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Ethiopia’s worsening crisis threatens regional, Mideast security

With the Horn of Africa increasingly becoming an integral part of the Middle East’s security landscape, the fallout from Ethiopia's current crisis will have a significant impact on states of the region.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C-L) meets with members of Sudan's ruling military council after his arrival at Khartoum international airport on June 7, 2019. - Ethiopia's prime minister arrived in Khartoum on June 7, seeking to broker talks between the ruling generals and protesters, as heavily armed paramilitaries remained deployed in some squares of the Sudanese capital after a deadly crackdown, leaving residents in 'terror'. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ASHRAF S

The Gulf Arabs recognize a strategic reality that has eluded the stove-piped US foreign and security policy bureaucracy for too long: The Horn of Africa is an integral part of the Middle East’s security landscape, and increasingly so. No country demonstrates this more clearly than Ethiopia. That country’s escalating internal crises pose an increasingly grave threat not only to the country’s citizens but to international peace and security and to the interests of the United States and its partners in the Middle East, principally Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As a recent bipartisan study group convened by the US Institute of Peace (USIP) concluded, developments in the Horn of Africa are not only shaped by the states of the Middle East “but also have a direct impact on [these states’] political, economic, and security environments.” Ethiopia’s internal and external borders are being changed violently, and the centrifugal forces of nationalism that now dominate Ethiopian politics are indicative of the weakness of the central state, not the strength of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed or the federal government. These intrastate fissures are undermining the country’s territorial integrity and morphing into interstate conflicts involving, to date, Eritrea and Sudan.

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