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.
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.
Ahmed Askar | 28 Jul 2020
In recent years, there have been increasing signs that Iran and Al-Shabaab have been growing closer. Iran is aspiring to expand its influence and its activities throughout the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region by strengthening its ties to emerging movements and organizations, such as the Houthis in Yemen and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and using these groups to achieve its strategic goals and create a new balance between the regional and international powers active in the region. This poses a clear threat to security and stability in the region and to these powers’ strategic interests; they have therefore been forced to work together to attempt to sever the ties between Tehran and Al-Shabaab and prevent further instability in the region.
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.
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.
Ahmad Askar | 18 Feb 2020
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, more commonly known as Al-Shabaab, remains the main security challenge in Somalia and one of the most significant threats to regional stability and security in the Horn of Africa given the recent uptick in the group's activity in Somalia and its growing expansion in the region. The terrorist attacks launched by the group are now claiming the lives of more civilians, military and government officials. This is in addition to targeting government interests and institutions inside and outside Somalia, which places a significant burden on the countries of the Horn of Africa and regional forces due to the risks and threats posed by the group.