Rebels and Separatists in Ethiopia

Regional Resistance to a Marxist Regime

by Paul B. Henze


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This report examines the historical background, origins, present state, and prospects of a number of separatist and antiregime rebellions in Ethiopia, and discusses the implications for Ethiopia's Marxist government and for U.S. policy. The author sees no advantage for the United States in supporting any of the regional rebellions or separatist movements that are working against Ethiopia's Marxist regime as long as they aim at the breakup of the country. He advocates pursuit of policies that will lead to a change of course by Ethiopia's leaders and/or a change of leadership. The author suggests that the main elements of U.S. policy should be the following: (1) to press for basic change in overall economic policy, especially with respect to agriculture; (2) to make clear that the United States will support an Ethiopian government that adopts a new course — which the United States can do by resuming development aid on a significant scale, encouraging American private investment, and considering the reestablishment of military aid; and (3) to straightforwardly uphold certain political principles — including recognizing and supporting the maintenance of Ethiopia's territorial integrity, encouraging measures that will give disaffected regions of the country a say in their local affairs, and standing ready to facilitate the mediation of quarrels with neighboring countries, including Somalia and Sudan.

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