Selected Articles that Provide Background on the Conflict Between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Africa Confidential, May 29, 1998: The disputed Yirga Triangle, between the Mareb and Takazze rivers, is rugged, remote, and inhabited by Tigrinya-speakers from Eritrea and Ethiopia's Tigray Region who have never paid much heed to frontiers. Up to 20,000 of these residents are said to be from highland Eritrea, attracted to the fertile if malarial Baduma plains. Alluvial gold is exploited on the Tigrayan side. Other residents are Kunama and Baria from western Eritrea, Nilotic peoples who during Eritrea's long war against Ethiopia were at odds both with the Eritrean Liberation Front [ELF] and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front [EPLF]. A Kunama-Baria organisation, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Setit and Gash (Eritrea's two western regions) has fought sporadically against the EPLF since 1993.

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Current Background
General Background
Conflict FAQs:
(Frequently Asked Questions on the Ethiopia-Eritrea Conflict
(Feb 19, 1999)

Comparison of Eritrean and Ethiopian Military (Defense) Expenditures: 1993- 1997
(May 2, 1999)

Eritrea's Preparations for War in March 1998
(March 27, 1999)

Let the Facts and Figures Speak for Themselves
(Econ. data; Sep 26, 1998)

Background and Chronology of the Eritrean Military Aggresion
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry
September, 1998

Report from Northern Tigrai - Conflict causes suffering among the displaced Irob people
(Dr. Ann Waters-Bayer's
August 6, 1998)

Statement of Afar Rebel Movement in Eritrea (ARDUF)
June 5, 1998

Background to the Conflict: Why provocative acts?
By Asfaw Teka, May, 1998

Eritrea's economy: challenging structural problems
(U.S. Embassy Asmara, Eritrea, March 1998)

Quote: "Creating jobs and developing opportunities for Eritrea's youth are serious challenges. This is especially difficult in the current environment, with no export growth, few new firms being created, and downsizing by the government and most companies."

Eritrea food aid accounts for 20% of total consumption (FAO)
sharp reduction in grain import availability from Ethiopia leads to sharply increased cereal prices
March, 1998

Ethiopia food aid accounts for 5% of total consumption (FAO)
cereal prices declined somewhat in January, but remained at high levels due to disruption of harvest by El Nino rains
March, 1998

May-June 1998 Horn of Africa Review from the UNDP-EUE
See the first section for summary of start of conflict

Eritrea's Purchase of Naval Vessel and Weapon Systems from Ethiopia in 1997
Data is from the SIPRI Arms Trade Database, 1997 Note: FAC=Fast Attack Craft. Also note that not all arms transfers are listed there. For more info. see "Ethiopia's Fleet is For Sale" - a news article from 1996.

Alitiena - Before the Invasion
Jan 31, 1999

"Some Facts About the Irob"
by Souba Hais, October 25, 1998

The Process of Nation-Building in Post-War Eritrea: Created From Below or Directed From Above?
By Kjetil Tronvoll; Norwegian Institute of Human Rights, University of Oslo. Excerpts from article published in "The Journal of Modern African Studies, 36, 3 (1998), pp. 461-482"

Conflict Psychology
(Commentary; Sep 30, 1998)

Eritrea's expulsions of Ethiopian civilians, mistreatment of prisoners, and blocking of international relief efforts in 1991 October 31, 1998

The manufactured myth of Idris Awate and "30 yrs of armed struggle."

Eritrean Persecution of Minority
Ethnic Kunama Inhabitants in Badime Border Region

"Idris Awate, the Eritrean national hero... is remembered by the Kunama as the mass murderer who was their main executioner in the period 1943-1949."
December, 1997

Afar Sentiment at Time of Eritrean Takeover of Afar Coastline:
Christian Science Monitor; August 8, 1991

The Graziani Massacre 
Lest we forget the origin of the Eritrean problem
June 19, 1998

From the ELF website:
Eritrea Tried To Use Mussolini Map Against Djibouti in 1996:
The "Al Hayat" reportedly said that the Eritreans built their position in the Djibouti border issue on a 1935-map made during the Mussolini era of fascist Italy. The development came as a source of concern in Paris, which dismissed the said map as out-dated and unsuitable to support the dispute over border.

Eritrea in 1938: Map and Commentary
(Oct 13, 1998)

A Map Showing Badime in Ethiopia - Courtesy of Dehai Eritreans
(Feb 20, 1999)

Shambuko Background: Fines Imposed On Baza People
(THE ERITREAN NEWSLETTER; 20 years Issue No.70 April/May 1996)