Tigray Crisis: Is Ethiopia leading to civil war?

 Ethiopia was the land of the Neolithic peoples, the ancestors of modern people. The country is ruled by a Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister. It is the fastest-growing country in entire Africa. 


Ethiopia is in a turbulent situation. According to many experts, the modern human species spread from this Ethiopian region first to the Middle East and then to the rest of the world.

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The country is located in the 'African peak'. It is bounded on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the west by Sudan, and the south by Kenya. The landlocked country is the second-most populous country in Africa. The population of the country is about 100 million. Addis Ababa is the capital and largest city. 

The central government's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, last week declared a state of emergency in the northern province of Tigray and called in troops. Earlier, at the end of last year, he dissolved the provincial government. There have been airstrikes and clashes between provincial and central government forces.

The crisis started soon after the Tigray provincial government was dissolved. The ruling People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray has demanded new elections. But Abiy Ahmed postponed the election due to the global epidemic. The government then completely denied the central authority and held parliamentary elections in the state on 9th September. Naturally, the Center rejected the election as illegal. 

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It is said that the Tigray has "violated the constitution and put the constitutional system in crisis." The situation is complicated by the disputed election. An armed attack earlier this week killed 54 people. The Prime Minister alleged that the central government's security forces were being attacked in the area at the behest of the local administration. 

At the same time, attempts are being made to loot weapons. And all this is being done by the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, declared a state of emergency following the violence. 

Thus, a year after receiving the highest award in the world, a fire of unrest ignited in his own country. The Prime Minister called the attackers "traitors" and ordered the security forces to eliminate them. The conflict is ongoing. Both sides are blaming each other for provoking the crisis. 

Abiy Ahmed has already fired the army chief, intelligence chief and foreign minister. However, no reason was shown for these steps. Fierce clashes are going on. The United Nations says fighting is raging between the Tigray and federal forces in eight different areas. 

This could lead to civil war in the country, which could destabilize neighbouring countries. The United Nations has predicted that 9 million people will be displaced in the fighting.

Meanwhile, Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael said in a statement that the Tigray will continue to resist until the central government agrees to the talks. He had earlier accused the Abiy's central administration of "conspiracy to attack" his state. 

He also called on the African Union to come forward to end the civil war. The question naturally arises, after the dissolution of the government as per the decision of the Central Parliament, the TPLF dares to hold elections by denying the authority of the Center. Where is the strength of their poles? The root cause of the current crisis lies in the answer to this question.

Surprising but true, Ethiopia is the most armed country in Africa. And before Abiy came to power in 2018, Tiger leaders dominated politics, including the Ethiopian army. Among the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the Tigray make up only 6 per cent of the total population. 

According to the International Crisis Group on Ethiopia, the paramilitary and militia group of the TPLF has about 2.5 million members. It is through this power that they maintain their dominance in national politics. At the same time,there are allegations that they are involved in widespread corruption. 

Abiy came to power and tried to reduce the influence of the TPLF. He arrested and imprisoned many corrupt leaders. But Tigray leaders say they are being accused of "unjust" corruption.

For all these reasons, since Abiy came to power, the PTLF leaders have felt deprived and have left the coalition government at the Center. Since then they have been demanding national elections.

 But Abiy did not agree because of the pandemic. And the Tigray leaders have elected in their states ignoring the central government. The Abiy government then cancelled the allocation of money to the TPLF leaders and allocated that money to the local government. 

The Tigray leaders were furious. They also warned of the beginning of a bloody conflict. A total of five local parties took part in the September elections there. In it, Tigray People's Liberation Front TPLF alone got 98.20 per cent votes. 

They have won 152 of the 190 seats in parliament. The other four parties together got 1.80 per cent votes and 38 seats. There is no reason not to see the results, to understand how the election went.

With the state declared a state of emergency and military operations underway, it is now thought that the conflict could spread to other parts of the country where more autonomy is being fought. Not only that, Ethiopia has problems with neighbouring Egypt and Sudan. 

Ethiopia has already built the largest dam on the Nile River to generate hydropower. At the heart of Ethiopia's master plan to become Africa's largest electricity exporter is the 4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). 

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to reach a consensus despite holding several rounds of talks on controlling the flow of water from the dam. Egypt says the flow of the Nile has already receded. The crisis will be exacerbated by the Ethiopian dam. More than 100 million people in Egypt are directly dependent on the Nile. 

Egypt is now fueling the instability in Ethiopia as a result of the dispute over the dam, a former US diplomat has indicated.

There is also a Sino-US conflict. Ethiopia has long been on the path to development with the help of China. Since 1995, the country has been moving forward with economic assistance from China.

 The capital, Addis Ababa, is changing with the overall development of the country. Skyscrapers, modern railways, and beautiful, well-maintained roads have all been built there. 

Over the past two decades, China has built a 68 million road network in Addis Ababa, a 12.7 million Goreta Crossroads, Ethiopia's first six-lane highway for 800 million, and the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway for 4 billion. It is here that China built the first Metrorail system in the sub-Saharan region.

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There are also reports in the international media that one of the most important events of the 21st century is the rapid economic growth of Ethiopia. However, the World Bank has cut Ethiopia's potential growth rate from 8.2 per cent to 6.3 per cent in 2020 and lowered the country's growth target for 2021 from 8.2 per cent to 6.4per cent.

 Even then, the Ethiopian government expects GDP growth to exceed 10 per cent by 2020. This development is wonderful. And that is a concern for the United States.

Many observers believe that the United States and its ally Israel are using him to try to put pressure on some countries, including Egypt, by building a dam on the Nile River.

Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 in recognition of his role in bringing peace to Eritrea, ending more than two decades of war. He may want to walk the path of peace. 

But there are doubts about whether the United States, Israel, China and other regional powers, which are at the forefront of international politics, will allow him to go that route. It also depends on the outcome of the ongoing conflict.

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