The Horn of Africa Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Brazilian Journal of African Studies
e-ISSN 2448-3923 | ISSN 2448-3915 | v.1, n.2, Jul./Dec. 2016 | p.131-165
Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso1
The beginning of the decade of 2000 was marked by relevant
economic and political transformations in the African continent. After
facing two decades of political instability, socioeconomic problems and
marginalization, Africa emerged as a new commercial, investment frontier,
as well as a new object of geopolitical, economic and strategical interests of
the traditional and emerging powers, what has significantly increased its
importance in the international scenario (Oliveira & Cardoso, 2015). In a
large extent, this new moment experienced by Africa is directly linked to (i)
the exponential growth which most of the continent’s economies presented
in the last decade; to (ii) the renewal of regional integration processes – with
a special note to the substitution, in 2002, of the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU), which aims at providing more
efficient solutions to African problems; and (iii) to several complementary
initiatives in the field of development, governance and mainly security
(Adebajo 2013; Castellano 2013).
In this sense, recently, it is emerging a new literature which
addresses the African regional security dynamics in the beginning of the
twenty-first century, almost always focusing on UN and AU’s capacities
and initiatives on the stabilization of the continent. However, sub-regional
dynamics, perhaps apart from Southern and Western Africa, are rarely
addressed and analyzed. Within this context, this paper looks forward to
contributing for this debate thorough a study which analyzes the regional
security dynamics of the Horn of Africa, a complex and important region to
1 International Strategic Studies Doctoral Program, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul,
Porto Alegre, Brazil. E-mail:
Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
international security, however barely not studied, especially here in Brazil.
The Horn of Africa2 is marked by intense occurrence of interstate
wars, high level of extraregional actors’ penetration within regional security
agenda, intense polarization, small capacity of interaction between the
countries of the region itself (communication, transport and infrastructure
deficits) and unities’ (States) vulnerabilities – internal political instability,
low ability to provide security and social development deficits (Buzan &
WÆver 2003; Cardoso 2015).
On the other hand, it is in this region that took place the one and
only social revolution modern Africa has witnessed (Clapham 1996). It is
the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974, which provoked deep transformations in
the countries’ internal social, economic and political structures, as well as
a significant regional and systemic impact. Besides, the regional security
dynamic verified throughout the Cold War period and after the end of
bipolarity has reset the map of the African continent with the creation of
two new States in the region, Eritrea (1993) and South Sudan (2011).
The strategic geographic position of the Horn of Africa, close to oil
producer countries of the Middle East and to the important international
maritime route which connects the West to the East through the Suez Canal,
has given the region great relevance during the context of the Cold War,
attracting superpowers’ attention since the decade of 1970 (Chazan 1999;
Westad 2005). The presence of superpowers has polarized the political
forces of the region. On one side, there were the nations in favor of the
United States; on the other side, there were the pro-USSR. It has increased
the existing rivalries among the States of the region.
With the end of the Cold War and, consequently, with the collapse
of the Soviet Union in 1991, the region lost a great deal of its strategic
importance. After the failed humanitarian intervention in Somalia (1992-
1994), there was a strategic withdrawal of the United States from the Horn
of Africa. They only returned after 9/11 in 2001, in the U.S., especially after
the war on terror was declared, going through a process of securitization3
2 For the purpose of this paper, the region of the Horn of Africa refers to the member
countries of Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) – Djibouti, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
3 The studies on the process of securitization have a reference point the School of
Copenhagen, whose main authors are Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver and Jaap de Wilde. The
theme was introduced by Ole Wæver in 1995 as a significant effort towards the tentative
of dismantling the concept of security which prevailed during the Cold War – and widely
supported by Realist authors of International Relations – and that was associated exclusively
to State survival. For other authors, the process of securitization does not deal with the
discussion of what is, or is not, a threat, but, instead, with under which conditions something
may become a threat. Therefore, it is a process socially constructed, in which actors seek
Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso

  • marked not only by a rhetoric, but also by concrete projects, such as the
    Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), the Operation
    Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA), the East Africa Regional
    Strategic Initiative (EACTI) and the United States Africa Command
    (AFRICOM), among others (Cardoso 2015; Schmidt 2013).
    At the regional level, when new leaderships rose to power – such as
    Meles Zenawi, in Ethiopia, and Isais Afewerki, in Eritrea, who both joined
    Yoweri Musevini, in Uganda –, there was a period of detenté (1991-1994),
    characterized by the densification of political interactions and by several
    regional initiatives on conflict resolution in Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti, as
    well as by the processes of economic integration involving the countries of
    the region. However, situations such as the civil war in Sudan and Somalia,
    Djibouti’s political instability, insurgent groups operating in several
    territories, added up to the installation of a Islamic government in Sudan
    with a strong tendency towards fundamentalism, were relevant factors that
    contributed to the deterioration of regional relations after 1994 (Cardoso
    2015; Cliffe 1999).
    In this sense, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the security
    dynamic in the Horn of Africa in the post-independence period, identifying
    the actors, agendas and threats. For this purpose, it is subdivided into
    three parts beyond the present introduction and the further conclusion.
    The first one analyzes the security dynamics taking place in the Horn of
    Africa during the Cold War period, focusing on the regional rivalries and
    on the penetration of extraregional actors. In the second part, there is a
    discussion regarding the transformations which occurred in region in the
    immediate post-Cold War period, focusing both on the unities’ (states)
    internal security dynamics and on the regional ones. The third and last
    section aims at identifying “new” threats and regional and international
    responses, as well as the emerging strategic importance of the region to
    traditional superpowers in the post-9/11 period, marked by the process of
    to bring up topics of the political agenda – or politicized – to the security agenda, that is,
    to the core of the security decision (Cepik 2011). When affirming that threats are socially
    constructed, the authors do not deny that a de facto threat exists, but, instead, they attest that,
    along the process of securitization, certain affairs might represent effectively real threats.
    All in all, the securitizing movement begins through a rhetoric representation (speech act),
    signalizing the existence of a threat which, due to its urgent nature, cannot and must not
    be treated as normal political decisions, therefore demanding emergency and extraordinary
    measures (Buzan, WÆver and Wilde 1998).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    The Horn of Africa: regional and extra-regional rivalries (1960-
    The Horn of Africa4 is traditionally known as one of the most
    unstable regions of the international system, due to the rising number of
    armed conflicts and to the political instability verified since the mid-1950s
    (see table 1). Furthermore, the region is assessed as one of the poorest in the
    world, due to its socioeconomic issues, the fragility of its States and social
    indicatives, such as per capita income and Human Development Index
    (Mengisteab 2011; Woodward 2013). The illustration of that may be found
    in the Fragile States Index, which is annually published by Fund for Peace
    (FFP) since 2005 and based upon twelve wide indicatives5. There, countries
    such as Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan are found in the worst positions,
    currently occupying the 1st, 2nd and 4th positions, respectively (FFP 2016)6.
    Table 1 – Main conflicts which took place in the Horn of Africa (1950-2015)7
    War Date Theater of
    Nature of the
    Number of
    Civil War
    1972 Sudan Intrastate 500k
    4 In this work the Horn of Africa region refers to the member countries of the
    Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). They are: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
    Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
    5 Namely: demographic pressures, massive movement of refugees and internally displaced
    people, group grievances, human flight, uneven economic development, high economic
    decline, State legitimacy, public services, human rights and rule of law, security apparatus,
    factionalized elites and external intervention (FFP 2016).
    6 By Failed State we refer to “that State which cannot manage to maintain its internal
    political order, nor the public order, unable to provide safety to its people, control its borders
    and the entire national territory, keep independently functioning both the legislative and
    judiciary systems, provide education, health care, economic opportunities, infrastructure and
    environmental surveillance” (Rotberg 2013, 5-6). The merit of such concept is not discussed
    in the present paper, and it is here used exclusively to refer to a initial characterization of the
    region of the Horn of Africa.
    7 Regarding the nature of the conflicts, we used the taxonomy developed by Meredith Sarkees
    (2011) to the project called Correlates of War (COW). Therefore, by Interstate War we mean
    war between two or more states; Intrastate War refers to wars which are fought between the
    government of a State and opposition groups (insurgents), with no external intervention; by
    Internationalized War we mean internal conflicts with external intervention (Gleditsch et al.
    2002; Sarkees 2011).
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    War of
    1991 Eritrea Intrastate 220k
    Ogaden War
    (East) Interstate 30k
    Tanzania War
    1979 Uganda Interstate 100k
    Ugandan Civil
    1986 Uganda Intrastate 300-500k
    Civil War
    2005 Sudan (South) Intrastate 1,9 mi.
    of the Lord’s
    1987-… Uganda, DRC,
    Sudan, CAR Intrastate 12k
    Somali Civil
    War 1987-… Somalia Internationalized 300-400k
    Eritrea War
    Interstate 100-300k
    War in Darfur 2003-… Sudan (West) Intrastate 180-300k
    II Ogaden War 2007-
    (East) Intrastate 1k
    South Sudan
    Civil War 2013 – South Sudan Intrastate No data
    Source: Adapted from Castellano (2012, p. 34-35) and complemented with information
    provided by Clayton (2001), Mesfin (2011), Reno (2011) and Williams (2014).
    Analyzing table 1, we noticed that intrastate wars have prevailed in
    the region in the post-independence period. Historically, African states have
    face more internal threats than external ones, especially due to an insufficient
    encouragement of national territory occupation and domination. Hence, due
    to the absence of the necessity of strengthening State capacities to a possible
    need to defend the territory, colonial and post-colonial African states have
    been marked by a territory ruled by a strong Capital city, which is assured
    by distant borders and internationally legitimate; however, there is also a
    widespread power vacuum in peripheral regions (Castellano 2012; Clapham
    1996; Herbst 2000)8. In this sense, the Organisation of African Unity
    8 In his book “States and Power in Africa: Comparative lessons in authority and control”
    (2000), Jeffrey Herbst widely analyzes the main challenges involved in State-building
    processes in Africa. In his opinion, the vast territorial extension and the demographic
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    supported the idea that if an African government controlled the Capital, it
    also had the sovereign right to control the State and, therefore, could not be
    contested by other national, subnational or foreign groups (Herbst 2000).
    Evidently, African states have also faced external threats. However,
    such threats were relatively less harmful, because, in general, they did not
    use to put territoriality in risk and, when getting into national territory,
    they used to become internal threats – or they were already connected to
    intrastate conflicts (Castellano 2012). Thus, the wars between Somalia and
    Ethiopia (1977-1978), Uganda-Tanzania (1878-1979) and Eritrea-Ethiopia
    (1998-2000) have been the few conventional interstate conflicts that took
    place in the African continent in the post-colonial period.
    The number of casualties also matters to our analysis since it allows
    us to perceive the real scale and intensity of the conflicts which occurred
    in the region. Such data acquires even higher importance if we compare
    it to the total number of casualties provoked by the wars in African since
    the 1950s (around 13,16 million deaths). Within this context, the Second
    Sudanese War, for instance, have been the second armed conflict which
    killed more human beings in Sub-Saharan Africa in the post-colonial period,
    second only to the Second War of Congo (1998-2003) – which killed almost
    3,8 million people (Castellano 2012; Reno 2011).
    Since 1970, with the penetration of extra-regional superpowers, the
    regional security scenario has become more complex. From the second half
    of the twenty-first century onwards, at a moment when other regions of
    the globe (Europe, Asia and the Middle East) had been divided into zones
    of influence of the two socioeconomic systems led by the United States
    (capitalist) and the Soviet Union (socialist), the African continent had
    become a critical region to the defense of the superpowers (Visentini 2010;
    Westad 2005).
    To the USSR, decolonization of African countries would mean the
    opportunity to acquire bonds with the new States, especially with those
    where strong anti-imperialistic movements were emerging. To the United
    States, on the other hand, political immaturity and resentments with the
    West could lead to an approach of African countries with the USSR or
    People’s Republic of China (PRC) (Pereira 2013; Schmidt 2013). Within
    this context, the African space became a stage of the Cold War and, there,
    the confrontation between the two superpowers managed to establish a
    governance system over the States which, with no regard to their merits,
    took away their sovereignty (Adebajo 2013; Cepik and Martins 2012).
    shortage have been two of the main issues surrounding the State building in the African
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    One of the main features of the Cold War in Africa has been the socalled
    Proxy9 War, even though this kind of war has not been limited to such
    period (Schmidt 2013; Westad 2005)10. In some conflicts, foreign presence
    has had the primary role and has been decisive to define the conflicts. It was
    due, on one hand, to the structure and fragility of the newly independent
    African States and, on the other hand, to the decisions of the policy-makers
    (Castellano 2012).
    In the case of the Horn of Africa, the conflicts have been marked by
    support from neighboring countries and external superpowers to insurgents
    groups. On the regional scale, the countries of the region have used proxy
    elements to destabilize neighboring governments. Throughout the 1970s
    and the 1980s, for instance, Ethiopia has supported the insurgency of
    Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/A), in Sudan11, of Somali
    Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) and of the Somali National Movement
    (SNM), while Sudan and Somalia have helped rebel groups inside Ethiopia,
    such as Eritrea’s Liberation Front (ELF), Eritrea’s People’s Liberation Front
    (EPLF), Tigrinya’s People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Oromo’s Liberation
    Front (OLF) and Ogaden’s National Liberation Front (ONLF). Besides,
    when the National Resistance Movement (NRM) rose to power in 1986, in
    Kampala, Cartum started to support the insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance
    Army (LRA) in the North of Uganda, as a retaliation to the support given by
    the new Ugandan government to SPLM/A (see table 2) (Berhe 2014; Cliffe
    1999; Doop 2013).
    9 Proxy War is an armed conflict in which two countries use a third one – the proxies – in
    order to avoid a direct conflict. According to Castellano (2012, p. 36), “[…] its main features
    are intersubjectivity, the level of autonomy among the forces involved in the combat and
    its encouraging actors (or financers) […] proxy war is not merely an insurgency; foreign
    support allows it to defy national guards with relative easiness. It is possible to characterize
    a proxy war through the presence of two or more indicators, namely: (i) political-ideological
    alignment (especially valid to the Cold War era); (b) financing through counterpart or
    usufruct of enclave – diamond, gold, cupper, etc; (iii) presence of advisors; and (iv) supply of
    military equipment and ammunition”.
    10 As an example, we can mention the support of then-Liberia President Charles Taylor to
    the rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone in 1991, the support of
    Ugandan presidents Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to the group Insurgent
    Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL), led by Laurent-
    Desiré Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 and the support of Guinea and
    Côte d’Ivoire to the United Liberian insurgent groups for Reconstruction and Democracy )
    And the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) in Liberia in 1999 (Castellano 2012;
    Francis 2006; Reno 2011).
    11 On the other hand, SPLM/A have actively supported government forces in Southwest
    Ethiopia’s civil war (Johnson 2003).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    Table 2 – Main insurgent groups in the Horn of Africa in the post-independence period
    Country Select group of insurgents Year of
    creation Motivation Regional Support
    Djibouti Front for the Restoration of Unity and
    Democracy 1991 Regime change Eritrea
    Eritrean Islamic Jihad 1989 Regime change Sudan
    Eritrean Democratic Alliance – Regime change Ethiopia
    Rea Sea’s Afar Democratic Front 1998 Autonomy Ethiopia
    Eritrean Liberation Front 1961 Secession Sudan, Somalia e Egypt
    Eritrean People’s Liberation Front 1972 Secession Sudan e Saudi Arabia
    Tigrinyan Peoples’ Liberation Front 1975 Autonomy and Regime
    change Sudan, Somalia e Ethiopia
    Oromo Liberation Front 1976 Secession Sudan, Somalia e Eritrea
    Western Somalia Liberation Front 1961 /
    1976 Secession Somalia
    Ogaden National Liberation Front 1986 Secession Somalia e Eritrea
    Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front 1998 Regime change Eritrea
    Kenya Shifta War 1963 Secession Somalia
    Somali Salvation Democratic Front 1979 Regime change Ethiopia
    Somali National Movement 1981 Secession Ethiopia
    Al Itihad Al Islamiya 1983 Islamization Sudan e Eritrea
    Somali Patriotic Movement 1989 Regime change –
    Somali United Congress 1989 Regime change Ethiopia
    Harakat Al Shabab Al Mujahedeen 2006 Regime change Eritrea
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    Beja Congress 1958 Autonomy Eritrea
    Anyanya 1960 Secession Ethiopia
    Sudan’s People Liberation Army 1983 Secession Ethiopia, Libya, Uganda,
    National Democratic Alliance 1995 Regime change Eritrea e Kenya
    Equality and Justice Movement 2003 Darfur Eritrea e Ethiopia
    Sudan’s Liberation Movement 2003 Darfur Eritrea e Chad
    National Resistance Army 1981 Regime change –
    Lord’s Resistance Army 1987 Autonomy Sudan
    Souce: Designed by the author. Inspired by Berhe (2014); Cliffe (1999); ICG (2008); Mengisteab (2011); Reno (2011); Williams (2014).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    On the systemic level, the geopolitical position of the Horn of Africa
    (strategic to American and Soviet interests due to its neighboring position to
    Middle Eastern oil producer countries, as well as to important international
    naval routes), has turned the region into stage of a systemic dispute. Indeed,
    countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan took on a highlighted position
    within this bipolar confrontation in the African continent (Patman 1990;
    Westad 2005). The United States had established a strategic partnership
    with the Ethiopian imperial regime in the 1950s, whilst Somalia, afterwards
    the military coup which brought General Mohamed Siad Barre to power
    in 1969, has declared itself as a socialist country, establishing closer ties
    with the USSR. Nevertheless, it was only in the 1970s, with the Sino-
    American alliance and the Nixon Doctrine, that it was defined the insertion
    of the Horn of Africa in the Cold War system. Wishing to contain the other
    side’s influence and expansion, both superpowers have had to play the
    game according to the existing polarization in the region. As expected, the
    presence of both superpowers has polarized the political forces into the
    pro-United States nations and the pro-Soviet Union nations, fact that has
    boosted existing rivalries among the States of the region (Clapham 1996;
    Westad 2005).
    Between 1971 and 1974, the Somali military regime has received a
    great deal of economic and military support from the USSR. On the other
    hand, in 1972, the USSR established a military base in Berbera, whose
    objective was to increase its presence and contain the American military
    presence in the Indian Ocean and in the Persian Gulf (Schmidt 2013).
    On July 1974, during the visit of the Soviet president Nikolai Podgorny to
    Somalia, Mogadishu and Moscow consolidated relations by signing a Treaty
    of Friendship and Cooperation (TFC)12. After they signed this TFC, Somalia
    received from the USSR modern and sophisticated weaponry systems, such
    as MiG-21 combat aircrafts, Ilyushin-28 bombers, T-54 tanks, torpedoes and
    SAM-2 missile systems (Ofcansky 1992; Patman 1990).
    On September of that same year, however, the regional scene
    suffered great transformations. A military coup dragged the Ethiopian
    emperor, Haile Selassie – allied of the U.S. – out of power, establishing
    a military government (DERG) with popular backing in the country. The
    Ethiopian Revolution has had a fundamental impact towards regional
    polarization, due to the fact that the new regime declared itself socialist and
    got closer to the USSR (David 1979; Visentini 2012).
    12 In the terms of the agreement, both sides have committed cooperating in each and every
    sector, in order to preserve and deepen socioeconomic ties between both peoples; expand
    economic, technical-scientific and military cooperation; oppose all shapes and forms of
    imperialism and colonialism; at last, they have declared not to take part in any military
    alliance or actions against the other part (Patnam 1990).
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    On July 1977, believing that Ethiopia would not be able to defend
    itself due to political instability generated by internal insurgent groups –
    Afar, Oromo, Tigers and Eritreans –, Somalia decided to invade Ogaden
    desert in support of the Western Somalia Liberation Front (WSLF) – formed
    by native Somalis which had been fighting for the autonomy of the region
    since 1963 –, as an attempt to annex the desert and hammer out a “greater
    Somalia”13. Somali aerial and terrestrial tactic and technical superiority has
    been decisive in the first months of conflict, contributing for the occupation
    of almost 90% of the desert by Somali forces. However, the Ethiopian
    revolutionary government reacted by sending its army to the region and,
    backed by 16.000 Cuban troops supported by Soviet advisors14, the Somali
    army was quickly defeated and expelled from Ogaden on March 197815
    (Cliffe 1999; David 1979). By the end of the conflict, Ethiopia emerged as
    one of the most militarized and powerful States in the Horn of Africa.
    According to Weis (1980),
    “The Soviets have not only established an impressive aerial and maritime
    bridge which sent weaponry to Ethiopia, but they have also increased
    its naval forces in the waters adjacent to the war zone, helped on the
    deployment of Cuban forces in Ethiopia and planned, managed Cuban/
    Ethiopian16 military maneuvers which led to the withdrawal of the Somali
    army from Ogaden in 1978” (Weiss 1980, 12).
    Counting on such support, “[…] the Ethiopian Army was able to carry
    out the vertical envelopments tactic by transporting 70 tanks by helicopter
    to the Somali rear; Ethiopian troops were able to encircle the forces of
    the enemy army, making it impossible to retreat” (Kruys 2004, 21). It is
    13 “Great Somalia” is a pan-Somali nationalist ideology (to certain extent encouraged by
    the British at the moment of the independence) which aims at reuniting all the territories
    inhabited by Somalis in the Horn of Africa (namely, Ogaden, Djibouti and Northern Kenya)
    under the same government. In this context, the annexation of the Ogaden desert would be
    the first step towards this pan-Somali project (Cliffe 1999; Tareke 2009).
    14 On December 1977, Soviet guns, tanks and fighter aircrafts arrived, followed by 200
    Cuban “coaches” which would train Ethiopian military personnel on how to use such kind
    of weaponry (Schmidt 2013).
    15 There has been an enormous effort coming from the Soviets and Cubans to avoid
    confrontation and to settle the situation in Ogaden via peaceful means. The Cuban
    president, Fidel Castro, for instance, has been sent to the region in order to establish
    dialogue with Ethiopians, Somalis and Eritreans, looking forward to creating a socialist
    federation among them. However, it has not been possible, because the proposal has
    been turned down by all the parts involved (Chazan et al. 1999; Pereira 2013; Visentini
    16 The warfare has been planned and managed by the Soviet generals Vasilii Ivanovich
    Petrov and Barisov and by the Ethiopian coronel Mesfin Gabreqal (Tareke 2009).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    estimated, that during the war, the Ethiopian regime received US$1 billion
    in Soviet armaments (four times more than the amount the Emperor Haile
    Selassie received in twenty-five years of partnership with the US), including
    hundreds of T-34, T- 54, T-55 and T-62 tanks, about seventy MiGs-17, 21 and
    23, thirty Mi-6 and Mi-8 helicopters, hundreds of SAM-7 missiles, artillery,
    mobile radar unit and thousands of light weapons (Patnam 1990; Tareke
    2009; Westad 2005).
    Although proclaimed socialist since 1975, the alliance between
    Ethiopia and the USSR was only consolidated in 1977, mainly due to the
    Somali invasion. Until then, the USSR was reluctant on increasing its ties
    with Addis Ababa for both strategic reasons and distrust towards DERG.
    Strategically, the Soviet Union was allied with Somalia, which did not have
    good relations with its neighbors. In addition, issues such as the absence of
    a political party, the persistence of the conflict with the civilian opposition,
    and the ambiguity with respect to Eritrea’s independence bothered Soviet
    leaders (Patnam 1990; Tareke 2009; Visentini 2012).
    In November 1978, the Ethiopian government signed a Treaty of
    Friendship and Cooperation with the USSR17 and approached other socialist
    countries, such as the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Vietnam,
    Bulgaria, Libya, South Yemen and Cuba. At the regional level. In this context,
    after the alignment of Ethiopia with the Soviet Union, countries such as
    Cuba, Libya and South Yemen suspended their support for the EPLF –
    although this movement remained faithful to the Marxist-Leninist ideology
    until 1987 – when it abandoned socialism. In the case of Cuba, it refused to
    support Ethiopia in the war against the Eritrean insurgent groups, in view
    of the ideology of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries of which the
    country is a member (Clapham 1996; Schmidt 2013; Westad 2005).
    Somalia, on the one hand, renounced the Treaty of Cooperation and
    Friendship with the USSR, expelled the Soviet advisers of the country and
    broke diplomatic relations with Cuba. On the other hand, it established a
    strategic partnership with the United States and, throughout the 1980s,
    received substantial economic and military aid. In contrast, the United
    States received the strategic naval and air bases at Berbera in the Gulf of
    Aden, Kismayo and Mogadishu in the Indian Ocean18 (Tareke 2000, Schmidt
    2013; Woodward 2013). In addition, Somalia has established close relations
    with US allies in the Middle East such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran
    17 The USSR established a naval base in the strategic archipelago of Dahlak in the Red Sea
    (Chazan et al, 1999).
    18 In the context of the Iranian Revolution (1979), the hostage crisis in the US embassy in
    Tehran, and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (1979), the United States began to seek
    bases to strengthen its presence in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    (before the 1979 revolution), receiving military aid from them (Ofcansky
    1992; Samatar 1992; Schraeder 1996).
    Domestically, the defeat of Ethiopia, which also symbolized the
    collapse of the pan-Somali project, coupled with the deepening internal
    economic crisis and the authoritarianism of Siad Barre, led to a growing
    increase in the Somali population’s dissatisfaction with the government and
    Proliferation of insurgent movements. In addition, the increase in internal
    dissidence resulted in a coup attempt in 1978 led by a group of military
    personnel. As a result, nineteen coup mentors were publicly executed and
    those who escaped to neighboring Ethiopia, under the leadership of Colonel
    Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, created the Somali Salvation Front (SSF) in 1979
    in the Majerteen clan (Clapham 1993; Harper 2012; Hooglund 1992).
    On October 1981, the SSF joined the radical wing of the Somali
    Workers Party (SWP) and the Democratic Front for Somali Liberation (DFLS)
    and formed the Democratic Front for Somali Salvation (SSDF), promising
    to intensify the political and military struggle Against the Barre regime. The
    SSDF received economic and military support from Ethiopia and Libya and
    maintained a performance throughout the 1980s based on guerrilla tactics
    aimed at destabilizing the Somali government. In the same year, a new
    insurgent group, the Somali National Movement (SNM), was founded in
    the north of the country, with a support base in the Isaq clan, which sought
    to depose the government (Lewis 2008; Ofcansky 1992; Woodward 2002).
    Former British colonies in the region (Kenya, Uganda and Sudan)
    and the former French colony (Djibouti) have been incorporated into the
    western zone of influence. Between 1976 and 1989, Sudan became a
    major partner of the United States on the African continent, which gave
    it the status of largest recipient of US economic and military aid during
    Jimmy Carter administration19 (1977-1981) (Schmidt 2013). During the
    Ronald Reagan administration (1981-1989), Khartoum received massive
    military aid to stem the advance of Libya in East Africa and Soviet influence
    in Ethiopia. Even with the outbreak of the Second Civil War in 1983, the
    US supported Khartoum against the SPLM / A, supported in turn by the
    USSR, Cuba, and Ethiopia. With the arrival of Islamists in power in 1989
    by a military coup perpetrated by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir, backed
    by Hassan al-Turabi of the National Islamic Front (NIF) and the northern
    elites, relations between the two countries deteriorate (Adar 2000; Cohen
    2000; Woodward 2013).
    The intensification of a radical Islamist discourse, the close relations
    19 In the early 1970s Sudan was a major buyer of Soviet arms, mainly through Egypt.
    Changes in the internal and external environment after 1974 pushed the country out of the
    Soviet bloc and moved closer to the United States (Schmidt 2013).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    of the Omar al-Bashir government with the groups considered by the United
    States as terrorists (especially Hamas, Hezbollah, Egyptian Islamic Jihad
    and al-Qaeda) and support for Iraq during Gulf (1990-1991) led the United
    States to sever diplomatic relations with Sudan in 1991, and included it on
    the list of states sponsoring terrorism in 199320 (Cohen 2000; Johnson 2003;
    Woodward 2006). In response, through the neighboring states (Frontline
    States Initiatives – Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda), the United States began to
    support the rebels in the south, especially the SPLM / A led by John Garang
    de Mabior21, who had lost the support of his main Allies (USSR and the
    Ethiopian military regime) in the early 1990s (Berhe 2014; Cohen 2000;
    Kagwanja 2006; Woodward 2006).
    In Somalia, in 1989, under pressure from the Congress, the
    US government suspended all military aid to the country except for the
    International Military Education and Training (IMET) program because
    of the growing allegations of human rights violations (Hooglund 1992;
    Schraeder 1996; Woodward 2002). Aware of the deterioration of the
    combatant capabilities of the regime brought about by the economic
    collapse and the end of US support, and with the objective of strengthening
    its positions, three belligerent groups (Somali National Movement – SNM,
    Somali Patriotic Movement – Formalized an alliance in 1989 to overthrow
    President Siad Barre. In this context, a pact was signed that provided for the
    formation of a coalition government to be integrated by the three groups
    after the fall of the regime (Harper 2012; Reno 2011).
    In late 1990, under the command of USC leader Mohamed Farah
    Aideed, insurgent groups launched an offensive toward the capital. Finding
    little resistance along the way the group arrived in the capital Mogadishu
    in early 1991. After intense clashes with government forces, Siad Barre
    was overthrown and fled the capital in January 1991. However, belligerent
    groups did not reach agreement to establish a An alternative government in
    Somalia, leading to the division of the country between warlords who began
    to fight for political supremacy, contributing to the collapse of the state.22
    20 In 1996, the UN Security Council approved sanctions against Sudan that remained
    until 2001, and the following year the US imposed a financial and trade embargo on Sudan
    that hampered the interests of large US oil corporations that had business with Khartoum
    as Chevron, which had spent decades exploring oil and had finally begun prospecting for it
    (Johnson 2003; Oliveira 2007).
    21 Military defeats against government forces and, consequently, loss of territory in the early
    1990s, impacted the SPLM / A structure / leadership, favoring the split of the group into
    two factions: SPLA / Mainstream (Torit group led by John Carang) and SPLA / United (Nasir
    group led by Riek Machar). In order to weaken the southern opposition, Khartoum began to
    finance the faction led by Riek Machar (Cohen 2000, Johnson 2003, Doop 2013).
    22 With the removal of Siad Barre from power, one of the leaders of the USC, Ali Mahdi
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    With the internal division of the USC, the capital Mogadishu began to be
    disputed by the militias linked to Aideed and Ali Mahdi (former allies). In
    the south, Muhammad Said Hershi Morgan, SPM leader vied for power
    with the local warlords. In the north, SNM proclaimed the independence of
    the northern region of the country in March 1991, which was renamed the
    Republic of Somaliland, establishing the capital at Hargeisa. However – no
    state has recognized the region’s independence (Harper 2012; Hooglund
    1992; Lewis 2008; Woodward 20013).
    In Ethiopia, internal instability, economic crisis and loss of support
    from the regime’s main external ally (USSR) in the late 1980s had a
    profound impact on the government. In addition, the joint offensive of
    the Eritrean Popular Front for Liberation (EPLF) and the Tigray People’s
    Liberation Front (TPLF) were fundamental to the defeat of the Ethiopian
    army in various regions. In this context, realizing the fragility of the regime,
    in 1989, the TPLF brought together the smaller groups23 that were fighting
    the DERG and formed a coalition, the Ethiopian Democratic Revolutionary
    Front (EPRDF). After intense clashes between EPRDF and government
    forces in Addis Ababa in 1991, Mengistu Haile Mariam fled the country and
    settled in Zimbabwe. The EPRDF, under the leadership of Meles Zenawi,
    formed a new government in Addis Ababa. Regarding Eritrea, following
    a referendum, the new Ethiopian government accepted the independence
    proclaimed in 1993 by EPLF24 (Tareke 2004; Schmidt 2013; Vestal 1999;
    Westad 2005).
    Post-Cold War (1991-2001): new and “renewed” security
    Mohammed, proclaimed himself acting president of Somalia, breaking with the pact
    signed in 1989, however, the other leaders refused to accept the legitimacy of the interim
    government and began to fight (Hooglund 1992).
    23 The Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo Democratic People’s
    Organization (OPDO) and the Ethiopian Democratic People’s Movement (SEPDM) (Tareke
    24 Eritrea was conquered by Italy in 1890 and had been occupied by British forces
    between 1941 and 1952 when, on the recommendation of the UN General Assembly, it was
    formally handed over to Ethiopia as a federative unit which was to be subject to Ethiopian
    sovereignty, even though it maintained Autonomy in domestic matters. In 1962, however,
    such autonomy was repealed and Eritrea was formally incorporated into Ethiopia as one
    of its fourteen regions, triggering a thirty-year EPLF-led national liberation war. In 1991
    with the seizure of power in Addis Ababa by TPLF / EPRDF under the leadership of Meles
    Zenawi, the new Ethiopian government accepted Eritrean independence and after a popular
    referendum in May 1993, the Republic of Eritrea became independent (establishing Capital
    in Asmara); Thus, EPLF Secretary-General Isaias Afewerki was elected President of the
    country (Clapham 1996, Cohen 2000, Reno 2011 and Schmidt 2013).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    With the end of the Cold War, in 1989, and the USSR collapse,
    in 1991, the region’s security dynamics was substantially altered, because
    of Somalia’s disintegration, the self-proclamation of the independence of
    Somaliland, the Ethiopian’s Marxist-Leninist government’s collapse, in
    1991, and Eritrea’s independence, in 1993. Such events, for a moment,
    reduced the tensions between countries in the region. However, even with
    the end of Ethiopian’s official support to insurgent groups in Sudan and
    Somalia, and of these countries’ support to Ethiopian insurgent groups, the
    prevalence of tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea,
    Ethiopia and Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea, added to the civil wars in Sudan and
    Somalia, remained relevant factors in the regional security agenda in the
    immediate post-Cold War (Berhe 2014; Sharamo and Mesfin 2011).
    Indeed, in the beginning of the 1990s there was hope for pacification
    in the Horn of Africa with the coming to power of the insurgent groups
    in Ethiopia and Eritrea, supported by Sudan and Somalia. According to
    Cliffe (1999), there was a brief period of détente between 1991 and 1994,
    characterized by various regional initiatives for the resolution of conflicts
    in Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti, as well as by the economic integration
    processes involving countries in the region25.
    As an example, we can mention the role taken on by the
    Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the management
    of the region’s conflicts and political crisis from 1990s on. In 1993, after
    three failed attempts to solve the conflict between Khartoum and the
    SPLM/A, president al-Bashir formally asked IGAD to mediate the civil war
    in the country, allowing for a series of conversations between the belligerent
    parties, culminating in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
    (CPA) in 2005, ending the Second Sudanese Civil War. In Somalia, despite
    IGAD’s many conflict resolution attempts since the beginning of the crisis,
    it was not possible to stabilize the country and to establish an authority able
    to maintain order and peace. In 2002, however, and agreement was reached
    that established, in 2004, a Transitional Federal Parliament and, in 2005, a
    Transitional Federal Government (TFG) (Cardoso 2015; Healy 2014).
    However, the historical rivalries and the still pending disputes,
    generating mutual distrust between the countries, remained as relevant
    factors in the region’s security agenda in this period. The first rivalry axis
    verified in the post-Cold War was between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
    25 The institutionalization of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
    (COMESA), in 1994, and the transformation of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought
    and Development (IGADD) into the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD),
    1996, which included a security agenda, can be mentioned as examples.
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    The tensions between the two States have their origins in the
    disagreements between the TPLF and the EPLF26, leading to the outbreak
    of a large scale conventional war between the countries in May, 1998. It is
    important to emphasize that these were the main reasons to the collapse
    of the Ethiopian military regime, in May, 1991 (Cliffe 1999; Marcus 2002).
    In the first years following Eritrea’s independence, the relation between
    the countries were positive and cooperative. Results of this the many
    agreements signed on the first half of the 1990s between Asmara and Addis
    Ababa, aiming to achieve economic integration and political cooperation.
    The Agreement on free trade and economic cooperation27, facilitating the
    use of Eritrea’s Assab and Massawa harbours by Ethiopia, the use of the
    Ethiopian Birr as the common currency and the mutual defence agreement
    are worthy of mention (Abbink 2003; Berhe 2014). Besides, a collaboration
    to the rebuilding of the countries infrastructures, destroyed during the war,
    was agreed (Clapham 1996; Mulugeta 2011).
    In 1997, however, when Addis Ababa adopted an orthodox economic
    policy (in line with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund),
    the capital flux from Ethiopia to Eritrea was reduced and the relations
    between them began to deteriorate. Besides, Ethiopia faced economic issues
    because of the low coffee price (its main commodity) in the international
    market. Because of the profound interdependence of their economies,
    specially Eritrea’s dependence to Ethiopia’s market, the economic issues
    reflected on the country. In an attempt to revert the situation and pressure
    Ethiopia, in November, 1997, the Eritrean government abandoned the use
    of Birr and created its own currency – Nafka28 – and increased tariffs on the
    use of harbours (Mulugeta 2011; Schneider 2010).
    The borders disputes worsened the already shaken relations between
    the States. The almost 1,000 kilometres shared by the countries had not
    been clearly defined when Eritrea became independent, and some disputed
    areas remained. Eritrea based their claims in the Italian colony maps, while
    Ethiopia based theirs in the treaties between Italy and Ethiopian empire in
    26 In February, 1994, EPLF was renamed as People’s Front for Democracy and Justice
    27 In view of the commercial complementarity between Asmara and Addis Ababa, in
    which Eritrea exported manufactured goods to Ethiopia and imported from it coffee and
    most of the internally consumed food goods, an inflation control and commercial policies
    synchronization mechanism was agreed (Tareke 2009).
    28 According to Schneider (2010), this wasn’t well received by Ethiopian authorities that,
    in retaliation, declared the commerce between the countries would be, from then on,
    commonly conducted – through the use of foreign currency. Besides, in the end of 1997,
    Ethiopia printed new Birr bills, making unfeasible a possible Eritrean’s withdrawal of their
    new currency plans.
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    the beginning of the 20th century (ICG 2003; Marcus 2002).
    War began in May 1998, when Eritrea invaded and occupied the
    Ethiopian city of Badme. In the beginning of June, the conflict intensified
    with terrestrial and aerial campaigns from both sides. The causes to the
    conflicted remain unclear; some authors classify it as a mere territorial
    dispute, while others, such as Peter Woodward (2006), Gebru Tareke
    (2009) e Kidist Mulugeta (2011), argue that the territory was the catalyst,
    not the cause, of the war (Mulugeta 2011; Tareke 2009; Woodward 2006).
    Despite the conflict resolution attempts, mediated by the USA, Rwanda
    and, posteriorly, by OAU, it was not possible to re-establish peace.
    Eritrea was, in conventional terms, defeated by Ethiopia in June
    2000, and, in July of the same year, through the 1298 resolution, the UNSC
    stablished the United Missions in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), with the
    mandate of monitoring the cease-fire and watching the buffer/demilitarized
    25-kilometre zone between the borders. In December, under the auspices
    of the OAU, UN, European Union and the USA, the Algiers Agreement
    was signed, determining, among other terms, the submitting of the border
    disputes to two independent and impartial organs to be designated by the
    Secretary-Generals of OAU and UN, as well as by both countries. The first
    one was the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, responsible for analysing
    the claims regarding losses in the war and the second, the Eritrea-Ethiopia
    Boundary Commission (EEBC), composed by five members – responsible
    for demarcating the limits according to the colonial treaties of 1900, 1902
    and 1908 (ICG 2003; Mulugeta 2011).
    In April 2002, EEBC decided on the demarcation of the border:
    the city of Badme would be on Eritrean territory; Ethiopia refused to accept
    it, leading to a dead-locked situation (ICG 2010b; Tareke 2009). In 2004,
    the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, proposed an internationally
    well-received tension reduction plan, that was, however, not accepted by the
    Erithrean government, because of the Ethiopian repudiation of the EEBC
    resolution. In 2008, the UNSC decided on the non-renewal of the UNMEE
    and the dead-lock remains (Schneider 2010).
    Regarding the Addis Ababa and Khartoum rivalries, the coming
    to power of Sudan backed insurgent groups in Ethiopia pointed to an
    improvement in relations. However, Khartoum’s support to Islamic
    insurgent groups in Ethiopia pushed the countries apart. The bilateral
    relations deteriorated even further when members of the Islamic Brotherhood
    groups, responsible for the murder attempt on Egypt’s president, Hosni
    Mubarak, in June 1995, in Addis Ababa, during the OAU Summit, fled to
    Sudan – supposedly confirming the country’s participation in the attempt.
    In response, the Ethiopian government started to significantly support
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    SPLA financially and militarily, allowing to the reversion of the situation
    against the Sudanese government (Adar 2000; Doop 2013).
    With the outbreak of the war against Eritrea, Addis Ababa attempted
    to improve the relation with Khartoum, in order to reduce the fronts it was
    engaged on and redirect attention and efforts to the country’s northern
    border. Combined to the tuning down of the Sudanese government’s
    Islamic rhetoric, this allowed the relation between the countries to improve
    towards the end of the 1990s, allowing for greater cooperation regarding
    regional security. In 2004, for instance, Sudan, Ethiopia and Yemen signed
    an informal alliance to counter Eritrea, opposed to both governments (ICG
    2010a; Schmidt 2013).
    In turn, tensions between Sudan and Eritrea go back to the
    beginning of the 1990s, when Khartoum began to support Eritrean Islamic
    fundamentalist groups, such as the Eritrean Islamic Jihad (EIJ) (Cliffe
    1999; ICG 2010b). In response, Asmara began to support, militarily and
    financially, groups opposed to Omar Hassan al-Bashir – especially SPLA and
    the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Eritrean support was paramount
    to SPLA’s forces victory against the government’s forces in the Blue Nile
    State in 1997. Eritrea severed diplomatic relations with Sudan in December,
    1994, and, in June of the following year, hosted a conference with all groups
    opposed to the regime of al-Bashir (SPLA, civilians and exiles), occasion
    when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was created. The NDA
    headquarters were in Sudan’s embassy in Asmara, closed from 1994 up
    until 2000, when diplomatic relations between the two countries was reestablished.
    In 2003, however, the Eritrean government was accused of
    supporting insurgent groups in Darfur – especially the Justice and Equality
    Movement (JEM) (Cliffe 1999; ICG 2010a).
    Relations between Sudan and Uganda became tense since the end
    of the 1980s, after president Yoweri Museveni offered financial and military
    support to the SPLA. In response, Khartoum began to provide weapons,
    military intelligence and training to Ugandan insurgent groups, such as
    the LRA, the West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) and the Allied Democratic
    Forces (ADF) (Cliffe 1999; Reno 2011). In the 1990s, diplomatic relations
    between the countries were severed, When the peace agreement was signed
    in Sudan, in 2005, the relations between the States improved substantially
    (ICG 2010a).
    Towards the end of the 1990s, the security dynamics in the region
    took a small turn because of the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and,
    specially, the terrorist attack in August 1998 against the USA’s embassy in
    Nairobi, Kenya. The attack killed at least 220 people, including 12 North-
    Americans, and injured about 5 thousand, with a second terrorist attack,
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    minutes later, against the USA’s embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing
    dozens. Both attacks were attributed to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, led
    by Osama bin Laden. In response, the USA bombed a pharmaceutical
    factory in northern Khartoum, in retaliation to the support granted by
    president Omar al-Bashir to al-Qaeda, and also because of the suspicion
    that the country was developing a clandestine chemical weapons program
    (Adebajo 2003; Kagwanja 2006; MØller 2009). Mainly because of USA’s
    pressure, Bin Laden was expelled from Sudan in 1996 and returned to
    Afghanistan, where he would be under the Taliban’s regime protection until
    its overthrowing, in 2001.
    Post-September 11 (2001-2015): agendas, actors and “new”
    The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, on the United
    States29 changed the security dynamics in the region again, placing
    terrorism30 at the center of the agenda. The Horn of Africa was the first
    target for the North American securitization in the African continent post-
    September 11; besides being close to the Middle East, it was the region where
    al-Qaeda began its large-scale operations (Kenya and Tanzania, 1998). This
    new threat perception is based on the confluence of factors characteristic of
    the region, such as the activity of radical Islamic groups, the disintegrator
    potential of weak/failed states, the plots of non-governed territories and the
    idea that such features are attractive for refuge and recruitment of terrorist
    organizations, especially for the al-Qaeda’s network.
    With the National Security Strategy (NSS) publishing, also known
    as the Bush Doctrine, on September 2002, the North American macrosecuritization
    began in many parts of the world, through the so-called Global
    War on Terrorism (GWoT). In this document, the United States recognized
    29 “On September 11, 2001, four passenger airplanes kidnapped inside the United States,
    from local companies, American Airlines and United Airlines, and piloted by terrorists, hit
    traditional symbols of the North American economic and military power, causing thousands
    of deaths. In New York, two Boeing attacks caused the explosion and collapse of the twin
    towers of the World Trade Center and, in the capital Washington DC, the Pentagon was
    attacked (…). The fourth plane fell in a forest in Pittsburgh, apparently failing to achieve its
    goal, which would be Camp David.” (Pecequilo 2011, 374).
    30 There is no clear and consensual definition for terrorism. For this paper’s purpose, we
    will use the concept developed by Eugenio Diniz, who defines terrorism as “[…] a kind of
    use of force or threat of use of force characterized by the indiscrimination of the targets,
    by the centrality of the desired psychological effect and by the virtual irrelevance, given the
    force correlation of the antagonistic wills involved in the conflict, of the material and human
    destruction by the terrorist action.” (Diniz 2010, 165-166).
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    non-state actors as important enemies and weak states as dangerous.
    Moreover, the NSS argued it was necessary to answer to threats before they
    were fully formed and justified preemption as early self-defense (Crenshaw
    2010; Pecequilo 2011).
    The securitization process of the Horn of Africa started in October
    2002, when the George W. Bush administration began construction
    of an antiterrorist military defense network in the region, establishing
    a military base in Djibouti – Camp Lemonnier – which became the base
    for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), under
    the responsibility of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)31. Its objective
    is to locate and destroy international terrorist networks in the Horn and
    East of Africa, Yemen and nearby Indian Ocean islands32 (Adebajo 2003;
    Fischer and Anderson 2015). The following year, the United States started
    the East Africa Counter-Terrorism Initiative (EACTI), a US$ 100 million
    program to fight terrorism in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia
    and Djibouti (Fisher 2013; MØller 2009). This dynamics in the Horn of
    Africa ended linked to the Middle East GWoT itself, given the geographical
    proximity of the regions and the terrorist attack against the North American
    destroyer USS Cole in October 2000, at the Aden port in Yemen – attributed
    to Yemeni terrorists linked to al-Qaeda (Buzan and WÆver 2003; Rotberg
    2005; Schmidt 2013).
    In 2002, the USA also launched the Operation Enduring Freedom
    – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA), focusing on the fight against terrorism in
    the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia, and the fight against piracy in
    the eastern coast of Africa (Fisher 2013). In February 2007, the Pentagon
    announced the creation of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM),
    responsible for operations, exercises, soldiers training and security
    cooperation with the African countries – except Egypt, part of CENTCOM
    (Adebajo 2013; Oliveira and Cardoso 2015). Operating since October 2007,
    the AFRICOM is one of the six North American military commands around
    the world33. Perceived as an instrument focused on guaranteeing the North
    31 Following the creation of a separate African command, the US Africa Command
    (AFRICOM) in October 2007, the responsibility of the CJTF-HOA was over its responsibility.
    32 At the same time as the Horn of Africa securitization, the USA launched in November
    2002 the Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), a US$ 7,75 million program aiming to offer logistical
    support and counterinsurgency military training in the Sahel region, which includes the
    governments of Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad. In 2005, the PSI was expanded and
    turned into the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI) which also included
    the countries of the Maghreb, Morocco and Tunisia, Nigeria, Senegal and Burkina Faso.
    Moreover, the budget was increased to annual US$ 100 million (Adebajo 2013; Schmidt
    33 U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), U.S.
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    American strategic interests on the continent and maintenance of power by
    key regimes (main oil exporters), through arm sales and training of their
    armed forced, the AFRICOM was widely rejected by most African countries
    (Keenan 2009; Volman and Keenan 2009). This rejection can be seen
    in the refusal of all African states, except Liberia and Morocco, to receive
    the AFRICOM headquarters – which remain in Stuttgart, Germany, with
    support bases in Djibouti, in the Red Sea, and in the Ascension Island, in
    the South Atlantic (Keenan 2009). The former presidents of South Africa,
    Thabo Mbeki, and Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, for instance, believed the
    construction of North American bases would make the continent more
    susceptible to terrorist actions.
    In 2009, already under the Obama administration, the Partnership
    for Regional East African Counterterrorism (PREACT) was established,
    focused on the fight against terrorism in Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti,
    Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan,
    Tanzania and Uganda. Since its creation, the United States Department of
    State made about US$ 104 million available to PREACT (Fisher 2013).
    Some important contradictions arise through the analysis of the
    GWoT in the Horn of Africa. One of the first factors to be identified is
    related to the bilateral relations between the United States and the countries
    in the region. To the previously allied states – Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and
    Uganda – the GWoT represented the consolidation of relations with the
    United States. Regarding the countries the United States had kept a relative
    distance from, as Sudan and Eritrea, these had their relationships with
    Washington suddenly transformed. Sudan, turned into an international
    pariah in the 1990s, ended up benefiting with the GWoT, being reintegrated
    to the international community after the lifting of sanctions34 (Fisher and
    Anderson 2015). Indeed, after the launching of the GWoT, fearing a US
    military intervention, as in Afghanistan, president Omar al-Bashir tuned
    down the Islamic rhetoric in his international politics and expelled from
    his government Hassan al-Turabi, one of the main Islamic ideologues
    of the country (Schneider 2010; Woodward 2013). Khartoum became an
    important regional ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism,
    since it began to use its connections and provide intelligence to the North
    American government (Johnson 2007 Schmidt 2013).
    With the narrowing of the relationships with Washington and the
    Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Pacific
    Command (PACOM). It is important to point out that before the creation of the AFRICOM
    the USA military activities in Africa were centered in EUCOM.
    34 Between 2001 and 2004, Sudan became the main recipient for North American
    economic aid in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    building of a transnational antiterrorist network in the Horn of Africa, all
    countries in the region, in varying degrees, used the situation to securitize
    their internal issues (Fisher and Anderson 2015; Oliveira and Cardoso 2015).
    Ethiopia was the main beneficiary of this process. For instance, internal
    groups opposed to the government, such as the Oromo Liberation Front,
    the Ogaden National Liberation Front, Islamic Front for the Liberation
    of Oromia and the Ginbot 735, responsible for a number of attacks in the
    country, were categorized as terrorist organizations (Kagwanja 2006;
    Mulugeta 2014; Rotberg 2005).
    Similarly, Uganda framed LRA and ADF as terrorist groups. With
    financial and logistical support from the United States, the Uganda People’s
    Defense Force (UPDF) started in March 2009 a large operation (Operation
    Lightning Thunder) against the fighting forces of LRA and their leader Joseph
    Kony, dismantling their bases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    (DRC) – forcing the group to flee to the Central African Republic (CAR).
    In October 2010, in Bangui, an agreement was reached between the DRC,
    CAR, Uganda and Sudan for the creation of a permanent regional force to
    act, especially, against the LRA fighting forces (Fisher and Anderson 2015;
    Giacopelli 2010). However, the proposal was never implemented. In 2011,
    the United States sent 100 military advisors to Central Africa, aiming to
    help the Ugandan government fight LRA.
    Thus, is posed the question: whence does terrorism arise as a
    regional security problem? The absence of such a critical perspective forces
    the fight against terrorism to take on a “a prior” way to identify a threat, in
    detriment of others, perhaps more important ones. The historical roots of
    terrorism in the region must be sought. In many countries of the Horn,
    the moderate opposition groups were historically co-opted by the regime,
    while more radical ones were relegated to the complete exclusion from the
    political system.
    On the other hand, the proliferation of terrorist attacks in Kenya,
    Ethiopia and Uganda gave the subject importance in the regional security
    agenda. Many continental, regional and national initiatives focused on
    the fight against terrorism and protection of civilians reflect this. In the
    continental scope, during the OAU Summit in Algiers, July 1999, the
    member states adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Combating
    of Terrorism and, in 2002, the African Centre for the Study & Research on
    Terrorism (ACSRT) was established (Kagwanja 2006).
    In the regional scope, in 2005, during the IGAD Summit, in
    35 Ginbot 7 is an Ethiopian political party founded by Berhanu Nega and was one of the
    main opposition parties in the 2005 elections (Mulugeta 2011).
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    Khartoum, an action plan was developed to the fight against terrorism in
    the region. It is the IGAD’s Peace and Security Strategy. The following
    year, the IGAD Capacity Building Program against Terrorism (ICPAT)
    was launched, built on four main elements: reinforcement of the judicial
    capabilities, interdepartmental cooperation, borders control, training and
    strategic cooperation. In 2011, the IGAD Security Sector Program was
    created, focusing on maritime security and the fight against organized
    crime and terrorism, as well as the Security Sector Reform (SSR) (Kagwanja
    2006; Woodward 2013).
    In the national scope, countries of the region adopted policies to
    the prevention and combat against terrorism – Sudan, Uganda and Kenya,
    for instance, ratified all twenty-one international conventions and protocols
    on fighting terrorism and passed laws to prevent terrorist attacks (Rotberg
    In Kenya, country suffering in the last years with the spillover of
    terrorism from Somalia36 to its territory, the fight against terrorism was
    adopted as a priority defense policy. Since the Nairobi terrorist attacks of
    1998, and the Mombasa ones, in 2002, began the development, even if
    incipient, of the counter terrorist capabilities of the Kenyan authorities.
    Already in 1999, the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) was
    created, and in 2003 the Suppression of Terrorism Bill was published, and
    created the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit. The following year, a bill protecting
    witnesses in terrorism cases was sanctioned, established the National
    Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), as well as published the National
    Counter Terrorism Strategy. In 2006, a supplemental Anti-Terrorism Bill
    was published (Kagwanja 2006; Rotberg 2005). Moreover, the country
    promotes and extensive cooperation program with the United States and
    United Kingdom to fight terrorism.
    Known since the beginnings of the 1990s by the epitome of failed
    state, because of the internal political instability, Somalia turned into an
    important battlefield in the War on Terror. Although Somali fundamentalist
    36 In October 2011, in response to the kidnapping of tourists in the border with Somalia,
    attributed to the Somali fundamentalist group al Shabaab, in a counter terrorist operation
    named operation Linda Nchi, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) military intervened in the
    neighbouring Somalia in order to locate and destroy al Shabaab cells. In February 2012,
    Kenyan soldiers officially joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISON) – the
    country currently has 4.664 contingents in the mission (AMISOM, 2014). Answering this
    role played by Kenya in Somalian conflict, al Shabaab linked militias began to perform low
    intensity terrorist attacks in Kenya. In September 2013, however, al Shabaab planned and
    carried out their largest attack outside Somali territory, against a luxurious Israeli-owned
    commercial center (Westgate Shopping) in Nairobi, Kenyan capital. The attack caused 67
    deaths of various nationalities and injured hundreds.
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    Islamic groups – such as Al-Itihaad-al-Islami (AIAI) – figure since 2002
    in the United States Department of State terrorist organizations list, it
    was only from 2004, with the rise and advance of the Union of Islamic
    Courts (UIC) – coalition of Sharia (Islamic law) defending Islamic militias
    – through the southern and central regions of the country that Somalia
    became the epicenter of the war on terror in Africa (Rotberg 2005; Samatar
    2013). An indicator of the insecurity in the Somali territory is represented
    by the Global Terrorism Index, pointing Somalia as the country with highest
    risk of occurrence of terrorist attacks.
    In this context, through the warlords and neighbouring states, the
    United States created a front to fight terrorism in Somalia. The CIA played
    an important role in this respect, arming a group of warlords and, under
    the leadership of Bashir Ragha and Musa Sude, creating the Alliance for
    the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), in February
    2006, aiming to counter the UIC rise. However, it was quickly defeated
    by the Islamic militias and expelled from the main cities. In June 2006,
    UIC already controlled the main cities in the South and Central regions,
    including Mogadishu, the capital. In December 2006, however, with tactical
    and military support from the United States, Ethiopia intervened in Somalia
    supporting the newly formed Transitional Federal Government (TFG),
    in order to stop UIC’s territorial expansion and weaken its political and
    fighting capabilities, as well as to legitimize the new government (Adebajo
    2013; Woodward 2013).
    UIC was military defeated in January 2007 and fragmented
    between two distinct factions, a moderate and a radical one. The first one,
    the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), led by Sharif Sheikh
    Ahmed, was incorporated to the transitional government through the
    Djibouti peace deal (Power-Sharing), signed in 2008. However, the second
    one, Harakat al-Shabaab Mujihadeen (al Shabaab), led by Sheikh Hassan
    Dahir Aweyis, became the main challenge to the consolidation of peace in
    Somalia. The al Shabaab appears in the North American Department of
    State list of terrorist organizations for the first time in March 2008, because
    of the supposed link to the al-Qaeda network (Woodward 2013). In summary,
    the outbreak of the Global War on Terror, made official by the 2002 Bush
    Doctrine, whatever their merits, changed the regional security agenda and
    the strategic priorities for the countries in the region.
    The maritime piracy37 consists in another important current
    37 For the purposes of this paper we will use the definition of piracy from the United
    Nations Montego Bay Convention, defining it as any illegal acts of violence or detention,
    or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a
    private ship or a private aircraft, and directed: i) on the high seas, against another ship or
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    regional challenge. Although the number of raids in the coast of Somalia38
    have decreased in the last years, from to 237, in 2011; to 75, in 2012; reaching
    15, in 2013 (see figure 1), this problem still represents an enormous, not
    only regional, but, especially, international, challenge, given the strategic
    location of the country and the importance of this maritime route for the
    international trade, as well as the proximity to the Persian Gulf (Fantaye
    For this reason, since 2008, by decision of the UNSC (resolution
    1851) and by request of the TFG, the Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of
    Somalia has been patrolled by the international community, aiming to
    guarantee the security of the intense maritime traffic between the Gulf of
    Aden and the Red Sea daily. Currently, three major operations combating
    piracy in the region are underway: Operation Atlanta – European Union
    Naval Force Somalia (EUNAFVOR), Operation Ocean Shield, of OTAN, and
    a multinational naval force, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) (see figure 1),
    comprising a 29-country coalition under the command of the United States
    Navy, based in Bahrein. The last one includes individual contributions
    from countries that detached their own naval assets under the national
    command, as China, Japan. India, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia39 (Fantaye
    2014; Mckay 2011).
    It is also important to take into account the privatization of maritime
    security in the fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa. A number of
    companies hired armed protection services for merchant ships transiting in
    the region. As a result, there was a proliferation of private military companies
    acting in the region: as examples, we can mention Eos Risk Management,
    Hollowpoint Protection, Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions, Secopex, Gulf
    of Aden Group Transits (GoAGT), the Hart Group, the Olive Group, ISSG
    Holdings Ltd., Muse Professional Group Inc and Xe Services (Fantaye 2014).
    aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft; ii) against a ship,
    aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State. Finally, any act
    of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts
    making it a pirate ship or aircraft (UN 1982).
    38 Maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia has captured increasing attention from the
    international media and economic operators concerned about the negative effects of this
    phenomenon on the international economy and security. As of 2009, there has been an
    increase in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. In most cases
    pirates are former fishermen who hijack cargo ships and oil tankers and demand millionaire
    bailouts for the release of ships and their crews.
    39 The costs fighting maritime piracy are estimated at around US4 7 billion yearly, with
    the expenses with ransom of ships and its crews accounting for just 2% of the amount
    (International Maritime Bureau 2014).
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    Figure 1 – Piracy and combat operations in the coast of Somalia
    Source: European Union Institute for Security Studies (2014)
    It is also important to take into account the privatization of maritime security in
    the fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa. A number of companies hired armed
    protection services for merchant ships transiting in the region. As a result, there was a
    proliferation of private military companies acting in the region: as examples, we can
    mention Eos Risk Management, Hollowpoint Protection, Anti-Piracy Maritime Security
    Solutions, Secopex, Gulf of Aden Group Transits (GoAGT), the Hart Group, the Olive
    Group, ISSG Holdings Ltd., Muse Professional Group Inc and Xe Services (Fantaye
    Even though there is no consensus regarding the causes of piracy in the Horn of
    Africa, some authors, such as Peter Woodward, Demessie Fantaye, among others,
    directly link it to the collapse of the Somali state. Indeed, the severe internal crisis
    experienced in the country since the beginning of the 1990s, as well as the weakness of
    its surveillance and control capabilities, ended up allowing the operation of foreign
    crafts which, in addition to engaging in predatory fishing in the Somali EEZ, also
    contributed to environmental damages through the disposal of toxic waste in the
    territorial waters of Somalia (Fantaye 2014; Woodward 2013).
    Currently, the main threats to security involving countries of the region are
    attributed to insurgent groups operating in different territories, as al Shabaab, in
    Somalia, LRA40, in Uganda, the Oromo Liberation Front, in Ethiopia, as well as
    maritime piracy in the coast of Somalia, the internal conflict in Sudan (Darfur, Blue
    40 In October 2010, an agreement was signed between DRC, CAR, Uganda and Sudan to create a
    permanent regional force acting, especially, against the fighting forces of LRA.
    Source: European Union Institute for Security Studies (2014)
    Even though there is no consensus regarding the causes of piracy
    in the Horn of Africa, some authors, such as Peter Woodward, Demessie
    Fantaye, among others, directly link it to the collapse of the Somali state.
    Indeed, the severe internal crisis experienced in the country since the
    beginning of the 1990s, as well as the weakness of its surveillance and
    control capabilities, ended up allowing the operation of foreign crafts
    which, in addition to engaging in predatory fishing in the Somali EEZ, also
    contributed to environmental damages through the disposal of toxic waste
    in the territorial waters of Somalia (Fantaye 2014; Woodward 2013).
    Currently, the main threats to security involving countries of the
    region are attributed to insurgent groups operating in different territories,
    as al Shabaab, in Somalia, LRA40, in Uganda, the Oromo Liberation Front,
    in Ethiopia, as well as maritime piracy in the coast of Somalia, the internal
    conflict in Sudan (Darfur, Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains), the civil wars in
    Somalia and South Sudan41 (Doop 2013). On an interstate level, the dispute
    40 In October 2010, an agreement was signed between DRC, CAR, Uganda and Sudan to
    create a permanent regional force acting, especially, against the fighting forces of LRA.
    41 The South Sudan crisis originated in July 2013, when vice-president Riek Machar was
    expelled from office by president Salva Kiir, accused of an attempted coup. In response,
    Regional security in the Horn of Africa: conflicts, agendas and threats
    between Sudan and South Sudan for the oil region of Abyei, the territorial
    dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti, the rivalry between Ethiopia and
    Eritrea and the dispute for the Migingo Island between Kenya and Uganda
    (Mesfin 2011) can all be cited. However, these disputes remain on the
    diplomatic level.
    Added to this are the challenges for human security, as the poor social
    indicators in most states of the region and the large number of internally
    displaced persons and refugees. In Kenya alone there are currently 442.170
    Somali refugees. The situation is even more complex if the Somali refugees
    in the other countries of the region are taken into account, as well as the
    Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees.
    This study aimed to analyze the Horn of Africa’s security dynamics
    in the post-colonial period, as a way to understand the security perspectives
    and challenges in the region. Therefore, an analysis of the actors, conflicts,
    agendas and threats from the period of the Cold War to the present day was
    carried out.
    Altogether, the security dynamic of the Horn of Africa in the postindependence
    period had, thus, impact on the whole continent. The result of
    two long civil wars in the region (the cases of Ethiopia and Sudan) reshaped
    the African map in the post-Cold War period. Indeed, the creation of two
    new states in the region, Eritrea (1993) and South Sudan (2011), besides
    transforming the regional security dynamic, reconfigured the map of Africa.
    The importance of these events is reflected in the fact that the conservation
    of the borders inherited from colonialism was one of the main provisions
    argued by the African leaders in the post-colonial period, within the OAU
    and reaffirmed within the current African Union (AU). The Biafra (1967-
    1970), Katanga (1967-), Cabinda (1963-), Somaliland (1991) and Puntland
    (1998) cases are clear examples of the traditional African stance of not
    recognizing separatist movements (Castellano and Oliveira 2011; Williams
    2014; Woodward 2013).
    Largely, the security dynamics found in the Horn of Africa in
    this period are domestic dynamics regionalized through various spill over
    Machar organized militias and created the SPLM-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Movementin-
    Opposition) in December, initiating attacks against the Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile
    provinces’ oil fields, leading to the outbreak of the country’s civil war. At president’s Salva
    Kiir request, Uganda sent a military contingent to South Sudan, supporting the government
    troops in their attempt to regain control of cities taken by SPLM-IO militias. Machar, in turn,
    received support from Khartoum (Rolandsen et al. 2015).
    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    mechanisms, as the flows of refugees, insurgencies, small arms trafficking,
    intensified by the borders’ porosity. It is a result, on the one hand, of the
    existence of poorly consolidated states, with weak state capabilities and
    fragility in the social indicators; on the other, of the concentration of
    internal political disputes, border issues and problems related to terrorism
    and small arms trafficking, among other transnational challenges. Such
    limitations can be verified in the low level of cooperation regarding security
    and defence among the countries in the region, fundamental to the handling
    of the mutual security issues.
    In these sense, is of important prominence the recent rapprochement
    of Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya, seeking an institutionally stable and
    economically developed environment. This is due, partly, to the exponential
    growth of their economies during the last decade, contributing to the
    regional economic interdependence. The exchange of Ethiopian services
    and electricity for Sudanese oil42 can be mentioned as an example, resulting
    in a significant increase in the supply of oil from Sudan to Ethiopia, which
    in 2009 exceeded 80% of the Ethiopian imports of the product (Castellano
    and Oliveira 2011; Woodward 2013).
    Furthermore, the projects underway in the infrastructure
    integrating sphere can be mentioned, such as the building of a pipeline,
    connecting the South Sudan oil fields to the Djibouti and Mombasa, Kenya,
    ports, and the Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport
    Corridor (LAPSSET), financed by China. When completed, South Sudan
    will not only reduce its dependency on Sudan’s infrastructure to export oil,
    but will also reduce the cost to do so, as the distance will be significantly
    reduced. The definitive rapprochement between the three largest countries
    in the region, with an increasing economic interconnection, seems to be, at
    the same time, pre-requisite and contributing element to the stabilization
    of the Horn of Africa through political cooperation and mutual confidence
    However, until there are heavy investments in the construction
    of a modern infrastructure common to the Horn of Africa countries
    – plus intergovernmental organizations capable of solving the mutual
    security problems (armed insurgencies, separatism, political and religious
    extremists, small arms trafficking and piracy) – everything indicates that
    there will be no real progress to stabilize the region, strengthen regional
    42 It is in underway the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, on the
    Blue Nile in Benishangul-Gumuz, in Ethiopia, capable of generating 6.000 MW, supplying
    cheap electricity beyond Ethiopia, to Sudan, South Sudan and Egypt. The country still has,
    according to estimates from the Ethiopian Electric Power Authority (EEPA), the possibility of
    producing more than 45.000 MW of hydroelectric energy.
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    Nilton César Fernandes Cardoso
    This paper aims at analyzing security dynamics in the Horn of Africa in the postindependence
    period, identifying the actors, agendas and threats. For this purpose,
    it is subdivided into three parts. The first one analyzes the security dynamics taking
    place in the Horn of Africa during the Cold War period, focusing on the regional
    rivalries and on the penetration of extraregional actors. In the second part, there
    is a discussion regarding the transformations which occurred in region in the
    immediate post-Cold War period, focusing both on the unities’ (states) internal
    security dynamics and on the regional ones. The third and last section aims at
    identifying “new” threats and regional and international responses, as well as the
    emerging strategic importance of the region to traditional superpowers in the post-
    9/11 period, marked by the process of securitization.
    Security; Conflicts; Horn of Africa.
    Received on October 16, 2016.
    Approved on October 26, 2016.
    Translated by Rodrigo dos Santos Cassel and Salvatore Gasparini Xerri.
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