Political Observation - Deliberate Media Hype of Border Tension Between Ethiopia and Sudan

سم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Deliberate Media Hype of Border Tension Between Ethiopia and Sudan

The Sudanese army announced on 16 December 2020 that it had suffered material and human losses following an ambush laid by Ethiopian forces and armed groups deep inside Sudanese lands. Three Sudanese soldiers were killed in the ambush. Sudan responded by dispatching reinforcements to the borders with Ethiopia to recapture what the army described as lands usurped by Ethiopian militia in al-Fashqa region which is situated in the Wilaya of al-Gadarif in eastern Sudan. Ethiopian armed groups seized parts of the Sudanese farmers’ lands in that area after they had expelled them by force. However, that area has been the scene of similar tension for more than 25 years, but it has never been the focus of such media hype by Sudan, and this makes the event and its hidden motive dubious. 
 
Having explored the incident, and its implications and circumstances further, it transpired that the issue was merely a military action designed to achieve a host of political aims pertinent to demarcating the borders between the two countries and preventing the repeated attacks carried out by Ethiopian militias on Sudanese lands, namely the al Fashqa region in the wilaya of al-Gadarif. The incident occurred as the living conditions deteriorated and the masses grew even more resentful after the government and the army generals had normalised Sudan’s relations with the Zionist entity. Therefore, the top brass and the government set about deceiving the masses into believing that the country was facing a threat and urging them to rally behind their army and their leadership in the face of the foreign aggression, whereas in fact, the incident was nothing but a local border incident through which the Sudanese army wanted to confirm its presence and ability to protect the country and its unity, especially after the ambush carried out by Ethiopian militias occupying the region of al-Fashqa. Nevertheless, the media hype and  public mobilisation to support the army in its military reinforcement on the borders with Ethiopia was designed to dramatize the issue and steer the resentment of the Sudanese masses towards a foreign enemy, thus venting its anger and tension, and diverting their attention away from the first anniversary of the popular intifada, the wretched living conditions, and the traitorous agreement with the Zionist entity. In fact, no clashes took place between the two armies and what occurred was a muscle-flexing exercise designed for local consumption in Sudan and Ethiopia whose regime is in desperate need to distract the masses following the political fissure in the Ethiopian political milieu and Abiy Ahmed’s military campaign against his opponents and rivals.    
 
What corroborates this farce is the meeting between the Sudanese interim government’s prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok, with his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, on the sidelines of the IGAD summit in Djibouti, and the announcement of the Sudanese information minister, Faysal Mohammed Saleh, in which he said that the government forces had recaptured most of the lands on the borders with Ethiopia; it is further corroborated by the statement of Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Demeke Mekonnen, who headed a delegation to Khartoum and announced that “the borders escalation with Sudan leads to unwarranted tension…. Our firm position is reactivating the current mechanisms and generating a friendly solution concerning settlement and agriculture”. All this proves that the incident was fabricated and exploited to serve the aforementioned aims, and then the issue was de-escalated, and the borders file was brought back to the negotiating table.  
 
13 Jumada al-Oolah 1442h  
28 December 2020