US: War Crimes by All Sides in Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict

    US: War Crimes by All Sides in Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict
    Last updated Mar 21, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via Al Jazeera]


    • The US claimed on Monday that all parties in Ethiopia's two-year Tigray conflict committed war crimes, and called for those most responsible to be held accountable.[1]
    • Sec. of State Antony Blinken said the "calculated and deliberate" war crimes were committed by the Ethiopian and Eritrean national armies as well as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and neighboring Amhara region forces.[2]
    • He added that Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara forces were also involved in what he characterized as crimes against humanity including murder, rape, and other sexual violence and persecution, and referred to alleged ethnic cleansing committed by Amhara forces against Tigrayans.[3]
    • This comes less than a week after Blinken visited Ethiopia, where he reportedly didn't address the issue of alleged war crimes but spoke with both sides about the importance of acknowledging atrocities committed by all parties along with accountability and reconciliation.[4]
    • The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry accused Washington of taking a "partisan" and "inflammatory" stance by accusing Ethiopian, Eritrean, and regional Amhara forces of alleged crimes against humanity while not mentioning TPLF forces.[5]
    • Amhara and Eritrean forces fought alongside the Ethiopian military against the TPLF in the Tigray War, which began in November 2020 and claimed about 500K lives, making it one of the deadliest conflicts of the 21st century.[6]


    Narrative A

    While Washington supposedly blames all parties involved for the atrocities of the Tigray conflict, it accuses only Addis Ababa and its allies of "crimes against humanity." By doing so, the US continues its campaign against Ethiopia on a smaller scale, having already punished only Addis Ababa and Eritrea but not the TPLF. With the TPLF having lost the war, caution is needed when the US pretends to now want "peace and reconciliation."

    Narrative B

    Though Addis Ababa may not like it, Blinken's remarks are based on an unbiased US review of atrocities during the Tigray War. Amid Blinken's visit to Ethiopia and a new aid package, the US has signaled that the time has come to revitalize the longstanding bilateral relations. Washington and the international community must keep a close eye on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he bears the main responsibility for the outbreak of the devastating civil war.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!