African politics

Foreign Policy Making in Sudan: Determinants and Roles

EPC | 13 Sep 2020

The domestic balance of power in Sudan after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir obliged the creation of a political system in which there were several different poles of decision-making, both de jure (i.e. constitutionally) and de facto. This state of affairs has greatly influenced foreign policymaking over the last year, with the new reality raising a pressing question: who makes Sudanese foreign policy? Answering this question will help us deal more appropriately with this country – a country of great importance to both Arab and African affairs.

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Niger’s Regional Role in the Sahel and Sahara Regions: Essentials, Challenges and Future

Ahmed Askar | 08 Sep 2020

Niger has been the subject of considerable regional and international attention, given its prominent role in the war on terror in the Sahel, the Sahara, and West Africa. Niger occupies a geostrategic position, which is affected by the crises in neighboring States, such as Libya, and in the wider region. The army is also involved in regional and international efforts to combat terrorist and extremist organizations in the region, with the aim of restoring regional security and stability. Niger therefore has all the ingredients required to make it a reliable partner and essential ally in the region for the major powers, especially with regard to combatting terrorism in the Sahel and the Sahara, given the international scramble to intervene in the region. Despite its relatively weak capabilities and the challenges that will have to be overcome, Niger may find itself with a significant role to place in the region in upcoming months that will strengthen its position in the Sahel and the Sahara.

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Taiwan-Somaliland Relations: Impact on the Future of Chinese Influence in the Horn of Africa

Ahmed Askar | 10 Aug 2020

In July 2020, Taiwan and Somaliland announced their intention to establish reciprocal representative offices to broaden their communication with the outside world. A diplomatic victory for both sides, it also represents a paradigm shift that will have repercussions for the Horn of Africa and Somaliland and for major world powers, especially China, which has rejected the move. Meanwhile, the USA has welcomed diplomatic engagement between Taiwan and Somaliland, leading some observers to think that the offices will be established under the auspices of the USA, which is potentially risky for all parties in the region, given the divergent stances on the agreement. The move could result in a transformation in Chinese policy toward the Horn of Africa in particular, and toward Africa in general, during the coming period.

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The Future of the Negotiation Track between Somalia and Somaliland: Chances and Challenges

Ahmad Askar | 29 Jun 2020

On 14 June 2020, Djibouti hosted a new round of negotiations between the governments of Somalia and Somaliland under regional and international auspices after an interruption of nearly five years. The aim of the negotiations was to stir the still waters, proceed towards normalizing relations between the two sides, and agree on some unresolved issues between them, mainly the attainment by Somaliland of independence from Somalia, something which the latter continues to reject for fear of its future implications at home. This has constituted a challenge to the success of the talks at this round despite agreement on a number of items that could be built upon in the period ahead of continuing dialogue between both sides. The recent round of negotiations has coincided with a distinct stage experienced by the Somali government in view of the elections to be held in late 2020 and amidst regional and international efforts that aim at reinforcing regional stability and maximizing strategic interests in the Horn of Africa without any of the parties gaining advantages at the expense of the other. This paper sheds light on the positions of local and international powers on the resumption of negotiations, the goals of the actors therefrom, and the chances of and challenges to reaching an agreement between Mogadishu and Hargeisa. It also attempts to foresee the future of this process and its reflection on the geopolitical scene in the Horn of Africa during the period ahead.

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The Increasing Presence and Role of Private Security Firms in Africa: The Russian Company “Wagner” as a Model

Ahmad Askar | 07 Jun 2020

Private military and security companies have come to play a pivotal role in materializing the agendas and goals of international powers in areas of influence to maximize their strategic interests. With the multiplicity of the roles played by those companies, they have been increasingly relied upon by some African rulers over the last decade. This has led to expanding their role in African countries and increasing their political, economic and military influence. While the Russian strategy towards Africa rests on the security dimension in light of the security challenges experienced by most African countries, the role of Wagner Group in Africa is on the rise and has been developing noticeably. While this enhances the Russian role in the continent, it equally drives towards a new stage of the militarization of the African continent and intensified international competition and the impact thereof on Africa’s future in light of the predicted expansion of the activity of such companies moving forward.

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Somalia’s 2020/2021 National Elections: Problematic Issues and Potential Scenarios

EPC | 18 May 2020

Preparations are underway to hold the presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 in Somalia. A new draft electoral law has been developed by the Ministry of the Interior after consultation with the five federal states and the parties concerned. It was then approved by the Council of Ministers and both chambers of Parliament, to be ratified by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in February 2020. Holding elections in a federal country with weak institutions in both the centre and the periphery constitutes a completely new adventure. The political scene lacks federal states that are united, strong and capable of negotiating. Neither is there a strong centre that is capable of delegating some of its powers to the periphery. On the contrary, there is a federal government that has failed to take control of many areas and that acts as if it is in control of the whole of Somalia. In contrast, there are regional states that are weak and incapable of properly controlling the areas where they are located. This paper aims to analyze the political process in Somalia, monitor the main influential actors at the current political scene, and build potential scenarios for those elections.

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