Mike Hammer To Revisit Ethiopia To Mend His Flawed Pretoria Peace Deal – OpEd


Mike Hammer is US president Biden’s Horn of Africa Special Envoy and he is scheduled to travel to Ethiopia this week to try and fix the peace deal he hurriedly hatched out in Pretoria, South Africa, between the government of Abiy Ahmed and the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). At the time, it was praised as a forward-thinking deal that put an end to one of modern Africa’s silliest wars: a war entirely revolving around how many ministers of each warring faction got which slices of the cake. It was also one of Africa’s deadliest modern wars, with low-estimates already ballooning into the hundreds of thousands of dead.

In the early stages of that war, Abiy Ahmed was roundly defeated by the Tigrayan front, unsurprisingly as this was not a rough-and-tumble guerrilla outfit, but rather a fully equipped military force that had ruled Ethiopia for 27 years before being booted out by Abiy Ahmed’s faction. 

What saved Abiy Ahmed’s cornered regime was the rise of the Amhara FANO militia, which fought against the TPLF not so much out of love for Abiy, but because its Amhara farmers were being ruthlessly butchered by the TPLF as it trampled across their home region. 

Fano decisively beat the TPLF and essentially gave victory to Abiy’s central government on a silver platter. Their reward, however, was far from generous. Instead, Fano was rightly seen by the government as a powerful force that jeopardized its national agenda, which can be briefly summarized as marginalizing Amhara citizens to the benefit of Oromo elites. 

The Pretoria Peace deal was a masterpiece in deception because it awarded juicy benefits to both losers of the war: the TPLF and Abiy Ahmed’s central government. The Fano were left out in the cold. Fast-forward a year and the dynamics at play are so cynical as to numb even Machiavelli. Now we have the central government in cahoots with the TPLF attacking Fano. The idea was to wipe out Fano entirely, but alas, reality has proven too stubborn. The Amhara militia has stood its ground and, once again, taught both attacking parties a valuable lesson: attack our people at your own peril. 

Seeing how a military option has failed, they have whined to their paymasters in Washington for help. And here we are today: with Mike Hammer revisiting Ethiopia to iron out a deal between two sides: 1) Abiy and TPLF and 2) Fano.

Here are a few tips for Mike Hammer which may help him in his peace-making efforts:

1. The so-called Ethiopian army is no longer that and has been effectively converted by Abiy into an OPDO/OLF Oromo para-military. And a very bad one at that, capable of large-scale killing of Amhara citizens but useless when facing an armed force.

2. The TPLF army may have been weakened by the bloody civil war but it has recently been re-organized and strengthened particularly with the intention to re-take Welkait.

3. Abiy and TPLF are waging a genocidal war on the Amhara people and Fano is fighting for survival.

4. Hence, Abiy has in effect invaded Amhara region with the express objective of subjugating Amhara citizens who therefore have the right to demand the withdrawal of so-called federal troops from the region as a precondition for Mike Hammer’s peace efforts to have any chance of success.

5. The unconstitutional state of emergency imposed by Abiy Ahmed on the Amhara region must be immediately lifted.

6. The Amhara people should be allowed to form their own transitional administration.

7. Therefore, the leadership recently appointed by Abiy Ahmed for the Amhara region should be quickly annulled.

8. Above all, Mike Hammer should be brave enough to raise the question of accountability for the innumerable atrocity crimes and other human and democratic rights violations committed under the Abiy regime.

A personal call on Mike Hammer would say that if you want to make real peace in Ethiopia, please ask your boss, president Biden, to give Abiy Ahmed political asylum in your great country. The Amhara gave Abiy Ahmed the golden opportunity on a silver platter to govern Ethiopia fairly and democratically but he willfully opted for the destruction of Ethiopia and wanton civil war, bloodshed and carnage of the most horrific type. By all means go ahead and try to make peace in Ethiopia but remember that when you shake hands with Abiy Ahmed, you are shaking the heavily blood -stained hand of one of the most notorious genociders of all time and that you are doing it for the sake of the noble cause of making and probably forging peace in the Horn of Africa.

Girma Berhanu

Girma Berhanu, Department of Education and Special Education (Professor), University of Gothenburg

7 thoughts on “Mike Hammer To Revisit Ethiopia To Mend His Flawed Pretoria Peace Deal – OpEd

  • August 30, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    Ethiopians will never ever accept any form of ethnocentric ideology, whether it comes under the cover of Oromo, Tigray or Amhara.

    The winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize, PM Abiy (PhD), is trying to normalize the hot ethnic based intellectuals ”toxic” propaganda and the disturbance of those who are following them blindly.

    Yes, the country has passed with bloody clashes for the last three decades and especially during the last 5 years. But this doesn’t mean that Abiy is the cause. The etnosentrisme system which was established by TPLF and its ideology followers under the cover of Amhara, Oromo and Tigray ethnicity are the hinder for the peace and stability of the nation.

    So, dear Girma, I think you also need to see the other side of the problem that is the ongoing magnifying the countries ethnic politics under the cover of oppositions.

    Last but not least, it is so vital to remember that there is no acceptable ethnic politics, with no matter what given ” holly” name. Please remember also that the Ethiopian deference force is not ” the so called”. It is the result of all ethnic parts of the country. It may make mistakes. But mistakes are also done by the US army, which is with well equipped with technology.

    • September 6, 2023 at 8:09 pm

      Mr Getachew, this in unintentional admittance that FANO did commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape of women and children, and every atrocious acts the Tograyans accuse of FANO. I realize the purpose of this article was to paint FANO as the hero in the Tigray-Ethio Civil War. However, to all who’ve been denying FANO’s involvement in the war, and claiming that FANO was limited to Welkayt and Raya, and that they never entered Tigray proper, this is an absolutely honest article showcasing FANO and FANO’s genocidal involvement.

  • August 30, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    One can only smile when a writer chooses to argue the ridiculous. Just imagine, a militia group (FANO) that was the decisive force and a savior of the national army (Ethiopian Government) from overpowering rebels (TPLF) are now unable to do anything meaningful against the same national army. The single drawback with ethnic supremacists is their inability to articulate a logical argument. Regardless, Ethiopia will prevail against ethnic supremacists since they stand on fear, hate, and greed. I recommend standing on your humanity and Ethiopia could help you discover it since it is a country of minorities that values it’s diversity. #mladdiz ❣️

  • August 31, 2023 at 2:28 am

    Most wars anywhere are results of the actors inabilities to face each other in civilized manners. This war in Amhara region could have been avoided if the leaders could see the benefit of compromise. No regime, regardless of its nature, would accept armed rebellion take over its power. Therefore it is the duty of it to fight back and we are now witnessing the carnages. There may be grievances that need to be attended to by the regional government with the help of the federal government. However, this does not mean the Fano has the truth on its side. As many of its leaders and supporters have been saying; theirs is to grab power to bring back the Amhara supremacy over the country. One would be inclined to support this movement if it were for equality of all the people of Ethiopia. There is also a misinterpretation of the size of the Amhara population. Amhara speakers are not all Amhara. I think it is better to tone down the propaganda and seek an amicable exit from this chaotic situation by respecting all the laws of the country.

  • August 31, 2023 at 10:14 am

    All Amhara’s are watching. Never again!!!

  • August 31, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Girma, unfortunately, you hal- select facts and are under the wrong impression that Fano saved the Abiy regime from TPLF (they did not) and they are some sort of a salvation for the Amhara people (they are not) and need to be factored in the United States calculus.

    Fano is just the dumb and dumber version of the TPLF putting their people and civilians at risk. They are tools of Isaias and the Eritrean regime and were collaborators with Isaias and Abiy on a genocide against their neighbors. They should not have jumped on the Abiy-Isaias bandwagon in joining the war to take by force land that was wrongly appropriated in 1991. They should have sought a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Western Tigray/Wolkait problem. They are only waking up now as Abiy has turned on them.

    The only viable and sustainable way out of the current crisis and also to bring answers to the legitimate grievances of the Amhara people is a peaceful and united opposition (that works with and includes all of the diverse peoples of 🇪🇹) and strives to form an all-inclusive transition and hold Abiy accountable. The chauvinistic and the tried-and-failed Amhara extremist noises espoused by the Fano, its delusional leaders and supporters like you will only strengthen Abiy and his murderous regime. Grow up!

  • August 31, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Abiy Ahmed failure to recognize his inability to navigate complex political landscapes has cost us $25 B worth of destructions and one million death (TPLF) and his miss step to disarm Amhara special force first before TPLF and other regions will exasperate the Amhara region which has not recovered from TPLF war. His complaisant with atrocities and violence in different parts of Ethiopia specially on Amhara over five years is worrisome.
    It is important to recognize that Ethiopia’s challenges stem from a long history of diverse cultures, languages, and histories within the country. Issues such as ethnic tensions, false narratives, political representation, economic inequality, and governance are deeply rooted.
    The solutions to these challenges are complex and require holistic and inclusive approaches that consider the perspectives of all stakeholders. The hope was that the “Messiah” leader, Abiy Ahmed would walk the talk by addressing institutionalized ethnic federalism which sparked conflicts, inequitable economic development, interethnic dialogue, historical grievances, and strengthening democratic institutions.
    “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”


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