Addis Abeba– The International Crisis Group (ICG), in its annual projection of regions susceptible to heightened conflict, has pinpointed Ethiopia as a critical area of concern for the year 2024.
The organization, headquartered in Brussels, unveiled its report entitled “10 Conflicts to Watch in 2024,” which delineates ten countries in dire need of immediate diplomatic intervention.
Within Ethiopia, the report posits that despite the Pretoria Peace Agreement representing a notable achievement, it may unintentionally instigate further unrest, particularly in the Amhara region.
There, a sense of treachery has been stoked by feelings of injustice regarding territorial issues and perceived indulgences by the people of Tigray.
According to the report, the Amhara region’s stability is compromised by the populace’s refusal to accept government-appointed representatives, resulting in a governance void in certain locales.
The Oromia region presents Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the task of suppressing an enduring nationalist insurrection. Although negotiations have made headway, a conclusive settlement remains elusive.
The report underscores a broader reluctance among regional authorities to relinquish sovereignty to the federal government, a stance that has incited uprisings across Ethiopia’s three dominant regions.
Economic hardships are intensifying the country’s fragility, as a faltering economy may drive more youth towards upheaval. Diplomatic and security concerns are heightened by strained relations with Eritrea, particularly due to President Isaias Afwerki’s disapproval of the Pretoria peace accord and the ongoing presence of Eritrean forces within Ethiopia.
Additionally, Prime Minister Abiy’s assertion of Ethiopia’s ancestral entitlement to the Red Sea coastline has escalated regional discord, with apprehensions of a possible military engagement with Eritrea.
The report warns that despite the absence of immediate military intentions, the profound distrust and military readiness on both sides amplify the likelihood of an accidental conflict with grave consequences.
The Crisis Group also signals alarm over the situation in Sudan, where clashes between military and paramilitary factions since April have displaced millions and obscured the route to reestablishing civilian governance. The enduring hostilities threaten to destabilize neighboring areas if left unaddressed.
The report also draws attention to Gaza, where extensive destruction has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians amidst an escalating humanitarian crisis, with a sustainable resolution yet to be found. AS