Negotiation?-Well, the Context Matters!
Since the operation to uphold law and order in Tigray region against the TPLF clique started, the Ethiopian National Defense Force has achieved tremendous results in pushing back the rogue elements of TPLF. Without doubt, the operation will be over soon. The operation was started following the attack and assault of the TPLF junta on Northern Command of National Defense Force, while the Federal Government was only trying to implement and follow legal means to make accountable the crimes of TPLF which had been committed previously.
Though, the operation is undergoing, there are some international figures and individuals calling for negotiation. It is obvious that the peace loving people of Ethiopia and the Government will not turn their back to such calls. The people of Ethiopia highly values the peaceful settlement of conflict as Ethiopians are traditionally peace loving community. For instance, in history, the messengers of Prophet Muhammed (PBU), were sent to Ethiopia, in order escape the persecution in the then Arab world. Moreover, there is no history where Ethiopia had invaded other country, rather Ethiopia always protecting itself against such actions, where Ethiopia was always successful in defending its sovereignty.
The assumption of peace for Ethiopians, ranges from forgiveness and sorting out all possible peaceful means to solve problems when it happen. The government led by 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Abiy Ahmed has followed the same legacy. Because, the individuals in charge of leading the current government including the Prime Minister are the sons and daughters of Ethiopia, who were grown up within the culture which appeals to peace and peaceful co-existence at its best. However, there is no doubt that when the red line was crossed, every Ethiopian will stand together, to defend their sovereignty at any cost, whether it is against internal traitors or foreign invaders.
Well, with the current undergoing operation the call for negotiation sounds awesome. However, there are limits and redlines that are not subject to negotiation. In order to judge whether negotiation is necessary or not, it needs to dig deep in to the issue, where the context matters a lot. As some describe it, the undergoing operation is not simply a fight or a war between the Federal and Regional Government. Rather it is an operation against the TPLF clique, who were destabilizing the nation in the past years. In addition it is not also against ethnic Tigriyans as some TPLF affiliates try to shape the story based on ethnic lines. Because the Tigriyans were also the victims of TPLF like other Ethiopians for the past 27+ years. Furthermore, the option for negotiation was also on table for more than two years, where TPLF junta turned its back on it.
On the other side of the story, though there were pressure on the government from citizens, to make accountable the criminal elements of TPLF, the soonest possible, for what they have done to the country and citizens, the government opted for negotiation with TPLF for the last two and half years, where it did not happen because of the rogue nature of the TPLF Junta. As per the current cry of TPLF Clique, if this group was willing to negotiate and was pro-democracy they would have used the opportunity given to them repeatedly.
When the TPLF was forced to resign by popular uprising all over the country two and half years ago, they escaped to Mekelle, the capital of Tigray region. They have continued their illegal activities like sponsoring the displacement of people, funding to destabilize the nation, as a short cut to return their lost power and sustain their dictatorial rule. However, they were not successful in doing so as the people of Ethiopia refused to accept their agenda. Therefore, they planned to employ series of strategies. By assaulting the National Defense force, they believe that either they will met their target by dividing and destroying the National Defense Force or, to get legitimacy by appealing to international community, as if they were victims. When this plan was failed and the National Defense Force was against their plan, they went for another plan, which was attacking the neighboring Eritrea, to upgrade the crisis to regional level to get attention of international community. These evidences are enough, to conclude that the TPLF clique has overarching plan and ambition to bring complete destruction and chaos to Ethiopia, of course not only Ethiopia also to the Horn of Africa.
Therefore, it is true that the TPLF is a collection of traitors, and should be accountable for the treason they committed against the National Defense force and against a nation of more than 110 million population. In addition, their acts are more than enough to label the group as a terrorist organization. Eve though, few TPLF sympathizers (who were beneficial from TPLF led EPRDF regime) are crying on twitter with the tag Say No To War in Tigray it is completely against the truth on the ground. Still The TPLF Junta is engaged in killing innocent citizens in Tigray region in order to quench their thirst for ethnic cleansing. In general, as it is not fair to ask, why advanced countries themselves did not opted for negotiation with terrorist organizations who claimed the lives of their citizens, it is also against the sovereignty of Ethiopia to go for negotiation with TPLF. In this context as the life of the TPLF Junta prolongs it will also endanger the regional peace and security as this junta did not have any positive record of conducting a successful negotiation in its history.
Therefore, Negotiation will not work for traitors, neither have they understood the concept it represents. It will not work for those who endangers the sovereignty of a given nation, not also for those who are addicted to criminal deeds and are not willing to give up their cruelty. Thus, opting for negotiation with TPLF clique, sounds like gambling with the wounds of Ethiopians and the future of Ethiopia, which is not acceptable at all. Therefore, our International Friends should take note that, the undergoing operation is like an operation undertaken to remove the cancerous cell for the sake of the whole, not a war between federal and Regional Government.
In short, with the very nature of TPLF, if the government accept such calls it will lead to another rounds of crisis for two reasons. First the TPLF members will continue their cruel acts to destabilize the nation and the Horn of Africa Region in order to fulfill their ambition of dictatorship at the cost of more than 110 million citizens. They won’t give up the dream to return to lead the central government using force. With the so called negotiation they will buy time to employ illegal strategies in order to execute their plan. Hence, they will continue sponsoring ethnic cleansing in different parts of the nation, and provoke instability. When government and the citizens are busy with such incidents, simply the TPLF junta will try to return its dictatorial rule which is totally unacceptable for Ethiopians.
Second, since the cruel deeds of TPLF were horrendous, and Ethiopians are tired of TPLF, it is obvious that the Ethiopians from all walks of life will not keep silent. It is good to keep in mind that, if the government went for negotiation, it will be against the demand and the will of more than 110 million Ethiopians. Therefore, the federal government is there to lead the operation on behalf of Ethiopian People, to get rid of this cancerous Junta. That’s why negotiation will not work in this context.