Brothers at War — 2001

Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War

By Tekaste Negash and Kjetil Tronvoll

“The Ethiopian-Eritrean war came largely as a surprise to most outsiders. There had been a general consensus that Ethiopia's acceptance of Eritrean independence, de facto in 1991 and de jure in 1993, had resolved one of the major causes of regional instability and conflict in the Horn of Africa. The bloody fighting has demonstrated just how wrong this was.

This book sets out to explain just why this happened and to demonstrate that the conflict had a much wider genesis than the flare up of fighting at Badme in May 1998. It succeeds admirably. Indeed a major strength of this book is the account of the historical context, and the slow build-up to the fighting.”

Patrick Gilkes

The war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which began in May 1998, took the world by surprise. During the war, both sides mobilized huge forces along their common borders and spent several hundred million dollars on military equipment. Outside observers found it difficult to evaluate the highly polarized official statements and proclamations issued by the two governments in conflict.

Brothers at War presents important, contextual aspects to explain the growing discord between the two formerly friendly governments. It looks at the historical relations between the two countries since the late nineteenth century, the historical border issues from local perspectives, and the complicated relations between the former liberation fronts that subsequently formed the current governments of the two countries.

Tekaste Negash is Associate Professor in Modern History at Dalerna University College, Sweden.

Kjetil Tronvoll is Research Fellow and Horn of Africa Programme Director at the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights, University of Oslo.

Cover of 'Brothers at War'

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