Ethiopia, Michelle, Tigray discussed on The President's Inbox

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Welcome to the president's inbox and see if our podcast about the foreign policy challenges facing the united states. I'm jim lindsey director studies at the council on foreign relations. This week's topic is ethiopia's civil war. With being discussed the fighting in northern ethiopia between federal government forces in regional tigray enforces is michelle gavin. Michelle is senior fellow for africa studies at the council. She was previously managing director of the center from two thousand eleven to two thousand fourteen. She was us ambassador botswana where she served concurrently as the us representative to the southern african development community before that michelle was a special assistant to president barack obama in the senior director for africa on the staff of the national security council michelle. Thanks you being here. Thanks so much for having michelle. Afghanistan is dominated news. As we're speaking so i think a lot of people haven't heard or followed what's been happening in ethiopia. Maybe we could just start by laying out for us. How things currently stand in ethiopia. Sure well unfortunately the situation ethiopia has really gone from bad to worse so fighting that began last november between the two gray enforces in the state of tigray in ethiopia and federal government forces very quickly brought in additional armed groups that would be military of country of eritrea. But also some emperor militia what we have now are even more actors even more armed groups involved in the fighting and we have a geographics sort of expansion of the conflict beyond the borders of tigray itself into a far and amhara states that border on tigray so essentially you have more armed elements in the mix fighting over a larger swath of territory the humanitarian crisis. Which is captured so much of the world's attention persists and in some ways has gotten worse as the sort of chokepoints for bringing food and other types of assistance to people in need have essentially narrowed down to one. There is one way that we're getting humanitarian assistance to tigray and it's not getting in fast enough with talk about how we got to the stage later. We can talk about where we're likely to go. Potential for diplomatic mediation the rest. But i'm trying to understand why the fighting broke out in the first place. Now ethiopia's the country of roughly one hundred ten million people. I have seen estimates that ethiopia has as many as ninety different ethnic groups tigray estate in northern part of ethiopia tigrayans constitute about five percent of the ethiopian population. How is we ended up in a situation which such a small group of people is in a battle with the central government. Well you have to step back in ethiopian history. A bit history is going to be love history on the presence. Inbox great stuff..

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