The Horn of Africa is going through far-reaching economic and political dynamics risking a domino effect of insecurities not only in the region but also beyond. Currently, the region is gripped with the border disputes between Ethiopia and Sudan, the deadlock in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam tripartite talks among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the confrontation between Somalia and Kenya as well as other security, economic and natural challenges are the major threats risking millions of lives in the area.
Countries in the region are also racing to form alliances among themselves and with foreign forces to meet their unilateral and multilateral interest and safeguard their natural securities. Driven by external forces, the confrontations between and among the regional countries are escalating.
Because of this and other elements, the political dynamism in the region is also in constant change with states faced with break-or-make moments political transformations with some countries caught on long time crisis and conflicts.
The region, though blessed with natural resources and other opportunities, has been one of the most impoverished and conflict-ridden places in the world.
To make matters worse, a number of interested actors from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, the Gulf, and Asia are currently operating in the region. Over the years, the Horn of Africa has only seen expansion of foreign military bases and military build-up of naval forces. Being strategic location, the Horn of Africa region is attracting heavyweight countries and posing imminent security and stability concerns in the region.
The emergence of Middle Eastern and Gulf states as key security powers in the Horn has further pushed the country into unchartered territory in recent years. Major Asian powers have also established significant security engagements in and around the region, including as part of Indo-Pacific security strategies.
Furthermore, the established military bases of the United States and Europe in the region are now shifting to encompass traditional military competition. The number of countries with security engagements in the Horn is rising and promoting a militarization of the region.
The presence of external forces is reshaping the political alliance among the states in the region, said Political Science lecturer at Bahir Dar University in a condition of anonymity told The Ethiopian Herald
The Horn of Africa has been one of the strategic areas for super powers due to its trade and economic and security advantages.
Western and Middle Eastern countries are highly interested in the region so as to meet their economic and political ambitions which in fact inalienable with the regional countries. Even at the time of the cold war the super powers are working to control Africans along ideological lines of socialism and liberalism.
“Every state in the world is interested to control the Gulf of Aden which is the critical area to control the horn. When you control the Gulf of Aden you will control Suez Canal after that you can easily follow the activities in Asian and African countries. In order to control Suez Canal you need to control Egypt and manage issue related Nile waters.
The main reason behind the militarization of the horn is economic issue in the name of political and security fig leafs. “The wide presence of military base of super powers in Africa is primarily to control African economy nothing else. No country in this world stands for the interest of other countries at the expense of its own. Each country is racing to protect its vested ends”, he said.
Foreign countries are investing more and more sometimes getting into confrontation in strengthening their relationships in the Horn countries, so as to secure both short and long term interests. The security engagement of Middle Eastern and Gulf states in the Horn of Africa has undergone a steady evolution over the past decade. At the gulf state increased their presence in the region the Horn became an important venue for proxy contests among western, Middle Eastern and Gulf powers.
The security engagement in the Horn is also part of broader ambitions among gulf powers to play a more active role in the western and northern Indian Ocean, and in their relations with leading Asian powers, notably in the context of a perceived decline of US interest in the region.
Currently the tension among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt as well as between Somalia and Kenya. There also different brewing conflicts among countries in the region. These problems however are catalyzed by foreign interventions. Ironically, some foreign forces try to mediate conflicts in the region in order to achieve their unilateral interests. Egypt has not established military bases in the Horn but is a leading Red Sea power by virtue of its control of the Suez Canal. Now Egypt is rushing to build military base in the horn and recently signed an agreement with Sudan to work together in security issues.
According to him Ethiopia as the largest country in terms of population size and also geographical size should devise balanced diplomatic and political and economic alliances with regional and foreign forces to maintain its strategic interests.
Ethiopia needs to strengthen its diplomatic relations with countries in the region and beyond and also forge tactical and strategic alliances with countries so as to avert the imminent threats it faces. Currently Ethiopia and Eritrea are working together and strengthening diplomatic relations within and beyond neighboring countries is crucial, he added
On the other hand he said that security developments in the Horn have to do with economic and political agendas that stretch far beyond the interests of the horn region. The fact the Horn’s proximity to the entrance to the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden has made it a source of increasing international competition. Given the strategic position of the Horn, this competition has led to a securitization of the race for ports. Countries from the Middle East and the Gulf have sought to reposition themselves commercially.
“Developing ports and infrastructure that will connect the Horn and East Africa to Asian markets via elsewhere in the Gulf has become a priority for the Gulf States, while the major investments they have made in this area have reinforced their new status as key regional powers,” according to him.
In general, western, Middle Eastern and Gulf states have pursued ‘economic statecraft’, using strategic economic investments to achieve their political, military and economic aims in the region. In the long term, each country is racing for a prime position in the Red Sea corridor’s economy and politics.
Economically, foreign countries seek to enter the Horn of Africa’s unreserved ports, energy and consumer markets as gateways to rapid economic expansion across the continent. All of them describe the emerging dominant force in the Horn, and ally one another so as to meet their needs. These trends also behoove Ethiopia to position itself in right ways and follow approach to make most of the emerging socioeconomic and political developments.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202103170515.html
Author : Ethiopian Herald
Publish date : 2021-03-17 10:44:18