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Op-Ed: Abiy Ahmed Ali is Ethiopia’s “Pol Pot”—International Sanction is Justified By Aklog Birara (Dr)

“The numerous tribes who inhabit the Ethiopian state are being forcibly kept from European colonialism by Abyssinian rulers whose aim is to function as champions of all black people so as to attack and destroy Western culture”

Roman Prochazka, Abyssinia: The Powder Barrel, Vienna, 1935

Fast forward to 1972, US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger (under the Richard Nixon Administration), wrote a highly confidential memorandum recommending to the government of the United States that “The US policy on Ethiopia should be to keep that nation in perennial internal conflict, using such vulnerabilities as ethnic, religious and other divisions to destabilize the country.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, drawing alarming parallels between his regime and the brutal dictatorship of Cambodia’s Pol Pot by Aklog Birara Audio

On February23, 2024, Reuters disclosed the following disturbing development.

A secretive committee of senior officials in Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, has ordered extra-judicial killings and illegal detentions to crush an insurgency there, a Reuters investigation has found.

Reuters interviewed more than thirty federal and local officials, judges, lawyers, and victims of abuses by authorities. The agency also reviewed documents drafted by local political and judicial authorities. These interviews and documents for the first-time shed light on the workings of the Koree Nageenyaa – Security Committee in the Oromo language – which began operating in the months after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. The committee’s existence has not been previously reported.”

Who is behind this hit squad?

“Five current and former government officials told Reuters that the committee is at the heart of Abiy’s efforts to end a years-old insurgency by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which wants self- determination for the Oromo people and greater language and cultural rights. Oromos have long complained of political and social marginalization. When new protests broke out in 2019, the government cracked down hard. The Koree Nageenyaa took the lead, the five officials said.”

I would like for the international community, especially the governments of the United States, members of the European Union, the UN System to recognize the depth and breadth of Ethiopia’s troubles under Abiy Ahmed Ali’s premiership. He is anathema to peace, human security, and stability.

Koree Nageenyaa has an expanded its killing fields and reach to other parts of Ethiopia, especially the Amhara region where the Abiy regime continues to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing of Amhara. The party, state and government of Ethiopia are behind this phenomenon. The international community cannot afford to ignore it.

For this and multiple other reasons presented in this lengthy commentary, I urge the Biden Administration, and the European Parliament to apply punitive sanctions against prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, his generals. closest confidantes, his security team, and regional leaders in the war of state and government terror against the Ethiopian people without delay.

More than seventy percent of atrocities and economic destructions in Ethiopia is perpetrated by Ethiopian government personnel and institutions, like the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF). It is clear Koree Nageenyaa is sponsored by Abiy Ahmed, Shimelis Abdisa and other confidantes. The US must sanction both.

Good news

In this connection, I welcome and commend United States Senator James E. Risch (Republican, Idaho), Ranking member of the US Senate Relations Committee, for calling on President Joe Biden to apply sanctions against high level Ethiopian government officials including military personnel.

I called the Senator’s office on June 18, 2024, and commended Senator Risch for his consistent defense of human rights and the rule of law and his latest call for accountability in Ethiopia. I urged his office to sponsor a comprehensive sanctions regime against the tyrannical regime of Ethiopia.

I urge other Senators to join this effort. It is in America’s long term security interest to do so. Ethiopians in the diaspora must do the right thing by pushing hard for sanctions. Those in the United States must use their voting power in support of delegates to the House and Senate as well as the Presidential election in November who stand firm on accountability and sanctions on Ethiopian officials.

Ethiopia continues to suffer from “perennial conflict” that spans half a century. The London agreement that facilitated the formation of the current ethnicity-based federal system in the 1990s was brokered by foreign powers. It empowered ethnicity-based fronts and elites to govern Ethiopia. We must be firm and resolute in rejecting a similar occurrence.

The London brokered transition gave anti-Ethiopia national liberation fronts (the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) international legitimacy to deconstruct Ethiopia from its core. It is TPLF that benefited most from this anti-Ethiopian conference.

Ethiopia’s current constitution is the only one in Africa that allows secession. This dangerous legitimacy to divide and rule while deconstructing and reshaping Ethiopia continues at a faster rate under Abiy Ahmed’s Oromo Prosperity Party.

This is the root cause for the rise of Amhara nationalism and the Fano popular resistance. The problem is systemic, institutional, and structural. The bloodletting will not stop unless the system changes.

It is time for non-Amhara groups to recognize the compelling reasons behind, join the Amhara Fano resistance, and change the entire system itself. Fano shortcoming not withstanding (and there are many); blaming Amhara Fano, the victim of Abiy’s Ahmed’s tyrannical regime and atrocities makes no sense. Focus squarely on overhauling the system.

What makes Fano distinct and honorable?

I offer six core policy-oriented reasons why Amhara Fano projects a better future for Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people.

  1. I, for one, appreciate that Fano is spearheading a transformation that will serve Ethiopia’s 130 million people and save Ethiopia from disintegration. Fano is not a tribalist or racist entity. It fights for sheer survival of Amhara that is under recurring assault. It stands firm for justice, the rule of law, genuine equality among the Ethiopian people. It stands for a democratic federal system in which each person has the right to live and work in any part of Ethiopia.
  2. Amhara Fano rejects any form of exclusion whether ethnicity or faith. Amhara Christians fight side by side with Muslims. Girls and women fight side by side with boys and men.
  3. Amhara Fano rejects theft, graft, bribery, and corruption. It believes in freedom, Ethiopia’s sovereign rights and territorial integrity. Its moral and ethical values are beyond reproach.
  4. Amhara Fano relies heavily on its own creativity and ingenuity and on public support. It does not rob banks and or steal from citizens. It does not rely on foreign powers.
  5. Amhara Fano stands for a worthy cause. This is why ordinary peasants and workers support it. It is a peoples’ movement.
  6. Amhara Fano is the only fighting group that I know that recognizes and hoists the real Ethiopian national flag of Green, Yellow and Red in a horizontal tricolor, an icon adopted by Black African nations.

For this to bear fruition, I urge all Ethiopians to no longer sit on the side and critique. I urge all Ethiopians to make a constructive input. I urge you to join this worthy movement and dislodge a regime that kills your sisters, brothers, relatives, friends; that destroys private and national wealth and icons and that threatens the very existence of ancient and historical Ethiopia.

Ethiopia belongs to all Ethiopians. All Ethiopians have a sacred duty and responsibility to join this just struggle and save it for posterity. I say this because Ethiopia faces an imminent danger, among which is an all-out civil war. Were this to happen, I predict Ethiopia will never recover. The Amhara cause is therefore your cause too.

For those who identify with Abiy’s mirage and support his tyrannical regime directly or indirectly, I urge you to believe that my argument is based on reason and not hearsay. I have stood firm in defense of promising Ethiopia for more than half a century. Think again. Even Abiy Ahmed admits his regime is in trouble. On this, he is right. He has also put Ethiopia in trouble of his own making, a condition he is unwilling to admit.

Why has not international outcry made a dent?

Tyrannical governments do not listen to anyone. International outcry and near condemnation have not dissuaded Abiy Ahmed and his Oromo Prosperity Party from state and government-led atrocities and immense destruction of the economy.

In my considered opinion, Abiy and his team have accepted Roman Prochazka’s and Henry Kissinger’s edicts and policy guidelines of “perennial conflict” that entail atrocities and suffering. They do these and more purportedly on behalf of oppressed nations, nationalities, and peoples. The oppressor, exploiter and “enemy” is the Amhara nationality.

This is the reason I opine that genocide of Amhara is a galvanizing theme that non-Amhara and the international community must acknowledge and act.

In this regard, I appreciate statements and recommendations from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Council and the Human Rights Commissioner for human rights and others lodged repeated complaints to the government of Ethiopia led by Abiy Ahmed to no avail.

Below are strong statements and references.

At the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September last year, human rights experts urged the Council to renew the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE). This did not happen because of political interference and lack of funding from big powers.

A comprehensive report submitted to the Council says this. “The ICHREE has conducted essential work despite the Ethiopian government’s repeated attempts to obstruct its investigations, including by refusing to cooperate with and grant ICHREE’s investigators access to conflict-affected areas. The Ethiopian government also attempted to get the mechanism defunded and prematurely terminated. Despite all the challenges, the ICHREE presented its first report in September 2022 and found reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict in northern Ethiopia had committed war crimes since fighting erupted in Tigray in November 2020. It also found that some of the crimes it documented were ongoing and underscored the need for an independent, impartial mechanism to address ongoing violations and support accountability efforts.”

Sense of impunity

The Council failed to follow up this strong assessment with a set of concrete actions like sanctions, holding specific culprits of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, crimes of rape and economic crimes accountable.

This sense of impunity emboldened Abiy Ahmed and his team to do more harm. Abiy launched a war of extermination of Amhara a year ago. He has expanded it since then.

“Since April 2023, clashes between the Ethiopian military and the local Fano militia broke out across the Amhara region, with media outlets reporting abuses such as unlawful killings, including of humanitarian staff. That month, federal authorities arrested journalists reporting on the unrest and imposed a mobile internet ban on the region. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights found that at least 183 people have been killed in fighting since July.  As clashes intensified, the government on August 4 declared a sweeping state of emergency in the Amhara region and said that the state of emergency could be extended to any “area of the country as deemed necessary.

The emergency law grants authorities the power to conduct arrests without a warrant, impose curfews, restrict movement, and ban public assemblies. Under previous states of emergency, authorities have conducted large-scale, ethnically motivated arrests and prolonged detention without charge or trial. Since this state of emergency was implemented, authorities have arrested opposition figures and conducted mass arrests outside of the Amhara region, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, at times holding detainees in informal sites such as schools.”

Abiy Ahmed, who had promised reform and strict adherence to human rights laws, arrested and jailed thousands, including more than two hundred journalists, scores of human rights defenders including Tadeos Tantu, a non-Amhara historian in his late eighties. His alleged crime is that he critiqued the Abiy regime and its penchant for violence.

In October 2023, the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva warned the international community of dangerous developments on the ground in Ethiopia. I refer to genocide.

“Independent UN human rights experts are warning that there is “an overwhelming risk” atrocity crimes “will continue” in Ethiopia. The International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia said it was vital independent investigators continue to review the country’s dire human rights situation.”

Mohamed Chande Othman, Chairperson of ICHREE added “We are gravely concerned about the situation in Ethiopia and the potential for future atrocities.”

The Commission identified specifics and highlighted the following risks:

  • Our report shows that the overwhelming majority of risk factors for future atrocity crimes are present in Ethiopia, including ongoing serious violations, widespread violence and instability, and deeply entrenched impunity.”

The experts made this assessment following the Pretoria Peace Agreement of silencing the guns in November 2022.

The guns were never silenced. TPLF is still armed and dangerous. Abiy Ahmed made a secret deal with the TPLF, made this terrorist party legitimate and gave it the license to wage another war against the Amhara population. His intent is not to help ordinary Tigrean who are dying of famine but to prolong his harsh and tyrannical rule.

I want to be clear when I refer to a tyrannical regime. Oromo ethnic-elite hegemony is a form of tyranny. Pol Pot turned communist, inflicted pain, suffering, and slaughtered three million Cambodians under the pretext of advancing communism. This is tyranny.

Abiy claims “immoral Amhara” death and destruction inflicted on Oromo and decides to revenge this immoral deed by pinpointing and targeting Amhara as a mortal enemy. He justifies and wages war of genocide against Amhara.

This is why I call Abiy Ethiopia’s Pol Pot.

The parallel I draw is defensible. Both committed genocides. Ethiopia’s is on going and Pol Pot is gone.

The UN warning follows another Commission report, presented to the Human Rights Council last month, which concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ethiopia since 3 November 2020. “

This, I presume, refers to recurrent assaults and genocide on the Amhara population since Abiy Ahmed assumed his premiership. State and government-initiated killings, persecutions, jailing, economic strangulation, and displacements have intensified since the state of emergency declaration one year ago.

As I write this commentary, Abiy Ahmed has declared an all-out war against the Amhara population as well as opponents in Oromia. His call of “All to the war front” reminds me of a similar occurrence under another dictator, Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam. At least in the latter’s case, Ethiopia was fighting secessionist fronts like the EPLE, OLF, TPLF and the like; as well as foreign aggression, namely, Somalia under Barre.

“The Commission has expressed alarm about the deteriorating situation in the Amhara region, including emerging reports of extrajudicial killings and mass arrests. Most, if not all, of the structural drivers of violence and conflict remain unaddressed.”

This refers to the institutions, the structures and the government leadership that remain unchanged, but challenged by Amhara Fano and a function of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

The key point I derive from the above is this. The government of Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed is unwilling to deal with the institutional and structural problems facing Ethiopia. He is determined to obliterate the Amhara population under the pretext of enforcing law and order and defending the constitution.

Abiy Ahmed and his Oromo Prosperity Party ignored attempts by the international community, including the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights who called for accountability and for the cessation of state and government-led killings, maiming, rapes, and destructions targeting Amhara.

Abiy Ahmed dismissed a call from the government of the United States for dialogue, and for political settlement arguing gross interference in the sovereign and domestic affairs of an independent country. This claim is preposterous.

It is Abiy Ahmed who transformed Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces (ENDF) from a strong national institution that defends Ethiopia’s sovereign and territorial rights to one that defends a one-man and tyrannical regime and ethnic theocracy.

I urge ENDF to restore its role and legitimacy by abandoning Abiy Ahmed and his PP.

Abiy’s pattern of behavior that emerges from my assessment can be summed up as follows:

• Rejection to acknowledge that party, state, and government-initiated misdeeds are degrading Ethiopian society regardless of ethnic, religious or class affiliation.

• Inability to consider the efficacy of cessation of state and government -led targeting of the Amhara population as a key factor to prevent Ethiopia’s mayhem and disintegration.

• Lack of reflection on the value-added of moving away from the edict of tribalism, ethno-nationalism, de-institutionalization, and deconstruction of Ethiopia at its core

• Deficiency in government leadership to accept the cancerous nature, toxicity and corrosiveness of recurrent genocide that decapitalizes and decapitates Ethiopia.

• Deliberate denial on the part of Abiy Ahmed and team of the urgent need to change the ethnicity and language-based constitution.

• Refusal by Abiy Ahmed and team to recognize that the international community, bilateral and multilateral donors, foreign investors, and the rest are moving away from Ethiopia, albeit reluctantly and timidly, and that domestic private investors feel insecure and distrustful of the regime.

• Repeated negative response on the part of Abiy Ahmed and his strategic advisors concerning the imperative of entertaining a genuine negotiated political settlement involving all stakeholders, including those armed and fighting the regime, and

• Rebuff by Abiy Ahmed and his strategic advisors of the need to consider a transitional government of national unity for the benefit of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people.

Abiy Ahmed is surely a rejectionist of systemic and peaceful change. He is intransigent and warmongering. His approach is Machiavellian. The commonly used translation of the term is “a personality trait that denotes cunningness, the ability to be manipulative, and a drive to use whatever means necessary to gain power.”

Abiy is cunning. He lured most Ethiopians like me to believe and accept his transformative attributes, commitment to a genuine post ethnicity transition, fairness, justice, equality, citizenship rights, multiparty democracy, and the like. His mastery of cunning is beyond reproach.

No one equals Abiy’s skill in manipulating truths to achieve his personal agenda. His “drive to use whatever means necessary” to maintain power is the reason Ethiopia today is country without a government that represents the country and all its people.

Despite the possibility of 10 million deaths’ from genocidal war, the associated displacement and famine, Ethiopia would still have around 110 million people left. This is seen as a somewhat positive situation considering the populations exceeds 120 million. Said the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s advisor Daniel Kibret

Forget the notion that Abiy Ahmed and his team care about human beings. They do not. For example, after months and months of pleas from the international community, Abiy continues a state and government-led reign of terror and destruction. His confidantes such as Shimelis Abdisa and Daniel Kibret, with the mind set of Hitler, propagate the unbelievable notion that “tens of millions” must or can die in pursuit of Abiy Ahmed’s Oromummaa agenda.

How defensible is that?

In May this year, reliable sources informed the outside world including the East African Review that “a drone attack targeted innocent civilians in Northern Shewa, Amhara region of Ethiopia. The attack, allegedly orchestrated by the Oromo-led Prosperity Party, resulted in the deaths of numerous innocent civilians, including teachers and students at a local school, intensifying the already fraught tensions in the region. This violent incident is part of a series of escalating conflicts that have plagued the Amhara region, contributing to a worsening humanitarian crisis.”

I remind the international community that Abiy Ahmed inflamed the situation when he declared in an inflammatory speech in the town of Lekemt, Wellega, Oromia “How did those who are immoral subjugate us for the past 100 years?”

Abiy answered his own rhetoric by saying this. “The enemy now knows what the Oromo government can do.”

I recall TPLF identified Amhara as mortal enemies of Tigrean in its 1976 manifesto.

Similarly, Abiy refers to an “immoral enemy,” a code word for Amhara as mortal enemies of the Oromo people. Amhara do not consider Oromo as enemies.

Mind you, tens of millions of people are of mixed Amhara and Oromo descent or linage, including Abiy. He is married to an Amhara and his children are of mixed lineage. The same is true of millions of Amhara and Tigrean who are of the same linage. The same is true of others.

Whether Abiy accepts it or not, tens of millions of Ethiopians share more commonalities than ethnic elites like the Oromo PP and TPLF are willing to admit. Shared national identity and shared destiny constitute the future. It is shared culture and shared destiny that will save Ethiopia from becoming just history.

What is the real danger of Abiy Ahmed Ali listening only to himself?

 Abiy Ahmed is anti-Ethiopian national institutions. He degraded Ethiopia’s professional and patriotic army establishment by subordinating it to support his tyrannical rule.

In his book On Tyranny: twenty lessons from the twentieth century, Professor Timothy Snyder advises the public to defend national institutions. He points out “It is institutions that help us to preserve democracy. They need our help as well. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So, choose an institution you care about—a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union—and take its side.”

What is at stake?

The parallel I would like to draw is this. Ethiopia as a country is in peril. Amhara as people and as citizens who care for and defend Ethiopia and its core institutions are in peril. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, a national icon is in peril. Ethiopian Airlines, one of the most successful enterprises on the planet is in peril. The banking system is in peril. The Ethiopian army is degraded and is in peril. Most critical of all, most Ethiopians are in peril.

So, standing by and watching things unfold is not an option. The Abiy regime slaughters Innocent civilians like chickens each day.

Hoping foreign powers will fix our broken system is not an option either. Remember, the current ethnic-federalism system that stimulates “perennial conflict” in Ethiopia was established with support from foreign powers.

The status quo is not the answer.

Ethiopia has never enjoyed a multi-party system. At least, there was a semblance of multiparty democracy under Meles Zenawi’s rule.

Abiy’s one party state serves the political power needs of one man, namely Abiy Ahmed, a tyrannical leader with no qualms to obliterate freedom and the rule of law, to kill or starve to death millions of Ethiopians. His singular preoccupation is staying in power at any cost.

Aside from rhetoric and an avalanche of lies, Abiy’s commitment to Ethiopia’s national security and interests is nothing.

For example, his army abandoned its prime responsibility to defend Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in Gambela and in the Godar, Amhara region.

I predict that, someday, Abiy and his Oromo Prosperity Party leaders will be accused of treason. They certainly will be held accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, crimes of rape, crimes of ethnic cleansing and economic crimes. There is a plethora of evidence to support this viewpoint.

The Ethiopian party and electoral system are a joke.

Snyder alerts us to this phenomenon. “The parties that remade (reconstruct, my term) states and suppressed rivals were not omnipotent from the start. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their opponents. So, support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. “

Abiy’s Oromo Prosperity Party gained strength that is tantamount to monopoly. Abiy did this by banning and crushing the opposition, jailing, or expelling rivals, criminalizing dissent and press freedom, spreading fear and polarizing the entire society based on ethnic- hatred as well as political conspiracy. He vowed that no one could challenge his Oromo-elite rule and hegemony for generations to come.

How does Abiy plan to prolong his crushing and brutal rule?

The straightforward answer is through state, and government-led brutality. I call it brute force. This leads me to a top-secret session Abiy Ahmed held at his palace solely with his strategic partners at the end of May 2024.

The story line is depressing and frightening. In his situational assessment, Abiy confided to his circle of confidantes that his “regime faces an existential threat.”  He identified specific areas of concern that depict the level of insecurity that his government faces. It is about him and his rule and not about Ethiopia or the Ethiopian people. Notables are the following:

  1. The West (most notably the USA and EU) as well as BRICS (most notably China and Russia) have imposed pre- conditions regarding their assistance. Among these conditions are respect for human rights and the possibility of a transitional government in Ethiopia.
  2. Abiy feels betrayed by members of his own Oromo Prosperity Party, accusing a former close friend and ally, Lemma Megerssa, former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and others as culprits and connivers.

Abiy even went further that his opponents are working closely with the CIA. Remember, this is a man who at one time had declared that he would “die in defense of the United States of America.”

It is clear to me that Abiy mistrusts and suspects members of his own party and government as well as those around him. Increasingly, he mistrusts his own military, a bulwark of his power. Imagine this. If Abiy does not trust members of his own party, government, and military; there is no ground whatsoever that he will trust Amhara Fano or even Oromo dissenters and opponents that reject his Oromummaa agenda.

More troublesome for Ethiopia’s foreign relations, Abiy expressed to his team that he mistrusts the United States government in general and the CIA in particular.

Abiy expressed his worries that multilaterals such as the IMF and the World Bank, that, in many instances are complicit in shoring up dictatorships around the world, may not be forthcoming regarding sustainable aid flow unless his government meets pre-conditions like the devaluation of the Birr in the case of the IMF and stability as well as a level playing field and transparency in the allocation of aid funds in the case of the World Bank.

I take this assessment with a grain of salt. There is more to it than what Abiy says.

Remember, these Bretton Woods institutions serve primarily the global market and geopolitical interests of the West. This is why they are often complicit with borrower regimes like Abiy Ahmed’s.

Clearly, Abiy is adversely affected by conspiracy theories and by his own belief of plots to overthrow his government. I recall Mengistu Hailemariam, another dictator felt the same way and slaughtered those he suspected including his generals.

At the closed strategic briefing he held with his confidantes that reportedly included Temesgen Tiruneh, Deputy Prime Minister, Redwan Hussein, Security Chief, Daniel Kibret, public relations chief, General Shuma Abdeita, Commander of the Republican Guard and other trusted figures, Abiy discussed the “dire country’s security, economic, financial, budgetary, foreign exchange, foreign relations situation as well as external pressures on his government.”

Is this not huge? What else is left in running the Ethiopian state and government?

Abiy never raised the systemic sources for the pitfalls of his regime. He never raised institutional and structural issues of his party’s making. Instead, he urged his confidantes to prepare for more war of state and government terrorism, for more sacrifice.

Put concisely, Abiy manifests behaviors of typical tyrannical leaders. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. But as an African American food manager used to say concerning uncontrollable behaviors of spoiled kids from rich families at a summer camp in Vermont where he admonished them “You are touched in the head.”  He was asking them to control their behaviors.

Abiy’s mindset is like a delusional kid who does not act normally.

I ask myself then, “How can a man who is delusional, may be “touched in the head” and is in pain of his own making and suspects members of his own party and government manage the affairs of the second most populous country in Africa?”

  • Abiy admonished his own cabinet for disclosing state and government secrets that he holds dear.
  •  Abiy identified and chastised the very people he appointed to lead the Amhara regional state. Among them, Arega Kebede, President.

At one time, Abiy elevated Arega’s status, opining that he far exceeds the leadership qualities and skills of the great Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros. At his closed-door meeting, Abiy cursed his loyal servant, Arega Kebede as “coward.”

Ethiopians together and the international community must hold Abiy Ahmed accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of ethnic cleansing and genocide as well as crimes of rape. This is because, typical of a tyrannical leader, Abiy meets the criteria of a perpetrator of genocide in the same manner as Pol Pot of Cambodia.

For reference, Cambodian genocide, systematic murder of up to three million people in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 was conducted deliberately and cruelly by the Khmer Rouge government under the direction and instruction of Pol Pot.

Abiy Ahmed Ali is Ethiopia’s Polt Pot.

Abiy is a killer. Abiy is a murderer. Abiy is a genocider. The evidence supports this attribution. An estimated two million innocent Ethiopian civilians have perished since Abiy Ahmed took power in 2018. One million died during the so-called Northern war from November 2020 to November 2022. Another one million perished under Abiy Ahmed Ali’s administration from 2018 to mid-year 2024. These killings continue.

The primary target of Abiy Ahmed’s relentless party, state and government-led atrocities is the Amhara population. While it is true other Ethiopians are also victims of the regime; ethnic genocide singles out Amhara as “immoral” and as oppressors deserving extermination.

For this reason, I repeat my appeal to non-Amhara academics, civil society, and political groups to express their outrage against the Abiy regime concerning Amhara genocide. I urge you to take a stand and state via social and other media that “Amhara genocide” is yours too. The Amhara cause is your cause. The Fano cause is your cause too. The Gamo cause is my cause and so on.

Exemplary behaviors

I wish to recognize and commend prominent intellectuals like Memihir Taye Bogale, Memihir Demissew Gebre and human rights activist currently in jail, Tadeos Tantu, all non-Amhara for their heroic and bold admonition of the Abiy regime, their defense of the Amhara Fano cause repeatedly. They embrace the Amhara cause as their own cause. They say, “Amhara blood is our blood too.” The only way we can bring down Abiy’s tyrannical and fascistic system is by expanding the resistance across the entire Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed’s untouchables

In his latest secret meeting last month, Abiy never referred to the systemic, institutional and structural hurdles that keep Ethiopia conflicted “perennially” or to the root causes of the collapsing economy that are likely to make Ethiopia a basket case and or to the heavy burden his regime caused for tens of millions of Ethiopians that leaves them no choice but to revolt against him eventually.

Unfortunately for Ethiopians, the rest of Africa and the entire world, all indicators on the ground show that Abiy Ahmed’s bloodletting will not cease unless the entire system collapses and until the international community applies punitive sanctions now. Abiy treats most Ethiopians like dispensable commodities. This is a man who at one time retorted that planting trees for the dead is a good thing. Their dead bodies will have shelter.

Trust me. Innocent civilian deaths do not bother him. Bloodletting, killing or causing deaths does not bother him either. He considers such deaths as minimal costs and sacrifices to stay in power. I also wish to point out the fact that the Oromia regional state is lawless and ruthless. Nothing happens without bribery or corruption. You may ask “Why does Abiy Ahmed allow lawlessness, banditry, abduction, bribery and corruption to simmer in Oromia?” The simple answer is that he cannot enforce law and order. He ignores the region to suffer. If he intervenes, his base will rise and topple him.

In conclusion, instead of advancing peace, restorative justice, dialogue, and political settlement that Ethiopia needs desperately, Abiy vows to crush any opposition, especially Amhara Fano, by waging more war at any cost. So, expect more trouble ahead not only for Amhara but also the rest. No one is safe. Abiy is ready and willing to inflict more pain and suffering.

What do I conclude and propose?

  • First, I urge Amhara Fano that is spearheading institutional and structural changes in Ethiopia as well as its domestic and foreign supporters to stop fighting one another, bickering among one another; establish a unified Fano command structure and speak with the same voice for the same cause.
  •  Only a unity of purpose, a compelling political vision written in clear and concise terms, a unified action plan supported by a coherent and sustained public policy and public relations, a collaborative media platform as well as sustained provision of adequate financial and material resources in support of Amhara Fano channeled in a responsible and transparent manner will dislodge Abiy Ahmed Ali’s military and security establishment. This can be done. It must be done.

Amhara Fano represents Ethiopia’s promising future. Amhara Fano is ethical and moral. It treats its prisoners with human kindness. It does not rob banks. It does not mistreat civilians. It welcomes all others who defend justice and the rule of law. It can be trusted. Amhara Fano and its supporters must reach-out to and establish friendships and strategic partnerships with non-Amhara stakeholders opposed to Abiy’s tyranny throughout Ethiopia and the world. In the end, Ethiopia’s future is the responsibility of all who believe in one nation and one form of citizenship free of tribal affiliation. These attributes and the six characteristics I identified on page two of this commentary make Amhara Fano a compelling alternative to ethno-nationalist fronts and agendas.

  • It is about time that non-Amhara groups and individuals angered by the toxicity and cancerous nature of Abiy’s ethno-nationalist agenda rise, speak up and support the Amhara Fano struggle for justice, genuine equality, the rule of law and democracy. No Ethiopian will be free unless all Ethiopians are free.
  • Amhara Fano and supporters must reach out to and encourage non-Amhara to join them in their struggle. The Amhara cause is their cause too. It is time to say, “Amhara pain and suffering is ours too.” Speak up and tell the truth.
  • I am pleased to observe that the international community, especially the United States, the European Union, China and Russia have concluded that Abiy Ahmed and his ethno-nationalist Oromo Prosperity Party pose an existential threat to peace, stability and human security not only for Ethiopia but also for the rest of the Horn, Eastern Africa, the Red Sea corridor as well as to the entire world. Trust in Abiy’s leadership has evaporated. I am also delighted Senator James Risch and others are pushing the Biden Administration to apply sanctions now.
  • The Ethiopian people who suffer from multiple fronts—-hunger, hyperinflation, lawlessness, abductions, theft, graft, bribery, corruption, and administrative malfeasance— deserve to extricate themselves from an institutional arrangement, including a one-party system that pits one ethnic group against perennially and deliberately.

It is high time for non-Amhara communities to support Amhara Fano struggle for justice, equality, the rule of law, inclusion, and a democratic federal system government in which all Ethiopians will enjoy freedom, unfettered access to opportunities, live meaningful lives and prosper. Trust me; Ethiopia does not have a functioning government today. It needs change desperately.

I repeat what I proposed months ago. The Diaspora should stop channeling remittances to the Abiy regime. The regime is incurably corrupt. Your remittances do not serve the common good of boosting productivity and employment. Tens of millions go hungry each day. Your private investments are at risk of being taken away from you or yours. Ethiopian society suffers from a broken legal system.

 So, why shore up this tyrannical and corrupt regime?

  • It is time for Ethiopia’s “learned class” to reject the formation of political parties based on ethnicity or religion. The way out for Ethiopia is to abandon ethnic federalism and establish a citizenship-based constitution.
  • It is time for all Ethiopians ashamed of the country’s tragedy under Abiy Ahmed to create a Pan-Ethiopian political platform that focuses singularly on the value added and risk of a transitional government of national unity with a timeline and specific tasks and responsibilities.
  • One year has passed since Abiy Ahmed Ali and his Oromo ethnic elite Prosperity Party and government planned and launched “an all-out war of extermination” of Amhara. It is mind boggling to me that Amhara participate in killing, wounding, maiming, defaming, and demeaning their own people on behalf of the Oromo elite dominated Prosperity Party led by Abiy Ahed.

I urge each Amhara to cease and desist siding with a murderous regime and participating in the slaughter and genocide of their own sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers. Those involved in crimes are accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide.

  • Left to itself, the government of Ethiopia cannot judge war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, crimes of ethnic cleansing and crimes of rape. It cannot serve as judge and jury against itself.

Accordingly, the international community has a moral responsibility to push for and establish an independent expert led commission to conduct a full and thorough investigation concerning the deaths of two million innocent civilians since Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018.

For a start, Western governments must apply sanctions along the line proposed by Senator James Risch. Last, but not least, millions of Ethiopians lack food. Donor agencies like USAID, the World Food Program, UNICEF, and several others must establish an independent entity to channel food aid, medicines, and other essentials directly to affected communities throughout Ethiopia.

EAR Editorial Note This is the author’s viewpoint and Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of EAR

Aklog Birara

Aklog Birara served as Economic Advisor, General Manager of the Commercial Bank in Ethiopia, as Senior Economic Advisor with the United States Agency for International Development in Chadi and Cameroon; and in various capacities including Senior Advisor with the World Bank group where he worked for 30 years. A prolific writer and commentator, he has published the following books: 1. Seeds for Democratization in Ethiopia: why unity of purpose matters. Author house, 2007. 2. የዲሞክራሲ መሰረቶች በኢትዮጵያ፤ የአላማ አንድነት ወሳኝነት፤ ኦተርሃውስ. 2008. 3. ድርጅታዊ ምዝበራ፤ የኢትዮጵያ እድገታዊ መንግሥትና የሥልጣን ባለ ኃብቶች ኢኮኖሚ---Maple Creek Media, 2013. 4. ኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብን ያማከለ ልማት ያስፈልጋታል፤ ከላር ማተሚያ ቤት፤ አዲስ አበባ፤ 2019 5. Waves: endemic poverty that globalization can’t tackle but Ethiopian can. Signature Books, 2010 6. Ethiopia: the great land giveaway (the deal of the century), Signature Books, 2011 7. Promising Ethiopia and the art of external dominance, Copy Right 2023 (available on Amazon and worldwide) 8. Biography in progress

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