US Foreign Policy and the Horn of Africa (Us Foreign Policy and Conflict in the Islamic World)
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Political Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for a New Research and Diplomatic Agenda
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Art in Embassies. Share Share this page on:. Assistance to Sudan In the face of widespread humanitarian needs caused by conflict, displacement, and natural disasters, the United States has been a major donor of humanitarian aid to the people of Sudan throughout the last quarter century. Significantly, after , The Arab states as options became available to Washington, in an area where heretofore only Ethiopia and Israel were American allies.
Indeed, domestic pressures, followed by the Iranian revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the partial failure to adopt a concrete foreign policy stemming from structural bureaucratic conflicts, shifted Carter toward policies reminiscent of the Cold War. Nixon Administration Policy toward Ethiopia Since the early s, the Nixon administration was in a difficult position both in its domestic and foreign affairs.
The American economy was in decline and inflation had cut deeply into the living standards of the American middle class. Thus, the Nixon administration reformulated U. The Nixon doctrine was designed to project a low profile overseas and to limit U.
Nevertheless, the main ally of the United States in the Horn of Africa region, Ethiopia and its Emperor Haile Selassie, did not thoroughly understand American global intentions. Since , when the two countries signed a year defense agreement, Ethiopia had been considered the key country in the region.
Furthermore, within terms of this agreement, Ethiopia, in return for the training and economic aid that the United States provided to the Ethiopian army, allowed the United States to use a military communications base in Asmara. The Department of State used the base for the U. Despite the fact that the official U. Moreover, Ethiopia had failed to undertake some basic reforms suggested by the U. In addition, the famine crisis of —, resulting in the starvation of some , people and the Eritrean army struggle, had begun to cut into the Ethiopian economy.
In fact, there were evident signs of a looming social explosion in Ethiopia and the United States gradually began to distance itself from the Emperor. Despite these factors, Emperor Selassie believed that his personal relations with President Nixon could satisfy his arms request made in Washington in May during his last visit.
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United States policy towards Ethiopia was not marked by a vast shift. Apart from external factors, Henry Kissinger, supported by the African Bureau within the State Department, did not wish to risk American credibility. However, American analysts misidentified the internal dynamics within the Dergue and in the summer of , Major Sisay of the moderate faction was arrested and executed. The new dominant faction, lead by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, favored a pro-Soviet policy, repression of any civilian opposition, and escalation of the war in Eritrea to ensure Ethiopian territorial integrity.
This was illustrated by the fact that William Shaufele Jr. Since the oil crisis and the Arab—Israeli conflict of , the United States developed a strong relationship with moderate Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, notably benefiting from the high oil prices of , sought to establish itself as a regional power.
Despite the regime change in Ethiopia, Israel continued to provide military assistance. Specifically within the complex regional framework, the United States tried to establish a policy of continuing arms supplies to Ethiopia, but in a manner that would not deteriorate its relationships with the moderate Arabs. We should note though that, from until , Henry Kissinger held both the posts of National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.
Nevertheless, the disputes within the Department of State appeared to be among the regional bureaus and specifically between the African Bureau and the Bureau for Near East and South East Asia. Indeed, historically, each Bureau within the Department of State tends to shape its own distinctive foreign policy, tries to gain priority for its own geographic area, and resists any kind of limit on its essential functions.
In this instance, U. Their main arguments were that if Arab states wanted to attack Israeli ships, they could do so anyway since they controlled the whole Red Sea and Egypt had successfully blockaded the Bab al-Mandeb during the war. It was obvious that the American administration was involved in a highly perplexing and complex situation, and, in combination with domestic political constraints, made any maneuvering extremely serious.
Therefore, U. As mentioned before, the Israelis claimed that Arab states threatened their security in the Red Sea and supported Ethiopia while the Arab states, which now developed stronger ties with the United States, viewed Israeli foreign policy as hostile and aggressive. Specifically, regarding its policy towards Africa, the Carter administration sought to deemphasize the East—West confrontation in order that developing countries should be removed from this context. By the beginning of the Carter Administration, the faction of the Dergue, led by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, had won the internal struggle within the Dergue following a bloody shootout in February This new dominant faction supported the view that to ensure Ethiopian integrity and their own political survival, the Dergue should find an ideologically compatible arms patron, and this was the Soviet Union.
Personally, Mengistu thought that the human rights rhetoric of the United States, combined with the perception that the American administration would eventually undermine the Dergue regime in Addis Ababa, contributed to his establishment of a military relationship with the U. At this time, the pursuit of the human rights agenda to terminate military aid to Ethiopia seemed to Addis Ababa, as only a pretext rather than the true basis for U. During the spring of , the Carter administration discussed the possibility of forging closer ties with Somalia.
The main Saudi goals at this time were to stabilize Nimeiri in Sudan and to eliminate pro-Russian influence in the Red Sea, fearing a Soviet expansion. In fact, the U. Finally, members of the National Security Council, including Paul Henze believed that, in the long term, the United States should not break away from Ethiopia. Yet in the Red Sea—one of the most volatile and lethal regions of the world afflicted by several interconnected conflicts and rivalries that pose significant challenges to American interests—U. Susan Stigant and Payton Knopf discuss what led Ethiopia and Eritrea to sign their recent peace deal, how it can improve the economic and humanitarian conditions in both countries, and the broader strategic and regional implications for the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.
Items where Author is "Woodward, Professor Peter" - CentAUR
We provide analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace around the world. An understanding of the multifaceted nature of political Islam on the African subcontinent is a precondition for the formulation of an effective U. Such a formulation would place political Islam in a historical and contemporary context. In East Africa, discrimination against Muslims—which began in colonial mission schools and continued in education and employment following independence—played an important role in the development of political Islam.
The impact of Saudi-sponsored Wahabism on the radicalization of Muslims in the Horn of Africa has been mixed. Its potential impact is most acute in Ethiopia, while the radicalization of Islam in Sudan has followed its own independent path. Islamic fundamentalism in Nigeria acquired a more pronounced political edge as the national fortunes of the governing Muslim national elite declined dramatically with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo, a born-again Christian, to the presidency in This brand of political Islam was manifested in the adoption of Islamic law in one-third of Nigeria's states and sporadic communal violence between Muslims and Christians.
Senegal stands as an illustration of the reality that political Islam can be a constructive and regime-stabilizing force. Senegal has found a balance between a modernizing, secular state and the Muslim tradition.