Executive Summary: Despite early claims of victory by the Ethiopian government, its war against the Tigray based Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) shows no signs of ending. Instead, the TPLF, which is a capable and well-armed force, could launch a protracted guerrilla war. Such a war has the potential to spread well-beyond the Tigray region and even Ethiopia.
On November 28, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali declared victory in his government’s three- week-long war against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) (al-Jazeera, November 28). Abiy’s declaration followed the seizure by federal troops of Mekelle, which is the capital city of Ethiopia’s Tigray region (Nazret, November 28; Ethiopian News Agency, December 3). The fight for Mekelle, a city of over a half a million, was quickly concluded as TPLF troops carried out a strategic withdrawal from the city. The TPLF, which commands at least 100,000 fighters and possesses an abundance of heavy weaponry, could have fought to retain control of what has long been their seat of power.  Instead, they chose to retreat to the surrounding mountains.