“Western understanding of Ethiopia’s war shamefully unvarnished”:Ann Fitz- Gerald

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ADDIS ABABA-The world has to break the one-sided international approach to Ethiopia’s war, a renowned nternational security analyst said, adding that the Western understanding of the war is shamefully unvarnished.

Speaking to a journalist Klasse kampen, international security analyst and Director of Canada’s Balsillie School of International Affairs Ann Fitz-Gerald (Professor) stated that the world has followed the developments of Ethiopia’s war from the outside, with very limited access to secure information. Consequently, observers quarrel about almost everything that who started the war, the military capacity of conflicting parties, who is behind the abuses against civilians, and who prolongs the war.

The scholar stressed that the world community tends to forget Abiy Ahmed is a democratically elected head of government who is challenged by a former authoritarian party that ruled the country for 27 years. TPLF supporters began spreading the #Tigray Genocide on Twitter just hours after the federal government’s counterattack against terrorist TPLF’s occupation of the military base on November 4, 2020. Thus defense against an armed group was portrayed as an attack on an ethnic minority.

Fitz-Gerald further highlighted that the war has spread when government forces withdrew from Tigray last summer and the TPLF moved into neighboring Amhara and Afar states, which cost thousands of lives and led millions to flee, massacres, ethnic cleansing and mass rapes.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. has put heavy pressure on Abiy, including in deleting Ethiopia from African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). As a result, thousands of Ethiopians their jobs, mainly female workers in the textile industry have been particularly hard hit.

On the contrary, the TPLF has escaped sanctions. “In fact, TPLF is the only player in the war that has not received any sanctions against it. This is despite the fact that the faction initiated, expanded and extended the war,” she added. “This is so obvious that it is shameful. Someone has to break the silence.”

As to her, the U.S. supports the TPLF uprising in order to intervene and oust the government. Thus, the former is to blame for significant parts of the destruction in Ethiopia.

“The U.S. thought that it would have a better opportunity to support the Tigray population if the government forces were out of the state, and they could cooperate with the local authorities. But the local authorities are strengthening the armed rebels with humanitarian considerations.”

“The U.S. stance has become particularly clear with current President Joe Biden. His administration consists of several old friends of the terrorist TPLF leaders. Among them is Susan Rice, a former national security adviser and now head of the Biden administration’s domestic policy council.”

The academician pointed out that the U.S. interests in Ethiopia do not stop there. For a while Chinese, Turkish and Russian influence in the Horn of Africa is increasing the former has been sidelined. Abiy’s policy is largely about regional independence. It is not in the interest of the U.S. which wants to control maritime passengers and access to resources in and around Ethiopia.

“I think that the U.S. will continue to isolate itself if they continue this policy.”

Recently, the government made it clear that it wants dialogue with other parts of the political community after releasing several opposition leaders who have been detained during the conflict. Abiy should not negotiate with a non-governmental armed group. No Western country could be pressured to do something similar, Fitz-Gerald recommended.

BY MISGANAW ASNAKE

THE THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2022

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