2021-07-19 Intelligence Brief
Ethopia is on the verge of all-out civil war and risks outright genocide.
The Ethiopian government forces have been in active conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November of 2020. The TPLF runs the Tigray government, and like the rest of Ethiopia’s nine states, maintains its own militia arm.
The Intelligence Brief operates using a series of indicator templates as a guide to analysis. We use indicators to monitor for instability, as well as larger conflict.
Our indicators for both heightened instability and major conflict have been triggered. Ethiopia’s long, complex history of conflict has been exacerbated by the economic crisis of Covid-19, and a years-long drought. Estimates vary, but as many as 12.9 million people face high levels of acute food insecurity.
During this reporting period, Reuters has continued to report on the mobilization of at least three other state’s militias in support of the Ethiopian government forces. Centrally managed militaries have between a 2-4 week mobilization cycle, and if this cycle began two weeks ago, its possible that in the next week additional conflict may begin. Additionally, multiple statements have been issued focusing on controlling media coverage of the conflict, and unverified translations of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed statement indicate a shift in focus to targeting the whole region vs just militants.
The Intelligence Brief has not yet verified the translations of the statement. However, active mobilization of reserve forces is a hallmark of a large military assault.
Instability is centripetal in nature, and almost always begins on the periphery, going through a three phase cycle: under reaction, over reaction, concession.
Under-reaction to the conflict is complete in the cycle. The over-reaction is about to begin.
Two Iranian warships have entered the English Channel, with ship watchers and tanker trackers alike having a field day with regards to their intended destination, posited by USNI news to be heading towards a July 25th naval parade in the Baltic Sea.
Two Part Comment:
- The Iranian maritime forces as a whole have continued to expand their international reach over the last decade. Embarrassing setbacks aside, the IRINS Sahand and former oil-tanker-turned warship IRINS Makran mark a step forward for the more professional element of Iran’s Navy, the IRIN, and mark’s their ability to successfully sustain an out of normal operating area deployment.
- USNI commented on the protected status of Makran as a transport. It begs the question as to the level of coordination between Iranian and Russian Naval Forces, and the eyebrow-raising with regards to the payload of Makran, besides support supplies, is warranted. Naval watchers would do well to continue to monitor offloads and transfers.