How Abiy’s Effort to Redefine Ethiopia Led to War in Tigray

During the past two years, whenever Haileselassie, a wood trader in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, placed an order for supplies from the capital, Addis Ababa, he would lie awake at night, restless with worry. “I don’t sleep,” he told me in late October, sitting at the back of his shop in the central market of Mekelle, Tigray’s capital. “I don’t believe it will arrive safely.”

By then, insecurity and lawlessness had spread in different parts of Ethiopia, and tensions between Tigray and Amhara, a larger region that neighbors Tigray to the south, had decidedly worsened. The roads, Haileselassie said, had become dangerous, and trucks belonging to some of his friends had been attacked and looted. As a result, his business was struggling, as Mekelle’s market grappled with supply shortages. “I’m very, very worried,” he admitted, clearly agitated as he tapped his foot under the desk