The War Between Ethiopia and Eritrea.Even by the shocking standards of recent African conflicts, the May 1998-June 2000 war in the Horn of Africa Horn of Africa, peninsula, NE Africa, opposite the S Arabia Peninsula. Also known as the Somali Peninsula, it encompasses Somalia and E Ethiopia and is the easternmost extension of the continent, separating the Gulf of Aden from the Indian Ocean. is truly appalling. As many as 100,000 people have been killed in the intermittent, but savage fighting; up to one million people have been driven into exile or internal displacement "Internal Displacement" is episode 143 of The West Wing.
C.J. realizes that she barely has any time left in office and decides to try and solve the (real world) crisis in Darfur, Sudan, along with the (fictional) crisis between Russia and China over Kazakhstan. ; hundreds of millions of dollars have been diverted from development into arms procurement.
Yet less than a decade ago the two movements that now govern in Addis Ababa Addis Ababa (ăd`ĭs ăb`əbə) [Amharic,=new flower], city (1994 pop. 2,112,737), capital of Ethiopia. It is situated at c.8,000 ft (2,440 m) on a well-watered plateau surrounded by hills and mountains. and Asmara were the firmest of friends. Despite occasional fallings-out, they had cooperated closely during the thirty-year war against a despotic Ethiopian military regime. During the 1970s, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front The Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) was an armed organization that fought for the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. It emerged in 1970 as an intellectual left-wing group that split from the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). (EPLF EPLF Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front ) provided training and assistance to its counterpart from Tigray, in northern Ethiopia. The Tigray People's Liberation Front The People's Liberation Front can refer to several political groups:
The recent conflict has been widely regarded to be concerning slices of disputed land along the thousand-kilometer-long border created, but never properly demarcated, over a century ago by the Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire, also known as Abyssinia, existed from approximately 1270 AD (beginning of Solomonid Dynasty) until 1974 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup d'etat. and Italy. The war's origins can also be traced back to the differences between the Eritrean and Ethiopian leadership that emerged in the 1980s. Although both drew support from the same ethnic group, from similar peasant societies, and from Marxist ideology, they differed in their objectives. The EPLF was determined that Eritrea would be liberated from Ethiopian rule as a single, united state, despite its being composed of nine linguistic groups and two major religions--Islam and Christianity. The TPLF, in contrast, fought for the rights of the Tigrayan people, and its first manifesto called for an independent Tigrayan state. It was with some reluctance that the TPLF was persuaded to fight for the overthrow of the Ethiopian regime.
When both movements took power in 1991, they pursued divergent agendas on the national question. The Eritreans, who legitimized their independence with a 1993 referendum, retained the EPLF's unitary perspective, attempting to balance ethnic, religious, and linguistic differences. The Tigrayans, intent on bolstering Tigrayan nationalism, developed a federal structure for the Ethiopian State founded on ethnicity. Provincial boundaries were redrawn to reflect ethnic divisions.
Soon the two movements' aims collided. The EPLF began a policy of rapid economic growth, and the enterprises they established came into direct competition with developments across the border. In 1997, Eritrea issued its own currency, and this disrupted trade with Ethiopia. Internationally, Eritrea asserted its national identity so forcefully that it soon had diplomatic incidents and military confrontations with neighboring Sudan, Djibouti, and Yemen. To the Tigrayans, now in power in Ethiopia, as to Eritrea's other neighbors, Asmara appeared arrogant, assertive, and uncooperative.
The Eritreans came to regard the TPLF in much the same light. Tigrayan hard-liners first expanded the borders of their home province to incorporate areas that were traditionally inhabited by other ethnic groups within Ethiopia, particularly the Amhara. Then, in 1997, they published a map of Ethiopia that incorporated large sections of Eritrea within Tigray.
A border commission between the two countries, established in November 1997, met only once and had made no progress before the conflict erupted. Tragically, when fighting began in May 1998 with the killing of several Eritreans, an Eritrean delegation was in Addis Ababa for the commission's second meeting. When news reached Asmara, the Eritrean authorities reacted by sending heavily armed reinforcements to the flash point. Despite phone calls between the two leaders, the crisis could not be resolved. As the fighting escalated, Eritrea took over three areas of previously Ethiopian-administered territory.
In February 1999, Ethiopia seized back the border area of Badme, setting off five months of fierce fighting. In May 2000, following the breakdown of talks, Ethiopia launched a series of attacks to recover the rest of the areas seized in 1998. In June 2000, under pressure from the U.S. and the international community, both sides reluctantly accepted Organization of African Unity Organization of African Unity (OAU), former international organization, established 1963 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by 37 independent African nations to promote unity and development; defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of members; eradicate all forms of (OAU OAU
Organization of African Unity
OAU n abbr (= Organization of African Unity) → OUA f
OAU n abbr (= Organization of African Unity ) peace proposals. These provide for a 25-kilometer-wide security zone to facilitate Eritrean withdrawal from the previous border, the insertion of a UN force, and the demarcation of the border.
* During the 30-year war against the Ethiopian military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a form of government wherein the political power resides with the military; it is similar but not identical to a , a state ruled directly by the military. , the EPLF and TPLF guerrilla movements This is a list of notable guerrilla movements. It gives their English name, common acronym, and main country of operation. Latin America
* Despite claims to the contrary, Ethiopia and Eritrea have been fighting not over a border but over rival hegemonic claims in the Horn of Africa and over "national pride" and "territorial integrity Territorial integrity is the principle under international law that nation-states should not attempt to promote secessionist movements or to promote border changes in other nation-states. Conversely it states that border changes imposed by force are acts of aggression. ."
* Its neighbors see Eritrea as having deliberately chosen an aggressive foreign policy as a central element in its nation building strategy; Eritrea fears the threat of Ethiopian regional dominance.
Patrick Gilkes <email@example.com> is a London-based independent journalist and consultant. Martin Plaut <firstname.lastname@example.org> is an associate fellow with the Royal Institute of International Affairs and an editor with the BBC World Service
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