The prime news (Jan 2 ,2021): What do we know so far about the war on Tigray in Ethiopia, which has been running for nearly 2 months now? In this thread I will sum up some of the key developments. By kjetil Tronvoll, Nerweean Profesor,

First, the so-called “law and order” operation, which @PMAbiyAhmed declared completed one month ago, has not yet reached its basic objectives, and it is doubtful that it ever will. Hence, the war in Tigray will continue indefinitely, or until a political settlement is reached.

Tigrayan forces, under the command of the elected reg. gov. of #TPLF, are still waging an active resistance war. Over the last few days, Tigray forces seem to be on the offensive, challenging #ENDF military control of the main routes (Mekelle-Wukro-Adigrat; Mekelle-Alamata).

It seems likely that the #Tigray reg. forces will receive new recruits by the number, as long as the atrocities against the civilian population are continuing. Information about youth leaving Mekelle to join the struggle, as the diaspora is mobilizing support for the struggle. None of the #TPLF leadership or key cadres have so far been arrested (remember, it all started as “surgical” operation to arrest the 12 top members of TPLF, according to #AbiyAhmed). The TPLF leadership is in Tigray directing the war against what they perceive as invading forces.

Ethiopian gov seems desperate in their pursuit of TPLF leadership, announcing a huge reward for any info which could lead to their capture. This is a clear sign of z lack of military control the #ENDF has over #Tigray, as well as unwillingness of Tigrayans to collaborate w. Gov.

Tigray forces are fighting 3 adversaries: #ENDF, #Eritrea army, and #Amhara militia/special forces. In interviews with key TPLF leaders, they admitted this was the worst-case scenario they prepared for. Still, it seems #TPLF underestimated z combined strength of the adversaries.

It is clear that widespread and systematic #WarCrimes, #CrimesAgainstHumanity, and #HumanRights violations are perpetrated against the civilian population of Tigray. Particularly gruesome atrocities are attributed to the #Eritrean and #Amhara forces, witness testimonies confirm.

The #war on #Tigray has also contributed to the worst #humanitarian disaster in #Ethiopia for decades. An estimate of 1 million IDPs in Tigray escaping atrocities have sought protection in #TPLF controlled areas. Additionally, over 50,000 #refugees have fled to Sudan.

The #humanitarian situation in #Tigray are precarious. The lack of humanitarian access to the region is preventing the international society to know z extremely dire level of the situation. The likelihood that tens of thousands of civilians are on the brink of starvation is high. It appears that the Gov of #Ethiopia is not willing to allow unimpeded and full humanitarian access, out of fear that this will disclose the extreme atrocities committed against the civilian population of #Tigray, as well as the full involvement of #Eritrea in the war.

During the #election in #Tigray, many said that #TPLF’s best campaigner was #PMAbiyAhmed, due to his policies. Tigrayans felt individually & collectively threatened & insecure and were rallying behind TPLF for protection, despite positive attitudes towards the opposition parties.

The scars created by the ethnic profiling and atrocities committed over the last 2 months, run deep among the Tigrayan people. For #Tigray at large to again gain trust in an #Ethiopian central government, seems far-fetched under the current circumstances.

The #Tigray #ProsperityParty, who has establ. interim gov of Tigray, is by z majority of Tigrayans looked upon as a Quisling government. In cities and areas controlled by PP, there will likely be an active military resistance and a civil disobedience campaign against their rule.

The #war on #Tigray has unleashed multiple conflict lines in #Ethiopia, leading to atrocities against civilians in several RS. Insurgencies are likely to follow, in order for vulnerable groups to organize military defense as the Fed. Gov. are either absent or part of the problem.

The ideological driver for the #war against #Tigray is rooted in conflicting perceptions of #nationalisms, which has made z #Ethiopian state susceptible for both internal fracturing, as well as external threats.

The international dimensions of the conflict were present from day one, with #Eritrea involvement. Now, #Sudan also seems to be pulled into the war, as #Amhara nationalists are having territorial ambitions on their soil. Other states may use proxies to advance their agendas.

IGAD and #AU seem paralyzed to act on z severity of the situation, as #Ethiopia and #PMAbiyAhmed strong-arm these institutions and reject any interference. #UN and #UNSG still try to keep the problem at arms-length distance. Many bilateral missions turn a blind eye to z crisis. I have seldom seen so much diplomatic positioning to claim “plausible deniability” on the scale and seriousness of military and humanitarian situation in #Tigray.

So far it seems only #EU is capable of taking a clear stand on the crisis in #Ethiopia, while we are awaiting the new #US administration to take up their positions. It seems likely the #Biden administration will argue a much tougher stand against #PMAbiyAhmed’s war on Tigray.

The only thing we can surely say about the #war on #Tigray in #Ethiopia, is that the country will not return back to a “normality” as seen before the outbreak of hostilities. The war will drag on, possibly for years, if not a political settlement is reached. A settlement on the #Ethiopia crisis will likely involve a re-configuration of the federation. The Tigrayan people will likely argue for an even looser federation, or straight-out secession. #Oromo fractions may also support a weak federation or #confederate model.

But before political negotiations can start and a settlement reached, the adversaries need to be sufficiently weakened on the battlefields, with the tragic loss of lives and resources that entail. When all realize that the conflict cannot be won by arms, negotiations may start.

The summary collected from twitter thread, written by Great professor in Oslo, Kjetil Tronvoll

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