The UAE, together with its ally Saudi Arabia, played a highly visible role in helping make peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. As its footprint across the Horn of Africa grows, the UAE should avoid having intra-Gulf competition colour its engagement.
Govt and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), group fighting for secession of Somali region which declared unilateral ceasefire in Aug, signed framework agreement in Eritrean capital Asmara 21 Oct and agreed to set up joint committee to continue to address root causes of conflict. About 300 soldiers 10 Oct held protest march through capital Addis Ababa to PM Abiy’s office and demanded to speak to him; once disarmed and admitted, they expressed grievances relating to salary and other benefits. Army chief of staff 14 Oct said high-ranking officers behind protest had been arrested. Abiy 18 Oct described march as attempt to derail reforms. Govt 10 Oct demanded remaining armed fighters of rebel group Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which signed reconciliation agreement with govt in Aug, to hand over weapons; 1,300 fighters have reportedly already disarmed. OLF fighters reportedly clashed with security forces in Qelem district of Wolega 28-29 Oct. In ethnic Tigray region in north, Raya people protested, demanding that they be recognised as belonging to wider Amhara community; security forces 21 Oct forcibly dispersed crowds, killing at least three. During congress of ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), PM Abiy and Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen elected as Chairman and Vice-Chairman 3 Oct until next congress. Govt 16 Oct announced new cabinet of twenty ministers (down from 28), including ten women. Parliament 25 Oct approved Sahle-Work Zewde as country’s first female president, replacing Mulatu Teshome, who resigned unexpectedly previous day.
Ethiopia’s struggle with domestic religious radicalisation has shifted toward top-down intervention, a policy that has contained violence but is generating new risks. Political accommodation and compromise are vital to defuse faith-based radicals’ opposition to what they perceive as overly secular rule by the dominant party.
The most credible attempt at talks to end decades of armed conflict in Ogaden may soon resume, but concerted efforts need to be made to guide them to a peaceful resolution.
The West will need to show tougher love to his successor than it did to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died Monday, if one of its most important regional allies is to remain stable.
The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by its chairman and prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has radically reformed Ethiopia’s political system. The regime transformed the hitherto centralised state into the Federal Democratic Republic and also redefined citizenship, politics and identity on ethnic grounds.
The Ethiopia-Eritrea impasse carries serious risk of a new war and is a major source of instability in the Horn of Africa, most critically for Somalia. Following Ethiopia’s refusal to accept virtual demarcation of the border by the now disbanded Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC), Asmara unilaterally implemented it and forced out the UN peacekeepers (UNMEE), significantly raising the stakes and shattering the status quo.
The risk that Ethiopia and Eritrea will resume their war in the next several weeks is very real. A military build-up along the common border over the past few months has reached alarming proportions. There will be no easy military solution if hostilities restart; more likely is a protracted conflict on Eritrean soil, progressive destabilisation of Ethiopia and a dramatic humanitarian crisis.
Ethiopians want [the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)] to concede on the issue of the constitution. ONLF previously said they were not going to recognize the federal constitution.
[The dispute about future management of the Nile] is a proxy conflict over who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian government backed a different candidate, so there was speculation that the new Somali president may actually be hostile to Ethiopia.
The protests [in Ethiopia] have now reached a serious level, a different scale. We should not exaggerate and say the government is going to keel over tomorrow, but it portends future trouble unless they get a grip.
It is clear Ethiopia has a potentially serious and destabilizing unrest on its hands. What started off as isolated and localized protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions has now morphed into a much broader movement covering a large swath of the country
I think the government [of Ethiopia] is fearful that these protests may actually engulf the whole country. That is why you are seeing this heavy-handed crackdown
A 12 June clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia comes as the Horn of Africa’s two most implacable rivals face a crossroads.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died on 20 August 2012. Emilio Manfredi, Crisis Group’s Ethiopia Analyst, explains the profound national and regional consequences of the passing of the man who ruled the country for over two decades.