On September 11, the Ethiopian New Year, the TPLF issued a statement in which it offered peace to the renewed Ethiopian-Eritrean alliance, hoping for African Union aegis in the process. The TPLF elected Getachew Reda, the Front’s spokesperson, and General Tsadkan Gebretensae, the commander-in-chief of the TDF (Tigrinya Defense Forces) as its representatives, offering an immediate cessation of hostilities and participation in peacebuilding. It is hard to say how much this TPLF offer is produced from a position of weakness or strength, as argued here by Getachew Reda (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0d01qtl?at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D&at_custom4=3845AD20-333D-11ED-80FE-D108933C408C&at_medium=custom7&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom3=BBC+World+Service&at_campaign=64).

The government of Abiy Ahmed has not yet issued a statement on the matter, nor has the government of Isaias Afwerki. Which suggests that the federal strategy passes solely through military means.

The supreme command of the OLF-OLA, the other front in the war even though it is a low-intensity conflict, joins in the condemnation of the Abiy government by accusing it of rejecting the peace offer made by the Oromos in the last week of August – and not reported by any international media – the accusations extend to the international community, which in building the peace process has treated the conflict in Tigray as the only theater of confrontation. The OLF-OLA calls on the military to join its cause, as “thousands of your fellow soldiers did last year,” and accuses Abiy of waiting five months to restart the conflict hoping that starvation would cause Tigray to implode. (https://olacommunique.com/2022/08/31/regarding-the-re-escalation-of-hostilities-in-oromia-tigray-and-elsewhere-in-the-country/).

What, however, is the actual situation on the ground? For Alex de Waal, the ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Force), EDF (Eritrean Defense Force) and TDF are fighting fiercely, but until September 13 it was the TDF that had the advantage. On the southern front, at Kobo the TDF defeated the ENDF and repelled an attack at Seqota in the southwest, while holding positions in coordinated ENDF and EDF attacks on the Eritrean border. Here it appears that as many as 12 Ethiopian divisions are under Isaias’s command, signaling how much efforts by the international coalition to draw Abiy away from Isaias have been in vain. The heaviest fighting then took place in western Tigray, although there are no definite reports here. (https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/09/13/tigray-announces-cessation-of-hostilities-but-abiy-remains-silent/).

Instead, exceptional measures for mass conscription in Eritrea have been reported by some international press sources, amid fears that the TPLF may move in the direction of Asmara when it is able to do so. Even if Abiy opts for peace, Eritreans fear that the real enemy to defeat for the TPLF remains the government of Isaias Afwerki (https://twitter.com/AsmeraReporter).


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