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No Celebration, No Dejection: TDF advance into Amhara and Afar was a means not an end

No Celebration, No Dejection: TDF advance into Amhara and Afar was a means not an end

 

Kalayu Abrha 12-02-21

Several hours before the official communique was released by the Central Command of Tigray Sanjit of My Views on News broke the news of the evacuation of TDF from key places that it had captured after heavy battles in the last few months. As a natural reflex I was caught off guard for a moment but got my composure back after examining my own thoughts on the TDF's campaign beyond the borders of Tigray. Throughout the last five months of TDF's military operation in the Afar and Amhara regions I was joyous about its victories but deeply worried about the fact that it was stretching itself beyond reasonable limits. With a devastated and starving home base, with meager resources to sustain the food supply and health services for its fighting force, and the exhausting constant movement with less time to rest the human limits to endurance can be surpassed with devastating consequences. The depletion of the ammunition stock without a means to replenish it, as the endless human wave attack continued unabated, is a food for thought for the leadership of TDF.  It is hard to imagine how the young fighters with their veteran commanders were able to accomplish what they have done in the face of an overwhelming force countering their advances. Though without any tangible support the whole world was mesmerized by the demigods of soldiers of the TDF.

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With the release of the official communique by the Central Command of Tigray I came to know that the commanders of the TDF are not only brave and endowed with inexhaustible military skills but also far sighted with the courage to accept realities however hard they are. Fighting an extended war with a regime that does not hesitate to send millions to their deaths is not only exhausting but also unfruitful. Dictatorship is never ready for compromise and turns every stone to protect its political power. It uses all immoral means under its disposal to crush its enemy. Its targets are indiscriminate and cowardly making it difficult for a disciplined fighting force to play by the rules of the game.  The off-battle airstrikes on the Tigray Capital and the mass incarceration of Tegaru noncombatants is a clear testimony to the messiness of the enemy TDF is unluckily facing. The million-dollar question is: Should the TDF continue with the business as usual of 'defeat, capture, and retain' cities and towns in the Amhara and Afar? The answer is No! The enemy seems to have become familiar with the "TDF routine" in the conduct of the war and has made it difficult for the TDF to stick to its modus operandi. Many in the social media have been able to predict what the next move of the TDF will be. This is a danger signal for the TDF. Although TDF fighters are superhuman they are far from being divine. Bit by bit their strategic advantages may be eroded by hit and run tactics from the Amhara irregulars who are hell bent on dying like flies to achieve their imperial dreams. This calls for drastic changes in tactics, on the part of the TDF, in order to avoid being predictable.

The elevated spirit of Tegaru at home and abroad, with the certainty of victory at Addis Ababa, may have had its lows and depressions in the last day or two. The feeling is understandable given the threat of starvation in Tigray, the quick justice expected on the perpetrators of war crimes in Tigray, and the urgent need for the liberation of Western Tigray. As there is no sufficient reason for celebration in the Abiy Camp there is little cause for dejection in the TDF camp. Carried away by the almost endless series of TDF victories we Tegaru seem to have lost ourselves in the euphoria and utterly forgot the very reason why TDF advanced so deeply into the Amhara and Afar regions. Getachew Reda might have got tired of reminding everyone of us that the mission of TDF's military campaign in Amhara and Afar is to put pressure on Bahir Dar and Arat-Kilo so that they are arm twisted to end the humanitarian and essential service blockades, and the unconditional withdrawal from Western Tigray of Amhara and Eritrean occupiers. It is unmistakable that TDF's stay in Amhara and Afar is a means to an end: FREEDOM! The end goal is achieved by defeating the enemy and forcing it to comply to the demands of Tigray. Defeating the enemy and forcing it to comply is not location bound. It is done wherever it is convenient for the TDF to do so with least cost in time, energy, material, and human lives. For the TDF it is absurd to defend Dessie, Kombolcha, Lalibela, or Chifra. There is no more military advantage in dying defending these cities. The initial advantage they had for crushing the ENDF is already enjoyed and gone for good. TDF is not supposed to be the mayor of Dessie; neither is it expected to be the chief priest of Lalibela. The new move will help TDF to concentrate its armies in few strategic but mobile fronts for best effect. So far TDF was at a potential disadvantage of being scattered and stationed far and wide while its enemies became beneficially concentrated and mobile.  This allowed the latter to torment the TDF here and there with the aim of exhausting it with the passage of time. TDF started as a guerrilla force against a stationed army; through time, the enemy turned into a Guerilla army while TDF waited stationed in cities. This is a recipe for disaster! So let the TDF move around and Tegaru keep your spirits high and trust the heroes of Tigray!

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