Country Listing

Ethiopia Table of Contents


External and Internal Opponents


Women veterans who have been decorated for their service to the state

After the 1974 overthrow of Haile Selassie, the Mengistu regime confronted several internal rebellions and one major external opponent. These internal rebellions consisted of threats posed by Eritrean secessionists, Tigrayan rebels, and other, less active guerrilla movements in the center and south of the country. Whatever the political orientation or ethnic composition of these insurgent groups, the Ethiopian government characterized them variously as "traitors," "counterrevolutionaries," "feudalists," "shifta" (bandits), or "paid agents of the CIA." By 1991 the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) had emerged as the strongest guerrilla groups opposed to the government.

Since the end of World War II, Somalia has posed the only serious external threat to Ethiopia. In the late 1980s, however, the nature of this threat changed, perhaps permanently, as the Somali government became more involved with maintaining its internal security and less capable of recreating a "Greater Somalia."

Data as of 1991