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[Sub-Saharan Africa] News and Politics Thread

MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
edited July 2021 in Debate and/or Discourse
48250772-B24D-42FD-A31B-97429FE5E3EF_0.jpeg

All the rest of Africa not covered under the "Middle East and North Africa" Thread - mostly everything south of the Sahara Desert, though Sudan/South Sudan are sometimes counted as part of north Africa as well. There are some arguments to be made that South Sudan would count as sub-Saharan Africa and Sudan north Africa, but meanwhile, it was crazy hard for me to find any decent online map at all that even listed South Sudan as an independent country.

Heck, even that map I posted, the least bad I could find, still is out of date since Swaziland renamed itself eSwatini three years ago. This speaks to the heart of a problem, which is that sub-Saharan Africa gets very little press. Yes, there's a lot happening in the world, and a lot of that is happening in Africa, an entire dang continent. Forty-six countries make up sub-Saharan Africa; 1.1 billion people live there currently, speaking over 1500 languages. The history of the continent goes into the deepest prehistory, as it is the cradle of humanity itself, through millions of years into the current post-colonial landscape nowhere near recovered from the ravages of imperialism and the Scramble for Africa.

This is to say, there's an incredible lot that can be said, far beyond my capabilities and the capacity of this OP. But we have to start somewhere, so here I'm starting.

[Will be adding more, especially about the Tigray War, over the next day or so.]

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  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    You ever look at a map of South Africa and go, "What's with those two circular chunks taken out of it?" The one on the right is eSwatini.

    Spoiled for big map images
    South-Africa-map-features-locator.jpg

    Eswatini_Regions_map.png

    WZ_area.jpg
    The last is just an indication that this is not a large country I'm talking about here.

    eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, is one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, and a demonstration of why absolute monarchies are terrible and were removed across most of the rest of the world. King Mswati III lives a life of lavish luxury including the acquisition of more wives (he's at 15 currently) while the bit-over-million people of the country suffer. Over a quarter of the population is HIV-positive, the life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world, over half the population lives in poverty, and folks there are at their breaking point.

    There had been sporadic protests the last few years (including one earlier this year against police brutality) but in late June this year a large protest - demanding greater voting rights and the return of the abolished right to petition - was met with live gunfire by police. Word of the attack spread, and so did the protests, along with more police brutality - dozens have been killed, and many more injured, including women arrested and beaten for "looting" for having basic supplies like cooking oil which are becoming scarce due to their current economic crisis. Internet access in the country has been highly restricted. Businesses linked to the king have been attacked and burned. It's the worst unrest in the history of the country.

    How did it come to this? In the long view, eSwatini only exists as an independent country instead of likely being part of South Africa due to a whole lot of what I'm just going to call "British colonial fuckery" and that basically never led to any good results anywhere. In the shorter view, the current king began his reign at age 18, and handing a teenager absolute power and wealth is basically a recipe for creating an absolute asshole.

    To be blunt, I do not see anything changing or getting better until the king is removed, by whatever method, because the now 53 year old spoiled brat king isn't going to acquiesce to any reduction in his power or ostentatious displays of wealth. How that's going to happen, though - that's the question.

    TicaldfjamZilla360
  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    I found this video to be a pretty good starting point for understanding the Tigray Conflict:



    The short version is that the Tigray region (and by extension its people) had a oversized influence on Ethiopian politics until very recently and had been a key player in overthrowing the previous dictatorship.

    The current Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed (who won a Noble Piece Prize), over seeing this won reelection. Article notes that a fifth of the country couldn't vote due to "insecurity and logistical problems". No polls in Tigray at all.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57791868

    More about Abiy Ahmed:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43567007

    In other news, Twitter has been banned in Nigeria after the president of Nigeria had one of his tweets deleted. The president had tweeted what was considered by many to be a threat of violence.

    Okay, some background. In the late 60's part of Nigeria had tried to gain independence. Recently, the region has seen unrest again, thus the presidents tweet warning "Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the field for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”

    Did I mention that the current president not only has a military background, but became the head of state after a military coup?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/05/world/africa/nigeria-twitter-president.html

    Mayabirdshryke
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    NOTE: THIS IS NOT ALL INCLUSIVE OF EVERY DETAIL, NOT EVEN CLOSE. This is me trying to pare down the Tigray War down to the barest bones explanation I can. There is a lot more going on.


    2020-09-11-iss-today-tigray-map.png

    The Tigray Region is the northernmost of Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea and Sudan, and the home of (among others) the Tigrayan ethnic group. As you might guess from the title and/or may have read in the news, there's a war going on there.

    Why? Short recent answer:

    From 1991 to 2019, Ethiopia's politics had been ruled by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a political coalition of four powerful parties that all controlled a region and did not really allow opposition. They had gained power thanks to throwing out the previous dictator.

    The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) had been the most powerful among the EPRDF. This gave the Tigrayans greatly disproportionate power compared to their numbers.

    A massive power shift began with the ascension of Abiy Ahmed to become Prime Minister of Ethiopia. How and why doesn't matter in this quick look - the important thing is that he quickly gained a reputation for being a Reformer. Released thousands of political prisoners, amended draconian "anti-terrorism" law, let in foreign journalists, allowed exiled political opponents to return home safely, and ended the Eritrean-Ethiopian War*. That's all in the first three months or so. Whirlwind superstar politician.


    *On the Eritrean-Ethiopian War. Spoiling to keep it neater.
    Background: Ethiopia and Liberia were the only two African countries not colonized, but with Ethiopia, it wasn't for lack of trying. Italy held much of what's now Somalia and also Eritrea as colonies, and invaded Ethiopia twice.

    The British took control of Italian Eritrea during World War I, and afterward Ethiopia and Eritrea were joined in a federation. Then in the 1960s, Ethiopia tried to dissolve the federation and turn Eritrea into a mere province of Ethiopia. A brutal, bloody thirty year war for independence followed.

    After independence, the two countries remained, well, very unfriendly. A second border war erupted in 1998 leading to thousands more deaths. The war was only officially ended in 2018.

    This is the peace treaty that got Abiy his Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.


    So now, 2019. The previous party system of the EPRDF was based on ethnic federalism, and PM Abiy wanted to distance Ethiopia from that. He started the formation of a successor party to the EPRDF called the Prosperity Party (the one that just "won" in a landslide, but I get ahead of myself). The TPLF is a bit miffed by this, because it takes away the disproportionate power they'd had for nearly twenty years (there are other things too, but let's be really honest about the biggest deal here). Understandable. They pull away to join the opposition parties and have harsh criticism against PM Abiy, who's starting to get a bit dictatorial, doing things like shutting off the internet in Ethiopia in response to criticism.


    A major power bloc has just pulled away from the ruling coalition. You are the Prime Minister who just formed that ruling coalition. Do you
    1) Accept that there's opposition parties now and move on, like you acted like you were doing the last couple years,
    2) Start rounds of long tedious negotiations that might take months and be obnoxious but ultimately not really harmful, or
    3) Get your genocide on.


    Possibly inspired by 1991 Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (I have no evidence for this, but come on that's two Nobel Peace Prize winners in two years that decided ethnic cleansing is just the thing for maintaining political power), Abiy sends in federal troops. Mass civilian executions, systematic rape, hundreds of thousands fleeing across the border, withholding food and supplies to create a famine, and so on with endless atrocities. Abiy invites Eritrea to come join in the slaughter, which they do. I guess it's true; the way for two enemies to come together is to find a third party to attack.

    Things are terrible in Tigray. They are about to get crazy. But first some more background on another important figure.


    General Tsadkan Gebretensae (Gebretensae is a patronymic so he's Gen. Tsadkan, just like with PM Abiy) started his military career as a biology student at Addis Ababa University who left to join the TPLF way back in 1976, when it was a tiny band of rebel guerrillas in the mountains. Fifteen years later, his army of over a hundred thousand leads the capture of Addis Ababa in that aforementioned overthrow of the previous dictator. He becomes chief of staff of the new Ethiopian military, a position he holds until some politics happens and he gets fired in 2001. Not knowing what to do with his unexpected retirement, he got a Master's degree and opened a brewery, as you do. He had actually been an early supporter of Abiy Ahmed and had continued disagreements with Tigrayan political leadership. But then, 2019.


    The Prime Minister has sent in the army to start a genocide of your home and homeland. Do you
    1) Rejoin the Defense Forces and train refugees fleeing into the hills into a militia capable of pushing the national troops out.


    Gen. Tsadkan was placed in command of the Tigray Defense Forces, and while fighting guerrilla battles to preserve as many people as possible for as long as possible, brought back in defecting Ethiopian troops and officers (remember: disproportionate power by the Tigrayans extended to the military) as well as men and women who suddenly had nothing better to do than become soldiers, and a whole hell of a lot of motivation to do so.

    While the Ethiopian troops were ravaging the countryside, he was drilling the new recruits. After about four solid months, he figured they were at parity with the regular Ethiopian forces and determined it was time to counterattack.

    In the last month, the Tigray Defense Forces drove out Ethiopian troops from the regional capital of Mekelle (population approx. 500,000 pre-war) in a lightning attack. There were reports that two brigades of government troops had been routed - a bold claim, but as soon as Abiy's government started claiming it was fake news, I knew it was almost certainly true.

    But to prove it, the TDF paraded the captured soldiers publicly through Mekelle - over 7000 of them.



    Eritrean forces are also in retreat. Abiy has tried to declare a ceasefire, due to this sudden reversal of fortunes, but the Tigrayan forces are not accepting it. For starters, Ethiopian government forces have been destroying critical infrastructure to keep food and information from getting in Tigray. The war may be turning into a siege.



    Anyway, adding to the previous post and video, hopefully this should give you an incredibly basic outline of an idea about what's going on.

  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Well the riots in South Africa are getting worse.

    Seems like it might have escalated beyond just the Zuma thing and everything about the last couple of years are spilling over.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
    Shadowhope
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    I wonder if what's been happening in Tigray could affect the renaissance dam project and the regional dispute over it in some subtle ways. Egypt and Sudan are desperately trying to dissuade Ethiopia from its current trajectory of filling the dam and severely reducing the Nile's flow downriver, with all the agricultural and other problems that represents. So far Ethiopia has proven pretty intransigent, despite entreaties from the EU and Russia to enter some sort of trilateral negotiation process. I don't know if the war in Tigray could weaken Ethiopia's position relative to its neighbors, or if the government might be even more stubborn about the dam in order to assert strength at a moment of weakness. Or neither, I'm just speculating.

    SolarMayabird
  • [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Well the riots in South Africa are getting worse.

    Seems like it might have escalated beyond just the Zuma thing and everything about the last couple of years are spilling over.

    Can you elaborate?

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2021
    I bet it’s not as black and white but a guerilla force of one province being able to cast two nation armies out is very compelling as an underdog story. And I’m inclined to cheer on whoever is currently fighting the Eritrean government. The situation sounds dire though and like it’s been going on for a long time in its current state.

    Honk on
    PSN: Honkalot
  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Well the riots in South Africa are getting worse.

    Seems like it might have escalated beyond just the Zuma thing and everything about the last couple of years are spilling over.

    Can you elaborate?

    My introduction to all of this came via an imgur video of all things.

    However, there really doesn’t seem to be much about this on western news. The BBC has a short video or two, I found an article (in French, sorry - I’ve been trying to get better at French by reading news articles in French) on le Monde. And CNN has a few articles. But this isn’t really getting much airplay so far as I can see, so it’s hard for me here in Canada to see just how bad things are.

    Civics is not a consumer product that you can ignore because you don’t like the options presented.
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    To summarize things as I understand them:

    Former president of South Africa Zuma got thrown in jail for basically failure to appear which I think we would call contempt of court.

    His supporters riled people up over this resulting in riots, looting, etc. There seems to be an ethnic slash Zulu nationalist element to the whole thing.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
    ShadowhopeMortious
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited July 2021
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    To summarize things as I understand them:

    Former president of South Africa Zuma got thrown in jail for basically failure to appear which I think we would call contempt of court.

    His supporters riled people up over this resulting in riots, looting, etc. There seems to be an ethnic slash Zulu nationalist element to the whole thing.

    Yeah sorry I should have elaborated as was pointed out above. I guess since I'm so close to this I kinda expected everybody to be aware of it.

    Though looking at the scale of the riots/looting and the timeline I am guessing it's not just Zuma related*, but that those riots kind of broke the damn on the last 2 years. Covid's hit SA hard.

    Still a bit shocked that they actually arrested Zuma btw. I mean it should have happened years ago, but the I expected him to pass on leadership and skate away scot-free.

    *Or I am underestimating how popular he is.

    Mortious on
    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    Minor Zuma anecdote:

    Zuma married his sixth wife (he's a polygamist) Gloria Bongekile Ngema in 2012 in a traditional ceremony followed by a traditional Zulu competitive celebratory dance. This made international news, and I remember reading about it and seeing it on the TV here in Norway.

    I made the comment at the time that I didn't know that brand new shining white Nike sneakers (prominent on the couple and others) were part of Zulu traditions.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Minor Zuma anecdote:

    Zuma married his sixth wife (he's a polygamist) Gloria Bongekile Ngema in 2012 in a traditional ceremony followed by a traditional Zulu competitive celebratory dance. This made international news, and I remember reading about it and seeing it on the TV here in Norway.

    I made the comment at the time that I didn't know that brand new shining white Nike sneakers (prominent on the couple and others) were part of Zulu traditions.

    Ehh. If the tradition is "wear clothing of high status" or something I don't see anything unusual. European ceremonies aren't all in chewed furs.

    GvzbgulKayne Red RobeShadowhopeA Kobold's Kobold
  • Lord_AsmodeusLord_Asmodeus goeticSobriquet: Here is your magical cryptic riddle-tumour: I AM A TIME MACHINERegistered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Minor Zuma anecdote:

    Zuma married his sixth wife (he's a polygamist) Gloria Bongekile Ngema in 2012 in a traditional ceremony followed by a traditional Zulu competitive celebratory dance. This made international news, and I remember reading about it and seeing it on the TV here in Norway.

    I made the comment at the time that I didn't know that brand new shining white Nike sneakers (prominent on the couple and others) were part of Zulu traditions.

    Ehh. If the tradition is "wear clothing of high status" or something I don't see anything unusual. European ceremonies aren't all in chewed furs.

    Though maybe more of them should be...

    Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. - Lincoln
  • [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    edited July 2021
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Minor Zuma anecdote:

    Zuma married his sixth wife (he's a polygamist) Gloria Bongekile Ngema in 2012 in a traditional ceremony followed by a traditional Zulu competitive celebratory dance. This made international news, and I remember reading about it and seeing it on the TV here in Norway.

    I made the comment at the time that I didn't know that brand new shining white Nike sneakers (prominent on the couple and others) were part of Zulu traditions.

    Ehh. If the tradition is "wear clothing of high status" or something I don't see anything unusual. European ceremonies aren't all in chewed furs.

    Sure. But Zuma and bride were in furs. Here's a picture:
    bnlaknfdaoqw.jpg
    I hope you can see why I thought the shoes were funny :P

    [Expletive deleted] on
    Sic transit gloria mundi.
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    I wonder if what's been happening in Tigray could affect the renaissance dam project and the regional dispute over it in some subtle ways. Egypt and Sudan are desperately trying to dissuade Ethiopia from its current trajectory of filling the dam and severely reducing the Nile's flow downriver, with all the agricultural and other problems that represents. So far Ethiopia has proven pretty intransigent, despite entreaties from the EU and Russia to enter some sort of trilateral negotiation process. I don't know if the war in Tigray could weaken Ethiopia's position relative to its neighbors, or if the government might be even more stubborn about the dam in order to assert strength at a moment of weakness. Or neither, I'm just speculating.

    A very good question and I have no idea either.

    In case anyone was wondering though and was afraid to ask, it's highly unlikely there will be any actual direct fighting in or around the dam. It's a long distance from Tigray, and if any place is going to get a counter-invasion it's going to be Eritrea next door. Spokesmen for the Tigray Defense Forces have already been threatening to do so if there's not a full withdrawal soon.
    Honk wrote: »
    I bet it’s not as black and white but a guerilla force of one province being able to cast two nation armies out is very compelling as an underdog story. And I’m inclined to cheer on whoever is currently fighting the Eritrean government. The situation sounds dire though and like it’s been going on for a long time in its current state.

    It's a very complicated situation. Tigrayans make up 6% of the population of Ethiopia but had basically run the government and military for the last decade and a half, and all the other ethnic groups (and there are many) were increasingly resentful of the disproportionate power the Tigrayans held. Meanwhile, the Tigrayans had rebelled in the first place because they had been a repressed group in the first place - Tigray had been the area hit hardest in the the famine in 1983-1985 (that big one that became the byword of "starving kids in Ethiopia" and Live Aid, etc.) and that was intentional policy by the military government at the time, so they were terrified of losing power lest the repression be brought back upon them. How much became self-fulfilling prophesy? Hard to say.

    Abiy Ahmed, incidentally, is Oromo, which is the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia at 35% of the population and had also been facing a lot of political and social repression.

    But yeah, not just being able to push out two national armies, but doing so quickly and efficiently like that? Demonstrates an incredible level of discipline and competency, that they could hold back until they were absolutely ready and knew exactly when they were ready and did so. There wasn't a hint of a massive army being formed in the hills that I had heard about until they swept out, recaptured their capital, and marched 7000 POWs through the streets.

    Kayne Red RobeHonk
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Registered User, Moderator mod
    In a thread about most of a continent I figure we can aim higher than saying their clothes are funny.

    IncenjucarLabelTynnanA Kobold's Kobold
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    On a different note, the two Ebola outbreaks (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea) have been declared over. Don't know how many people even heard about them, what with the much larger pandemic and all taking up the news, but if you did hear about them starting, they're done now. Turns out, having a vaccine really helps with that; since it's not airborne, it's much easier to vaccinate the health care workers and everyone around an outbreak to stamp it out.

    The unnerving thing about the Guinea outbreak though is that genetically, it's basically the same as the one from the epidemic in 2013-2016. If you don't remember it extending that long, it's because there was new transmission from people who had been infected but survived - but still had the virus lurking in reservoirs of their body where the immune system couldn't reach them. The testicles, among other places, are immune privileged, so immune responses there are limited and/or suppressed, meaning a virus could remain there when the rest of the body has eradicated it. A man had been cleared of Ebola in the rest of his body for over 500 days, then passed it on in his semen and caused an outbreak in 2016. It's hypothesized that a similar thing happened earlier this year, only that would mean Ebola could persist in a dormant state in a person for over five years - and who knows how much longer.

    Too long;didn't read;freaking out: Vaccines are good.

    RMS OceanicShadowhopeShadowfireLabelJaysonFourA Kobold's Kobold
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    Mayabird wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    I wonder if what's been happening in Tigray could affect the renaissance dam project and the regional dispute over it in some subtle ways. Egypt and Sudan are desperately trying to dissuade Ethiopia from its current trajectory of filling the dam and severely reducing the Nile's flow downriver, with all the agricultural and other problems that represents. So far Ethiopia has proven pretty intransigent, despite entreaties from the EU and Russia to enter some sort of trilateral negotiation process. I don't know if the war in Tigray could weaken Ethiopia's position relative to its neighbors, or if the government might be even more stubborn about the dam in order to assert strength at a moment of weakness. Or neither, I'm just speculating.

    A very good question and I have no idea either.

    In case anyone was wondering though and was afraid to ask, it's highly unlikely there will be any actual direct fighting in or around the dam. It's a long distance from Tigray, and if any place is going to get a counter-invasion it's going to be Eritrea next door. Spokesmen for the Tigray Defense Forces have already been threatening to do so if there's not a full withdrawal soon.
    Honk wrote: »
    I bet it’s not as black and white but a guerilla force of one province being able to cast two nation armies out is very compelling as an underdog story. And I’m inclined to cheer on whoever is currently fighting the Eritrean government. The situation sounds dire though and like it’s been going on for a long time in its current state.

    It's a very complicated situation. Tigrayans make up 6% of the population of Ethiopia but had basically run the government and military for the last decade and a half, and all the other ethnic groups (and there are many) were increasingly resentful of the disproportionate power the Tigrayans held. Meanwhile, the Tigrayans had rebelled in the first place because they had been a repressed group in the first place - Tigray had been the area hit hardest in the the famine in 1983-1985 (that big one that became the byword of "starving kids in Ethiopia" and Live Aid, etc.) and that was intentional policy by the military government at the time, so they were terrified of losing power lest the repression be brought back upon them. How much became self-fulfilling prophesy? Hard to say.

    Abiy Ahmed, incidentally, is Oromo, which is the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia at 35% of the population and had also been facing a lot of political and social repression.

    But yeah, not just being able to push out two national armies, but doing so quickly and efficiently like that? Demonstrates an incredible level of discipline and competency, that they could hold back until they were absolutely ready and knew exactly when they were ready and did so. There wasn't a hint of a massive army being formed in the hills that I had heard about until they swept out, recaptured their capital, and marched 7000 POWs through the streets.

    Do we know anything about their treatment of the POWs beyond being paraded through the streets? I think that the treatment of those captured soldiers will tell us everything we need to know about what to expect from this whole thing in the future. There is little question that it will get worse before it gets better, but if those POWs are treated as humanely as we can expect them to be then I feel like there actually is hope for real discussions and eventually peace in the future. If the anger is there to outright execute them with little to no regard of them as humans, I get a feeling that Eritrea may become the next nation to stop existing.

    This is all gut-feeling reactions to what's going on over there with nothing to back them up, so anyone is welcome to tell me how wrong I am.

  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    There was wide spread looting, rape, and murder. Lots of people fled.

    This is going to be a long peace process.

    Also I think you mixed up Tigray (a region in Ethopia) and Eritrea (and independent nation who is currently allied with Ethopia against Tigray). No one is going to invade Eritrea, especially since Ethopia tried to annex the region post WW2 and got a bloody nose in a 30 year conflict.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    There was wide spread looting, rape, and murder. Lots of people fled.

    This is going to be a long peace process.

    Also I think you mixed up Tigray (a region in Ethopia) and Eritrea (and independent nation who is currently allied with Ethopia against Tigray). No one is going to invade Eritrea, especially since Ethopia tried to annex the region post WW2 and got a bloody nose in a 30 year conflict.

    Nope, the Tigray People's Liberation Front totally threatened to invade Eritrea:

    https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/tigray-forces-will-pursue-enemy-forces-into-eritrea-amhara-region-spokesman-says-2021-06-29/

    Obviously statements like that can often just be posturing.

    HamHamJ on
    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
    Mayabird
  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    Huh, I didn't know that.

    There is a slight difference between the chasing an enemy across a border and an invasion. And either way I don't see how Tigray could conquer Eritrea.

  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited July 2021
    There was wide spread looting, rape, and murder. Lots of people fled.

    This is going to be a long peace process.

    Also I think you mixed up Tigray (a region in Ethopia) and Eritrea (and independent nation who is currently allied with Ethopia against Tigray). No one is going to invade Eritrea, especially since Ethopia tried to annex the region post WW2 and got a bloody nose in a 30 year conflict.

    Yes, Eritrean and Ethiopian troops (but from what I've read mostly falls on Eritrean troops with Ethiopian consent I think?) committed unspeakable atrocities on the people in Tigray region. I am saying if the Tigray people, or maybe more specifically the Tigray People's Liberation Front, is able to keep the anger that was created because of those atrocities from fully controlling their actions in regards to these troops (ie not executing the POWs), then I could actually have some hope that this can be resolved sooner (within the next 5 years), and with less death and destruction, rather than later (20 years from now)

    Veevee on
    Mayabird
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited July 2021
    Huh, I didn't know that.

    There is a slight difference between the chasing an enemy across a border and an invasion. And either way I don't see how Tigray could conquer Eritrea.

    Mostly through having a better army and killing everyone that questions their rule. They have the Hero General that just demonstrated he can lead their army to an overwhelming victory. The main question that really matters now is how how much revenge do the people in Tigray want, and how far are they willing to go to get it.

    Secondary to that question is when the Powers That Be in the world step in and put their weight on the scales, which side it would be for if they do, and how much weight will they ultimately use.

    Veevee on
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Huh, I didn't know that.

    There is a slight difference between the chasing an enemy across a border and an invasion. And either way I don't see how Tigray could conquer Eritrea.

    Sure but presumably they don't have to. I imagine it would just be hitting whatever military presence there is near the border and maybe establishing a buffer zone to prevent Eritrea from establishing logistics needed for attacking back into Tigray.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    Huh, I didn't know that.

    There is a slight difference between the chasing an enemy across a border and an invasion. And either way I don't see how Tigray could conquer Eritrea.

    Mostly through having a better army and killing everyone that questions their rule. They have the Hero General that just demonstrated he can lead their army to an overwhelming victory. The main question that really matters now is how how much revenge do the people in Tigray want, and how far are they willing to go to get it.

    Secondary to that question is when the Powers That Be in the world step in and put their weight on the scales, which side it would be for if they do, and how much weight will they ultimately use.

    There is a difference between winning a battle and winning a war. I doubt Ethopia or Eritrea put all their troops into Tigray. They both have reserves to call up should Tigray go on the offensive.

    And for most of the Eritrean War for independence Ethopia occupied most of the nation. Does Tigray have the ability to wage a 2 sided war against two countries? Can they occupy Eritrea for 30 years like Ethopia did? I doubt it. The last time they overran the Ethopian government there were other rebels front as well, including the Eritrean one.

  • Stabbity StyleStabbity Style He/Him | Warning: Mothership Reporting Kennewick, WARegistered User regular
    Man, the video footage from South Africa is crazy.



    That's just a staggering number of people there.

    SijLqhH.png
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  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    I can see Eritrea pull out of the war, or just heavily fortify the border. It's ultimately not theirs directly, and it's probably better to go back home and watch someone else fail than take the losses. I bet they thought they were heading for an easy win and some propaganda, to district from the immense poverty and dictatorship. When it turns into a quagmire, that stops working...

    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    I do think it is interesting Ethopia declared a cease fire. They probably don't have the ability to end it militarily any more.

  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    Do we know anything about their treatment of the POWs beyond being paraded through the streets? I think that the treatment of those captured soldiers will tell us everything we need to know about what to expect from this whole thing in the future. There is little question that it will get worse before it gets better, but if those POWs are treated as humanely as we can expect them to be then I feel like there actually is hope for real discussions and eventually peace in the future. If the anger is there to outright execute them with little to no regard of them as humans, I get a feeling that Eritrea may become the next nation to stop existing.

    This is all gut-feeling reactions to what's going on over there with nothing to back them up, so anyone is welcome to tell me how wrong I am.

    Supposedly Tigrayan officials have been contacting the Red Cross and plan to release the ordinary soldiers while retaining officers in detention but I haven't seen anything about anything happening yet. It's something I've been watching out for too.


    Also, one of the motivations for the Eritrean invasion was to forcibly return Eritrean refugees living in camps in Tigray. There had been four major camps housing tens of thousands of refugees and two of them have been destroyed. I should do a quick writeup about what Eritrea's deal is aside from "war with/independence from Ethiopia."

  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Eritrea is a totalitarian dictatorship. It is one of the most repressive countries in the world, and yes I'm saying that in a world where we have the likes of North Korea. Eritrea officially got independence from Ethiopia in 1993. It has held no elections (the "President" scoffs at the idea of even holding any), has no legislature, and no judiciary. There was a constitution written up in 1997 to enshrine civil rights and such into law, which was never implemented.

    The Eritrean population lives under endless conscription. Because of the endless state of war with Ethiopia (which, I haven't been able to see if the official story has changed internally with the peace treaty), the vast majority of the population is under indefinite "national service" to work at whatever the government wants them to work at, wherever the government wants them to work. Even teachers are conscripts, not even able to choose what subject they teach or how. Secondary school students are conscripted as teens to go to a military camp. There is widespread torture, no rights to speak of (aside from the right to be a member of the four authorized religious sects), and people can just get arrested for no reason and detained indefinitely. You name the human rights violation, and Eritrea almost certainly has it in spades.

    So why is Eritrea rounding up refugees to force them back? To put them back to work in the giant forced labor camp that is their country, which they had fled in the first place.

    I wonder if the Tigrayan Defense Force has been taking Eritrean refugee recruits too - it would make a lot of sense if they do.

    Kayne Red Robe
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    So had my weekly chat with my mom, and it sounds quite bad down there. Natal and Joburg are the hardest hit. Most of the shops are closed, lots of piravte security around, and her neighbourhood has blocked off all the roads with cars and people standing around with guns.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
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  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Updates: The chairman of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front announced that 1000 low-ranking Ethiopian soldiers were driven to the southern border of Tigray and released but there hasn't been any independent confirmation of it. Members of the International Committee of the Red Cross did just start meeting with the rest of the Ethiopian POWs but there's no report from them yet.

    What there has been confirmation of is militias being raised in neighboring regions, almost certainly to be sent into Tigray in lieu of the routed federal forces. Tigrayan Defence Forces just entered the Afar region to the east. Some of it seems to be preemptive attacks against militias before they can enter Tigray, but possibly some of it is to secure lines of food aid from the UN World Food Program, since their convoys were attacked in Afar and have therefore stopped operations.

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    So, a thought I have about Tigray. Earlier I mentioned that I was curious whether the civil war could affect Ethiopia's approach to the Grand Renaissance Dam and the dispute with Sudan and Egypt. Today Ethiopia announced completing the second phase of filling the dam, which Egypt had been repeatedly telling them not to do. Egypt regards the dam as a potentially existential threat, and recently held rather provocative military exercises with Sudan -who shares Egypt's view on the dam as they are also downriver of Ethiopia - in what many interpreted as a warning to Ethiopia.

    But it occurs to me that the widening war in Tigray provides a new possibility for escalation. If the war continues, then Egypt can begin to support the TPLF (assuming they aren't already). All they need for an easy route for arms shipments is Sudanese acquiescence, which doesn't sound at all implausible given Sudan's stance. And Tigray directly borders southern Sudan.

    Kaputa on
    Kayne Red RobeDarklyre
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Kaputa wrote: »
    So, a thought I have about Tigray. Earlier I mentioned that I was curious whether the civil war could affect Ethiopia's approach to the Grand Renaissance Dam and the dispute with Sudan and Egypt. Today Ethiopia announced completing the second phase of filling the dam, which Egypt had been repeatedly telling them not to do. Egypt regards the dam as a potentially existential threat, and recently held rather provocative military exercises with Sudan -who shares Egypt's view on the dam as they are also downriver of Ethiopia - in what many interpreted as a warning to Ethiopia.

    But it occurs to me that the widening war in Tigray provides a new possibility for escalation. If the war continues, then Egypt can begin to support the TPLF (assuming they aren't already). All they need for an easy route for arms shipments is Sudanese acquiescence, which doesn't sound at all implausible given Sudan's stance. And Tigray directly borders southern Sudan.

    I hope we don't go to war with Ethiopia over the dam, but something parallel to the dam issue and somewhat related to war in Tigray is the Sudanese-Ethiopian dispute over al Fashaga. It's one of border disputes that has sat mostly dormant until very recently. Previously a deal was reached between the Sudanese and Ethopian governments in 2008, TPLF was in power then and negotiated the agreement. Ethiopia recognized the Sudanese border line and in return the Sudanese government would let the facts on the ground stay as they are, with both Sudanese and Ethiopian (mostly Amhara) farmers living as they've been before and nothing measurably changing.

    That all collapsed because of Abiy's unfortunate reliance on on Amhara militias/nationalists in the Tigray war, as they've been condemning the previous deal since they came into power. After the Tigray war started Amhara militias started making various attacks and incursions to take control of the area. The result has been terrible; after Sudanese military beat the militias, they forced all Ethiopian civilians out of the area.

    And the world was made better in not a single way for anyone.

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    Ticaldfjam
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    There are reports of a major recent massacre by those same Amhara militias in western Tigray. Ethiopia is of course denying it. However, in Sudan people are reporting seeing many bodies floating down the Tekeze/Setit River, which is the river that forms the westernmost border between Ethiopia and Eritrea and then flows into Sudan. These bodies are of both men and women, often with hands still tied up, and shot or cut up with axes.

    The Ethiopian blockade and siege of Tigray continues. Food aid is still stopped and starvation increases.

  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    Elki wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    So, a thought I have about Tigray. Earlier I mentioned that I was curious whether the civil war could affect Ethiopia's approach to the Grand Renaissance Dam and the dispute with Sudan and Egypt. Today Ethiopia announced completing the second phase of filling the dam, which Egypt had been repeatedly telling them not to do. Egypt regards the dam as a potentially existential threat, and recently held rather provocative military exercises with Sudan -who shares Egypt's view on the dam as they are also downriver of Ethiopia - in what many interpreted as a warning to Ethiopia.

    But it occurs to me that the widening war in Tigray provides a new possibility for escalation. If the war continues, then Egypt can begin to support the TPLF (assuming they aren't already). All they need for an easy route for arms shipments is Sudanese acquiescence, which doesn't sound at all implausible given Sudan's stance. And Tigray directly borders southern Sudan.

    I hope we don't go to war with Ethiopia over the dam, but something parallel to the dam issue and somewhat related to war in Tigray is the Sudanese-Ethiopian dispute over al Fashaga. It's one of border disputes that has sat mostly dormant until very recently. Previously a deal was reached between the Sudanese and Ethopian governments in 2008, TPLF was in power then and negotiated the agreement. Ethiopia recognized the Sudanese border line and in return the Sudanese government would let the facts on the ground stay as they are, with both Sudanese and Ethiopian (mostly Amhara) farmers living as they've been before and nothing measurably changing.

    That all collapsed because of Abiy's unfortunate reliance on on Amhara militias/nationalists in the Tigray war, as they've been condemning the previous deal since they came into power. After the Tigray war started Amhara militias started making various attacks and incursions to take control of the area. The result has been terrible; after Sudanese military beat the militias, they forced all Ethiopian civilians out of the area.

    And the world was made better in not a single way for anyone.

    While the Egyptian and Sudanese army are that capable, the terrible Ethiopian showing my sadly have the unintended consequence of making certain people in those nations think a military solution to the Grand Renaissance Dam Project is not only possible, but easy.

    Kayne Red RobeMayabird
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited August 2021
    Potentially important update on the Tigray conflict: The TPLF has formed an alliance with the Oromo Liberation Army, a splinter faction of an opposition party representing Ethiopia's largest ethnic group. So far it's hard to tell how large this Oromo faction is, but it nonetheless represents a potential widening of the war and a setback for the government if Tigray is able to form links with rebels in other areas/other ethnicities.

    Kaputa on
  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    Isn't the current Prime Minister Oromo? And the goverment is comprised of a lot of Oromo? Very weird.

    As much as I want Ethiopia to stop attacking Tigray, I'm not sure an all out civil war helps anything.

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited August 2021
    Isn't the current Prime Minister Oromo? And the goverment is comprised of a lot of Oromo? Very weird.

    As much as I want Ethiopia to stop attacking Tigray, I'm not sure an all out civil war helps anything.

    Abiy Ahmed is Oromo, yeah. I'm not sure of the demographics of the ruling party, but my impression is that the Amhara ethnic group (Ethiopia's second largest ethnicity) and its regional forces/militias are the vanguard of pro-government forces (as we see in the Sudan border conflict mentioned by Elki above). It appears that the Oromo are split between pro-government and anti-government camps, though I can't guess as to their relative strength.

    There have also been clashes and massacres in recent weeks in the eastern ethnic Somali region of Ethiopia, and in the western Gumuz areas. It seems to me that Ethiopia is on the precipice of a much broader and more disastrous conflict. What started as an apparent attempt to subdue a rebellious province seems to be increasingly inflaming ethnic warfare in the country. The TPLF's alliance with the Oromo rebels could be a step toward linking disparate opposition factions and targeted ethnic groups into an anti-government front.

    There needs to be some major international and regional intervention here. Not in the sense of a foreign invasion but in terms of pressuring and incentivizing the various parties (primarily Ahmed's government and the TPLF) to find a negotiated solution before the fire spreads further. Ethiopia being consumed by a full fledged civil war would be a true catastrophe for the region.

    Here's a useful map of Ethiopian regions, for context:
    _118933886_english_ethiopia_regions_640-nc.png

    And a slightly more detailed map showing ethnic distribution, which is important for understanding this war:
    g145pswfqdx41.png

    Kaputa on
    Mayabird
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    Colonialism, the gift that keeps on giving.

    TicaldfjamCasualDisruptedCapitalistA Kobold's Kobold
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