Los Cebollitas @ FB
Yesterday evening, at about 8:25pm, several rockets were fired into Eritrea. They came in a trajectory from the south. It is widely believed that they were launched by the TPLF. The rockets landed outside Asmara, but the explosions could be heard here in the city. It is likely that they landed in a mountainous rural area not far from the capital. The number of casualties, injuries, and total damage is not yet known. This was the second night in a row that rockets were fired from the southern direction. The first attack also did not result in casualties, injuries, or damage, with the rockets landing in a similar, nearby uninhabited rural area. Keep in mind also that yesterday evening’s attacks came only hours after the TPLF announced a “change of strategy”. After the attack, things were hardly in frenzy or in chaos. Most were not greatly surprised, and everything was mainly calm. Even now, things are as you’d expect on a typical Saturday morning.
Several other points:
♦ These attacks can and should only be condemned in the strongest and most withering terms. There are no military targets within the general vicinity of where the attacks occurred, while there are civilians located not far from the area. Of course, Asmara and Massawa, major civilian population centres, are also relatively nearby.
♦ One of the goals of the TPLF is to internationalise the conflict. The belief is that internationalising the conflict will lead to external pressure on Abiy to end the campaign. So far he has been able to keep out of the situation.
♦ Contrary to their boasts and posturing, TPLF desperately wants some sort of negotiated settlement. They hope to regain some of the power and influence they lost. Additionally, it can help them avoid accountability and punishment for their past or recent crimes and violations.
♦ The TPLF figures that by drawing out the conflict and making it longer or messier, more people will turn against the war. Abiy has had a lot of support for his campaign against the TPLF, across much of region and his country.
♦ Another aim of the recent acts by the TPLF is to sow fear, terror, and confusion among Eritreans. The hope is that these acts can lead to cracks, dissension, and chaos among the people, government, or military. However, as I have stated before, this is a complete misunderstanding of the Eritrean people and a misreading of the situation. Of course, history shows, and the TPLF should know, that Eritreans rally together during times of challenge, struggle, and hardship.
♦ The fact is that TPLF is very weak and desperate, and the attacks demonstrate that they are hardly in a position of strength or major capacity.
♦ The idea that the TPLF can engage in a long-term guerrilla campaign needs further consideration. Conditions are far different from the 1970/80s. Back then, the TPLF had a supply line, rear support base, and a large partner in support (EPLF). Today it is closed off on all sides and has few genuine major supporters. Sure it enjoys support in Tigray, but it is not at the level it boasts. Moreover, with long hardship and suffering, how many will continue to support it?