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Ethiopia Crisis: High Stakes for Africa

Alex de Waal writes about how we can learn from history to halt the war in Ethiopia, in an op-ed for Foreign Policy.

Among other parting gifts, when U.S. President Donald Trump leaves office in January he will bequeath the incoming foreign policy team with an intractable conflict in Ethiopia, one that threatens to wreak havoc across northeast Africa and destroy the African Union’s fragile institutions for peace and security.

Like in all wars, the truth was an early casualty in Ethiopia. Both sides—the government under President Abiy Ahmed and the leadership of the rebellious region of Tigray, the area where Ethiopia’s ruling class came from until Abiy took power—blames the other for firing the first shot. And both have their own interpretation of Ethiopia’s delicate federal constitution, and the powers it grants the central government and regions like Tigray. With every passing day, every massacre of civilians, every air attack on a Tigrayan town and drone strike, every rocket launched by the Tigrayans at a city elsewhere in Ethiopia or in neighboring Eritrea, the grievances accumulate, and the risks of violent chaos across the region increase.

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