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Ethiopia could fragment on regional and religious lines like Yugoslavia, USA panel

Tigrai Online, June 9, 2019

The United States Institute of Peace an American institution which acts as a think tank on how to resolve conflicts around the world held a panel discussion on Ethiopia on June 5, 2019. The panel was attended by many people including distinguished U.S.A diplomats who served as United States ambassadors to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia could fragment on regional and religious lines like Yugoslavia if the political situation in Ethiopia deteriorates further the way it is going now.

Ambassador Johnnie Carson the senior Advisor to the President of the institute, Ambassador Marc Baas, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, 1992-1994, Ambassador David Shinn, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, 1996-1999; (Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University), Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, 2002-2005 and Ambassador Donald Booth U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, 2010-2013 were among the speakers.

After praising Abiy Ahmed for opening the political space, for freeing political prisoners, and reestablishing diplomatic relationship with Eritrea, Ambassador Johnnie Carson continued to say the following, “but concerns are now growing that the euphoria around Prime Minister Abiy’s changes are both masking and unearthing deeper problems inside of Ethiopia. Growing number of observers are starting to ask whether Prime Minister Abiy is simply moving too fast, and whether the reforms he has initiated are generating instability, insecurity, and hostility in Ethiopia’s ethnically based federal system of governance.

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Then Ambassador Johnnie Carson’s speech took unexpected and very specific twist singling out Tigrai state and more specifically mentioning by name Getachew Assefa. “One of the most worrying of concerns is the resentment and resistance that is building up against him and his government in Tigrai province. The home of Ethiopia’s once all powerful security chief, Getachew Assefa. Although three arrest warrants have been issued for Getachew he remains free and at large in Tigrai where he is being shielded and protected by the regional federal authority.”

The mercenary group in Addis Ababa is worried out of its wit and the backers who put Abiy Ahmed Ali in the helm of power are also troubled too. The mixed bag of nonsense they put as a leader of Ethiopia is not fit to lead one household let alone a country with 110 million people. You can hear how Ambassador Johnnie Carson is disturbed when he said the following, “Ethnic tensions are also bubbling up in other parts of the country. Concern about the pace of change and reform has led two journalist who recently raised the specter, that the political situation in Ethiopia could slowly deteriorate and the country could experience the same type of ethnic, regional and religious fragmentation that tore Yugoslavia apart two and half decades ago.”

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Despite the all knowing the so called Amhara experts and historians annoying presumptions repeated rhetoric that Ethiopia will remain united no matter what does not hold water. If the current team does not stop and think twice about what they are doing towards Tigrai state and its people I am afraid, things are heading towards disintegration. If you selectively target Tigraians for prosecution, if you systematically stop developmental projects in Tigrai for political reasons, if you try to cripple Tigrai state by working with demotic and foreign enemies, and if you try to leave out Tigrai and its people from any negotiations regarding its borders, the people and government of Tigrai will take matters into their own hands. If Abiy Ahmed and his backers are not really careful, Ethiopia could fragment on regional and religious line s like Yugoslavia if the political situation in Ethiopia deteriorates further the way it is going now. This is not an emotional statement, instead it is based on what is on the ground and the feeling of the majority of Tigrai people and many other Ethiopians.

The panelists almost unanimously agreed Ethiopia grew leaps and bounds when Meles was in power and ethnic federalism is the best system of governance for this time.

Please visit United States Institute of Peace, for more information and to watch the whole video A Changing Ethiopia: Lessons from U.S. Diplomatic Engagement

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