Abiy-Isaias Unholy Alliance & Joint Military offensive against TPLF will perpetuate conflict in the region!

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY JENNY VAUGHAN Rusted out, Soviet-era tanks and trunks sit abandoned in Asmara's "tank graveyard" on July 20, 2013. In some countries, wanting to broadcast the constitution on the media might be considered a routine exercise. Not in Eritrea, where some 55 soldiers who took over the information ministry for a day in January to demand the implementation of the 1997 constitution and basic human rights were jailed in a swathe of arrests. It was one of the most dramatic challenges to the rule of strongman Issaias Afeworki -- a former rebel chief and un-elected president since winning independence in 1991 from Ethiopia -- the tightly-controlled Horn of Africa nation has witnessed. AFP PHOTO/JENNY VAUGHAN (Photo credit should read JENNY VAUGHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Flashback January 28, 2020

War is a barbaric act undertaken by primitive leaders!

Analysis by Naod Belai.

Isaias-Abiy military offensive against Woyane would be ill-advised, bloody and the outcome will be uncertain.

Isaias has gone without war for 20 years. He has had 20 rounds of Sawa training cycles since, which means he has at least 100,000 disposable conscripts ready for war (see Sawa 25th Anniversary military show, July 2019). So, he may feel he is ready for another military adventure. But, going along with Isaias would be a dangerous move for Dr. Abiy’s administration. Abiy will be repeating Haileslassie’s mistake, where the emperor’s army along with the British airforce attacked the First Woyane in the 1940s. Even though the Ethio-British coalition defeated the first Woyane militarily at the time, the second Woyane rose up 20 years later in the 1970s to vindicate the defeat of its forefathers by the British assisted Amharas . Now, if Dr. Abiy thinks Eritrea- Assisted Amhara military offensive can defeat Woyane for good, he will be ill-advised and better think twice for the following reasons.

First, the current Woyane is much better equipped militarily, financially as well as intelligence wise than the first Woyane. Keep in mind that the entire Ethiopian federal government was in their hand two years ago. Getachew Assefa had already disappeared with all the intelligence documents at his disposal. I am sure Woyane’s Tentacles are still in the federal government by way of paid spies: Amharas, Oromos, etc. so, there is no guarantee that the Ethiopian military is free of sabotaging elements from within its ranks.

Second, the Ethiopian military may not be united in purpose. Originally, Dr. Abiy’s social base was Oromo. But now he has shifted to the progressive party and is suspected of flirting with the old ambition of Amhara, i.e. Unitary government. Quero seems disenfranchised, perhaps leaning towards Johar. Querro is definitely not going to passionately fight against Woyane simply to conquer Tigray. There is nothing for them there. So, the Ethiopian army may not be as prepared as Dr. Abiy thinks.

Third, Isaias ego and Impulsiveness are a danger. He is known for miscalculating. After arresting EPLF’s best generals and intelligence officers, Isaias is known for miscalculating the strength of his enemy’s capability. So, Dr. Abiy’s dependence on Isaias’ judgment is risky.

Fourth, contrary to Dr. Abiy’s statements, the people of Tigray and TPLF are two sides of the same coin. As much as the Tigrayan people hate the Woyane administration, the Woyane as an organization was built from the ground up through the sacrifices of the sons and daughters of Tigrayans, therefore the people of Tigray do take pride in it. So, expecting to conquer Tigray easily would be the worst miscalculation Dr. Abiy will make.

Fifth, even though Isayas-Abiy coalition conquers Tigray at any cost, they should not expect the people of Tigray to welcome them by laying red carpet. One has to keep in mind that the Tigrayan people along with their Eritrean counterparts take pride in defeating the Italians, the Egyptians in Dogali, Gura, Gundet, and finally along with the rest of Ethiopians in the battle of Adowa. Now, would Dr. Abiy really be fool enough to engage these battle-hardened people? If he believes he can conquer Tigray because he has a greater number of troops, 4 billion worth of sophisticated military arsenal recently bought, and a backup from the Eritreans in the north, he is greatly mistaken and risks having to deal with greater chaos.

Sixth, the Eritrean ‘Kebessa’ people are ethnically related to the Tigrayans in Ethiopia. Even though they have fought against each other in bloody battles in the past, the recent one being the Badme war, these two people are also known to put aside their differences to fight against anyone that threatens their common interest. For example, they fought against Drgue or Amhara rulers. So, Dr. Abiy cannot rely on the Eritreans for backup because Eritrean troops may switch loyalty at any moment for the aforementioned reason.

In view of the six factors I mentioned, my advice for Dr. Abiy would be to read the history of Tigrayans and Eritreans. Additionally, by virtue of their geography, they were always defending against invaders. Therefore, fighting is almost second nature to them, and don’t take losing well. If the going gets tough, they may agree to surrender and go underground only to launch another rebellion to restore their dignity. In this regard, Tigrayans and Eritreans are like the Taliban, who survived the bombardment of superpower for 20 years. They will take the fire for their dignity.

Naod Belai
January 27, 2020