Eritrea seizes the disputed land from Ethiopia while Abiy Ahmed faces political embarrassment at home.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who has claimed early victory in the war against the TPLF, which controls the Tigray region, is now facing political pressure from multiple directions.
Eritrea which is a key ally of Abiy at the war against the TPLF has so far taken control of much of the disputed territory, taking advantage of fighting between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
UN Secretary-General Antonia Gutierrz said in a telephone interview with Abiy Ahmed that Eritrea had taken control of the disputed territory in the last 20 years. However, Abiy Ahmed said that until an official solution is reached, the land is and will remain an Ethiopian land owned by the people living in Ethiopia.
The Eritrean government has long sought to take control of the disputed area but lacked the means and mighty to do so on their own; however, the unholy alliance between Abiy and Isaias to dislodge the TPLF from power has expedited them to take the disputed areas in very ease and even without following the due process required leaving the Ethiopian legislators, other key institution and the public at the dark on the nature of the initial partnership that was existing between Abiy and Isaias Afwerki
Nevertheless, last week, Sudanese forces moved into the farming area of Al Faqash bordering Ethiopia, and have spread out since on land that had been controlled by Ethiopia for over 25 years — a longstanding source of friction between Khartoum and Addis Ababa.
Meanwhile, diplomats, aid workers, and analysts said in interviews that the war in Tigray, Ethiopia’s northernmost region, was far from over even with government troops in effective control of the region’s main city, Mekele. The fighting has shifted to Tigray’s many craggy mountain ranges — difficult terrain where TPLF leaders and militia hold the advantage of familiarity and have been able to regroup.
One dilemma also arises from the lack of clarity of the relationship between President Isaias and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed bolstered by the remarks and claims made by both leaders and their sympathisers regarding Eritrea’s sovereignty.
Some pro-justice Eritreans believe that Abiy, like the Eritrean President, is a Machiavellian who would not hesitate to liquidate anyone that stands in his way for the sake of power. They believe that he would not stop at Tigray and Eritrea would be his next target once Tigray is in the fold of his Prosperity Party.