Ethiopia. Like General Graziani, the Nobel Peace Prize winner uses chemical weapons against the population of Tigray.
Where there is no shame, there cannot be any honor (Ethiopian Proverb)
During the fascist invasion of Ethiopia (October 1935 — February 1937) the Duce Benito Mussolini noted that the strong resistance of the “natives” was blocking the two invasion armies: that of General Emilio De Bono from Eritrea and that of General Rodolfo Graziani from Somalia.
To break the resistance of the “natives”, 270 tons of mustard gas and arsine, chemical agents prohibited by the Geneva Protocol, were used, killing about half a million people and causing irreparable damage to the environment and crops. The use of chemical weapons by the fascists was so traumatic for the Ethiopian population that they were never used again.
Both the last Amhara emperor of the Solomonic dynasty Lij Tafari Makonnen (known as Haile Selassie) and Menghistu Haile Mariàm, leader of the Stalinist military junta DERG, refused to use them to avoid their military defeats. Mengistu was suspected of using incapacitated and irritating chemicals against partisans of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Source. He charges still disputed for lack of firm evidence.
After 85 years there are strong suspicions that the Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed Ali has decided to use chemical weapons against 7 million of its citizens in Tigray in a desperate attempt to win the civil war against the TPLF which he started in November 3, 2020 by fabricating a false casus belli. This was denounced by a journalistic investigation conducted by the British newspaper The Telegraph, published yesterday 23 May 2021.
The Telegraph began investigating this horror following the first cases of casualties pouring into Tigray hospitals. For a week, the health personnel of the capital of Tigray: Mekele, have been receiving dozens of Ethiopian citizens who have suffered extensive and deep burns. The testimonies of medical personnel are even more dramatic: the majority of the victims are women and children.
The dozens of victims receiving medical treatment are suspected to be just the tip of the iceberg. “The number of civilians affected by this disease is probably much higher. Let us remember that it is difficult to overcome military roadblocks to go to Mekele, so it can be assumed that there are many other victims that we do not know ”, a doctor told the British newspaper.
The videos and photos collected by The Telegraph (which Il Faro di Roma publishes protecting the identity and dignity of the victims) together with the testimonies of the survivors reveal the causes of this widespread disease. All the victims claim to have been subjected to chemical bombings which resulted in the horrific burns.
Two global chemical weapons experts were contacted: Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the UK Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Regiment and Dan Kaszeta, chemical and biological specialist at the institution linked to the British Ministry of Defense: Royal United Service Institute.
According to Bretton-Gordon, the wounds he examined “look very similar to the wounds I saw on victims in north-east and north-west Syria. There appear to be injuries caused by white phosphorus.” “This could easily be the result of a white phosphorus ammunition. Some fires may have been caused by high explosive ammunition. But this looks more like an incendiary weapon like white phosphorus, “explains Dan Kaszeta.
The substance was first produced for civilian use in 1827 by the English chemist John Walker for the manufacture of matches. The current civil uses of white phosphorus are in the production of porcelain, calcium mono-phosphate, fertilizers, special steels and bronzes and in the doping of semiconductors to increase their conductivity.
Unfortunately, this substance is widely used in the military industry to produce smoke bombs, tracer or illuminating projectiles, target markers for air strikes, hand grenades, 155mm caliber artillery shells and missiles. Also there is the possibility of using it as a chemical weapon.
After noting the devastating effects on the population and the environment of the widespread use by the Nazi army and the American army during the Second World War, and in Vietnam, white phosphorus became a chemical weapon prohibited by the Protocol III Convention of Nations. Unite on certain conventional weapons came into effect globally on December 2, 1983.
Unfortunately, the UN Chemical Weapons Convention does not consider white phosphorus as a chemical weapon in order not to block its production for civil use. This legal vacuum allowed Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and the United States to use white phosphorus as a chemical weapon in the Iran-Iraq War, First Gulf War, Sec on the US-Iraq war (in Fallujah), in the wars waged by Israel in Lebanon and Gaza and in the ongoing civil war in Syria.
White phosphorus causes very serious and extremely painful burns. The burns are multiple, deep and of variable size. Finally, white phosphorus burns are also very dangerous due to the high degree of toxicity of the substances produced by combustion or degradation such as phosphine. These products can cause damage to the liver, heart and kidneys in the short term.
Beyond the necessary moral and legal considerations against the use of chemical weapons both on armies and on civilian populations, we must ask ourselves a question. Why does a Premier who defines himself as a Democrat decide to resort to chemical warfare against a large part of his own population?
The terrible experiences of the recent past show that the use of chemical weapons occurs when a regime finds it extremely difficult to win a conflict. To limit the number of losses of their soldiers and decrease the enormous financial war effort (which becomes disastrous in the medium to long term), some unscrupulous governments decide to use chemical weapons in an attempt to accelerate the end of the war, hoping to be able to definitively defeat the enemy.
“This is not the case in Ethiopia. The war in Tigray ended on November 28, 2020. Now there are only sporadic clashes against the last pockets of resistance of the TPLF Tigrinya terrorists ”some might object on the basis of official statements from the Ethiopian central government. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground is extremely different.
After 6 months of war the TPLF-controlled Tigray Defense Forces are not only intact, but also capable of launching military offensives against the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies thanks to mass enlistments and continuous supplies of weapons and ammunition, probably by of Egypt and Sudan. To this we must add the “secret” war in Oromia.
Various military and journalistic sources claim that the Ethiopian federal army has been decimated in Tigray and is suffering heavy losses in Oromia. According to these sources, the federal army would no longer be able to carry out territorial defense tasks, forcing the Abiy administration to resort to Eritrean military assistance with an exponential increase in troops from Eritrea fighting on at least 4 fronts in Ethiopia. From an economic point of view, these six months of civil war and the Covid19 pandemic are seriously compromising the national economy which could have zero growth or go into recession for the first time since 1991.
The revelations in The Telegraph represent a fatal blow to the reputation of the Ethiopian Nobel Peace Prize winner. Reputation already seriously undermined by irrefutable evidence of war crimes committed on civilians in Tigray and Oromia, and of ethnic cleansing and genocide taking place in Tigray. Although Ethiopia is a signatory to the UN Chemical Weapons Convention, it has not signed the Convention on the Use of Chemicals in Conventional Weapons (Protocol III) which bans the use of incendiary weapons such as white phosphorus. The presence of the Eritrean army facilitates the use of chemical weapons as the North Korean regime of Asmara has not signed either of these two International Conventions.
However, the use of white phosphorus implies the risk for Premier Abiy, his party (ironically called the Prosperity Party), the far-right nationalist leadership Amhara and for the bloody Eritrean dictator Isaias Afwerki to end up straight in the dock at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity (Tigray and Oromia) and for attempted genocide in Tigray. This risk explains the Ethiopian government’s swift denial action.
Four hours after the investigation was published in The Telegraph, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published an official statement on the subject categorically rejecting the accusation of using chemical weapons. “Ethiopia has not and will never use such banned ammunition because it takes its international obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention extremely seriously. As a victim of the chemical weapons attack itself, Ethiopia also strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere. “ Read the press release. The statement is grotesque as the Foreign Ministry itself had rejected the British newspaper’s proposal two hours earlier to be able to comment on the accusations made against it.
Local sources inform that the correspondent for the Telegraph who lives in Nairobi: Mr. Will Brown (author of the investigation) could run the risk of being included in the list of “Non Grata” people which involves the denial of permission to enter the country for any reason. We can now say that Et iopia is becoming one of the most hostile and dangerous countries for both Ethiopian and foreign journalists.
In light of the facts, the doubt arises that the impediments to NGOs and UN Humanitarian Agencies from accessing 80% of the territory of Tigray (impediments implemented by a foreign army: the Eritrean one, now also extended to some areas of Oromia), would also serve to prevent to gather evidence of the massive use of chemical warfare.
The Ethiopian diaspora (not only of Tigrigna origin) and various associations in defense of human rights invite the United Nations to open an independent investigation into the use of white phosphorus against people in Tigray. The UN remains cautious at the moment stating that “war crimes may have been committed by all parties involved in the conflict”
The United States has proved less cautious in imposing restrictions on Ethiopia and Eritrea on the Tigray crisis. Announcing the move, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says “no significant steps” have been taken to end hostilities. The restrictions concern the conception of visas for Ethiopian and Eritrean officials accused of aggravating the war in Tigray for six months, claiming that the people involved “have not taken significant steps to end hostilities”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that limits on economic assistance and military cooperation will also be imposed on Ethiopia, while excluding humanitarian aid in key areas such as health, food and education. The restrictions also affect the Amhara militias and members of the TPLF judged by the White House as other actors undermining a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Tigray.
But it gets worse for poor Abiy. The United States has raised the possibility of blocking the loans promised by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to support Ethiopia in the post-Covid economic recovery19. The World Bank had pledged $ 904 million. What the central government needs to continue the war in Tigray and Oromia. Ethiopia is the largest recipient of US aid in Africa, receiving about $ 1 billion last year.
Despite the chaos of civil wars and ethnic clashes involving five of the 10 states that make up the Ethiopian Federation, the Abiy Administration has decided to hold elections for next month anyway. Elections postponed in 2020 were due to be held on 5 June 2021. On 18 May Abiy was forced to postpone them further without specifying the date. Two days later (20/05/2021) the government changed its mind again by setting the electoral date for next 21 June despite the fact that the main allies and donors (European Union and United States) consider these elections impossible due to the situation in the country.
The new face was an obligatory choice to avoid a national dialogue of all Ethiopian political and social forces, the beginning of peace talks and ceasefires in Tigray and (above all) for Abiy’s desperate need to legitimize his party that currently holds the majority of Parliament and is leading the country only thanks to an institutional coup. Currently, only 36.24% of the Ethiopian electoral population has registered for the elections, mostly Amhara. A popular boycott against the “prosperity” policies of the Ethiopian Premier?