1. Considering Prime Minister Abiy joining the front line in the war with TPLF. And the TPLF using its cadres and affiliated foreign forces to disseminate its propaganda internationally, how do you view the current (to date) political situation in Ethiopia? Where do you see the political scenario leading to?
As it stands, military hostilities are intensifying because neither side wants to back down. Prime Minister Abiy’s decision to lead the war from the front line was very symbolic in showing that his government isn’t flinching in the face of Western pressure to politically compromise with the TPLF. Likewise, the TPLF’s continued fighting shows that it too isn’t going to compromise on its political demands for regime change against Ethiopia’s democratically elected, legitimate, and internationally recognized government. Against this context, it’s expected that the war will continue until one side can enforce their will against the other.
The present dynamics suggest that the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) will keep pushing back the TPLF, but it’s unclear how long the conflict will last. The best course of action would be for the TPLF to declare a unilateral ceasefire, withdraw from the parts of the Afar and Amhara Regions that they’re occupying, and discuss their eventual disarmament prior to demobilizing and reintegrating those of its members into society who aren’t accused of war crimes. That, however, seems unlikely since the TPLF is a radical ethno-fascist organization. It might therefore continue fighting until the very end in order to inflict as much collateral damage on the country as possible prior to its defeat, just like the Nazis did.
2. Recently, it is unquestionable that the US is exerting a combined pressure on Ethiopia through economic sanctions, diplomatic measures and media influences. What do you think there is co-relation between this hybrid war on Ethiopia and America’s foreign policy with countries similar to Ethiopia?
The US seems intent on making an example out of Ethiopia in order to deter other Global South states – especially its victim’s fellow ones in Africa – from practicing an independent foreign policy. This Horn of Africa leader was hitherto pragmatically balancing between the US and China, effectively working with both in order to maximally develop its economy and thus lift its people out of poverty at an accelerated pace. The US, however, began to regard geopolitically significant countries’ strategic ties with China as somehow or another being to its detriment due to the zero-sum paradigm that began to influence American decision makers around halfway through former US President Trump’s term in office.
That in turn drove them to pressure all of their partners, including those in NATO, to distance themselves from the People’s Republic. In Ethiopia’s case, the US took advantage of preexisting tensions between the TPLF and PM Abiy to support the now-terrorist-designated forces as a proxy means for weakening this cosmopolitical regional leader from the inside-out by attempting to exploit its identity differences. The role that the TPLF plays in weaponizing identity issues in diverse states like Ethiopia can be replicated in other countries in the future as part of the US’ Hybrid Wars on them aimed at punishing these countries for pragmatically pursuing balanced relations between China and the West.
3. Moreover, China is seemingly to overtake the world largest economy from the US in few years and a leading investor in Africa whereby Ethiopia is the top economic partner. Is America’s pressure related to maintaining the economic corridor of Africa? What is your opinion about the interest of the US in the Horn?
Yes, the US realized that it cannot compete with China over the long term on a level playing field, hence why it unilaterally sought to change the so-called “rules of the game”. It pursues this through Hybrid Warfare against those states that don’t comply with American pressure to distance themselves from China. Some ways in which these unconventional campaigns are waged include proxy pressure from rebel/terrorist groups such as the TPLF in Ethiopia’s instance, sanctions (both threats and ultimately implementation thereof), and information warfare. The last-mentioned element seeks to externally exacerbate identity tensions in diverse states while simultaneously discrediting their governments.
The Horn of Africa is particularly important from the American grand strategic perspective due to its location astride the Gulf of Aden-Red Sea (GARS) region through which the bulk of trade traverses between the Western and Eastern halves of Eurasia. Furthermore, Ethiopia has historically been one of the continent’s leaders and proudly supported the interconnected causes of anti-imperialism and pan-Africanism over the decades. Its geopolitical position and historical role therefore make it a doubly strategic target, especially since it’s among China’s top partners in Africa. If the American Hybrid War on Ethiopia succeeds, it’s expected to be replicated against all of China’s Global South partners with time.
4. Africa is the center of the global supply chain. Particularly the horn of the continent, as it has a strategic significance, is a tool that the western countries use to secure their own interests. And Ethiopia is increasing its strategic importance in the region. Meanwhile, Western organizations and media outlets are noticeably disseminating false narratives about Ethiopia. Can we associate the media manipulation with securing the horn?
The Western information warfare against Ethiopia is part and parcel of the US’ Hybrid War. The weaponized narratives are currently driven by faux “humanitarian” and “democratic” pretexts meant to disguise the geostrategic and economic motivations behind this proxy conflict. Ethiopia’s demographic size and strategic location in close proximity to the GARS region enables it to serve as Afro-Eurasia’s production hub across the coming century. The US fears the grand strategic impact of China playing a leading role in Ethiopia’s industrialization through the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and subsequent rise as a continentally significant power, hence another reason why it’s being targeted right now.
Had the US not thrown its support behind the TPLF and pressured its Western partners to follow suit like they’ve thus far almost all have done through their information warfare campaigns, then Ethiopia could have continued its impressive growth trajectory. This could have eventually even turned it into the “African China” with respect to lifting a massive amount of people out of poverty in a comparatively short length of time. That future is still possible upon the ENDF’s victory over the TPLF, but the US wants to offset it for as long as possible. This explains why its “Ethiopian Peace and Democracy Act of 2021” bill explicitly threatens to pressure international financial institutions to cut off aid to the country.
5. Ethiopians, locals and the Diaspora, seem to recognize the intention of the US and particular western nations and have been denouncing this hybrid warfare publicly. Do you think the results would be different from countries that fall into the trap of Western conspiracies?
Ethiopia’s diaspora is one of the most patriotic and active in the world, which they’ve proven through their recent in-person and online activism. They still truly care about their homeland despite being proud residents/citizens of other countries. This has succeeded in drawing attention to how unpopular Western countries’ support of the US’ Hybrid War on Ethiopia has been. Some lifelong Democrat voters in Virginia even supported Republicans during early November’s elections there in order to protest the Biden Administration’s policy towards their homeland. This sent a very strong signal that they’re fed up with these deadly political games, and per the popular hashtag campaign, are finally saying #NoMore.
Those other Western countries that follow the US’ lead are doing so because their governments believe that they’d have more to lose by opposing their American ally than standing in support of the same morals, ethics, principles, and values that they publicly claim to espouse. In other words, it’s a self-interested strategic calculation that hypocritically contradicts their policies. By going along with the American Hybrid War on Ethiopia, even if it’s only through their complementary information warfare campaigns (which are still very damaging since they pave the way for justifying an intensification of that proxy conflict), they’re selling out their sovereignty by subordinating themselves to the US.
Some excerpts from this interview were included in Meseret Tajebe’s video report for Addis Media Network titled “የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ መዝመታቸው የአሜሪካ ጫና አዲስ ሚዲያ ኔትወርክ ህዳር 23/2014 ዓ.ም”.