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FOREIGN RELATIONS IN THE HORN OF AFRICA: ETHIOPIA AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE CONTEXT OF YEMENI CIVIL WAR [Abstract ID: 0901-01]
The lifting of multilateral sanctions on Iran in 2016 was a major world event that had far-reaching implications in the Middle East and beyond. A few years earlier, the process of normalization of Iran’s international status had already raised a concern in Saudi Arabia. While reinforcing its external alliances, Saudi Arabia had formed a military coalition centered on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 2015. It intervened in the Yemeni civil war on the side of the ousted government, seeking to defeat the Shiite Houthi forces in control of large part of the country. The building of a military alliance against the Houthi had unprecedented consequences in the Horn of Africa. It resulted in new alliances and consolidation of old alignments. The proposed paper draws on research on continuity and change of political alliances in the Horn of Africa in the context of the Yemeni civil war. It argues that the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to forge alliances in the sub-region had far-reaching repercussions on political alignments. The analysis seeks to show that in response to the decision by some countries in the Horn to cooperate with the GCC states intervening in Yemen, Ethiopia and some of its partner countries have sought to further strengthen their existing external alliances.