How Abiy Ahmed’s Ethiopia-first nationalism led to civil war


( Tigray is the last frontier in a battle over the character of the Ethiopian state.

Earlier this month, a simmering political and ideological conflict between Ethiopia’s federal government and the northern region of Tigray escalated into a deadly civil war that is threatening to destabilise an already fragile and volatile region.

On November 4, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced military attacks against the Tigray region, which borders Eritrea and Sudan, and its governing party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The prime minister, who positioned himself as a reformer and peacemaker since taking office in 2018, and won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for clinching a long-awaited peace deal between his country and Eritrea, declared an all-out war on a regional government as a means to settle an ideological and political difference.

The war in Tigray is a continuation of the violent and widespread repression Abiy began in Oromia, Walaita and Sidama against those who resisted his vision of the future. After silencing dissent and opposition elsewhere in the country, Abiy and his camp are turning to Tigray, the last frontier in the battle over the character of the Ethiopian state. Continue Reading

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