Ethiopia, a regional major power in the Horn of African, has been given the reins to pioneer strategic regional changes, which are promising key amendments in the rules of regional alliances. The new political rearrangements have also negatively impacted the Qatari-Turkish intervention in the region, forcing the two allies to retreat in embarrassment.
On the other hand, Iran, which allied itself with Turkey in the Syrian war, is closely watching the political changes underway in this part of Africa, especially after Eretria and Sudan have repudiated Teheran’s policies towards regional countries. The Iranian media claimed that Eretria-Ethiopia peace was the fulfillment of a strategy jointly suggested by Washington and Abu-Dhabi to control the Red Sea.
Ethiopia was qualified to make use of its weighty role after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who belongs to Oromo minority, came to power in April this year. Backed by three major Arab states, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE, Ethiopia collaborated with its neighbour Eritrea to bury their border hostilities and turn a new chapter in their relationship. Cairo, Riyadh and Abu-Dhabi are deeply concerned with the security and stability in this strategic part of Africa.
In his inauguration speech in March 2018, Abiy Ahmed declared that Addis Ababa was keen to resolve its problems with Asmara. During a meeting held in July this year between Abiy Ahmed and Eretria’s President Asias Afwerki, the two leaders confirmed their commitment to the agreement signed before in Algeria agreement. Afwerki and Abiy declared jointly the withdrawal of their troops from the border area. About 80, 000 people were killed in the Ethiopian-Eretrian civil war, which erupted in 2008 on the city of Ras Doumeira at the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab of the Red Sea.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has brokered reconciliation between the two neighbours Djibouti and Eretria, ending this month a decade-long disputes. Riyadh’s successful role in this regard was tweeted by Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Yussuf. The two neighbours also agreed to normalize their ties during a conference held by the foreign ministers of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eretria and Ethiopia.
During their conference in Riyadh, the former adversaries in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, Eretria and Djibouti; decided to bury their border differences. Riyadh first decided to help maintain stability in this region in 2007 by inviting Somalia warring factions, including late President Abdullah Yussuf and Islamic Courts Union, to sit together at the negotiating table laid in the Saudi city of Jeddah. According to Mogadishu Centre for Studies, the warring parties agreed to a ceasefire during Jeddah conference.
In the meantime, Riyadh’s weighty intervention minimized Qatar’s intervention Djibouti. Djibouti raised eyebrows in Cairo, Riyadh and Abu-Dhabi after its attitude towards the Gulf crisis swung from the side of Arab Quartet to Doha’s side. Djibouti initially appreciated the reasons behind the Arab Quartet’s boycotting to Qatar. Retaliating, Doha decided to withdraw its troops from Ras Doumeira at the Red Sea, which had been at the centre of violent dispute between Djibouti and Eretria.
However, Doha managed to lure Djibouti back in early 2018. As a result, Djibouti ended a contract with Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, to run its Doraleh Container Terminal.