This is a very sophisticated information warfare provocation aimed at maximally dividing-and-ruling not just the Horn of Africa, but also the Gulf due to Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s inclusion in the BBC’s latest warmongering propaganda.
The BBC published a piece of warmongering propaganda from Alex de Waal, who’s infamous for his undisguised hatred of Ethiopia that he expressed all throughout its Northern Conflict from 2020-2022, titled “Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed eyes Red Sea port, inflaming tensions”. This US-based British researcher went all out in his attempt to sow the seeds of mutual distrust between Ethiopia and Eritrea following the example set by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his latest statement about those two.
De Waal didn’t beat around the bush like Blinken did, but outright alleged that Ethiopia is plotting to invade Eritrea with the aim of annexing its Red Sea port of Assab. He exploited the controversy that Prime Minister (PM) Abiy Ahmed unintentionally sparked in his recent remarks about the need to diversify from his country’s dependence on Djibouti by obtaining direct access to the Red Sea. Although the Ethiopian leader pledged to advance this goal through peaceful means, some don’t believe him.
These preexisting suspicions made the regional audience susceptible to de Waal’s warmongering propaganda since those who already hold such views interpreted his wild allegations as confirming their theories, especially since they were platformed by the BBC, which some perceive as objective. Aware that the socio-political environment facilitates the proliferation of disinformation on this subject, he took maximum advantage of this to plant several interconnected narratives in people’s minds.
The first and most obvious one concerns his claims about Ethiopia’s expansionist plans against Eritrea, which are meant to divide-and-rule the Horn of Africa to the West’s hegemonic benefic, particularly regarding the interests of that bloc’s Anglo-American Axis (AAA) core that he personally represents. Reading between the lines, however, reveals the existence of complementary information warfare narratives that all serve to promote his devious agenda.
For instance, de Waal speculates about one-third of the way through his warmongering propaganda that PM Abiy is plotting to invade Eritrea as part of a ploy to regain the support that he lost from Amhara nationalists over the past year. This doesn’t make any sense though since it’s absurd to imagine that they’ll forget about his surprise peace deal with their TPLF nemeses and the ongoing federal intervention in their home region that turned them against him, let alone that he himself seriously expects this too.
Rather, the whole reason why de Waal thought to include this theory in his article was to draw the foreign audience’s attention to this fault line that dangerously emerged after the end of Ethiopia’s Northern Conflict, while hoping to exacerbate it inside that country among the domestic audience. Likewise, this ulterior motive arguably explains why he also speculated about the existence of an informal bloc of Eritrean-led states surrounding Ethiopia that supposedly fear being invaded too.
Just like the split between PM Abiy and some Amhara groups can’t be denied, nor can it be denied that those countries (including self-proclaimed but universally unrecognized Somaliland) released statements after his Red Sea remarks that can be regarded as rebuffing any potential discussions on this issue. Nevertheless, by spinning everything in that way that de Waal did, he’s slyly attempting to worsen mutual suspicions in the region by implying that Ethiopia is surrounded by possible enemies.
Even more alarming, they’re allegedly being led by former rival Eritrea with whom Ethiopia finally patched up its two-decade-long problems under PM Abiy’s visionary leadership half a decade ago, the perception of which represents an effort to revive those suspicions for divide-and-rule purposes. He then adds a transregional twist to this artificially manufactured information warfare narrative by claiming that the UAE is secretly behind Ethiopia’s expansionist plans and is arming it to the hilt for that very reason.
De Waal explains Abu Dhabi’s rationale as being driven by its desire to turn Ethiopia into a “client state”, but then hints that this risks provoking a proxy war with neighboring Saudi Arabia, which he predicts would back Eritrea in any new war between those two. In one fell swoop, he seeks to divide-and-rule Ethiopia and the UAE in parallel with doing the same to Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, both of which are major investors in the Ethiopian economy and an important source of remittances from its diaspora.
His inclusion of Saudi Arabia into this narrative might have seemed random to some, but it’s logical in hindsight when one realizes that his warmongering propaganda was published by the BBC just days before PM Abiy traveled to the Kingdom for the inaugural Saudi-Africa Summit. Considering this, de Wall’s piece was therefore timed to inflict as much damage as possible on bilateral relations, at least concerning the targeted Ethiopian audience’s perceptions of their ties.
It’s also worth mentioning that his speculation about Saudi Arabia supporting Eritrea in the far-fetched scenario that he wrote about has an even more nefarious element to it seeing as how he then predicts that Asmara “could pour arms to the Amhara militia to intensify that war.” The innuendo being put forth is that this could be facilitated to some extent by Saudi Arabia (perhaps through financial means) as part of its proxy war against supposedly UAE-backed Ethiopia, thus further exacerbating mutual suspicions.
To sum it up, reading between the lines of the BBC’s latest warmongering propaganda about Ethiopia reveals a very sophisticated information warfare provocation aimed at maximally dividing-and-ruling not just the Horn of Africa, but also the Gulf due to Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s inclusion in de Waal’s piece. The West’s AAA core wants a major war to break out since they fear the Horn’s peaceful Gulf-supported economic integration, which would accelerate multipolar processes at the expense of their hegemony.