Recently Ethiopia’s government has declared war on its Tigray region. National Defense Force (NDF) conducted airstrikes against the forces of Tigray region as a result of the conflict between the Ethiopian govt and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. As of now, since 4 November military operations as well as air strikes have been conducted against the forces of Tigray region .
- If we talk about the recent conflict that is going on, then the Tigray Crisis began with the announcement by Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed announced that forces supporting Tigray People’s Liberation Front have attacked a military base and many soldiers have been martyred. After this, PM Abiy Ahmed started military operations against the forces of the fortified Tigray region on 4 Nov.
- Although Tigray People’s Liberation Front refused any of such attacks, a state of emergency has been declared by the Ethiopian govt in the Tigray region. Electricity and internet services also shut down in the Tigray region.
- On 6 Nov, airstrikes were launched against the forces of Tigray People’s Liberation Front by Ethiopian Government.
- On 7 Nov, Ethiopian parliament voted to form an interim government in the northern Tigray region and declared the Tigrayian govt as illicit. This govt was formed by local elections during Pandemic. The Ethiopian Central Government had postponed the elections that were to be held in September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government of Ethiopia has also made some replacements in the middle of all this; Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen Hassen has been appointed as the Foreign Minister while Lieutenant General Birhanu Jula Gelalcha has been promoted to the post of Army Chief.
Backdrop: What led to the Conflict?
- The Conflict between Ethiopian Govt and TPLF actually began with the appointment of Abiy Ahmed Ali as the PM of the country in 2018.
- Before the year 2019, Tigray People’s Liberation Front used to be a part of Ethiopia’s governing coalition but it refused to join the Prosperity Party (PP) formed by Abiy Ahmed Ali and separated itself from the coalition.
- Tigray People’s Liberation Front has been one of the most influential members of the ruling coalition that was formed by ethnic-based parties but after the merger of all other parties in the Prosperity Party (PP) formed by Abiy Ahmed Ali, TPLF has been left alone.
- Ethiopian Federal government voted to postpone the September 2020 elections but TPLF was against the extra time given to Abiy Ahmed in the govt and also conducted its local elections.
- This is where the tensions between the government and TPLF became stronger.
Importance of Tigray
Tigray is the northern region of landlocked country Ethiopia and has only 6 per cent of the country’s population. Even with this small population, The region is a strategically importance for the Ethiopia. The region has played a great role in power and govt almost from 30 years (3 decades). After the end of Ethiopian Civil War (September 1974 to June 1991), TPLF became the leader of the governing coalition of Ethiopia. Also, Meles Zenawi, a Tigrayan, led Ethiopia from 1991 until his death in 2012. This is the reason why Tigray is one of important regions of the country.
How Tigray Conflict affect Ethiopia and its neighbors?
As the conflict has taken a bad turn now, there is a possibility that it can spread to other regions of Ethiopia. So, the Tigray crisis can lead to unwanted war-like situation. Not only this, the Tigray crisis can also affect the neighboring countries like Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. Ethiopian forces have started to withdraw from Somalia; Sudan is also going through a major political transition.
The country is located in the Horn of Africa. It is a rugged and landlocked country. In the north side Ethiopia share border with Eritrea, In northeast side it share border with Djibouti, Somalia share border with Ethiopia in the east, Kenya share with the southern side, and South Sudan and Sudan share border with Ethiopia to the western side. Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis