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tv   Middle East Institute on the Horn of Africa Region Part 2  CSPAN  May 24, 2019 6:45am-8:02am EDT

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for this discussion. [applause] please join me to think the panel for an excellent conversation we will take 20 minutes to regroup for the second panel. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] . >> now we are here for the second panel the first is an excellent overview of the human rights challenges facing the horn of africa. for the next session we will
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take a more global perspective of the region. the horn of africa has emerged as a new locus of competition egypt and turkey and other actors. this panel will discuss what this competition might mean for regional stability. moore have exacerbated those tensions between saudi arabia and iran that rivalry has spilled over into the horn of africa the uae is aggressively expanding its reach in the red sea using the long-standing relationship with djibouti as a steppingstone now those are challenged with encroachment from china. turkey's foreign policy has adopted a more comprehensive program with packages of diplomacy especially in somalia which is an arena of rivalry between turkey and qatar on the one hand and
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saudi arabia on the other. with the transition in sudan and their approach meant and increased investment from the e.u. china and india what can we expect from the historically insular region opening to trade and diplomacy? i will moderate this esteemed panel. [inaudible] on golf and energy policy specializing in nuclear weapons counterterrorism particularly yemen and saudi arabia spending several years in the middle east working as a political analyst to
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spearhead those training programs were also delighted to have with us on this panel a resident scholar at the endowment of previous research to cover egyptian and saudi foreign policies and social participation have policy and constitution making she was based in egypt 2016 through 2017 with peacekeeping and peace building with that training center to be affiliated with that egyptian minister of foreign affairs. also joining us today freshly returned from a writing
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sabbatical the founding director of the center for turkish studies also an adjunct professor at george washington university for middle east studies. after three years of research she wrote her dissertation on radicalization and the islamist movement in western europe and finally joining us is michael who is teaching his research interest focusing on africa particularly the dynamics of the behavior of the rebel organizations and self-determination movements his expertise is on the horn of africa region where he has traveled extensively his first book was released by cambridge
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university press and with those introduction let's dig into some of the issues firstly will turn and ask how you would describe that countries in the horn of africa can you expand on their role as the destabilizing or stabilizing effects they may have on the region quicksand in particular i know you have been to the region so what are your thoughts about the migration issue or wire out there? . >> so to start with the gulf
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issue, the way the uae typically is thinking about the red sea and the area is that we all have seen is a clear example of the relationships that are much more central to those discussions i know a lot of people thinking about these issues and i went to ethiopia in december almost entirely african officials so i kind of got their side of the story and i tried to piece that together.
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so for the uae specifically often times there is a misnomer to see that presence around the red sea and it is immediately seen as threatening or as a plan in the background. but i do think there is a plan i'm not so sure it should be perceived they are not trying to be perceived as threatening but they have some reasons why they are putting that attention on the red sea area and that falls into one of three ^-caret one - - categories one is military one is security and one is economics. the first point it is withdrawing from the region and psychologically that they
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don't know where that and so when i arrived in a new e-in 2011 is already a topic of conversation among the emma righty officials that the us seem to be withdrawing this was under obama now we are under a totally different president and that still exist. so they are thinking it is our responsibility to protect our own they've always been interested in protecting the eastern flank we know the strait of hormuz but what about the western side or even the suez? who is protecting those? that yemen war has complicated this because previously they did damages saudi tanker at one point and the saudi's temporarily halted their supply so even before the pipeline attacked a week ago
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there was already a concern in the red sea those pipelines were going to the red sea not to the strait of hormuz so there was a concern that did not exist before coupled with us possibly pulling out making the saudi's and emma righty is looking at protecting their own western flank so there is that military aspect in that relationship that dissolved over the issue on the tarmac and then they move that base so there is a military base in the horn of africa there is
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differing reports that they would continue to exist after the yemen war so if you look at the red sea actually had access to a series of military bases or ports. it is a lot. so you say what's going on here but really just the military discussion to pay attention to the security threat and then the economic peace. look at the map of china one road does not go to dubai. f what might be the future of trade that i am her bodies realize to be very good at logistics because of the
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crisis this is something they know that we are good at and then to open up a number of ports in the red sea as well and those objectives to be a part of the future of trade. and then a piece of that recently ethiopia may have more access to world markets if the uae gets in on that, that is a huge market. so it already comes out that they have additional acces access, then that's a real opportunity as well. so things are coming together to paint the picture of the uae in the red sea right now.
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but it's not as simple to look at a map to see what's going on that's pretty clear. . >> so let's pick up on the several points i ran was making and if you could talk specifically about the saudi perspective and the egyptian perception on some of these issues and how those two countries in particular look at the red sea and horn of africa within the context of the global and region and domestic policie policies. >> you're probably talking about the traditional the horn of africa countries and these
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are two countries that it has been a long time with that independence movement and then the first to extend that reaction to the threat and those qualities in the horn of africa were those of elsewhere so talk about saudi arabia and the intervention began it really was an intervention like we would see right now but maybe god in to see this with the creation of israel and the horn of africa or the rest of africa to be honest in those reactions from arab countries and saudi arabia. but then with the arab cold
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war's and the horn of africa to become where saudi arabia and egypt try to influence those countries. so they transferred their competition to africa and that region. but it was never a relationship partnership and with the horn of africa with the countries that have a lot of money and have the tools to intervene this is why a lot of the political influence has been in competition with other countries and then to have
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that strategic presence but if you think of saudi arabia for example, that makes that political initiative and this is the curse on the side of saudi arabia but on the other side it's the geography of the horn and where a lot of the threats the transnational's come from and what is a lie flying for the egyptian economy and every time to make a hegemonic position but in that geography in that situation and more than the
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geographical positions that the countries use that to claim those authorities and this is why we see this as a tale of two cities. but i would caution to say in the previous panel i heard what happens on one side shows the other but i really don't see it this way because those two geographical units they are all over the red sea but that is nationalized so they had very limited space for what they could do together because there was always so
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many interest at stake. i think right now in terms of a domestic policy of saudi arabia and egypt it is more highly important with hundreds of billions of dollars and that is the legitimacy of the new conference so that is highly sensitive to saudi arabia to have this a new initiative of the red sea and the horn of africa but to be in competition with that egyptian vision and has not gone very smoothly and also what has emerged in 2016 with afghanistan or saudi arabia
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and and also to have restitution to saudi arabia or that orientation with israel that is very important around the red sea and the horn of africa. but not when we are discussing these issues right now. >> that is very interesting. let's talk about one of the other major players and that is turkey. certainly to a certain extent to exercise diplomacy in term of investments of somalia but also bringing something else to the table as well in terms of engagement so can you talk
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about that quick. >> but still it is a very important region for turkey but what you see is the ruling party from 2005 and primarily delivered by contribution and with that effort to diversify
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with that educational and iconic networks and that is the influence of the region. and such as the humanitarian aid and in africa so they began to be very active in the region and the horn of africa and neighboring countries to be a part of that strategy. so primarily off the horn of africa but now these actions are larger competition from
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the golf crisis. so that was a critical moment and for the neighboring countries and turkey sees this role particularly to counterbalance those you a policies. so including using religion as a soft power. and that issue was during the
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famine. and that was part of the initiative so look at what is going on in somalia for instance and also training somalia soldiers. and the role in that country has grown in the last few years and with a special envoy
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and then in that military region. so to play a much larger role and in 2017 and that included for the golf countries. for turkey to with those ports but also what turkey is trying to do is not only boost the economy but at the same time
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been using their religious guesswork but now they are a terrorist organization and on that religious network so that is significant and with that investment that the commercial investment because they think that they use that leverage
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and djibouti making modern investments of what turkey is doing at the horn of africa but those fears are overblown and what they can do in the region.
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>> so looking at the region if i could ask you to turn that around from the inside out with the perspective at the horn of africa with these foreign interests and the interventions and how do the states of the horn of africa the their ability to exercise their own agency and self-determination to increase international competition? . >> and those made by my fellow
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panelist. and with that perspective at the horn of africa that present pattern to spill over really isn't that new. so the arab-israeli conflict spilled over and that rivalry between conservative and more radicals you can still shape outcomes in that particular region but from the perspective of the horn countries that what is significant the first is in some way it is a big difference but egypt used to be a major player.
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that has changed in many ways. turkey, qatar, uae but they also have a historic pattern of influence so the actors have changed and that is because the interest are different because that interest has been guided by their concerns that the actors in the horn today including turkey as well but also the tactics they use to compete are different like that checkbook diplomacy with that intensity has been ratcheted up. that's the first observation. the second with respect of what has been mentioned is the acquisition of military bases
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and then the the right to strategic commercial areas. so in the past in fact, i would say that is the norm but this suggest from that perspective of the region something a little more long-term and enduring. and the third point i would make and again this has been alluded to but some of this engagement is a great power competition but not in the way in prior eras like the mark of the cold war. so that is significant in part because the politics of managing escalation managing crisis is very different is not like walking into moscow
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or beijing or whatever it is and the fourth thing and this gets to the heart of your question is the response from foreign countries with this revolving dynamic so here there is a response i'm not sure we could say that those that were opportunistically aligned with one side or the other so we do see now in the horn of africa the new multilateralism that was mentioned before but also the african union among the foreign countries spillover of the rivalries to the horn of africa. there are multilateral's and disputes over who the relevant partners should be but in my view this is important that
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they actually talk about coming together. so from the moment the crisis started that widespread angst and capital throughout the region with the impact sometimes the view has been that countries in the region were very opportunistic but i think that underscores them being absorbed into the middle east. so those are my viewpoints. so how this plays out on the ground? looking at patterns of conflict and cooperation and
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shaped by those dynamics it is complicated. that early on in 2015 on word you could say the spillover was pretty stabilizing with foreign international relations. this is where you have long-running security rivalry with nationstates over regime is endemic so you overlay that with the engagement of actors in the middle east whose capacities and capabilities are transformative and it fomented between the regions so there were moments when we said the region really could explode and spillover. but things have changed
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obviously the horn of africa changed dramatically but this has reduced the temperature on competition so that is the real big question in the horn of africa isn't international relations of the horn but the transition in the region states like ethiopia and sudan and others because these are difficult transitioning and here is the nightmare scenario because on one concern is the number of strongmen in the region with engagement has a natural tendency for more transparency and governance
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but then the other concern to make that democratization process to be around and unravel with that fragmentation associated with multiple external actors. so those are some of the concerns are at the forefront right now. >> thank you so much. so let me throw out a few questions for the four of you and see what your thoughts are. first, we talk about china and clearly it doesn't go to dubai. but growing economic commercial interest in the region certainly of saudi arabia and uae to be a part of
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that china is now the uae largest trade partner. there have been discussions between china and the saudi's and how they can work together. there is obviously interest of the chinese to establish themselves in djibouti and elsewhere along the coast. so what is the impact of the chinese role and how does that help shape the response of the various actors if it has created between tension between the uae and the commercial ports quick so how are those various players trying to accommodate and deal with and confront an
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increasingly important chinese role in the red state i can start with a couple of comments. when i was an ethiopia in december, i heard two things over and over. one we have all size egos on our doorstep now. that was a great painting of the picture of how how they are in the thinking and the other comment made over and over this is the new scramble for africa because that has a series of connotations but they were using it because of those connotations. with the idea it is exciting
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and also disconcerting at the same time. so china in particular that i was told to your point about the goal because they did do you actually get a relationship or are we trading money but with china had the bilateral trades and $15 billion and they are watching very closely what china did with sri lanka and other cases so the idea they are being blackmailed is a concern. but then thinking the us will come in anyway but they don't like that regulatory environment for ghosts they will go into ethiopia before verizon. a us diplomat told me the us
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likes to complain or not compete that we aren't really competitive or we could have diplomacy or block the chinese and that was the tone of the conversation although the other side of the coin is we can have choices but to your list of things you hit all of the major ones. with us and other international investments but there is a lot of chinese investment now which is quite interesting. and then the last pieces at
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the saudi's have agreed to offer chinese as a language in their school. this is a long-term plan. and this is that next year ody will speak chinese but in 15 years, some will. and some princes who already do. i should say some royals. so china is a player. >> i just have a comment on something that was said. on the chinese initiative and of course, somebody mentioned ethiopia and actually an official told me there has been some countries in europe
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that maybe it isn't that big of an importance to us because ethiopian countries and that they are looking for a more liberal model. european and us countries are not willing or ready but it's okay to start and try. so the monitor and the interaction with those that were traditionally and historically present. and also it's true even though
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they created that is different from those countries that they are offering offering structure and investment they do not develop but it is with the infrastructure but in the case of a lot of these countries it doesn't necessarily have the same impact on infrastructure. now i just have another comment about an actor. and that also in the horn to pick up the presence and then go back to the israeli conflict and then the competition and then the
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creation but also 1979 and then with the brothers of sudan and israel. >> i wanted to follow up on that. unless there's anything he wants to add. >> yes brca1 china it's important to think the way they transition also with their strategic because it's a big actor. the china solution is interesting because under the previous administration that counterterrorism partner of the united states but certainly that administration ideologically felt that china was in spire by the chinese communist party but china has changed things a bit and the
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west and that is their view and from what even though it is hardwired but what we have done prior to that transition into negotiations with the ethiopian government and they are really quite firm but then they come to power. some of that debt is renegotiated and to the ethiopian government with that strategic calculus and dealing with the transition and around the horn of africa and how it fields that. >> it was extremely
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interesting because the iranians were competing in the horn and had a close relationship with sudan and were able to use their access to sudan as a shipping point among other things the saud the pulled the sudanese away from iran but now with the upheaval this was very heavily contingent and now with the upheaval in sudan there is some signs perhaps the iranians see this as an opportunity to get back to sudan. so that is something that is driving concerns in the gulf
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and how those in the horn of africa see the iranian wall. >> and to have a long presence especially if with competition and the technical support now we see this. but when i was learning about this i was able to have relations with them. lots of the saudi's say that you fear with the retreat of egypt i will not talk about it.
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and 2011 and 2013 but they were the face of the intervention because of the african continent and then since 2011 and then came the muslim brotherhood that continues to have relations with iran and with those domestic problems to happen regionally and in the horn of africa and then in yemen for example, was very clearly defined.
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and this is why the uae with specificity especially that in 2011 had the demise of another african power especially in the fight against iran to have very complex relations that you have something to gain and believe it or not of cores to use this but now when they are calling and then the retreat of the egyptian countries, i
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would also like to point out look at the policy today where saudi arabia is trying to formalize the implementation of foreign policy goals they could not implement on their own those coalition that if they say we are not alone we have other countries with that coalition in yemen and with other african troops or missionaries or look at the strategic alliance and then that rescue initiative in that commitment to regional security. and then to come back to
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that. i see this is more difficult than from where we are today because only saudi arabia but it is also egypt and then talk about the horn and protection of influence then that is different that is it merely national security or with this establishment that those solutions at the horn were those that were conducting those and then in that category of national security and that the egyptians would easily do any intervention that could harm anyway the interest of the variety and
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the genuine interest ability and one final point. when we mentioned even though we have close relations with egypt so turkey of course, and the egyptians always with the israeli corporation they are also reporting egypt and saudi arabia and then they were just visiting. so every single person who really wanted to put pressure on egypt had to use ethiopia and denial. >> very quickly on the question of iranian come back
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from the horn of africa is likely anytime soon one of the most successful acts of policy of 2015 is the diminished influence in the region. obviously they have been less in turkey but part of that reason is iran didn't have much strategic influence in the region so after the saudi's at that point those countries deferred relations with iran. and those countries in the region recognize iran as a red line that they should not cross and that is the consensus. >> so following up on that with the saudi and emma roddy
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, so to mention the turks somehow were led to mediate with somalia and be heard on the first panel that are the more optimistic spots and to the extent there is interest working together to resolve their differences they have the emma roddy developing but the turks remain very significant in terms of responsibilities in somalia. but to what extent do you see the competitions as impediments further
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normalization of the situation in somalia clicks. >> i think turkey is very much of what is happening and then they invested heavily in looking at the engagement but of what they are doing and this is on the one hand but so
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it is turkey's bigger vision. and i think it is a concern. >> and turkey plays a constructive role.
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