The US is Encouraging Terrorism in Ethiopia

May 29, 2021

“The US government, courted by lobbyists and duped by fake news, decided to put undue pressure on Ethiopia to force Abiy to negotiate with the TPLF“

By Tibebe Samuel Ferenji


“You cannot have the right to do what is wrong!” Abraham Lincoln

For 27 years, Ethiopians lived under the brutal regime of the Tigrayan People Liberation Front (TPLF) and suffered tremendously under the watchful eyes of the world. Despite the human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by the TPLF, the US provided aids in Billions and trained TPLF’s brutal police and military force. We opposed the US’s support of the TPLF to no avail. Today, the TPLF is ejected from power, dead as a viable political organization, and engaged in terrorism. Yet, the US is trying to resurrect this terrorist organization by pressuring the Ethiopian government to negotiate with it. Why is the US giving oxygen to a brutal organization responsible for the massacre of millions of Ethiopians now surviving in “life support”?

 After 27 years of  struggle and enormous sacrifices for their freedom, the people’s relentless effort paid a dividend in April 2018, when the TPLF regime was removed from power and replaced with a reform-minded leader, Dr. Abiy Ahmed. Since then, opposition organizations who lived in exile were allowed to return to the country; the sanction against political activists and journalists were lifted and the country began a new path towards a democratic system of government. 

Since the beginning of the reform, the TPLF was unhappy and made every effort to derail the progress made and return to power; it armed and funded terrorist groups in the Oromia and Benishangul regions; facilitated the massacre of ethnic Amharas. TPLF members, who were in the military, engineered the killing of civilians. Many Ethiopians were displaced from their homes, and TPLF’s propaganda machine claimed: “the new Ethiopian leaders are incapable of leading Ethiopia.” Extremist elements joined hands with the TPLF and tried to hijack the change in the country. 

 Abiy made all efforts to navigate the challenges he faced to lead a stabilized nation. On many occasions, his patience was tested. Instead of resorting to force, he pleaded with the TPLF and those who tried to take power through violence to make them part of the peaceful political process to no avail. Many criticized Abiy for showing enormous patience with the TPLF; some considered his patience as a sign of weakness. On more than 20 occasions, elders were sent to the TPLF to halt its illegal and provocative actions. The TPLF violated the constitution and held an illegal election in the Tigray region; Abiy’s patience emboldened the TPLF; instead of being part of the political process, it began beating the war dram to intimidate the federal government. 

On November 4, 2020, the TPLF crossed the redline and attacked the Ethiopian Defense Force Northern Command. These soldiers were deployed in Tigray to protect the border from enemy invasion. These soldiers did not only guard the border for 20 years before they were attacked, they contributed money to build schools in Tigray, helped farmers during harvest, and also engaged in many aspects of civic activities. Some are married Tigrayans and have children from their marriages. These soldiers were attacked by the TPLF Special Forces in their barracks while they were in bed. Thousands have died in a brutal manner. This brutality is condemned neither by the US nor by its allies. 

Abiy was forced to act militarily because no country in the world would allow such brutality to go unpunished. Since the conflict, the TPLF and its allies have been busy fabricating fake news and hiring lobbyists to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to negotiate with these terrorists. Make no mistake, the TPLF is a terrorist organization that has engineered the massacre of civilians and the destruction of properties. 

The US government, courted by lobbyists and duped by fake news, decided to put undue pressure on Ethiopia to force Abiy to negotiate with the TPLF. It is hypocritical for the US government that has a policy of no negotiation with terrorists, to pressure Ethiopia to negotiate with terrorists. What is more troubling is Ethiopia stood shoulder to shoulder with the US in the war against terrorism; now the US is turning its back on Ethiopia when Ethiopia is under attack. According to media reports, in October 2006, the United States and Ethiopia agreed to collaborate in intercepting terrorist cells seeking safe haven to incubate in the Horn of Africa. U.S. pursuit of reputed terrorists in Somalia coincided with Ethiopia’s decision to give crucial military support to the ouster of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) regime by the Transitional Federal Government. Ethiopia’s children died in defense of US’s interest; now, the Biden administration is throwing Ethiopia under the bus to protect the interest of lobbyists. 

Would Does the US negotiate with the January 6, insurrectionists? Isn’t the US hunting down and arresting those who took part in the insurrection? If the US has the right to hunt down and arrest the homegrown terrorists to enforce its law, why isn’t Ethiopia entitled to hunt down those who massacred its soldiers in their attempt to overthrow the government? 

The US has not learned anything from Iraq’s WMD propaganda; it was because lobbyists of the weapon industry engineered fake and fabricated news the US ended up invading Iraq; the same greedy lobbyists are now pushing the Biden administration to make a fatal mistake in dealing with Ethiopia. US’s action would only encourage terrorists to act and gives them a little “oxygen” to survive. This only helps destabilize the Horn of Africa. Such a fatal mistake will harm the US’s interest for years to come. The people of the United States should make a note of Biden’s policy on Ethiopia and its unjust approach. Ethiopia is a sovereign nation that will never surrender to the will of the West. It would be wise for the US to keep Ethiopia as a partner instead of giving comfort to terrorists and encouraging terrorism in Ethiopia.

Because the US is putting the terrorists and the government on equal footing and demanding the Ethiopian government to negotiate with the terrorists, the TPLF terrorist elements are engaged in assassination of government officials, killing civilians, destroying property. These criminal thugs want the starvation and the chaos to continue hoping the pressure will break the Ethiopian government and they will return to the helm of the power. These bloodsuckers do not care about the people of Tigray, they don’t even care for their own rank and file; all they care about is for the leaders to return to their past “glory” and continue to loot the country’s meager resources and rule with the brute. This is the US sanction and other actions inviting in Ethiopia. Such an approach is inviting endless civil war; no matter what, the people of Ethiopia will never stand for the TPLF to return to any form of power. We don’t need US officials’ apology and regret after the fact like they apologized and reflect their regret for the US’s egregious error in its unjust war in Iraq.  

The US must realize its simple-minded approach will not solve the predicament Ethiopia is in today. This is a very complex conflict with many invisible actors taking part to destroy Ethiopia as a nation. Such a gamble will harm the war against international terrorism and will harm the long Ethio-US relationship. The US has not learned from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, or Somalia. Acting in an irrational and arrogant manner in the horn of Africa will only lead to creating another terrorists’ hub, another terrorists’ heaven. One thing is for sure, no amount of sanction will push Ethiopians to negotiate with the TPLF. Our message to the US and others is also clear Hands Off of Ethiopia. US’s recent action against Ethiopia is nothing more than an encouragement of terrorism in Ethiopia. As President Lincoln said the US cannot have the right to do what is wrong! We simply ask for the US to stop interfering in our affairs. None of us want the Tigray people to suffer; the source of their sufferings is the TPLF, not the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian government has shown its commitment to investigate any human rights violations in Tigray in collaboration with the UN and punish those responsible for any atrocities. Why couldn’t the US wait for this investigation before taking any actions? Why put the horse before the cart if the US truly wants justice? 

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