Ethiopia is on the brink of a civil war after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister ordered troops to counter an allegedly violent attack by armed forces in the country’s northern Tigray region.
The domestic conflict in Ethiopia comes after several smaller conflicts that have been brewing for months that could impact the Horn of Africa region at large.
The conflict escalated when Tigray held local elections in insubordination of the Ethiopian federal government. These elections were considered “illegal” by the federal government.
The Tigray region is wealthier than other parts of the country, and more importantly, has a well-trained army. The authority of the Tigray officials has considerably reduced since the new government.
The structure of Ethiopia’s federal system allows the country’s ten regions significant autonomy. These regions also have their own parliaments, their own security forces, and the right to a referendum for independent rule.
If the violence and conflict spills outside Ethiopia’s borders, it may potentially destabilize the Horn of Africa region.
The US and China have several strategic military bases in that region, the closest being Djibouti. If these military bases were to be impacted by the disturbances in any way, it may cause foreign powers to get militarily involved in the region and the conflict.
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in Africa. It lies along the southern side of the Red Sea and extends hundreds of km into the Gulf of Aden, Somali Sea, and Guardafui Channel.
The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent. Referred to in ancient and medieval times as the land of the Barbara and Ethiopians, the Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.