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Turkey, for instance, has established its first overseas military base — to date the largest in Mogadishu. The presence of such military and naval forces in the Horn has prompted security concerns from some of the member countries, however, including Ethiopia Lee ; Zelalem By virtue of being the former colonial power, the French have historically maintained a military base in Djibouti.

In , piracy became a critical security issue off the coast of Somalia, threatening maritime commerce in the busy trade routes through the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. Unsurprisingly, the presence of these major powers in the Horn, each with its own military base, has attracted foreign rivalries to the Horn. China and Turkey, both currently ascending powers, are keen to translate their economic might into global security and political influence. China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti, adjacent to the Doraleh Multi-purpose Port in Lee In the same vein, Turkish investments are drawn to the Horn in response to the increasing foreign presence.

Hence, the substantial Gulf influence in the region made it relevant for the wider intra-Middle East competition, which later erupted in the form of the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC crisis, pitting Qatar and Turkey against the Saudi-led coalition. Much like those of the UAE and China, Turkish military bases carry a link with commercial port deals. At the end of , Turkey announced it had been given a lease to rebuild and operate Suakin, a former Ottoman port city in north-eastern Sudan.

The agreement reportedly includes naval facilities and Sudanese—Turkish military cooperation see Lee ; Zelalem In a nutshell, the Horn of Africa is becoming a centre of contestation for major external global and regional actors. It should not be surprising if the countries of the Horn show their concern about the current and emerging security threats by observing who allies with whom, and what the consequence of such alignment might be. The complex nature of historical, cultural, ideological and religious intricacies between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, competition between Riyadh and Teheran through their proxies, and presence of global actors from the West and the East, further complicate the security landscape of the sub-region.

Furthermore, at the time of writing, Sudan has been excluded from the regional organisation, the African Union AU for the unconstitutional change of government BBC News It may be inferred that each country of the Horn is fragile to some degree and has specific economic, political, security and social aspirations and fears that can effectively be addressed only collectively and interdependently through a regional security complex RSC approach, which is the subject of the following section.

The essential structure of an RSC embodies: 1 a boundary, which differentiates the RSC from its neighbours; 2 anarchic structure, which means that the RSC must be composed of two or more autonomous units; 3 polarity, which covers the distribution of power among the units; and 4 social construction, which covers the patterns of amity and enmity among the units Buzan and Waever ; Kay — Four points constitute the rationale for focusing on the regional level when investigating contemporary security implications of the nexus between state fragility and violent conflict dynamics in the Horn of Africa.

On the contrary, the post-Cold War security problems confronting the contemporary world are found and addressed at the regional level.

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They are manifested, according to Lepgold , in at least two ways: 1 the degree of negative security externalities in the region how much a given conflict spills over or affects others ; and 2 the extent to which there are states or other institutions as well as politically committed and transformative leaders capable of managing conflict in the region. In other words, most if not all of the Horn of Africa conflicts do not take place between well-established states, but mostly inside states which are not in control of their internal dynamics, i.

This means the locus of conflict and its management will become largely region-based. Hence, efforts to cope with violent conflicts, as well as to achieve order and security, will primarily involve arrangements and actions designed and implemented at the sub-regional level Lepgold ; Zartman —84; Lee Conflict can also diffuse across boundaries through a process of social learning. A group that sees itself as marginalised at home might develop a stronger sense of its identity, and thereby its dissatisfaction, by observing a comparable struggle in other states.

Groups that already are discontented might learn from conflicts elsewhere how they can become less vulnerable or more autonomous and metamorphose into a non-state actor status see Buzan and Waever — Security dynamics theoretically have a strong territoriality, and on this basis it can accommodate non-state actors without too much difficulty. Although some aspects of the new security agenda are de-territorialised, such as economic and environmental sectors, territoriality remains a primary defining feature of many in security dynamics.

A regional approach can therefore provide both a much clearer empirical picture and a theoretically more coherent understanding of security dynamics Buzan and Waever — In contrast, the region, or sub-region in the case of the Horn of Africa, refers to the level where states or other units link together sufficiently closely so that their securities cannot be considered separately from each other. The regional level is where the extremes of national and global security interplay, and where most of the action occurs. The general picture is about the conjunction of two levels: the interplay of the global powers at the system level , and clusters of close security interdependence at the regional level.

Each regional security complex is made up of the fears and aspirations of the separate units which in turn partly derive from domestic features and fractures. Both the security of the separate units and the process of global power intervention can be grasped only through understanding the regional security dynamics, which usually share borders with other regional security complexes see Buzan and Waever ; Kay — To grasp the full picture of the Horn, it is worth pointing out that the Horn of Africa RSC itself borders with the Middle East RSC whose pattern of security interdependence comprises more than twenty countries.

It developed three sub-complexes: the Levant, the Gulf, and the Maghreb. A case might sometimes be made that the Horn of Africa constitutes a fourth weak sub-complex in this set see Buzan and Waever Evidently, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan are all members of the Arab League, and there is a clear and persistent pattern of conflict and hostile intervention connecting them with Ethiopia, Eritrea, and sometimes even Egypt. It was formed in in response to the Iraq—Iran war, and is generally understood as being a response to fear of them Tibi The revolution in Iran added a sharp ideological element to its rivalry with Saudi Arabia, since both states claimed leadership of competing Islamic universalisms Chubin and Tripp , Egypt, although a central player in the Arab—Israeli conflict, is also prominent in the Gulf.

Currently, its presence is felt in the GCC and in the Djibouti military base race as has been discussed above.

News Article – Center for Security Studies | ETH Zurich

In short, the regional security dynamics of the Middle East RSC were exceptionally strong, and deeply rooted in the character of local politics and history Tibi In addition, there has been a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Yemen and within Yemen , which has generated a lot of local wars, still going on at the time of writing, mainly as proxy of Iran and Saudi Arabia and has at times drawn in wider Arab participation along rival royalist versus radical lines.

Consequently, the pouring in of small arms and light weapons, refugees fleeing the violence in Yemen to the Horn of Africa, and competition of Saudi Arabia and Iran to have allies from the Horn countries, using their commercial projects, investment, trade and aid leverage, are clear evidence of the effect of the proxy war in the contemporary Yemen on the Horn of Africa RSC.

What is more, the close interaction with and allegiance of some of the Horn RSC countries, e. Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan, to the Arab League, is a conspicuous demonstration of the linkage of the two RSCs with far-reaching socio-cultural, economic, political and security effects. Even though these effects are not the object of analysis of this article, it ought to be underlined that their interface plays vital roles in the RSCs of both security clusters.

Various studies e. Hence, the traditional Horn countries and their security interdependence are the object of analysis instead of IGAD per se. Finally, a regional approach specifies what to look for at four levels of analysis and how to interrelate them: 1 Domestically, in the states of the region, particularly their locally generated vulnerabilities. Finally and essentially, 4 the roles of global powers in the region. With regard to the interrelatedness of the levels, it may be added that in the case of the Horn, the interplay between the global security structures for instance, the presence of the US, China and Germany and the regional security structures mainly the presence of the Gulf countries is of great importance Buzan and Waever —51; Kay — On the whole, the regional approach is more of a necessity than a choice to understand the nexus between state fragility and conflict dynamics in the Horn of Africa.

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State fragility is understood and conceptualised in a number of ways. For Acemoglu and Robinson — as well as for Herbst — , state fragility is symbolised by extractive state institutions that expropriate power and wealth: thereby impoverish the people and block economic development, and at the same time initiate savage conflict.

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Fukuyama ; implies that state fragility is the failure of the perceived legitimacy of the government that binds the population together by making them willing to accept its authority both internally and externally. Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, South Omo, Ethiopia Somali Region, Oromia Region of Moyale, Gedeo and Guji, Sidama and Wolaita of Southern Regional State, various parts of the Amhara National Regional state, to mention just a few how the failure of state institutions to maintain basic security leads to violent conflict and violent conflict fuels state fragility.

This situation plays a major role in shaping the contemporary security of the sub-region as small arms and light weapons are being circulated en mass , refugees flee their abode, statistics of internally displaced people as well as trans-border organised crimes swell up. Consequently, ungoverned spaces are being created, and serve as safe haven for non-state actors who claim to provide security to their respective communities at grassroots by further weakening already fragile states of the Horn as, for instance, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

It follows that when fragility refers to the situation in the Horn, it implies that fragility is in fact a property of the prevalent political system. This has consequences for society as a whole: threatening livelihoods, increasing economic downturn and causing other related crises which affect human security and the likelihood of widespread armed conflict in the sub-region see Fragile State Index Team Regional Security Complex analysis of the Horn further demonstrates that primordial enmity or resource deficiency is not as much a critical factor for conflict in the Horn of Africa as the failure of authority, legitimacy and effectiveness of the state see Deng ; Zartman ; Wolf The evidence comes from the current situations in Ethiopia and Somalia.

The Hobbesian hypothesis is that in the absence of a political Leviathan, life for individuals will be nasty, brutish, and short Hobbes In Somalia citizens live in constant fear of attacks from Al-Shabaab — a non-state actor, which emerged as a result of the failure of authority, legitimate power and effectiveness of the state. In the s and s, the horror of extreme political repression reigned in Ethiopia during the military regime, the worst case of which was ushered in under the EPRDF regime since State-sponsored terrorism based on ethnic identity politics indeed made life of individual citizens nasty, brutish and short, but fortunately, since April , there are some modest positive changes in Ethiopia in terms of openness and a democratisation process.

It is legitimate to argue that in the Horn of Africa state fragility is more responsible for violent conflict dynamics than economic underdevelopment — as the analysis of its RSC reveals. Economic improvement alone, even if it could be achieved, has therefore not broken the cycle of violence in Ethiopia.

It may be inferred from the analysis of the Horn RSC that whereas the understanding of the security threats posed by fragile states merits further investigation, the lessons learned from the Horn of Africa indicate that fragile states are an ideal breeding ground for domestic or state-sponsored as well as international terrorism, national and transnational organised crimes, human trafficking, and armed conflicts.

In the context of the Horn of Africa, conflict dynamics could be a cause, a symptom or a consequence of fragility, which explains why it is a dimension of most indices of fragile situations. What the analysis of the framework of the RSC of the Horn portrays, is that the very state formation in the Horn of Africa is contested: hence, it is pregnant with conflict dynamics from the outset. In either case the state does not represent the whole society; hence, it has neither de facto nor de jure legitimacy.

When the state does not deliver the basic services it is supposed to, when its authority is limited or arbitrarily exercised, or its legitimacy systematically questioned, the social contract and public trust weaken to the point where public dissatisfaction easily transforms into violent contestation by sectors of society as has usually been the case in the Horn of Africa.

In attempts to regain order, the state has often responded with violence to the violence caused by its own failures — as demonstrated specifically in Ethiopia since , South Sudan since , and Darfur in Sudan since February As a result, the Horn of Africa RSC has remained the crucible of conflict dynamics feeding and fuelling state fragility as the following discussion of their nexus further reveals.

Almost all the countries of the Horn which comprise the RSC have experienced intra- and inter-state conflicts of varying degree and intensity over different time periods see Kassahun ; Clapham What is visible on the ground in the Horn of Africa RSC is that the insecurity of ruling elites within their domestic sphere plays a significant role in shaping the dynamics of in security overall. As already pointed out, state fragility and violent conflict dynamics are directly related in the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa: Its strategic importance for Europe, the Gulf States and beyond

Consequently, their nexus shapes the contemporary security of the Horn. As can be observed in Table 1, South Sudan and Somalia are the most fragile in terms of state fragility in the Horn of Africa and least peaceful in terms of conflict dynamics in the world. The other four countries in the Horn have also been ranked high in state fragility and medium to low in peacefulness for detailed discussions, see Global Peace Index ; Fragile State Index Team What follows from the analysis, is that state fragility and violent conflict are so closely interlinked that these two interrelated phenomena shape the type and level of contemporary security of the Horn of Africa RSCS.

This situation is daily experience in the Horn since the end of the Cold War and has critical security implications as discussed in the following section. The above analysis of RSC reveals that the Horn of Africa is replete with actual and potential insecurities at grassroots, national and sub-regional levels, which emanate from the nexus between violent conflict dynamics and state fragility.

Internally, most of the contemporary insecurities prevalent in the Horn are related directly to the failure of the political leadership and state institutions to deliver required public goods to the citizens. Resultantly, however, foreign political cleavages are transported into the Horn of Africa by foreign states through their financial capacity, by which they are capable of combining commercial deals with political pressure and even occasional threats of cutting off financial aid — as some policy analysts of the Horn of Africa think. They use the money pumped in by the foreign companies to maintain the security and military apparatus, which they use to suppress any dissenting voices of their own citizens.

Furthermore, regional balances of power also shift as hundreds of millions of dollars are invested and military bases are established, altering the status quo by funding actors involved in inter-state rivalries see Verhoeven ; Van den Berg and Meester This might upset its neighbours, however, particularly Djibouti and Somalia, which are concerned, respectively, about losing trade and seeing a breakaway state gain international recognition. In the same vein, the large amounts of foreign funding have brought changes to local political settlements, not least because the funds from abroad may empower certain political actors within individual Horn countries to challenge existing political settlements in favour of the foreign powers Verhoeven ; Van den Berg and Meester The amount of the investments and their impact, have significant implications for internal and external security of the Horn.

Moreover, studies indicate that currently the most crucial element that brings Gulf capital to the shores of northeast Africa is geopolitical Verhoeven Two fault-lines are relevant, though. Teheran perceives the Saudi-American alliance, and the attendant partnership with Israel, as the root cause of regional instability, and reckons that only armed resistance can stop the menace of US imperialism and Wahhabism. This has not only meant rallying all Gulf Cooperation Council states including Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE to support the Saudi-led war in Yemen but also persuading Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia through investment, loans and central bank to central bank transfers to sign up to the pro-Saudi camp and keep Iranian ships out of the Red Sea. The second defining geopolitical fault-line stimulating a renewed and intensified interest in the Horn RSC is the growing intra-Gulf Arab enmity. While Saudi Arabia continues to see itself as the regional hegemon, Qatar and the UAE both feel capable of and entitled to an independent foreign policy in which they pursue their own interests in and ideological vision of the Middle East and Northeast Africa. The Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea relate to the first and second, while Ethiopia can be linked to the second and third factors.

The alienation of indigenous institutions, authorities and practices, internal contradictions and division as well as external powers have, arguably, affected the states in the region leading to crises, conflicts and instability. Objectives The project seeks to examine the origin and causes of inter-state and intra-state conflicts in the HOA. The interplay between inter-state and intra-state conflicts and the regional dimension of these inter-related conflicts is interrogated with the aim of searching for regional and holistic solutions.