The Prime News (Oct 25, 2020): International community has to act now, to avert a tragic relapse to large-scale conflict in #Ethiopia: Having studied conflict dynamics in the #HornofAfrica for 30 years, I have earlier this year warned that there has seldom been a clearer case of a coming violent #conflict than the ongoing altercation between #TPLF#Tigray and the #PP#Federal government in #Ethiopia. The path towards conflict has been evident for some time for those who have wanted to see it, incrementally increasing the tensions between the two adversaries since the dissolution of #EPRDF in late 2019. Sadly, most of the international actors have been oblivious to the seriousness in the deteriorating political relationship between #Mekelle and #AddisAbaba (and I have been ridiculed by some diplomates – who think they understand Ethiopian politics after being stationed in Addis for a year of two – of my ‘early-warning’ conflict mitigating appeals).Lately, we have seen a rapid escalation of conflict rhetoric after the indefinite postponement of federal #elections in August and Tigray’s decision to go ahead and organize regional election, defying federal authorities and orders. The subsequent mutual dis-recognition of each other as legitimate political authorities and governments, labelling each other “unconstitutional and illegal”, has further consolidated the political trajectory towards a serious altercation if not mitigated. Unfortunately, however, the two sides are ‘upping’ the argument, instead of de-escalating the tensions. The partial suspension of federal funding to Tigray regional government impacting essential services to the Tigray population, and inter alia blocking of essential equipment to combat the current locust invasion in the region and for Covid-19 mitigating efforts, have further alienated the Tigray population from federal authorities, leading them to rally behind their regional leaders.The last, and extremely worrying, development is the dispute over the Ethiopian #federal#army#ENDF, the leadership of the #NorthernCommand (based in Tigray), and its resources and heavy equipment stationed in Tigray (about 80% of the federal armory is based in Tigray).This is thus the time for the international community to act and put pressure upon the parties to de-escalate the discord, before it is to late. However, the responsibility to avert conflict, rests of course solely with the contending parties.

professor Kjetil Tronvoll @KjetilTronvoll, Professor of peace/conflict studies at Bjørknes University College and Director of Oslo Analytica: Political anthropologist, Africa analyst, conflict advisor.

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