Galloping a Dying Horse: the US and TPLF Gliding through a Blind Alley!
Aregawi Berhe (PhD)
The unholy alliance between the US Administration and TPLF was made public in London in 1991 after long clandestine dealings of the two parties to subject Ethiopia to secret bidding. Thereafter, the former together with its junior partner, the UK Blaire party, devised an exit strategy for the dictator Mengistu H.M. and a gateway for the ill-humored dictator, the late Legesse (Meles) Zenawi.
For the Ethiopian people, it was only a change of a brand of dictators – a transition from one unruly dictator to vicious one. Since then, Ethiopia had been a play-ground for the Western hypocrites, save prudent diplomats such as Senator Jim Inhofe and a laboratory of ethnic politics spearheaded by TPLF leaders. For almost three decades, the two High Contracting Parties (the US Administrations and TPLF) never cared about the incessant repression and unbridled abuse of public power that subjected Ethiopians to miserable circumstances. Instead, their treacherous relations persisted in a manner that was devoid of standard diplomacy commensurate with incredible norms of international relations and codes of conduct.
Diplomacy as a field of inter-state relations is a normative exercise of interaction between two nations of which the smooth conduct of relations was set by the Vienna Congress in 1815, and as Satow adds “it is the application of intelligence and tact …” in this regard. US-TPLF close rapport, however, has been marked as clearly inimical far from customary norms in the conduct of smooth and standard inter-state relations. It was mainly underpinned by the quest for promoting self-serving corporate and personal interests that complicated the longstanding diplomatic relations between the two countries. As a consequence of their unwarranted behaviors and attendant practices, the Ethiopian people were forced to bear the brunt of the heat due to widespread conflicts, rampant corruption, recurring famine episodes, unbridled outmigration, and abject poverty and degradation. As if this was not enough, this unholy alliance culminated in triggering the recent conflict that is currently devouring the lives of Ethiopian youth mainly from Tigray.
Why the war in the first place?
This question must be answered in no ambiguous terms by calling “a spade a spade” despite the dispositions of various interest groups that strive to take the country into horrible mess. To begin with, there was no need to go to war had it not been for the evil intentions TPLF leaders for Ethiopia had more than its fair share of incidences of war during its long history of existence. For 27 years, the TPLF kleptocratic clique took the helm of power in Ethiopia only to enrich its inner circle by establishing a patronage system for embarking on unbridled corruption that drove millions to joblessness and destitution. Despite the rhetoric of “miraculous growth”, the realities on the ground in Ethiopia depict that very little, if any, had trickled down to the ordinary people. All that happening under the watchful eyes of the American and British friends of the TPLF leaders dubbed as diplomats. Hence, Ethiopians were left with no other option but resort to the politics of protest prompting the TPLF-led regime to impose rounds of state of emergency. As a result, a series of unrelenting uprisings broke the iron grip of the TPLF leading to the advent of a new pro-reform leadership in April 2018 to which the TPLF leadership consented at the meeting of the EPRDF Council.
Subsequently, the TPLF leaders lost no time to show their rejection of the change that was enforced by the storm of protests of the people though formalized by their representatives’ own vote during the said meeting. Hastily, they withdrew from Addis Ababa and regrouped at Mekelle, the capital of Tigray to start preparations for war against the federal government on which they had presided until their removal. The question then is should one with sane mind opt for war to dismantle an established state of one’s own making? – While all options of power sharing through negotiation were tabled by the incumbent government.
Tigray, a region so far neglected by the extravagant TPLF clique, suddenly became an arena for war preparations leading to digging trenches along the borders of neighboring regions like Amhara and Afar, recruited minors as old as ten and eleven years while their counterparts in the rest of Ethiopia are going to school. Still worse, they secretly organized a new army composed of ex-active and retired members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) who were earlier recruited by the Front. The forging of an army within an army that has a multi-ethnic composition was thus designed to promote an all-out evil purpose from the outset. The unprovoked cowardly and treacherous assault upon the ENDF in Tigray on the night of 4 November 2021 bragging that the act was a preemptive thunderbolt strike by cold-bloodedly committing treason against their former comrades-in-arms featuring as an ethicized crime that is tantamount to genocide punishable by law. This was how the conflict started, simple and plain.
There are indications that the US Administration was aware of such heinous crimes since the criminal group had close contact with its former and current diplomats who were accomplices of the TPLF clique. To this day, TPLF and its supporters serving at various levels in the Administration maintained warm relationship defying internationally accepted diplomatic norms despite the existence of a new democratically elected peace-loving leadership in whose premier was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. Under such obvious circumstances, it is disconcerting to see that the US and its allies are bent on an archaic supposition: “Better a familiar devil than an unknown angel”. This is nothing but, diplomacy and personal ties are blended intrinsically at best! Here is one latest illustration of US bias towards the elected Ethiopian government: In his briefing to the world press on 23 Nov. 2021, Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa said,
“The TDF and TPLF leaders that we have engaged tell us that their top priority is to break the de facto humanitarian siege that the Government of Ethiopia has imposed on Tigray since July. We shared that objective as well”. And adds “The government must remove the shackles that are hindering humanitarian relief …”
Before sharing the fabrications of his TPLF friends, Mr. J. Feltman, should have asked himself what it means when the TPLF gang confiscated 446 trucks full of relief supplies dispatched to Tigray by the federal government – trucks which could have brought more supplies to the needy people, and isn’t this hindering humanitarian relief? Isn’t this a de facto humanitarian siege (using his words) imposed by TPLF? Is it plausible for a government to send trucks of relief to a region it enforced “humanitarian siege”? So, who should remove the shackles that Mr. Feltman has alluded to? Is it the TPLF leaders who commandeered relief trucks or the government that has nothing to do with the disruption? What a sham diplomatic overture?
It is not only the so-called diplomats who are surfing with the dead-ducks. The pretentious Western media and its well-paid agents who recast their profession as human rights activism to journalism or those involved in academia-cum cadre-ism are also tuned to the same drum-major. The likes of Alex de Waal, Kjetil Tronvoll, William Davidson, and Martin Plaut, to mention but a few, are intentionally confusing the international community by misrepresenting the realities on the ground. It is not for the first time that they turn around when strident calamities befall Ethiopia. They were accomplices of the TPLF/EPRDF government in many of its vile undertakings like the massacre of 2004 of Agnuak civilians in Gambella, the shooting of 193 peaceful demonstrators in Addis Ababa, and the cover up of TPLF’s diversion of the 95% relief aid to their military projects and the ensuing of famines in Tigray in the 1980s, among others. Recently, following the attack at the EDF posts in Tigray including Mekelle, these ballpoint mercenaries preferred not even to mention either the abhorrent stab on the back or the confiscation of 446 vehicles loaded with food aid sent by the Federal government to the needy people in Tigray despite knowing that the vehicles are deployed to boost the military adventures of the TPLF while the ordinary people of Tigray continue to suffer from hunger.
Recently, another TPLF gimmick transpired at the seat of the US administration. The TPLF henchman Berhane Gebre Kaisi, spokesman for the TPLF gang together with his friend Prof. Ephraim Isaac hosted a zoom-meeting that included some ten elders who allowed themselves to be confused by false narrations of current events in Ethiopia. B.G. Kaisi based his fiction on two theatrical issues: “encirclement” of Tigray and “genocide”. He has created in his mind two factors that do not exist in reality, but perhaps created from his fear that forced him to flee from Ethiopia shamefacedly. Who and why should anybody encircle the poor people of Tigray? If TPLF leaders fear encirclement as a consequence of their dreadful deeds, does it mean the people of Tigray are encircled? When and where has genocide taken place? If there is anything that qualifies as genocide, it was the recent massacre in Mykadra perpetrated by TPLF tags known as Samri that is still on the move to repeat the same. It is to cover up the misdeeds that the TPLF gang has perpetrated that caused the experienced mishaps forcing the group to concurrently to play victim. In this, its collaborators with semblance of diplomatic service remain mute for the sake of personal ties based on extortion. Lucky them, they have succeeded momentarily confusing the international community including the UN Security Council, but their sinister designs has no chance to recreate the TPLF/EPRDF unbridled hegemony.
A Hopeless Military Gamble!
Indeed, war is a political venture by other means i. e. militarily, but when the politics is deranged, so shall be the military drive. That had been the case in Germany of the 1940s, Viet-Nam in the 1960s, Somalia in the 1960s, and Ethiopia in the 1970s. Sadly though, TPLF leaders and their associates do not look back to learn from history. Thus, they have miserably failed from their inception when they contemplated to come back and rule the people by whom they were rejected overwhelmingly. No matter what, without the consent of the people of Tigary in whose name war is waged, there is no doubt that the war is already bound to collapse.
To make matters worse, after their ejection from the Ethiopian power-politics in 2018, the treacherous TPLF leaders reinvented their secessionist political agenda contrary to the edict of Emperor Yohannes IV (1872-1889) that still reverberates: “Dear children of Ethiopia, this country called Ethiopia is 1st your mother, 2nd your wife, 3rd your daughter, 4th your crown, 5th your burial tower of silence; … so follow me to wipe out the invaders”. Deceitful of this standing message, the narcissist dream of the TPLF band is to break-away Tigray from Ethiopia where they aspire to preside as masters of unbridled power and unlimited privileges they lost in the rest of Ethiopia. This gamble aims at recreating the defunct supremacy at least in Tigray, if not in the entire Ethiopia.
This egocentric pursuit again infuriated the entire Ethiopian populace which is still haunted by the last 27 years ordeal. As the TPLF warlords that deploy child-soldiers when advancing towards central Ethiopia viewed as their military success, they are increasingly surrounded by hostile people who want to avenge for past infliction. The further they advance the massive the engulfment ought to be, where eventually retreat would be impossible and annihilation becomes inevitable. The beginning of this scenario has already unraveled in the battle fields where military operations are ongoing. At this point in time, it should be clear that, the US or any major power for that matter, cannot rescue the moribund TPLF from total disarray. Galloping a dying horse would not take any one anywhere but only bite the dust.