The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security


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Indeed these trajectories show that tensions exist between the logic of building states and that of ensuring that war will not recur Call and Wyeth, Finally, the book engages with the debates around external state reconstruction projects in Africa and specifically in the Horn of Africa. Without branding all generals and statesmen as murderers or thieves, I want to encourage the value of that analogy […].

Eritrea, Ethiopia

A portrait of war-makers and state-makers as coercive and self-seeking entrepreneurs bears a far greater resemblance to the facts than do its chief alternatives […]. To the extent that the threats against which a government protects its citizens are imaginary, or are the consequences of its own activities, the government has organized a protection racket. Since governments themselves simulate, stimulate and even fabricate threats of external war, and since the repressive and extractive activities of governments often constitute the largest threats to their own citizens, many governments operate in essentially the same way as racketeers.

There is, of course, a difference: racketeers, by conventional definition, operate without the sanctity of governments.

Conflict and state building in the Horn of Africa

These studies concede that war-making leads to state-making in some cases Eritrea and the three-decade war for independence Iyob, ; Pool, However, with the recurrence of conflicts the law of limited return of war-making in relation to state consolidation prevails Jacquin-Berdal, ; Reid, Indeed the wars in the Horn of Africa seem to have led to more cases of state disintegration and ultimate collapse than state consolidation Clapham, In doing so it explores the tensions between state and peace consolidation in order to identify the key factors, actors and moments of crisis that magnify this tension and lead to the escalation of conflicts.

Indeed, bearing these elements in mind an analysis of the relationship between conflict and the state-formation process seems to confirm the law of limited return.

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Eritrea had been an Italian colony , hence its claim to a separate trajectory as a sovereign state. The legitimacy of its claim to self-determination was based on its past as a colony. In the aftermath of World War II and of the defeat of the Italian forces in the region, Eritrea was under a transitory British Military Administration up to the controversial international decision to grant Eritrea autonomy within a federation with Ethiopia The federation was abrogated in and Eritrea was incorporated as the 14th Province of the Ethiopian Empire. This decision resulted in a three-decade war for independence in Eritrea and it was only reversed in in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Derg by the combined EPLF and the TPLF forces.

Eritrea finally became independent on 24 May , after a referendum.

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This aspect acquires particular significance in mitigating and eliminating potential tensions arising out of border disputes. As the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea confirmed, once established, borders can only be changed at great cost and this border remains a barrier between peoples Dias, ; Clapham, Contiguous neighbouring countries and length of shared boundaries between dyads. Source: Anderson ,,,,,, First, politics and conflict in the Horn of Africa need to be understood simultaneously in the domestic, regional and global political arenas.

Third, the existing literature on weak and failed states overlooks how these states undergo processes of reconfiguration Doornbos, and how regional actors mobilize local and global agendas in order to pursue their own aims in the domestic and regional arenas. Fourth, the study of local actors highlights their agency as they compete with other actors for control of critical local resources. Fifth the recurrence of conflict in the domestic and regional political arenas hampers accommodation of different groups' demands and perpetuates the reproduction of the practice of resorting to armed force to negotiate political space and obtain control of the state Kaiser and Okumu, However, external involvement has not reduced the agency of the states in the region.

The events have overridden planning and have shaped policy approaches towards the region rather than the other way round. If this holds true for most of African countries, in the Horn it becomes more salient when bearing in mind key events that have had as their outcome the reinforcement of a shifting pattern of alliances. During the Cold War, the first one was the war between Ethiopia and Somalia. At this critical juncture the US fell short of losing an anchor state in the region. When Mengistu failed to obtain military support from Washington, following the logic of superpower rivalry, Ethiopia turned its back on the US and successfully sought an alternative external patron in Moscow.

During this period the US sustained its involvement through support for the Khartoum, Nairobi and Mogadishu axis and for non-state actors that shared the common aim of overthrowing the Derg regime in Ethiopia.

The aim was to contain the expansion of communism in the region. As a result, relations between the US and Sudan deteriorated, culminating in the placement of Sudan in the US list of states harbouring terrorists in and the shutdown of the US embassy in Khartoum in Iyob and Keller, First the unexpected escalation of a border incident into a full-scale war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in May made the post-Cold War Addis-Asmara-Kampala axis falter.

The perpetrators of the attack were said to be part of Al Qaeda's Eastern Africa cell and Somalia was used as a transit point.


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At the time, the US Administration even considered approving military action in Somalia Menkhaus, In particular, interplays between domestic politics and external relations, intra-regional affairs and the impact of international events on the region are their key focus. The aim of the book is therefore to enhance knowledge on the Horn of Africa from a regional perspective, grounded on secondary and primary empirical evidence.

Which are the historical, economic, political, territorial and environmental factors that have led to the recurrence of conflict in the Horn of Africa? What role have international interventions played in the dynamics of conflict in the Horn of Africa? However, the authors converge in bringing to our attention key changes on the domestic front and in relations between state and society within Ethiopia that place it in an uncertain predicament. In chapter 1 Ramos reflects on the domestic and regional cleavage between Muslims and Christians.

She argues that this intervention was the product of a securitisation move with domestic, regional and broader international aims.

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With regard to the connection between Ethiopia and US policies in Somalia, the author draws our attention to the need to introduce an element of caution in our analysis. When they take place, however, they engender devastating effects to human life, property and environment. A devastating inter-state war, after the Ethiopia-Somalia war of and - 78, took place between Ethiopia and Eritrea, - The war ended following the signing of the Algiers Agreement of December The Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict still holds a central position and has a serious implication to the conflicts running in the Horn of Africa.

One of these conflicts is the Eritrea-Djibouti conflict. Eritrea and Djibouti have been experiencing border disputes since , on and off. The latest conflict and most serious one however emerged in June The two countries were briefly involved in military confrontation that led to a number of casualties.

The government of Qatar offered its mediation services to the two countries which they accepted and the border dispute is being settled through the Qatari mediation process. The intractability of the conflicts in the HOA is also reinforced by geostrategic security and interest driven interventions. Conflict for the purpose of this article is understood in a broad sense. Therefore war is defined as a violent conflict. When the Ethiopia-Eritrea violent conflict - broke out in May it came as a shock to many observers as well as citizens of both countries.

The shock derived from the unexpected turns of events that were until the last minute, at least to an external observer, completely undetected because the relation between the two governments following the end of the first Ethiopia-Eritrea war - appeared to stand on firm ground. Unlike the commonplace understanding, however, the relation of the two fronts was fraught with fundamental difference. This difference was never discussed or settled pursuant their victory and when they initiated their post-Dergue cooperation.

Challenges and Breakthrough for Horn of Africa Regional Integration :: Science Publishing Group

The unresolved differences are presumed to have contributed to the outbreak of the second conflict. The early post-Dergue years, - , heralded a new era in Ethiopia-Eritrea relation. Indeed the relation was depicted as exemplary post-conflict model of relations between nations that had been embroiled in a chronic warfare. The praise was overwhelming and it was suggested that the model was worth emulating in other cases.

The leaders of the two countries were heralded as new breed of African leaders. But something went terribly wrong. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement in the EPRDF government and EPLF government embarked on a cooperation course that was to entail economic, political, diplomatic, security and cultural cooperation as well as free movement of goods and people across borders. As an expression of their diverse cooperation agreement, both Asmara and Addis Ababa closed all doors for opposition activities that might have disturbed stability not only of respective countries intra-state but also of the region inter-state or regional.

While Eritrea was reported to have been involved in the pacification attempts by the new Ethiopian government targeting forces such as the Oromo Liberation Front OLF , the Ethiopian government gave a blind eye when Eritrean opposition figures were abducted from the heart of its power base Tigray. Therefore no wonder the post-liberation and post-Dergue Ethio-Eritrean relations were depicted in the larger world, perhaps hastily, as an ideal model for post-conflict democratic relations.

It was indeed praised as a model for other conflict-ridden societies to draw lessons from. Yet internal apprehension, particularly from the Ethiopian public, was mounting, reflecting the lack of public and institutional anchorage of the relation. Apparently, the amicable relation was founded on false hopes and expectations. As it was to be clear a few years later the two governments premised their plans on diametrically opposed expectations. Ethiopia in turn had in mind containing Eritrea within its sphere of control, with the hope of leading, finally, to political unity.

Another serious drawback of the agreement was that it was not based on an institutional foundation. The main upholders of the agreement were the leaders of the two countries; the people in both countries were kept in the dark. The shaky foundation of the so-called exemplary relation was exposed when Eritrea issued its currency in The issuance of the Eritrean currency seems to have shattered the illusion that Eritrea was on its way to join Ethiopia.

This realisation triggered a sequence of events leading to the rupture of the relation. Afterwards, miscalculations by both sides coupled with deeply rooted grievances, the main of which being the independence of Eritrea, led to the violent conflict of The war came to an end with the signing of the Algiers Peace Agreement on December 12, One of the provisions of the Algiers Peace Agreement was the establishment of Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission EEBC mandated with the task of delimitation and demarcation of the boundary on the basis of colonial agreements and pertinent international laws.

The verdict was to be final and binding. In addition, in what was broadly seen as taking their conflict to Somalia, they embarked in proxy wars. All these groups are labelled by Addis Ababa as terrorists. The Ethiopian government also began to actively support Eritrean opposition groups in the hope of ousting the government in Asmara. Ethiopia was behind the formation of the alliance of Eritrean opposition groups in These Eritrean opposition groups are now entirely based in Ethiopia.

It has become common practice that both regimes persistently trade accusations of promoting terrorism in the region. The biggest stumbling block in the normalisation of the current Ethiopia-Eritrea relation was the non-implementation of the final and binding Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission EEBC boundary verdict.

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State and Societal Challenges in the Horn of Africa

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The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security
The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security
The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security
The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security
The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security
The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security

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