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Ethiopia-United States: war tomorrow?

Ethiopia United States

On Monday, Joe Biden called Abiy Ahmed to express his concerns about the conflict in Tigray. Although the Prime Minister of Ethiopia has already taken a step towards the FLPT by pardoning rebel leaders, the United States continues to put pressure on Addis Ababa.

United States President Joe Biden spoke on the phone this Monday, January 10 with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about the conflict that plagues the north of the country.

The American head of state expressed his concerns about the detentions and deaths of civilians in the context of the Tigray War. Biden emphasizes, above all, the recent airstrikes that have left hundreds of civilian lives dead.

President Joe Biden "reaffirmed the United States' commitment to work alongside the African Union and other regional partners to help resolve the conflict," the White House said.

Joe Biden would also have congratulated Abiy Ahmed on the recent release of several "political prisoners".

For his part, Abiy Ahmed tweeted that he had had a "frank conversation" with Biden on "the current problems in Ethiopia, bilateral relations and some regional issues".

From Sudan, is USAID helping the Tigrayan rebels?

An exchange that recalls, to be mistaken, that between former US President George Bush and his late Iraqi counterpart Saddam Hussein, the day of the September 11 attacks. The rest is known to all.

Ethiopia is now in the sights of the United States. The Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed and his government have been fighting the independence rebels of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (FLPT) for fourteen months already.

A most tragic conflict of which the human cost is extremely high. Since the FLPT counteroffensive last October, war crimes have become attributable to three stakeholders: Ethiopia, the FLPT and Eritrea.

But a question arises: why this American interest? The United States mobilized $ 500 million in humanitarian aid last August. The American agency USAID tried to pass this aid without the consent of the Ethiopian state. This gave rise to an information war between the Americans and Abiy Ahmed.

From Sudan, USAID maintains the largest refugee camp in the region, whose managers not only receive civilians, but also rebels. Furthermore, it is from Sudan that the "testimonies" and the toll of the number of deaths in northern Ethiopia come.


The United States, the world's policemen

However, on the occasion of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in September 2021, Joe Biden had clearly declared that "the United States no longer wants to be the policemen of the world". It is clear that this costume is difficult to leave for the White House.

In Africa alone, the United States is in every field of war: in the Sahel, in Mozambique, in Somalia and in Ethiopia. In addition, the American army organizes military exercises in Morocco and Egypt, it trains the commandos of the countries of the ECOWAS and the anti-terrorist forces of the SADC. And American diplomacy does not miss an opportunity to comment on any tragedy that has taken place in Africa.

It was also at the start of Biden's mandate that the Pentagon concluded its contract to arm Takuba's European forces, which are to take the place of Operation Barkhane in the Sahel. It should also be remembered that American "military instructors" are present in 21 African countries, and their role is not limited only to training, as we saw in August in Chad or, later, in September, in Mozambique.

But if the United States takes advantage of the fragility of States, African or otherwise, to impose itself on national security and sovereign policy, what are they doing in Ethiopia?

Is American interventionism in Ethiopia illegal?

If one bases oneself on the rare verifiable information emanating from the Tigrayan conflict, rare are the belligerents which do nothing but suffer. War crimes are committed, indeed, but the responsibility is shared. And if Eritrea does not have the legal right to intervene, between Addis Ababa and Mekele, it is a civil war in due form which is taking place there.

However, the United Nations charter prohibits all third party states signatories to the charter from taking a military stand in civil wars. International law allows only three exceptions concerning humanitarian aid, economic aid - which is not likely to influence the outcome of the civil war - and assistance within the framework of UN missions.

At the start of the year, Abiy Ahmed and his government took a significant step towards a ceasefire. The release of FLPT leaders and Oromo and Amhara opposition leaders Jawar Mohammed and Eskinder Nega last Friday is expected to calm the situation in Ethiopia for a while.

As for the bombing last Sunday against a refugee camp, according to the FLPT, it is an Eritrean raid. Why then does the United States continue to put pressure on Ethiopia?

The country that houses the headquarters of the African Union is the only one that still resists US-Western hegemony over the Horn of Africa. Geopolitically, Addis Ababa is a thorn in Washington's side, especially because Ethiopia enjoys diplomatic and economic support from Russia and China.

Are we approaching a military conflict between the United States and Ethiopia? And can Biden afford to declare war on Abiy Ahmed outside of an international coalition? The next few months will tell us more.

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