Another byproduct of the Gorbachev abandonment of Soviet imperialism outside the Soviet Union is starting to take effect. Shorn of Soviet military aid, the Marxist empire of Ethiopia is dissolving. The State Department has ordered non-essential personnel and dependents out of Addis Ababa.
Deprived of Soviet aid or foreign exchange, Ethiopia's army is seizing the available gasoline and food, so that the people starve and farmers cannot bring coffee to market. But that army is nonetheless ceasing to fight. The 30-year old Eritrean rebellion controls all Eritrea except the provincial capital of Asmara, while the 16-year-old Tigre rebellion makes impressive gains deep into the central highlands and is within 65 miles of the national capital.
The 1974 rebellion by army Marxists led by Lieut. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam was welcomed by many for ending the anachronistic rule of Emperor Haile Selassie, but it liberated no one and exacerbated separatism. The Mengistu regime's downfall now would mean no end of Marxism. The Tigrean People's Liberation Front professes itself to be more Marxist-Leninist than the ruling crowd, which professed to have abandoned Marxism last year.