Front and center part of the African Union headquarter complex, photo by G. Brundage
June 4, 2021 The genocide/ethnic cleansing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has been going on for exactly seven months and the United Nations has done nothing except issue statements of “concern.”
The United States had several possible motivations to start a Civil War in Ethiopia.
1) Punish the TPLF and all of Ethiopia for doing business with China.
With a population of 109.5 million in 2018, Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa. Though there are gold deposits it’s not a resource rich country like so many in Africa.
“Chinese investments and construction in Ethiopia amounted to a total of $23,85 bil. between 2005 and 2018 (China Global Investment Tracker) . In 2010, 580 Chinese companies with 1,065 investment projects were registered in Ethiopia with estimated capital investment of $2,2 bil. (Raine 2009: 43) …
“Sixty percent of Ethiopia’s FDI is attributed to Chinese manufacturing, which differentiates it from the resource-based Chinese FDI in other African countries (Geda, Meskel 2009: 13)…
“Ethiopia is a case of particular importance for China’s BRI brand due to its geostrategic position in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia’s industrialization policy in light manufacturing such as leather, apparel, textiles, agro-processing and its cheap electricity supply present already a competitive advantage for the country’s transformation, which is mostly attributed to China’s BRI. Its transition economy from agriculture to manufacturing implies a domestic social and economic transformation with a rising middle-class and rapid urbanization.”
Chinese authorities may have a bit more empathy for Ethiopians than some other nations because it too is not resource rich and had to work its way up economically via manufacturing.
A few examples of Chinese development projects in Ethiopia
Kilinto Industrial Park (KIP)
With Chinese help they built the Kilinto Industrial Park (KIP) which has brought experienced international pharmaceutical companies across the globe to that nation producing thousands of jobs.
The Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway
Ethiopia is also a land-locked country. The 100-year-old Ethio-Djibouti Railway to the port in Djibouti took three days, so with China’s help they built the electric standard gauge Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway which shortened the journey from three days to 12 hours, a critically important time savings for the export of fruit and other perishables and other products for the international market.
This railway was inaugurated by former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on January 1, 2018. It provides landlocked Ethiopia with access to the sea, linking Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa with Djibouti and the essential Port of Doraleh. More than 95% of Ethiopia’s trade passes through Djibouti, accounting for 70% of the activity at the Port of Djibouti. It sounds “all good,” no? Not really because Chinese built it – a violation of one of the CIA’s immutable laws.
News: China’s reprieve on interest-free loan only, April 25, 2019
…in September 2018 China has extended the maturity period for the Addis Abeba-Djibouti railway loan from ten years to 30 years.
“The premier also met with officials of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on the margins of the Belt and Road Forum. “CRCC’s current largest engagement includes connecting Ethiopia and Djibouti through the railway project.”
“In addition, PM Abiy met with China’s Premier Li Keqiang and the two have presided over the signing of five agreements “that reflect the deepening of these relations,” PM Abiy’s office said. The agreements signed include: a financing agreement for development of a plaza and 12km of the ‘Beautifying Sheger’ river bank project; provision of grants for technical cooperation; provision of grants to go towards food aid; Belt and Road Initiative five-year cooperation plan; and a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) operationalizing cooperation under Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
“A separate meeting with State Grid Corporation of China resulted in the signing of a $1.8 billion investment agreement which covers provision of electric power transmission and distribution lines. “This project will supply power for up to 16 industrial parks; the Addis Ababa to Djibouti 2nd railway line and for different cities in the country,” the PM’s office said.”
Grand Renaissance Hydropower Project (GERD)
Though GERD is an Ethiopian led project and Italy got the lion’s share of contracts, China has pitched in too with some financial help.
The Grand Renaissance Hydropower Project in Northwest Ethiopia is the third largest energy project in the world. It would leapfrog Ethiopia into the modern era, opening the doors to modern manufacturing and consumerism all around the country. Not only will this hydropower dam provide electricity for everyone in Ethiopia, it will provide enough for export helping neighboring countries develop. (See Pt. 3 of this series of articles for more information on the GERD project.)
And as the result of Chinese investment in Ethiopia, an example must be made of Ethiopia to prove to the rest of Africa and the world that anyone who does business with China will be punished.
So, the USA supported the Orono strongman Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and a separatist movement in the north which resulted in more than 62,000 refugees who have fled just to Sudan. The total number of displaced people is well over 100,000, but nobody’s counting. Ethiopia appears to be an “easy target” and the US prefers easy targets. But this will not be the end of development in Ethiopia, or Africa. A horrific crime against humanity? Obviously yes. But not the end for most people.
China Belt and Road Projects Value Now Exceeds US$4 Trillion, posted by Silk Road Briefing, Nov 25, 2020
In comparison, the Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. It was enacted in 1948 and provided around $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent.
In contrast, the countries of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are spread across all continents:
40 countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa
34 BRI countries are in Europe & Central Asia (including 18 countries of the European Union (EU) that are part of the BRI)
25 BRI countries are in East Asia & pacific
17 BRI countries in Middle East & North Africa
18 BRI countries are in Latin America & Caribbean
6 countries are in South East Asia
A current table of the countries that have joined the BRI can be found here:
(Nedopil, Christoph (2021): “Countries of the Belt and Road Initiative”; Beijing, IIGF Green BRI Center)
2) Destabilize the capital of the African Union
The headquarters of the African Union is in Addis Ababa the capital city of Ethiopia. By causing chaos and conflict in Ethiopia the United States has struck a powerful blow to the practical and symbolic ability of the African Union to assist in the attainment and preservation of unity and self-determination across the entire continent of Africa.
Ethiopia isn’t just “any old African nation,” (as none of them are); however, it is unique in many ways.
“Perhaps the world's most famous early human ancestor, the 3.2-million-year-old ape "Lucy" was the first Australopithecus Afarensis skeleton ever found.” Her bones rest peacefully in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
“The fossilized partial skulls from Ethiopia that are described on pages 742 and 747 of this issue are probably some of the most significant discoveries of early Homo sapiens so far, owing to their completeness and well-established antiquity of about 160,000 years.”
And thus, Ethiopia may be the motherland of all humanity.
The name Ethiopia appears in the King James Bible version 45 times and was the birthplace of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10, 1-13). The Palace of the Queen of Sheba is in Axum, in the Tigray region in the north. She had one son by King Solomon, his name was Menyelek who founded the Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia.
The dynasty lasted until 1974, ended by a coup d'état and the deposition of Haile Selassie, who was a Solomonic prince through his grandmother. Given the geometric doubling sequence of ancestry, and the somewhat promiscuous nature of most princes and kings, there is a high probability virtually everyone in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has Solomonic ancestry.
The kingdom of Akum was one of the four greatest powers in the world from the 1st to the 7th centuries C.E. and had enormous influence all around Africa, across Arabia and all the way to Europe and Asia.
More recently the capital of the African Union is in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.
To quote the About section of the African Union website:
“In May 1963, 32 Heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia to sign the Charter creating Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, The Organization of African Unity (OAU). The OAU was the manifestation of the pan-African vision for an Africa that was united, free and in control of its own destiny and this was solemnized in the OAU Charter in which the founding fathers recognized that freedom, equality, justice and dignity were essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples and that there was a need to promote understanding among Africa’s peoples and foster cooperation among African states in response to the aspirations of Africans for brotherhood and solidarity, in a larger unity transcending ethnic and national Differences. The guiding philosophy was that of Pan-Africanism which centered on African socialism and promoted African unity, the communal characteristic and practices of African communities, and a drive to embrace Africa’s culture and common heritage.”
Given the vast natural resources of Africa, and seeing themselves as responsible for ensuring American hegemony in perpetuity, there was and is absolutely no way US government officials Pompeo, Trump, Blinken and Biden were or are going to permit any of the goals of the African Union be realized if they can possibly prevent it.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed and all leaders of developing countries would be wise to read: The Narrative of William W Brown a Fugitive Slave, by William Wells Brown. Nothing much has changed since 1847 when it was written except the self-styled slave masters rule most of the world in the form of deceptive fake democracies (wherein corporations control the media that control people’s choice of candidates) and more honest dictatorships.
People of color and Muslims can earn some prestige from the white self-styled masters for a while, but in the end the white supremacists that rule the USA will always “smack them back down” hard as William Brown so eloquently related.
3) Slave owners’ belief in the inferiority of their slaves and Ethiopia
US intelligence services were, and remain quite confident they can get away with any and all crimes against humanity, and so far, they have. If causing a genocide or ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia can in any way benefit US foreign policy interests, then civilian casualties are nothing more than “collateral damage” and of no concern whatsoever. Besides that a genocide in Ethiopia is good distraction news from American problems like failure to prevent the COVID-19 mass killing, race and class “issues” and economic woes.
American intelligence chiefs in most respects are precisely the same as American slave owners in the US in the 1800s, believing their own rhetoric that the genetic inferiority of Africans makes them incapable of self defense.
“As the historian Herbert Aptheker informs us in American Negro Slave Revolts, no one put this dishonest, nakedly pro-slavery argument more baldly than the Harvard historian James Schouler in 1882, who attributed this spurious conclusion to" ‘the innate patience, docility, and child-like simplicity of the negro’” who, he felt, was an '"imitator and non-moralist,’ ” learning ” ‘deceit and libertinism with facility,’ ” being ” ‘easily intimidated, incapable of deep plots’”; in short, Negroes were ” ‘a black servile race, sensuous, stupid, brutish, obedient to the whip, children in imagination.’”
“Obedient to the whip?”
Such thinking in regards to African slaves in North American led to at least 33 major slave revolts in the USA. Slave owners always grotesquely underestimated “their” slaves’ humanity and abilities, because dehumanizing and denigrating slaves makes rationalizing that enslavement easier, and it’s a big ego boost for those slave owners who were and remain inherently lazy, cruel and defiantly arrogant. They are sometimes clever but never wise, despite that “what goes around comes around” sooner or later.
Certainly, the US can slow down BRI development in this country or that for a while, but in the end it’s good business and restarts after the American Made fires burn down a bit as has happened in Myanmar and a number of other nations. The human cost is another matter altogether but the US does not take that into account. People are disposable commodities to the corporate elite, nothing more.
4) Facilitate the extraction and theft of natural resources from Africa
American and European corporations have large investments in Africa, just as the white colonialists and slave owners had and still have in the USA.
5) US habit of military invasions, fomenting civil wars and thefts of natural resources
The problem I think Ethiopians and the people and leaders of most developing countries have is they can’t really conceptualize the level of cruelty and evil that colonial powers routinely engage in. It is so unnatural, so extreme no truly sane person can really imagine it. They see Disney movies and think: “Americans are so kind and wonderful,” and can’t for an instant imagine the level of betrayal and sadism the US government so routinely exhibits around the world and in the US as well.
Nothing has changed in the past 500 years at all, zero.
American attorneys such as Steven Donziger that initiate litigation on behalf of those nations being robbed of their natural resources by American oil corporations are harassed and confined by US courts. Some might even argue he is being lynched, metaphorically speaking with the result being other attorneys become very reluctant to challenge corporate/government maleficence.
Many critics of American overt or covert-driven wars are highly critical of them for killing millions of people and creating most of the 80 million displaced people in the world. In addition, critics assert the US isn’t even winning those wars, as Vietnam and Afghanistan prove.
Those critics however miss the point. The US doesn’t have to “win” the war. The real goals are to destabilize nations and regions so-as to get resources cheaper, block adversaries such as China, and make money for the mostly American shareholders in the American defense industries. From this perspective, the US has won all those wars.
Looking at Google’s search results for “Belt and Road Initiative Ethiopia” one finds page after page of very negative reviews. Why? What’s wrong with helping an under-developed nation develop?
The math is simple: Black? Bad. Chinese? Bad. Black + Chinese = very, very bad. This is the level of analysis in Washington D.C. and Langley. In fact, Ethiopia’s and all of Africa’s infrastructure development needs are so great there doesn’t need to be a “competition” between east and west, but that’s the only way American foreign policy makers can see things due to the very narrow self-absorbed planes of their perceptual frameworks.
Another reason is this: Google’s algorithms are corrupt favoring corporate driven US government associated and approved sites, and vigorously suppressing all alternative views.
American policy makers do not like any of this “horrid” infrastructure development in Africa because 1) China is involved and 2) allowing Ethiopia economic development might inspire other African nations to follow. Were African nations allowed to develop naturally they might attain some degree of “self-determination,” and other “reprehensible” things that are not to the advantage of American “economic security.” Keeping Africa on its knees is highly profitable and anyone who tries to change that is in for a “rough ride,” literally and figuratively.
Has the USA offered such favorable terms to help Ethiopia develop? No, at least until recently, sort of.
On May 24, 2021 British writer and analyst of politics and international relations Tom Fowdy reported the following:
On Saturday, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) secured a contract with a consortium of companies to fund the country’s [Ethiopia’s] 5G network, on the condition the money isn’t used on Chinese telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE. [Ed. Note: Bribery]
Then the very next day, the State Department imposed sweeping sanctions over Ethiopia’s government and army, as well as cutting international aid, over what it deems as human rights abuses in the Tigray region, where Addis has been fighting a conflict with a rebel regional government. Bloomberg reports that these sanctions may broaden to include blocking IMF and World Bank lending to the country…
How can one make sense of Washington’s contradictory moves toward the country? President Biden has obviously been under some pressure from Congress to act on the civil war.
However, the situation is neatly illustrated by one word: China…
That was a real slap in the face for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali greatly reducing his credibility both in Ethiopia and the world. It was a public humiliation. To repeat above: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and all leaders of developing countries would be wise to read: The Narrative of William W Brown a Fugitive Slave, by William Wells Brown. It is a truism that Uncle Sam was born lethal.
In spite of those malign influences, thanks largely to China’s infrastructure projects developing energy, transportation and manufacturing resources, Ethiopia has been slowly entering into the modern world. As poor as it was and is, it’s still one of the best developed nations in Africa. Balkanizing it is not going to help.
The Belt and Road Initiative projects are the lowest cost avenues into the modern world with the fewest strings attached.
Would Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali stop this process of his own volition? It appears he has already stopped the largest development project in Ethiopian history, one that is primarily Ethiopian led, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – GERD, on the advice of his new “friends” in D.C., Langley, Cairo, Riyadh, Asmara (Eritrea) and Tel Aviv. (See Part 3 in this series for more on GERD and the murder of its Chief Engineer.)
Since WWII, the USA been busily starting wars, selling weapons, overthrowing governments and “extracting” natural resources for pennies on the dollar in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Meanwhile China has been busy actually helping those nations develop. The USA comes late to this party, spends billions of dollars trying to lock China out, and if that means starting a genocide in Ethiopia exactly the same as in Myanmar, then so be it.
That’s Machiavellian realpolitik, and business as usual for the USA attempting to Make America Great again at the expense of millions of lives and an intensity of human suffering beyond the comprehension of a sane mind.
“In terms of its politics, Ethiopia’s risky leap for democracy has made it a rare and important exception to the global illiberal trend. As Washington attempts to shift the focus of its foreign policy from terrorism toward great-power competition, Abiy’s plans for economic and democratic reforms, his interest in peacemaking and even his evangelical background suggest that there is an opportunity for American officials to broaden bilateral relations and compete for influence with China.
This story is ongoing.
See Pt. 3 for a continuation of this four-part series of articles: The murder of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD’s) beloved Chief Engineer Simegew Bekele.
This and other part parts of this series, as well as other publications by the author can be downloaded from: https://www.silkroadvirtualuniversity.org/publications-by-gcb.html
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