July 25, 2021

The Tigray War, a military disaster for Ethiopia

The trouble with wars behind closed doors is that it’s hard for those who organize them to get their point across. While forces loyal to the Ethiopian government have largely abandoned the northern region of Tigray to the rebels of the TDF (Tiger Defense Forces), in Addis Ababa, the capital, the explanations for this disastrous turn of absolute victory proclaimed for years months by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are not lacking. A failure ? A notion “Ridiculous and unreal”, said Wednesday, June 30 Redwan Hussein, spokesperson for the government crisis cell on Tigray and hawk in power.

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Thursday 1is July, the TDF rebels continued their push towards the west inside their state-region, from their new central bastion where the cities of Shiré, Aksoum, Adoua and Adigrat are located, but especially the capital, Makalé , which would have been abandoned on Monday without a fight because it would have ceased to be “The center of gravity” that it was before the outbreak of hostilities, in November 2020, in the words of Abiy Ahmed pronounced during a long tirade in front of Ethiopian journalists on Tuesday evening. Understand: the Tigrayan capital would have suddenly lost all interest, we might as well devote ourselves to something else.

The priority of the Ethiopian army would now be to protect the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and to face Sudan, with which clashes have already taken place for the control of a border strip, the triangle d ‘Al-Fashaga. “A war against Sudan would play into the hands of other parties [les rebelles], it will therefore not take place ”, attempted to argue Redwan Hussein, hinting at how the situation threatened to expand geographically.

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“Hidden military disaster”

Abiy Ahmed, him, had also put forward the cost of the war to justify the departure of his troops from the heart of this region which he had declared “Under full control” from the end of November, even congratulating himself that his troops were “Entered Makalé without the innocent civilians being victims of violence”.

An Ethiopian government soldier occupies a position on the road to Abi Adi in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 11, 2021.

The reality was quite different. The armed forces of Eritrea and militias from the neighboring Amhara region were engaged from the start of the operation alongside the Ethiopian National Defense Force (FDNE) in Tigray, carving out strongholds there, engaging in atrocities of a magnitude likely to end before an international court, burning what could not be looted. Certain countries and institutions, from the United States to the European Commission, have in recent months put pressure on the Ethiopian authorities to put an end to the abominations of this war from which journalists have been dismissed. France, on the other hand, played proximity with a power that continued to trumpet its victories.

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