Hunger Stalks Millions as Abiy Asks Ethiopians to Join Army

Fighting in northern Ethiopia may intensify further after the nation’s Nobel-laureate leader urged citizens to join the army and militias, which may add to the misery caused by nine months of civil war between the federal government and dissidents in the Tigray region.

About 300,000 people are facing “emergency levels of hunger” in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Afar states, where Tigrayan forces began an offensive after regaining most of their territory from government troops in June, the World Food Programme said on Monday. That’s in addition to about 5.2 million people in Tigray who’ve been impacted by the conflict and desperately need food aid.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project and Political Conflict

In 2011, Ethiopia started construction on a dam along the Blue Nile River that the government coined the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project, GERD. Projections predict the dam’s cost around $5 billion, which was around 7% of Ethiopia’s GDP in 2016. Egypt and Sudan lodged formal complaints against GERD’s construction due to their concerns about the dam’s impact on the Nile River. The complaints they lodged revolved around two major concerns: the legitimacy of the benefits versus drawbacks outlined by the Ethiopian government and concerns about the dam’s impact on the water supply downriver. Since the benefits of the dam include necessary poverty alleviation, it is important to outline a clear view of GERD’s history, each country’s side and an outside expert’s viewpoint on the project.

Ethiopia-Sudan tension rises over Tigray conflict

Sudan recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia Aug. 8 for consultations after Ethiopian officials accused Khartoum of interfering in the Tigray crisis.

In a statement, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry rejected the Ethiopian accusations against Sudan of not staying neutral in mediating the conflict in Tigray. The statement said that a resolution of the Tigray conflict is part of Sudan’s commitment to peace and regional stability and the stabilization of Ethiopia.

Sudan pledged to continue to push for a solution to the conflict and said that it is seeking to mediate between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) with the aim of reaching a peaceful solution to the nine-month-old conflict.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been in contact with the Ethiopian central government and the TPLF leaders, working to bring the two parties to the negotiating table to discuss a peaceful solution and allow the entry of humanitarian aid for civilians.

Main road for aid to embattled Ethiopian region ‘impassible’

During a visit this week to Ethiopia, the Administrator of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) visited food warehouses outside the capital Addis Ababa run by the Catholic Relief Services, with the help of USAID.

Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, denounced the “dehumanizing rhetoric” surrounding Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict, which has devastated the area.

Wednesday’s visit to Ethiopia has been welcomed by CRS’s Ethiopia country representative, Lane Bunkers.

“The compound in Adama [about 60 miles southeast of the capital] has a long history and has been in use for four decades for the purpose of storing and staging food aid, including humanitarian distributions,” he told Crux.

Sudan recalls ambassador to Ethiopia as tensions high amid Tigray war

Sudan said Sunday it has ordered its envoy to Ethiopia home for consultations after a government spokesperson in Addis Ababa rejected a Sudanese initiative to mediate a cease-fire in the Tigray war and accused it of occupying Ethiopian territory.

The move announced in a Foreign Ministry statement was the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the African neighbors. The tensions began after Sudan deployed troops late last year to the fertile al-Fashaga border area it says was occupied for over two decades by Ethiopian farmers and militias.

Billene Seyoum, spokesperson for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said Thursday that ties with Sudan have been “a little bit tricky” and accused Khartoum of occupying Ethiopian territory – a reference to al-Fashaga. She said Sudan was not a “credible party” to facilitate negotiations between Ahmed’s government and Tigray leaders.

Sudan-Ethiopia tensions rise amid diplomatic wrangling and famine

After Sudanese efforts to help broker a ceasefire in Tigray were rejected by Ethiopia, Khartoum has recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa.

With Sudan currently chairing the regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he was trying to “encourage all Ethiopian sides to reach a ceasefire agreement, and engage in comprehensive political talks”, in a statement released on Sunday.

Fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region began last November when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops in to defeat the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Part of the issue stems from Fashaga, the contested border region that is used by Ethiopian farmers, but claimed by Sudan.

Bloomberg: U.S. Official Calls for Cease-Fire as Ethiopia Conflict Deepens

The head of the U.S Agency for International Development called for an end to hostilities and on anti-government forces to withdraw from two regions bordering Ethiopia’s war-ravaged Tigray region.

Samantha Power’s comments in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, came after the U.S. State Department reinforced its calls for Tigray forces, which have been embroiled in a nine-month conflict with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to “withdraw its associated military forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions.”

The worsening conflict may scare overseas investment into Africa’s second-most populous nation just as it prepares to lure overseas telecommunications operators, as well as investors for its sugar assets. The violence has spilled into the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions as Tigray forces seek to push back against their adversaries following gains in June and July.

Aljazeera: USAID chief Power says Tigray rebels should exit border regions

The head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said she had raised concerns about “dehumanising rhetoric” with Ethiopian authorities and also called on rebel forces to “immediately” withdraw from two regions bordering the country’s war-hit Tigray.

Wednesday’s call by Samantha Power came as the conflict threatens to envelop other parts of the country and humanitarian groups struggle to reach cut-off populations.

BBC: Ethiopia – Growing concerns for unity as Tigray conflict spreads

There are increasing concerns about Ethiopian unity as the conflict in the northern Tigray region escalates.

The nine-month-long war between Tigrayan rebel forces and the Ethiopian army and its allies has been mostly contained in Tigray itself.

But the fighting is spreading into the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar.

This is off the back of Tigrayan forces making significant territorial gains, including capturing the regional capital, Mekelle, in June after Ethiopian troops withdrew and the government declared a unilateral ceasefire.

Ethiopia’s Problems Stem From Internal Colonialism

The reality is that the Ethiopian state is unraveling, with the TPLF defeating Ethiopian and Eritrean forces in Tigray and the Oromo Liberation Army making significant inroads on the battlefield in Oromia, the largest state in the country. Indeed, as I have written elsewhere, Ethiopia will perish ingloriously if it fails to accommodate the legitimate demands of the federalist camp.