A border war looms between Sudan and Ethiopia as Tigray conflict sends ripples through region

AL-FASHAGA, Sudan — This fertile borderland between two rivers has long held the key ingredients for a war.

For decades, a precarious status quo prevailed here between Sudan, which owns the land according to a century-old treaty, and Ethiopia, which has occupied it while its citizens tilled the fields of sesame, sorghum, sunflower and cotton.

But Ethiopia’s sudden descent into civil war in its Tigray region has upended a delicate web of regional political equations, sending ripple effects across this corner of Africa, and bringing Ethiopia and Sudan to the brink of a territorial war over this disputed area, known as al-Fashaga. Military and government officials on both sides, as well as independent analysts, said they worry such a war would quickly escalate into a much broader regional conflict.


Sudanese officials also accused Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of attempting to force Sudan’s hand over al-Fashaga by holding up negotiations over the filling of a mega-dam Ethiopia is building near the two countries’ border. Filling the dam without an agreement, they claimed, could imperil drinking and irrigation water for half of Sudan’s population.

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It seems that Mr. Abiy Ahmed is turning out to be one of the worst leader the Ethiopians are likely to be cursed with it. Although the history of that ramshackle empire being what it is, one could say, that, he is likely to have a stiff competition in that department of who is the worst leader, so far, for the tragic Ethiopia.

At any rate, Uncle Sam (US) is trying to have his cake and eating it, particularly in the sense of pushing Mr. Abiy Ahmed to be respectable and be a responsible leader without pushing him into the arm of the Chinese’s side. Given that China would be happy to have him. Just like they had Mr. Zenawi when he was in power in Ethiopia, and they have build all those garment factories in Tigray region, which now seems to be have been demolished completely by Eritrean’s forces.

And this notion of pushing Mr. Abiy Ahmed into a reasonable direction without making him a good friend of Beijing, if the Yanks were to push him too far, is the reason Biden’s Administration are sending a senator by the name of Mr. Coons, who is very close as a friend to Mr. Biden, to see Mr. Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia, very soon.

However, I am not sure that Mr. Abiy Ahmed is that kind of a “flexible leader” who can extract something from the Yanks and act statesman-like kind of leader, who is willing to concede small portion of his political position in order to get a larger outcome for his nation’s reputation, down the line.

He is not that kind of thinker, who could see a way to give up a mere molehill of an issue for the sake of securing a mountain of an agenda for his nation in the future.

Which is why I think he will go on definitely in refusing to concede that Tigray war was a disaster for him and for his country. And he will be forever in cahoot, politically, with the hardline Amhara’s supremacists as well with the likes of Mr. Afwerki of Eritrea, who has no larger goal to attain other than to stay in power in Asmara till the day he dies, like most African’s dictators.

Hence, the US, when they realize that he is not listening to reason, they will put their shoulders squarely on the side of Sudan (and on Egypt on the Nile issue). Of course, the Chinese’s side will be happy to have Mr. Abiy Ahmed in their diplomatic’s column, just like they have now the likes of IOG of Djibouti.

But that will be bad for Ethiopians, given that the US will be using its “Dollar currency” (which is an “exorbitant previlage” for the US) to bring on a “financial sanctions” on the Ethiopians in general and on Mr. Abiy Ahmed in particular. Especially the moment they realize he had refused to play ball with them and he had refused to conduct himself on the basis of their preferred strategical game of given up the “senseless fight” in Tigray and also he had refused to concede to Sudan this border issue. Given that, for all practical purpose, Sudan is likely and it’s ready to join the US’s sphere of influence column in Africa against the Chinese’s sphere of influence in that dark continent.

So all in all, Mr. Abiy Ahmed had essentially returned Ethiopia back to Geopolitical’s no man’s land she was in back in 1991, when she was no friend of the west without having a mountain to which to “lean” on if the western nations were to have turned their back in you, which was the case back in 1991. And although, he thinks that Beijing will come through for him, but still, the diplomatic cost in which US’s sanctions will exact from him and from his nation, will be enormous.

Poor Ethiopia. Always one leader away from a total political’s setback, particular the moment she seems to be getting on in her stride of developing decent political stability in her fractious state, and that of getting a decent economical growth, in which she seems to have had it in the last two decades so far.

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Further to my argument posted above, here is Senator Mr. Chris Coons in Addis-Ababa.

Apparently, Abiy Ahmed is not that thrilled to see him come to Ethiopia with what will be, no doubt about it, a “stern massage” from Mr. Bidden himself.

At least that is the impression one gets from looking into the low-key welcoming reception this senator seemed to have gotten out from Mr. Abiy Ahmed’s clueless government.

Let’s see how it develops from here on out.

The Biden envoy U.S. Senator @ChrisCoons arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was welcomed in the second VIP salon inside Bole International Airport. Neither the welcoming staffs’ profile nor the standard of the salon fits the guest. And no local media broadcasted the event. https://twitter.com/BashaDesta/status/1373227319289077765/photo/1

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Abiye Ahmed is under the tutelage of the powerful Amhara political machine. They want to put him in all sorts of problems and troubles and soon they will depose him - claiming he is not fit for the job.

That is the their game plan.

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