Egypt and Ethiopia are exchanging harsh words over the dam the latter is building on the Blue Nile. At issue is how fast the Horn nation will fill its reservoir once construction is complete. The two countries’ leaders should cool the rhetoric and seek compromise.
Ruling coalition decided to become single party, ethnic Sidama voted in referendum to create new federal state, and Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan committed to resolve dispute over Nile waters by mid-Jan. Three of four regional parties in ruling coalition 16 Nov voted in favour of merging to become one national party called Prosperity Party; fourth party, Tigray People’s Liberation Front, opposed move, while affiliated ruling parties from five other regions set to join. Residents of Sidama Zone in south 20 Nov held referendum on whether to turn region into semi-autonomous federal state; electoral board 23 Nov said 98.5% voted in favour and turnout was 99.7%. Ethnic violence erupted at Woldia University in Amhara region in north 9 Nov, leaving two students dead, and spread to other universities in Amhara and Oromio regions; another student killed at Dire Dawa University in east. FMs from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan in Washington 6 Nov agreed to hold four technical meetings, with World Bank and U.S. as observers, in bid to reach agreement by 15 Jan on filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Blue Nile River.
Southern Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Sidama, is set to declare a new regional state on 18 July. To reduce conflict risks, the Sidama should resolve sensitive issues before forming the entity, while the government should urgently organise a constitutionally mandated referendum on the question.
Ethiopia is building a mighty dam on the Blue Nile, promising economic benefits for both itself and Sudan. But Egypt fears for its freshwater supply. The parties should agree on how fast to fill the dam’s reservoir and how to share river waters going forward.
Ethiopia’s charismatic new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has generated great excitement with initiatives breaking with the past. But he faces challenges as formidable as his promises are bold: he urgently needs to halt communal strife, smooth the road to elections and boost the ailing economy.
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.
[In Ethiopia] as political space has opened and [the majority's] control has weakened all sorts of latent disputes over power, resources, identity and territory have surfaced.
[Ethiopian] Prime Minister Abiy and his Oromo Democratic Party risk losing significant amounts of support in Oromia unless relations with [political opponent] Jawar and his loyalists are swiftly repaired.
The decision by top Sidama administrators [in Ethiopia] to accept a belated referendum meant the zone didn’t self-declare and so a major confrontation was avoided yesterday.
After today’s violence, the Sidama situation looks like another major challenge for a government already struggling to manage this transition and create conditions for elections next May.
It doesn't appear to have been a concerted national coup attempt [in Ethiopia]. It's not obvious what the motivations were for anyone to assassinate the chief of staff.
Instead of benefiting from the fruits of democratic reforms, Ethiopia is currently dealing with instability from a very tricky transition.
Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. These early-warning publications identify major conflict situations in which prompt action, driven or supported by the European Union and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. The second update to the Watch List 2019 includes entries on Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran and Libya.
The shocking murders of five high-ranking officials have exposed the gravity of Ethiopia’s crisis. To mitigate risks, politicians should refrain from doing or saying anything provocative, while the federal government and ruling elites take urgent steps to heal deep and dangerous internal rifts.