It is a serious mistake to portray the Ethiopian conflict narrowly as a humanitarian and human rights issue. It is a regional crisis that threatens American security interests. The United States must work, above all with African countries, to stop the fighting before it is too late.
Four months after the start of the fighting in the Tigray region, the second most populous country on the continent is in the process of collapsing. Ethiopia has been a pillar of stability for more than two decades, distinguishing itself as one of the greatest contributors to the maintenance of world peace and an engine of economic growth in East Africa. Its descent in horrific and unreasonable violence – in Tigray, as well as in other parts of the country – threatens the security of the region at large. It undermined the effectiveness of Ethiopian forces in Somalia and South Sudan, and contributed to an armed stalemate on the border with Sudan. If not resolved, it will impose significant costs on the international community as it struggles to manage the pandemic and complex crises elsewhere.
It is imperative to take the following steps to end the war: build an international consensus, increase the pain of the warring parties in the conflict, establish credible benchmarks and support an African-led dialogue.
First, until there is consensus, the Ethiopian government continue to deny there are obstacles to humanitarian access. Secretary of State Antoine BlinkenAntony Blinken Taliban advance accelerates, intensifies crisis in Afghanistan Biden sends 3K troops to Afghanistan to help downsize embassy staff Poland passes controversial bills, straining ties with EU, the United States and Israel PLUSThe declaration, calling on international partners to address the crisis in Tigray with action at the United Nations, is a step in the right direction. Ambassador of the United States Linda thomas greenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldUS Donates M in Myanmar Humanitarian Aid Overnight Defense: Biden Administration Expands Afghan Refugee Program | The culture war arrives for the registration of women in the draft | US launches third strike in Somalia in recent weeks US delegation leaves Haiti after reports of gunfire at ex-president’s funeral MORE, who assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council this month, has indicated that she intends to depose the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.
For the past four months, Council members have shelved discussions on Ethiopia, relegating them to informal “any other business” (AOB) agenda items. The Ethiopian government has benefited from this bureaucratic bypass as there is no public record on AOB matters preventing concrete action. The United States and members of the African Council – Kenya, Niger and Tunisia – should insist on adding Ethiopia to the agenda. If African governments stand firm, a consensus within the Security Council can be forged and the international community can finally tackle this crisis.
Second, the international condemnation goes no further. This will not change behavior and the fighters will continue to tear the country apart without having any real consequences. The international community must increase the costs to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) for the continuation of the massacres. Recent reports released by Amnesty and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission detailing human rights violations committed by Eritrean forces should serve as the basis for sanctions against Eritrea. This measure, echoing a previous regime of sanctions against Asmara for his support for al-Shabaab and the illegal deployment of troops in a neighboring country, will serve as a warning to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. More importantly, the sanctions will serve as a pressure point to end the war, in part because Ethiopian operations in Tigray depend on Eritrean forces.
Third, the international community should suspend the current negotiations on International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt relief with Ethiopia, and the American Development Finance Corporation should suspend its $ 500 million loan to support the privatization of Ethiopia. ‘Ethio Telecom. There is no justification for a major financial boost as Addis Ababa refuses to end the fighting and denies vital aid to its people. Likewise, French, Emirati, Kenyan and South African telecommunications companies may have to reconsider their offers to operate in Ethiopia until the end of the conflict. Not only are there significant reputational risks, but it is not a good investment when the government imposes communication cuts to continue its war.
China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which all have substantial investments and ties with Ethiopia, are also expected to pressure the fighters to agree to a ceasefire. Saudi Arabia is all the more important as it previously used its considerable financial largesse to facilitate the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The United States should not hesitate to spend its political capital to push these governments to act.
Finally, it is essential to establish credible benchmarks to move forward. Humanitarian access is the responsibility of all governments, and it is unacceptable to reward Addis Ababa for meeting a universal standard. In addition to the expulsion of Eritrean troops, the Ethiopians should accept a “no-fly zone” as a confidence-building measure. The government must accept an international mediator to resolve the dispute between the government and the TPLF which has metastasized into a regional crisis.
The African Union has appointed a Mauritanian diplomat to settle the border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan, but AU President (and DRC President) Félix Tshisekedi must go further. In past conflicts, African leaders, including former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere and former South African Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, have embarked on the most intractable conflicts to strike viable peace deals. Tshisekedi, along with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, discussed conflict with Vice President Kamala harrisKamala HarrisWomen of Color: The Undercapitalized Warriors of American Democracy What Hochul’s Rise and Cuomo’s Fall Say About Women (and Men) in Politics Texas Democrat Temporarily Avoids Arrest After Receiving a PLUS mandate and President BidenJoe BidenBiden urges Californians to vote against recall efforts Newsom’s Taliban advance accelerates, escalating crisis in Afghanistan Overnight Defense: Troops return to Afghanistan to facilitate diplomatic evacuation MORE, respectively, and they should seize the opportunity to show real leadership.
Ethiopians are a proud people who deserve better than to see their country fall apart while the international community stands by their side. As fighting continues in Tigray, security incidents multiply in other parts of the country and it is evident that the calamity in Tigray is but the gravest and most acute example of the forces tearing apart the country. ‘Ethiopia. Achieving lasting peace requires framing the conflict as it arose out of Ethiopia’s failed model of ethnic federalism and its lack of inclusiveness, resulting in a regional crisis threatening global security. Abiy is expected to achieve the sanctified status bestowed on him by the Nobel Peace Prize, working with the African Union and the international community to restore Ethiopia’s former position as a major contributor to Africa’s progress.
Jendayi Frazer is the former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Duignan Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and senior associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Judd Devermont is Director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is a former National Intelligence Officer for Africa and has served on the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.