Ethiopia Nears War as PM Orders Military Into Defiant Region

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Ethiopia Nears War as PM Orders Military Into Defiant Region

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia’s belligerent statement was particularly striking from a leader who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for making peace with Eritrea.

After coming to power, he was widely hailed for attempting to modernize Ethiopia by allowing new freedoms and championing an ambitious agenda for economic growth.

Over the months of June to September, Mr. Abiy was embroiled in a diplomatic dispute with Egypt over a $4.6 billion hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile and which has started to fill. in July. President Trump, who tried to negotiate the dispute in the spring, recently speculated that Egypt could launch a military attack on the dam.

At home, Abiy has struggled to cope with the long-suppressed demands of the patchwork of ethnic Ethiopian groups for greater autonomy from the central government. On Sunday, the attackers killed at least 54 ethnic Amharas in the western Oromia region, rights groups said.

Mr. Abiy attributed the attack to a group called the Oromo Liberation Army, which he said was backed by the Tigray government. Tigray has denied any role in it.

Some analysts have speculated that Mr. Abiy chose to move against Tigray when the world’s attention was absorbed by the US presidential election. “I guess the most important factor that dictated the timing of the war was not the TPLF attack but the US elections,” said Semir Yusuf, senior researcher in the Horn of Africa program at the Institute for Security Studies in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. text message.

Zemelak Ayitenew, associate professor of government studies at Addis Ababa University, said Abiy’s statement was “sad but not a surprise”.

“Tigray is a highly militarized region,” he added. “I hope everyone knows what he’s doing.”

Declan Walsh reported from Nairobi and Simon Marks from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.