Ethiopia has been considered a stabilizing force in the Horn of Africa. This status has allowed its capital Addis Ababa to become home to the African Union headquarters, carrying out peacekeeping operations on behalf of the UN in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
But who will impose peace in Ethiopia, if its Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed loses his wager of winning a quick war? Could it be that Ethiopia is about to become the equivalent, for today's Africa, of what Yugoslavia was for Europe in the early 1990s: a country on the brink of disintegration?
One major difference so far is that in the Balkans, the conflict did not extend beyond the borders of the former Yugoslavia. In the Horn of Africa, the risks are greater. Unlike Ex-Yugoslavia, Ethiopia does not share a border with the European Union, but with a country like Eritrea instead, which used to be part of Ethiopia and has very bad relations with the province of Tigray which it borders. Eritrea's capital, Asmara, has been repeatedly targeted by rockets fired from Tigray.
Moreover, 40,000 Ethiopians have sought refuge in Sudan, a country that is completely unprepared to accommodate them. The only state actor that might welcome the rising tensions in Ethiopia is Egypt, its main rival for control over the waters of the Nile.
Might there be a "Nobel Peace Prize curse" similar to “the oil curse"? From Myanmar to Ethiopia, from Aung San Suu Kyi to Abiy Ahmed, does the prestigious award go to the head of some of its recipients, giving them a sense of impunity and power that can lead to excess or recklessness?
Courtesy of Les Echos, where the article was published on 29.11.2020.
Copyright : EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP