A wise decision that foiled enemy’s plot


Recently, the terrorist TPLF group suffered humiliating defeats on war fronts at the hands of the Ethiopian allied forces, reversing the group’s brief period of empty bravado. The dramatic comeback cut short the propaganda of the groups’ partners in crime who had been expecting their Trojan horse to march through the capital Addis Ababa in just a few days.

The Prime Minister’s presence and leadership right from the battlefield has boosted the morale of the Ethiopian forces while shocking the enemies. In just three days, Ethiopian allied forces recaptured the strategic town of Gashena and took over other series of towns and villages. Big towns such as Dessie, Kombolcha, and Lalibela that went through a reign of terror during the terrorist group’s occupation are now in full control of the government. These towns are currently going through rehabilitation works.

With the rapid gains of Ethiopian forces, many have expected the Ethiopian forces to enter into Tigray and capture Mekelle. But, the government has followed a different path. Some who wanted the end of the war from goodwill were puzzled by the decision awaiting clarification from the government.

A statement of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed titled “The decision is not hasty but considers sustainable benefit,” outlines the reasons the government had come to this unexpected decision. The statement underscored the decision aimed at foiling coordinated attacks and saving the country from prolonged war. The premier indicated Ethiopia is not just fighting the terrorist group in the frontline. It is also defending itself from the hybrid war that has various layers such as diplomatic war, economic and infowar. Hence, the decision is a wise strategy that is already bearing fruit.

Briefing the diplomatic community about the decision, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen said the decision shows that government readiness for other resolutions other than war. The decision also tests international community readiness and commitment to play a positive role in the ongoing war in Ethiopia. “Currently, the Government of Ethiopia has decided not to continue perusing active military enforcement against the TPLF in the Tigray Regional State.

Many have welcomed the decision as it opens a window of opportunity to consider other options of resolution that exist without recourse to war. The ball is fully now in the courts of the TPLF. In this regard, those who advance ill-intended interests should resort to playing a positive role in order not to spoil this opportunity. It is equally important for our development partners such as the US and the European Union to play a constructive role in their relationships with Ethiopia.”

The decision, though unexpected, has been received positively by local and international political analysts and legal and economic experts. An international peace and security expert Blen Mamo said the government’s decision to halt the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) from marching into the Tigray State, for now, is acceptable by many standards and the decision would have positive political, military and economic implications. Blen hopes decision to have a role in foiling cooked up allegations that have been circulating since the onset of the war.

“I don’t think Western countries and institutions will stop falsely accusing the Ethiofan government of human rights violations unless they get what they want or expect from the latter. Still, the federal government’s decision to halt the army’s advance towards Mekelle, would bring positive outcomes.” As a military strategy, she thinks the decision will contribute in further reducing the enemy’s potential. “I think the government will work to weaken the group’s military capabilities by occupying strategic positions instead of chasing after every village and town, Blen said.”

Security expert and Balsillie School of International Affairs Director Ann Fitz- Gerald (Professor) also have similar views about the positive impact of the decision. Ann believes that the measure would close reasons to blame shift and disinformation campaign of the terrorist group and western media. She told TRT that: “The one arrow in the quiver that’s left is information and the information is used considerably in insurgency campaigns and so if the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) crosses over into Tigray, they will be making themselves vulnerable to disinformation campaigns.”

The analyst said if TPLF respect this decision and cessation of hostilities is possible it will open up roots to get humanitarian aid to much-needed communities. She emphasized; however, that blocking humanitarian aid is the prioritization of an insurgency in Tigray favoring sustenance to those fighters rather than to communities. “And so the association of hostilities would bring about a clear, equal, and fair distribution of humanitarian aid.”

The decision, for now, would save human suffering from further exacerbation as many TPLF fighters have surrendered and humanitarian aid is hoped to pass through and reach the people of Tigray. But, given the belligerence nature of TPLF, both of the analysts suggest the government be on standby and stop an attempt of exploiting this chance.

For a political scholar Bisrat Lemesa (Ph.D.) the government’s decision to halt the army’s advance to Tigray State is of paramount importance in countering Western impositions and the percussions of unfounded allegations. Speaking to local media, Bisrat Lemesa (Ph.D.) stated that the measure taken by the government has been used as input in terms of diplomacy. The government said it can enter Tigray any time so long as it has a sovereign power to ensure peace and stability and it is able to neutralize any threat. “The decision has great significance in terms of security and diplomacy and as far as the international community’s intervention is concerned, we have to take political, economic, and military, and security aspects into account.”

Alongside the benefits of foiling potential disinformation campaigns and protecting citizens from the effects of war by encouraging humanitarian access, the decision has also crucial significance to withstand economic pressure directed at nations by global actors and the ongoing war. Therefore, economists laud the decision to halt the army’s advancement to Mekelle is a wise and credible measure that takes the safety of the people of Tigray into consideration and counters collateral damage. Speaking to local media, a well-known economist Shiferaw Adilu (PhD) stated that the Ethiopian government has passed a well-calculated decision that gives the safety of the people of Tigray a priority. “Unlike many people are saying, the government’s decision is not a negotiation or a ceasefire but its ultimate goal is reducing collateral damage that may arise by getting into Mekelle.”

Aside from its major goal of bringing the terrorist group before justice, the decision could be taken as an opportunity for people in Tigray to appreciate the government’s goodwill in prioritizing their safety, Shiferaw expressed optimism.

Sharing the above, another economist Zelalem Teklu (Ph.D.) said that the government’s decision to refrain from doing what the TPLF did in Amhara and Afar States is a wise measure. He said that the government should create access to basic amenities including electricity and telecom to the people of Tigray and give emphasis to revitalizing the state’s economy. That would open a new window opportunity to bring about sustainable peace. However, he emphasized in the process criminals must be held accountable and the people of Tigray should return to normal lives. Ethiopians should work in concert with the government to rehabilitate the war-affected society.

Since negotiation with TPLF would not bring justice. It is the people of Tigray and the political elites that should take the first steps in handing over the criminals that are hidden in Mekelle, the expert emphasized. The time would be now for the terror group to renounce violence and disarm itself and pave the way for people in Tigray to breathe a sigh of peace.

Like Deputy Premier Demke Mekonen the ball to choose peace is on TPLF’s court and the global community will also be tested whether it promotes peace or stand alongside actors of violence and perpetrators of multiple crimes. In the meantime as the scholars, international experts of security and law and economists highlight Ethiopia has made a bold and wise decision that averted potential human suffering, coordinated media attacks and economic pressure, and damage of properties.

The January 4/2022

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