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The Ethiopian RevolutionWar in the Horn of Africa$
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Gebru Tareke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300141634

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300141634.001.0001

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Shire: “Unexpected Grand Failure”

Shire: “Unexpected Grand Failure”

(p.262) 9 Shire: “Unexpected Grand Failure”
The Ethiopian Revolution

Gebru Tareke

Yale University Press

The Eritrean insurgents dealt the Ethiopian military a humiliating loss at the battle of Shire on February 15–19, 1989—one that will go down in the annals of civil wars as the most unlikely of defeats. The guerrillas tenaciously and dexterously outmaneuvered the army and went on to secure an impressive and historic victory during the five-day battle, the culmination of fourteen years of armed conflict in Tigray. Multifold weaknesses and errors doomed the Third Revolutionary Army (TRA) less than a year after it was formed to fight insurgency. The government first launched Operation Adwa from June 19 to August 10, but it was Operation Aksum that would prove disastrous for the TRA. Dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam conceded that the defeat had drastically altered the military and political situation in Ethiopia.

Keywords:   insurgency, Ethiopia, military, Shire, civil wars, Tigray, Third Revolutionary Army, Operation Adwa, Operation Aksum, Mengistu Haile Mariam

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