April 18, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Open Letter to President Biden – Urgent Call to End the Genocidal War in Tigray, Ethiopia
Dear President Joseph R. Biden,
It is with enormous respect that we, the Security and Justice for Tigrayans in Ethiopia, write to you today to urge you to act with utmost urgency to end the genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The anguish and suffering the people of Tigray are facing is so great that it requires the leader of the free world to bring it to a full stop. We believe this challenge offers a test for the United States as it stands in defense of its democratic and human rights values and a true measure of its success in sharing these values with the world.
There cannot be a higher calling for you Mr. President as the leader of the free world committed to the protection of human rights around the world than to save the extermination of a minority ethnic group by its own government working in partnership with invading foreign armies and militias. This is a rare and historical challenge that threatens the complete destruction of Tigray and the annihilation of its people and requires a swift action to stop. If left unattended, Tigray may not be the only region to bear the brunt of the damage; other regions of Ethiopia and the entire Horn of Africa may also be destabilized.
The atrocities perpetrated on the people of Tigray are abhorrent and too many to count. These widespread atrocities and war crimes including indiscriminate bombing and massacre of civilians, rape of girls and women, burning of crops and looting of livestock, and total economic destruction have been widely reported and documented by some of the most reputable international media such as the New York Times and CNN, the US government, the UN, Amnesty International and many others.
A multi award-winning CNN Senior International correspondent, Nima Elbagir, in her March 18, 2021 interview with 4 News, described the crimes being committed as “…very, very Intentional” adding “it is not a rape about the tragic consequences of war but…it is a rape as a weapon of war”. She continued to say”…this is about erasing Tigray and Tigrayan identity and bloodline which is one of the hallmarks of genocide”.
And with regards to PM Abiy Ahmed, In her interview with Democracy Now on December 3, 2020, Elbagir says, “..for him to have won a Nobel Peace Prize for something that has enabled him to wage a war on an entire region, on 6 million people, is just — it’s appalling. It’s appalling to think about.” The devastation the world is witnessing in Tigray today was not triggered by a simple act of the local government in Tigray but rather it was a result of a well-rehearsed plan that involved military cooperation and preparation for over 2 years premeditated by Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki to destroy Tigray and subjugate its peace-loving people. The ruthless dictator of Eritrea and his immature student of Ethiopia are carrying out this operation to achieve their dream of conquering the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea zone.
Dear Mr. President,
The war crimes in Tigray have been compared chillingly to that of the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo and the Rwandan genocide by many international observers and media. As you know, while the US took a decisive action to stop the atrocities in Kosovo, it unfortunately did not act in the case of the Rwandan genocide. Former President Bill Clinton said his inaction in Rwanda was his biggest regret of his presidency. The salient question now is how is the Tigray genocide different? On April 25, 2019, you said, “America is an idea. An idea that is stronger than any army, bigger than any ocean, more powerful than any dictator or tyrant. It gives hope to the most desperate people on earth, it guarantees that everyone is treated with dignity and gives hate no safe harbor. It instills in every person in this country the belief that no matter where you start in life, there is nothing you can’t achieve if you work at it. That’s what we believe.” These are the hopeful words from your speech you delivered a year ago that our people want to see translated into deeds. Will the misery of the poor people in Tigray end anytime soon? And why is the US not taking actions strong enough to end the war?
The people of Tigray and indeed the rest of the world recognize that the US has significant leverage over Ethiopia and Eritrea, and it is not entirely clear why there is hesitancy to act to stop this genocide. The US can stop the war via several measures including diplomacy and a show of force targeting military installations of the Eritrean ruthless dictator.
If the US is waiting for Eritrean troops to leave on their own accord, we like to assure you this will not happen. We realize PM Abiy Ahmed announced about 10 days ago that Eritrea will withdraw its forces from Tigray, but this has not taken place despite his deceitful announcement two days ago that they have started “evacuating from border areas”. To the contrary, credible reports indicate that tens of thousands of new Eritrean soldiers arrived in Tigray on the same day the Prime Minister promised withdrawal in defiance of the demands by the international community. Reports also indicate that in an attempt to deceive the world, Eritrean troops are simply changing their uniforms to Ethiopian uniforms so that they remain in Tigray and continue their atrocities. The Prime Minister has been lying about a number of significant issues and he cannot be trusted.
As Tigrayan-Ethiopians who understand the tyrannical aspirations of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his mentor dictator Isaias Afwerki, we believe the only definitive solution to end the genocidal war on Tigray is through meaningful Kosovo-like intervention. Thus, Mr. President, we urge you to act now before it is too late.
Dear Mr. President,
As if the atrocities, the premeditated hunger and the destructions perpetrated in Tigray so far are not enough, a most recently leaked 27-page confidential document from the Government of Eritrea titled “The Military Campaign in Tigray has Failed to Achieve the Desired Goals” was sent to the Eritrean commanders in Tigray. This document orders the Eritrean military in Tigray to swiftly act on aggrandizing the indiscriminate killings of the youth and the complete destruction of properties. It calls for mercilessly annihilate the Tigrayan youth and disperse the remaining ones into various concentration camps. This renewed order to intensify the atrocities in Tigray shows that the situation in Tigray is going to deteriorate further and would become completely out of control. In the face of such reality in Tigray, the US and the international community not only have the legal responsibility to act urgently under the UN Resolutions 2417 (2018) and 1247 (2018) but also they have the moral and ethical obligation to stop this genocide
Despite all the evidence of human rights violations and the US, EU, G7, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Australia’s latest demands for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara militia forces from Tigray, the Ethiopian government is still allowing the increased presence of the Eritrean forces dressed in Ethiopian military uniforms while integrating the Amhara militia that committed war crimes, rape, genocide, and ethnic cleansing in west Tigray into the national army. The move by the Ethiopian government to integrate a genocidal Amhara militia into the national army rings alarm bells as this is to hide crimes from investigation and further commit additional crimes all over Tigray and beyond. Thus, we at the SJTE ask you take the lead for the USA and its allies to take all necessary measures at your disposal including an immediate military action under “Operation Freedom” to save humanity in Tigray under UN Resolution 1247 (2018) including, but not limited to:
- Force the immediate, unconditional and verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean Army and the Amhara militia from Tigray without which no humanitarian aid and peace is possible.
- Allow humanitarian access all over Tigray so that the over 5 million people who need food aid can be reached without any blockage or interference of the Eritrean and Ethiopian armies.
- Stop the indiscriminate shelling and bombing of civilians by imposing “No Fly Zone” all over Tigray for the protection of the civilian populations in rural and urban areas.
- Reinstate the democratically elected legitimate government of Tigray and start a dialogue that involves all stakeholders in Ethiopia.
- Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia including military personnel and UN peacekeepers of Tigray origin (about 22,000) and more than 90,000 civilians who have been fired from their jobs and detained all over Ethiopia in military camps and prisons.
- Recommend for the investigation of all human rights violations and war crimes to be conducted by an independent international team after the immediate withdrawal of the Eritrean Army and Amhara militia.
- Enforce the safe passage and return of the 2.2 million internally displaced people (IDP) to their ancestral lands, villages and towns before the rainy season starts in June 2021 with the assistance of the UN.
SECURITY AND JUSTICE FOR TIGREANS IN ETHIOPIA (SJTE)
In Ethiopia there been open warfare since November 2020. This is now seeing effects far away from the Tigray region. The truth is that warfare and conflicts cost. You pay for mercenaries, soldiers, food, shelter and heavy weaponry. All of that costs and implicates the economy. The spending have to go from somewhere and has to settled. This means certain other parts of the economy looses its value or gets less of investments. In which things gets scarce or get hit by the new demand. Since the Tripartite Alliance needs more supplies for their warfare.
Addis Fortune Reported on the 5th April 2021 this:
“There appears little solace for consumers in Ethiopia, with the year-on-year headline inflation reaching at 20.6pc in March this year, a little over the nearly 20pc annual average last year. The largest increase in prices was seen in food items such as edible oil, fruit and vegetables and spice, according to a statement by the Ethiopian Statistics Agency. The consumer price index (CPI) for the month of March shows a 22pc jump compared to the same period last month. Non-food items such as fuel and energy, alcohol, tobacco and chat as well as transport, medical expense and construction materials have seen an increase in prices of 18.9pc” (Addis Fortune – ‘Headline Inflation Reaches 20.6pc on Year’, 05.04.2021).
This is the government excuse for the rising inflation:
“ADDIS ABABA–The continuous demand-supply imbalance and ill-investment strategy of the former administration have resulted in the structural and worsening current inflation, so disclosed Planning and Development Commission. The Commission’s Deputy Commissioner with the rank of State Minister Nemera Gebeyehu (Ph.D) told The Ethiopan Press Agencey (EPA) that even though many people believe inflation is worsened after the reform, the reform measures taken by the government do minimize the inflation, but a lot remains to be done since it is structural driven from the ill-investment strategy of the former administration” (Dargie Kahsay – ‘Ethiopia: Previous Maladministration Takes Blame for Current Inflation – Commission’, 03.04.2021, The Ethiopian Herald).
We are clearly seeing here the effects of the mismanagement or priorities of the state. A steady war is costly and the price of that is on the citizens. That is why the prices are going up and the state will lack currency. The state will do whatever it can to continue supply and generate enough funds. Which in the end means more inflation and devalued currency, which will also means the citizens will get less for their money and imported goods will be more expensive. It is a vicious circle and a negative spiral. That this government is doing by its efforts as a Tripartite Alliance member and fighting on its own soil.
The Prosperity Party is also blaming the old EPRDF, which it was in coalition with and consolidated power from. The PP is practically not taking responsibility for the actions in office and only pushes it on the previous government. That is really rich. Just like all warfare is the TPLF to blame in Tigray. This is following a pattern and the excuses is getting old.
The PP should seriously be worried about the rate the inflation is going and what shocks this will have for the citizens. There is already videos reminiscent of the fuel crisis in 2015. This being leaked clips and statements of troubles getting fuel in Addis Ababa all week. That is a sign of what to come and costs of the war.
The Addis Ababa administration should be worried about this. The costs of war is coming forward now. Not only the loss of prestige with the Prime Minster and the image as a whole. The PP and the PM isn’t looking like reformers anymore, but as a warlords. They are not only brining destruction to the Region of Tigray, but also destroying the economy as a result. This will be carried for long and effects of the war will take a toll. We can just wonder about how many will pay the additional costs and struggle because of it. That is how these things goes. The elites and the one in-charge will not feel it, but the average citizen has to live with the new standard. They are paying the price for the inflation and have to collect whatever they can out of their currency. Peace.
“All efforts must be made to use every means to stop another resolution on Ethiopia to be adopted by the House” (Finfinne Intercept – Briefing Note on the latest development in the Tigray Region, P: 6, 01.04.2021).
The Finfinne Intercept have dropped an intelligence document of what is sent to the authorities and state agencies. This is cables and other messages from the state to ensure their case is sufficiently told abroad. It is clear that the Addis Ababa government and Prosperity Party wants to block and stifle possible sanctions on itself.
The Finfinne Intercept described the leak like this: “A diplomatic cable leaked to FI shows Ethiopian authorities are anxious about possible sanctions from the US and the EU over their handling of the humanitarian crisis in Tigray. The internal memo also suggests Ethio-Eritrean relations may have hit a rough patch as a result of Ambassador Dina Mufti’s remarks about Eritrea’s independence” (Finfinne Intercept, 05.04.2021).
The Ethiopian government wants to ensure the state doesn’t get any punitive actions for what it has done to its own citizens. They want the Europeans and Americans lawmakers to not use their mechanisms to punish the Ethiopian regime who is overseeing the conflict and ordering the destruction of Tigray.
That is really evident by what is in the Briefing Note from Finfinne Intercept. This is maybe late, but important information, which should be public. This shows the intention of the Ethiopian counterparts. Where they are targeting the United States and European Union with direct plans to either water down legislation or stop the other from activating their mechanisms.
Pressure of US and US Legislators:
“It is also important to note that there is push for another resolution on Ethiopia to be adopted by the House. The text was introduced by Congresswoman Karen Bass who serves in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Chairs the Sub Committee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. The text calls on the United States Government to consider application of existing United States sanctions authority, including as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” (…) “It is also absolutely critical to do the same in trying to water down the text introduced in the House and make sure that it reflects the significant progresses made recently” (Finfinne Intercept – Briefing Note on the latest development in the Tigray Region, P: 5-6, 01.04.2021).
Pressure on EU:
“What High Representative Joseph Borell said in terms of the EU’s readiness to activate all its foreign policy tools against those responsible for human rights violations should be taken seriously and efforts should be made to stop the activation” (Finfinne Intercept – Briefing Note on the latest development in the Tigray Region, P: 10, 01.04.2021).
Just these small statements and sentences says enough. How the Ethiopian authorities plans to boil things down and stop international sanctions. These leaked cables clearly show their intentions and what sort of game-plan the Ethiopians have. They are not concealed here or in diplomatic language. What the reported leaks says, seems true as well. As the Ethiopian Embassies are “explaining” and “writing” statements to any reporting coming out about the conflict. Therefore, this FI Report is validated just by that alone.
As the final piece of text from there: “A greater coordination between and among our Embassies and Missions in Europe and America should be established to make every possible effort to explain the important steps taken on the ground to respond to the concerns raised by the US and the EU. Time is of the essence” ((Finfinne Intercept – Briefing Note on the latest development in the Tigray Region, P: 11, 01.04.2021).
This shows the deliberate actions and means, which the Ethiopian authorities goes by. They are ordered and told in cables to be active. To use their platforms to respond, which they do every single time. That is the coordinated efforts and proves it is planned. They are setting the agenda and also trying to undermine the reporting. Which isn’t of the nature and the mind of the ruler in Addis Ababa. That is why these cables are sent out in the first place.
That the FI – The Station leaked these cables and dropped it online. Will make it able for more people to see what extent the Ethiopian government goes through to undermine and stop others from acting on the crimes against humanity. The massacres, the starvation and all other efforts to win the guerrilla war in Tigray. That is deliberate act of the state and its now up in the open. A sort of game plan the state would have been preferred to be kept hidden. However, one civil servant or several wanted to be whistleblowers and dropped this for the whole world to see. Peace.