Rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and formalization of the Tripartite Alliance laid the ground for regional disagreements. This alliance seeks to undermine AMISOM, as well as Kenya’s strategic interests in HoA. This is worsened by perception of threat posed by the Cushitic Alliance that has mainstreamed actors that GoK considers as rogue, besides providing a regional platform to attempt to destroy TPLF prior to creating regional chaos. This has led to efforts to shatter this Cushitic Alliance, principally through isolation, sanctions, and regime change operations.
The Tigray crisis in Ethiopia has driven Ethiopians to use Pan-Africanism as anchor to rally African nations to support GoE, but reality is that this is not working because TPLF enjoys strong support from some African governments and collectives of pan-African activists. Ethiopia is being turned into a pariah in its own region, and this exposes it to diplomatic and military coercion. There are even expectations that Abiy’s Government will have collapsed by the end of 2021 or early 2022 so that a new political dispensation is ushered in Ethiopia in mid-2022.
Ethiopia is being isolated in the region. Goodwill that GoE enjoyed in the EAC bloc is starting to thin after an anti-AMISOM twitter campaign by a collective of Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis, preceded a terrorist attack in Dar-es-Salaam by an armed Somali terrorist. If GoE loses EAC’s support, then USG can work with EAC to push GoE to concede to TPLF’s demands, failure to which, GoE will be isolated diplomatically and regionally, and be surrounded by an alliance supportive of TPLF.
USG rivalry with China has pushed American policy-makers to seek to counter Chinese geoeconomics-based diplomacy with regime change operations and inducement of state collapse. Crafted policies work to cause fragmentation of nations that have already defaulted on their Chinese loans, or at risk of sovereign default, so that China is forced to suffer loan non-repayment from hostile new nations created from the collapsed nation. This can also create cluster of nations hostile to Chinese ambitions in their regions. Can these policies be used in Africa, and can USG abandon armed belligerents that are unable to advance their policy interests?
In an African nation targeted for regime change, Halliburton’s Brown & Root trained fighters in rebel territory and Bechtel Corporation provided high-resolution satellite data to deployed fighters battling the government. This was the third regime change being pursued by the same USG-backed fighters, and the cumulative death toll due to these regime changes was 8.5 million people killed. Now, the Horn of Africa is the target area for regime change operations.
The Tigray crisis, hostility from Egypt, and chilly relations with USG should compel Ethiopia to adopt a delicate balance between offensive realism and defensive realism, while remaining cognizant of its current state of resource constraints. For any nation that is fighting for survival with limited resources, survival or destruction is dependent on bold leadership, wise advice, and good strategy. For Ethiopia, part of this strategy should be to keep USG irresolute, while putting in place contingency measures to fend off regime change operations.
Project Basma enabled intelligence operations to be cloaked as humanitarian activism, which allowed for covert priming of Syria for regime change. C2FC is using Project Basma’s scheme to attack Ethiopia’s will for survival as a sovereign nation-state, besides priming it for either regime attenuation or regime change. Upcoming narratives will call on rebel coalition to execute regime change so as to stabilize Ethiopia as a Federal Republic, or non-belligerently break it up, while enabling the trial of Abiy Ahmed Ali in an international court.
Ethiopia’s limited use of offensive realism and restricted defensive realism has exposed it to sustained political warfare that is augmented by methods of fourth generation warfare (4GW), key among them being narrative framing, economic strangulation, and coercive diplomacy. Narrative framing has benefitted the TPLF and capacitated it to simultaneously achieve moral victory and spend little resources to inflict prohibitive cost damage on GoE.
Ethiopia is committed to filling GERD and bringing its electricity generation plants online so that it can have exportable power. It is engaged in resource diplomacy, while refusing to show deference to the Biden Administration and Egypt, a nation that fears GERD will turn millions of Egyptians into jobless climate migrants.
Ethiopia must acknowledge that Egypt, with US support, is committed to restricting Ethiopia’s use of the Blue Nile. Similarly, Ethiopia should strive to build a dependable regional alliance through promotion of collective security, as well as exploit political factionalism in the US in awareness that GOP can win the mid-term elections, and the Biden administration can be a one-term presidency.
Ethiopia is being subjected to augmented political warfare that uses information warfare, coercive diplomacy, propaganda war, economic warfare, and kinetic operations to weaken the government and seed domestic uprising. For now, it has forced the government to cede Tigray to a non-state actor.
Offensive realism supports formulation of practical, cost-effective, and stable foreign policies that safeguard the survival and prosperity of nation-states in the 21st century international system.