External and Internal Opponents
Women veterans who have been decorated for their service
to the state
After the 1974 overthrow of Haile Selassie, the Mengistu
regime confronted several internal rebellions and one major
external opponent. These internal rebellions consisted of
threats posed by Eritrean secessionists, Tigrayan rebels,
and other, less active guerrilla movements in the center and
south of the country. Whatever the political orientation or
ethnic composition of these insurgent groups, the Ethiopian
government characterized them variously as "traitors,"
"counterrevolutionaries," "feudalists," "shifta" (bandits),
or "paid agents of the CIA." By 1991 the Eritrean People's
Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigray People's Liberation
Front (TPLF) had emerged as the strongest guerrilla groups
opposed to the government.
Since the end of World War II, Somalia has posed the only
serious external threat to Ethiopia. In the late 1980s,
however, the nature of this threat changed, perhaps
permanently, as the Somali government became more involved
with maintaining its internal security and less capable of
recreating a "Greater Somalia."
Data as of 1991