Robert Mason
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The Horn of Africa
Security on the western flank
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Recent conflicts such as the Eritrean–Ethiopian War of 1998–2000, with a final peace agreed only in 2018 with significant Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) economic and diplomatic support, and the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen from 2015, have catalysed Saudi and UAE engagement. The chapter also describes how the Arab uprisings as well as the Qatar Crisis involving Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt on the one hand, and Qatar and Turkey on the other, have further incentivised Gulf Cooperation Council state competition in the Horn of Africa, especially in states undergoing transition such as Sudan and Somalia. The chapter finds that Tehran does not generally have the economic resources to compete. However, the death knell for its influence in the Horn has been a combination of pragmatic local political elites seeking to balance their interests, a lack of local Shia affiliation, and Saudi Arabia’s golden opportunity to extend its alliances in the Horn in 2016, buttressed by upfront economic and energy payments.

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Foreign policy and strategic alliances in an uncertain world


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