Ahmed Askar | 07 Mar 2021
The tour of British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in January 2021 that included Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia reflects the nature of Britain’s new policies, London’s expanding efforts to maximize its influence in the region and establish a foothold there as part of the UK’s post-Brexit global vision. In its attempt to improve its ties with countries in the Horn of Africa, Britain depends on a number of pillars and approaches that enhance its strategic interests there. At the same time, London faces some challenges that curb Britain’s moves in the region such as the growing influence of the competing powers and the increasing security and terrorist threats. This paper highlights the nature of Britain’s interests and motivations in the Horn of Africa, characteristics and foundations of this interest, and the potential future scenarios for the British regional presence.
EPC | 31 Jan 2021
Many recent developments revealed a real crisis in the relationship between the centre and the periphery in Ethiopia. In the last two months of 2020, the federal government in Addis Ababa was forced to engage in a number of armed confrontations in the regions of Tigray, Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz, in addition to the outbreak of a wave of violent clashes between the Afar and Somali regions, and within the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR).
The turbulent conditions in many Ethiopian regions constitute a major source of threat to the stability of the political system and the unity and cohesion of the state, which makes it useful to monitor the current situation in the various Ethiopian regions through a number of indicators, mainly the relationship between the regional government and the federal government, and the extent of the presence of the ruling Prosperity Party in each of those regions as a representative of Abiy Ahmed’s unionist project, in addition to the security situation and the state of conflicts in the various regions, and subsequently anticipate the different prospects of the Ethiopian state in the future, between the option of launching a process of radical change to the country's constitution to reformulate the relationship of the capital with the regions, or the option of continuing with the formula of ethnic federalism with the enhanced powers it offers to the regional governments.
EPC | 24 Jan 2021
Due to the geographical location, the conflict between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) carries multiple repercussions that go beyond the borders of the Ethiopian state to include the countries of the Horn of Africa and the regional and international powers concerned with this region due to its great strategic importance in the international arena, given that the region is witnessing intense presence on the part of multiple regional and international actors.
EPC | 11 Nov 2020
Ethiopia stands today at the threshold of a new phase of turmoil that threatens the country's unity, territorial integrity and social structure, after the escalation of the dispute between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the administration of the Tigray region as a result of the tension that prevailed over the relation between them over the past two years, and that recently witnessed a serious development, namely the launch by the Ethiopian army of a military attack against the region. This raises serious questions about the fate of the situation in Ethiopia and the future of the Tigray region in light of the ongoing conflict between the region and the federal government.
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.