Statement on Ethiopia by the Senior Study Group on Peace and Security in the Red Sea Arena | ZeHesha

Statement on Ethiopia by the Senior Study Group on Peace and Security in the Red Sea Arena

6 mins read
2

The United States Institute of Peace
November 5, 2020

As members of the bipartisan senior study group on peace and security in the Red Sea arena, we are watching with grave concern the situation in Ethiopia. While many of the facts remain unclear, the risks of escalation are certain: Intrastate or interstate conflict would be catastrophic for Ethiopia’s people and for the region and would pose a direct threat to international peace and security. The acceleration of polarization amid violent conflict would also mark the death knell for the country’s nascent reform effort that began two years ago and the promise of a democratic transition that it heralded.
As we cautioned in the study group’s Final Report and Recommendations released on October 29, the fragmentation of Ethiopia would be the largest state collapse in modern history. Ethiopia is five times the size of pre-war Syria by population, and its breakdown would lead to mass interethnic and interreligious conflict; a dangerous vulnerability to exploitation by extremists; an acceleration of illicit trafficking, including of arms; and a humanitarian and security crisis at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East on a scale that would overshadow any existing conflict in the region, including Yemen. As Ethiopia is currently the leading Troop Contributing Country to the United Nations and the African Union peacekeeping missions in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, its collapse would also significantly impact the efforts by both to mitigate and resolve others conflicts in the Horn of Africa.
However severe the events of the last 48 hours and the preceding violence in multiple parts of the country may be, a wider war is not inevitable, nor is it too late to prevent one if Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy and Ethiopia’s federal states exercise responsible leadership. To do so, they must take immediate, visible steps to defuse the crisis and signal to the Ethiopian public a commitment to de-escalation. These steps should include a cessation of military operations and the launch of an inclusive political dialogue that is credible to the Ethiopian people and lays the groundwork for free and fair elections. Neither will be possible while many of the country’s most prominent political leaders remain in prison. In addition, the closing of political space and internet and communication blackouts must be reversed while intercommunal violence and the rise of incitement and hate speech are addressed.

At this crucial inflection point, the United States, its allies and partners in Europe and in the region, the members of the U.N. Security Council and the relevant multilateral organizations, including the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, must speak with one voice in promoting de-escalation on this basis. The United States should support initiatives by Ethiopian religious and civil society leaders to reach a peaceful resolution of the crisis. To reinforce these efforts, the United States, including Congress, should make clear that any change by force or fiat either to Ethiopia’s constitutional order or to its internal or external borders will not be recognized, in line with the African Union’s standards. The United States must also signal that it will hold accountable those responsible for escalation, including any foreign states that exacerbate tensions or provide material support to any of the parties to the conflict. And Ethiopian leaders should refrain from attempting to draw their neighbors into their domestic dispute. Finally, as recommended at length in our recent report, U.S. development and humanitarian assistance should be anchored in a commitment to promoting inclusive, legitimate governance.

Ambassador Johnnie Carson
Senior Advisor to the President, United States Institute of Peace
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin
President Emeritus, Middle East Institute
Former Deputy U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
Former USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia-Near East

Ambassador Chester Crocker
James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies, Georgetown University
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Ambassador Eric Edelman
Roger Hertog Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence, School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey

Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman
Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow, U.N. Foundation
Former U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs

Ambassador Michelle Gavin
Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Former Senior Director for Africa, U.S. National Security Council
Former U.S. Ambassador to Botswana

Nancy Lindborg
President and CEO, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Former President, United States Institute of Peace
Former USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

Andrew Natsios
Executive Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University Former Administrator of USAID
Former Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan

General Joseph L. Votel
President and CEO, Business Executives for National Security
Former Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command

2 Comments

  1. Just unbelievable. Which planet do these lot live? How can people with such credentials become so uninformed? Or so willfully ignorant of the facts?

    Don’t they know the country’s PM, for the last two years, has been sending reconciliation groups, including religious, communal, political, who pleaded and even begged the TPLF leadership to come to the fold? All of them rejected with utter arrogance.

    Don’t they know this provincial click rejected all and every decision passed by the country’s Parliament?

    Don’t they know they held elections on their own accord though Parliament had postponed all elections until further notice? They arranged so that they won 100% of the seats. No surprise there.

    Don’t they know the TPLF junta massacred innocent civilians in their hundreds with no apparent reason but their ethnicity?

    Don’t they know TPLF massacred members of the Defence Forces which were stationed among them in the region?

    TPLF’s atrocities are too many to list, and despite Western media’s efforts to misinform, the world community is now clearly aware of.

    Of course, you are willfully keeping yourselves uninformed of these atrocities. You and your types have counted too much on this junta – your desire for them to ignite a civil / ethnic war in the country and bring the demise of the current Ethiopian state has crumbled. You have to come to their rescue. Sad, very sad, but understandable.

  2. Just unbelievable. Which planet do these lot live? How can people with such credentials become so uninformed? Or so willfully ignorant of the facts?
    Don’t they know the country’s PM, for the last two years, has been sending reconciliation groups, including religious, communal, political, who pleaded and even begged the TPLF leadership to come to the table? All of them rejected with utter arrogance.
    Don’t they know this provincial click rejected all and every decision passed by the country’s Parliament?
    Don’t they know they held elections on their own accord though the country’s Parliament had postponed all elections until further notice because of Covid19 . TPLF arranged so that they won 100% of the seats. No surprise there.
    Don’t they know the TPLF junta recently massacred innocent civilians in their hundreds with no apparent reason but their ethnicity which has been described as genocide, crime against humanity by witnesses including Rights groups?
    Don’t they know TPLF massacred members of the Defence Forces which were stationed among them in the region?
    TPLF’s atrocities are too many to list, and despite Western media’s efforts to misinform, and cover up, the world community is now clearly aware of.
    Of course, you are willfully keeping yourselves uninformed of these atrocities. You and your types have counted too much on this junta – your desire for them to ignite a civil / ethnic war in the country and bring the demise of the current Ethiopian state has crumbled. You have to come to their rescue. Sad, very sad, but understandable.

    You got only one thing right in your post – that is, the country’s map.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.