Name? Abiy Ahmed
Westphalian identity? Ethiopian
Why is he in the news? For the past two weeks, Ahmed has been struggling with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF); a militarised movement from the Ethiopian Region of Tigray, who have mobilised troops against the central government. Two years ago Ahmed, together with the TPLF, formed the government of Ethiopia but had a fallout after Ahmed gave up the region of Badme (part of Tigray) to Eritrea in order to secure peace between the two countries.
Why do we care? Ahmed was the Nobel Peace Prize Winner of 2019 for his diplomatic work towards Eritrea and we have praised him for that since. But apparently this attitude does not apply towards his own people as Ahmed just called for the “final and crucial” military operation against the TPLF; continuing to reject international mediation.
Why should you care? Because this conflict has the potential to destabilise all of East Africa. If the second biggest country by population is dealing with internal struggles and sucking in their neighbours through direct involvement; such as Eritrea’s military or indirectly like Sudan hosting Ethiopian refugees, it can become a major force of destabilisation during times of uncertainty.
Who else cares? Eritrea. The TPLF has refused to leave the disputed region of Badme despite the order of Ahmed. Eritrea has seized the opportunity to launch an attack against the TPLF, one which has already been answered by strikes of the TPLF. While Ahmed claims he does not need any external support, Eritrea’s involvement massively supports his troops in their fight against heavily armed TPLF forces.
Any further comments? Something very interesting to notice is the form of communication Ahmed used for his statements towards Tigray and the world: Most of his statements are published on Facebook and Twitter. It seems as though Trump’s form of communicating military operations or multilateral agreements is becoming more and more popular.