Ethiopia’s civil war fueled by weapons of major UN powers – Global Issues

The World Food Program (WFP) is providing emergency food aid to more than 800,000 people affected by conflict in the Afar and Amhara regions of northern Ethiopia. credit: WFP/Claire Neville
  • by Thalif Din (United Nations,
  • Inter Press Service

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomson-Greenfield told the Security Council earlier this month that the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, the Eritrean Defense Force, the Amhara Special Forces were among the warring parties in the devastating 12-month civil war in Ethiopia. , and the Tigreyan People’s Liberation Front.

And invoking a Hollywood metaphor, she remarked, “There are no good people here”.



The fight is perhaps best held as a showdown between one set of bad guys versus one set of bad guys – despite the fact that Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is currently leading the conflict, is fighting the war. crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide are triggering charges. Was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.

Like many ongoing conflicts and civil wars in Afghanistan, Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, Palestine, Iraq or Ethiopia, the Security Council has five veto-holder permanent members, namely the US, UK, France, China and Russia. Rapidly dividing and protecting their allies – and their expansive arms market.



But the conflict in Ethiopia has also resulted in a “monumental humanitarian disaster”, where UN agencies and relief organizations are being prevented by the Ethiopian government from providing food and medical supplies for political reasons.

Yet, who are the death-dealers in this vicious conflict that has “already killed thousands and displaced two million people,” and where rape is increasingly used as a weapon of war? Used to be.



According to figures released by international aid organizations, active fighting in several places has reportedly displaced tens of thousands of people in the Amhara and Afar regions; Nearly two million were left homeless overall and about seven million were in need of immediate humanitarian aid. Ambassador Thomson-Greenfield told delegates it was time for all parties to immediately cease hostilities and refrain from inciting violence and division.

The belligerent rhetoric and provocative language on all sides of this conflict only add to the inter-communal violence. He said it is time for the Ethiopian government, TPLF and all other groups to engage in immediate ceasefire talks without any preconditions to find a sustainable path towards peace.

And it has been a long time for Eritrean defense forces to withdraw from Ethiopian territory.

“It is time for you to lay down your arms. This war between angry, belligerent men torturing women and children must stop,” she declared.

But one question still remains: Where are these weapons coming from?

China and Russia, the two permanent members of the UN Security Council, have been identified as primary arms suppliers to Ethiopia.

“The time when the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) relied almost entirely on aging Soviet weapons, mixed with some of their more modern Russian brethren, is long gone.”

“Over the past decade, Ethiopia has diversified its arms imports to include several other sources that currently include countries such as China, Germany, Ukraine and Belarus”.

According to a blog posting in Oryx, more surprising is the presence on this list of countries such as Israel and the UAE, which have supplied a number of specialized weapons systems to Ethiopia.

Alexandra Kuimova, researcher in the Arms Transfer Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told IPS in terms of volume (Measured in TIVs of SIPRI), Russia and Ukraine were the largest supplies of major arms to Ethiopia in the past two decades, accounting for 50 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of Ethiopia’s imports in 2001–2020.

Delivery from Russia included an estimated 18 second-hand combat helicopters and fighter aircraft transferred to Ethiopia between 2003–2004.

The most recent deliveries included an estimated four 96K9 Pantsyr-S1 mobile air defense systems imported by Ethiopia in 2019. Delivery from Ukraine included an estimated 215 second-hand T-72B tanks received by Ethiopia between 2011-2015.

There are also European states that have transferred major arms to Ethiopia since 2001, she said. For example, Hungary supplied 12 second-hand Mi-24V / Mi-35 combat helicopters to Ethiopia in 2013. French Bastion vehicles delivered to the state in 2016 were financed by the US. Delivery from Germany included 6 trainer aircraft in 2019.

Stephen Zeunes, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and chair of Middle Eastern studies, who has written extensively on Security Council politics, told IPS: “The perception of such conflicts as being an African problem is simply a matter of fact. Most of the killings would not have been possible if Western weapons had not been sent to the fighters.”

In most civil wars, however, small arms and light weapons were critically important, and were often supported by major conventional weapons.

Since 2011, China has emerged as one of the largest arms suppliers to Ethiopia. Some of the known deliveries from China include a single HQ-64 air defense system delivered in 2013 and 4 PHL-03 300mm self-propelled multiple rocket launchers received by Ethiopia in 2018-2019.

Kuimova said Ethiopia imported about 30 armored personnel carriers from China between 2012 and 2014.

Other media reports have provided information about the presence of Chinese Wing Loong and Iranian Mohajar-6 drones in Ethiopia. In addition, several media outlets claim that Turkey is negotiating an arms deal to sell an identified number of Beraktar TB-2 armed drones to Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, in Yemen, one of the world’s worst conflict zones, airstrikes are mostly carried out by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, armed mainly from the US and the UK, the two permanent members of the Security Council. .

According to SIPRIs Kuimova, not much is known about the transfer of major arms to Eritrea. It said the country appeared to have not received any major weapons since 2009 when the UN arms embargo on Eritrea came into force. The ban was lifted in 2018, however, deliveries of major weapons have not been documented since then.

Between 2001–2007, Eritrea’s major weapons imports included two second-hand modernized S-125-2T air defense systems supplied by Belarus in 2005. Bulgaria supplied 120 second-hand T-55 tanks in 2005. Between 2001-2004 Russia supplied 4. fighter aircraft to Eritrea, and an estimated 80 Kornet-E anti-tank missiles between 2001 and 2005. Delivery from Ukraine involved 2 second-hand fighters.

“We are currently collecting, analyzing and validating open-source information on the deliveries of major weapons to both Ethiopia and Eritrea during the past year,” she said.

But the lack of transparency in weapons matters to both importing states and exporters makes it difficult to determine the date of order and delivery and the exact number and type of weapons transferred over the years.

For example, Ethiopia has not been submitting reports on arms imports to the United Nations Register of Conventional Weapons (UNROCA), the United Nations’ main transparency instrument on conventional weapons, since 1997.

And China, one of Ethiopia’s biggest exporters over the past decade, stopped submitting reports to UNROCA in 2018. In addition, China has not disclosed its arms transfers to Ethiopia in previous years.


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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service

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