On January 6, the United States Horn of Africa envoy Jeffrey Feltman met Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa. The very next day, PM Abiy extended Christmas Day political pardons to several key Tigrean and Oromo opposition leaders. Among those released from prison were TPLF co-founder Sibhat Nega (whom strategic analyst Gregory Copley describes as “hard-line Tigrean nationalist and committed Marxist-Leninist”), and Oromo nationalist leader Jawar Mohammed – men imprisoned for criminal (not political) acts.
The domestic backlash against PM Abiy – especially among the existentially imperilled Christian Amhara – has been considerable, although support for him remains strong.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia remains wracked with violence. The TPLF continues to attack civilians and infrastructure in mostly Christian Amhara and mostly Muslim Afar Regions. Oromo nationalist forces (including police) continue to target and kill ethnic Amhara Christians. In a futile effort to secure dominance over the Red Sea region, Washington is backing ethnic separatists in the hope of stymieing Ethiopia’s rise. They are playing with fire, for Ethiopia’s collapse would trigger regional chaos and a Christian crisis of monumental proportions.
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