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The people-to-people exchanges are already a common feature of the regional reconciliation landscape and are happening around the world. These can be convened by civic, academic, business and cultural leaders without the approval of the states, though they can benefit from the support of governments.

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Consequently, people-to-people processes are the most flexible of the three pillars to convene and operationalize. If regional reconciliation is operationalised in a progressive and cascading manner it can contribute towards regional integration. In the absence of a genuine belief in the intentions of neighbouring countries then it becomes difficult to achieve regional integration. Consequently, the processes and mechanisms that are designed and adopted to implement regional reconciliation will undoubtedly play a catalytic role in promoting regional integration.

Regional integration requires a high degree of coordination and harmonization of policy agendas which the three pillars of regional reconciliation can contribute towards. More specifically, leadership, government cooperation and citizen buy-in are equally the core ingredients of regional integration.

Perhaps one of the most critical examples of the need for regional approaches to reconciliation is the situation in Somalia. A series of peace agreements ensued. However, following the failed UN interventions in the early s backed strongly by the United States, which led to the death of foreign troops dramatised in the Hollywood fictional film Black Hawk Down , the international community has had a lukewarm approach to further engagement in Somalia.

Despite the existence of a government that has nominal support within the country, the Somali crisis continues unabated. Furthermore, the Somali crisis has spilt over into Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, has drawn Eritrea into the conflict system, and has generated maritime insecurity and piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Throughout the crisis, neighbouring countries have intervened ostensibly to address their own self-defined national interests. Ethiopia undertook military operations in Somalia, and the current peacekeeping intervention by the AU includes troops from Uganda, Kenya and Burundi. Fast forward to October , when we witnessed what seemed a surreal event: a vicious attack over several days against unarmed civilians in the commercial Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Indications are that the participants in the attack were not only from Somalia but were in fact drawn from many countries, including the United Kingdom and Norway. In March , students were killed in the Garissa University massacre, which was believed to have been executed by the Al-Shabab. Following the Westgate Mall and Garissa University attacks and assuming that the indications that this was conducted by the Al-Shabab militia were true, the question becomes: can the Kenyan and international victims find a basis for redress? We can also turn the question around: Are innocent Somali citizens in Somalia, who may have been negatively impacted upon — as collateral damage — by the history of military incursions by neighbouring countries, also entitled to some form of redress?

Given this new reality that we are in, it does not only matter what is done internally in Kenya in terms of reconciliation. If nothing is done in Somalia to promote people-to-people reconciliation with societal counterparts in Kenya, then we can expect further attacks along the lines of what was witnessed in October , in Nairobi, and March in Garissa.

Today, military operations continue in Somalia to root out and eliminate Al-Shabab , with US drone assistance operating out of the American military base in Djibouti. This will only get the region so far, and is a case of treating the symptoms rather than the causes. It seems that promoting genuine people-to-people reconciliation in Somalia and linking this to people-to-people reconciliation processes in Kenya, not least because Kenya has a sizeable Kenyan citizens of Somali heritage, is ultimately a more effective and sustainable approach to reducing the war and strife generated by the Somali conflict system.

Given the fact that Kenya is on its own journey of national reconciliation, due to the aftermath of the post-electoral violence, and now with the added dimension of the Westgate attack, there is the increased prospect for further ethnic polarisation and the targeting of Kenyan citizens of Somali heritage. So there is an additional need: to implement cross-border people-to-people reconciliation between Kenya and Somalia. Machar in turn received diplomatic, political and military support from the government of Sudan.

In addition, Juba was transporting arms through logistical routes in Kenya, given the long-term relationship between the South Sudanese and Kenyan elites. In effect, the South Sudan conflict immediately took on regional dimensions. The mediation process was led by Seyoum Mesfin, the former Ethiopian Foreign Minister, with Lazarus Sumbyeiyo, the Kenyan envoy, as part of the third party intervention team.

In August , the South Sudan Peace Agreement was ultimately signed, even though shortly thereafter it was periodically violated by both sides. For all intents and purposes, the Peace Agreement will continue to be implemented in this imperfect condition of continuing incidents of sporadic violence. This suggests that unless a genuine and urgent commitment is undertaken to operationalize all three pillars of regional reconciliation, namely, the leader-to-leader, government-to-government and people-to-people dimensions then the South Sudan Peace Agreement is unlikely to succeed.

In addition, given the dispersal of the South Sudanese diaspora into Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda as well as around the world, means that there is significant scope for them to convene people-to-people regional reconciliation processes, with a view to improving the relationship with neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa. A regional reconciliation process that draws in all of the protagonists, antagonists and stakeholders involved in the South Sudan crisis, can in fact serve as the platform for a genuine and sustained dialogue which can begin to address the malignant and corroded relationships that persist in the Horn of Africa region.

In light of the historic tensions between the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, there have been no open leader-to-leader or government-to-government initiatives that have entrenched a framework of regional reconciliation. However, at the cultural level people-to-people exchanges have been transpiring between Ethiopians and Eritreans in an informal manner. For example, cultural exchanges in terms of the exchange of music between Addis Ababa and Asmara, contributes in a small way towards people-to-people interaction which can cascade and be further amplified into government-to-government exchanges, which can at some point down the line lay the foundation for leader-to-leader dialogue.

De Waal. Sudan: international dimensions to the state and its crisis.

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Farer, T. War clouds on the Horn of Africa: the widening storm. Getachew Mequanent. Human security and regional planning in the Horn of Africa. Human Security Journal 7 Healy, S. Lost opportunities in the Horn of Africa: how conflicts connect and peace agreements unravel. Ethiopia-Eritrea dispute and the Somali conflict. Addis Ababa, Imru, Z. The Horn of Africa: a strategic survey. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

Accessed 31 June The military balance — London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, Joireman, S.

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Secession and its aftermath: Eritrea. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Lefebvre, J. Middle East conflicts and middle level power intervention in the Horn of Africa. Middle East Journal 50 3 Legum, C.

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

The Red Sea and the Horn of Africa in international perspective. Durham: Duke University Press, Markakis, J. The Hague: Institute of Social Studies, McGowan, P. African military coups — frequency, trends and distribution. Journal of Modern African Studies 41 3 Medhane, T. New Security Frontiers in the Horn of Africa.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue on Globalization, Rupiya, M. Interrelated security challenges of Kenya and Uganda in eastern and Horn of Africa. Seifudin, H. Systemic factors and the conflicts in the Horn of Africa — Kyoto: Shokado, Shinn, D. Horn of Africa: priorities and recommendations. Swain, A. Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt: the Nile River dispute. Journal of Modern African Studies 35 4 Regional conflict formations: an intractable problem of international relations.

Journal of Peace Research 21 4 Venkataraman, M. Ethiopian Journal of the Social Sciences and Humanities 3 2 Wasara, S. Conflict and state security in the Horn of Africa: militarization of civilian groups. African Journal of Political Science 7 2 Weber, A. Will the phoenix rise again? Cairo, Woodward, P. The Horn of Africa: politics and international relations.

London: Tauris Academic Studies, Homepage Navigation Content Sitemap Search. About us. Think Tank. Introduction This chapter is the product of more than a decade of research conducted by the author on the Horn of Africa, and draws on his numerous discussions with foremost analysts and top-level decision-makers [1] whose policies are increasingly influenced by regional politics. What is a security complex? Political and economic problems In the Horn of Africa, the nature of state power is a key source of conflict: political victory assumes a winner-takes-all form with respect to wealth and resources as well as the prestige and prerogatives of office.

Eritrea, Ethiopia - PRIO

It also heightens the perception of mutual threat, with a wide range of unintended political [Table 8 Military coups in and around the Horn of Africa]. What happened in Darfur was partly an environmentally generated antagonism over shared [Table 9 Armed cattle rustling in and around the Horn of Africa]. The logic of subversion The states of the Horn of Africa took advantage of every local tension or conflict to support rebel movements in neighbouring states. The logic of alliances Alliances are usually assigned to prevent or contain external disruptions of security and to establish a viable equilibrium of forces in a region.

An observer of the Horn of Africa said that: [57] Outside actors need to respond judiciously to the allegations of terrorism levelled against various parties to conflict in the Horn.


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Healy accurately noted: [64] [H]istorical patterns of amity and enmity are deeply etched in the region. Notes [1] It would be difficult to reveal the names and positions of these individuals who, nonetheless, provided vital pieces of information that were integrated in the chapter. References Abbink, J. The dispute seemed to fade away. Nevertheless, in , a dispute between the two countries re-emerged when they traded accusations.

Eritrea accused Djibouti for siding with Ethiopia during its war with the latter because Ethiopia was using the port of Djibouti to import weapons in the middle of the war, while Djibouti accused Eritrea for supporting Djiboutian opposition groups engaged in overthrowing the government and of having claims on Ras Doumeira region. Once more the difference seemed to re-emerge influenced by the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflicts. After what seemed a steady improvement in relations, following the end of the Eritrea-Ethiopia war, suddenly, in April , Djibouti accused Eritrea of amassing armies to their common border.

Moreover, Djibouti accused Eritrea of occupying Djiboutian territory. Eritrea, not only strongly refuted the accusations but also charged that foreign forces were behind the campaign. The Eritrean President in an interview with a French newspaper Le Monde on 19 May lamented that the Djiboutian accusations were pure fiction and Eritrea was not interested in being dragged into acts that were intended to destabilise the region.

He further stated that Eritrea was investigating the motives and forces behind the campaign. The Eritrean President seemed to be convinced that forces besides Djibouti were behind the campaigns. What was puzzling with the outbreak of the recent conflict, however, was that the two nations were pursuing a process of normalisation: they were engaged in earnest in setting down infrastructures, for example building roads, to connect the two countries. In that sense the outbreak of conflict loses any rational meaning.

A few factors, linked with the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, probably contributed to the fact that Eritrea amassed army to its borders with Djibouti. These were the meeting of the Eritrean opposition groups in April in Addis Ababa where they were reported as saying they will employ every means to depose the government in Asmara.

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Moreover, there was information that Ethiopia moved a large size of its army on the border of the three countries, Mount Ali Mousa. In addition, there were unconfirmed reports of the US intelligence activities around Ras Doumeira. All this might have startled the Eritrean government into thinking of an eminent Ethiopian invasion in that part of its borders and, therefore, Eritrea moved its army to the common border with Djibouti.

Whatever the reasons were for Eritrea to amass army to the border, Djibouti reacted strongly. Two factors might have driven Djibouti to push the dispute directly into the public arena. First, it might have been a strategic calculation to once and for all settle the nagging border issue when Eritrea was diplomatically in a weaker position. Therefore, she probably wanted to once and for all resolve the lingering problem.

There were also reports in some websites that French forces had sunk an Eritrean small military boat in the Assab area of the Red Sea, a strong indication of what might happen if Eritrea ventured to enter into war with Djibouti. In addition, some sources claim that Djibouti was able to boost its warfare logistics immensely because as a result of the conflict France had supplied it with modern weaponry, tanks, aircrafts, armoured vehicles, etc. The US also dispatched soldiers to Djibouti in connection with the outbreak of the conflict. France, which has a military basis and a defence agreement with Djibouti has come in with logistical and military support.

It has to be assumed that Ethiopia would also get involved on the side of Djibouti should the conflict escalate further, as Ethiopia depends on Djibouti to access to the sea European Parliament Committee on Development 3. The confrontation between the two countries led to a brief military showdown. In June military skirmishes between the two countries left several casualties.

Indeed, it was reported that a dozen Djiboutian soldiers were killed, There were also casualties on the Eritrean side. According to a Djiboutian version of events,. Fact Finding Missions that included the UN and EU were sent to the region to ascertain dimensions of the conflict on the ground. All but the EU one were rejected a visiting permit by Eritrea. The Mission spoke to officials in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti and compiled its findings.

It came to the conclusion that as long as the border remains not clearly demarcated it will be difficult to make sense of the claims and counterclaims. In fact Eritrea denied any border dispute. The phenomenon of external intervention in the HOA has a long history.

Following the Cold War, the war on terror and piracy define external intervention, with devastating effects on the HOA. The Cold War superpower rivalry supported and armed rival states in fighting one another. The Soviets supported Somalia and Sudan at one time, and Ethiopia at another.

The Americans supported imperial Ethiopia and later Somalia and Sudan. The current war on terror and piracy also constitutes tension in the region because it divides states between friends and enemies. External mediation also contributes to insecurities and tensions in the HOA, because it is driven by geostrategic interests and not always in confluence with the interest of the people of the region.

The geostrategic driven mediation favours client states and not only quite often fails to resolve conflicts but rather may exacerbate them. A typical example of this is the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict.

People-to-People Regional Reconciliation in the Horn of Africa

The signatories committed themselves to uphold the agreement as final and binding. When it became clear that the flashpoint of the conflict, Badme, was awarded to Eritrea, Ethiopia reneged from its commitment and asked for dialogue, while Eritrea insisted the final and binding Agreement should be unconditionally implemented and only then could it initiate dialogue.

The politics of appeasement hindered the guarantors from taking measures of enforcement that gave rise to the situation of no war no peace.