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Negotiating With the TPLF is Negotiating With the Devil: I Told You So in 2017!

Author’s Note: This commentary is an excerpt from my July 2, 2017 commentary “The Zero-Sum Negotiation Games of the TPLF”.

In that commentary, I used principles of “game theory” to examine the negotiation of strategies of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in a historical perspective and the futility and impossibility of negotiating with the TPLF. Negotiating with the TPLF is negotiating with the Devil. All who have negotiated with the TPLF have lost their lives, liberties and properties.

Those who urge PM Abiy Ahmed to negotiate with the TPLF should consider the evidence I presented in July 2017.

An excellent summary of that commentary in Amharic has been prepared by FetaDaily, forward clip to 7min. 56 seconds.

I invite my readers to read the full commentaries here and here.



I see the T-TPLF on its last legs.

I am reminded of a poignant remark by Teddy Roosevelt in a speech (a worthwhile read) he gave on Labor Day in 1903: “The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.”

So, it has rung for the TPLF and its special class of apartheid government beneficiaries.

In November 2020, it is apocalypse, doomsday now for the TPLF.

In the lyrics of my song for the TPLF:

TPLF, the end is near
It is simple and clear
You have a choice to surrender
Or go six feet under!

 The “zero-sum” negotiating strategy of the TPLF

Fighting in the bush decades ago, the TPLF leaders perfected their negotiation strategy: Weaponize “negotiations” to annihilate your enemies.

In the bush, the TPLF would invite leaders of opposition elements, dissidents within its ranks and others it suspects of disloyalty to a “negotiation”, wine and dine them and literally slaughter them overnight.

On November 4, 2020, that is exactly what the TPLF did to the leadership of the Ethiopian Northern Command. They invited them to a discussion over dinner and overnight slaughtered them.

Hours before the slaughter in the Northern Command headquarters, TPLF junta leader Debretsion Gebremichael negotiated with PM Abiy Ahmed to send money to the region. When PM Abiy airlifted 1.2 billion birr to Makele Airport, Debretsion had already launched is attack.

Few seem to appreciate the TPLF used “negotiations” to seize and remain in power for 27 years!

In 1991, the TPLF used “negotiations” in London to swiftly install itself in power.

What a “negotiation that was!

The TPLF hoodwinked Herman Cohen, then Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, at the negotiating table into announcing “the rebel leadership has assured us that they plan for a broadly based provisional government leading to a democratic constitution for Ethiopia.”

That plan proved to be an apartheid state totally dominated by the TPLF.

For decades, every time the TPLF found its rear end in the ringer and boxed in, it cries out, “We are ready to negotiate! We are ready to talk!”

For the TPLF, negotiations, discussions, elections, etc. are all games.

Deadly games.

Zero-sum games.

That means the TPLF always wins 100 percent of the time and everybody else loses 100 percent of the time.

Here is the evidence.

In 1984-85, when Tigray was undergoing severe famine, TPLF set up a scam organization called “Relief Society of Tigray” (REST) and negotiated with international NGOs for food distribution. TPLF leaders diverted $95 million of that aid for weapons purchases and other activities unrelated to famine relief.

In 2000, the TPLF negotiated to settle the dispute over Badme in a “final and binding” international arbitration. When Badme was awarded to Eritrea, the TPLF reneged and demanded further negotiations.

In 2006, TPLF leader Zenawi negotiated in “a hand shake” with US General John Abizaid to wipe out Al Shabaab in Somalia. That handshake led to billons of dollars in U.S. military and other aid to Ethiopia. What is less known is the fact that Zenawi had also negotiated with Al Shabaab to continue minimal military presence so that Zenawi could use them as a boogeyman to milk the U.S. aid cash cow.

In 2008, in “elections for regional parliaments”, the TPLF won 1,903 of 1,904 seats. The TPLF won by 99.999 percent.

In May 2010, the TPLF “won” all the seats in “parliament” by 99.6 percent.

In May 2015, the TPLF “won” 100 percent of the seats in “parliament”.

Such total and complete zero-sum electoral “victory” occurred in a country where there are 79 registered opposition political parties.

In August 2007, the late TPLF leader Meles Zenawi “pardoned” 38 opposition political leaders to “give impetus to political negotiations in Ethiopia after more than two years’ crisis and stalemate.”

In October 2007,  “in spite of continuing negotiations between the government and the opposition, the political environment continued to deteriorate.”

In the 2007 “negotiations”, the TPLF had a double zero-sum game “win”. It validated the 38 railroaded opposition leaders were actually criminals because they accepted a “pardon”, and 2) forced them publicly to “admit” crimes they never committed to receive a pardon.

In 2009, the T-TPLF engaged in “negotiations” for the release of political prisoners, only after the political prisoners “had signed a paper admitting they tried to overthrow the government in an ‘unconstitutional’ manner.” Double zero-sum game win for the TPLF again.

In 2009, Zenawi led the African climate change negotiators to the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen and delivered a zero-sum ultimatum: Fork over $40 billion or we will “delegitimize you!”,  Zenawi blustered. They ignored him.

In 2010, the TPLF negotiated for the release of Birtukan Midekssa, the first female Ethiopian political party leader and current head of the Ethiopian Elections Commission, after she “apologized for denying being granted a pardon in 2007” and “imploring the prime minister to grant her a second pardon for her to be able to see her aging mother and child.”

In 2010, the TPLF engaged donors in “negotiations” to allow them to send election observers and called their election report “useless trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage”.

In 2013,  TPLF head honcho and current leader of the attack on the Northern Command Debretsion Gebremichael said, “Ethnic federalism is equality. TPLF supremacy is nothing but a conspiracy. To say Tigreans are supreme (everywhere), that is not the reality. That is a zero. Zero.”

True. It is a zero.

It’s all a zero-sum game for the TPLF played in an apartheid state.

In 2016, after the Addis Ababa Masterplan faced popular opposition, the TPLF said they wanted to negotiate the plan. Not a chance.

In 2016, when the first state of emergency failed to control the popular uprising,  the TPLF again said they want to negotiate. No one was interested.

In October 2016, the TPLF showed their entire negotiating strategy when they massacred 800 plus people celebrating the Irrecha Festival in the town of Bishoftu, some 45 miles southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.

In 2017, when the second state of emergency failed to control the popular uprising, the TPLF pleaded they want to negotiate. Too late.

Whenever the TPLF talked about negotiations, it also always tightened its political grip and continued its massacres, mass arrests, mass detentions and mass torture of innocent citizens. Read more here.

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