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Ethiopia on the Brink of Civil War

Published by Foreign Affairs Bulletin by IDSA on

Ethiopia is a ground for domestic conflicts… 

…consisting of more than 10 different ethnic groups, the presence of two main religions, Christianity and Islam, and the world’s fastest-growing population accounting to 109 million people today. The most recent conflict that seems to push the country right into a civil war, broke  after one of the most significant ethnic groups, the Tigrayan, held elections in September without the approval of the current Ethiopian government. This was followed by a questionable action – with the government stating that the Tigrayan guerrilla army tried to steal weapons from the close-by Ethiopian military forces, which the Tigrayan leaders denounced as fake news.

The conflict has been going on only for a couple of days, but international NGOs, such as Amnesty International, estimate that hundreds of civilians fell victim to the conflict already. The UN noted that if the news stated by Amnesty International are indeed confirmed, the party who committed them will be charged with war crimes. Meanwhile, many fled to neighbouring Sudan looking for shelter, which also seems to spark conflicts between the two countries as well as the entire region.

Days ago, news arrived from Asmara, Eritrea that the capital had been bombed by a then unknown source. Tigray previously threatened Eritrea with attacks due to their history (Eritrea playing a significant role in the 1998-2000 war, a devastating conflict for Tigray), and the fact that there were clear assumptions that Eritrea provided the Ethiopian military with ammunition, even though the country stated that it will be neutral in the conflict. Following this news, the Tigrayan leader admitted to bombing the capital, which further raises the possibility that the conflict will not stay within Ethiopia’s borders, rather it may affect the region as a whole.


— Lili Szentkiralyi is a Business and Economics Major at Corvinus University of Budapest, with special interests in sustainability in economic and development policy —