By Merhatsidk Mekonnen Abayneh
March 04, 2021
Why is it Attracting that Huge Outcry on the Part of External Actors
Motherland Ethiopia is an independent polity with its own antiquated existence, unfettered state sovereignty and stable territorial integrity dating back to the origin of human civilization. With that magnificent record, therefore, there should be no wonder if the country always appears, (as it currently does), to be staunchly jealous of its established repute as far as its consolidated statehood is concerned like any other nation of its resemblance on earth.
Being proud of our glorious past, however, we Ethiopians have never been immune from external provocations by way of unwarranted political interferences and territorial aggressions in a relentless manner. As we were not, by far, subdued to colonial powers which had desperately tried to forcefully occupy our homeland and harshly subjugate us on several occasions, it is natural if they persistently stand out against our age-old freedom from alien domination and exploitation as well as perpertual identity as a viable nation.
- The Conflict in Tigray and its Ramifications
To the dismay of the onlooker, the most recent conflict in Tigray Region in our Northern flank is pre-dominantly a domestic hostility waged between the Federal Government in Addis Ababa and its belligerent state of Tigray from November 4 through November 28 2020. The region in question was by then led by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T.P.L.F), once a dominant ethnic group which had ruled over the entire nation until it had been ousted in 2018 and fled to Mekele, the capital of the rebellious state.
Regardless of the longstanding animosity that has already strained the relationship of the two vying parties, the latest bloody and violent confrontation was initially precipitated by the unilateral attack which the TPLF had suddenly unleashed against the Northern Command of the National Defense Force stationed in Mekele on November 4 2020 using its special forces in collaboration with the internally and systematically approached conscripted elements from within the target facility itself in a rather clandestine operation. Nevertheless, the country’s National Defense Force managed to rehabilitate and organize itself in a span of time and decisively quashed the rebel group having had a brief upper hand within a couple of weeks’ time under the commanding height of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
In fact, it was the tragic and devastating miscalculation of its kind on the part of the defunct TPLf regime that has, from the very outset, plunged the region in particular, and the country in general into this chaotic and catastrophic state of affairs with so much damage and destruction on local infrastructure and civilian casualties of any proportion resulting from the internecine conflict tearing down the region to an appreciable degree.
Definitely, the Federal Government had no option other than to heavy-handedly respond to the emboldened attack and defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity having been compelled under the circumstances to act within its jurisdictional limits as provided for under Art. 51 Sub-Art. (1) of the constitution.
- The Reaction of External Actors
Now that the deadly law-enforcement operation has come to a close in favor of the Federal Government in a matter of two weeks, what transpired in Tigray these passing months is becoming an infamous subject of widespread coverage both in print and electronic channels, including the social media with a plenty of fabricated news and information surrounding it in an effort to overshadow the positive gains achieved as a result of the long-awaited elimination of TPLF along with its aging fugitives hunted down and captured hiding in the bush.
The undesirable conflict is an intra-state by its nature confined within the geographical limit of a given polity. Nevertheless, it is astonishing to observe the extended over amplification of its concomitant fallout far and wide. A score of poisonous critics from a variety of circles are heard lamenting and pretty quick to vehemently condemn the swift actions of the Federal Government of Ethiopia for having launched the counterattack on TPLF the moment it had been provoked as though any comparable government in its position is deprived of an inherent right to defend the very sovereignty of its country from similar disturbances.
One has to underscore here that Tigray is an autonomous administrative unit within the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from a constitutional and international law points of view. Consequently, it is nobody’s legitimate responsibility and unrestricted mandate other than the Federal Government in power to rule over the region and take care of its inhabitants in question. In the absence of an official request for assistance, therefore, no foreign governments and international organizations of whatever genesis are allowed and even advised to infringe upon the authority of the Federal Government in the name of regional security and humanitarian concerns as some of them have duly attempted to carry on to our visible embarrassment.
The persistent outcry which we happen to continue hearing each and every passing day from across the wide spectrum of world media and human rights’ organizations such as the BBC, CNN, the New York Times as well as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International etc. apparently sympathetic to the suffering population of ours should not, in any way, amount to a genuine concern as long as it has not been directly and properly communicated to the constitutional authorities on the ground having due regard to the available channels and procedures. Only in a positive and constructive interaction with the country’s Federal Government authorities on duty could these external advocates be able to play a pivotal and decisive role in ameliorating the appalling condition and painful agony of our Tigrean compatriots gravely victimized by the dedly conflict initiated by their own home-grown rebel group.
The unprecedented international reaction to the menace we have been facing in Tigray and the operation conducted to reverse the dilemma has not been limited to those civic and human rights’ organizations. Both the European Union and the specialized agencies of the UN find themselves disappointingly trapped in the ongoing impasse and equally critical of the Federal Government’s response to and handling of the dramatic Tigrean insurrection.
Also joining the unfriendly club of these critics from afar is the new Biden Administration whose fresh Secretary of State has recently come forward and tried to lambast us as an integrated and sovereign political community in an undiplomatic and disrespectful manner. It was a great shame for Antoney J. Blinken to remark on February 27 2021 in an extra ordinary tone that the Ethiopian Federal Government must “immediately pool out the Amhara Special Forces from the embattled Tigray Region”.
Definitely, this infuriating call from a senior State Department envoy could not obtain the required weight, given the unique position of the U.S.A in world affairs. Since Tigray is not the territory of the U.S.A, the desired withdrawal of this or that para-military force from the hostile region is, but an internal matter essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the Federal Government to be handled and “determined only by the Addis Ababa Authorities, not any other external power”, as has been emphatically rebuffed on the part of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no later than a moment after its official release.
Our mainstream culture is full of golden and life-giving proverbs. Northern Ethiopian forefathers have the lion-share of these age-old proverbs one of which says that “balebetun kalnaqu, atrun ayneqenniqu”.
My literal translation of this amazing proverb in English should perhaps read as follows: “Unless you despise or look down upon the person of the owner of a house with contempt, you may not have the courage to move or tamper with his very fence”.
Let it be admitted here that wor is not tantamount to a wedding or any other comparable festivity of the like nature worth-celebrating by any means. Thus, no military engagement of any appreciable scale will ever be anticipated to pass unnoticed without causing considerable damage and destruction to life and property.
Consequently, our innocent compatriots in the embattled Tigray region have, no doubt, born the heavy brunt of misery both in terms of human casualties and mounting infrastructural breakdown due to the violent confrontation. Now that the cruel TPLF regime has been defeated and wiped out from the political terrain, however, maximum effort is being exerted at present in order to undo the massive damage and thereby rehabilitate the community devastated as the result of the operation which the gruesome attack had entailed.
That is, indeed, the natural preserve falling with in the constitutional mandate of nobody else, but the sovereign Ethiopian Government from the very start. Hence, it would sound rather hypocritical for an external entity such as the U.S State Department or the European Union to pretend feeling more responsible and obligated to the safety and security of a given people than a duly constituted and legitimate authority of its own making to that remarkable degree.
On a particular note, Ethiopia has always been the strategic partner of the U.S America as far as regional security and antiterrorism efforts are concerned. Yet, the track record of its relations with that world power is not that encouraging to explore at length.
Way back in 1977, President Jimmy Carter willfully denied us our own armament which was due to be acquired through sale while we were engaging at a defenssive war with Neighboring Somalia.
On another instance, President Barack Obama publically glorified the TPLF-dominated government while paying a visit to Addis Ababa and being hosted by Ato Haile-mariam Dessalegne, the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia in July 2015 by falsely proclaiming the dictatorial regime a “democratically and constitutionally elected Authority” in the eyes of the world.
Worse, the outgoing President Donald J. Trump went as far as openly calling on our Arch enemy, Egypt to airily bombard our mega project, i.e., the Great Ethiopian renaissance Dam, only few weeks before he had been forced out of the Whitehouse as the 45th President of the U.S.A.
It now appears to be the swift turn of Antoney J. Blinken of the newly inaugurated Biden Administration to spit out his poisonous anti-Amhara venom like Hermann J. Cohen, His aging country fellow in the U.S State Department. The former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs was and still is another historical foe to the Amhara community inhabiting faraway from his very abode.
Does the Amhara community match and pose a formidable threat to the only superpower in our planet today in the sense that it once resisted the invasion of along with the rest of its patriotic allies in Ethiopia and bravely defeated the colonial army of Fascist Italy at the Battle of Aduwa exactly 125 years ago?
Fairly not at all.