By Finian Cunningham
December 29, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – A feel-good headline on the BBC this week reads: “How a pariah and Nobel laureate became friends”. It was referring to the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, as if their “friendship” was some kind of benign development to be lauded.
The feature article opens with: “In a sign of the changing political fortunes of a man who was once a pariah, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has proven to be a staunch ally of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, giving his troops much-needed support to fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray.”
The state-owned British broadcaster quotes the Ethiopian premier thanking Eritrea which “had fed, clothed and armed retreating Ethiopian soldiers when the TPLF first attacked them and seized their bases in Tigray, an Ethiopian region which borders Eritrea.” The BBC went on to note: “This was a significant acknowledgement by Mr Abiy, though he did not go as far as to admit claims that Mr Isaias, had also sent troops to help defeat the TPLF, a long-time foe of the Eritrean leader who has been in power since 1993.”
This is how the BBC and other Western media outlets are spinning cover for what is really going on in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. There is an ongoing aggression against the Tigray people by the Abiy regime which is referred to as the Ethiopian “government”. Abiy was never elected. He took power in early 2018 as part of a backroom political deal.
In his effort to crush the political opposition represented by the Tigray people and their political leadership, Abiy has enlisted the full military support of Eritrea to invade Tigray along with Abiy regime forces.
Eritrean military and paramilitaries are deep inside Tigray territory, killing civilians and looting the towns and villages with the collusion of the Ethiopian so-called Nobel laureate.
Abiy’s claims of launching a “law and order operation” to round up the Tigray “junta” which began on November is a sick joke. What was supposed to be a quick operation in the national interest has escalated into an ongoing guerrilla war which has seen millions of impoverished people turned into refugees internally and externally, with up to 45,000 fleeing to neighboring Sudan.
Sources in Tigray have confirmed the presence of Eritrean brigades – some even wearing Ethiopian national military garb – working alongside Abiy’s regime forces. Towns and villages have been shelled from Eritrea and hit by air strikes carried out by the Abiy regime.
UN human rights commissioner Michele Bachelet has condemned these massive violations, although she added that Tigray rebels have also perpetrated war crimes. The rebels have hit the Eritrean capital, Asmara, with rockets claiming retaliation.
The US State Department also stated that it had evidence of Eritrean forces deployed in Tigray region.
In the above BBC report it did refer to “unconfirmed claims” of atrocities carried out by Abiy regime and Eritrean forces.
Nevertheless, the main thrust of the BBC’s coverage has been to give more credibility to the version put out by the “Nobel-peace-prize-winning Prime Minister” Abiy Ahmed.
The reality is, however, that so-called laureate has ganged up with the Eritrean dictator to launch a war on the Tigray people. That’s what is really going on, yet the BBC would have us believe that these two de facto war criminals are “staunch allies” who have become unlikely “friends” as if it is a rosy story of political romance.
Since Abiy ascended to the premiership (and has postponed elections promised as part of his interim office), he has been waging a low-intensity war of aggression against the Tigray region. Electricity and water supply cuts over the past two years have worn the people down. Then he attempted a daring covert military operation on November 3 in collusion with Eritrean commandoes in the Tigray capital of Mekelle, according to local sources. The Tigray forces thwarted that offensive, which Abiy then fabricated as an unprovoked attack on the national army by “terrorists”.
The BBC and other Western media outlets have been dutifully spinning events in Ethiopia. Two years of hostility towards Tigray by the unelected Abiy regime has been spun as “reforms” by a “pro-democracy” figure. Now when this same figure is waging a genocide aided and abetted by a foreign army from Eritrea, the BBC is endeavoring to tell us this is a sign of “friendship”.
Shame on the BBC and other Western outlets who are silent in the face of huge crimes. Evidently, their condemnations only happen when it is politically expedient to undermine a nation which is an official enemy of Western governments.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. – “Source“ –