This Sunday The Taiwan Times with the aid of our friends at the Puntland Post will be focussing on north east Africa where open civil war in Ethiopia is being waged by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against his own people in the Tigray region, Somalia, the country with the longest coastline in all of continental Africa is still coming to terms with its past troubles and is trying to get back on its own two feet, and Sudan, whilst taking in refugees fleeing from Tigray is also being courted by Egypt to aid in its objections to the huge GERD dam being built on the Upper Nile – an issue again involving Ethiopia.
All of this is taking place in the area geographically neighbouring Taiwan’s newest diplomatic ally, Somaliland.
This is the second part in that series of three articles.
Addis Ababa (PP Commentary) — The Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed presses on with a war against Tigray despite calls for de-escalation.
Dominic Raab, the British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, had a telephone call with Abiy Ahmed this week to drive home the message that a ceasefire is what the international community wants to see take effect in Ethiopia to pave the way for talks.
Pope Benedict XVI added his voice to the calls for de-escalation.
Western commentators have reflected on the premature decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, who celebrated the first anniversary of the prize by declaring war on a part of his country.
Journalists in Ethiopia reported that Abiy Ahmed has mobilised ethnic militias to fight alongside the Ethiopian National Defence Forces to wage the war and overthrow the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) following local elections that gave the one-time liberation front a strong mandate to represent Tigrayans.
Demonisation of one ethnicity to sanction killing and looting is what Abiy Ahmed least expected from the war.
The civil war in Ethiopia has all the characteristics of hostilities that will result in genocide.
The calls for de-escalation should have persuaded Abiy Ahmed to salvage his reformist reputation but now that it is too late to do so he insists on the war as “operations against the TPLF”.
The irony is that Abiy Ahmed has become a leader who declared a war against his compatriots to destroy power stations, arm one ethnic militia against another, and force thousands of citizens to flee into Sudan.
One discernible lesson from the Nobel Peace Prize farce is that any leader from the third world promoted by the West as a peacemaker or pro-democracy beacon can turn out to have the opposite effect that the prize confers on, and expects from, him or her.
“Mr Abiy has proposed a realistic and forward-looking programme. I call on Africa and the internationalcommunity to back him” argued Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia and a Nobel Peace Prize winner herself in an op-ed in the Financial Times last year.
The image Abiy Ahmed has formed in the minds of millions of peace-loving people is likened to the infamy of Charles Taylor, a former African warlord who was found guilty of 11 counts of “aiding and abetting” war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post, 2020 and is republished with permission.