03/02/18

Ethiopia can and should overcome the current challenge by applying relevant diagnosis and administering effective panacea. If Ethiopia has successfully adopted best development practices to its economic problem, it can also successfully adopt best conflict resolution practices to its political problems. There are robust theories/analyses, and a vast array of case studies lending best practices and pointing avoidable mistakes.I will briefly state my assessment.

The current situation is part of a general evolution of conflict worldwide. The two old wars, i.e., conventional war among states and those waged by guerrilla forces are gone. The strategies and tactics that accompany them, i.e., total wars waged since Napoleon (analyzed by Clausewitz, Von Moltke, etc.) and guerrilla warfare waged and interpreted by Mao, Che, and Giap have become obsolete. This transition begun after the end of the Second World War in decolonized states, fully matured after the Cold War ended and became dominant after 9/11.

Modern day conflicts take place on adifferent battlefield, i.e., within the population and in weakly governed rural and urban territories (often contested, abdicated, far, crowded, and homogeneous). The days where violence takes place in the name of political ideology or liberation are gone. Instead, we see a scenario where asuperficial political cause is a façade for criminal (looting)activities and identity-based(religious and ethnicity) violence. Globalization, i.e., increased connectivity at the physical, virtual, institutional, and normative levels have exacerbated these conflicts.

The modern perpetrators’ superficial political goal (lack of authentic political solutions)rule out total war as a modus operandi that is, after all, waged to replace existing political order completely. Their realistically achievable goal is rendering territories ungovernable, not atotal victory. The criminal aspect gives incentive for controlling resource-rich, economically lucrative, and strategically profitable territories (e.g., diamond/timber in Liberia/Sierra Leone, oil and drug in the Middle East/Afghanistan/Guinea Bissau, etc.). The identity (ethnicity and religious) aspect makes civilians targets of violence- causing untold massacre and large internal displacement as witnessed in Rwanda, ex-Yugoslavia, Somalia, Darfur, South Sudan, DRC, Libya, Syria, etc.

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