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Horn of Africa: The Lies Undermining Peace In Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and The Sudan

The TPLF (Tigray People Liberation Front) is now in total disarray and is trying its utmost to use propaganda to derail the peace efforts in the region. Unfortunately for it, the people who find themselves in this strategic area of the world have decided that there is no room for the hegemonic dreams of the TPLF.

After the withdrawal of Ethiopian Federal troops from the Tigray region of Ethiopia and the regional capital of Mekele, western media has been awash with images of the people of Mekele, celebrating in the streets, which is in sharp contrast to the images of hunger and famine that was being reported by UN agencies shortly before the unilateral cease fire announced by the Federal Government of Ethiopia.

The important question here is whether this is indeed a time for celebration by the TPLF leaders and the people of Tigray. To answer this question one needs to look at what the objectives of the TPLF had been before the start of hostilities with their 4th November attack on the Ethiopian Northern Command — greatly encouraged by the return to power of their American friends in the new Joe Biden administration.

It is worth remembering that the TPLF, a minority party, had ruled Ethiopia for 27 long years with the unwavering and unconditional support of the United States. The Ethiopian government run by the TPLF had ruled with an iron fist and had committed horrific crimes against the Oromo and Amhara, which constitute the majority population in Ethiopia. The TPLF had been ousted from power by the popular uprising of the Oromo and Amhara youth. It was these protests that had paved the way for Dr Abiy Ahmed to become the prime minster of Ethiopia, wrenching power from the hands of the TPLF in the process. Dr Abiy is a young and enlightened leader, who was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in ending the twenty year state of war that had existed between Ethiopia and Eritrea as a result of the TPLF’s belligerence.

With Dr Abiy becoming prime minster of Ethiopia and the TPLF losing power in Ethiopia they began to make plans to regain what they had lost. Their first objective was to destroy the Ethiopian army by taking control of the Northern Command which was a significant portion of the Ethiopian army and during the reign of the TPLF under the pretext of defending Ethiopia from Eritrea, this well equipped army command had been stationed in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The second objective of the TPLF was to march on Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, after it had taken control of the Ethiopian army Northern Command and to remove Dr Abiy from office by staging a coup d’état. The intention of the TPLF after resuming power in Ethiopia was to launch an attack on Eritrea to bring about a change in government in Eritrea with the help of the USA. The TPLF has through its TV stations publicly stated its desire to install a puppet government in Eritrea which it can control and through this puppet government gain access to the sea in order to make its dream of making Tigray region of Ethiopia into an independent state. The TPLF — as its name would suggest — has always harboured the dream of creating an independent Tigray state, by splitting and balkanising Ethiopia with the intention of weakening it, while at the same time trying to bring Eritrea under its domination.

The TPLF has been plagued by a strong fear that justice will take its course and that it will be held accountable for the crimes it has committed on the Ethiopian people. It will do all it can to avoid being brought to trial for all the crimes it has committed in Ethiopia over its 27 year rule. This determination not to face justice might drive the TPLF to take desperate measures which could pose a serious danger. With the Ethiopian parliament now investigating the crimes — political, ethnic and economic— of the TPLF arrest warrants have been issued to those members of the TPLF which are deemed to be responsible for these crimes.

In the 27 long years that the TPLF has been in power the Ethiopian government estimates that it has stolen more than EUR 20 billion from the state through a network of private subsidiaries and friendly companies which were used to transfer funds abroad. The Parliamentary enquiries have already uncovered these economic crimes and have identified those who were directly responsible and who should now be brought to justice.  

The final objective of the TPLF was to change the positive dynamics of the Horn of Africa which had been created since 2018 with the signing of a peace agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

This peace deal had created a stability in the region which had not only risked compromising the objectives of the TPLF, but had also irked its foreign allies who have a vested interest in keeping the entire region weak and unstable.

The TPLF has not managed any of its objectives despite support from the western media and political support given by the United States. The US administration does not seem to realise — or choosing to ignore — the dire consequence to the region that its support to the TPLF will have unless it stops and reconsiders its action.

It is worth looking at the figures to try and understand the TPLF has failed to achieve its stated objectives that have been outlined here.

Firstly it has to be said that about 70% of the TPLF’s armed forces have been completely destroyed in the last eight months by the Ethiopian army. It is obvious that the Ethiopian government will not allow the TPLF to rebuild its military to levels that existed before November 2020 or to a point where the TPLF will become a threat again. It is clear that federal government will demand and enforce the complete demilitarisation of Tigray and will not allow military aid disguised as ‘humanitarian’ aid to enter into the Tigray region. Sooner or later the  West, whether it likes it or not, will come to realise that the once formidable military strength of the TPLF which it had deployed to dominate other ethnic groups in Ethiopia for over 20 years is gone — never to be rebuilt.

One must not lose sight of the fact that there is a serious humanitarian issue unfolding in the Tigray region which has seen thousands of people caught in the grip of famine as the Ethiopian Federal army and the rebel Tigrayan forces clash. With the humanitarian situation getting increasingly worrisome the Ethiopian government has decided to declare a unilateral ceasefire to allow much needed aid to reach the civilian population of Tigray and to ensure that the farmers in the region are able to fully exploit the farming season.

The cease fire is a humanitarian gesture by the Addis Ababa government which had paved the way for the TPLF to contribute towards the humanitarian efforts to help the people of Tigray — if it so wished.

The truce had also provided a way out for the TPLF out of the predicament it finds itself in as a result of its failed polices as it opens the path for a peaceful reconciliation, which can only be in the interest of their own people — a people they claim to be defending against aggressors.

In rejecting the opportunity for peace the TPLF has yet again shown that it’s only interested in furthering its own selfish elitist interests with little regard to the interests of the people. There can be no better evidence of the TPLF’s war mongering nature than the numerous declarations of war and hostile communiqués it has issued — the international community should finally take heed and take appropriate action.

With the TPLF decimated on the military front it has decided to wage a sustained propaganda war in a futile bid to reverse its loss on the ground. Thanks to substantial funds that the TPLF has embezzled it has huge financial reserves to allow it to dominate the propaganda war. Using its stolen money the TPLF has tried to control the narrative by presenting its false narrative to the western press.

The financial clout of the TPLF has enabled it to buy influence with the western press who are more than willing to peddle the false narrative as long as the TPLF is willing to generously grease their palms.

A case in point is the recent pictures the hundreds of supposed Ethiopian POW being seen paraded through the streets of Mekelle in the reports being circulated in the past few days by the western media. Had these media outlets done the most rudimentary of checks, they would have realised that these pictures were actually from early November 2020 when the treasonous TPLF militias had attacked the Northern Command taking thousands of prisoners. Of the Ethiopian soldiers that had been attacked in the early hours of 4th November 2020 while they lay sleeping in their barracks some had managed to escape to Eritrea where they were well received and able to recover before returning to Ethiopia. Those Ethiopian soldiers who had been taken prisoners by the TPLF were used as human shields to protect the TPLF leaders who were hiding in the caves of the mountain regions of Tembien, in Tigray.

No careful and objective observer should have fallen for this gigantic fake news. Unfortunately, as usual the media was inundated with articles and fanciful statements which the simplest of verification processes would have been able to disprove without a shadow of a doubt. This was part of the propaganda war that the TPLF was waging.

The simple truth is that the sovereign governments of at least four states (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan) have succeeded in the space of a few years in reaching peace agreements and economic and social understandings that ensure a path of peace and development for an area as vast and strategic as the Horn of Africa. The only enemies of this project are the TPLF, a small ethnic based group that has cunningly and cynically held the entire area in check for decades, using its economic power and good international relations. But this page is now closed forever. History has been revealed, the people have become aware of the truth. Exploiting the humanitarian emergency for their own propaganda purposes is yet another proof of the TPLF’s ruthlessness.

Four nations living in an objectively complicated context cannot be blocked in their thirst for rebirth by the greed of a minority defeated first and foremost by its own very ugly history. They have tried to exploit the unilateral peace offered by PM Abiy on humanitarian grounds as a propaganda opportunity to sing about a non-existent victory is the latest horrendous proof of how miserable and brutal the TPLF leaders’ view of their own people is. The cease fire is an opportunity to stop the conflict, to help the people and to find a lasting agreement.

Instead what we are seeing is more propaganda, more lies being shouted to the world in an attempt to preserve power and privileges that will never return. Stopping the violence, helping the people, pacifying the area means is the only way to help the people of Tigray. However, the TPLF which is the real enemy of its own people wishes nothing more to than to cause more misery to the very people it claims it stands for and it is time for everyone to take note of this inescapable truth.

by Guido Talarico

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