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HomeGeopolitical CompassNile Valley & N.AfricaFluctuating Saudi and Emirati Alignment Behaviors in the Horn of Africa

Fluctuating Saudi and Emirati Alignment Behaviors in the Horn of Africa

Authors: Federico Donelli, Giuseppe Dentice

Affiliation: University of Geneva, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan

Organization/Publisher: The International Spectator

Date/Place: February 03, 2020, U.K.

Type of Literature: Journal Article

Number of Pages: 18


Keywords: Balance of Threat theory, Alignment, Horn of Africa, Middle East, Arab Gulf states


This paper discusses the emerging contours in Horn of Africa (HoA) and the increasing influence of Saudi Arab and United Arab Emirates after the disengagement of the US from the region. The case study uses the Balance of Threat (BoT) theory to analyse the Sudanese crisis where President Omar al-Bashir has been overthrown and the Yemini crisis since 2011. According to this study, the status of Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been transformed from being a “security buyer” to “security supplier” to states in HoA. The Obama administration announced the policy of disengagement from the Middle Eastern region after 2011, thereafter the Emirates and Saudi Arabia initiated their coercive maneuvering to engage countries situated in HoA. According to the authors, the increasing pressure from Arab Gulf States may further destabilize the volatile region of HoA, particularly efforts of normalization between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2018. The mutual struggle by Gulf States to fill the vacuum left by the US will create a regional imbalance in the Middle East, and HoA may become another theater of Gulf proxy war. The paper concludes that the fall of Al-Bashir’s regime in Sudan and uprisings in streets of Khartoum reflect the aggressive sentiments of the masses against influential Gulf States violating their political, economic and strategic sovereignty. 

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate



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