Fundamental Consequences of the Ethio-Eritrean War [1998-2000]

Wuhibegezer Ferede Bezabih


This is a study of the effects of the 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrean war on both Ethiopia and Eritrea. The purpose is to stimulate informed public discussion on the unending interstate cold war. The paper is a product of field work in Mäkällé, Adigrat and its vicinity. The information presented here was gathered using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with the residents in the then war zone on the Ethiopian side, Eritrean refugees and Ethiopians deported from Eritrea. Beside the interviews, literature in the form of reports and war narratives are included to balance the information gathered from informants. However, I did not hold interviews with ministers, top-level military commanders, or local administrators. The research adopts a qualitative and historical approach. Though the paper presents pertinent information, the study faced problems in tackling a complex and contentious issue in a situation where much of the information needed for full understanding is not available. Therefore, many deeply contested issues were excluded from this project. It was also extremely difficult to produce a comprehensive picture of all causal connections, for war is never an isolated act. Thus, in this paper I attempt to give meaning to what was seen as a senseless war by assessing the economic, social, political and environmental impacts of the war from an emic perspective. 


Ethio-Eritrean war; Badmä; Operation Sunset; displacement; denationalization

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