A civil war in Ethiopia began a year ago this November. Now, the fighting is escalating and the world is seriously concerned that aid supplies can’t reach millions who desperately need them.
As the Associated Press reported: “Urgent new efforts to calm Ethiopia’s escalating war unfolded November 4th as Ethiopia’s East African neighbor Kenya warned that the lack of a dialogue to end the civil war is “particularly disturbing.”
The tragic East Africa conflict is riddled with ironies:
—Ethiopia, with nearly 118 million residents, is Africa’s second-most populous country.
—Its prime minister, Ahmed Abiy Ahmed, received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his country’s efforts to end a two-decade-long war with neighboring Somaliland to the north.
—In the current Ethiopian civil conflict, a spokesman for Mr. Ahmed, did not respond when asked Nov. 4 whether he would meet with U.S. Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman.
Mr. Feltman, who just arrived in Kenya to encourage mediation had insisted earlier this month that “there are many, many ways to initiate discrete talks (between Ethiopia’s warring factions).”
Events to watch for:
*Progress in arranging for initial informal contacts, or better yet, face-to-face negotiations between the opponents in the civil war, and the U.N. envoy, as a start to easing a conflict that endangers its neighbors especially Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
*A statement by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), headquartered in Addis Ababa, that there is a cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia and peace guarantees on all sides.
*The fighting there, however, appears to be escalating daily. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Nov. 1 he was alarmed by reports that rebellious Tigrayan forces had recently taken over two key Ethiopian towns.
A worsening crisis?
Reports from the scene indicate the crisis is now deepening. CNN says that nine Ethiopian opposition groups have formed an anti-government alliance and that they’ve recently advanced on the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. However, according to CNN, “it’s unclear exactly how close they are to Addis.”
Ethiopia has just approved a six-month state of emergency, allowing the conscription of people who own firearms and are 18 years old, eligible for military service.
It seems almost certain, as of November Nov. 5th, that the U.N. will take action to condemn the fighting in Tigray and propose URGENT NEXT STEPS by the international community.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More