The defeat of the Derg and the establishment of new governments in Ethiopia and Eritrea

by Paul B. Henze


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This paper was written as a contribution to a book that the U.S. Institute of Peace was preparing for publication. It describes how two erstwhile Marxist guerrilla movements--the Tigrean and the Eritrean Popular Liberation Fronts (TPLF and EPLF)--transformed themselves into effective fighting forces with a pragmatic political and economic approach and how, in the process, Soviet influence in the Horn of Africa became irrelevant and U.S. influence was reasserted in ways that could give the United States considerable leverage. The author spent five weeks in Ethiopia in June and July 1991, during which time he came to know the leaders of the EPLF and the Ethiopian Popular Revolutionary Democratic Front, successor to the TPLF. He credits three high-ranking, strategically placed American officials with guiding the warring parties in the successful transition of Ethiopia and Eritrea to democratic governments.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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