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Bobby Ghosh

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Trades His Nobel Peace Prize for Civil War

Less than a year after his uplift in Oslo, he has brought the Horn of Africa to the edge of chaos.

Not what peace looks like.

Not what peace looks like.

Photographer: Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

We may be long past holding laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize to its lofty standards — the cruel cynicism of Henry Kissinger and open bigotry of Aung San Suu Kyi are just two instances of honorees behaving dishonorably — but Abiy Ahmed’s belly flop from the pedestal is nonetheless remarkable. In less than a year since his uplift in Oslo, Ethiopia’s prime minister has embroiled his country in a civil war and brought the Horn of Africa to the edge of chaos.

If Abiy cannot pull back from the precipice, his confrontation with the leadership of the northern region of Tigray will reverse the gains from years of growth and investment that have made Ethiopia’s economy the envy of the continent.