The UN’s major power weapons fuel the Ethiopian civil war-a global problem

The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency food assistance to more than 800,000 people affected by the conflict in the Afar and Amhara regions of northern Ethiopia.Image credit: World Food Program/Claire Neville
  • Thalif DeenUnited Nations)
  • International news agency

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomson-Greenfield told the Security Council earlier this month that the parties involved in the 12-month-long devastating civil war in Ethiopia involved the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, the Eritrean National Defense Forces, and the Amharic Special Forces. And the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

And quoting the Hollywood metaphor, she said, “There are no good people here.”

Perhaps the best description of this battle is a showdown between one group of bad guys and another group of bad guys-despite the fact that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed, who is currently leading the conflict, triggered war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. The accusation won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.

Like many ongoing conflicts and civil wars-whether in Afghanistan, Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, Palestine, Iraq or Ethiopia, the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, namely the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, Severely divide and protect their allies—and their prolific arms market.

But the conflict in Ethiopia has also led to a “huge humanitarian disaster.” The Ethiopian government blocked the delivery of food and medical supplies by UN agencies and relief organizations for political reasons.

Nevertheless, in this vicious conflict that “has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced more than 2 million people”, who is the dead businessman, and rape is increasingly being used as a weapon of war.

According to data released by international aid organizations, it is reported that tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Amhara and Afar areas due to fierce fighting in many places; a total of about 2 million people are homeless and about 7 million people are in urgent need of humanitarianism. Ideological assistance. Ambassador Thomson Greenfield told the delegates that it is time for all parties to immediately stop hostilities and avoid incitement to violence and division.

The belligerent rhetoric and inflammatory language of the parties to this conflict will only exacerbate inter-ethnic violence. She said that now is the time for the Ethiopian government, TPLF and all other groups to immediately negotiate a ceasefire without preconditions to find a sustainable path to peace.

Long time has passed since the Eritrean Defence Forces withdrew from Ethiopian territory.

“It’s time to lay down the weapons. This war between angry, militant men-hurting women and children-must stop,” she declared.

But a lingering question remains: Where do these weapons come from?

China and Russia, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, have been identified as Ethiopia’s main weapons suppliers.

“The era when the Ethiopian Defense Forces (ENDF) relied almost entirely on aging Soviet weapons and mixed with some of the more modern Russian brothers is gone.”

“Over the past decade, Ethiopia’s arms imports have diversified, including many other sources that currently include countries such as China, Germany, Ukraine, and Belarus.”

According to a blog post on Oryx, it can be said that it is even more surprising that countries such as Israel and the UAE appear on this list, which provide Ethiopia with many specialized weapon systems.

Alexandra Kuimova, researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Project, told IPS:Measured by SIPRI’s TIV), Russia and Ukraine have been Ethiopia’s largest major weapons suppliers in the past 20 years, accounting for 50% and 33% of Ethiopia’s imports from 2001 to 2020, respectively.

Between 2003 and 2004, an estimated 18 second-hand combat helicopters and fighter jets delivered by Russia were transferred to Ethiopia.

The most recent deliveries include approximately four 96K9 Pantsyr-S1 mobile air defense systems imported by Ethiopia in 2019. The cargo delivered by Ukraine includes approximately 215 second-hand T-72B tanks received by Ethiopia between 2011 and 2015.

She said that since 2001, European countries have also transferred major weapons to Ethiopia. For example, Hungary provided 12 second-hand Mi-24V/Mi-35 combat helicopters to Ethiopia in 2013. The French fort vehicle delivered to the state in 2016 was made by the United States. Aircraft delivered from Germany in 2019 include 6 trainer aircraft.

Stephen Zunes, professor of political science at the University of San Francisco and chair of Middle East Studies, who has written a large number of articles on Security Council politics, told IPS: “Think of this type of conflict as a simple African issue and ignore it. Fact. If it hadn’t been for the West to send weapons to the combatants, then most of the killing would have been impossible.”

However, in most civil wars, small arms and light weapons are extremely important and are often supported by major conventional weapons.

Since 2011, China has become one of Ethiopia’s largest weapons suppliers. Some known deliveries from China include a single HQ-64 air defense system delivered in 2013 and four PHL-03 300mm self-propelled multiple rocket launchers received by Ethiopia in 2018-2019.

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

Other media reports provided information about the presence of Chinese pterosaurs and Iranian Mohajer-6 drones in Ethiopia. In addition, several media claimed that Turkey is negotiating to sell a certain number of Bayraktar TB-2 armed drones to Ethiopia.

At the same time, in Yemen, one of the most conflicted areas in the world, airstrikes mainly came from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and their weapons were mainly from the United States and the United Kingdom, two permanent members of the Security Council.

According to SIPRI’s Kuimova, little is known about the transfer of major weapons to Eritrea. She said that since the UN arms embargo against Eritrea came into effect in 2009, the country does not appear to have received any major weapons. The embargo was lifted in 2018, but no major weapons deliveries have been recorded since then.

During 2001-2007, the main weapons imported by Eritrea included two second-hand modern S-125-2T air defense systems supplied by Belarus in 2005. Bulgaria supplied 120 second-hand T-55 tanks in 2005. Between 2001 and 2004, Russia delivered 4 fighter jets to Eritrea between 2001 and 2005. It is estimated that there are 80 Kornet-E anti-tank missiles. Ukraine’s delivery includes 2 second-hand fighter jets.

“We are currently collecting, analyzing and verifying open source information on the main weapons delivered to Ethiopia and Eritrea last year,” she said.

However, the lack of transparency in the armaments of importing and exporting countries makes it difficult to determine the order and delivery date, as well as the exact quantity and type of weapons transferred in the past few years.

For example, Ethiopia has not submitted its arms import reports to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) since 1997, which is the UN’s main transparency instrument on conventional weapons.

China is one of the largest exporters to Ethiopia in the past ten years and stopped submitting reports to UNROCA in 2018. In addition, China has not reported any information about its arms transfer to Ethiopia in previous years.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All rights reservedOriginal source: International News Service


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