AwasaGuardiain.com: TPLF generals boast "diplomatic & moral support" to continue war in Ethiopia
Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam
Date: Saturday, 23 October 2021
In a new alarming statement by military leaders of the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), the generals claimed to have secured “diplomatic, legal and moral support” to prolong the war that they began in November, 2020. They also reiterated TPLF chairman Debretsion Gebremichael’s original call for “People’s war,” which he defined as “a war carried out by the civilian population, including children.”
In response, the Attorney General of Ethiopia stated on Tuesday, “the international community must start condemning the TPLF’s nefarious actions.”
Though the TPLF generals’ latest statement of “diplomatic support” did not directly refer to support from Western or US state department, several international experts, most notably analyst Bronwyn Bruton of the Africa Center, have previously warned Western governments to stop emboldening TPLF and to end a sanctions regimen that created a false equivalence between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF insurrectionists.
Since the November 2020 insurrection by the TPLF (which controlled the majority of Ethiopia’s heavy weaponry) the conflict has displaced millions and killed thousands of civilians.
Under the Joe Biden administration, the United States has downplayed atrocities by the TPLF rebels, which contrasted with US official Samantha Powers often accused of amplifying unconfirmed abuses committed by the Ethiopian army instead. In some cases, the US contradicted even UN statements, which recently blamed TPLF for diverting food aid trucks, with US State Department putting full blame only on the government.
In addition to America’s diplomatic support of the rebel insurrection, the US was accused of emboldening Sudan’s aggression against Ethiopia. The US government, which has refused to officially condemn Sudanese invasion of Western Ethiopia, has instead sanctioned Eritrea and demanded that the Eritrean army withdraw from northern Ethiopia despite Eritrea operating (against TPLF rebels) with the alleged invitation of Ethiopia. Samantha Powers, who is also a USAID administrator, visited Sudan to praise the unelected Khartoum military regime, while downplaying Ethiopia’s 2021 democratic elections carried out by Ethiopia’s first ever non-governmental and independent election board in history.
•> “Legal and Moral support” for insurrection
Since the previous Trump administration acknowledged and condemned the TPLF for starting the war, the Tigrayan rebels have been seeking “legal and moral support” for their war from the Biden administration. According to Tigrayan whistleblower and journalist Hermela Aregawi, TPLF supporters have been pushing a “Tigray Genocide” and “Tigray Famine” narrative “since day two” of their insurrection in November, long before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed even responded militarily.
Due to the surprise November attack (which top TPLF official Sekuture Getachew described as a “pre-emptive” and “lightning” strike) PM Abiy’s administration was forced to recall retired generals to help his government’s response, particularly since many top generals of the ENDF were ethnic Tigrayan and already sided with the TPLF.
Lacking resources and overstretched, the Ethiopian army barely defeated the heavily armed TPLF and held onto Tigray capital Mekelle until its June withdrawal, as the insurgency and rebel deployment of civilian militias took a toll.
However, there has been no war inside Tigray since the June ceasefire, with the TPLF expanding the war outside Tigray, committing atrocities with impunity. Many Western diplomats, who expressed knee-jerk reaction and outrage about unverified atrocities by the government, have remained silent while TPLF recently displaced millions in Afar and Amhara regions as well as committed massacres.
Several Western media outlets, who did not condemn TPLF chairman Debretsion encouraging Tigrayan civilian and child soldiers in November, have recently began highlighting the role of Amhara civilian farmers fighting the TPLF. The most notable offender has been Cara Anna of Associated Press (AP) who downplayed TPLF atrocities on the Amhara population as “fighting,” and pushed the narrative of “blurred line between combatant and civilian” Amharas among those slaughtered by TPLF in Chenna town. Another journalist for UK’s Telegraph, Lucy Kassa, famously published numerous unverifiable rumors of abuses and chemical weapons against Tigrayans, which have since been debunked. After being accused of using ethnic slur insulting Amharas, the Telegraph reporter who is ethnic Tigrayan herself doubled down and suggested that the suffering of Amharas killed and displaced by TPLF is not real.
AP’s Kenya-based journalist Cara Anna have also recently published rebel propaganda that TPLF did not “intend” to target civilians. Similar Western media pro-TPLF narratives and Western government silence on atrocities by TPLF is what its generals this week referred to as “legal and moral support,” according to independent analysts.
During the latest US State Department press briefing, AP’s Cara Anna controversially asked the Biden press secretary to label the conflict “Tigray Genocide.” Her unethical behavior during a press conference has been widely criticized and cited as an example of Western media partisanship, since, let alone a genocide, there has not been any conflict inside Tigray since June.