Could ongoing protests lead to social breakdown?
Civil unrest is growing in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation. Upset by inequality and systemic corruption, members of Ethiopia’s two largest districts have taken to the streets. Since November last year, the protesters have faced off against strong government crackdowns.
Eighty percent of the country lives in poverty. Famine threatens 15 million residents. Many are ready to take out their frustrations on the government. But instability fosters its own problems, and opportunists in the region are watching closely.
The Tigrans make up just 6 percent of the population. Yet over the last two decades, they have worked to seize absolute power—the Tigran-dominated eprdf now controls 100 percent of the seats in parliament. As such, the eprdf enjoys little to no political challenge or discussion, near-total control of the press, and strong sway over the judicial system.
Terrorists or Protesters?
When riots first started in November 2015, the government was well prepared. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, sent in troops and the anti-terrorism task force. Laws established in 2009 imbued the government with sweeping powers to combat anyone it deems to be a terrorist. Some analysts claim that the government has used these laws to justify the kidnapping, imprisonment and even torture of political opponents.
Since the November flare-up of protests, more than 500 protesters have been killed and thousands have allegedly been injured.
As Stratfor noted in an August 31 report, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has authorized the country’s armed forces to take “any and all” measures necessary to restore order. His comments echo one of his December 2015 speeches, when he said the government “will take merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilizing the area.”
No News Is Not Good News
There is a reason why these protests and human rights abuses rarely make the news. Ethiopian media is largely government censored. While not as stringent as many neighboring African countries, Ethiopia does wield tight control over the Internet and media.
The government has at times completely banned all forms of social media—effectively silencing any would-be critics. In 2015, U.S.-based ngo Freedom House reported that Ethiopia was blocking larger news websites such as bbc. Arguments can be made for temporarily blocking social media, which can pinpoint innocent people during an attack. But there is no risk to the public by allowing a reputable news source like the bbc to air. The only ones threatened by such a website would be the government.
The West Looks On
News that does escape the country has been downplayed by much of the world. As Human Rights Watch explains, “Donor countries to Ethiopia have been largely silent about the brutal crackdown, presumably in part due to the Ethiopian government’s strategic relationships on security, peacekeeping, migration and development. For years, the U.S., the UK and other influential governments have basically rejected public condemnation of the Ethiopian government’s repressive practices.”
Ethiopia is a key security ally for America in the fight against the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. The country is also important economically. Guardian Unlimited called Ethiopia “an economic battleground with China.”
Trends Say Iran Will Get Involved
Across the Middle East and North Africa, Iran is getting involved. Ethiopia’s immediate neighbors are testimony to this policy.
Egyptian newspaper El-Watan reported that Iran has deployed Quds Force personnel to Sudan to take advantage of the deteriorating Sudanese-Egyptian relationship. It also claims Iran is training Muslim Brotherhood troops in Sudan.
To Ethiopia’s north, Iran has had dealings with the reclusive Eritrea. While the Eritreans deny it, many opponents of the Houthi rebellion in Yemen claim that Iran is using bases in Eritrea to train and launch aid supplies to support the Houthi. Reports are now circulating that the irgc is also training both Houthi and Iraqi militias in Eritrea.
Across the Red Sea, Iran is deeply entrenched in Yemen. While not as intimately tied to Iran as the Shia militias, Hezbollah or other terror groups, the Houthis have Iran to thank for the ongoing stand against the Saudi-backed government. Iranian weapons, training and aid afford the Houthis the chance to stand up to Saudi air strikes and otherwise superior forces. This benefits Iran by establishing a southern front against the Saudis, while simultaneously tightening the chokehold on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. For more on this strategically important sea lane, read our article “Iran: Sultan of the Red Sea.”
Then there is Somalia. The Somalian government cut ties with Iran earlier this year. The government accused Iran of establishing sects that pose a threat to national security in the Horn of Africa. Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke accused Iranian diplomats of being “directly involved in meddling with internal Somali affairs and have carried out measures that are a threat to our national security.”
As all of the above show, Iran wants to be involved in the region. Even within Ethiopia, Iranian involvement with al-Shabaab shows it is intent on destabilizing the nation.
Prophecy Says Iran Will Get Involved
Some might scoff at the idea of a foretold Ethiopian alliance with Iran. But Iran’s goals for the region mirror what is written in the pages of your Bible!
As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains, from Daniel 10:10 to the end of the prophetic book is the longest single prophecy in the Bible. It mainly focuses on “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40). The Moffatt Bible translates that expression, “when the end arrives.” And that time is here now!
In “Libya and Ethiopia Reveal Iran’s Military Strategy,” Mr. Flurry wrote:
All you need to do is get a good map of the Middle East, with the emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Then you can see why the king of the south, or radical Islam, is so interested in an alliance with or control over these two countries (as well as Egypt and Tunisia). They are on the two seas that comprise the most important trade route in the world!
Whoever heavily influences or controls Ethiopia will undoubtedly also control the small areas of Eritrea and Djibouti on the Red Sea coastline. These areas only recently became independent of Ethiopia. Also, I believe the Bible view is that these small areas are included as part of Ethiopia.
Now read Daniel 11:43 and see Ethiopia specifically mentioned by name as a part of this alliance! Mr. Flurry explains in his booklet The King of the South, “So you need to watch Libya and Ethiopia. They are about to fall under the heavy influence or control of Iran, the king of the south. That is why they are subdued in the king of the north victory.”
These prophecies are sure. They are going to happen! There will be a king of the south, and he will control Ethiopia. And as Daniel wrote, there will be a sudden confrontation between this king and the king of the north.
Though God says this battle will usher in terrible times in the short term, there is also good news bound up in this warning. These prophesied events lead up to the return of Jesus Christ!
Just as God prophesies the rise and fall of nations, He also prophesies the return of His Son and the establishment of His Kingdom forever! For more information, read our free booklets Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy and The King of the South ▪
Full article: Ethiopia on the Brink? (The Trumpet)