Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict, why does it matter?
A year into the civil war, which has left a humanitarian crisis in its wake, the chorus of outside concern is getting louder.
At least 400,000 people are facing famine-like conditions in the north, 80% of essential medication is not available and more than two million people have been forced from their homes.
The federal government has been accused of deliberately preventing aid from reaching Tigray, which it denies.
From a US perspective, Ethiopia has long been seen as a reliable ally, especially during the so-called War on Terror.
It has fought against Islamist militants in Somalia on the frontline of that conflict and offered the US use of its airspace during the Iraq war. It was one of a few African countries to join the US’ “coalition of the willing”.
Stable government in Ethiopia has been vital to that relationship. The US has backed it up financially, handing over $4.2bn (£3.1bn) in aid between 2016 and 2020.
The concern now is that the conflict is entering a new phase and it will become increasingly difficult for either side to step back.
There are also fears the fighting could spread across the country.