Article from ROAPE Volume 30 Number 97
The Ethiopia-Eritrea war of 1998 - 2000 stands apart from other contemporary conflicts in Africa in a number of critical ways. First, the multiplicity of its proximate and distant historical causes, coupled with its diverse forms of manifestation, renders fitting it into neat conventional categories a very challenging undertaking. Analysing and adopting policies and measures demands a prior ability to fit conflicts into known categories. Conflicts are commonly believed to fit into either the (1) inter-state (inter-national) or (2) the intra-state (domestic) categories. The latter is further divided into (a) inter-communal or inter-ethnic and (b) intra-communal or intra-ethnic. The main argument of this paper is that the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict defies attempts to fit it neatly into just one of these types.