Ethiopia: The Government of the National Regional State of Tigray – Office of the President – Letter to H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud – Re: Letter of Congratulations (16.05.2022)

Ethiopia-Eritrea: Shabait says Badme is theirs, the conflict over the Badme triangle… never ends…

Even before the economic issue became important, however, in July 1997, Ethiopian forces occupied part of the Badda District, a small, remote, but more fertile area close to the Danakil depression, and replaced the Eritrean administration in the village of Adi Murug. The claim was on historical grounds, and based on the “inaccuracy” of current maps. The most widely used map of Eritrea, published in 1995 by the Eritrean Government in cooperation with the University of Berne, shows only Eritrean territory; neighbouring countries are simply marked in grey. Unhelpfully, this map shows neither Adi Murug nor Badme nor places just across the Ethiopian border, such as Zalambessa. Despite its claims, the map presented by the Ethiopian government to representatives of the international community in Addis Ababa in May 1998 showed the border in the same way as in all current atlases. A month later, however, the provincial authorities in Mekelle (Tigray) produced a different map – funded, in their case, in cooperation with the German government which showed several areas hitherto considered part of Eritrea coming within the Ethiopian border” (Margaret Fielding – ‘BAD TIMES IN BADME: BITTER WARFARE CONTINUES ALONG THE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA BORDER’ – IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin Spring 1999).

The Tripartite Alliance are still very active and there is reports of furthering the war in the Tigray Region. The reports that the Eritrean Defence Force has been stationed and vital in the warfare in the Tigrayan war of late is an understatement. The EDF has been one of the reasons why the Tigray region was invaded and they occupied it whole for some time. That was a retaliation of old grudges and wanted to settle old grievances. Therefore… that Shabait brings back the Badme Triangle.

Shows that the Eritrean government planned all along to annex and get the territory, which has been contested. The Ethiopian government has also claimed this land and the Badme Territory. Now, the Eritrean government claims it theirs and that the recent peace agreement of 2018 is stating so. This means the Tigray Regional Government have to give up this territory and let the demarcation of the border continue. That is evident and the Eritrean government does this… as they have allies in Addis Ababa and wants Mekelle to know that.

Here is the most interesting parts of the Shabait piece published today:

When TPLF’s military campaigns was thwarted by a costly defeat at the Assab Front in June 2000, it was finally forced to accept cessation of hostilities and later the entire Algiers Peace Agreement on December 12, 2000. The Algiers Agreement created a court of arbitration, the EEBC. The Algiers Agreement also stipulated, in categorical terms, that “the parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding”. But notwithstanding the unequivocal provisions of the Algiers Agreement, the EEBC decision was not enforced by the UN Security Council because principal sponsors – especially the US and the EU – failed to honour their obligations for their own narrow geopolitical considerations. When the EEBC decision was announced, Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister at the time falsely claimed that “Badme was awarded to Ethiopia”. He urged the international community to use punitive sanctions if necessary, to secure Eritrea’s full and immediate compliance with the provisions of the EEBC Award. The Foreign Minister and his government were soon to make a u-turn, sing a different song and reject the EEBC Award. Subsequent sessions of the EEBC were marked by Ethiopia’s dilatory tactics. Thus, in its 16th Report to the UN in 2006, the Commission was compelled to write: “Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the demarcation directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission.” (…) “The course of events changed when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared Ethiopia’s readiness to accept and implement in full the Decision of the Boundary Commission. Following his visit to Asmara, a Joint Declaration on Peace and Friendship was signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia on July 9, 2018. The Declaration brought to an end eighteen years of ‘no war no peace’ between Ethiopia and Eritrea and opened a new era of peace and friendship. Article four of the Joint Agreement stipulates that “The two countries will implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission decision.” (Shabait – ‘We do Not Relinquish What is ours; Nor do We Covet What Belongs to Others: (Natna Aynhbn Zeynatna Ayndeln)’ 13.04.2022).

We know these ideals of Badme is old by now. As it has been part of the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. The Eritrean government is willing to use Italian colonial maps to prove it too. That the land and territory belongs to them.

That’s why Eritrea Daily wrote this in 2005: “At worst, the status of Badme is unclear, at best, Badme is part of Eritrea and never Ethiopian. Regardless, if there is any one left that believes Ethiopia has accepted the border ruling, here is the proof to the contrary: In a clear demonstration of its defiance of the border ruling, Ethiopia today reported that it has started registering voters in the village of Eritrean Badme for the upcoming “elections.” The international community cannot remain indifferent to this Ethiopia’s provocative action?” (EDNews, 22.01.2005).

So, the Eritrean claims are old and they are pursuing them still. What is striking is the Tripartite Alliance way of violating, war-crimes and weaponizing humanitarian assistance isn’t helping the cause of Asmara. Even if the Badme triangle or parts of Badda district is belonging to Eritrea. Their forces and the acts done in Tigray region will not help them legitimizing it. Instead, there will no goodwill and no wishes of recognizing the border between the two nations. They will rather ensure the investigations into the warfare, the violations of the Geneva convention and crimes against humanity.

The Eritrean government could be within their rights and have historical basis for the territory. However, when they are known for their actions and use of force against unarmed civilians within the Tigray region. Very few to none will give them a bouquet of flowers and give the Republic more territory.

The WikiLeaks cable says this: “Legwaila, who has served as UNMEE SRSG for five years, detailed how both Ethiopia and Eritrea had initially committed to accept any decision by the EEBC, at December 2000 cease-fire talks in Algiers. Upon the announcement of the EEBC’s decision in April 2002, Ethiopia’s foreign minister hosted a celebration and issued a statement hailing the decision as a victory for both parties; however, Ethiopia had not realized that Badame had been awarded to Eritrea. The reason for this is the EEBC did not identify Badame so it took sometime for the experts to determine to whom Badame had been given. Legwaila observed that delimitation of the border (i.e., determining where it lies) was complete, whereas demarcation (i.e., placing physical markers) was stalemated. Delimitation of the border had been conducted professionally and impartially, Legwaila said, through an Asmara-based chief surveyor armed with GPS equipment and assistance from New Zealand experts, and with aerial mapping conducted by a Swedish company. Demarcation would reflect the boundaries determined by delimiation — there would be very little change, e.g. Badame would remain in Eritrea” (WikiLeaks – ‘UNITED NATIONS REQUESTS USG ASSISTANCE TO MONITOR AND RESOLVE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA CRISIS’ 28.10.2008).

Time will tell if Prime Minister Abiy will honour his peace agreement with Asmara. Which is what Shabait hopes it does. The Tripartite Alliance has been favourable for the PM and his reign. That has helped his causes and he couldn’t continue or hold on so long with warfare in Ethiopia. He needs the EDF and he knows that. Therefore, if the Tripartite Alliance is able to silence and annihilate the Tigray region. That’s what the alliance wants to achieve.

Alas, the Eritrean government is clearly saying by publishing this on Shabait. That they want it legitimized and recognized. This is the what it is initially saying. While we can wonder how Mekelle is thinking about this. Since, this is taking away territory it had occupied for a few decades now. While the current federal government of Ethiopia might offer it and do it, because Abiy has a good relations with Afewerki. Peace.

Opinion: Obasanjo has an unforgiving mission in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 21, 2016 – Some of Africa’s leaders are responsible for instability on the continent because they have failed to manage diversity in their societies, the former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has said” (TANA Forum – ‘Press Statement: “Some African leaders to blame for conflicts” – Obasanjo’ 21.03.2016).

Today Olusegun Obasanjo as the Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union for the Horn of Africa. One of his key objectives and mandate is to mediate in the Ethiopian conflict. Alas, he has a mountain to climb and it’s an unforgiving job. This is a position and a office, which isn’t for the kind-hearted. Since, the parties here are in the trenches and in a brutal war. They are not in this for a small token or to get global recognition.

Obasanjo is now meddling and intervening within a battle, which has become broader and wider than what the Tripartite Alliance anticipated. The alliance of FDRE, SOE and Amhara allies didn’t anticipate the formation of a broad alliance of nationalities to combat the Tripartite Alliance. Therefore, at this point, the war isn’t only Addis Ababa-Asmara versus Mekelle. No, it is much more wider and with the objective of rectifying the leadership structure of the nation.

This is why the African Union (AU) is late here and the talks is only stalling things. The mediator can drop a statement saying today: “I am optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured. The interlocutors I have engaged on all sides have stated their wish for peace, security, and stability in Ethiopia. The main point of difference between the actors is in the means by which they seek to achieve this essential objective. War represents a failure of politics. Thus dialogue remains the only reliable and sustainable avenue to peace. There is no military solution to the conflict and battlefield victory cannot guarantee political stability in Ethiopia. I, therefore, appeal to the leadership of all sides to halt their military offensives. This will allow an opportunity for dialogue to continue to progress. Such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities” (African Union – ‘Statement on the Prospects for Peace in Ethiopia by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo High representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the Horn of Africa’ 14.11.2021).

It is like Obasanjo haven’t learned from his own experience. Just 5 years ago as a Tana Forum speaker or delegate. He spoke of the reason why we are seeing a war within Ethiopia today. The diversity and marginalization of certain groups is the reason for the conflict in Ethiopia. That’s because one man wanted to consolidate all power and use old grievances to settle it. He wanted to overcome the TPLF and by doing so hurt the Tigrayan ethnic group. This he got done by getting allies who has suffered, because of the leadership in Mekelle.

Deep down, I think Obasanjo know the difference and the difficulties here. The parties are not willing to really talk. These are just cordial meetings to buy time. We know the United Front against Prosperity Party is running towards Addis Ababa. This is just common knowledge as they are aiming to use arms to change the leadership. They are not trusting or having faith in negotiations. That’s why the former President is to hopeful in this manner.

I don’t see Abiy or Afewerki talking to Debretsion. I wish I could, but these have already vilified and gone total genocide on the enemy. They are arresting people for being associated or allegedly associated with either Tigray Defence Force (TDF) or Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Therefore, seeing them talking or having a meeting seems unlikely. If the TPLF/OLF went to talk. I would be worried of arrests and authorities surrounding the venue. This is why the hope is very dishonest at this moment of time.

The talks Obasanjo was maybe positive and had a good vibe. However, those vibes will not change the matters on the ground. As the FDRE is going into a “survival campaign” mode and the TDF-OLA is slowly advancing towards their target. This is not a time or a moment of thinking these will give way. No party will earn on it and that would only salvage the reign of Abiy. A ruler, which is a warlord and someone who many wants gone. Therefore, if Obasanjo wants to save his term or if he wants peace. That is two difference objectives….

I don’t see the hope or the possibilities of quick or brief ceasing of military operations. That means an unilateral ceasefire, which means all parties would silence their guns. The Tripartite Alliance never did that and only played the facade of that. While they we’re still annexing Western Tigray and besieging the rest of Tigray region. Therefore, Obasanjo is too positive or naive. I doubt any of the parties will give way. These parties will fight to the death or until they have to go to exile. Peace.

Opinion: Special Envoy Feltman is not the right man for the Horn of Africa

A career diplomat and a man who is controversial. Is not the sort of figure you send to fix or amend issues. An outspoken and ideological man like Jeffrey Feltman will only configure the conflicts and the situations at hand for the benefits of American interests. That is what he has done in his position most of his life.

Except for his stint under Ban Ki-Moon in United Nations and prolonged under Antonio Guterres. He has been a career diplomat across the Northern Africa and Middle East. His role in Lebanon and elsewhere is where his most noteworthy from.

Feltman is a person that take sides. When he actively takes sides in divided landscapes as a senior career diplomat. What will he do as Horn of Africa Envoy? I doubt he will wind beneficial middle-ground or emphasis on the common grounds between the parties. He is afraid of the Iranian and possible Turkish involvement in the region. As he also seeks to promote and secure the American interests first.

That means we know that this Special Envoy will be partial and be affected by his allegiance. He will not come with a clean slate or be working accordingly to the problems at hand. This man will not solve the issues or come with clear mediation. No, this man will further U.S. interests. These words are taken from Karim Makdisi who teaches at the American University in Beirut. Who assessed Feltman’s role in the area as an ambassador.

When you are known for things like this and going into the Horn of Africa at his very moment. The person should be less questionable. Joe Biden appointed him since his been a person trusted in the Obama Administration and has a diplomatic record spanning over years. This is a token recognition of that. However, his still a man peculiar fella who suddenly going into a mine-field.

A person who believes in “non-interfering” but interfering to avoid “enemies” interfering. Therefore, that split-personality trait doesn’t make much sense either. Except he lives in a cold-war paradigm with Iran. Which clearly could be shifted to anywhere in the world.

Feltman will pick sides whether it is in Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia or Sudan. This man will also pin-point and look after the U.S. interests. That is why this man isn’t just a random a dude travelling and taking a safari. No, this man will not be the best diplomat. A man who could easily ask for a military government in Lebanon (wikileaks leaked cables proved that). He could easily assess a situation and confess to the sustainability now. Just to buy peace and the comfort of having a U.S. ally on the throne.

As a Special Envoy he is supposed to mediate in Tigray conflict, which has been going on since 4th November 2020. There he will by default have to intervene with the Tripartite Alliance and get vouched by them for talks. However, Abiy haven’t been in favour of any real talks or outsiders looking into it. As that would devastate his image and tarnish his “reformist” mind.

The Special Envoy is also supposed to mediate in the Al-Fashaqa triangle. Where the Sudanese have sent more forces and secured their border points. While the Ethiopian with their Tripartite Alliance have entered in here as an escalation of the Tigray conflict. Abiy have held small talks with Al-Burhan, but nothing sincere. It seems likely that the Special Envoy needs a miracle and I wonder, if he would booster the new ally in Khartoum or try to appease Addis Ababa. Hard to know, but with the likes of Feltman will have to be calm and figure out what matters here.

The last piece of trouble ahead is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Nile dialogue between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. The three has held negotiations and talks, but haven’t landed on a agreement to settle the shared water. This here is both a talk of sovereign use of water sources and how that will affect the up-stream nations. This is why the Special Envoy have to dwindle into colonial agreements and newer ones as well. While being able to play ball with Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa. His career task alone to finalize and be able to please all parties. Someone has to give, but we can wonder who will do that.

The GERD negotiations and talks alone will be more hostile. As the Ethiopian claims in the Al-Fashaqa region/triangle and their skirmishes inside Sudan. The relations has soured over this. That will not help the Special Envoy before even entering. As well, as his intervention or possible mandate hasn’t been granted by any of the parties involved. Who hasn’t a favourable view of American touches here. As the previous administration was taken Egypt’s side and this feeling might linger on.

Therefore, the likes of a Special Envoy in the first place is a noble idea of Biden. Nevertheless, taking a career diplomat should been seen as a positive. However, the history of Feltman and his manners. He can be seen as a spinster for American interests over the needs to salvage peace. This man isn’t the one who should have been sent. Maybe, Biden should have tried to get someone appointed through the African Union or boost IGAD itself. Even though these mechanisms are weak, but joint ventures with United Nations has helped in the past. Therefore, if Biden and UNSC had intervened with a UN-AU prospects into both Tigray, GERD and Ethiopian-Sudan tensions. The possible outcome could have been better and properly monitored by the International community.

However, a Feltman will only serve Washington D.C. and their needs. While being a token American interfering for these interests. He will not be there to be a peacemaker. Just like Abiy isn’t a man of peace either by any stretch of imagination. Al-Burhan and the Sovereign Council is also military men. When there is very civilians and more soldiers on the ground. There is little stopping more conflict. There is a need for mediation and talks between the leaders who orders the battalions.

Nevertheless, Feltman isn’t the man and just by the mere history. It is a flawed enterprise to send him now. Especially, when I cannot see or heard any of the parties have really asked of this of late. The need for local solutions is clear. There is a need for salvaging hope in the midst of the conflict. Feltman isn’t the man to interfere here.

He is getting a false start, as he comes as a forced surprise on all stakeholders and governments. It is not like he has been vetted or accepted by anyone else than Biden and Blinken. They have handpicked him and vouched for him. Now, he has to drop his credentials at all the mentioned capitals and after that pick a leaf for possible talks about the advanced weaponry and silence them as well.

I wouldn’t want to be in Feltman’s shoes at this point in time. First his not the man for the job. No matter about his long career. The reputation he has follows him and makes him questionable at best. Secondly, he has a mandate from Washington D.C. but not from the any of the sovereign nations his supposed to interfere in. Third, the U.S. isn’t that favourable or a “neutral” in these conflicts. Therefore, he has throw a curveball to be able to wing it here.

Feltman is in battles where he cannot win and I cannot see it coming Unless, there is a sudden miracle or a moment of nostalgia … where they changes their stances and gives way. However, that happens in movies, but not in the real world. Peace.

Ethiopia: Advocacy for Justice & Democracy Forum (Tegezo) – Situation update: West Tigray – “We’ll see if [Blinken] saves you” (14.04.2021)

Ethiopia: The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS) letter to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank Group (AfDB) – (14.04.2021)

 

Ethiopia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs – On the Media and alleged Human Rights violations and other crimes committed in Tigray (07.04.2021)

Ethiopia: The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS) letter to United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (06.04.2021)

Ethiopia: OLF-OLA High Command Statement (05.04.2021)

Opinion: The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is praising Eritrea!

Ethiopia MFA twitter statement: “Ethiopia is grateful to the government & people of Eritrea for neutralizing the attacks of the treasonous TPLF clique by treating our soldiers & standing with us after they were backstabbed by their own colleagues. While the world seems to misunderstand, wittingly or otherwise, Ethiopia’s efforts to enforce law and order in Tigray, we appreciate those, like the people & government of #Eritrea, who understand our context. Ethiopia also lauds the solidarity of the Eritrean diasporas with their Ethiopian counterparts in the recently held rallies in major cities in the West supporting Ethiopia’s determination to fight misinformation & prejudice on critical issues to the country” (Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 05.04.2021).

We are living in 2021 and things not stopping to surprise me. Today is a day where the Tripartite Alliance is in full effect. The alliance between Ethiopia, Amhara and Eritrea is now in full force. As the Eritrean are continuing to defend their actions in Ethiopia by their Shabait website or Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are now praising the Eritrean effort in the Law Enforcement Operation. That is clear by the tweets written and published today on their account there today.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is clearly telling they are thankful and grateful for their actions. The Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) who is using vile force in the Tigray Region. An army that has been looting, raping and even causing horrific massacres an-mass there. We don’t know the full scope of war crimes happening in the region, but what we do know is devastating.

The Eritrean army have caused havoc. Have used all means to silence, stop and assault the region. There has been no tools they are not allowed to use. The Eritrean soldiers have used not only weapons, but inciting fear. They are using all means to go after the TPLF. While the Eritrean state is calling all reports as “bullshit” and saying they are “innocent”. Which cannot be true, when they are allowed to do everything and witnesses is telling what has happened after the fact.

What is evident today is that there is an official axis between Addis Ababa and Asmara. They are now brothers in arms against one enemy. They are beholden to each other and support each other. That is evident by their articles and words. They are sparring for each other and defending each other too.

That is why Shabait have articles dismissing and telling all ills of the TPLF. Because Asmara only did this all in self-defence. However, that is not all true and they we’re pre-planned to happen. The Ethiopian and Eritrean allies had moved troops and ordered it to happen before the 4th November 2021. That has been reported and shown how the troops moved ahead of the launch of the Law Enforcement Operation. Which was meant to be … even before the Northern Command ever was stormed by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF).

We can clearly see the Ethiopian-Eritrean alliance is working in tandem. They are defending each other. Not only with their soldiers, but by their acts too. Their official stances and statements are becoming friendly. That’s because they need each other and they are fighting the same battles.

Abiy and Afwerki is now both warlords. The PM and President is fighting the same war. They are bound by the fate of this war and the reports that comes from it. These two are no aligned and have to co-operate to get their objectives done. That’s why Addis Ababa is sending tokens of appreciation and cheering on for the EDF.

The war in Tigray is clearly showing the lack of heart in the administrations of Asmara and Addis Ababa. When they are praising the rivers of blood and the suffering of one region. Because, they need each other to able to cope with one guerrilla outfit. Peace.

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