Foreign Military Bases in the Horn of Africa and their Implications to Ethiopia’s National Security (2002-2019)

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Addis Ababa University


Through this study, an effort is made to analyze the security implications of foreign military bases in the Horn region to Ethiopia’s national security. The Horn of African region is among the very strategic areas in the world. The region became a playfield of rival foreign powers and one of the conflict prone areas of the world. Once again, the region is being contested by foreign powers. About 10 foreign military bases in Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, and Somaliland are established. This paper contends that the foreign military bases in the Horn region provide both opportunities and challenges to Ethiopia’s national security. As a result, a responsive foreign policy is required to utilize the security opportunities and minimizing the costs. Methodologically, qualitative research methodology is used. Accordingly, both primary and secondary sources of data are employed. Secondary data is derived from books, journals, media reports, various research works, and policy documents. Primary source of data collection is also employed through in-depth interviews with key informants from various institutions. The finding of the study shows both security challenges and opportunities. In terms of security opportunities, maintenance of regional stability, keeping of the safety of trade routes, possibility of regional economic boost potential of regional integration, militarily cooperation and protection of the region from terrorism are scrutinized. On the other hand, the potential of destabilization, undermining of sovereignty, the potential of blockade of global trade corridor and challenge of access to sea port, the possibility of military confrontation, the potential of expansion of fundamentalism and the siege of mentality are among the security risks. Thus, to minimize the security risks and maximize opportunities first, Ethiopia should stabilize the domestic problems to fully focus on the external issues. Second, Ethiopia must strengthen its relationship with all of its neighbors and should think critically about its interactions with all the foreign forces that have military bases in the Horn region with good diplomatic efforts. Third, Ethiopia should develop new strategies to cope up with the increasing geopolitical significance of the Red Sea and the challenges that it is facing with respect to using its natural resources (e.g. GERD). In this case Ethiopia should pursue proactive policy is needed.



Foreign Military Bases In The Horn Of Africa And Their Implications To Ethiopia’s National Security