BY SOLOMON WASSIHUN
To put it simply, America’s policies toward Ethiopia have become irrational, unproductive, and hawkish since last year. The Ethiopian-American community had no idea what they were getting into when they backed Democratic candidates in 2020, which helped Democrats sweep Congress, the Senate, and take back control of the White House from Donald Trump. It turned out the White House leans pro-TPLF, while Capitol Hill brims with congresspersons and senators who are being influenced by TPLF lobbyists.
Over the last year, American lawmakers have introduced several anti- Ethiopian bills. And a presidential executive order targeting Ethiopia has gone into effect. The latest one, HR6600, is undoubtedly the most problematic for the Ethiopian people and government. The American government has never taken such a hostile move against Ethiopia, even in the Derg era. An Ethio- American lawyer described HR6600 as: “This bill has posed a serious threat to Ethiopia. In effect, HR6600 stops short of declaring war on Ethiopia.”
The American lawmakers who sponsored the draft resolution have prepared it with utmost shrewdness, employing the subtle and disguised approach they embraced recently in dealing with the Horn’s politics. The American government has reformed its overt regime change strategy to a covert regime castration strategy-slowly weakening the Ethiopian state with economic and diplomatic pressures.
In the past, Americans were blunt and open in their communication. Last year, the Biden administration was frank about supporting TPLF arguments. The US Secretary of State, Blinken, and the US government spokespersons were using such TPLF terms as TDF, and Western Tigray. But now, they do not use those terms anymore. And yet, they are still pulling strings behind the curtain to ensure the political survival of TPLF, HR6600 is part of this effort.
The deception of the draft resolution begins right from its title; which appears to be beneficial and supportive to the Ethiopian people and government. The Congressmen, who cooked the bill with a recipe apparently from TPLF, and other anti-Ethiopia groups, have named the document: Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act. The seductive title of this anti-Ethiopian bill aims to mislead Ethiopians into thinking that the bill intends to bring peace, democracy, and justice to Ethiopia. The bill is a violation of Ethiopia’s sovereignty. Instead of bringing peace and stability, the bill would destabilize the Ethiopian state by driving a wedge between the people and the government with economic sanctions that worsens the living conditions of ordinary people.
The truth is the welfare and peace development, territorial integrity of Ethiopia has never been the prime concerns of the Americans. As long as their national interests are protected, Americans do not really care if there exist democracy, and respect for the rule of law in Ethiopia. It is not a distant memory when President Obama referred to the tyrannical TPLF led regime as a democratically elected government during his visit to Ethiopia in 2015.
Currently, Americans are worried about their diminishing power of influence in the Horn. They want to reverse this trend. Their real concern is to ensure the geopolitics of the Horn is under their control. To achieve that, they think they have to find a way of dominating the regime in Ethiopia, the major player in the horn.
Biden’s Executive Order signed last September can be taken as evidence for this argument. Interestingly enough, the order states the war in Ethiopia was a threat to national security to the United States. The Americans used the conflict as an excuse to declare a national emergency and thus legitimized their uninvited unwelcomed interference.
“I find that the situation in relation to northern Ethiopia, which has been marked by activities that threaten the peace, security, and stability of Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa region, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.” reads Biden’s order, which was a precursor of what followed a few months later –a terrible bill called HR6600.
HR6600 is the Americans’ latest weapon to force the Ethiopian government to act on their whims and dictates. The bill intends to wrongly incriminate Ethiopian leaders through biased investigation reports, to incapacitate the Ethiopian government, and thus render it incapable to carry out its basic duties. It sanctions the nation’s economic development activities and security and defense capability-building efforts. The bill would also block Ethiopia’s ties with various development partners and financiers.
While the bill is still being processed on Capitol Hill, the White House is doing everything in its power to ensure that it passes through the House and Senate and gets to the Oval Office. It appears that Biden could not wait to sign the bill into law. However, If Ethiopian government decides to capitulate to Biden’s demands and prescriptions, and then the latter is ready to put a halt on or even forget about HR6600, regardless of the political, security, and humanitarian situations in the country.
Therefore it should be reiterated that the Americans are pushing for HR6600 not out of their concern for Ethiopia’s well-being. If they have a genuine concern for the Ethiopian people, they would not bar Ethiopia from the AGOA program to jeopardize the livelihood of thousands of factory workers most of which are women. If they really care about Ethiopians, they would not rush to pass such hostile bills like HR6600, that negatively affect the Ethiopian economy, which is already challenged by the ongoing war sparked by the terrorist TPLF, the draught, and the Corona pandemic.
Several reasons can be mentioned to substantiate that HR6600 is based on unrealistic, biased, and illogical assumptions. The draft resolution did not give any credit to the Ethiopian government’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the northern part of the country. The document has deliberately ignored several peace initiatives taken by the Ethiopian government.
In June 2021, The Ethiopian government withdrew from Tigray and declared a unilateral ceasefire with the hope of giving chance for peace to prevail. Contrary to the government’s expectations, the TPLF rejected the idea, spilled the war to the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara, and committed crimes against humanity. These atrocities committed by TPLF have been reported by independent human rights agencies. After repelling TPLF’s aggression, the government gave TPLF a second chance to consider a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Sadly, TPLF did not heed the government peace initiatives and has continued with its war of aggression in the Amhara and Afar regions.
The document also did not take into account the Ethiopian government’s efforts to create a smooth flow of humanitarian supplies to the Tigray region by both land and air transport routes. The release of top TPLF political leaders captured in the war as well as the establishment of an independent National Dialogue Commission has also been ignored by the architects of the draft resolution.
It is no wonder that the TPLF sympathizers are welcoming the bill because it is intended to serve the interests of the TPLF. After all, there are reports alleging that the lawmakers who sponsored the bill have a strong connection with TPLF affiliated lobbyists. It should also be mentioned here that one of the sponsors of the bill, Tom Malinowski is a corrupted federal lawbreaker, who has been involved in transgressions of shady stock transactions.
This is a fact proven by the US Ethics Congressional committee. No one would be surprised if he accepts a fat check from TPLF lobbyists firms in return for writing HR6600. Previously he has made an unsuccessful attempt by introducing another TPLF backed bill HR 4350, a bill claiming a fictitious genocide in Tigray, totally disproven by a study conducted jointly by the UN Human Rights Commission and Ethiopian Human right Commission.
It is easy to see the SR6600 draft resolution is Pro-TPLF. In a bid to hoodwink voting lawmakers that it is fair and balanced, the bill includes TPLF in the list of entities required to be sanctioned. The truth is the bill could hardly affect any of the activities of TPLF. It is a public secret that the bill could not target TPLF financial networks, which are by in large beyond the radar of the legal financial system. The TPLF is a criminal enterprise, and thus its financing mechanism mainly works like that of the mafias and the terrorist groups.
The majority of the Ethio-Americans, who realized HR 6600 is a poison wrapped in honey, are campaigning to get the bill rejected by the US Senate, if not by the House. So far, the patriotic Ethio-Americans communities have previously made successful campaigns to get similar anti-Ethiopian bills like HR 4350 and HR 445 rejected. They are optimistic about their chance of getting HR 6600 killed.
The March 6/2022