A Highway to the Abyss

Radio Erena: 20 January 2021

The border tension between Sudan and Ethiopia is paving the way, little by little, to a full-scale war, if not averted with wisdom and political prudence. The drums of war incessantly beat amid bilateral intense accusations and incriminating charges. In his latest statement, the Sudanese defense minister accused Ethiopia of deploying more troops facing his own forces which are now having full control of the ‘Sudanese territories’ as he said. On the other side, Berhanu Jula, the Ethiopian army chief of staff accused Sudan of escalating the situation on the behest of a third party, confirming that his country has no genuine interest in having a war with Sudan.

Addis Ababa views the timing of the escalation on the part of Khartoum with mounting suspicion. The Ethiopian ambassador to Emirates questioned the motives of Khartoum leaders behind the recent escalations noting that the border problems have been raging on between the two countries almost constantly in the past two decades.

Anti-war Sudanese activists, on their part, see the escalation within the overall rivalry between the military and civil members of the government in Khartoum. “Recapturing the Sudanese lost territories is a priority for the armed forces” the leader of the Sovereignty Council, General Al Burhan has confirmed. The generals are in search of a stand-supporting victory in the internal platform, even if this victory is scored at the expense of neighboring Ethiopia.

While Khartoum generals have their reasons for launching a war, their counterparts in Addis Ababa will not tolerate the impression that the Ethiopian army is weakened by the war in Tigray to the extent that it can no longer defend the country. Addis Ababa accuses Khartoum of taking advantage of the situation in Tigray to open a new war front against her, these accusations are accompanied by repeated avowals of defending the fatherland whatever it costs.

The postulation in Khartoum that the Ethiopian prime minister won’t be able to fight a new war is fatal. The situation in Tigray will not hinder the Ethiopian army from fighting a bitter border war against Sudan. Practically, Ethiopia may give her faithful ally Isaias Afwerki a free hand to pacify the Tigray region, while its army is fully engaged in the new war, in the end, this is what are friends for. This means that the Eritrean dictator won’t be absent in the future conflict between the two Horn of Africa giants’ war.

A new protracted multi-party war in the region will, no doubt, mean more suffering for the Horn of Africa population. A matter, unfortunately, the leaders realize and understand so belatedly.

By Fathi Osman