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Modern Ethiopian Timeline..

June 9, 2021

1820s – Egypt’s ruler Mohammad Ali Pasha had imperial designs on Ethiopia and tried to privatize and monopolize the Nile and capture the Ethiopian port city of Massawa. He was defeated.

1868 -the British sent an expeditionary army consisting of “13,000 soldiers, 40,000 animals, including 44 elephants trained to pull the big artillery guns” against Emperor Teodros. They attacked his fortress only to discover that he had taken his own life than become a prisoner of the British colonial army

The British colonial force quickly retreated but not until they had kidnapped Teodros’ seven-year-old son Prince Alemayehu, and stolen the royal cap and great seal and looted many other Ethiopian treasures. The British colonial thieves even stole a lock of Emperor Teodros hair which was returned to Ethiopia in 2019.

As Britain colonized nearly a third of Africa, it never conquered or occupied Ethiopia. (Al Mariam Commentaries)

1869 – Suez Canal Completed. Egypt was prized for the Nile Delta by the colonialist, a region unsurpassed in agricultural productivity. After the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt also offered access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. For the British, control of Egypt meant more profitable trade with India, one of its richest colonies. For the French, the Canal offered quicker access to Indochina, its very lucrative colony.

1875-6 – In 1875-76, Egypt repeated its blunder of the 1820s by trying to militarily subjugating Ethiopia and control the Blue Nile once and for all. Egypt deployed a large well-equipped and trained army led by European and American officers. The Battle of Gundet and Gura in present-day Eritrea where Ethiopians delivered a humiliating defeat to the Egyptian army. Egypt fails to dominate the Nile River Basin,

In the Battle of Gundet (1875) and Battle of Gura (1876), Ethiopian forces “completely annihilated” the Egyptian forces. According to one historian:

The Battle of Gura abolished any practical opportunity for Egypt to gain control over Ethiopia. The heavy Egyptian losses (almost 14,000 men died in three months), the economic damage to the Egyptian economy and, above all, the Egyptian depiction of the Ethiopian warriors as having a demonic character, prevented any future Egyptian invasion of Ethiopia.

1890 – The border between Ethiopia and Eritrea was formed by the extent of Italian penetration from the coast and officially founded.

1892 – July 23 – Tafari Makonnen, later known as Haili Selassi, emperor of Ethiopia was born near Harer, Ethiopia.

1894 – March 9 – Emperor signed a decree granting Alfred Ilg, the Emperor’s advisor and a Swiss engineer, and Léon Chefneux, a French engineer, to work on a railway between the port of Djibouti and the capital of Ethiopia. The railway was intended to open up the Ethiopian Empire, which is landlocked, to further trade on the Red Sea

1896 – March 1 – Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia defeated the Italian colonial power at Adwa on March 1, 1896, and initiated a major railway line project during the first Italian War. The Ethiopian forces defeated the Italian invading force on Sunday 1 March 1896, near the town of Adwa. The decisive victory thwarted the campaign of the Kingdom of Italy to expand its colonial empire in the Horn of Africa.

1897 – May – The British, French and Italians set up legations in Addis Ababa, and the British sign a new Treaty of Friendship with Ethiopia.

1898 – Battle of Fashoda. In the late nineteenth century, since controlling Egypt was key to Asian wealth, and since Egypt depended on the Nile, controlling the source of the Nile became a major colonial goal. The French-English competition for control of the Nile Basin climaxed in 1898 at Fashoda

The French conceived of the idea of building a dam on the whole of Nile, so as to undermine British influence further down river and establish East-West control of the continent. They organized a stupendous pincer movement with one group of soldiers traveling from East Africa across Ethiopia and the other from West Africa across the Congo.

The British heard of the French expedition and having just captured Khartoum, ordered a fleet of gunboats and steamers with soldiers under the leadership of General Horatio Herbert Kitchener upriver to Fashoda, the site of the proposed dam. With fewer than 200 men, the French were embarrassed.

In 1899 – the two colonial powers reached an agreement that designated to France the frontiers of the Congo River and to England the frontier of the whole Nile. What is surprising is that with colonial arrogance an Independent African State’s interest Ethiopia’s) as a source of the Blue Nile was totally ignored and moved ahead, shoved aside. But Ethiopia continued asserting its right and legitimacy over usage of the Blue Nile water resources.

1902 – The conflict between France and Ethiopia was exacerbated by the Bonheur-Chefneux Convention of 1902, when Ilg and Chefneux sold the concession to the French government, giving them much more territorial power than initially stated — a significant advantage over the British Empire.

According to the same 1902 agreement between Menelik II, then Ethiopia’s emperor, and Sudan’s British colonial overlords, al-Fashada is Sudanese land. In the mid-1990s, however, while Sudan’s military was fighting numerous domestic wars, Ethiopian soldiers and farmers moved into the area and established settlements behind military lines.

1904 – Beginning in 1904, Germany sent a series of exploratory expeditions led by scholar Leo Frobenius, allegedly to further Germany’s academic knowledge of the continent of Africa.

1904 – April 8 – This stalemate ended on April 8, 1904, with the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale. The Entente, which settled colonial tensions both inside and outside of Africa, brought the British government into the contract, giving them more sway over the future of the railroad than was originally given by Menelik II.

Since the Entente was also a promise to support each other’s East African interests against German influence, the French government privately intended to use the agreement to attempt a French monopoly on the Ethiopian markets. British opposition to this came not from a place of support for Ethiopian sovereignty, but as an objection to any European monopoly that wasn’t their own

1904 – 1905 – At the end of the same year, Germany sent a mission to the Emperor’s court and, on March 7, 1905, signed a commercial treaty with Ethiopia. The treaty, paired with Germany’s growing military strength and renewed European tensions in Ethiopia, put the positions of France and Britain in Ethiopia in danger.

1906 – December 13 – This led France, Italy, and Britain to sign the Tripartite Treaty of December 13, 1906, which concerned Ethiopian sovereignty and the railroad construction.

Though the treaty, on its surface, settled the commercial differences between the three nations, it was essentially a contingency plan for the death of Menelik II. Without any consent from the king, it allotted each nation a sphere of influence in Ethiopia, setting up a confrontational dynamic between the Ethiopian government and the Europeans. The Tripartite Treaty paved the way for the participants’ cooperation against Germany — a decade preceding World War I.

1909 – In 1909, Emperor Menelik II declared Iyasu, his grandson, as his successor. In the years that followed, and during the Emperor’s sickness, Iyasu served as regent under Empress Tayitu. During this time, the Germans got much closer to the court and appointed the physician of the emperor, the tutor of Lij Iyasu, and the advisor to the Justice Minister.

1913-1916 – While the Germans and the Ottomans supported Lij Iyassu, the uncrowned emperor from 1913 to 1916, the opposing faction (Great Britain, France, and Italy) conspired against him.

1914 – Ethiopia was the only country in Africa that was not colonised by the European powers. This followed the Battle of Adwa in 1896, where Ethiopian forces routed an invading army sponsored by Italy.

1914 – July – The same month that World War I began, Emperor Menelik and Empress Tayitu formalised this close relationship by signing a collaborative agreement with Germany.

When the emperor died, Iyasu officially inherited strong relationships with the Germans and the emperor’s close advisor, Hassib Yidlibi, a Turk of Syrian origin, whom he appointed as his adviser and government official in Dire Dawa, a town adjacent to Djibouti.

A modernising ruler, Lij Iyasu wished to create a nation as multiethnic and multireligious as himself and to decolonise Eritrea and Somalia from Italy, Somaliland from Britain, and Djibouti from France. Unfortunately, he got caught up between his allies (the Germans and the Ottomans) and “the colonizers [who] are deliberately in favor of [Ethiopia’s] weakness through the religious and ethnic conflicts.”

Each of these nations (Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire) sought to gain Iyasu’s alliance in order to secure the Red Sea as a military and economic asset.

For the Central Powers, establishing a stronghold in East Africa was necessary to take control of the Suez Canal and sever Britain from its African colonies. In addition, Germany, like the other European powers, was interested in gaining access to African resources through colonisation.

1915 – A German expedition to the Horn of Africa was a cover for an espionage mission meant to coax Iyasu into the Central Powers.

Similarly, the purpose of the Ottoman Empire’s envoy was to support Lij Iyasu’s plan to unify East Africa and use it against the British and the French. Both the Germans and the Ottomans attempted, independently and through Iyasu, to incite various tribes living under French and British rule into rebellion in the hopes that, once war broke out, it would cause further turmoil within the empires

1916 – The British and French governments both felt that Iyasu was jeopardising their East African holdings; from the beginning of his reign, he had launched a campaign to strengthen and support tribes on the borders of the nation, leading to conflicts with the colonial forces, which included train derailments and attacks.
In retaliation, the British and French attempted to cut Ethiopia off from any other of its European allies. In 1915, they intercepted two separate German attempts to contact Ethiopia — one of which was the Frobenius expedition, which was rerouted to Italy. Locally, they intensified their attack on Iyassu’s reputation and supported his rival Teferi Mekonnen, the Francophone future emperor.

1916 – September 27 – Accounts from Armenian ambassadors at the time allege a British bribery attempt, in addition to a negative propaganda campaign spread throughout the Horn of Africa. On September 27, 1916, Iyasu was deposed, allowing Great Britain and France to hold on to their fledgling colonies in the Horn of Africa.

1917 – In 1917, Menilek II’s daughter, Zauditu, became empress, and Ras Tafari was named regent and heir apparent to the throne.

1918 – Even though we don’t usually read it in our history books and see it in the many films made on the subject, not only were the important alliances of World War I initiated in Africa, but 250,000 African lives were also sacrificed in the conflict, out of more than two million who were involved as soldiers and labourers for the Central Powers.

On the other side, about half a million African soldiers were also deployed by the Allied Powers.

1918 – November 11 – World War I ends.

While Europe was engulfed in its war, in Ethiopia, the Shewan nobility defeated Lij Iyasu and successfully transitioned into power, with Empress Zewditu as their queen and Ras Teferi Mekonnen as the regent at the helm. For Great Britain, France, and Italy, this development was a great success, as they continued to maintain their colonies in the Horn of Africa, but it was a devastating double defeat to the Germans and the Turks, as they lost on both fronts.

For Ethiopia, too, this success continues to have a negative generational impact, as the winning Shewan nobility (later dubbed Neftegna) would be blamed as the new arch enemy of their own fellow countrymen — Tigrayans, Oromos, Wolloyes, Gojjams, Somalis, and others — who were taught to hate them for all the shortcomings of the society. Books and education were used as a vehicle of creation, conversion, and propagation of discord and disunity within Ethiopia.

1930 – November 2 – Ras Tafari Mekonnen was crowned as Emperor In 2nd November 1930, becoming Emperor Haile Selassie. Haili Selassie means “power to the Trinity.” He would rule Ethiopia for 44 years until his overthrow in 1994.

1931 – Under Haili Selassi’s influence, Ethiopia comes up with the country’s first constitution. It included the abolition of slavery but also strictly limited the powers of Parliament.

1932 – According to Jeff Pearce (Prevail: the Inspiring Story of Ethiopia’s victory over Mussolini’s Invasion: 1935-1941, p. 15) it was in this year that Mussolini began to prepare “in earnest” to invade and colonize Ethiopia.

1934 – Population of Addis Ababa is about 130,000

1934 – December 5 – Italian troops enter Ethiopia from Somalia and defeat the Ethiopian army at Walwal Oasis establishing a bridgehead for a major invasion the next year. With a later full scale invasion in mind, the Italians had built a fort at Walwal in 1930 in direct contravention of a 1928 treaty not to violate Ethiopian territory.

1935 – France and Italy “horsetrade” over African colonies. In putting aside Italian claims for Tunisia, France was forced to give “a green light” to Italian interests in colonizing Ethiopia.

1935-1941 – Italy invaded and occupied (but never colonized) Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s resistance army defeated Italy for the second time and the Italian colonial army was sent home packing in 1941.

1935 – Under the direction of Mussolini, Italy invaded and occupied Ethiopia. By some estimates the size of the Italian Invasion included armed units of up to a million men. (Pearce p.47). Haili Selassi was toppled and later left for exile in England the next year in 1936

1935 – December 15The Battle of Dembeguina Pass. The Ethiopians thorough surprised and defeated the Italian army here, turning the tide of the Italian invasion and causing Mussolini to revise tactics. The “revised tactics” included the use of large amounts of poison gas against Ethiopian forces.

“The Ethiopian offensive was ultimately stopped due to the Italian forces’ superior modern weapons, such as machine guns and heavy artillery. More importantly, on 26 December, Badoglio asked for and was given permission to use chemical warfare agents such as mustard gas. The Italians delivered the poison gas by special artillery canisters and with bombers of the Italian Air Force. While the poorly equipped Ethiopians experienced some success against modern weaponry, they did not understand the “terrible rain that burned and killed.”

Ethiopian Trrops fighting the Italian Invasion of 1935.

1936 – The Italian fascists, having invaded Ethiopia from their neighbouring colony of Eritrea with an army of 600,000, forced Emperor Haile Selassie to flee into exile. On May 5, 1936 the advanced guard of the Italian colonial army entered Addis Ababa. Italian extensive use of air power that included heavy doses of poison gas to which the Ethiopians had no effective countermeasures made the difference. A few years later, interviewed by Edgar Snow in “Red Star Over China” Mao Tse Tung would comment how the Chinese Communists had learned the importance of using hit and run guerilla tactics against the Japanese occupation of China after seeing the “mistakes” (I suppose they were) that the “Abbysinians” (Ethiopians) had made by engaging the Italians in full scale battles in which Italian modern weaponry easily overcame Ethiopian resistance, despite the courage of the Ethiopian troops.

1936 – June 30 – Haili Selassi delivers a memorable speech to the League of Nations on the fate of Ethiopia. His speech was met by cat calls from Italian journalists

1937 – the Addis Ababa Massacre of 1937 by the Italian fascists

1939 Menguistu Haile Marian is born in Wallo in S. Ethiopia, the son of a soldier in the Ethiopian Army

1940 – 1941 – With British assistance, Haili Selassi forms an army of Ethiopian exiles in Sudan.

1941 – January – British and Ethiopian forces invade Ethiopia from Sudan and recapture Addis Ababa several months later. Ethiopia was liberated by Ethiopian patriots alongside the British and other allied forces and Haile Selassie is re-instated as emperor of Ethiopia by the British.

1941 – Italy lost control of the region (Eritrea) to Britain during WW II.

1942 – Haili Selassi abolishes slavery in Ethiopia.

1943-1977 – The U.S wsa interested in a military base inside Asmara – U.S had a huge military base there – Kagnew Station – an advanced satellite base, used to spy on the USSR. It functioned from 1943 – 1977 when the last American left

1945 – Haili Selassi dissolves the federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea that had been established by the U.N. General Assembly

1951 – Britain transferred control of Eritrea to the UN. Ideally Eritrea would have been given independence at that time. This would have followed the general consensus to abide by prior colonial boundaries rather than redrawing the map of Africa.

1952 – The UN gave Eritrea to Ethiopia. This was accomplished with the support of the US in the UN. Eritrea is annexed into Ethiopia to give Ethiopia access to the Red Sea, a move that was supported by the United States who wanted a secure base in Mitsiwa and Asmara.

This move would be part of the undoing for Haili Selassi and his successors.

1960s – Haili Selassi faced strong resistanee on several fronts. There was an Oromo Rebellion that erupted that lasted for seven years.

Mengistu Haili Marian is one of the 4000 Ethiopian military personnel sent to the United States for advanced military training.

1961Eritrean Liberation Front formed. US backed Ethiopia vs Eritrea.

  • Somali insurgents in Ogaden formed the Western Somali Liberation Front. Under the rule of Haile Selassie, the Oromo language was banned and speakers were privately and publicly mocked and help Amhara culture and language dominated over cultures over the Oromo people.
  • the Oromo and the ethnic Somali inhabitants of the Ogaden — have been staging insurrections more or less continually since the early 1960s.

The first phase of the wars Ethiopian-Eritrea wars lasted until 1977, with the government utilizing a set of counterinsurgency strategies familiar from Eritrea, though arguably more successfully.

1962 – November 14 – Ethiopia annexes Eritrea. “On November 14, 1962, the Ethiopian government breached the terms of the UN Resolution 390 (A) and of its own volition annexed Eritrea determining it a province. Protest against the Ethiopian government was imminently provoked and a movement seeking the complete and utter independence of Eritrea ensued. This movement became known as the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) founded by the exiled Idris Mohammed Adem.”

A 30-year long independence struggle ensues.

US backed Ethiopia vs Eritrea.

1963 – Haile Selassie presided over the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor of the African Union, and served as its first chairperson.

1970s – 1980s – In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s (J.D – personal friend) discussed Eritrea with US officials in New York City, Washington DC, Khartoum, Cairo and Rome.

At no time did they, U.S. officials, voice support for Eritrean independence. Their goal was always to re-establish US influence in an Ethiopia containing Eritrea. In these discussions it was always clear that the US viewed Eritrea as a “Middle East” issue not an “African” issue.

Their concern was with a country bordering the vital Red Sea routes to the Suez Canal and Eritrea’s close proximity, “across the pond” to Saudi Arabia and the oil rich areas of the Middle East. They were strongly opposed to a successful movement for independence in the region being carried out by a small determined group opposed by both the US and Russia.

A successful war of independence “against all odds” was seen as very threatening and highly de-stabilizing – specially in the oil rich Mid-East long seen by the US as the key strategic asset on the planet.

Whether the Eritreans were left, right or center was not the point. The US concern was that winning their independence would set a “bad example”.

1960s – early 1970s – Ethiopian student movement erupts; Haili Selassi called an “American puppet.” Repression is fierce both in Eritrea and Ogaden where indiscriminate bombing of villages leading to civilian casualties. As a result the monarchy lost credibility in these regions and back home.

To tighten his grip on power Haili Selassi relied on the feudal landlords, the Church and the military to maintain his rule. The Administration was made up mostly of the landlord class, the Church bestowed on Haili Selassi “sacred powers” and the military controlled the countryside and ruled with ruthlessness.

For centuries, the monarchy relied on a feudal model of production which had how the monarchy was long characterized, with land being the most important means of production. However the land had been grabbed by the church, owning 25%, the Emperor and his family 20%, the feudal landlords 30% and the State 18% leaving a mere 7% to the 23 million Ethiopian peasants.

More, the peasants surrendered as much asn 75% of their produce to the feudal land lords as a form of taxation.

1973 – A terrible famine hits Wallo Province. It came to be known as “the hidden famine.” 200,000 men, 650,000 cattle, 535,000 sheep, 450,000 goats and 50,000 camels all perished.

The Imperial government turned a deaf ear to the sufferings of the people by arguing that famines and the like were the work of God while the country’s rulers continued to live in luxury and eve exported grain.

1974 – The monarchy was overthrown in the 1974 revolution and Haile Selassie was later killed.

1974 – The famine created a stampede from the countryside to urban areas increasing the number of unemployed, frustrated and creating potential rebels. The prices of essential commodities increased and dissatisfaction deepened, even among the armed forces who demanded higher wages and

First the first time in the history of Addis Ababa the citizens there staged a massive protest against the government

A series of strikes begin among all sectors of society – including Addis Ababa bus service (owned by the imperial family), taxi drivers and mutinies among the military. Students and teachers stormed the streets protesting a new policy of education. The student demonstrations were particularly militant and violent.

The army and the police refused to arrest any of the protesters. Inside the military discontent was also brewing in this period. A series of mutinies followed mostly over pay, food, lack of free medical treatment.

The first round of the uprising that would topple Haili Selassi opens.

1974 – The country reaches a breaking point when the Emperor became notorious for his efforts to hide the Wallo Province that had hit Wallo Province 1973

The Ethiopian Revolution brings a “Marxist” military government aka “the Derg” to power. The US continued to support Ethiopia vs Eritrea across 3 decades of warfare.

1974 – February 23 – Haili Selassi speaks to the nation, offers major concessions – postponing changes in the educational system, reduced fuel price increases, and introduced price controls to check inflation. He dismissed his prime minister and agreed to amend the constitution to make the Prime Minister answerable to Parliament, a change that in Ethiopian terms amounted to a major reform.

1974 – February 25 – Despite such reforms a military revolt broke out in Asmara, the capitol of Eritrea led by a group of sergeants and corporals. The mitineers controlled the government and radio station of Asmara, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. They also demanded the removal of the Emperors grand son, Admiral Alexander Besta as the commander and chief of the Army and other commanders that they hated.

1974 – February 27 – Haili Selassi addresses the leaders of the armed forces, appealing to their nationalism and pleaded with them not to ask for more than the country could afford.

1974 – March – Second wave of the uprising. The first wave was mostly limited to protests of the military. In the second wave, civil society itself – teachers, students, civil servants, journalists, priests and even prostitutes, trade unionists protest.

The government’s inability to respond to the demands of the people would lead to its overthrow.

An official demonstration against the restrictions against Islam is held; there is a call for the separation of church and state. Most persistent demand – the arrest and trial of members of the cabinet and high government officials on charges of negligence and corruption

The Confederation of Ethiopian Labor Unions – CELU – brought the country to its knees in a general strike of its 85,000 members. Government agrees to major concessions to the unons.

Now the question: what would the military do? Would it support the government and implement “law and order?” or whether it was going to support resistance to the government. The Dirge wanted to maintain law and order, which made it look like they were on the side of the emperor.

1974 – 06 – A group of officers come together in Addis Ababa and come up with a plan to take over the government. A military committe is formed which they named “The Dirge” (which means “The Committee”) led originally by the Dirge’s chairman Aman Andom

The Committee was composed of 110 representatives chosen by the leaders of the armed forces to guard the country. For many months the Dirge remained a shadow organization, none of the names of its members were announced. It also kept its activities secret from the public.

1974 – July 4 – The Dirge issued a statement pledging loyalty to the emperor – it called for upholding the smooth functioning of the civilian government

As a result, the emperor gave them key concessions, including the power to arrest not only military officers but also government officials at every level. With this, the Dirge began to arrest former prime ministers along with most of their cabinets, regional governors, and many officials of the Imperial Court were imprisoned.

Over the next months, in July and August, the Dirge slowly dismantled the entire Imperial structure. A long list of government and palace officials, and aristocrats, including Haili Selassi’s closest advisers were called on to give themselves up or face confiscation of their wealth and property. Hundreds were executed.

At the emperor’s place, he was only left with a handful of his servants. Isolated, the Dirge then turned to the Emperor himself. He was accused of wasting the country’s resources, of expensive trips abroad, and of being negligent in addressing the Wallo famine.

1974 – early September – The Dirge votes to dethrone Haili Selassi.

1974 – September 11 – Nine princesses, including the Emperor’s daughter and seven grand daughters were emprisoned, their heads shaved, allowing only two mattresses to share between them.

On the same day, officials from the Dirge interrogated Haili Selassi on the whereabouts of his fortune. He was forced to watch a British documentary called the “Hidden Famine” – it was then aired on national TV. Footage of the suffering of the Wallo people was contrasted with the Emperor drinking champagne and feeding meat to his dogs while people in Wallo starved.

1974 – September 12 – Three officers from the Dirge dressed in combat uniforms came to Haili Selassi’s chamber. They read out a proclamation of deposition, dethroning the emperor, He, who was accustomed to Rolls Royces was taken away in a tiny Volkswagen bug to the 4th Division barracks.

Within the hour, the Dirge announced on public tv and radio that the Dirge had freed the Ethiopian people from Haili Selassi’s oppression.

Haili Selassi spent the last months of his life, imprisoned.

1974 – Late September – Mengistu Haili Marian is made Vice Chairman of the Provisional Military Administrative Council which was run by the Dirge and which assumed the functions of government

1974 – November 23 – Mengistu orders the assassination of the PMAC’s moderate chairman, Aman Andom along with 60 aristocrats and members of the old Haili Selassi government. The monarchy is abolished and the Dirge announces that Ethiopia will be a one party Marxist state with the Dirge itself as the ruling party in the provisional government.

Menguistu proceeds to kill off all opposition within the Dirge.

1974 – 12 – Advent of Ethiopian Socialism is proclaimed. The government institutes a major land reform in 1975 along with large scale nationalization of foreign owned banks, factories, insurance companies and agricultural projects.

1975 – August 27 – Haili Selassi died a prisoner. The Dirge announced that he had been found dead on his bed but in another version, he had been suffocated to death with a wet pillow. His body was buried beneath a lavatory beneath the palace for sixteen years. In 1992 his remains were exhumed and reburied in a church near the tomb of his great uncle.

1976-1978 – Mengistu’s Red Terror in Ethiopia killed thousands between 1976 – 1978. Mengistu gained the title of “the Butcher of Addis Ababa”

1976 – Mengistu is promoted to lieutenant-colonel while remaining the head of the Dirge.

The Tigray publish what is referred to as the Mainfesto of the TPLF. In the mid-1970’s, a small group of Tigrayan dissidents formed the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (or “TPLF”) in order to liberate the Tigray region from Ethiopia’s socialist-military government. In 1976, TPLF leaders spelled out their long-term plan in the group’s manifesto. This plan consists of two main parts, 1) annexing lands within Ethiopia to expand the borders of Tigray, and 2) acquiring access to the Red Sea through the Eritrean port-city of Assab.’ The plan culminates in Tigray’s secession from Ethiopia.’ Interestingly, Meles Zenawi, the former Secretary General of the TPLF and the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, never formally repudiated the “Republic of Greater Tigrai,” or its secessionist goals.’

1977 February – Mengistu consolidates power, becomes the commander-in-chief of the Ethiopian armed forces.

1977 – The second phase of the military effort to crush Oromo nationalism was a large-scale conventional war which began when the Somali army invaded the Ogaden in July 1977, concluding when the Ethiopian army defeated that invasion in March 1978. A protracted third phased began after that victory, with a return to counter-insurgency warfare; that is the subject of the following chapter.

The U.S. backed up Somali dictator Siad Barre in his devastating irredentist war of aggression against Ethiopia in 1977. The Super Powers provided the ammunition but it was the people of both countries suffered the devastations and horrors of wars for several decades

1980s – Early – In the early 1980s, TPLF mastermind Meles Zenawi and his crew formed the “Leninist League of Tigray” and pledged allegiance to Enver Hoxha, the late Albanian dictator known for his use of forced labor camps, extrajudicial killings and executions of dissidents.
Zenawi believed the other socialist and communist countries had sold out the true Marxist faith
and wanted to emulate Hoxha, the true apostle of Marx who ruled with an iron fist.

The U.S. also knew the difference between the Derg and the TPLF in ideology and practice was
the difference between Tweddle Dee and Tweddle Dum.

The only difference was that the Derg had cut ties with the U.S. and pledged allegiance to the
U.S.S.R. and the TPLF was promising allegiance to the U.S. if allowed to take over power.

1991 – May – The rebel force of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a ragtag bunch, marched on the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. It was an ignominious end to the Marxist military government known as the Derg. The Derg was overthrown when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and other armed groups, with US support, marched into Addis Ababa, toppling the Derg, and introducing ethnocentricism

As the TPLF rebels ringed the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa,Derg leader Col.Mengistu Hailemariam got on the plane and took off for Zimbabwe. After 14 years of iron-fisted rule, Mengistu left behind a demoralized army, a shattered economy, and an ethnically fragmented society,

Deus ex machina (“god from the machine”), U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Herman
Cohen descended on the scene to facilitate the transition from Derg dictatorship to a new era of democracy.

In 1991, the U.S. could have facilitated Ethiopia’s transition to genuine multiparty democracy by
insisting on an inclusive transitional government. Instead, the U.S. midwifed the birth of a ruthless one-man, one-party ethnic apartheid system in Ethiopia.

The US sabotaged Ethiopia’s democratic transition in 1991.

1991 – May. Eritrea became independent. At no time in this process did the US support
Eritrean independence.

1991-2018 – Ethiopia was ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of ethnic based political parties dominated by TPLF, imposed anethnic federalist system in Ethiopia. Parties in Ethiopia were banned from organising on a national basis, but instead only an ethnic basis.

1993 – April 27 – Eritrea formally separated from Ethiopia as an independent state after a referendum. But there were ongoing violent border disputes with Ethiopia.

Following independence for a few years, Eritrea got good press and State Department support based on the country’s self-reliance – you know that “pulling yourself up by the boot straps claptrap”. But that soon changed as Eritrea became the only country to refuse to accept AFRICOM advisers or World Bank/IMF structural adjustment loans. By 1997-8, Eritrea was seen by Washington as political subversives, and the U.S. tried economic strangulation.

1994 – Ethiopia’s new constitution is ratified. It established Ethiopia as a federal republic, and embraced the principle of “self-determination through democratic rule” – except it wasn’t very democratic. Allegedly to further these ends, the Constitution granted all “Nations, Nationalities and Peoples in Ethiopia the unconditional right to secede from the nation.” However, soon after the new Constitution was ratified, some legal scholars criticized its provision that allows regions within Ethiopia to secede.

The TPLF-dominated EPRDF at the time intentionally included an article in the constitution (Article 39) so that the
Tigray region could loot Ethiopia of its resources, use the Ethiopian military to expand the borders of Tigray, and then secede from Ethiopia. Underlying this theory is the widely held opinion that the TPLF and
EPRDF are not independent organizations, but symbiotic. And this they did (loot the country).

Later criticized as a form of ethno-apartheid, this constitutional provision has also seen to be understood to justify the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’ effort first to overthrow the Abiy Ahmed government and then, having failed in that effort, to de facto secede from Ethiopia

1997 – Madelaine Albright becomes Secretary of State in the second Clinton Administration and Susan Rice is appointed as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, the two bringing “renewed dynamism” to U.S. Africa policy – that included in 1998 “encouraging” the Tigray-People’s-Liberation-Front (TPLF) Ethiopian government to invade and attack Eritrea the next year. Young neo-cons concentrating on Africa come into their own. Still there a quarter of century later.

1998 – In 1998, encouraged by Washington, the TPLF is used by USA to invade Eritrea – 25% of Eritrea was taken and occupied. The TFLP was a tool of Washington to subdue Eritrea because its resistance to its Washington based structural adjustment programs and its refusal to accept AFRICOM troops or advice.

2000 – In May of 2000, nation-wide elections were held for seats in national and regional parliaments.’ More than 50 political parties took part in the elections, including 23 opposition parties. International observers were banned from monitoring the elections by the EPRDF. According to Amnesty International, there were many claims by opposition parties of government repression and intimidation during voter registration and campaigning, particularly in Ethiopia’s Southern region.’ Several opposition parties complained of supporters being beaten and detained, offices being closed, candidates being prevented from registering, and opposition party supporters being dismissed from government jobs. There were many reports of civilians being shot dead by police at voting locations throughout Ethiopia on Election Day.

Not surprisingly, despite nationwide opposition, the EPRDF coalition led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s Tigray People’s Liberation Front won more than ninety percent of the seats in both national and regional parliaments. In October of 2000, the “new” government, again headed by Meles Zenawi, was sworn in.

2001 – On April 10, 2001, police violently dispersed students at Addis Ababa University who were peacefully protesting on their campus against EPRDF-imposed restrictions on their academic freedoms. Over forty students were injured and the situation on campus remained tense during the following week, and on April 17, police ordered students to return to their classes or face expulsion. According to reports, supporters of the students began throwing rocks at the police. The police responded with live ammunition.’ In the two days of rioting that ensued, at least 31 people were killed.’ Around three thousand people, including students, opposition party members, and human rights activists were arrested and held without trial following the riots.

2005 – The 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia were expected to be historic and the first giant step in its stride towards multiparty democracy. “Voters seemed galvanized, and hopes were high that the polls could well move Ethiopia from largely single-party rule to a more competitive multi-party democracy.”

But the 2005 election was stolen by the TPLF in broad daylight.

The Carter Center and the European Union Observer mission declared the 2005 election a sham and rigged in diplomatic language.

The Carter Center in its final report concluded, “The 2005 electoral process did not fulfill Ethiopia’s obligations to ensure the exercise of political rights and freedoms necessary for genuinely democratic elections,” and there were “significant irregularities and delays in vote tabulation and a large number of electoral complaints.”

The Center noted, as news of opposition leaders “scoring significant gains” circulated, “Prime Minister Meles Zenawi declared a one-month ban on public demonstrations in the capital and brought the Addis Ababa security forces (soon to be under the command of the opposition that won Addis Ababa) under the control of the office of the Prime Minister.”

Zenawi declared a state of emergency authorizing his goons to shoot first and ask questions later.

In November 2005, Ana Gomes, the European Union’s chief election observer wrote a letter to members of the European Parliament warning, “Another bloodbath is taking place in Ethiopia.”
That blood bath which started immediately after the election resulted in the massacre of at least 193 unarmed demonstrators and wounding of nearly seven hundred as reported by an Inquiry Commission Meles Zenawi himself set up.

It was referred to as the Meles Massacres.

Ana Gomes observed the Commission’s report “exposes the lie that the government is moving toward democracy. It is time the E.U. and U.S. realize that the current regime in Ethiopia is repressing the people because it lacks democratic legitimacy and is actually weak. It is driving Ethiopia to more poverty, conflict and war.” (Italics added.)

In a September 16, 2005 statement, the State Department concluded:

These elections stand out as a milestone in creating a new, more competitive multi-party political system in one of Africa’s largest and most important countries. Because reported election irregularities raised concerns about transparency, we will work with the international community and the Ethiopian government and parties to strengthen the electoral process.

When Ethiopian Americans joined Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) in a grassroots effort in 2006 to pass H.R. 5680 (“Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2006”) to hold the TPLF accountable for its flagrant disregard of democratic principles and institutions and gross human rights of violations, the State Department “did everything they could to sabotage it.”

But the U.S. continued to subsidize the TPLF dictatorship with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

The US sabotaged Ethiopia’s transition to democracy in 2005

2006 – Then in 2006, again, pushed by Washington, Ethiopia invades Somalia…

  • The only African state that opposed the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia at the time was Eritrea.
  • In Somalia at the time the ICU – Islamic Council were destroying the power of local warlords and bringing them under some kind of control in an effort to stabilize the country.
  • In the period prior to the invasion, for the first time in a long time, this was a period of hope for Somalia

2010 – U.S. supports the results of rigged parliamentary elections..

In February 2010, three months before the election, Ethiopian opposition leaders had expressed their view to U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero that the 2010 election likely will be rigged by the TPLF and sought U.S. intervention.

Otero “replied that the U.S. recognizes that political space in Ethiopia has become increasingly restricted and assured them that the U.S. would continue to press the GoE to ensure a truly free and transparent election.” The U.S. brushed off the rigged 2010 election with the obligatory expression of “concern” and “disappointment”.

On May 25, 2010, White House National Security Spokesman Mike Hammer said:

We are concerned that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments. We are disappointed that U.S. Embassy officials were denied accreditation and the opportunity to travel outside of the capital on Election Day to observe the voting.  The limitation of independent observation and the harassment of independent media representatives are deeply troubling. An environment conducive to free and fair elections was not in place even before Election Day…

Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs told House of Representatives panel, “While the elections were calm and peaceful and largely without any kind of violence, we note with some degree of remorse that the elections there were not up to international standards.”

All the U.S. could do was “express concern, remorse and disappointment” and shed a few crocodile tears.

But the U.S. continued to subsidize the TPLF dictatorship with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

2011 – Ethiopia announces it will build the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on a segment of the Blue Nile not far from the Sudanese border.

2012 – Meles Zenawi, charismatic (and authoritarian) Prime Minister suddenly died.

2012-2018 – Hailemariam Desalegn became Prime Minister, and Chairman of the EPRDF (Abiy Ahmed was a member of the EPRDF executive and a Minister of Science and Technology
during this time).

2015 – Elections are held in Ethiopia.

Tigray dominated government announces it won by 100% of the vote. the Obama Administration claims that the 2015 elections in which the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won 100% of the vote was “democratic”, the U.S. creation and training of Ethiopian death squads, the Agazi units, etc.

2017 – Oromo protests of 2017 focused on students and farmers – protesting the TLFP master plan for Ethiopia…- Oromo protests pushed out the TFLP from Addis

2018 – Desalegn resigned after widespread protest. Abiy Ahmed was elected Chairman of the EPRDF, and became Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

2019 – September – Jawar Mohammed, leader of Oromo (mostly Moslem sector) publicly threatens Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that he would give him “a calender with Ethiopia’s expiration date” if Abiy intends to reform the thribal constitution. In so doing, he exacerbates tensions between Addis Ababa and the Oromo ethnic group. The Abiy-Jawar conflict got worse in October 2019, after the midnight security debacle regarding Jawas security detail. It led to the mass murder of non-Oromos in the Oromo tribal land. Even a more serious thing happened in January/February of 2020. TPLF and Team Jawar were jolted by a rude awakening that the PM’s new Prosperity Party (PP) would win then scheduled democratic elections by a landslide. Having realized their tribal federation camp had no chance of winning the majority seat of the Parliament, they felt compelled to do whatever it takes to stop any form of constitutional reform. They started a confrontation

2019 – The EPRDF ruling coalition approved the formation of the Prosperity Party in a merger with five other parties. The TPLF refused to join this merger. Abiy retained his post as Prime Minister.

2019 – Abiy was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending the 20-year territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and for releasing political prisoners and adopting liberal
governance within Ethiopia.

2020 – In 2020, the Trump administration appropriated $453,073,000 million in aid to Ethiopia.

2020 – May – Abiy controversially postponed scheduled national elections, due to Covid-19. Elders and mediators engaged with the TPLF committee leadership to avoid escalating tensions with the central government. TPLF rejected all these interventions, and proceeded to hold elections.

In August 2020, the U.S. cut $130 million (“temporary pause”) from its annual aid to Ethiopia because Ethiopia did not sign the agreement drafted by the Gang of Four.

On September 2, 2020, Trump personally directed aid cuts to Ethiopia because of the “lack of progress” in Ethiopia’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over the GERD.

On October 15, 2020, we learned that the actual cut was more than double of what was reported in August for a whopping $264 million cut (42%) in security and development assistance from Ethiopia!

The TPLF rejected the decision of the parliament and declared the current government illegitimate after October 1, 2020, the beginning date for a new parliament had it not been postponed.

In September 2020, the TPLF decided to unilaterally hold its own regional elections in clear violation of the Ethiopian Constitution (Art. 102) which authorizes only the federal government to hold elections.

Some observers suggested by conducting the illegal election the TPLF was preparing to set up a “a kind of de-facto state” with the ultimate aim of “declaring independence unilaterally.”

The TPLF illegal action and rejection of the federal government was similar to the action of the American confederacy which sought to secede from the union in the American Civil War. The TPLF was essentially invoking “regional rights” in much the same way the Southern Confederacy asserted the principle of “states’ rights” in the American Civil War.

TPLF leader and President of the Ethiopian Parliament resigned in June 2020 declaring, “I am not ready to work with a group that violates the constitution” and that regime of Abi Ahmed as “a dictatorship in the making.”

2020 – October 30 – During a signing ceremony for the rekindlingo fsraeli-Sudanese diplomatic relatins, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Egypt to bomb the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). His statement is considered “reckless and unfitting for any world leader let alone the President of the United States.”

2020 – Until the end of 2020, the love-hate relationships between Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan drastically shifted global alliances, potentially propelling the region and the world towards another devastating set of conflicts on the order of what took place in the 1910s and 1940s. “Drastically shifting global alliances”.

The new global players in the region are no longer France, Italy, Great Britain, and Germany. Today, China, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the U.S., Russia, India, Brazil, Turkey, Iran, South Korea, and the Gulf nations are all working hard to expand their spheres of influence. If our reading of current affairs and history is correct, what is starting in the Horn of Africa is yet another World War “Scramble for Africa.” “New Scramble for Africa

Trump’s endless interference in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s negotiation between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia got us closer to the precipe, but his loss of power seemed to have given us another four years of peace.

2020 – November 3, 2020 – the TPLF declared war on the Ethiopian federal government by attacking the Northern Command military base in Tigray. Long-standing tensions and disagreements with political leaders in Tigray province (on the border with Eritrea) escalated into war, after TPLF soldiers attacked federal troops. Civilians caught up in the violence.

What did the U.S. do to Ethiopia in 2020? And in the face of the TPLF’s unforgiveable crime against the Ethiopian people and government?

Susan Rice, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan demanded the government of Ethiopia immediately hold “dialogue”, “negotiations” and “discussions” with the TPLF

By making demands the Ethiopian government “dialogue” with the TPLF, the U.S. trashed Ethiopia’s sovereignty, provided international support for the TPLF’s criminal and treasonous actions and trampled on the democratic will of the Ethiopian people.

2021 – Unfortunately, Joe Biden’s administration and his Secretary of State, Antony Blinken is leading down the same path. Making things worse, earlier this month, the U.S. and Russia moved their warships to Sudan shores, Turkey sided with Ethiopia against her former ally Egypt, and China signed a pact aimed at “establishing security safeguarding mechanisms” to her Belt and Road Initiative in Ethiopia, including the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway.

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