Viewpoint

Open Letter to the US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa

The United States should not stand against Ethiopia and its Prime Minister. 

Dear Sir,

First of all, congratulations on your appointment as US special envoy to the Horn!

I don’t think anyone will envy your foray into one of the most violent, but little understood, conflicts in the region: the Tigray war—a war which was precipitated by the attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian army by Tigray regional forces loyal to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

While the US is focused on this conflict, there are ongoing ethnic conflicts in other parts of the country such as Oromia, Amhara, and Benishangul-Gumuz regions with enormous consequences for the stability of the country. Add to this the upcoming national election, the border conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia, and the stalled GERD negotiation, and you would see that you need a magic wand to handle the gathering storm.

As the region is close to the volatile Middle East, United States’ deep concern for its interest is understandable. Perhaps its involvement is unavoidable. But, Ethiopians recall with horror the arbitrary and capricious involvement of the Trump Administration through the Secretary of the Treasury last year. The former president’s claim that his “favorite dictator’’ might ‘’end up blowing the dam’’, very much in character with his bravado, is forever etched in our mind.

No one will deny that US’s influence in the region can help facilitate the resolution of these complicated issues involving Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan. However, given the track record of US interventions in Syria and Libya, Ethiopians are legitimately concerned it would compound the problem and make it more intractable.

The concern is not about US’s intentions, but its diplomatic even-handedness given the complexities of the issue and its sensitivity to the very survival of the Ethiopian state. A mishandling of this crisis spells disaster for US interests and Ethiopians.

        The cause of the current conflict

In the face of sustained reporting of appalling human rights violations by CNN, BBC, Reuters, NYT, and so on, the context of the war has been lost. But, context matters. The attack on Ethiopian armed forces stationed in Tigray by the Tigray regional force, which was conducted with Tigrayan military officers who betrayed their comrades, was the trigger for this conflict.

TPLF admitted its pre-emptive and “lightning” strike to forestall the “impending invasion” of its territory by Ethiopian forces. Now, for those who don’t spend their days following the murky politics of Ethiopia, the concept of a country invading its own territory must be rather confusing. So, what actually happened?

Until three years ago, Ethiopia was ruled by the TPLF-dominated Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). That state of affairs ended with a popular revolt in the Oromia and Amhara regions. In part, the rage was targeted at TPLF. Protesters felt that TPLF’s domination of the armed forces, national security apparatus, and many aspects of economic, civil and political life was intolerable.

The uprising led to the emergence of a new political alliance within the EPRDF ruling coalition. TPLF lost its dominance and was replaced by a new coalition led by Oromo politicians with Amharas as partners. Abiy, a consensus figure who hails from Oromia, emerged from within and instantly captured the hearts and minds of all strata of society, including the restive Oromos and Amharas.

With his soft words, democratic impulse, and sunny personality, Abiy emerged as the undisputed leader of the country. This enormous outpouring of support from the public made it impossible for the old guards from TPLF to undermine the new government.

The TPLF leadership then retreated to Tigray after they were removed from federal positions. Ensconced in Tigray, where its cadres dominate the society, TPLF started to challenge, undermine, and provoke Abiy’s government. For all practical purposes, there were two separate entities in Ethiopia at the time: TPLF’s government in Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia where Abiy’s government was struggling to establish a foothold.

This situation was untenable, but no one knew how to resolve it.

As time passed, the rhetoric from Tigray increasingly became bellicose and Abiy looked incapable of addressing the issue. The first test of the untenability of this situation came when the federal government wanted to apprehend Getachew Assefa, the former Ethiopian security chief, and the government in Tigray did not cooperate. The federal government continued to cooperate fully with the region, even though it was partly out of the control of the federal government. Everyone wondered what would happen next.

While the Abiy government was at a loss—trying to bring the TPLF leadership to its senses through public diplomacy and religious and social outreach—TPLF  hardened its position. It would not cooperate with Abiy; instead, it would work to foster opposition to the government by mobilizing “federalist forces.”

Three important overlapping events must be included in this background.

The first was the formation of the Prosperity Party through a merger of parties in EPRDF and partner parties of the EPRDF that the old guards deemed too backwards to be part of EPRDF. TPLF refused to join, although it had previously said that it was not opposed, in principle, to such a merger.

The second event was the postponement of the election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The postponement was debated in the parliament. The government also consulted constitutional scholars to make sure it was done in the spirit and letter of the constitution.

While there was no consensus, many scholars accepted that a maximum one-year postponement would not be grievous to the constitution. Except for some opposition elements, others in the political sphere accepted the government’s explanation. Furthermore, even if there were disagreements, the decision of the House of Federation (HoF) that the postponement of elections and the extension of the government’s mandate was constitutional was binding, as HoF has the final say on  such matters.

However, TPLF saw in this the casus belli and declared the government illegitimate, and, against the advice of the National Election Board, it went ahead and conducted its own election, once again showing that it was determined to forge ahead outside of the Ethiopian state order. Abiy seemed willing to tacitly acquiesce to these as long as further provocations were not taken.

It was against this backdrop that Tigrayan officers and Tigrayan forces decided to try and take over the Ethiopian army command stationed in the region. The government had no choice but to strike back by sending its troops and Amhara regional forces to Tigray. Eritrea provided critical military and logistical assistance to the Ethiopian government. The government’s response was the same that any other government would have taken.

Sadly, TPLF’s responsibility in the series of events culminating in its vicious attack on the country’s defense forces has been recently overlooked by the US and the West. TPLF initiated the conflict knowing that it would pose a threat to the state. But, it appears as though the West bought the TPLF’s narrative that the federal government is the culprit. And now, the fear is that the West will push the government to deal with an enemy that has jeopardized the peace and security of 110 million people.

Sir,

I think this context is critical to address the situation in a fair manner. A rush to impose a solution that does not take this context and the interest of the Ethiopian state into account will unnecessarily prolong the crisis.

Ethiopia-US relations have historically been very good except during the time of the Derg. This relationship has grown stronger over the last 27 years. The US offered Ethiopia bilateral assistance which helped sustain economic growth. In turn, Ethiopia was a crucial ally in the war against terror. Ethiopians would very much like this relationship to continue.

As the Ethiopian government was pretty much dominated by TPLF top members who rebelled against the federal government, a diplomatic vacuum has been created in Ethiopia. In the meantime, US policies are being crafted by individuals whose understanding was shaped by TPLF members they knew during the days of the EPRDF. That is alarming to those of us who love America and want it to do good by Ethiopia.

Furthermore, as you proceed with your fact-finding mission to the region, it would be sensible to review the lessons of US humanitarian interventions in Libya. The Obama government haphazardly intervened in Libya after the State Department found it impossible to ignore the drumbeat of atrocities committed by the Gaddafi military pushed by the mainstream media. Many of us supported the intervention for this reason. It shows the powerful influence of the media—but, as it turned out, the media reporting was often exaggerated, sensational, and lacking in context and nuance. The same may be happening in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is no stranger to strife. Our history is full of it. However, we have never heard the kind of cruelty and mayhem leveled against innocent people as we hear now. While some of this has happened on all sides , the singling out of Ethiopian and Eritrean forces as the most responsible parties for the barbarism is unfair.

In fact, it appears that TPLF’s campaign of demonization of the Ethiopian government is designed to outrage the West into action. The US should not fall for this propaganda. It should do the painstaking work of verifying the claims using its capabilities. Should it fail to do so, but rage against the government, it will push the country to the brink. Ethiopia could solve its problems, as it has done in the past, but US heavy-handedness could make this far more complicated and embolden the country’s enemies.

Prime Minister Abiy is a leader who is open to working with the US. Senator Coons spent five hours discussing the current situation with the Prime Minister. If the US could work so successfully with Marxists who believed the US was an imperialist enemy (TPLF during its final days of the armed struggle), it should be able to keep working with Prime Minister Abiy who has shown a democratic impulse and appears to be pro-Western.

Abiy has a unique insight into the country’s conflicting narratives and history and wants to bring Ethiopian people together under his Medemer (synergy) philosophy. This philosophy may not be a scholarly treatise, but it is something the people can understand and relate to. If not as philosophy, it works as a guiding principle. It appeals to Ethiopian’s noblest impulse—to come together and form a political community.

Contrary to his opponent’s accusations, Abiy has shown his deference for the constitution and has not tried to undermine ethnic federalism. One can deduce that he wants the issue of reforming the constitution or dealing with the crisis generated by ethnic federalism to be dealt with via a democratic process once the election is conducted.

As you may know, there have been vague calls for national dialogue. National dialogue is the standard refrain of Abiy’s opposition but seems to have attracted Western think tanks, opinion makers, and diplomats. What national dialogue means and the process for achieving it has to be spelled out. If this is to supersede Abiy’s government, it is not acceptable to Ethiopia. There should be more dialogue with political parties after the election, but those that are attempting to force a political outcome using weapons are not welcome.

Furthermore, the US government’s policy has to make a distinction between Abiy and the opposition. Abiy has shown the fortitude to reduce regional tensions through Eritrean-Ethiopian rapprochement, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize. The previous regime failed on this score. Its policy of boxing Isaias diplomatically failed to ease tension.

The Abiy the world saw at the August Nobel ceremony is the Abiy that is now leading Ethiopia—humble, self-effacing, warm, and articulate, who hails from the two major ethnic groups: Oromo and Amhara.

Having seen what US policies have done in Libya and Syria, I hope you would be humble enough to proceed cautiously. I hope you don’t feel you understand it all, and feel that all that is needed is a muscular US policy to bend Abiy to your will. If, as you said, the problem in the region will make ‘’Syria a child’s play’’, it behooves you to take your time and understand all aspects of the problem.

The Border Conflict with Sudan and GERD

Everyone should appreciate the emotional attachment that Ethiopians have for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which was initiated by the TPLF and Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi. This is the one issue that unites the country: Ethiopians are willing to die for it.

When it comes to GERD, the Ethiopian people know about the diplomatic machinations that have gone on in the international arena to prevent the country from using its God-given resource to generate energy and improve the livelihood of its people.

They also know that Egypt has taken this resource for granted, scandalously mismanaging it, believing that it would forever be its and that Ethiopia will never be in a position to access its own resources. This is tantamount to saying that Ethiopia will forever be condemned to remain poor and dependent, unable to muster its resources while Egypt grows, prospers, and maintains its regional power status.

The GERD has changed all the prevailing assumptions and now Egypt has to come to the realization that it has to share the Nile water with Ethiopia.

The GERD negotiations have significantly narrowed the gap between the countries, but the remaining issues have not been hammered. Ethiopia wants the negotiation to continue under the auspices of the AU, but the US can suggest bridging proposals. The proposal has to be in support of GERD generating electricity while keeping the Nile water flowing to Egypt.

As Ethiopia is now heading to fill the dam for the second time, Egypt is doing everything in its power to undermine the Ethiopian government. In the interest of international law, the US should not let Egypt get away with this.

The border conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia should be viewed in this context. Until recently, Ethiopia’s bilateral relations with Sudan were excellent. Ethiopia and Sudan viewed the GERD as beneficial to both countries. All of that changed last year. It coincided with efforts by the State Department to remove Sudan from “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list. Egypt influenced Trump’s administration to reach this decision.

The result was that Sudan now started to toe the Egyptian line in the GERD negotiation. The two countries’ positions are now indistinguishable, and for the purpose of international diplomatic consumption, Sudan has taken a more strident position against Ethiopia.

In addition, Sudan has invaded swaths of land, triggering a border conflict. The Ethiopian government understands this is not just a conflict about the border, but about the GERD and has called for the conflict to be resolved through diplomatic channels.

Even more alarming is that some Sudanese politicians are calling the area where the GERD is built on a “disputed territory.” This is more nefarious and has coincided with Egypt’s saber-rattling. Egypt has repeatedly undertaken joint military exercise with Sudanese armed forces in what appears to attempt to intimidate Ethiopia. Throughout, Ethiopia has remained calm and stuck to its legitimate position.

You should know that the Ethiopian and Sudanese people have long lived in friendship. A conflict would be detrimental to both Sudan and Ethiopia—both fragile states. Nor would Egypt benefit from such conflict in the long run.

I want to conclude my letter by requesting no policy pronouncement should be made while you are engaged in understanding the genesis of the conflict. US statements that are released before the completion of your fact-finding would jeopardize your effort. It would prejudice your mission.

There are now powerful forces arrayed against Ethiopia threatening its very foundation. Mismanaged, this could lead to a tragedy of biblical proportion for the people of the Horn. The United States should not be a party to this conflict against the Ethiopian state.

We wish you success in your diplomatic endeavor!

Query or correction? Email us

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This is the author’s viewpoint. However, Ethiopia Insight will correct clear factual errors.

Main photo: Jeffrey D. Feltman, the U.S. special envoy for Horn of Africa since April 23, 2021; U.N.

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About the author

Mohamed Yimam

Mohamed is a retired academic and the author of 'Wore Negari: A Memoir of an an Ethiopian Youth in the Turbulent '70s'.

36 Comments

  • An extremely government propaganda effort. US and EU are not fooled by your disinformation. And those propagating the lie that TPLF took over Amhara land should look at your Amhara parties and say if that were true, how come you did not speak up for us. Hint:it’s a lie perpetuated by the likes of Neamin Zeleke and Berhanu Nega who are full of hate. There’s a reason these people were in prison or exiled. Get a head on your shoulders. Long live Tigray!

  • This is the problem with the Amhara elite and the apologists of the Abiy regime. They always make the mistake that they are the smartest and everybody else can be fooled. The author and his “admirers” forget that the US has the best intelligence institutions on the planet, and they have all the information they need in making consequential decisions. They know the exact sequence of the genesis of the war, but the author thinks he can con the US envoy. How pathetic!
    You could have used the time it took you to write your open letter on something that matters. But no, you chose to deceive and fool your readers.

  • “WEAK UP AFRICA ” this message is not only fort Ethiopian is also for Africans, this is the time for us to be united and develop our country’s, we do not need any support from USA or other western country’s because we have everything we need in our backyard. this western country’s do not care about African country, matter fact they do even even care about they own people.
    THE FUTURE IS AFRICA.

  • Response to Stranger.

    The conflict is not trigerred because of the Welkait and Raya land dispute between Amara and Tigre. Rather these land disputes hastended the demise of TPLF once conflict started. These lands which were forcefully seized by TPLF and incporporated into Tigrai province created needless animosity between Tigrai and Amhara. To make matters worse it is TPLF that created a powerful ethno-centric Amhara identity. This is what happens when one merges together all these Amharic speaking people of Gonder, Gojam, Wollo, Shewa into one group and awaken ethnic identity that can become toxic if not managed well. Same thing is done with other regions as well. With the case of TPLF it made the grave mistake of crossing over Tekeze and seizing the Welkait lands by force. The other grave crime that TPLF committed on Tigrais is handing over all the land east of Mekele to Afar without any consultations. Now is Afar going to had over these lands to Tigrai?

    I am sad by what has happened to the innocent people who got displaced. Two wrongs do not make right. The country is large enought for all of us and these disaplaced people and those that were systematically displaced by TPLF need to return to their homes. The only viable way out as I see it is for everyone involved to accept that these disputed lands belong to all Ethiopians. It does not belong to Amara or Tigre or Kembata. It belongs to all citizens. In any event the healing process is a long and painful one for everyone involved.

    • Thank you! I hear this idea from time to time, that tplf is guilty of everything and whatever it did, it did wrong… If someone’s chauvinism is toxic, still not someone is guilty, but tplf. I never heard, though, what would be an alternative to what they did. And I think you confuse chronology a little bit. There were strong ethnic and ethno-region divisions always, and there was also tensions between Tigray and Amhara, as between Amhara and Oromo, as between Somali and Oromo etc. And one group historically dominated. Ethiopia as unitary state without ethnicity is an illusion, and what might look as healing process will lead to the situation as in 1991. I hope I am mistaken.

  • Very impressive performance – the article is the best you can find these days if you want to read through what has been happening in Ethiopia in recent years in a short form. Precise and to the point! For me, an absolute surprise on a platform that since November 2020 is very one-sided and rather characterized by insinuations. And now a second excellent contribution after that of Federico Rogai. Apparently William opens to the reality in Ethiopia again. The development can only be welcomed, because one has more than enough of the reality-unfriendly Ethiopia-bashing of the last months. The only thing i missed but not in the article, is the Email of the author- a wise man like him would be a good adviser for many interested in Ethiopia.

  • Excellent piece of advise and insight. Indeed context matters and the honourable envoy should take time to gather independent facts to better undetstand the genesis of the matter. Western media, including the mainstream media have long become a mouthpiece of the TPLF. Decsion based on their biased analyses and narratives would only lead to a disaster of unimaginable proportion. The US should refrain from undly pressuring the Abiy govermennt to dialogue with the remnants of the TPLF through threats of sanction or other measures. This would simply embolden the TPLF to prolong the misery of the Tigrians. Thus the US should carefully assess the situation to come up with a solution that would sustainably benefit Ethiopia and the horn at large.

  • We can all agree that those who are facing the atrocities, those whose civilian families are trapped in the war, those who have the ability to write, and those who have the freedom to comment here have all different interests.

    Would be matured to focus on the immediate humanitarian emergencies because ultimately these are closely related to the wellbeing of the country as a whole.

  • I was expecting the letter to be signed “Authorized by prime minister of Ethiopia”, you may have forgotten to add that to your letter. 😉

  • Summary of the long article

    1. Abiy and Isaias are actually very good people,

    2. The free international media, human rights organizations, the EU, the United Nations and the entire international community do not have the knowledge and wisdom to understand these great leaders.

    3. All problems mentioned: The raging civil war across the country, the GERD saga and the invasion of Ethiopian teritory by Eritrea and Sudan are all works of the TPLF

    4. Help Abiy and Isaias to eradicate TPLF (all of the Tigray).

    Another crucial example that we don’t have scholars in Ethiopia, but impostors.

  • Excellent article! Context actually matters.
    TPLF and it’s followers did not want equality as a means of existence, they always want to be superior. Although the ball was in his court, Abiy remained humble and was patiently calling for peace. On the contrary, we have never heard TPLF calling for peace. In fact , They were even saying that war is their “traditional game”. They did many things to provoke the federal government until they finally decide to attack the northern defense force. Which country’s government will remain silent if the national force is attacked?
    What happened next is very sad b/c every life lost matters in both side. But I think, Abiy did not have a chance to win either way because all TPLF wanted was to become a leader once again and put Ethiopians into another 27 years of suffering and horror.

  • “In the face of sustained reporting of appalling human rights violations by CNN, BBC, Reuters, NYT, and so on, the context of the war has been lost. But, context matters.”. The writer is saying in certain contexts appalling human rights violations are justified. I think Ethiopia Insight published this article to mock the writer. 🙂

  • This “Open Letter” is written by Abiy himself or by some elements that are deeply disturbed by the unprecedented demise of the Ethiopian state. Abiy has squandered the momentum that could have taken Ethiopia on to a better level of transition and stability. With these elements that strive to restore the old unitary governance of Ethiopia and the restoration of the dominance of a single language culture and even religion, the country continues to be polarized and heads toward dissolution… MEDEMER is hollow and a bubble that only looks and sounds good but has caused further polarization as Ethiopians have never felt divided seen in the endless ethnic clashes in almost all parts of the country… Pity that the author didn’t even mention Isayas Afeworki’s adventure in Ethiopia enabled by Abiy Ahmed who should be the last person to talk about sovereignty of the country… Ethiopia will never be the same again!

  • Response to mister-sew: dear mister sew I would love to visit the independent republic of Tigray. Can you tell me the boundary of this republic. Please do not include welkait, tegede, telemet and setit-humera. No these are not part of Tigray. Also do not include Raya lands. These are not part of Tigray either. Oh one more thing. Tplf hades over all the lands east of Mekele that historically has been ruled by Tigray nobles to Afar. I doubt Afar will hand these back willingly. So please tell me the intended borders of republic of Tigray. Other than this bon-voyage

  • The mixed family heritage of Abiy can be symbolically useful. But Ethiopian history shows that such family heritage need not produce a positive outcome for Ethiopia. Historically, rulers with Amhara and Oromo family roots have chosen the Amhara side of their family. This includes Haile Selassie and Mengistu. It seems Abiy is following this tradition. They all favored the Amhara over the Oromo not because they somehow checked the ‘blood’ of their ethnicities and found one superior to the other. No, the issue is not ethnicity. The deciding factors are power and wealth.

    These leaders wanted absolute power and control over resources. They chose the Amhara over the Oromo because the Amhara have the institutions that can help the ruler maintain his rule. These institutions included the church, the schools, the bureaucracy, business and the cultural centers. In all of these the imposed status of the Amharic language played a key role. What is most problematic is not just that rulers favoured the Amhara, but they actively worked against the Oromo. This usually took the form of taking resources away from the Oromo and bestowing them on their Amhara clients. They also historically gave the Oromo as slaves and serfs to their clients. There is no slavery now, so Abiy just throws tens of thousands of Oromo into prisons, and create laws that allow him accuse every Oromo that disagree with him of being a terrorist. Consequently, ethnicity continues to be the forms both oppression and liberation struggles take. In this sense ethnicity becomes important, however the root causes are the conflict over the share of power and wealth.

    When Abiy and his supporters refuse an inclusive national dialogue, what they are saying is that power and wealth is the monopoly of PP, Ezema, Inat, Nama, and Balderas. All these parties advocate various versions of neftegna ideology. These parties do compete among themselves. Abiy is trying his best to satisfy their demands, but they are not happy with him. However, historically the neftegna were never fully happy with neither Haile Sellassie nor Mengisu. There is no ruler who can fully satisfy all their demands and that at the speed of light.

    If the current on again off again election takes place the new house of parliament can become a replica of the parliament of the days of the emperor. In that parliament the landlords discussed what to do about the serfs. In the new parliament they will dialogue about what to do about the people of Tigray, Oromia, Benishangul, and other regions where the ‘rist’ brigade has issues with.

    Ethiopia is stuck. Neo-neftegna ideology requires colonial like institutional arrangement, while justice requires a multinational federal democratic arrangement. Wither you go, Ethiopia?

  • I truly appreciate your clear analysis of the current situation in Ethiopia. I hope that the envoy will take notice and and take its time and try to understand the current situation and learn from history not to repeat what has happened in the past. As you correctly stated the Abiy government tried to unite the country make peace with the group but was forced to defend itself.

    I totally agree that the United States government should not stand against the Abiy government that is trying very hard to bring unity, peace, security, and prosperity.

    Understanding the situation with open mind and heart will bring a solutions to the Ethiopian people and is in the best interest of the US government.

  • Before the clash at the northern command, there was the siege of Tigray, the military encirclement of Tigray by Abiy, Amharas, and Isaias that became immediately evident. In one political aspect, the long-running Amhara and Tigray tribal animosity was symbolized by road closures, and then Abiy allowed Amhara militia to carry out ethnic cleansing of Tigray people out of western Tigray into the Sudan. This deliberate act of forcing people out of their towns and villages can mean that in effect medemer was not meant for Tigray people. Nor was the peace deal with Eritrea, which ended up being a military pact against TPLF and Tigray. The war on Tigray is the story of a people betrayed, a people targeted for hateful acts of vengeance. From the image of poverty in the recent past that was receding, Ethiopia has now descended into the image of gruesome atrocities – Ethiopia has become another Rwanda, another Darfur, in the Horn of Africa.

    • TPLF chose the war path; now it cries foul when the “other side” responds. Whatever happened in Wolqait took place after TPLF attacked Qraqr town. Its intention was to have lunch in Gonder.

  • I would like to thank the author of this article for objectively analyzing the situation as it happened and what is progressing in Ethiopia. Abiy’s government has exhausted all means to make peace with TPLF by sacrificing justice for peace. He thought TPLF will retire peacefully after the atrocities it inflicted on the Ethiopian people during the time of the 27 years they were in power . The tolerance was too much costing Abiy the formidable support he earned with his peaceful way of resolving differences.
    TPLF left Abiy’s government no choice when they miscalculated and attacked the Ethiopian Federal army that was situated in Tigray for more than 20 years for a very reason that they can control the state power by force. To our surprise Abiy’s government reorganized themselves and took control of the TPLF fighters with in two weeks. That is when TPLF supporters started playing a victim game, fabricating lies and spreading false information from their organized command post through social networks and to the western media.
    Lies don’t serve any purpose. The truth is not complicated for those who want to see it fairly without bias. In the the long run Tigrian Elites have to settle down and accept the reality on the ground that they are doing a disservice to the poor people of Tigray. The superior Tigrai syndrome has to end and accept Tigrians are not different. The inconceivable idea of seceding Tigray while small unproductive land locked state to satisfy TPLF’s ego, fighting with their neighbors is just empty words that cannot be translated to reality.
    Truth is the Ethiopian government is trying its best to rehabilitate the Tigrai region assigning the children of Tigrai in the leadership positions. You have to come of your anger, reconcile with the reality and work to bring peace to Tigai . TPLF does not represent Tigrai. The criminal corrupt TPLF group will have no acceptance in the Ethiopian politics any more.

    • It’s just another piece that makes the author look like a toddler that cries about a spilt milk. A spilt milk is gone and can’t be redeemed and so is the era of one culture, one language,one religion and one flag … no matter how hard Abiy Ahmed tries to reinstate the lost status quo, the hardest it gets for him to have the stability required to run a country…

    • Ashu,,,
      I thank you for your clear,factual and realistic ideas. I agree with your ideas @100%
      I take a note …..
      1) Abiy’s government sacrificing justice for peace.
      2) TPLF miscalculated and attacked the Ethiopian Federal army
      3) Abiy’s government reorganized themselves and took control of the TPLF fighters with in two weeks
      4) TPLF supporters started playing a victim game, fabricating lies and spreading false information
      5) The superior Tigrai syndrome has to end and accept Tigrians are not different.
      6) The inconceivable idea of seceding Tigray while small unproductive land locked state to satisfy TPLF’s ego
      7) TPLF does not represent Tigrai. (it didnt/and wil not represent too)
      8) The criminal corrupt TPLF group will have no acceptance in the Ethiopian politics any more.

  • Why did the war in tigray have to target women and now farmers are forbidden from planting??
    Why did the war target the civilian?
    Why did the war have to be so INHUMANE?
    Why target the church and the mosque?

    As a non politician, these questions puzzle me.
    Why does Ethiopia seek a better tomorrow by sucking the life out of 5 or 6 million tigrian civilians? It cannot find peace under these circumstances. The horror and the killing has to stop for any positive next step or reconciliation.

    I asm not clear what good can be gained from analyzing the cause of the war.

    Much good can be harnessed from analyzing the solution and a way out of these dark nightmares.

    • Much good can be achieved by advising the TPLF to lay down its arms. The longer it insists on fighting, the more people will be affected.

      • A bunch of cruel people clapping and chanting behind a delusional childish middle-aged man. We know that you guys do not care about the people as long as the seat of your god is not shacked. We are aware that you will use every means and invite even the devils to subdue the over 7 million civilians. It is tiresome and costly to go into the same vicious circle every ten decades and yet we pretend to be one people. Time will tell us the fate of this fake federal nation.

    • The article twists many facts and obscures others. As I understood that author claims that america was duped by TPLF over many years but now, thank to Abiy the most trustful leader, the truth has now come to light. This is very overbearing and rediculos. Even more so is the statement “I want to conclude my letter by requesting no policy pronouncement should be made while you are engaged in understanding the genesis of the conflict. US statements that are released before the completion of your fact-finding would jeopardize your effort.” Whatever the genesis of the conflict is, the destruction of universities and hospitals, random killings, rape and all other violation cannot be justified. On the contrary, in view of the facts that came out the America review of the crysis is rather undecided and not very consequent. This helps Abiy but this situation will hopefully not last forever.

  • This open letter is pointless – no one cares ‘who started the war’. The facade of the “Ethiopian empire” is no more. How on earth can anyone even think of Tigray wanting to remain in Ethiopia after this brutal war? Tigray will secede and will take along with it its 3,000 year history that “Ethiopia” used to build its falsehood claim to being unique. Without Tigray Ethiopia is nothing but a collection of different ethinc groups. Tigray needs to reassume its historical importance vis-a-vis Axum and move forward. Tigray needs to build a future on its own terms and build relationships with other countries/nations as it sees fit – all this pandering in this open letter is ‘old news’ – no one cares about pandering and spinning – the “Game is Over” and evil has been revealed – Dictator Isaias and Impostor Nobel Prize Slaughterer Abiy. Tigray will be independent and to that there is hope for a people to rise above injustice and exploitation that was and is “Ethiopia”. Read between the lines in Feltmans statement “A sovereign and united Ethiopia is integral to this vision. Yet we are deeply concerned about increasing political and ethnic polarization throughout the country.” Do you see the “Yet we are” – this is telling you that they are no longer bound to the concept of a “united Ethiopia” – this is a way out. Ethiopia has been and will always be a facade built on exploitation of all groups by the Amhara Elites. No more “Game over”

    • I agree with you with everything you wrote except “Ethiopia has been and will always be a facade built on exploitation of all groups by the Amhara Elites. No more “Game over”” Let’s leave the ethnic bashing out as that’s just continues to fuel division and sabotage the discussion.

    • mistir sew,,
      your ideas area so strange and unrealistic ,to be exact impractical.you will never see republic Tigrai (abay Tigrai) in next 3000 years. Since the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) launched its massive military attack on Ethiopian federal forces in early November last year, leading to widespread violence, conflict, and the unfolding of significant humanitarian challenges, there has been a relentless barrage and spread of disinformation.
      On an almost daily basis, we have been inundated with a seemingly endless stream of sordid reports and allegations of lurid crimes. The reports and allegations have been utterly false and baseless, in actuality having been concocted and disseminated for sinister purposes. you can disseminate your purely false allegations which is decorated with terms which you thought will accelerate the heart bit of the so called influential international forces. The people of Tigrai has been under brutal administration of TPLF,dont think people of Tigrai was happy with the betrayal of TPLF junta. you have mentioned the timely stated and intellectually appropriate phrase of Prs. Isias Afewrki ,i.e.”THE GAME IS OVER”. well,the right way of is 1) the game is over for TPLF’s brutality allover Ethiopia, 2) the game is over for TPLF’s false narrative to polarize ethnic/tribal groups. 3) the game is over for TPLF’s false narrative on Eritrea government and people,all the hidden agendas are exposed. TPLF’s main shelter were ethnic division & polarization, and to keep the Ethio-Eri relation in no peace no war condition.at this time both the shelters are destroyed.TPLF tried to build its last human shield .i.e “people of Tigrai” .these didn’t work because of Tigrai people’s awareness. the propaganda of tigrai encirclement,ethnic cleansing angenda ,,bla bla bla…..is proved to be false narrative. we have witnessing a suicidal act of TPLF. Tigrai will continue forward with as respected Ethiopian part (infact there is no any options!). those who want to distort the true history of the people and want to deceive the people in the impractical promise of republic Tigrai will perish. in contrary the idea of mutual respect,unity, true democracy,building a nation of peace and equality ,building stable and peaceful region will flourish for the benefit of the people.

      • Tesfamichael,
        I assume that the people with voices like yours now make decisions in Ethiopia (and Eritrea), and this is tragedy. Also I assume that they dominated in late 50s, before Ethiopia cancelled the Federation, and in late 70s, before it lost Eritrea forever after a long long war. You do not learn from history, unfortunately. This is another circle, and Ethiopia will probably loose one more piece. “The people of Tigrai has been under brutal administration of TPLF” – do you confuse Eritrea with Tigray, or you are on the Moon? Please come down on the earth. “Tigrai will continue forward with as respected Ethiopian part” – do you really think, for a second, that any Tigrayan will believe this (or you mean Tigray without Tigrayans – yes, maybe you are right in this case)? If the people of Tigray are happy without “junta” why do you need the Eritrean army in Tigray? Why the Tigrayan resistance is growing (ok, you will deny this). Why all hight members of tplf are not arrested yet? (this was the aim, was it?).

        • REsponse to Stranger.

          I would love to see Tigrai independent. But what is the boundary of Tigrai? Mark my work on this: When this dust settles the size of Tigrai will be less than half of what it was in the 1950s. You should thank TPLF for this. TPLF should never have messed with those lands west of Tekeze. That was the noose on which it got hang and tragically the result has been catastrophic for Tigrai. Kembata has better chance of making it as a republic that Tigrai the way things stand now. This conflict also has put the nail in the coffin on TPLF’s geater Tigrai project. The wound inflicted between Eritrea and Tigrai will take generations to heal. What a shame!
          It is better you tell the remnants of TPLF gun men to put down their guns. There is no viable way back to power. It is over. If you really care about the people on the ground in Tigrai the remaining TPLF gun men needs to surrender and be put on trial. Tigrai’s political and economic journey can be led by a new generation of leaders that hopefully will not repeat the same mistake as TPLF.

          • Abebe, thank you for your insight. I do not have to thank tplf for anything. I agree that a grab of land was a bad mistake. But the “law and order” operation started not because of that, did it? I understand that you spell the plans of those who designed it. What they are now doing, to get it back, results in “ethnic cleansing”, though others say this is the liberation of Tigrayans. Funny…. But you should see it in a broader context. You take by force what was taken by force from you, and the others will take by force what they believe was taken by force from them. What is now happening on the ground. A responsible leader had to avoid simplistic solutions. Ethiopia is fragile. Well, let us wait the moment of the dust settling, and see what remains from the house (remember that desintegration of Ethiopia was a wish of Isayyas spelled after the border conflict).

        • stranger,
          it seems you come from moon ,not me.TPLF administered Tigrai with brutality and deep tribalism,this is confirmed by educated Tegaru ,former TPLF high rank members and recently youth who got chance to open their mouth (first time in 30 years) express the truth to Dr. Milu Nega. They were tortured,killed and marginalized even from daily social lifes just because they were not puppets of TPLF. wealth distribution was based on relatives and tribes associated with TPLF members.majority people were hostage of TPLF’s safety net trap.unless and otherwise someone has benefited from organized corruption of TPLF’s junta ,it is unexpected to be junta’s supporter. “Lie” and disinformation was junta’s main weapons,but the truth on ground is so different.We can say Tigrai people is liberated because TPLF made suicide.you say,Why all high members of tplf are not arrested yet? ,,it is funny. where is Abay Tsehaye,Siyum mesfin,abraham Tekeste,abay weldu,sibhat,biniam,keria,sekutore…etc…pls come to reality. You mentioned tigray resistance is growing?,,people are not praying for come back of junta,,,,the question of tigrai people is clear and legitimate ,people ask to have peace,security and good governance from current Tigrai and federal governments.the junta is dead in all forms,it has no administrative structure,no financial and logistic supply. the manhunt is going on ,the remaining junta members will definitely be captured like sibhat. The dream of “republic Tigray” is not choice of tegaru. Eritrea has historical,moral,legal ,economic and political justification to be independent country. what about Tigrai? is the creation of the new republic for the benefit of the people? or because the TPLF junta wasn’t competitive enough in Ethiopia’s political landscape?..I agree with the last reason.in fact the junta wasn’t qualified enough to represent the people of Tigrai by any means. don’t dream that to “copy and paste Eritrea’s path” on Tigray people is easy.PIA has told the junta “THE GAME IS OVER”, now we witnessed the game is actually irreversibly over.
          prosperity and peace for all people!

          • Dear Tesfamichael, thank you for clarification, I used to travel in Tigray many many times and did not notice that the people there were marginalized and brutilized (!) more than elsewhere n Ethiopia… Were you one of them? I am glad that you know exactly what Tegaru want and what they are praying for. I will not argue with you, the time will show if they accept the happiness that Abiy and Isayas, his new big brother, have prepared for them.

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