Ethiopia's threat of war against Eritrea is a bluff
Arbegnoch-Ginbot7 rebels on the move in Northern Ethiopia
In what has become a perverse annual tradition for the minority clique in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday has warned it may go to war against Eritrea because of what Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn called Eritrea's 'destabilizing' activities in the region.
The latest saber-rattling comes days after the coalition Ethiopian rebel group Arbegnoch-Ginbot 7 launched a major offensive on regime positions deep within Northern Ethiopia. According to reports, the rebels were able to overrun TPLF military positions in Western Tigray; exposing just how vulnerable and limited Ethiopia's military prowess really is.
But while the stunning battlefield victory of the rebels may have rattled bigwigs in Addis Ababa, the threat of war against Eritrea was likely a bluff in which the regime knows it is in no position follow through on for the following three reasons:
- With President Barack Obama set to visit Ethiopia later in July, the Ethiopian dictatorship has been on its best behavior. It has released journalists and announced they will give Obama an official Ethiopian name. So the last thing TPLF wants to do is attack Eritrea, as the international media would focus on the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict ahead of Obama's visit, which would then make Obama either skip visiting Ethiopia, or if he does visit, he would be under pressure to bring up Ethiopia's occupation of sovereign Eritrean territory which is at the heart of the conflict.
- It's the rainy season in most parts of Eritrea and Ethiopia, especially along the highland border areas. Therefore, it would be a logistical nightmare to wage an attack.
- Ethiopia's forces are stretched too thin. Just a day before even stating the threat, TPLF quietly sent 3,000 troops into Somalia, raising suspicion that the threat was a cover for this operation. With so much of its forces extended, TPLF knows it has severely limited its fighting capacity, thus they are not likely to engage with Eritrea while they are in a weakened military position.
Even if these aforementioned issues weren't in the way, the setbacks alone suffered from TPLF's military campaign in Somalia is enough to not want to pick a fight with Eritrea. In many ways, Somalia has become Ethiopia's Waterloo. Ethiopian troops are taken causalities by the hundreds per month. This is taking a toll on the moral of its soldiers and commanders. Things are getting so bad that one of TPLF's trusted commanders, Colonial Tilahun, recently defected to the militant group al-Shabab, after promising to convert to Islam.
On the domestic front, things are even more worse. TPLF is committing horrid human rights abuses and limiting the political landscape. Power is dominated by the TPLF, which hails from an ethnic group comprising of less than 6% of the population. The severe ethnic polarization and lack of political freedoms in the country is compelling more and more Ethiopian Air Force pilots, seasoned troops and disillusioned citizens to defect to Eritrea to form fighting forces of their own.
Among the largest of these groups is the Tigrayan Peoples Democratic Movement (TPDM). With over 20,000 fighters in its rank, TPDM is by far the largest rebel group in the Horn of Africa, and is arguably the biggest domestic challenge to the ruling regime. The fact that so many young Ethiopians have joined this rebel group shows that even Tigrayans, which have been traditionally the power base of TPLF, yearn for a regime change in the country.
While many Ethiopians are picking up arms to fight the brutal TPLF dictatorship, others are taking the fight to social networking sites like Facebook. Some like Kuma Mossisa, an Ethiopian who studied civil Engineering at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, took the threat of war against Eritrea as an opportunity to poke fun of TPLF's North Korean-style 100% election victory:
"War with Eritrea is not as simple as winning 100% parliament seats by vote rigging!"
In conclusion, TPLF's latest threat against Eritrea is nothing more than desperation by a belligerent regime that's facing military opposition on multiple fronts. With Obama on his way to visit, the rainy season in full swing and with Ethiopian forces stretched thin, TPLF has severely diminished its fighting capacity. Thus, the latest threat of war against Eritrea should be seen as a sign of desperation from an overstretched military desperately hoping its enemies do not call out its bluff and capitalize on its vulnerabilities.
The following are Facebook comments of Ethiopians reacting to their PM's threat of war against Eritrea:
1. Page 29, https://www.scribd.com/doc/243121671/Leaked-SEMG-Report
Ethiopia's threat of war against Eritrea is a bluff Reviewed by Admin on 2:22 PM Rating: