Skip Navigation

The Horn of Africa, the US and Security Challenges

Ruth Iyob, International Peace Academy; Edmond J. Keller, University of California Los Angeles

DRAFT - *Not for Quotation*

Work in Progress


The purpose of this chapter is to critically assess, the respective interests of both the United States and the countries of the Horn of Africa region*, and the interrelationships that have historically grown out of those interests. In addition, the essay attempts to show how the forces of globalization have affected those interests (particularly international terrorism and regional security needs, the national/regional nutritional and human security crises relating to food, water, environmental insecurity). [1] Rather than organizing the discussion into discrete country sections, as much as possible, we attempt to approach our topic in a comparative manner. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the current state of affairs, particularly as this relates to the Horn of Africa and US involvement in the region.

The Horn of Africa and the US: An Introduction

Despite historically never having close relations with any African country, the onset of the Cold War, and the strategic location of Eritrea and Ethiopia astride the Red Sea, led to the US developing a strategic alliance with Ethiopia that lasted for twenty-five years. In fact, after the Second World War, Ethiopia became the cornerstone of US involvement in the Horn of Africa. [2] Following the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, which lasted from 1936 to 1941, the British reinstated Emperor Haile Selassie, and assisted him in administering part of modern-day Ethiopia until 1952. However, after 1943, British influence and involvement in Ethiopia declined rapidly. The Emperor systematically cultivated a relationship with the US, and when the last vestiges of a British presence in Ethiopia disappeared, the US stepped in as Ethiopias main superpower patron.

Beginning with the inclusion of Ethiopia in President Harry Trumans Four Point Program, [3] what developed was a reciprocal relationship between the two countries. The US was interested in gaining a strategic presence in the Horn, and Ethiopia allowed the US to establish a naval base and radio tracking station at Asmara in Eritrea, so as to improve its ability to monitor the telegraphic traffic in the emerging Communist Bloc countries to the northeast. Ethiopia in turn received economic and military assistance from the US. In May 1953 two diplomatic agreements were signed formalizing the relationship between the two countries: The Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and the Agreement for the Utilization of Defense Installations within the Ethiopian Empire. A significant by-product of this new relationship was the political support Ethiopia received from the US for its claims to Eritrea in the aftermath of the War. [4]

The USs desire to maintain its access and presence in the Horn region, led to the US becoming more deeply involved in Ethiopias domestic affairs than strategic planners had ever imagined. American policy was centered on keeping Haile Selassie in power and on keeping the Horn relatively stable and free from communism. In this way the strategic interests of the US came to intersect historically with Haile Selassies domestic and regional interests. A series of secret agreements between the two governments between 1960 and 1964 resulted in the modernization and dramatic expansion of the Ethiopian military. The stated purpose was to prepare Ethiopia to be able to successfully meet whatever military challenge might come from independent Somalia, which claimed the Ogaden and Haud regions of southeastern Ethiopia. [5]

The US presence in the Horn has to be considered against the backdrop of the Cold War competition between the US and the Soviet Union, particularly in the aftermath of the USSRs pronouncement in the mid-1970s of the Breshniev Doctrine, establishing the Kremlins commitment to support fledgling socialist states. [6] Prior to this time, the US Ethiopia held the balance of power in the Horn, and to the extent that there existed armed conflict in the Horn; it involved armed militants in Eritrea, and Somali irredentists, with the aid of the Government of Somalia. In the mid-1970s, the USSR drew close to Somalia when it proclaimed its commitment to governing on the basis of scientific socialism. And, despite the USs displeasure with the military junta that overthrew Emperor Haile Salassie in 1974 because of its gross violations of human rights, the US felt compelled to draw a line in the sand against the onslaught of communism in the Horn, and continued to maintain a relationship with Ethiopia, despite its turn to the left. However, this changed with the election of Jimmy Carter to the American Presidency in 1976. Carter on assuming office lived up to his promise to withhold military sales and grants to Ethiopia because of its human rights record. This in turn led to a severing of relationships between the two countries in April 1977. In the process the door was left open for the USSR to step in as Ethiopias main superpower patron. The US countered by stepping up its own efforts to woo Somalia away from the Soviets.

From this point on, the US saw it as being in its vital national interest to broaden its access and presence in the Horn. It actively considered direct military assistance to Somalia. However, this assistance never became significant. What did become significant was the indirect military aid the US provided via third party countries in the region that were friendly to the US (e.g. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Sudan). Also of significance was Carters decision regarding Ethiopia to pursue an encirclement strategy. This strategy was designed to provide countries surrounding Ethiopia with economic and military assistance, and thereby hold communism in the Horn at bay. Kenya, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, and Oman were asked to allow their territories to be used as staging grounds for the US Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), which could be used to project US military might into the Middle East and Persian Gulf. [7]

In the process of pursuing what they perceived to be their own vital interests, the superpowers contributed to the escalation of a regional arms race in the Horn. While the US and the Soviets competed for clients in the Horn, the Ethiopians and Somalis stepped up their hostilities toward one another. In the process the military capacities of all the countries in the region, except for Djibouti increased significantly between the mid-1970 and mid-1980s. [8] What was also significant by the mid-1980s was the growth in strength and activity of the armed nationalists in Eritrea, and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), and armed opposition groups inside of Ethiopia and Somalia. This created a widespread sense of physical insecurity in the Horn, which in turn had a devastating effect on human security in the region. Border tensions, civil wars and the natural catastrophe of drought compounded the problems of Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. The collapse of the Somali state was a manifestation of the multiple and deleterious effects of both the irredentist campaigns against Ethiopia and the civil war.

Shifting Terrains: The End of the Cold War & Political Islam in the Horn

The ending of the Cold War, which coincided with the growth in regional humanitarian and political crises in the Horn, had a ripple effect throughout the whole region. When such domestic problems spill over borders they can become transformed into regional and even potentially global conflicts. The radical transformation of the Sudanese state from a secular one to a theocracy, which came about in 1989, signaled the first shift in the Horn. The collapse of the Somali state and the emergence of a new Eritrean state, both occurring in 1991, were accompanied by political, economic and social convulsions that transformed the basis upon which American alliances had been predicated. Maintaining the territorial integrity of the nation-state, a justification used by both Ethiopia and Somalia, came to be seriously challenged by the emergence of new norms in the early post-Cold War years. Challenges to the sovereignty of these states also came from internal socio-political as well as economic re-configurations of state-society relations which gave rise to militant actions by non-state actors and the rise of shadowy trans-national financial diaspora networks. These diaspora networks , established by exiles of the numerous wars waged by dissidents in the Horn came to re-define the conventional basis for alliances, which previously had been based on the ideological affinities of both local, regional and international actors. With the failure of the majority of postcolonial states to deliver promises of prosperity and equality to their constituencies, political Islam emerged in certain areas as an alternative.

In the Horn this challenge began in the last days of the regime of Jaafar Nimeiri in Sudan in the mid-1980s when the former Socialist leader announced his commitment to govern Sudan according to the principles of strict sharia law. On June 5, 1983 Nimeiri issued Republican Order Number One, abrogating the agreement that had ended the civil war between the North and the South in 1972. [9] He later declared Sudan an Islamic state, but the breadth and depth of this change did not become manifest until the military coup of General Omar Hassan Bashir in 1989, with the backing of the Islamic Brotherhood, under the leadership of Hassan Turabi. [10] The success of the Islamic fundamentalists in Sudan had implications for the Horn as a whole. Sudans call to all Muslims was to rise up against the West and its forms of decadence as well as that of its key allies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. This new stance led to a deterioration of US-Sudanese relations and the formulation of a policy to hem in the theocratic state by encouraging the formation of a front-line-state alliance of secular regimes from Horn and East Africa.

Sudan has a population of around 38 million, of which 70 per cent are Moslem. Kenyas population of some 31 million is estimated to include 10% Moslems. The Moslem population of tiny Djibouti (500,000) is estimated to be about 94%. Ninety-nine percent of Somalias population is Moslem, and Eritreas population of 3.5 million is estimated to be half Christian and half Moslem. By far Ethiopia has the largest Moslem population in the Horn. Ethiopias total population is estimated to be 65 million, 45% of this number is Moslem and 50% adhere to the Ethiopian Orthodox religion. Sudan, with its historic legacy of anti-colonial struggle infused with religious nationalism, became the vanguard of Islamic fundamentalism in the Horn and beyond. Its espousal of political Islam as an ideology led it to enter into relationships with well-known terrorists such as Carlos the Jackal and Osama Bin Ladin. It is thus worth noting that the ideological reach of Sudans Islamic fundamentalism had a major impact not only on the politics of the Horn, but it also extended into the global arena. [11] The role of indigenous intellectuals, such as the Sorbonne-trained Hassan Turabi, and the existence of a large number of Sudanese diaspora and their links to Islamic financial networks are factors that need to be understood as this relates to the permeability of Africa by the forces of global terrorism.

Domestic problems of cultural pluralism are more often than not conditioned by poverty, inequality and underdevelopment in these countries and this has at time shad devastating effects. Such is the case in the Sudan where the leadership of the Moslem Brothers is highly educated, but the followers are the poor and the dispossessed. Given the fact that similar conditions exist in all countries of the Horn, the disruptive potential of Islamic fundamental movements is obvious. But, is this the only way in which such movements present the countries of the Horn with potential problems? Also, is this problem demanding of regional or national interest alone, or is there a global dimension that must be considered?

Historical and Political Antecedents to Militant Islam in the Horn of Africa:

The politicization of Islam and the rise of radical clerics both the elite and grass roots levels is a historical feature of postcolonial state-society relations in the Horn of Africa. The intellectual debates of Islamist reformists secular as well as religious and the clerics call for a renewal of Islamic values have been present in these societies since their emergence as independent nation-states. THIS IS INTERESTING BUT IT TAKES US OFF ON A TANGENT.

In the Horn, the emergence of the majority of militant Islamic movements can be understood as responses to the exclusionary policies of the post-colonial regimes. Some, like the Al-Ittahid in Somalia are an inadvertent by-product of the failure of UN policy to bring to closure the chaos which its humanitarian intervention unleashed in the aftermath of the collapse of the state. In Eritrea, the fragmented radical Islamic groupings which later coalesced to form the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement (EIJM) had existed on the periphery of the war for independence. But, it emerged in a militant form with the convergence of the USs attempt to contain theocratic Sudan with Eritreas own policy of prohibiting religiously based political parties. In Ethiopia, where the legal and political status of Muslims had been elevated along with its Afro-Marxist ideology, the emergence of militant groups was accompanied with the disputes between the post-1991 regime and historically marginalized communities.12 These disputes lead to the exodus of dissidents to neighboring countries such as Djibouti, which confronts gargantuan tasks of mediation both at the regional and international levels.

Radical Islam, Regional Alliances and International Terrorism in the Horn:

The demise of the Cold War and its security framework, which had transformed Africa into, polarized spheres of influence of either the US or USSR coincided with the rise of radical Islam in the Horn and the returning mujahadeen from Afghanistan.13 Radical Muslims, supported by the most unlikely patron the United States had ousted the superpowers nemesis. The end result of this unlikely alliance between the multi-national forces of the mujahadeen which included Africans was the exportation of jihad and their acculturation into the shadowy world of international terrorism.14 The new leader of an international network espousing a radical transformation of Islam was a Saudi, Osama Bin Ladin, who upon his return to his homeland was regarded as a threat and stripped of his national citizenship and granted asylum in the Sudan.

Between 1991 and 1996, Bin Laden, set up his organization, Al Qaeda, in the Sudan.15 The Sudans advocacy of radical Islam in 1993 landed Sudan on the list of countries the US claimed to be harboring terrorists.16 Bin Laden claimed to be committed to the purest form of Islam, and asserted that he was prepared to wage a holy war against its enemies, including the US and Israel. Bin Laden developed close relationships with similar groups such as the Egyptian Islamic Group, which was also harbored by Sudan. The trend for Islamic movements that had interests in creating Islamic states in such countries as Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia by the early 1990s had become a concern for secular governments. This was made patently evident in 1995 when there was an assassination attempt against Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak by the Sudan based Islamic Group in Addis Ababa on the occasion of the annual summit of the Organization of African Unity. Subsequently, Egypt and Ethiopia identified three members of that group living in Sudan as having been involved in the plot. However Sudan claimed that these individuals could not be found and therefore could not be extradited to stand trial. From this point on, relations between Sudan and its neighbors in the Horn became strained, and even led Ethiopia and Eritrea, along with Uganda, to support movements attempting to bring down the Bashir government.

The United States was also concerned about the growing influence of terrorist organizations based in Sudan, particularly Al Qaeda. The main concern was for the safety of American embassy personnel in the country. Consequently, the American embassy was shut down. The Sudanese government, guided by Turabi, stayed true to its solidarity with Al Qaedas leader, and facilitated his move to Afghanistan, and sought ways to lessen the harsh effects of the sanctions imposed on it by the UN due to its endorsement of terrorism. Diplomatically, the Sudanese government agreed to turn over Bin Ladin to the US, but in actuality enabled him to move his network to the staunchly anti-American in Afghanistan. [12] From Sudan Bin Laden set up a system of cells that were dispersed throughout the Horn and East Africa. Cell members became active in the local Islamic communities in the countries where they lived. They developed businesses, held jobs, got married, and had children. It was from cells on the coast of Kenya and Tanzania that Al Qaeda launched deadly attacks against US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1998. When it was discovered that Al Qaeda had been behind these attacks, the US assumed the complicity of Sudan and launched a cruise missile attack on a factory inside Sudan that was suspected of producing chemicals that could be used in terror attacks. [13]

Al Qaeda cells operated throughout the Horn and East Africa undetected by the various intelligence units of the countries in the region. This was clearly made evident when the Israeli owned Paradise Hotel in Mombassa, Kenya, was hit by a terrorist attack in November 2002. At the same time, terrorists attempted to bring down a plane full of Israeli tourists with a surface to air missile. [14] This drove home the urgency to the governments of the Horn, East Africa and the US, of stepping up the development of the capacity to effectively combat terror in the region. Domestically and regionally, while there was horror at the carnage that the operation entailed there emerged grassroots resentment from impoverished communities who felt victimized by the global wars and counter-wars between the US and its adversaries. The bombing of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam clearly targeted American Embassies. The attempt on Israeli tourists in Mombasa further demonstrated how the Horn had become the site for the proxy battles between the US, its allies and its new enemies.

The emphasis by analysts thus far has been on international terrorism. They have tended to ignore the impact of such issues on local communities and their perceptions of how that relates to US-African relations. Failure to understand local perceptions and responses to the American use of power within their territories has led in some cases to international terrorists gaining footholds among the populace. Curtailing other means of assistance while boosting aid to regimes that are part of Americas coalition against terror fuels local resentment and creates the conditions for a counter-coalition of those who are resentful [15] of being victimized by the strategic priorities of an angry and threatened superpower. In the Horn of Africa, US policy since 2001 has privileged regimes whose interests diverge from the American strategy of combating terrorism but which nevertheless, are utilizing the American mandate and resources to fulfill political ambitions highly contested by their citizens. [16] The unresolved Ethio-Eritrean dispute; the absence of political will to bring the Somali question to closure and the abuses of civilian populations in Darfur, all point to the repercussions of the current focus of US-African policy.

US African Relations in the Post 9/11 Period:

Even though the US has considered the Horn of Africa as a major source of international terrorism for more than a decade, its efforts to combat it did not begin to rise to the level of the threat until after the September 11, 2001 events. In 2002, demonstrating its resolve to develop partnerships with the countries of the Horn and to assist them in developing the capacity to fight terrorism in the region, the US created the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) to be headquartered in Djibouti. This represented a major shift in US policy, as until this time, relations with Djibouti had been minimal. [17] A military base was established for US personnel at Camp Lemonier near the Djibouti International Airport. Some 1,800 troops are based there, but an addition 400 task force troops are aboard the USS Mount Whitney, anchored in the Gulf of Aden. The mission of the CJTF is to gather intelligence on an on-going basis, deter, preempt and disable terrorist threats from wherever they may emanate in the region. Presently, the most serious threats would seem to be found in Somalia and Kenya, and also in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula. President Bush in June 2003 announced a $100 million package of counter-terrorism measures that were to be disbursed over a 15-month period. Half of these funds were to be spent on costal security programs and other border security programs. [18]

CJTF personnel have been involved throughout the Horn, working as liaisons to governments and their security establishments. US military personnel work closely with counterparts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and Djibouti providing counter-terrorism training. [19] In Kenya, for example, assistance is provided under the State Departments Anti-terrorism Assistance program, which has been in place for more than two decades. This is a law enforcement program that includes detection and disarming bombs, post-blast investigation, VIP protection, crisis management exercises and hostage negotiating. [20] In addition to training, the CJTFs work involves information sharing. In the case of Ethiopia, the information shared relates to the long porous border that exists between Ethiopia and Somalia to assist in locating potential places where terrorist may or may not attempt to cross. [21] Cooperation with Djibouti grows in part out of the USs concerns about a threat from the activities of al-Ittihad, a terrorist group based in the former Somalia. As of early April 2004, the labor of the CJTF had begun to bear fruit. In testimony before the US House Sub-committee on Africa, terrorism expert and former US ambassador to South Africa, Princeton Lyman noted that the CJTF had recently reported the arrest of members of terrorist organizations in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti. [22]

The United States now finds itself in a position of not being able to ignore the potential for international terrorist organizations to establish themselves in various parts of the Horn and to either strike the countries in the region or to use there bases there to launch attacks anywhere in the world. [23] This has prompted the passage of anti-terrorist legislation in the countries of the region, and to public pronouncements by the leaders of these countries that they are willing partners in the global war on terror. The US provides technical and military assistance to these countries so as to strengthen their capacity to effectively fight terrorism. The assistance is predicated upon the willingness of each country of the Horn to sign on to the USs strategic priority of combating global terror [24] . Nevertheless, the immediacy of this priority and the alliances that have been consolidated in the 2001-2004 period, also need to be examined from the African perspective. Questions also need to be raised on how US assistance to the regimes of the Horn is being utilized to combat global terror? What is the nexus between the US aid to regimes and security of both states and societies of the region? How will this shift in US policy from the emphasis on democratization and development (1992-2000) to a focus on strengthening states, securing porous borders and building up law enforcement and intelligence capabilities (2001 present)? Does this shift signal a disengagement from democratization and a return to Cold War priorities of ensuring stability and order of allied regimes?

At present, the US is developing significant relationships with the countries of the Horn around regional and global security matters. Given the tenuous nature of human security in the region such relationships seem an absolute necessity. But, in order to be effective these relationships must be complemented by the joint efforts of the US and the countries in the region to tackle the widespread problems of poverty and human insecurity in general.

Poverty and Human Security in the Horn of Africa

The countries of the Horn of Africa are among the poorest in the world. The average per capita income for the countries of sub-Sahara Africa is $450. Among the countries under consideration only Djibouti ($900) is ranked among the lower middle-income countries of the world. [25] The other four range from Kenya ($560) to Sudan ($350) to Eritrea ($160) to Ethiopia ($100). [26] Such grinding poverty is at the heart of the human security dilemma. Poverty is closely related to a myriad of other social problems such a disease, lack of educational opportunity, lack of adequate shelter and food insecurity.

Food insecurity is intimately tied to environmental insecurity, and it is widely believed that these problems must be addressed simultaneously. An effective approach would involve a broad assault on interlinking issues of political insecurity, economic insecurity and a lack of social justice and equity throughout a given society. Food security requires that all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their fundamental dietary needs for a healthy life. [27] Throughout the Horn, this is not the case.

Many people who live in the Horn suffer chronic hunger, malnutrition, and dislocation brought on by natural catastrophes such as drought and flooding, and manmade problems associated with war. [28] Food insecurity is particularly severe in places that are being ravaged, or have recently been ravaged, by civil wars and border conflicts. For example, a 21-year civil war in Sudan created massive human dislocation and human misery in the south of the country.

In 2003-04 Sudan had a record cereal crop, up 63% over the previous years harvest. However, over the same period a new civil war front opened in western Darfur Province where more than 3 million people are affected and more than a million have been driven from their land and into exile as refugees. [29] A recent UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report indicates that people in the region have lost the bulk of their last harvest and the next planting season will not doubt be negatively affected if the conflict continues. [30]

During the 30-year war for independence waged by Eritrean nationalists against Ethiopia, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans were driven into exile in Sudan. Over the past ten years, 100,000 have been repatriated. Most of these returnees will become farmers, but they are immediately confronted with the fact that Eritrea is in the midst of a 4-year drought, and presently 1.9 million people, more than half the population, face food shortages. This compares to 1.1 million who faced a food crisis in the previous year. The root cause of this problem is clearly related to war---the war for independence and the more recent border war with Ethiopia. The border war has been over for four years, but the Eritrean government remains on a war footing, stretching its meager resources in order to be prepared for the potential return to war. This situation naturally affects the ability of the government to address problems of food insecurity and poverty. [31]

Civil unrest in the former Somalia is also at the heart of a current food security crisis. It is estimated that an estimated 123,000 people in the area face a food security crisis, with 95,000 in a critical emergency situation. The main reason for this situation is a serious shortfall in the production of cereal crops. [32] A deeper examination into the food security crises, though, points to the larger issues of the absence of sovereignty, co-ordination of the institutions of governance and the inability of the current regime to obtain regional and international recognition. With sovereignty and the right to rule being contested by different groups, vying for international aid as well as recognition, US policy on Somalia which has tended to focus solely on humanitarian aspects, and to regard Somali society as deviant [33] , points to a tendency not to face up squarely to the failures of its 1992 intervention which culminated in the withdrawal of US and UN forces in 1993-94.


In 2003 Ethiopia experienced its worse drought since the devastating 1984-85

drought and famine, in which a million people died of starvation. In this most recent drought, 14 million people were at risk of famine and malnutrition. This compares to 1-3 million in the average year. The food crisis was the result of interplay of many factors:

Inadequate and erratic rains over short and long rainy seasons, which resulted in widespread crop failure in eastern and southwestern Ethiopia.

Slow recover from the food crisis for 1999/2000 that resulted in the impoverishment of many communities.

Rapid rise in grain prices.

Non-availability of short season produce.

Non-availability of seeds.

Significant livestock deaths and poor terms of trade for livestock.

Deterioration in the nutritional status of those people living in the affected area. [34]

During the border conflict with Eritrea, the donor community did not respond as readily as needed to the food security needs of Ethiopia. Although its relations with donors by 2003 had improved, other factors have placed a drag on development and consequently food security (e.g. Ethiopias heavy debt burden, tensions over the final demarcation of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the slow pace of trade liberalization, and charges of continued violations of human rights by the EPRDF government.).

Given the warming of relations between Ethiopia and the US, how has the US responded to the current crisis of food security in Ethiopia? In late October 2002, the US declared a disaster as a result of the continuing drought situation. The USAID Famine Early Warning System has noted a 17-year trend of insufficient rainfall in Ethiopia that has had a negative impact on crop production. [35] In 2003, the US provided Ethiopia with almost a half billion dollars in food aid, accounting for half of the total donor contributions. However, this must be considered against the backdrop of Ethiopias non-food development assistance needs. Over the same period the US provided Ethiopia with only $55 million in non-humanitarian assistance, and only $6 million of this was for agricultural development. [36]

Donors and the Ethiopian government alike realize that Ethiopias problems associated with chronic famine are never going to be adequately addressed unless the underlying causes of this problem (e.g. poverty, poor health care, poor education, poor infrastructure, water, roads, soil erosion, etc.) are simultaneously addressed. [37] One Ethiopian official, Dr. Tewolde Egziabher of the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority, recently asserted that the Western donor community was in part responsible for the slow progress the country was making toward food self-sufficiency. For example, he said, Western governments and international financial institutions insist that government get out of the business of controlling the food supply and leave this task for the private sector. In the process, the Ethiopian government is said to be prevented from building granaries and food depots that could store grain from one year to the next. [38]

The gap between US humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia and developmental assistance is obvious to even the casual observer. As noted earlier, what seems to drive US involvement in Ethiopia has more to do with the USs perceived national security interests related to international terrorist threats. On the other hand, Ethiopia has developmental needs at least equal to its security needs. Ethiopia receives about a billion dollars a year in development assistance from all sources. It is estimated that in order to begin to see real progress, the country would need to receive at least $5 billion in international development assistance each year. [39]



In the context of the changed global environment since the end of the Cold War, the Horn of Africa has assumed a renewed sense of importance in the foreign policy circles of the United States. The ongoing threats to international peace and security that continue to characterize the Middle East and Persian Gulf regions demand increased vigilance and strategic planning on the part of the US if it is to adequately address the challenges of international terrorism and other threats to national security. International terrorism finds fertile ground in countries such as the ones located in the Horn of Africa that are plagued by chronic poverty, underdevelopment and social inequalities. It is in the interest of the US to deny international terror the opportunity to use poor countries as incubators for their destructive agenda. Given the current circumstances, it is in the interest of both the US and the countries of the Horn to enter into a partnership that is of mutual benefit. The countries of the region recognize the enhanced vulnerabilities they face in the face of international terrorism, poverty, underdevelopment and social inequalities.

Currently, the US is working with several countries in the Horn to improve their capabilities to root out and fight international terror in their neighborhood. Military and police officials are acquiring new skills, equipment and technological known-how for this effort. There is also coordination with the USs own anti-terror activities in the region. At the same time, while increased attention is being paid to halt the spread of international terror in the Horn, much less is being done to address the problems of poverty, underdevelopment and social inequalities. To be sure, the problems in these areas are enormous, and not as easy to address as is the military and intelligence challenges of international terrorism. But, unless there is a concerted effort on the part of international donors such as the US to commit levels material, technical and human resources that are sufficient to meet these multiple human security challenges, the root causes of domestic conflict and international terrorism in the region will continue to be major drags on development and democracy. Even if the international community makes the necessary commitments to adequately address these problems, not much progress will be made unless political and economic elites in the region demonstrate the political will, backed up by good governance and effective policymaking.

* Although the definition of The Horn of Africa is contested terrain, for our purposes we define it to include Sudan, Djibouti, the former Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. Technically Kenya is not normally considered to be in the Horn, but it is a significant regional hegemon that has interests in political and other dynamics in the region because of their possible implications for Kenya.

[1] The HIV/AIDS challenge to African security is related to this, and will be extensively dealt with in Chapter___, HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Convergence of US and African Security Challenges.

[2] See, Harold Marcus. Ethiopia, Great Britain and the United States 1941-74. Berkeley, CA: University of California Pres, 1983.

[3] See Jonathan B. Bingham, Shirt-Sleeve Diplomacy: Point 4 in Action. New York: The John Day Co., 1953.

[4] Eritrea was on Italian colony from 1890-1941; an occupied territory administered by the British from 1941-1952; and a unit federated with the Ethiopian Empire from 1952-1962.

[5] See, David Newsom, Testimony, in Hearings before the US Senate Subcommittee on US Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad: Ethiopia, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1970. The US also supplied Ethiopia with counter-insurgency training and on-the-ground advisers in connection with helping suppress the Eritrean Movement for national independence after 1962. See, George W. Bader, Testimony, in Hearings before the US Senate Subcommittee on US Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad: Ethiopia, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1970.

[6] See, Jeffrey Lefebvre, Moscows Cold War and Post-Cold War Policies in Africa, in Edmond J. Keller and Donald Rothchild, eds. Africa in the New International Order: Rethinking State Sovereignty and Regional Security. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner, 1996, p 208.

[7] See, Henry Jackson. From the Congo to SOWETO: US Foreign Policy Towards Africa since 1960. New York: William Morrow, 1982. Separate agreements were signed with each country. Kenya at the time had a mutual defense agreement with Ethiopia, and the agreement with the US was seen by Kenya a more of a hedge against the communist threat.

[8] The size of the Ethiopian military grew from 54,000 in 1977 to more than 300,000 a decade later; by 1991, the Ethiopian army was estimated at more than 600,000 troops. Somalias army swelled from about 32,000 in 1977 to 65,000 in 1987. See, International Institute for Strategic Studies. The Military Balance. 1976/77-1989/90.

[9] International Crisis Group. God, Oil, and Country: Changing the Logic of War in Sudan. Brussels: ICG, 2002, pp 48-68.

[10] After Bashirs regime took power and established an Islamic regime in Sudan, thousands of young Muslim faithful came to study in Sudanese universities and to train in military camps. Turabis influence has spread well beyond the borders of Sudan. He is said to be the architect of Islamic movements in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Chad, Afghanistan and even Ethiopia. See Juergensmeyer, loc.cit., p 48.

[11] See, David H. Shinn, The Horn of Africa and International Terrorism, Special Lectures: The Elliott School of International Affairs, (January 29,2002).

12 It is interesting to note that the majority of militant Islamic groups in the Horn have, since 9/11 been accused by their official governments of being part of the global network of terror, even though very few of such groups have prioritized the call to global jihad. Rather, their motivation seems to be as much (if not more) political and directed at resisting their ruling elites consolidation of power using their alliances with the American superpower.

13 Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie Forbidden Truth: U.S. Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden, New York: Thunders Mouth Press, 2002, pp. 23-36.

14 The New Jackals, 1999 WE NEED A COMPLETE CITATION.

15 See, Princeton Lyman and J. Stephen Morrison, The Theorist Threat in Africa, Foreign Affairs (January/February 2004), p 77.

16 For years, Sudan had permitted groups perceived by Israel to be terrorist organizations such as Hizbollah, the Eritrean Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Group have offices in the country. Rather than considering these groups to be terrorist organizations, Sudan abided by them as fighters for the Arab cause.

[12] The Sudanese offer to turn Bin Ladin to the US is said to be a concocted fable according to Richard A. Clarke. For details see, Against All Enemies: Inside Americas War on Terror, New York: Free Press, 2004, pp. 140-142.

[13] It was later revealed that the plant was actually producing aspirin. See, David Shinn, loc.cit., p 3.

[14] See Gilbert Khadiagala, Kenya: Haven or Helpless Victim of Terrorism, United State Institute of Peace Special Report: Terrorism in the Horn of Africa, Special Report 113 (January 2004). Khadiagala notes that the core of the leadership of the Kenyan cell is made up of citizens of the Gulf states, Somalia, Pakistan, and the Comoro Island. As in other cells, these individuals have assimilated into the local cultures of coastal communities.

[15] Olivier Roy makes a very important point that has not been given due attention. He points out that there is an Islam of resentment which is the basis for acculturation. We concur with the author in his assertion that Islamism is a discourse of protest and adaptation, thus of transition. We would argue that if local discourse and perceptions are left unexamined, vast majorities of moderate Africans may join the coalition of the resentful leaving American interests to be handled by discredited regimes. This is dangerous because the efforts to build up local intelligence to be used in the war for terror depends greatly on the willingness of inhabitants to cooperate with state / intelligence authorities. The bombing of Mombasa provides an excellent reminder. For details see The Failure of Political Islam, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994. (pp. 198-199)

[16] For a comparative discussion of possible repercussions on US policies, drawn from the Middle East, see Joseph S. Nye, Jr. The Decline of Americas Soft Power: Why Washington Should Worry, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 3, May/June 2004, pp. 18-19

[17] To establish this relationship, the US invested $8.7 million. See, Andrew England, US Officer vows that the US-led task force will eradicate terrorism in Horn of Africa, Associate Press Worldstream, December 17, 2002.

[18] The US campaign against international terrorism in Africa recently opened a new front in the Sahel, a region that military official fear could become the next base for Al Qaeda. Special operations forces are training military units from Mauritania to the Horn, and providing them with pickup trucks, radios and global-positioning equipment. See, Craig S. Smith, US Training African Forces to Uproot Terrorists, New York Times, (March 11, 2004).

[19] Significantly, such a close relationship has not developed in the collapsed state of Somalia. The reason given is that there is no viable government there.

[20] See, Jim Fisher-Thompson, Africa Countering Terrorism with US Help, Official Tells Congress, US State Department NEWS (April 2, 2004).

[21] See, Ethiopia: US force commander in Horn of Africa interviewed. UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi (February 21, 2003).

[22] See, Jim Fisher-Thompson, Africa Countering Terrorism With US Help, Official Tells Congress, US State Department NEWS (April 2, 2004).

[23] Even Sudan has been attempting to demonstrate its commitment to anti-terrorism in hopes of normalizing relations with the US.

[24] See African Policy The White House.

[25] Per capita income for lower middle-income countries range from $736 to $2,935.

[26] World Development Indicators database. World Bank, July 2003.

[27] L. A. Thrupp. Critical Links: Food Security and the Environment in the Greater Horn of Africa. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 1999, pp2-7.

[28] It should be noted that poor and malnourished people are extremely susceptible to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cholera, measles, malaria and tuberculosis.

[29] In an effort to explain Sudans food insecurity one has to factor in corruption in the food distribution process as well as the lack of easy access to credit for individual farmers and farm communities.

[30] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Press Release: Better Harvests Improve Sub-Saharan Africas Food Supplies but Millions Still Need Food Assistance. Washington, DC: FAO, April 7, 2004

[31] See, Raymond Thibodeaux, Bittersweet Homecoming for Thousands of Eritean Refugees,, April 4, 2004.

[32] See, UN FAO. Press Release, loc cit.

[33] Peter Little D. Somalia: Economy Without A State, James Currey & Indiana University Press, 2003, p. 167.

[34] See, Sue Lautze, Yacob Aklilu, Angela Raven-Roberts, Helen Young, Girma Kebede, Jennifer Leaning, Risk and Vulnerability in Ethiopia: Learning from the Past, Responding to the Present, Preparing for the Future, Medford, MA: Feinstein International Famine Center, June 2003, p21; and, USAID. Food Security Crisis in Ethiopia and Eritrea,

[35] See, US Agency for International Development, USAID Ethiopia Drought Fact Sheet #15 (FY) 2003, 27 August 2003.

[36] See, CARE, Breaking the cycle in Ethiopia: CARE reaffirms commitment to overcome poverty, 6 August 2003.

[37] Ibid. The President of CARE in August 2003 asserted, With adequate resources, we can break the cycle of poverty in Ethiopia. We can help farmers and pastoral communities to recover from the current acute crisis by providing food assistance, seeds, tools, veterinary medicines and livestock. And if donors provide funds for projects with five-to-ten year timeframes, we can also address the roots of Ethiopias poverty and vulnerability.

[38] See, Barry Mason, World Hunger Report: 842 million starve in the midst of plenty, Axis of Logic: Poverty/World Hunger, March 29, 2004.

[39] Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Head of the Columbia University Earth Institute and the UN Millennium Project, has argued that instead of donor assistance being doled out without any consideration of the real needs of the country, the equation should be turned around and based not on what donors are willing to give but on what the real needs of the country are. See, Ethiopia: Interview with Jeffrey Sachs, UN Special adviser on Millenium Goals.,

African Studies Center