The U.S. Needs Sharper Tools to Stop the War in Ethiopia

The U.S. Needs Sharper Tools to Stop the War in Ethiopia

“Ethiopian companies and financial institutions that are implicated in the war effort could also be targeted. The country’s flagship airline, Ethiopian Airways, has allegedly helped transport Ethiopian troops to the front lines—though it denies those charges—and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the country’s largest lender, is reportedly the most important financier of Abiy’s war effort. Given America’s leverage over these major Ethiopian businesses—Ethiopian Airways flies a fleet of Boeing-made aircraft in need of regular servicing, and the CBE holds accounts with the New York Federal Reserve—stiff sanctions against them could curtail the government’s ability to make war and push the companies’ executives to use their own influence over Abiy to pursue peace.”

Girma Gutema

A destroyed tank by the side of the road in western Tigray, Ethiopia, May 1, 2021 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

(worldpoliticsreview)—-Millions of people in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region are currently at risk of famine, a situation brought on by the government’s invasion of the region last fall after a long-running political dispute, as well as an unofficial blockade imposed on Tigray since June by federal troops, allied Eritrean forces and ethnic militias. Throughout the conflict, reports of unspeakable atrocities have been a near-daily occurrence, and the warring parties appear more resolved than ever to seek victory on the battlefield. 

With no end in sight to the fighting, it’s time for the U.S. to accept that its efforts to coax the belligerents into a mediated cease-fire have not worked. Even after 10 months of shuttle diplomacy and dozens of high-level interventions from Washington, more people are dead, more civilians are starving and Ethiopia is closer to imploding than at any time in its history. What started out as a civil conflict between the national government and the ruling party of Tigray, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front or TPLF, has now unleashed violence in eight of the country’s 10 ethnic regions, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and aggravating old social fault lines. 

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