Causes Of Conflict In Ethiopia

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3. Body: Main reasons for conflict: What were the main causes of conflict that broke out between the Ethiopian and Eritrean government in 1998, which led to a tragic two year long war? Both states faced political and economic instability that stemmed from issues with trade, communication, trans-border movements and ethnic divides which inevitably led to a cycle of on going proxy wars (Abbink, 2003: 409). Abbink defines proxy wars as those that make use of low intensity armed conflicts most often used in a geopolitical struggle or war between insurgent states with an ethno-regional nature (Abbink, 2003: 409). The primary region in this case would be Ethiopia while the secondary region is Eritrea. The secondary region often attempts to assert…show more content…
The two areas can be beneficial to each other and when states act in their own interest we see how the geography of the opposing states affect trade and invasion decisions of the other. Arguments that arise here state that Eritrea was trying to gain more fertile land, which Ethiopia possessed (Steves, 2003: 121). Their aim was to increase their level of agricultural income and try to grow the economy. Eritrea has the only outlet to the sea, which holds great trading significance. The access to the sea ensures that majority of the states trade transactions are done there. Without access to this port Ethiopia would have to transport their imports and exports via railway, which was both risky and very expensive (Morgan, 1977: 667). The access to the sea makes Eritrea a key commodity in Ethiopia’s economy, without them the economy could have taken a serious downturn. Further more in 1997 Eritrea introduced its own currency, which disrupted trade relations with Ethiopia significantly. A main cause for conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea can thus be deduced to economic politics and the risks that occur at the hand of the opposition, which could and were significantly impacted by trends in trade as well as geopolitical elements of both countries (Negash & Tronvoll, 2001:…show more content…
Ethiopia followed mainly Christianity while Eritrea followed mostly an Islamic way of life and promoted the Arab Eritrea (Clapham, 2000: 8). Although there was a growing ethnic divided within Eritrea with a large proportion of Christian followers, this started the movement towards Eritrean nationalism in order to get Eritreans to stick together as opposed to the Christian Eritreans joining the Ethiopians. In 1991 the Ethiopian government laid down ethnic federalism that stated anyone of a different nationality could withdraw themselves from their state, their aim was to achieve pure Ethiopian nationalism by redrawing some of Ethiopia’s boundaries to ensure ethnic divisions (Clapham, 2000: 10). While on the contrary Eritrea focused on unity. Their stance was to come together after the struggle, no other party other than the EPLF was allowed to form because they wanted all the difference communities to come together and form one (Clapham, 2000: 8). This fundamental difference in ideologies and aims of the leaders of the two states proves another important reason for why the conflict emerged between the two states in 1998 to 2000, this being as a result of the aims clashing and the states going their separate ways to get what they

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