Ethiopia’s Launches Offensive Against Tigray Forces:

Ethiopian ground troops, backed by regional militia from the Amhara region, launched synchronised attacks along Tigray’s southern border on Tuesday, according to government and rebel officials.

Government troops used heavy artillery and tanks, backed up by drones and aircraft, to target important supply routes and at least three towns near Tigray’s border with Amhara: Wegeltena, Geregera, and Haro.

The operation, which effectively terminates a frayed cease-fire imposed by Ethiopia’s in June shortly after government troops withdrew from Tigray’s regional capital Mekelle, is centred on the key road that serves as the only viable entry route into Tigray.

According to Billene Seyoum, an Ethiopian prime minister’s spokesman, government troops are fighting to safeguard all residents from TPLF “terrorism.”

According to a spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which marched into Amhara in July in pursuit of regional militia that aided government forces, rebel fighters are firmly “defending the aggression.”

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed,

a longtime US counterterrorism partner in the Horn of Africa who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for mediating a cease-fire to end a three-decade conflict with neighbouring Eritrea has become a worldwide pariah when his 2020 invasion of Tigray province devolved into a gruelling civil war The United States has called for a stop to the fighting and sanctioned government officials, prompting Mr. Ahmed to increase military cooperation with China, Iran, and Turkey.
Analysts say Mr. Ahmed is expecting that his landslide re-election this summer would give him leverage in the offensive, but that it will likely simply prolong the conflict and deepen a raging human crisis across northern Africa.

“He is essentially replicating his previous method of tremendous force,” said Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation, located at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. “I fear very high levels of violence and a war that will go on indefinitely with no sign of a resolution.”

Residents in northern Amhara said on Tuesday that a large number of military helicopters have been flying over the area toward Tigray in recent days.

According to residents, majority of Tigray’s population and relief workers remained inside the mountainous region’s makeshift refugee settlements.

Members of the Ethiopia’s Defence Forces prepared to parade in Addis Ababa this month. 
The offensive comes just weeks after Ethiopia’s foreign ministry expelled seven U.N. officials, giving them only 72 hours to leave Addis Ababa after accusing them of meddling in the country’s internal affairs, marking a new low in relations between the government and Western donors. Aid officials estimate that tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict, which has left some 400,000 others in famine-like conditions. The conflict is taking a toll on Ethiopia’s economy, with inflation rates spiraling into double digits, while periodic disruptions to trade routes have hurt the nation’s trade amid a soaring external debt estimated at $30 billion. Some observers believe Mr. Ahmed, who was sworn in to start a second five-year term last week, had been preparing for this offensive for months, ignoring pleas from the international community amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Since July, a blockade on trucks transporting life-saving aid into Tigray has limited supplies ranging from food to medicine to only 12 percent of what is required. Since late July, no gasoline or medical supplies have been permitted into Tigray, causing many United Nations and private humanitarian organisations to halt operations. According to humanitarian officials, almost a dozen fuel tankers have been waiting for government permission to enter Tigray since August. In recent weeks, relief organisations working in Tigray have documented an increase in deaths from starvation, and the United Nations has warned of an increased risk of famine, particularly between October and December.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Already, 5.2 million Tigrayans, or around 90 percent of the region’s population, require food and other help. Cameron Hudson, a former CIA official now with the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, believes Mr. Ahmed’s current Tigray push will cost him more Western supporters and may result in more of his personnel being sanctioned by Washington. “The situation on the ground in Tigray is going to worsen before it improves,” he predicted. “As the already terrible humanitarian and human-rights problems deteriorate, Ethiopia’s foreign ties will deteriorate.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The United States has threatened to apply economic penalties in response to Ethiopia’s worsening crisis, according to Ned Price, the State Department’s spokesman, on Tuesday, following a high-level discussion on the crisis chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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