According to Walsh, Abiy, an ethnic Oromo, “never felt fully accepted by Tigrayans and suffered numerous humiliations” during his years in the TPLF-led government, for which he sought revenge as part of a mixture of paranoia and inferiority complex. Isaias, who Walsh says “had a long and bitter grudge” against the TPLF due to the 1998-2000 war that killed at least 120,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans, became a natural ally after the two signed a peace treaty to end that war in 2018.
Eritrea, which broke away from Ethiopia in 1991 after a decades-long struggle for independence and sits on the Red Sea, is the only country in Africa not to have a relationship with US Africa Command (USAFRICOM). However, Washington has long sought to isolate Eritrea on the world stage, ever since the TPLF-led Ethiopian government became a major US War on Terror partner in the early 2000s and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), set up to establish the new border between the two nations, gave the key city of Badme to Eritrea - a move to which Addis objected.
“Instead of putting pressure on the TPLF regime to accept the boundary demarcation ruling of the EEBC, the US further demonized Eritrea and imposed sanctions on it in 2009,” Elias Amare, independent journalist, researcher and the editor of Horn of Africa TV, told Sputnik on Thursday.
“The trumped-up charges for the sanctions were that Eritrea supported the Al-Shabaab terrorists of Somalia, an utterly bogus charge, because Eritrea was itself the victim of jihadi terrorist proxy groups that were being financed and supported by the TPLF regime of Ethiopia,” he added. “These unjust sanctions that were imposed on Eritrea at the UN Security Council were finally lifted in November of 2018 once peace was achieved with Ethiopia.”
“So, all along, the TPLF regime and its patrons in Washington have been against peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia,” Amare said. Indeed, comments quoted by Walsh in his Wednesday article reflect just such an attitude.
“The West needs to make up for its mistakes in Ethiopia,” Alex Rondos, formerly the European Union’s top diplomat in the Horn of Africa, told the Times. “It misjudged Abiy. It empowered Isaias. Now the issue is whether a country of 110 million people can be prevented from unraveling.”
“The only issue is regional alignment and not complying enough to a regional set policies of isolating Eritrea, plus troop movement in the region, instead of continuing the occupation in Somalia, Sudan, etc,” Filmon Zerai, writer, independent analyst and an organizing member at Horn of Africa Pan-Africans for Liberation & Solidarity, told Sputnik.
“Outside of the position on Eritrea and conflict with the TPLF, he [Abiy] is the best leader Washington ‘needs’ internally,” Zerai added, noting that Abiy’s government has continued its close military cooperation with US Africa Command begun by the previous TPLF government. US Agency for International Development (USAID) chief Samantha Power said
much the same on CNN last month, even as her agency withholds $272 million
in food aid for the country.
He cautioned that “while it's important to highlight Abiy’s neoliberal leanings and disregard for oppressed nationalities in Ethiopia, the author’s only issue seems to be his closeness with Eritrea.”