Ethiopia: Will TPLF human wave war strategy lead to victory?

By Ahmed Hussein Hassen – After the Ethiopian Government withdrew its soldiers from the Tigray region declaring a humanitarian unilateral ceasefire about a month ago, the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) has announced launching an offensive using ‘human wave war strategy’.

The Front, which refused to accept the ceasefire has launched military attack in three directions crossing into the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia. In what looks its final desperate move to return back to central power in Ethiopia, the TPLF has brought to the war both armed and unarmed people from Tiray region including children, women and elders.



As shown in multiple pictures coming from the battle fields, TPLF is trying to fight Ethiopian soldiers by bringing to the front hundreds of civilians and children. Behind the children and the civilians from Tigray, TPLF armed militias fire at Ethiopian troops using their own innocent people as human shield.

The reason TPLF has come up with such a strategy of using civilians as human shield, because it knows that the professional army of Ethiopia will not fire on the civilians and the children even if some were armed. A social media report quoted leaked intel report also indicated that even if Ethiopian army fires against the children and civilians, it will be an evidence to be used by TPLF allies to prosecute Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for war crimes.

The human weave war plan of TPLF also seems to assume that Ethiopia will be able to mobilize millions of Ethiopians that can march to counter such a human wave.

As a result, over the past few weeks, Ethiopian army was forced to retreat back. Meanwhile considering the sympathy of Ethiopian army for the civilians and the children, TPLF has claimed that it has been advancing into the territories of Amhara and Afar regions with its plan of returning back to power in Ethiopia.

Now the big question is, ‘will this strategy going to last for long and help TPLF capture the capital Addis Ababa overthrowing the federal government of Ethiopia led by Prime Abiy Ahmed?’

Video evidence has emerged #TPLFTerroristGroup has attacked & destroyed @WFP food-aid trucks. #US should stop supporting the #TPLFTerrorists & stop this madness. @wdavison10 @BronwynBruton @afitz3105 @AnnGarrison @BBCWorld @OneWorldCNN pic.twitter.com/fhKEODWlW2

— Neamin Zeleke (@NeaminZeleke) July 27, 2021


After the news about the advance of TPLF in Afar and Amhara regions using human wave war strategy, the reaction from the people in the rest of Ethiopia was unexpected.

Millions of angry Ethiopians who already sustained 27 years of suffering under the TPLF regime since 1991, marched in different directions expressing their support to Ethiopian soldiers and their readiness to join the army. Tens of thousands of special forces and militias from Somali, Gambella, Sidama, Southern, and other regions of Ethiopia have arrived to stop the advance of TPLF.

On Sunday July 26, 2021, the head of Amhara region called on everybody mainly the youth living in the region, who has guns to come out and stop the aggression of TPLF human weave war.

Over the past few days, tens of thousands of youths from all regions of Ethiopia have been registering to join the army. Today (July 27, 2021) a farewell ceremony is held in the capital, Addis Ababa for thousands of volunteer youths who decided to join the Ethiopian army.

The human wave war strategy of TPLF that uses millions of civilians and children for war seems not feasible to get victory over the Ethiopian Government which can train several millions of professional soldiers within a few months getting youths from its over 100 million population.

With this fact on the ground even if TPLF brings to the battle field all the estimated around 5 million population in Tigray, it is not possible to get sustainable victory that will bring it back to power in Ethiopia. The strategy of TPLF is rather aimed at extending the war so that the usual suspects and its old allies intervene to rescue the Front and also advance their national interest in East African region.

Ethiopian army officials and regional leaders were heard on state media that the current battle with TPLF will be the last that assures the elimination of the Front, already named terrorist group by the Ethiopian parliament. Recently one top Ethiopian army official indicated that millions of Ethiopian youths can join the national defense force in a short period not only army to eliminate the TPLF ‘but also to counter attack from ‘those who sent TPLF to destabilize Ethiopia and the region.

Ethiopia: Will TPLF human weave war strategy lead to victory?
Ethiopia: Will TPLF human weave war strategy lead to victory’?

How human wave war strategy was concieved

Ethiopian defense force was forced to engage in military confrontation with the TPLF militia, after TPLF admitted that its militia have attacked the northern military base of Ethiopian army based in Tigray Region last November in an attempt to control the about 70 percent heavy artilleries of the country based there.

The plan of TPLF, which lost its power in the central government in Aril 2018 when the ruling coalition it dominated elected Abiy Ahmed as its leader in April 2018, was to return back to power in Ethiopia using those heavy artilleries.

However, to the surprise of TPLF’s long time allies such as, the United States and European Union, the Ethiopian army and the neighboring Amhara militia have ousted TPLF from most the cities and towns of Tigray.

Refusing to accept the defeat of their former ally the United States and European Union have activated their propaganda machineries such as CNN, Reuters, BBC, Associated Press, Washington Post, and The Guardian among others launching smear media campaign against the Ethiopian government. Not only that these media and their owners and corporate clients have also engaged in reporting claims about the involvement of Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers in human rights violations.


These media outlets never mentioned the fact that Eritrea was dragged into the war because TPLF frequently launched rockets to Asmara.

Capitalizing on their propaganda machines reports, human rights organizations who are also established to advance the interest of their owners, have also began issuing reports criminalizing Abiy Ahmed administration of Ethiopia.

Then the United States Government then brought the law enforcement operation of Ethiopian Government to the United Nations calling for sanctions of Ethiopian government.

Meanwhile, some of the UN Permanent Security Council members such as China and Russia, have opposed the proposal of US indicating that it is an internal affair of an independent Ethiopia.

Are Tigray civilians different from Afghanistan or Syrian?

Continuing its pressure on the administration of Abiy Ahmed, the United States Government has announced travel sanctions on officials of Ethiopian government. On the other hand, the European Union a few weeks ago has also succeeded in pushing the UN Human Rights Council to endorse a resolution against the Ethiopian Government.

Critics say that both the US and EU are trying to meddle in the internal affairs of Ethiopia not because they care for the people of Ethiopia, but to bring back to power their former ally – the TPLF. Mentioning the past few decades track record of the United States’ intervention in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, those who analyzed U.S. foreign policy argue that Washington acts to safeguard it national interest. The lives of civilians in Tigray region of Ethiopia is no different from the lives of civilians in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, or Libya.

Some social media recently reported that Ethiopian intelligence has got a leaked document, showing how the CIA was planning to orchestrate a drama in Tigray, which ultimately be used as an evidence to accuse Abiy Ahmed as war criminal.

The report indicated that the US has prepared its own operatives with disguise of journalists to travel to Tigray region as humanitarian workers and capture the reaction of Ethiopian soldiers to the human weave war plan / strategy of TPLF.

Some suggest that destabilizing the East African region by sustaining the war between TPLF and Ethiopian army, the United States aims to disrupt China’s engagement in the East African region especially stopping China’s Silk Road / One Belt Road initiative in Africa that passes through Ethiopia.


Likewise, it is not yet clear how far the European union is planning to go to bring back to power the TPLF, which claims to represent about 6 percent Tigray ethnic group out of the over 112 million total population of Ethiopia.

Now tbig question is, “with all the support from US and EU, will the TPLF succeed using its human weave war strategy or result in yet another surprise to TPLF and its historic allies?”

It was during the cold war the cold war that the TPLF used to get support from the then Imperialist block such as, the United States and Britain as well as some Arab countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia’s historic enemy Egypt, among others who were at odds with the Marxist Colonial Mengistu Hailemariam Derg regime.

After the fall of the Derg Regime in May 1991, TPLF- dominated Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), was on power for over 27 years until April 2018 committing grave human rights violations, massacres, and robbing the nation.

In my opinion, it is very unlikely for TPLF with limited logistics, over two million people already suffering from food shortage, to defeat the well-trained and well-equipped hundreds of thousands of angry Ethiopian armies whose colleagues were slaughtered in Tigray last November.

In fact, the human wave war strategy of TPLF has backfired as it has easily enabled Abiy Ahmed’s administration of Ethiopia to get hundreds of thousands of youths who are now willingly joining the army.