One year after the peace agreement in Ethiopia, the endless war

What was the deadliest war in twenty years? It is neither that in Afghanistan, nor in Iraq, nor in Ukraine, nor the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or even the one which is shaking the Democratic Republic of Congo

One year after the peace agreement in Ethiopia, the endless war

What was the deadliest war in twenty years? It is neither that in Afghanistan, nor in Iraq, nor in Ukraine, nor the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or even the one which is shaking the Democratic Republic of Congo. This takes place in Ethiopia and began in November 2020. It is called the “constitutional policing operation” – the taste for euphemisms has gone viral – and supposedly ended with a peace agreement signed in Pretoria, South Africa, on November 2, 2022.

Why did this war break out? Because the Ethiopian Constitution of 1994 had attempted to solve one of Africa’s general problems: “tribalism”. Article 39 authorized the secession of a province after a referendum.

In 1991, the fight to overthrow the communist regime, the Derg [Military Committee of Provisional Administration] of the sinister Mengistu Haile Mariam, ended with the victory of the Tigrayan guerrillas, whose leader Meles Zenawi assumed power. He died of cancer in 2012 and the country found itself governed by a member of his movement until the coming to power in 2018 of Abiy Ahmed, a man from the inner circle promoted without election but awarded a Nobel Prize in 2019. peace which soon proved to be little deserved.

When the Tigrayans withdrew from power and held local elections in their province which were not an independence referendum, the new prime minister treated this election of provincial power as an attempt at secession. He attacked Tigray with the help of the Eritrean army which had come to maintain a constitutional order which had not yet been violated.

The black corpse is very light

However, for almost a year now, none of the terms of the agreement have been respected and especially not the one concerning the evacuation of Eritrean troops from Ethiopian territory. In Pretoria, there was no Eritrean presence even as observers, while the bulk of the troops on the ground were in fact those sent by Isaias Afwerki.

The United Nations and the international community thus agreed to sponsor a peace treaty in which one of the main actors in the conflict was absent. Then came the evaluation of the number of victims, estimated according to sources between 450,000 and 600,000. The uncertainty of the figures is as much indicative of the inadequacy of the means of evaluating losses as of the lack of interest in the victims themselves. -themselves.

So where are we? Ethiopia is not a nation but an empire which encompasses at least fifty peoples. Never colonized by Europeans – Mussolini's troops remained there less than the Germans occupied France – the empire, two thousand years old, went in forty years from a true socialist revolution to Russian military Stalinism then to a capitalist centralization holding China in one hand and the United States in the other to end in an attempt at a “developmentalist” dictatorship which, after having “finished” a war of “national unity”, only arrives no longer able to escape the trap he himself created.

The attitude of the international community towards this war leading to a peace treaty where one of the main belligerents has been absent since the opening of negotiations is typical of the way in which African conflicts are considered. The death of a black person is worth less than that of a white person (*) and the Ethiopian corpses of a war which had at least four times as many losses as the war in Ukraine are further proof of this.

Disintegration of a State?

In the vote count on the UN motion to invade Ukraine in March 2022, Ethiopia absented itself from the vote to then maintain its own “Special Military Operation” in a calculated fog. The UN has since signed an agreement whose reality remains ghostly and which has since mutated into a new war whose actors have changed.

Indeed, the Amhara Fano militias, which had taken part alongside the federal army in the war against Tigray and were not present during the "peace negotiations", have in the meantime abandoned their alliance with the government to launch their own takeover bid on the power installed in Addis Ababa. The forces of the Oromo Liberation Army dissident movement, also allies of the government (**), have turned against the government.

In this context, a few questions arise: is there still a peace agreement? And if so, what is the position of the international community that endorsed a “peace treaty” that did not end the war? Are we witnessing the disintegration of an imperial state whose constituent entities are separating?

Drowned under the proliferation of conflicts over which it no longer has any real influence, is the UN letting the situation deteriorate considering that it has little to lose by neglecting it? an “African war”, even if it had more than half a million victims? Africa has always known what its real position was in the scale of international priorities.

We remember François Mitterrand's off-screen commentary the day after the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda when a journalist asked him if we should fear a second genocide after the RPF took power and who responded in a symptomatic aside: "Oh , you know, in those countries, a genocide…” The unfinished sentence said a lot about his assessment of the Rwandan situation, but also about the Western vision of Africa.

The Pretoria “peace treaty” is a new example of the real weight of African countries in the clashes in which their continent may find itself the scene. The hypocrisy which drowns out the end of this war which fails to end is a (very small) additional example of the collapse of the global diplomatic system.