One Kicked Out, Two To Go
In 2018, when Abiy Ahmed made his overly promoted visit to Eritrea and “signed a peace agreement” with Isaias Afwerki, half the world media and the political tribes behaved like a child taken to a circus for the first time and watched sheepishly as wool was passed over their eyes. But the second half (and many Eritreans) were dumbfounded by the theatrics; the cake was iced by the chefs of the Noble Prize committee who hastily awarded Abiy Ahmed a gold coin. They refused to see the shaking ground under the feet of the region.
Abiy became so confident of the disillusioned world support that he immediately unleashed a civil war that he has been planning for since he came to power. Yet, as an able actor, he continued talking from both sides of his mouth. Simultaneously, he pretended to be a man of peace, while he pursued his favorite hobby; the usual Abyssinian pastime: violence, pillaging, and blood shedding. Four years on, the citizens of the region have not come to terms with the unconsolidated losses the region incurred. Its aggregate is the heaviest the region had experienced in a longtime. Embarrassingly, the elite of the region still hate to reflect on the crisis and consider the grave and relentless madness that was unleashed upon the helpless citizens.
Since he came to power in 2018, Abiy’s intention to destroy Tigray kept whetted the appetite of the Eritrean ruling party and its leader who has his own vendetta, an excise on the TPLF, its archenemy once its closest ally. The PFDJ was too excited to miss the opportunity when Abiy invited it to join in the mayhem. And what transpired by the bloody alliance is open for all to see.
The third entity that is equally responsible for promoting the civil war is no other than the Orthodox clergy (in particular) that always strived to maintain a semi-theocratic (if not a fully theocratic) system in the country. Instead of working to stop the war, many high-profile priests promoted the flames of the ethnic conflicts to the extent they made it a doctrine to bless marauding armies as they marched on to the next pillaging campaign.
The last entity that always played a destructive role is the narrow chauvinists is the force that believes its hasa divine mandate to rule the region. It’s a major forces that moved in tandem with the medieval mentality. It’s the the trigger-happy Ethiopian peasant militia known as Fano. The chauvinists were emboldened by the Eritrean president who joined their alliance and set out to eradicate their national rivals who wouldn’t submit to their will.
The Eritrean president is an expert in inventing military or political conflicts. Many people might think he is the leader of Eritrea, but for him, Eritrea is the launching pad that provides the resources he needs to embark on his illusionary grandeur. He fantasies the role of Alexander the Great, for whom Macedonia was just a launching pad. Isais aspired to be the big man of the Horn until he discovered he needs another stepping stone before he achieves accomplishes his regional aspiration. Thus, he invented a sub-region to destroy the next stepping stone, the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD.
Isaias as well as Abiy were excited when a new bee Formaggio took power in Somalia. He meekly sat as a freshman with the oldest dictator, Isaias, and the youngest, Abiy. Formaggio’s body languages as he sat between the two dictators speaks volumes. And he yielded to the Isaias’s masterplan by sending troops to be trained by Eritrea and channeled the training aid provided by his Gulf sugar daddies. It only took the coming to power of Hassen Sheikh Mahmoud on May 23, 2022, for Somalia to admit and order the trainees back to Somalia. That bad leg of the stool on which the envisioned sub-regional alliance stood is now amputated. And of course, Isaias wanted to make the subregion between the three because he cannot exclude Djibouti-which, due to its stubborn presence in the geography of the region, was not easy to exclude. However, president Ismail Guelleh wouldn’t play ball.
Isaias and Abiy couldn’t pull off because Isaias is cunning and arrogant. And if Abiy was a liquid, he would be better than mercury in thermometers. It’s not surprising that he doesn’t care for the sub-regional theatric that is now orphaned, both were in it for vendetta and power play.
The Eye Of Hurus Is In Somalia
The previous Somalian president met with the Isaias-Abiy duo several times, one when he met them in Bahirdar in November 2018. They attended the inauguration of a hospital that started its operations by hosting maimed and scarred soldiers not civilians with common cases as the people expected, but people with injuries that Abiy’s adventure caused.
In a few days, the three met again in Gondar and the world discovered Isaias’ grandfather was buried there. Also, Formaggio made announced a fulfilled prophesy: “the future of the Horn of Africa” has changed, he declared. Indeed it changed, but that is a matter of perspective. Since then, Formaggio continued as a junior member in the tripartite alliance of which Abiy though he was the leader while Isais was the actual steering commander who full of excitement for over a year visiting Ethiopia frequently. But the citizens of region were not aware of the sinister plan that was ignite, an all-out war against their lives and properties …and it’s still going on in phases.
Beginning in 2018, Abiy was so emboldened he must have imagined thought he was sitting among European leaders like Kaiser Wilhelm II, David George, Georges Clemenceau, and Lenin, who met to redraw the world order after the mess of WW1. Abiy childishly stated the three countries should have one president not three! Anyone can bet he didn’t imagine neither Isaias nor Formaggio the president. But he surely had a vision to lead the Horn of Africa and beyond; many observers wonder if Abiy knows Isaias doesn’t fancy being number-two. Now, that alliance of the two Alpha males, between Isaias and Abiy, is quickly melting down.
Bring The Guns, We have The Men
Formaggio was not a joke, he participated with 5000 young men to be trained in Eritrea to be the fuel of the biggest bonfire ever planned in the region. Abiy repeatedly continued to make absurd, conflicting, and laughable statements as he acted like a missionary set to convert the Horn of the Horn of Arica to the ideology of his prosperity party. Of course, his tool to achieve that was a basic math skill: Medemer, basic arithmetic.1+1=2.
In the summer of 2021 situations were not going as planned for the trio, certainly worse for the Horn of Africa. The cozy relations between Isaias and Abiy and Formaggio was nearing the twilight zone. And in May 15, 2022, it happened: Hassen sheikh Mahmoud was voted in as Somalia’s tenth president. Regional leaders of state and high government officials from Egypt to Kenya flocked to Mogadishu; Isaias Afwerki was the only one absent! But where is Isaias Afwerki? His television showed a two-week old footage of him in his retreat in Adi-Halo. But in reality, Isaias is coiled inside his shell as he always does after getting involved in a fiasco that goes out of control, which is always.
Having said that, Isaias is not an easy nut to crack. Since 1991, he has survived through 7 presidential changes in Somalia and three in Ethiopia and he has stayed in power unelected since 1991. But these are numbers and no counting goes forever.
Developments in the world and the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia, might have hastened the counting. The coming of Hassen Sheikh Mahmoud is a blow to Isaias’s (and Abiy’s) design. It could possibly be the reason for stopping counting and hammering of the last nail on the coffin of his adventurous rule. But his ruling party’s campaign continues as usual.
In 2018, the UAE had trained a group of the Eritrean ruling party’s cadres on how to become effective social media trolls. Now the trolls are actively inflating Isaias’ and his clique’s egos. However, counting numbers must end, and the distance the trolls can travel is not unlimited; the PFDJ trolls are already gasping.