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Old problems in new conflicts : some observations on Eritrea and its relations with Tigray, from liberation struggle to inter-state war.

Reid, R. (2003) 'Old problems in new conflicts : some observations on Eritrea and its relations with Tigray, from liberation struggle to inter-state war.', Africa., 73 (3). pp. 369-401.

Abstract

This article examines the problematic relationship between Eritrea and Tigray as represented by the Eritrean and Tigray Peoples' Liberation Fronts. The EPLF won independence for Eritrea in 1991, at the same time as the TPLF seized power in Ethiopia; the two movements had had a difficult relationship, beginning in the mid-1970s, during their respective armed struggles, and the issues which had caused disagreement remained unresolved as the movements made the transition to government. This paper examines the nature of those issues and the degree to which the war of 1998-2000 between the two countries can be seen to have reflected much older tensions and indeed contradictions in the Eritrean-Tigrayan/Ethiopian relationship. Thus, the paper begins with an overview of Eritrean opinion, during the recent war, about the relationship in question, and then moves back in time to the era of the liberation struggle. Here, the author attempts to explain the complexities of the respective Eritrean and Tigrayan revolutions insofar as each impinged on and influenced the other, with particular reference to the issues of frontiers, nationality and ethnicity, and sovereignty. The paper, finally, considers the apparent paradoxes in the perceptions which Eritreans have of Tigray and Ethiopia, and suggests that changes in attitude are necessary on both sides of the Mereb river border if the relationship is not to be defined by perpetual confrontation.

Item Type:Article
Full text:PDF - Published Version (2856Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/afr.2003.73.3.369
Publisher statement:© 2003 Edinburgh University Press
Record Created:15 Feb 2007
Last Modified:01 Jun 2011 11:23

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