, and shuttling back and forth over the airspace of Tigray. The TPLF could see the writing on the wall as the war cloud hovered over Tigray. Still, there is no proof that the TPLF had any plan to invade Eritrea or get back to Arat Kilo.
On the other hand, there is no doubt that the Troika was planning to invade and conquer Tigray and its people in early November 2020. Also, there is no doubt the TPLF had concrete evidence collected through many Tigrayans at the Ethiopian army’s highest echelon to corroborate the evidence.
Furthermore, there is no doubt Western intelligence agencies may have corroborating evidence, even though they may not reveal what they know for fear of exacerbating the problem and making Col Abiy even weaker than he already is.
However, one still needs to ask why Ethiopia had stationed tens of thousands of its army in Tigray more than two years after Col Abiy claimed to have signed a peace treaty with Eritrea. Why was there never an official treaty or joint declaration of both nations to pull their armies from their common borders? Was it because both Isaias and Colonel Abiy had considered the TPLF and Tigray people their common enemies, who had to be invaded and conquered at an opportune time? What exactly were and are the crimes of the TPLF and Tigrayan people? Why hadn’t Col Abiy prosecuted them in court? Were Isaias and Colonel Abiy lying to their peoples and the world about their long-held secret plan to start the war and perpetrate genocide on the people of Tigray?
Colonel Abiy, a Snake Oil Salesman?
Some people believe although Col Abiy’s ultimate dream had always been to become the “7th king” of Ethiopia, including Eritrea, his initial attempt to reconcile the Ethiopian society, including the Orthodox Church, and his decision to let the former leaders of the EPDRF retire in Mekele rather than seek revenge, might have been genuine.
They also believe it was after he had visited the USA in July 2018 and spoke with the audience of the ESAT (Ethiopian Satellite Television) and other members of the political elite from the Amhara region and after many hours with Isaias Afwerki that Col Abiy believed he could ascend to the throne a lot faster with the help of Isaias and the Amhara kilil, than by following through his initial instinct.
Maybe all the above speculations could be true, but how does one explain why Col Abiy’s role model was always Isaias?
Nevertheless, some still believe that had Col. Abiy left the former politicians of EPDRF alone to retire in peace in Mekele as he had done in the beginning, he would not have faced any resistance from the TPLF. Some even believe, had Col. Abiy not met or befriended Isaias, he might have accomplished many of his wonderful-sounding projects. Many members of the TPLF might have even opted to join his Prosperity Party.
There were times when Col Abiy’s approval rate in Tigray was standing at 96%, and at the same time, the approval lever of the TPLF might have been at its lowest. Moreover, although no one tool polls in Eritrea, it is possible his approval rate in Eritrea, too, was very high. But the man-child threw all that away for a pipedream of becoming the “7th king” of Ethiopia, so he betrayed the good wishes of the Eritrean and Tigrayan peoples.
Coup-d’état VS. Peaceful Transfer of Power
Ethiopians and the world breathed a sigh of relief when, in 2012, they witnessed for the first time a peaceful transfer of power to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in the wake of the untimely death of Prime Minister Melles Zenawi. That showed Ethiopians and the world that Ethiopia’s political climate was maturing.
Again, in 2018, Ethiopians and the world breathed a sigh of relief when a peaceful power transfer took place from Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. That again showed the world that Ethiopia’s political climate had matured. No more revolutions, and no more coup-d’état.
Revolutionaries are destructive; they are about undoing the past and starting over from scratch, which creates so much upheaval and suffering for society. Therefore, the transfer of power to Col. Abiy was not supposed to be a revolution. It was supposed to rectify past errors, build on the past’s successful experiences, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Nonetheless, it did not take very long for Col Abiy to write off all the outstanding accomplishments of his predecessors and declare the preceding 27 years as dark years. If that was not enough for him, by November 2020, Col Abiy staged a military coup-d’état.
Col. Abiy disrupted the peaceful transfer of power that had still been in process by staging a military coup. As the ring leader of the Junta, Col. Abiy ordered the extrajudicial execution of former government officials and his predecessors, including Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin.
Col. Abiy summarily executed many of his predecessors, government officials, who had elevated Ethiopia’s stature on the world stage with their demonstrated diplomatic skills and promoted it from a country known for famine and wars to an economic powerhouse and hope for the rest of Africa.
Col. Abiy, the chairman of the new junta, has precisely done what Major Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Chairman of the Dergue, did in 1974, who extrajudicially killed former government officials of Emperor Haile Selassie. Except this time, the ring leader of the new junta went further by inviting foreign powers, Eritrea and UAE, to help him commit the crime.
One can safely say that, right now, there is no constitutional government in Ethiopia, but a military junta, with Colonel Abiy as its Chairman.
What Has Ethiopia Benefited From Colonel Abiy’s So-called Rapprochement With Isaias?
Ethiopia has benefited absolutely nothing. It has been close to three years, but Ethiopia’s borders with Eritrea are still closed as before the so-called rapprochement, and Ethiopia is yet to dock a single ship in Eritrean ports.
On the contrary, Abiy’s so-called rapprochement with Isaias has brought about these for Ethiopia:
- A civil war in unprecedented magnitude;
- Genocide and massacre everywhere;
- Millions of its people are displaced internally;
- The country is on the verge of unraveling;
- A rift, if not a schism, within the Orthodox Church;
- Permanent animosity between the Amhara and Tigrayan peoples.
About Isaias Afwerki:
The following main characteristics identify Isaias Afwerki: vindictive, brutal, shallow, bully, a snake in the grass, selfish, insensitive, belligerent, mercurial, grudge-holder, bitter, aloof, narcissist, petty, petulant, insecure, envious, paranoid, but also, he has admirable patience to outlive and outlast his real and imagined enemies.
Isaias is someone, among probably a handful of individuals in this world, who want to be remembered as a terrible human being after he dies. He does not give a damn about Eritrea, Ethiopia, or his closest lieutenants; he does not even give a damn about what will happen to his wife and children after he dies, gets killed, or is overthrown. Those characteristics have been actual for Isaias since he was a child, and some even say since he learned to talk or walk.
Isaias is very skillful at compartmentalizing his thoughts. He thinks only in a piecemeal fashion. That is, he only plans for one day. He only cares about staying alive and staying a strongman or a president today, and only for today. Every decision he makes, every measure he takes, every person he arrests or kills, or every war he goes into is to ensure that he stays alive today. For tomorrow he will do the same thing tomorrow. He will continue to live his life this way until the last hour of his death. He does not have long-term plans. He daydreams or fantasizes about becoming the Horn of Africa’s leader. Still, he also knows he has neither the intelligence nor the resources to make it happen. He talks about long-term goals during his annual incoherent, monotonous monologue with his T.V. station. But that is only for public consumption. He knows he can get away with repeating lies; he has been gas-lighting Eritreans for decades. But really, he thinks only for himself, about his staying alive today and for today, every single day.
Isaias Afwerki and His Grudges and Disappointments
Isaias has never forgotten or forgiven the TPLF for not letting him win the border war he had started. Moreover, true to his nature, Isaias has never forgotten or forgiven the TPLF for turning his request down to become Ethiopia’s prime minister.
Isaias resented Prime Minister Melles Zenawi very much because Prime Minister Melles outshined and dwarfed him on the world stage, not only with his immense intelligence but also by being the Prime Minister of a bigger and much more populous nation.
Isaias had yearned to have the power to blackmail, if not to be courted or admired by the world and regional authorities or one who could influence the entire Horn of Africa. But contrary to his life-long dreams, after he spent half of his life in the wilderness of Eritrea, after the independence of Eritrea, he found himself reduced to nothing – just the president of a minor, developing nation. He felt he was a failure and thus appeared to develop an attention-deficit disorder. So his constant desire to pick fights with all Eritrea’s neighbors, including Yemen, and finally, in 1998 with Ethiopia, might have been a cry for help from an insecure person wishing to be noticed by world powers.