Ethiopia – Eritrea: rumours of war

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NAIROBI (HAN) February 28, 2016 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. By I was sceptical when I first saw a blog by Russom Mesfun [below] but I have since seen a press release from the Eritrean government, issued today, which appears to underline his concerns.

Tension increased following Ethiopian accusations, on Thursday, that Eritrea was stoking Oromo protests over plans to expand Addis Ababa [below]

“We have concrete evidence that some of the people… involved and instigating violence in these particular localities… have their origins from Asmara,” the capital of Eritrea, said government spokesman Getachew Reda.

One can only hope that sense prevails and that another disastrous conflict is avoided.

Martin

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Rumors of War: Ethiopia v. Eritrea

Could it be that the Horn of Africa is about to be aflame again? Recent developments in the Ethio-Eritrean no war-no peace stalemate have certainly escalated into a potential confrontation, with Ethiopia accusing its northern neighbor of kidnapping at least 80 of its citizens who were engaged in gold mining in the Tigray region.

The PFDJ has neither officially acknowledged the accusations nor reacted to statements from Ethiopia that it plans to retaliate.

Subsequent to the border and Badme dispute in 1998, the Eritrean regime claims to have been in a state of heightened alert for fear that Ethiopia might attack at anytime.

Only these days, Eritrea might have gained a welcome breather due to the recent Oromo uprisings, which Ethiopia claims has PFDJ hands.

Suspecting a possible crack in Addis Ababa’s edifice, Asmara might be attempting to take advantage of an opportunity to cause mischief, complementing Oromo efforts and thus helping destabilize its arch enemy while the iron is still hot.

Although the Ethiopians are not bound to take the bait and engage in a major escalation over incidents that they have downplayed as typical of Eritrea’s bad behavior, it does not necessarily follow that they will not retaliate in kind.

By minimizing the conflict, the Ethiopian leadership perhaps aims to manage public opinion and, in effect, lessen, if not totally avoid, persistent calls for a decisive action against Eritrea. Conversely, the measured reactions might have also been intended to buy more time to allow a meaningful military response.

Meanwhile, crippled by UN sanctions and internationally isolated — and with an army ravaged by defections and endless National Service — Eritrea would be at a serious disadvantage to counter an all-out Ethiopian assault.

Fiercely nationalist and once one of the mightiest and most effective fighting machines in the continent, the Eritrean army has long since lost its aura of invincibility, nowadays subsisting on fomenting border skirmishes and sponsoring opposition groups to fight wars by proxy.

Pay or no pay, the failure of the regime to shorten or cancel altogether the much dreaded national service will only weaken an army whose numbers have been drastically shrinking, its rank and file fleeing to the borders in the tens of thousands.

That being said, the no war-no peace state of affairs will remain intact, as both nations fully grasp the military and political realities on the ground. Too focused on dealing with current domestic crisis and reluctant to trip on Eritrea’s provocations, it’s highly unlikely that Ethiopia will go nuclear at this time, perhaps opting instead a proportionate yet significant surgical attack of PFDJ assets.

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea

Source: AFP

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Ethiopia accused arch-rival Eritrea on Thursday of being behind anti-government protests in the Oromia region last year which led to a violent clampdown by the government in Addis Ababa.

The two countries fought a bloody conflict from 1998-2000, but tensions are never far from the surface and were fuelled by protests which erupted last November.

“We have concrete evidence that some of the people… involved and instigating violence in these particular localities… have their origins from Asmara,” the capital of Eritrea, said government spokesman Getachew Reda.

Home to some 27 million people, Oromia encircles Addis Ababa and stretches over large parts of the rest of the country. It has its own language, Oromo, distinct from Amharic, the language of Ethiopia’s government.

Demonstrations erupted last November in Oromia to protest against a government plan to expand the Ethiopian capital.

The so-called Master Plan, which was eventually abandoned in January, fuelled land-grab fears among Oromo farmers, from the country’s biggest ethnic group.

Reda accused Eritrea of working in concert with two Ethiopian movements, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebel group and the Ginbot 7 opposition group exiled in the United States and categorised as terrorists by Addis Ababa.

“The Eritrean government is not only working with OLF’s leftovers in Asmara but also with Ginbot 7, and they want to infiltrate all troublemakers into Ethiopia,” Reda said.

He added: “The protests that were being expressed by the people were based on legitimate concerns. But at a certain point, there were political elements involved in hijacking the process.

“What transpired… is an absolutely despicable case of criminal gangs roaming village after village and causing innumerable loss in lives.”

There was a brutal crackdown on the protests, which left over 140 people dead and thousands arrested, according to figures released in January by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In a report published Monday, HRW said the crackdown is still ongoing, asserting that killings and arbitrary arrests were still being reported almost daily.

Eritrea separated from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 20-year independence war. The two countries have remained on a war footing since the open conflict around the turn of the Millennium, notably over their 1,000 km-long (620- mile) common border.



 

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38 COMMENTS

  1. that is not right Eritrea was separated from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 20-year independence war.
    it is 30 years and Eritrea was not part of Ethiopia. Eritrea was colonised by Britain and Britain they gave to Ethiopia .

    • Kushit, you’re not Eritrean though. And Martin Plaut, you’re an idiot. Once again proving your true intentions and admiration for the junta in Addis. You criticize them just enough to make it appear you’re neutral.

    • If you are really Eritrean, you should also care about the Eritrean youth that would be the victums in such events.Because, overthrowing issayas means nothing but, destroying his soldiers who inturn are your brothers.Moreover, what guarantee do you have that ethiopians won’t be far worse than issayas for Eritreans.I have a desire that our people to be free of issayas’ oppresion.But, i don’t want it to be at the expense of anyone’s life.May God shine His Face upon Eritrea.Be blessed.

  2. I am not a PFDJ supporter, but this article is just a nice written piece of garbage.

    First of all, both governments support opposition parties that propagate regime change in the respective countries. The article above paints a picture as if only Eritrea (PFDJ) supports Ethiopians opposition groups, while Ethiopia is standing innocently on the sideline. Sadly, this is just the modus operandi in the Horn of Africa region (and maybe even worldwide), it has existed before Isaias and will be there after him.

    Next to that, off course TPLF is going to blame the Oromo protests on Eritrea. Just like Eritrea would blame every possible uprising/opposition on Ethiopia. However, Oromo grievances are central to the uprising, and nothing else. Apart from that, the evidence of Eritrean involvement is non existent, just as evidence on the abduction.

    Just TPLF propaganda, countered by PFDJ propoganda, but the author presents the situation as if only PFDJ is able to conduct propoganda, while presenting the Eritrean involvement and abduction as mere facts.

    Please do not try to predict war (at least in this way), first of all because it become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and because you are projecting based on some shady articles. It is a disgrace to all fallen soldiers and murdered civilians (on both sides) to project wars on such data, please do not take lightly. Most of your projections will be/are wrong anyway, as the information that you use, is not necessarily representative of what happens on the ground.

    Why would you do it anyway? Just to be able to say: told you so?

    • You can die wishing for it, we got it back with our blood we will keep it with blood. Regardless who sits at the chair ethiopia will never set foot in our home. We will die before that happens.

  3. Let them try and take Eritrea on. The marauding troops will be completely wiped out like they were when they tried a smaller version of an invasion a few years ago.

    Meanwhile, the TPLF is still killing innocent Ethiopians, men women, pregnant women and expecting their own people to be foolish enough to be fooled into thinking that this is somehow due to Eritrea’s involvement. Laughable!

  4. What do we expect from a government (Eritrea) who believes in a communist style of one world socialism order. It’s first target are her neighbors such as Ethiopia and Djibouti who are relying on individual capitalism Enterprise and inviting world capital and company’s to their respective countries in order uplift their respective countries out of poverty and join the world economic and political community to stay relevant and not isolated like north Korea and Eritrea. Eritrean rebel minded government believes countries who work with the international community should be wiped out because as they say “they are simply stooges who are against one world socialism order”. Ethiopia can not peacefully co-exist with Eritrea who is heavy handily involved in Ethiopian domestic politics and hosts more than 5 rebel groups who are mostly separatist rebel groups. It is all a matter of time when the two will collide. May God/Allah gives the upper hand to Ethiopia who carries the weight of 90 million people and who represent the African Union and African Renaissance.

  5. The dirty bunch wayani will not save her by going war with Eritrea. The whole Ethiopian are vow to throw this idiot Centro ethnic bunch TPLF/there is no space to hide in Ethiopia. They are trying to divert the gallant Ethiopian people who are shedding their blood in the street. The westerners hide the crime but Ethiopians never forget this bloodshed. Oromo people will never give hand to this bunch again and again. They burry their children and support for this bunch..!!! forget it.Martin tried to cover for them, but too late, Martin under CIA hired the technology went fast before they controlled.

  6. The monotonous dictator of eritrea, Issayas Afeworki and his mafia inner-circle will do anything, everything to agitate and provoke Ethiopia in to vicious circle of conflicts, to detract Ethiopia from its development and fighting poverty programs, as well as from its peaceful diplomatic role in the continent of Africa, setting forth an precedented example for the rest of the world. The bloody dictator Issayas Afeworki and his gangsters needs tone left where they are right now, which is isolated and ignored by the world community, to rotten and die off eventually.

  7. Agamino : you are correct ; the cancer causing Hamasen rats must be eliminated .. The Horn of Africa doesn’t need them . Regime change in Asmara is essential to world peace ..

  8. Tuna fish,
    You must be one of those TPLFites; individual capitalism in Ethiopia? You must be kidding. A country where almost all millionaires, all generals, all investors, all high rise buildings & businesses are owned by almost one & one ethnic group, Tigrigna, is an individualized capitalism? You have to come to your sense. Maybe you are one of TPLF’s cyber warriors, assigned to reply to respond to any of the articles in relation to the country, Ethiopia.

  9. The days of tigray weyane brutal domination over other Ethiopian ethnic groups are numbered. And if they invade Eritrea, it will only accelerate agame demise. Peace to the oppressed Oromo and Amhara people!

  10. Amhara domination is over . It will never come back . you are nostalgic to the crumbled old order . Amharas ; eat your heart out ; you will never again have an upper hand over any anybody even over your destiny . A coalition of TPLF and other minorities are the more than Amhara and Oromo combined and they command more territorial sovereignty . Long live Weyane – we are here to stay.

    • I don’t think so ..weyane days are in number..as Ethiopian..we will stand with anyone TPLF to get rid of them .,…..no room for WEYNES in Ethiopia….weyane and their followers will be treated like slave soon…blood suckers and lotters…weyane is anti-Ethiopia….BANDS

  11. It is very sad to read all the unmatured way of thinking.War is not good for either side.Eritrea will not make any wrong move to attack Ethiopia.If Ethiopia try to attack Eritrea hell is waiting for Woyanes.They must learn from history.

  12. Betin : Do you think a bunch of unhappy, five nakfa a month , want their future to be destroyed the way their parents future has been destroyed . Look around and see the way the wounded warriors are faring . no leg, no legs , no crutches , can’t see , can’t hear , look at misery they are experiencing day in day out .Afework is smuggling weapons to Al Shabab in Somalia , OLF , anti legitimate governments in djibouti , in Yemen, in Niger, and he must be stopped by Ethiopia with help of people like you by initiating a regime change in Asmara.

  13. Most of you sound very dumb, can’t even use common sense. The ethiopian government will not wage war at least not at this time. They are dumb, but not that dumb, war would not be in their best interest right now.

  14. Are u agame. Supporting killer woyane. You will payback.eritrea is supporting ethiopan people from the devil woyane.

    • Jetty ~ Focus on supporting your own people and get rid of your current government. Ethiopian people have a long history of bravery and courage to defend for themselves.

  15. My last comment is a hope for peace and prosperity for both Ethiopians and Eritreans. In fact peace for everyone in this time where conflict and war seem to be the norm. God have mercy on everyone.

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