Horn of Dilemmas - Toward a Transatlantic To-Do List for the Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is adrift. Turmoil in Ethiopia and Sudan is sending shock-waves through the broader region – with knock-on effects for European and American interests. While the African Union is in the lead to address these issues, transatlantic partners must coordinate and do their part to tackle the crises in Europe’s extended neighborhood. In the Horn of Africa, hope and havoc are next-door neighbors. It is a place where a new, young generation is fighting for democracy. It is an arena where regional and global powers compete for influence. And it is also a region where conflicts are threatening the very essence of statehood. In Ethiopia and Sudan, after 30 years of authoritarian rule, two democratic transitions have first blossomed and then faced backlash within a matter of just three years. War in Ethiopia, a derailed democratic transition in Sudan, an escalating border dispute between these two neighbors, and a conflict over the Nile waters between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan represent only a shortlist of the Horn’s complex conflict network. Europe and the United States must develop a deeper understanding of the Horn of Africa’s conflict landscape and come to terms with the region’s intricate dilemmas. To start with, Europe and the US need to face two realities: first, conflict dynamics in the Horn of Africa impact their very own interests not least with regard to freedom of navigation, peace, security, good governance, and migration – although not to the same extent: Europe’s exposure to turmoil in the region is much more direct. Second, transatlantic partners are not the only external actors who take an interest in the Horn of Africa. Instead, the region is at the center of an intense geopolitical competition. To prevent further deterioration of the region’s conflicts, a coordinated transatlantic agenda is required.
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