The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has been in power for now nearly five years. Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in 2019 and now after carrying out so many wars in his country, he is now moving on to the neighbors and more particularly Somalia, a country plagued by its own idiosyncrasies and its own political folies.
This time it is coming from the false belief of most Ethiopians, that a big country like theirs must have an outlet to a sea, a false narrative that has been repeated for over a century and a half, starting with Ras Alula of Abyssinia in the 19th century, who claimed that the natural boundary of Abyssinia then was the Red Sea. Abyssinia adopted the name Ethiopia, which means ‘black’ in Greek only in 1932. The Nobel laureate, like many of his countrymen but not all of them, believes that Ethiopia must have a port by any means whether this is to be achieved through peaceful means or through war.
The idea was originally seen as a way of appeasing the population of his country, which are turning against him, but Abiy Ahmed seems to be adamant. He proceeded to signing an MOU in this respect with a breakaway region of another country, Somalia and not only a country but one with which Ethiopia has a long history of conflict, always about land and territories. It is not a gambit after all. But this fails to appeal to the majority of Ethiopians, including his own Oromos, the Amhara, the Tigrayans, the Southern Nations, the Afar, the Sidamans, and indeed, the Somalis.
The Prime Minister who seems to be obsessed with his legacy and superstitiously believes that he would be the seventh Emperor of Ethiopia, sees acquiring a port as his path to that legacy. Unfortunately, he has only helped galvanize the Somali population, a strong sixty million, present even in his own power corridors, who fight back and fiercely. Many other Ethiopians believe that this megalomaniacal journey may lead to the collapse of the Ethiopian state, which may break down into its eighty component nationalities or at least some of the major ones may break away to form their own states. These include the Amhara, the Tigray, the Somali, the Afar, and indeed, the Oromo.
Ethiopia whose foreign policy was marked by defense against a possible invasion by Somalia for always is now on the attack. This is certainly a great ambition that has its own perils. The foreign policy of the country appears to have lost its way and the country’s top leadership seems to be hostages for the megalomaniacal policies of its Prime Minister, which makes the country’s foreign policy confused. The world was, indeed, perplexed by the sudden turn of events in the Horn of Africa at the hands of the Nobel Laureate Prime Minister and they have mostly come to the aid and support of Somalia. There must be those who are, behind the scenes, supporting this madness for their own interests and this should include some tiny West Asian country, which has been providing arms and weapons to Ethiopia and even financing the construction of a lavish palace for the future ‘emperor’ under the clear view of the poor and hungry population of Ethiopia, the 120 million he boasts of, a country which defaulted on a US$ 33 million tranche of its World Bank/IMF debt.
Why would a future ‘emperor’ only dream of being a client state of a tiny little emirate in West Asia? Which emperor in history has been a client of another state? It beats the mind and any logic. Somalia, of course, and also the other neighbors in the Horn of Africa are perplexed at the moves of Abiy Ahmed, who seems to have lost his radar. The country has been at war over the past three years and has only survived through the propping up of that West Asian Emirate, which bought for him many drones.
The Oromo Liberation Army has never stopped fighting for the independence of Oromia from Ethiopia and continues to weaken the army. The country went into an existential war over Tigray only to be helped by Eritrea with which the Prime Minister is not currently on good terms, and he has also entered into war with its own Amhara State. Millions of people have perished in these wars, and millions more were maimed and wounded or put out of commission, but the Prime Minister seems not to mind as long as he works for his legacy – the future paper emperor of a much-truncated Ethiopia, probably, when the dust settles down.
The Somali war, the fourth of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, appears to be coming, unless some miracle gets in the way, and it is where the Prime Minister will stumble and fall, and Ethiopia will start to crumble. Why can’t he just stop this madness or is Abiy Ahmed under the control and direction of that West Asian Emirate, which does not like Ethiopians (blacks) anyway?