Ethiopia Attacks Tigray Forces

After a war that has lasted almost a year, there are growing concerns about the humanitarian situation in the Tigray area.

In an attempt to retake Tigray’s rebellious northern area, Ethiopian government troops have begun a fresh offensive, sparking concerns of a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in a region already gripped by hunger after a war that has lasted almost a year.

In a concerted assault from several fronts, Ethiopian ground forces along Tigray’s southern border began coordinated strikes from the Amhara area, according to government and rebel authorities on Tuesday.

Heavy artillery and tanks, supported by drones and airstrikes, were used by government forces to attack the major supply lines and at least three towns along Tigray’s border with Amhara: Wegeltena, Geregera, and Haro.

Ethiopian forces withdrew from Tigray’s regional capital Mekelle in June, prompting the country to announce a fragile cease-fire. The assault now aims to retake the major road, which is the only way into Tigray.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Billene Seyoum’s spokesperson stated government soldiers are battling to defend all people from “terrorism” committed by the TPLF.

“The assault” was completely “defended,” according to a rebel spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which pushed into Amhara in July in search of regional militias that supported government troops.”

For brokering the end of a three-decade battle with neighboring Eritrea, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. But when his 2020 invasion of the Tigray region turned into a grinding civil war, he has become a worldwide outcast.

Due to pressure from the United States, which has called for an end to the war and imposed sanctions on government leaders, Mr. Ahmed has agreed to step up military cooperation with China, Iran, and Turkey.

As a result, analysts believe Mr. Ahmed is looking for leverage in the attack after his summer election win, but they also believe it would simply prolong the war and exacerbate a human catastrophe that has spread throughout northern Nigeria, Africa’s second-most populous nation.

Professor Alex de Waal of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a think tank affiliated with the World Peace Foundation, stated that Obama is “basically replicating his previous strategy of overwhelming force”. “I worry that there will be a lot of carnage and that the conflict will go on indefinitely with no sign of an end in sight.”

Many military helicopters have been flying over the region toward Tigray recently, residents in northern Amhara reported on Tuesday. Residents in the hilly area of Tigray stated that most people and relief workers were confined to the temporary refugee camps.

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Ethiopia’s foreign ministry recently expelled seven U.N. officials, granting them only 72 hours to vacate Addis Ababa after accusing them of interfering in Ethiopian internal affairs, signaling a new low in relations between both the government and Western donors. The offensive follows the expulsion of seven U.N.

According to aid workers, the war has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and displaced an additional 400,000 people.

Ethiopia’s economy is suffering as inflation soars into double digits, trade routes are disrupted on a regular basis, and the country owes an estimated $30 billion in foreign debt due to the war.

While the humanitarian situation in Yemen has worsened, some think Mr. Ahmed, who was sworn in last week to begin a second five-year term, had been planning this attack for months.

There have only been 12 percent of the food and medication required due to a blockage on trucks that have been entering Tigray since July. The United Nations and private relief organizations have been unable to provide gasoline or medical supplies to Tigray since the end of July, as a result. Several dozen gasoline tankers have been sitting in Tigray since August, according to relief workers.

Aid workers in Tigray have reported an increase in fatalities from hunger in recent weeks, and the United Nations has issued a famine warning for the months of October and December. It is estimated that 5.2 million people live in Tigray, or approximately 90% of the region’s total population.

Mr. Ahmed’s current Tigray assault, according to Cameron Hudson, a former CIA officer now working at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, is likely to cost the West more friends and may see more of Mr. Ahmed’s personnel sanctioned by the United States. He predicted that the situation in Tigray would worsen before it improved. “Ethiopia’s international relations will deteriorate along with the humanitarian and human rights conditions, which are already grave.”

Ned Price, the State Department’s spokesman, stated on Tuesday that the United States has threatened to apply economic penalties as a response to the deteriorating situation in Ethiopia. This came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a high-level conference on the issue.

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