The USA has launched a “soft coup” in Ethiopia in an attempt to relieve growing revolutionary pressure from the Ethiopian people after three years of failed martial law rule.
These past three years had seen brutal repression with thousands killed and tens of thousands thrown into regime dungeons with no end in sight.
The devil was taking his due, with a growing foreign currency shortage, unemployment and hunger and disease stalking the land, and to top it off the decades-long divide and conquer ethnic warfare strategy of the regime has come home to roost.
Lead by pressure from the Oromos, over 40 million strong and Africa’s largest nationality, the old Abyssinian empire, Ethiopia, is coming apart at the seams. Most of the population, mainly Muslim, want independence or some sort of self-rule from the Orthodox Christian “Abyssinians” of Haile Sellasie and Menelik infamy continued by today’s ethnic minority Tigrayan regime.
In this “soft coup,” the ruling regime, former Marxist-Leninist-Hoxha-ite guerrilla fighters from the province of Tigray turned 100% democratic (they won 100% of the seats in the parliament the last election) have seen themselves pushed into the back seat with a 42-year-old Oromo, now installed as prime minister.
To understand just how unprecedented this is you have to understand a little Ethiopian history.
Ethiopia, or Abyssinia as it used to be known, is an African Empire created with Italian supplied firearms during the late 19th century. The biggest victims of the Ethiopian Empire were the Oromo peoples who until the Abbysinians of Menelik and later Haile Sellasie got their hands on Italian machine guns and artillery had used their legendary cavalry to sweep back all previous attempts to enslave them.
And enslave them the Abbysinians did, for after gunning down their warriors on the battlefield, the Amhara ethnic minority empire went on a rampage against their new subjects, enslaving, murdering and massacring across Africa’s largest nation in a wave of terror and destruction unprecedented in African history, overstanding even the African slave trade in brutality and extermination in such a short period.
It has been estimated that millions of Oromo were wiped out in the decades immediately after their defeat by the Abbysinian Empire, many starving to death as their cattle and granaries were looted. The Abbysinian soldiers were not paid salaries and took their livelihood by being freely allowed to loot and pillage after victory on the battlefield, guaranteed thanks to Italian supplied firepower.
When the Abbysinian brigands were done, Africa’s largest nation was reduced to beggary and bondage with their Oromo town of Finefine annexed and renamed Addis Ababa, capital of a Christian Abbysinia.
So to have a Muslim, Oromo prime minister is no small matter in Ethiopia marking how much and quickly the times are changing. Of course, Don Yamamoto is behind all this, he hasn’t been the ambassador to Ethiopia all these years and now Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and not learned a few things.
Anyone can see that the old guard regime diehards weren’t going to keep a lid on the Ethiopian social pressure cooker much longer and if the USA didn’t act quickly, it may find itself a day late and a dollar short in terms of influence.
For the USA, this is a nightmare in the making for Ethiopia has been the main recipient of US military investment and the center of US intelligence gathering in Africa and a local policeman on the beat in service to Pax Americana in the Horn of Africa, through which flows the commerce of Asia and Europe, the world’s biggest trading partners.
To avoid this, the USA has ordered a change in course for their regime henchmen with new faces being installed and promises of peace and prosperity in the wind, especially peace with Ethiopia’s number one nemesis and former colony, Eritrea.
To accomplish this, veteran Horn of African “diplomat” Donald Yamamoto, now Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa has instituted a “soft coup” approach starting last year when the decision was made that the old Tigrayan ethnic minority regimes usefulness was now a liability.
Brute force and the iron fist had only made the masses of Ethiopian more resolute in their hatred of the regime and something pretty quick had to be done or the situation could begin to spiral out of control.
Hard cash from mainly the USA and the UK began to dry up, and the squeeze was on. With a $13 billion trade deficit buying critical imports have become a robbing Peter to pay Paul strategy, and the resultant shortages and inflationary pressures have only increased the Ethiopian regime’s isolation.
Under Trump, the USA has seen a rapprochement with former arch-foe North Korea (arguably Asia’s only socialist country) and it seems Eritrea, Africa’s only socialist country, is finding a much more friendly reception at the US State Department these days.
The United Arab Emirates, which have built military and naval bases in Eritrea (in open defiance of UN Security Council Sanctions) are said to have Trump’s ear and have been pushing for lifting of sanctions and the economic embargo against Eritrea, with peace with Ethiopia and an explosion of trade for the Eritrean economy being a major incentive.
Now that the new Ethiopian regime leadership has announced, though not yet implemented, adherence to the Algiers peace treaty and border demarcation agreement, the crown prince of the UAE has arrived bearing $1 billion of hard cash and $2 billion in “investments,” an emergency injection of liquidity for a hard currency-strapped Ethiopia regime.
As for peace with their neighbors, Eritrea has stuck to our demands as detailed in the peace deal and border demarcation after the last aggression by Ethiopia and until the letter of the deal is in place, Eritrea has said it has nothing to talk to Ethiopia about.
Buying time is what the USA supported by the UAE is counting on with its new “soft coup” scheme for Ethiopia and the 90 million person question is whether the Ethiopian people, lead by the Oromo’s will bite the American/UAE bait or tell Pax American to go to hell and decide to break free from the Abyssinian empire and declare themselves independent.
The next few years could see a leopard change its spots, as in the old regime changing its coat. Or it could see a bust-up of Africa’s only indigenous empire, today’s Ethiopia.
With the disaster called South Sudan to learn from, so-called “independence” could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, with small, ill-organized countries easy pickings for the circling sharks lead by the United Snakes of Amerikkka, all to willing to incite “black on black, African tribal violence” rather than allow any truly independent African countries brought to birth.
Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook or best reach him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com.