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Refugees who fled the conflict in the Tigray region arrive to the Tekeze River, eastern Sudan Refugees who fled the conflict in the Tigray region arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, Nov. 21, 2020 (AP photo by Nariman El-Mofty).

The Case for U.S. Reengagement in Ethiopia

Monday, Feb. 1, 2021

President Joe Biden’s foreign policy team arrived in Washington amid a mounting humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, as the Ethiopian government continues its monthslong military campaign against the northern Tigray region. The crisis is an early test of the Biden administration’s ability to balance its global advocacy for democracy, human rights and the rule of law against its strategic interests in a vital yet unstable region.

A once-promising liberal reformer and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive on his political opponents in Tigray last November in response to reported attacks on a federal government military outpost by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, then the regional ruling party. Abiy declared victory in the conflict weeks later, after capturing the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, but sporadic reports from the region indicate ongoing hostilities between Ethiopian troops and remnants of the TPLF. The conflict has also become increasingly marked by reports of atrocities and war crimes—deeply damaging Abiy’s credibility in the eyes of the international community. ...

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