The counter-offensive by the Tigrinya forces of the TDF and their Oromo allies of the OLA has affected a wide swath of the border between the regional states of Amhara and Afar in Ethiopia. The objective of the Tigrayan forces is to succeed in conquering the city of Mile, about 80 km from the border with the Amhara region, which is a vital road junction in the direction of the capital of Djibouti. Mile, in fact, is the connection point between the A1 highway, the B11 regional road (now for large stretches under the control of TDF forces) and the northern link road that reaches the city of Chifra.

With the fall of Dessiè and Komblocha and the conquest of a wide strip of territory beyond the regional border with Afar, the possibility of an eastward advance towards Mile became a possible option for the Tigrinya forces, deeply alarming both the federal and the Djiboutian authorities.

Through the road junction of Mile, in fact, passes the entire traffic of goods on road from the port of Djibouti to Ethiopia, and especially the capital Addis Ababa, and its interruption would determine a real economic strangulation of the country.

At the same time, developments in the conflict risk involving the Afar region and upsetting its already restless political balance, fuelling the irredentist ambitions of secessionist movements or, more simply, triggering a phase of instability generated by the polarization between the various components of local society.

This evolution would have direct consequences on Djibouti’s stability. In the first place, the blockage of land transport routes would cause, in the initial phase, both congestion of goods and a subsequent economic crisis linked to the paralysis of a large part of the Ethiopian market, with unpredictable impacts on Djibouti’s economy.

A further consequence could be determined in the social balance of Djibouti, where relations between the Somali ethnic majority of the Issa clan and the Afar ethnic minority have been tense for some time and have often resulted in violence.

A renewed capacity for action of the most radical political forces in the Afar region, in this way, could determine unpredictable consequences on the stability and security of Djibouti, with the real risk of a new phase of social tensions and, above all, of political claims.


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