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Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflict

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Ethiopia is known to be located at the Horn of Africa because it has had prolonged violent conflicts that had an immense impact on the people who live there and is very alarming and it is in the northern part of the Sub- Saharan Region and also happens to be one of the poorest countries in Africa. Ethiopia is a federal democratic republic composed of 9 national regional states: namely Tigray, afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Southern Nations Nationalities and People Region (SNNPR), Gambella and Harari and two administrative states (Addis Ababa City administration and Dire Dawa city councils).

Since the cold war, the battlefield had been silent and no country ever went head to head (interstate conflicts) for absolute dominance unlike before. Rather a new sensation or approach came around that had to do with intrastate conflicts (conflicts between ethnic groups). Then, there was an interstate conflicts which was rare and it was between Somalia and Ethiopia over a region that was controlled by Ethiopia called the Ogaden region. This was however, the first of its kind nobody had ever thought such an event would occur and it has been eight years since the conflict and I can say for a fact that there are still diverse consequences that have taken a toll on the people who live there. Ethiopia was an empire that was ruled by King Solomon and it is believed that Hailee Selassie is also from King Solomon’s lineage so basically a ruler from God.

There are numerous countries found within the African region but why does Ethiopia get a spotlight? To answer that will be very easy, no other country had drawn so much attention to itself by going into two civil wars than Ethiopia which had two civil wars in the horn of Africa which has brought about the emergence of new countries namely: South Sudan and Eritrea. These figures is probably more than two million civilians had lost their lives. Many questions come to mind as to what will account for the drastic downfall into poverty which has led to ethnic conflicts, since there were never colonized or despite the fact that, it was never colonized back in the precolonial times. It seems fair to say that, the issues that will be discussed will have nothing to do with foreigners but rather indigenous tribes.

In view of this this paper, I will first, discuss the consequences that led Ethiopia into the twenty-five- year prolonged conflict that they face till date. Secondly, I will have a look at the secessionist movement that took place in Africa with special attention to the country: Ethiopia. And lastly, look at the responses that was given to address the conflict at hand.

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First and foremost, one will need to know the history of Ethiopia to be able to know the context of the nature of conflicts. One could find the Ethiopian highlands which dated back to the earliest centre of African state formation (Freund, 1988, p. 24). Now, the first Ethiopian state that can be identified was Axum, with its capital in the province of Tigre near to the Eritrean border. The countries found at the Horn, on a normal day find itself in even more violent events than countries in the rest of the continent.

A) Determinants of conflict

The Horn of Africa has been Africa’s hotspot for over 100 years. Domestically, conflicts have been almost dangerous in most of the countries in the Horn. More also, the secessionist conflicts in Ethiopia, the problems of southern Sudan and later the almost disintegrations of Somalia are some of the major portrayal of the problem. There was a recorded succession of states that dated back long ago around the valley of the Blue and White Niles meet, wide enough of the Sahara for rain fed agriculture to flourish away from the

As Ethiopia’s economy moved toward capitalism in the 1960s, considerable social unrest among the intelligentsia and in the provinces undermined the national consensus. Indeed, the Eritreans rebelled, claiming that they were a separate people largely because of their experiences under Italian and British colonial rule. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the authorities resorted to police or military repression to keep Ethiopia intact clients to bolster its administration, as in the case of the Ogaden. Haile Selassie’s government was overthrown in 1974 and replaced by an ideologically driven inclusivist state determined to extirpate any competing civil society or ethnic activity”(Marcus,2008,p.2).

As it is always said, one will need to know the society in which an author lived in before, one can actually understand the literature devices and diction that he/she uses in their book, the same goes for the understanding the nature of the conflict in Ethiopia. As the story goes Ethiopia had challenges; the challenges that Ethiopia faced if history is to be any indicator, would serve as a reminder that “such a development will give way inevitably to renewed national unity as the logic of geography, economics, tradition and political culture become a recap to dominate politics” (Marcus, 2008, p.3).

First and foremost, one of the nature of conflicts in Ethiopia (the horn of Africa) is that there are a lot of misunderstandings. There were disagreements about the possession or use of the land, grazing land or water resources, and about the settlements, regional hegemony, access to state resources and language policy in education and administration (Taylor, & Young,2017,p.. One problem which baffles much of the readings on the state in Africa is that authors of all influences tend to go with one way distinction between states and tribes without rulers or stateless societies in interest of easing colonial administrative problems. Instead of solving the issue of Africa’s colonial administrative presence and taking control of their own affairs, they look onto unimportant problems and leave the circumstance that need attention.


  1. A History of Modern Ethiopia, 1855–1991. (2019). Ohio University Press • Swallow Press. Retrieved 22 November 2019, from,%201855%E2%80%931991
  2. Everts, N. (1991). Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, 1855-1974. Eastern African Studies, London (James Curry Publishers) 1991, 244 pp. Price £ 9.95 paper, £ 25.00 cloth. Itinerario, 15(2), 126-127. Doi: 10.1017/S016511530000646X
  3. Marcus, H. (2008). A history of Ethiopia (p. 3). Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
  4. Taylor, P., & Young, J. (2017). Ethnicity and Power in Ethiopia. Review of African Political Economy, 23(70), 531–542.
  5. Bahru, Zewde (2002). A history of modern Ethiopia, 1855-1991. Athens (OH), Addis Ababa and Oxford: Ohio University Press/Addis Ababa University Press/James Currey. 2nd Ed.
  6. Bahru, Zewde (2006). “Ethiopia and Eritrea, in quest of the culture of peace and dialogue”. In: Leenco LATA (Ed.). The search for peace: the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Proceedings of Scholarly Conference on Ethio Eritrean Conflict. Fafo Report. Oslo, Norway: Fafo Information Office.

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Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflict. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
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