05/01/2021 News and Commentary
Ethiopia in Crisis
Ethiopia’s total debt reached 51% of its GDP
Ethiopia’s total domestic and foreign debt has reached 54.7 billion US Dollar (2.01 trillion birr) (50.8 percent of the country’s GDP), according to a recent government debt statement.
Desert outbreak in Ethiopia caused 356, 286 metric tonnes of cereal loss
In a joint assessment report by the Ethiopian government and FAO, the desert outbreak in Ethiopia alone caused 356, 286 metric tonnes of cereal loss, along with the destruction of 197,000 ha of cropland, and 1.35 Million ha of pasturelands.
Source: Space in Africa. Satellite Imagery for the Locust Invasion Crisis in Eastern Africa.
Update: The outbreak of desert locusts could reduce production by 3.8 million quintals (ተከስቶ የነበረው የበረሃ አንበጣ ወረርሽኝ የ3.8 ሚሊዮን ኩንታል ምርት ቅናሽ ሊያመጣ እንደሚችል ተጠቆመ።)
4.5 million people seeking urgent humanitarian assistance in Tigray
According to the Interim government of Tigray, more than 4.5 million Tigrayans (of which roughly half are children) are seeking urgent humanitarian assistance. There are also 2.2 million IDPs within the region.
Source: ETV Tigrigna on Facebook
2.3 Million Children Without Access To Humanitarian Aid
“Following the recent crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, an estimated 2.3 million children have been left without access to necessary humanitarian aid. Critical medical supplies provided by international organizations, including vaccines, emergency medications, and sanitation items, are likely running low, as communication and transportation into the region is limited. … About 45% of those crossing the border into Sudan are children. Those remaining in Tigray are currently living without electricity, and running water.”
Source: The Organization for World Peace
Tigray is an ideal staging post for an insurgency
In 2020 Ethiopia plunged into chaos. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, fresh off a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize win, has declared war on the restive province of Tigray. The government claims that the military operation ended after the capture of the Tigray capital, but there are fears that a gorilla conflict will drag on. The region is an ideal staging post for an insurgency, featuring rugged mountain terrain as well as the “gateway to hell”, the Danakil Depression. This sparsely populated desert is one of the lowest and hottest places on earth.
Sources: Explorers Web “The World’s Most Dangerous Places”
TPLF will likely continue to exist as a low-intensity insurgency and many local actors will reject the Ethiopian-appointed state leadership.
Source: Stratfor, 2021 Annual Forecast
ENDF graduated newly trained members
The new recruits were drawn from various parts of the country trained in various military techniques in Tolay, Hurso, & BirSheleko training camps.
Source: EBC News on Facebook
GERD and the HoA
Russia to Establish Navy Base in Sudan for at Least 25 Years
Russia has signed an agreement with Sudan to establish a navy base in the African nation for at least a quarter century, part of Moscow’s efforts to expand its global reach.
Pompeo signs order removing Sudan from terror sponsors list
After months of negotiations, I signed the order to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and ensure compensation for American victims of terrorism and their families. Once in a generation opportunity for freedom — huge benefits. pic.twitter.com/qjhoFwVTZB
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 5, 2021
Egypt’s leader meets US treasury chief ahead of Sudan visit
The office of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said in a statement the president and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin discussed mutual and regional issues, including the latest developments in talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a disputed dam that Ethiopia is building over the Blue Nile River.
Source: Arab News
Egypt has agreed to reopen airspace with Qatar
… to end a three-year rift between Qatar, GCC states and Egypt
Source: Doha News
President Trump’s late pullout appears to put politics over antiterror strategy
Since Islamic State lost its physical caliphate in Syria and Iraq, unstable parts of Africa have become more appealing for jihadists looking to claim territory and plot attacks on the West. ISIS has a small presence in Somalia but the greatest threat is al-Shabaab.
The U.S. Withdraws from Somalia (Podcast).
Discussing President Trump’s decision to withdraw American force from Somalia.
Source: Long War Journal
The Evolution of the Islamic State Threat in Africa
Abstract: The annus horribilis Islamic State Central suffered in 2019, during which the group lost the last stretch of its “territorial caliphate” in Iraq and Syria and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed, does not appear to have had a discernible impact on the overall operational trajectory of the Islamic State threat in Africa. Post-2019, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province sustained around the same high level of violence while Islamic State provinces in Libya, Sinai, and Somalia remained pernicious, though generally contained, threats. In some parts of Africa, the group grew as a threat. Both wings of the Islamic State’s new Central Africa Province as well as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara wing of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province escalated their violent campaigns post-2019. The Islamic State’s province in Algeria remains effectively defunct, and though the Islamic State affiliate in Tunisia failed to conduct major attacks, it remained active. As the authors stress in this article and an upcoming book, the overall resilience of the Islamic State in Africa should not be a surprise; it underscores that while connections were built up between Islamic State Central and its African affiliates—with the former providing, at times, some degree of strategic direction, coordination, and material assistance—the latter have historically evolved under their own steam and acted with a significant degree of autonomy.
Source: Combating Terrorism Center
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