Biden Threatens New Sanctions As Conflict In Ethiopia’s Tigray Worsens

President Biden announced new sanctions against the prolonged fighting and humanitarian crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia. This Friday, an executive order was signed to allow the U.S. Treasury and State Department to sanction parties involved in the crisis if they do not soon take any steps to stop the violence, according to Al Jazeera. This multi-party conflict has killed thousands of Ethiopians and left at least five million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

Al Jazeera also added that up to 900,000 people are living under famine conditions in Tigray with aid convoys regularly blocked from the entrance by the Ethiopian troops. Although the U.S. condemns both parties involved in the conflict, the Ethiopian President blames the opposition, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The Ethiopian government has repeatedly called TPLF “a terrorist organization” and asks the U.S. to not make impetuous decisions about the issue.

Biden’s statement addresses: “The Executive Order I signed today establishes a new sanctions regime that will allow us to target those responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, or preventing a ceasefire.” He specifically condemns members of the government of Ethiopia, Eritrea, the TPLF, and the Amhara regional government for the neglect of human rights.

He also agreed with the UN and African Union that “there is no military solution to this crisis,” as reported by Al Jazeera. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wrote an open letter to the U.S. President, in which he accuses the U.S. and wider international communities of overlooking the crimes committed by the “terrorist” TPLF. “Unfortunately, while the entire world has turned its eyes onto Ethiopia and the government for all the wrong reasons, it has failed to openly and sternly reprimand the terrorist group in the same manner it has been chastising my government,” he wrote.

The crisis in Ethiopia has been prolonged for 10 months and people will continue to suffer if no peaceful solution is found soon. The immediate action that the Ethiopian Government must take is to allow foreign aid inside Tigray. There is also the urgent need for both sides to find a reasonable medium whereby they could negotiate a cease-fire. The government must also allow the African Union to help in initiating talks and solutions.

Ethiopia is one of the most vulnerable African countries that has suffered years of political instability and human rights abuses. The conflict in Tigray started to escalate in November when the Ethiopian Government ordered ground and air military operations after accusing the TPLF of orchestrating attacks on federal army camps. Many young civilians are forced to fight for their lives and there are countless reports of young girls and women being sexually assaulted by the combatants. These children and women are caught in the middle of the conflict and they are being neglected by their government who stays committed to the offensive course.

The ongoing crisis in Tigray reflects the government’s incapacity to ensure the safety of its citizens. The U.S. and the wider international community must continue to pressure all parties involved in the conflict to cease-fire and initiate talks. This fight has been dragged on for months and both sides have gained little from perpetuating violence; more and more civilians are being displaced and having their lives turned upside down. If things keep escalating, this crisis could lead to the targeted genocide of the Tigrayan people or years-long wars that will create further division and violence.


Yemen, The Largest Humanitarian Crisis In The World

In the past, Yemen was a prosperous developing country suffused with economical and societal riches. Yemen’s roots in the development and distribution of internationally admired goods like coffee and gold date back centuries, which served as a reliable foundation for growth across much of its existence. However, over time it became apparent that Yemen’s unique capabilities would not prove to be an efficient protective mechanism against the travesties of humanity’s inner workings. Slowly, due to international involvement and rivaling political parties intervening with the nation’s societal welfare, the peace that Yemenis embraced for many years was beginning to dissolve into a thing of the past.
2015: The Ignition to Civil Turmoil
In 2004, the United States pushed the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to concentrate on combating a terrorist group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In response, Yemen’s military force backed by Saudi Arabia launched multiple strikes against a group known as Houthis, who Saleh alleged were creating a dynamic of separatism ,enforcing their religious beliefs on the country’s people and operating in collusion with AQAP. This created a severe rift between the most prominent religious parties in the nation, which established a hostile environment for the state of Yemen and all of its citizens. The trend towards a civil war, indicated by this long standing atmosphere of tension and conflict finally came to a precipice 11 years later. In February of 2015, the Houthi rebellion finally reached the place of power that it desired by forcing Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi (then leader of Yemen, and technically still president of the nation today) and his cabinet to flee to Saudi Arabia, leaving the Houthis essentially in control of the state and all of its facilities. Just a month later, the Saudi Arabian military set the goals of its military intervention to reverse the nation back into the authority of the Hadi government and retain governance over Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Ever since, these two factions have fought relentlessly for control over the nation, which once gave off a lustrous tint of optimism, but after seemingly endless warfare it has been reduced to a pile of debris and a living case study of how a society can collapse under the pressures of greed, religious opposition, and the corruption of foreign affairs.

The Current State of the Humanitarian Crisis
The civil war in Yemen has decreased the living conditions of its people to a terrifying level. With no resolution in sight, Yemeni people are faced with a situation where optimism for a brighter future seems more like an act of dreaming than a mental reflection of reality. In recent weeks, famine conditions caused by blockades on the borders of the nation and massive economic downfall rivaling famous events on global markets like the Great Depression have reached virality in an increased amount of regions around Yemen. It is estimated that nearly 2.3 million children under the age of five in Yemen are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition and could die if they do not receive urgent treatment. Along with mass starvation, the nationwide warfare has resulted in the displacement of approximately 4 million people, and the killing of over 100 000 people since 2015. These numbers give shocking insight into the sheer magnitude of this humanitarian crisis, and with important political figures like the U.S. President Joe Biden recently announcing reductions in international affairs including the civil war in Yemen, it is difficult to perceive a future where Yemeni citizens will be able to go back to the things they love. An individual can only enjoy the level of happiness that their society’s living conditions permits them to, and unfortunately for the Yemeni people, the likelihood of that ever getting back to a point of admiration remains shrouded in mystery.

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