Imran Khan meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. PHOTO: FILE

Ethiopia can learn from Pakistan about defending against Hybrid War

The American Hybrid War on Ethiopia is the top proxy war of the New Cold War

Andrew Korybko October 26, 2021

Ethiopia and Pakistan are two countries that appear to have almost nothing to do with one another but are actually very similar in many ways. Both are either respectively suffering from, or have already survived, American Hybrid Wars. Ethiopia can learn a lot from Pakistan about how to defend itself from these threats. This analysis will explain why both countries should urgently engage one another in order to share their experiences. It’ll begin by highlighting the structural similarities between these two states. Then it’ll cite the author’s prior works about their Hybrid Wars for the reader’s reference before pointing out the modus operandi behind them. The piece will then proceed to highlight their most significant differences before concluding with some suggested solutions as informed by Pakistan’s experiences.

Structural Similarities

Ethiopia and Pakistan have a lot more in common than just the American Hybrid Wars that they’ve suffered from:

* Ancient Civilisations

Both countries are the heirs of ancient civilizations: Ethiopia’s are mentioned in the Bible while Pakistan’s are connected to the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Diverse Societies

Ethiopia and Pakistan are comprised of dozens of different ethno-regional groups, and the Horn of Africa state also has a very significant Muslim minority.

* Geostrategic Locations

Ethiopia is located in the heart of the Horn of Africa in close proximity to the Gulf of Aden-Red Sea (GARS) waterway while Pakistan sits within South Asia strategically between West Asia (Iran) and East Asia (China).

* Administrative Regions

Most of these countries’ administrative regions are connected to a titular ethnicity, though they’re not exclusively inhabited by them and have many other ones within their units.

* Regional Threats

Ethiopia and Pakistan are vulnerable to terrorist threats from neighbouring Somalia and Afghanistan respectively, and they each have regional rivals too: Ethiopia’s is Egypt while Pakistan’s is India.

* Significant Infrastructure Projects

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will provide electricity to the country through the Nile while the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will improve the Pakistani economy, prompting Egypt and India’s ire.

* US Partnerships

Both countries are also nominal US partners, even though America has recently waged Hybrid War against Pakistan and is presently doing the same against Ethiopia.

* Chinese Partnerships

Ethiopia and Pakistan are pivotal partners in China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) through the Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railway (DAAR) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

* Pragmatic Balancing

They’ve also sought to pragmatically balance between the world’s two superpowers and hope to avoid being pressured into taking a side.

* New Cold War

Regrettably, the US is aggressively pressuring its partners to curtail their ties with China as part of its global power play in the New Cold War, which is what drives America’s Hybrid Wars against both of them.

* Transformational Leaders

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed aims to transform society through his “medemer” concept of “coming together” while Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to build a “Naya Pakistan” (New Pakistan).

* Military-Intelligence Influences

The military and intelligence agencies within these countries still play important roles in society, especially when it comes to keeping the peace by thwarting myriad domestic threats to their stability.

* Irresponsible Opposition

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) could have played a responsible opposition role before it resorted to terrorism and provoking war while Pakistan’s opposition sometimes deliberately seeks to destabilize the state.

* Influential Diaspora

Ethiopia and Pakistan have influential Western-based diaspora: most of the former’s live in the US while the latter’s are divided between that country, the UK, and the Gulf.

* Passionate Activism

Be it those who live in those countries or are presently part of the diaspora, Ethiopia and Pakistan have very passionate activists who participate in live and virtual activism in support of the causes that they care about.

* Media Smears

These activists also work to counteract the Western Mainstream Media’ smears of their countries since Ethiopia and Pakistan are frequently mispresented in the press for political reasons as irresponsible and failing states.

* Historical Resilience

Ethiopia and Pakistan have proven themselves impressively resilient throughout history despite the considerable challenges that they’ve faced, which speaks to the patriotism and strength of their people.

Background Briefing

After having explained many of the structural similarities between Ethiopia and Pakistan, the reader should now review the following analyses to familiarize themselves with the American Hybrid Wars against both:

* 18 April 2017: “Applicability Of Hybrid Warfare To Pakistan: Challenges And Possible Responses

* 4 June 2021: “Will US Sanctions Against Ethiopia Provide Russia With A Regional Opening?

* 21 September 2021: “Ethiopia Made A Powerful Appeal To The US To Stop Its Hybrid War

* 1 October 2021: “It’s UN Meddling, Not Ethiopia’s Rejection Thereof, That’s A Stain On Our Conscience

* 6 October 2021: “The US Risks Turning Ethiopia Into An Enemy With Its Latest Provocations

* 8 October 2021: “The Economist Is Lying: Ethiopia Is Gaining Friends & Influence, Not Losing Them

* 11 October 2021: “Analysing The American Hybrid War On Ethiopia

* 17 October 2021: “Three UN Scandals Expose The Scope Of Meddling In Ethiopia

* 18 October 2021: “The US Wants To Turn Ethiopia Into Bosnia

* 20 October 2021: “The Economic Dimension Of The American Hybrid War On Ethiopia

* 23 October 2021: “Andrew Korybko On The Intent Of Coordinated International Pressure On Ethiopia

Those astute students of Hybrid Warfare who read through all of the above materials will see that there are many similarities in terms of the tactics and strategies that the US employs against Pakistan and Ethiopia.

Modus Operandi

Here are some supplementary points elaborating on the aforesaid modus operandi behind these Hybrid Wars:

* Hybrid War Theory

The US externally provokes identity conflict in these diverse countries in order to compel unilateral concessions (regime tweaking), overthrow their governments (regime change), or internally partition them (regime reboot).

* Anti-Chinese Motivations

The primary motive is to pressure them into curtailing their balanced ties with China so as to make these countries disproportionately dependent on the US instead, which is expected to occur at Beijing’s expense.

* Breaking BRI

In particular, the US hopes to subvert the regional strategic significance of Ethiopia’s DAAR and Pakistan’s CPEC, both of which are those countries’ BRI flagship projects.

* Economic Warfare

The US’ sanctions threats and leveraging of global financial institutions like the IMF pose serious threats to Ethiopia and Pakistan, as does the latter’s continued grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

* Information Warfare

Neither Ethiopia nor Pakistan are fairly represented in US-influenced Mainstream Media, which is intended to misportray them as irresponsible and failing states, as well as to imply that their leaders are going “rogue”.

* “Humanitarian Imperialism”

America weaponises humanitarian narratives about the situation in Tigray and with minorities & women in Pakistan in order to misrepresent their governments and generate multilateral support for pressuring them.

* Proxy Warfare

The US, corrupt UN officials under its influence, and its regional allies like Egypt support the TPLF as an anti-Ethiopian proxy force just like the US turned a blind eye to Afghan-emanating terrorist threats against Pakistan.

* “Lead From Behind”

The US doesn’t wage these Hybrid Wars “from the front”, but by “Leading From Behind” by having like-minded regional partners such as Egypt and formerly US-occupied Afghanistan and India play the most prominent roles.

Significant Differences

Despite their structural similarities and the same modus operandi that the US relies upon to destabilize both of them, Ethiopia and Pakistan still have some significant differences that deserve to be highlighted in this context:

* Constitutionally Approved Secession

Article 39 of Ethiopia’s 1994 Constitution grants “Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia” the right to secession, which could be manipulated through Hybrid War to “Balkanise” this highly diverse country.

* Domestic Security Environment

Parts of northern Ethiopia are presently mired in war due to the TPLF’s occupation of Tigray and dual invasions of Afar and Amhara Regions, while no part of Pakistan is occupied by armed anti-state forces.

* Regional Security Environment

South Asia as a whole is much more stable than the Horn of Africa, but nuclear-armed and much larger India is a more formidable opponent for Pakistan than comparatively weaker and smaller Egypt is to Ethiopia.

* Foreign Aid Dependence

A 2013 report estimated that foreign aid was equivalent to 50-60% of the Ethiopian budget, and while this ratio has dropped since then, foreign financial assistance can still be weaponised in an attempt to influence Ethiopia.

* Geographic Closeness To China

Pakistan’s adjacency to China makes it much more important to the People’s Republic in all respects, especially security ones vis-a-vis their shared Indian rival and economic ones via CPEC, than much more distant Ethiopia.

Suggested Solutions

Ethiopia is in a very difficult position when it comes to defending itself from the US’ intensified Hybrid War, but it can learn a lot from Pakistan and thus bolster its chances of success:

* Proactively Engage Pakistan

Ethiopian officials and experts should proactively engage their Pakistani counterparts to request that they share their Hybrid War experiences with them in detail.

* Appreciate Pakistan’s FATA Experience

Pakistan successfully defeated a proto-ISIS in its former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which can inform Ethiopia of useful tactics and strategies that it can prospectively apply against the TPLF.

* Learn From Pakistan’s DDR In FATA

In particular, Ethiopia can learn from Pakistan’s Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration experiences there after the kinetic phase of the conflict ended in order to more effectively reintegrate Tigray after the war.

* Discover How To Effectively Counter Information Warfare

Pakistan has been victimized by information warfare for decades, which peaked during its counterterrorist operations in FATA, yet it effectively countered these attacks and can thus teach Ethiopia how to do so too.

* Explore A Military Partnership

Ethiopia should explore a military partnership with Pakistan that includes education, joint drills, and arms sales in order to optimize what it learns from the country that most closely shares its Hybrid War experience.

* Consider Quadrilateral Cooperation With Pakistan, Turkey, And Azerbaijan

Pakistan’s Turkish ally agreed to sell drones to Ethiopia while their shared Azerbaijani one liberated Karabakh last year, which Ethiopia can learn from for liberating Tigray, so Addis should consider quadrilateral cooperation.

* Incorporate A Chinese Dimension

Ethiopia and Pakistan are pivotal BRI partners so it follows that they can incorporate a Chinese dimension to their prospective partnership such as pioneering Silk Road connectivity by expanding CPEC to Africa (S-CPEC+).

* Study CPEC’s Evolution

Ensuring economic security is a prerequisite for sustainably ensuring traditional security, and this can be enhanced by Ethiopia studying CPEC’s evolution in order to more effectively manage its own BRI projects.

* Share Transformational Visions

Both countries’ leaders have transformational visions that have encountered similar successes and setbacks in recent years so it’s important for them to share their experiences in order to learn from one another.

* Prepare For Post-War Geopolitical Balancing

To its credit, Pakistan still pursues a balanced geopolitical policy despite suffering from an American Hybrid War, which can inform Ethiopia of strategies for managing its relations with the US once its own Hybrid War ends.

* Strengthen South-South Cooperation

The overall impact of more strategic Ethiopian-Pakistani relations (especially if they incorporate Chinese, Turkish, and Azerbaijani dimensions) is that they’ll strengthen the multipolar trend of South-South cooperation.

Concluding Thoughts

The American Hybrid War on Ethiopia is the top proxy war of the New Cold War and its outcome will greatly shape the future of this global competition between the two superpowers, especially with respect to their intense rivalry in Africa. Ethiopia has thus far defended itself pretty well from this unconventional onslaught but there’s no denying that it’s still been a struggle since the Horn of Africa country was caught off guard after being backstabbed by its nominal American ally. This experience very closely mirrors that which Pakistan recently survived so it would immensely benefit Ethiopia if it reached out to that South Asian state in order to learn from its experiences. Not only could Ethiopia gain a strategic edge in the context of its current conflict, but it can also discover how to more effectively manage its BRI projects and post-war geopolitical balancing act.

WRITTEN BY:
Andrew Korybko

The writer is an American Moscow-based political analyst specialising in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He tweets at @AKorybko

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (1)

Jawad | 1 month ago | Reply

What a beautiful article. Cheers to the writer

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