Abdinor Dahir
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Strategic geography in jeopardy
Qatar–Gulf crisis and the Horn of Africa
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In June 2017 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt broke diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade. Following the crisis, a fierce competition to win allies has ensued among many parties across the world, including in the Horn of Africa. While Djibouti and Eritrea supported the blockading countries, Sudan and Somalia adopted a neutral position, with Ethiopia and Kenya expressing concern. This chapter examines how the Qatar–Gulf crisis has put the Horn, especially Somalia, in a precarious situation. First, it provides a brief overview of Qatar’s diplomatic activism in the Horn, with particular reference to Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, and Djibouti. Second, it provides insights into the competition for influence in Somalia during the Qatar–Gulf spat. In this part, the chapter also outlines Somalia’s neutral stance and its repercussions. Third, it explores the implications of the Gulf spat on overall regional security and stability. It concludes with how the stand-off could scale back the strategic interests of the Arab Gulf states in the Horn, such as the security of the Bab el-Mandeb, anti-piracy, and counterterrorism operations, the counter-Iran/Houthi efforts, as well as food security. The study aims to contribute fresh ideas to the current discussions on foreign engagements in the Horn in general and Gulf states in particular.

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The Gulf States and the Horn of Africa

Interests, influences and instability

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