Transregional Conflict Crossing the Red Sea: The Horn of Africa

  • Dawit Yohannes Wondemagegnehu (PhD, Institute for Security Studies, Addis Ababa)
  • Fana Gebresenbet Erda (PhD, Addis Ababa University)


This contribution argues security interdependence and patterns of amity / enmity between Horn and Gulf actors help in explaining some of the peculiarly complex conflicts in the Horn of Africa. Gulf influence on conflict dynamics in the Horn is resurging, and is becoming more consequential. The influence is not merely unidirectional. Actors in the Horn are increasingly featuring in the Gulf’s own rivalry. Some Gulf countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, aim to curb the influence of Iran, Turkey and Qatar in the region. This is illustrated using three case studies: the Red Sea’s maritime security; Gulf intervention in conflict dynamics in Somalia, and the Gulf ‘factor’ in the recent Ethio-Eritrea rapprochement. These cases, on top of the Gulf’s increasing military, diplomatic and economic interventions in the Horn, indicate that the two regions are being knit tightly closer. What we have thus is an emergent security interdependence marked by an increasingly solidifying pattern of amity / enmity. As this straddles two regions, it calls for a regulatory scheme through a cooperative platform that brings together states and organizations representing the emerging region.

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How to Cite

Wondemagegnehu, D. Y., & Erda, F. G. (2018). Transregional Conflict Crossing the Red Sea: The Horn of Africa. Comparativ, 28(6), 90–108.