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[PANEL] 0901 EXTERNAL ACTORS AND FORCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON POLITICS IN ETHIOPIA
Aleksi YLÖNEN, University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal
Jan ZÁHOŘÍK, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic
Volkan IPEK; Eyüp ERSOY; MUZEYEN Hawas Sebsebe; Viktor MARSAI; Aleksi YLÖNEN; Lena PARTZSCH;
Laura KEMPER; PAN Liang; GASHAW Ayferam; Jan ZÁHOŘÍK
Since 1991, Ethiopia has experienced remarkable record level economic growth often credited to its position as a sub-regional hegemon in the Horn of Africa (HoA). While a number of countries in the wider HoA have experienced periods of severe political turbulence (e.g. Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan), Ethiopia has remained relatively stable. Only recently, anti-governmental protests prompted the administration to declare a state of emergency that was proclaimed in October 2016. However, politics in Ethiopia have continued to be affected to a degree by the regional and international events and processes such as its confrontation with Eritrea, tight alliance with Djibouti, the protracted statelessness in Somalia, delicate relations with Sudan, and the intractable crisis in South Sudan, as well as by the deepening influence of the newcomers including China, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc., multilateral organizations, non-state actors, and resource politics. Inspired by our collective volume The Horn of Africa since the 1960s: Local and International Politics Intertwined (Routledge, 2017), we convoke this panel in order to explore the relationship between international and local politics in Ethiopia. The panel organizers invite research contributions on how eternal actors and forces impact on political dynamics in Ethiopia. We are particularly interested in papers that analyze how politics in Ethiopia are shaped by (1) real or alleged eternal threats (e.g. terrorism, wars, cross-border conflicts, etc.), (2) eternal economic interests (e.g. Chinese, Indian, and Turkish investment), and (3) strategic issues (e.g. partnership with international organizations, European Union, natural, mineral, and water resources, etc.). Based on selected contributions to the panel, we seek to put together a collective volume.
AN ANALYSIS OF TURKEY’S ‘OPENING’ TO AFRICA AND TURKEY’S RELATIONS WITH ETHIOPIA (2002-2017) [Abstract ID: 0901-03]
The process of the emergence of new centers of prosperity and power in international relations is frequently associated with their increasing activism in different regions of the world. Turkey, in particular, has carried out three ‘openings’ in its foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, first to the Central Asia, and more recently to the Middle East, and to Africa. This study presents an empirical analysis of Turkey’s ‘Africa Opening’ drawing on a case study of Turkey’s relations with 15 East African countries on the basis of selected political, economic, military, and social parameters. This study in particular contextualizes Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia in the general framework of Turkey’s ‘opening’ to East Africa. This study seeks to answer three questions: First, what is an ‘opening’ in foreign policy? Specifically, how do foreign policymakers conceive the requirements of an ‘opening’ in foreign policy, and implement it in practice? Second, to what extent an ‘opening’ is reciprocated by the other side, and why? And third, what are the material and ideational factors that impinge on the realization of intended outcomes in an ‘opening’ policy? This study presents a detailed case study of Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia to seek analytical answers to these questions. In consequence, this study contends that Turkey’s foreign policy ‘opening’ to Africa is inchoate and partial, is reciprocated only to a certain extent, and has endured material and ideational setbacks in its formulation and implementation frustrating its efficacy and sustainability. Furthermore, it argues that these setbacks have adversely influenced the progress of Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia.
DIVERSIFICATION OF ETHIOPIA’S FOREIGN POLICY PARTNERS: POST-COLD WAR ETHIO-TURKISH RELATIONS AS A CASE ANALYSIS [Abstract ID: 0901-06]
The early 1990’s have shown radical revisions on the nature and structure of Ethiopia's foreign policy. Following the coming to power of the EPRDF in 1991, the government has striven to maintain a policy option for Ethiopia that is not entirely overthrown by the then dominant dogma of neoliberalism. As it is illustrated in the Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy document, promulgated in 2002, Ethiopia has to keep a constructive foreign policy engagement both with its traditional Western as well as emerging development partners such as Turkey. Past Ethiopian governments who were highly dependent on specific foreign policy partners lose their socio-political and economic policy preferences. During the feudal regime of Haile Sellasie, for instance, Western governments used their economic and political assistance to impose their interests. This imposition constrained Ethiopia’s capacity to look for alternative foreign policy partners and pursue its national interests. The same happened during the military regime of the Cold War era. Ethiopia’s full dependence on the Socialist bloc countries seriously undermines the former’s capacity to pluralize its external relation partners and safeguard the national interest. Various factors can be regarded as determinants of the post-Cold War Ethiopia’s foreign policy partner’s diversification. The nature of the foreign policy goal, which claims maintenance of sustainable development, peace and democracy as its foundation, is regarded as one of the responsible factors. Hence, those states as well as non-state partners, which assist the effort to reduce poverty, advance democratic governance and the rule of law, are prioritized as strategic foreign policy partners. Post-Cold War Ethiopia’s Foreign policy partners’ diversification, as some analysts argue, serves as a means to address the gaps associated with the past Western and/or Eastern-centric approach. And it provides for Ethiopia a relative freedom to choose its policy option. Keeping a balanced relationship with the traditional Western powers and emerging actors such as Turkey is a prerequisite for countries like Ethiopia to promote an independent foreign policy decision making. Such type of policy-making paves the way for setting and prioritizing foreign policy agendas according to the real demand of the society. Taking the post-Cold War Ethio-Turkish relations as a case analysis, this study aims to assess Ethiopia’s foreign policy partners’ diversification scheme and its implication in promoting the country’s national interest.
ETHIOP-SOMALI RELATIONS IN THE AL-SHABAAB ERA – FROM HOT WAR TO COLD PEACE? [Abstract ID: 0901-02]
In connection with its Eastern neighbour the Ethiopian perception was mainly determined by the historical experiences of Ahmad Ibrahim al-Ghazi and the Ogedan war. Therefore, Addis Abeba was only in words enthusiastic to support any strong central government in Mogadishu, which was well demonstrated by its attack against Islamic Courts Union in the early 2000s. Since its military intervention in 2006 Ethiopia has – again – emerged as one of the most influential actors in Somalia not only in the battlefield but also in the inner political processes. While at the beginning the EPRDF was sceptical about the rise of the new moderate Islamist politicians in its neighbour, by 2011 it recognized that a more pragmatic approach is needed to reduce the power of the main rival of Somali politicians in Mogadishu – namely al-Shabaab. Furthermore, Addis also had to face the fact that without a more supportive Ethiopian attitude towards the Somali state building its main geopolitical – and ideological – rivals, the Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey will gain a more wider influence in the Horn. Furthermore, EPRDF had to find solution for the challenge of al-Shabaab not only in Somalia, but also at home, in Somali Region, which caused dramatic shift in the policy of Addis towards the territory. In my presentations I will examine the changing strategies and tactics of EPRDF towards Somalia and the Somali politics concentrating mainly on the 2000s. I will show the use of clans and other proxies as ASWJ in the border region to provide stable background for the Ethiopian operations in AMISOM and which makes the Ethiopian perhaps the most successful troop-contributing country (TCC). In the meantime, I will also demonstrate how it changed the perception and approach of EPRDF towards Somali Region inside Ethiopia. I will also examine the Ethiopian interference in Somali inner politics during the electoral processes in 2011-12 and 2016-17.
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.
NOTHING TO HIDE? ETHIOPIAN RESPONSES TO THE NEW EXTERNAL DEMAND FOR SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION [Abstract ID: 0901-05]
The demand for certified products, such as foodstuff and clothing, is increasing in Europe and North America. International businesses disclose information and certifiers guarantee compliance with specific standards, such as minimum wages and prohibition of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. The Ethiopian government supports such initiatives to fulfil the demands of the global market. In an effort to increase foreign exchange earnings, to stabilize the country’s currency, the government aims to intensify the production of goods, such as cotton, for export. While the broader public generally welcomes sustainability certification, studies are relatively limited when it comes to assessing the external power of these initiatives in countries such as Ethiopia. Global trade relations are usually analysed like a zero-sum game, which produces winners and losers. In this vein, standards have been seen as new “trade weapons” that western firms and consumer states use to maintain their dominance in global trade. Allen (1998) added to such concepts of power over (coercion or manipulation) with concepts of power to (empowerment and resistance) and power with (cooperation and learning). Using two international cotton/textile standards – the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) – as illustrative examples, we look at how certification initiatives exercise power, and how external certifiers are intertwined with local projects on the ground. Does sustainability certification stand for an innovative form of more ethical cooperation or does it perpetuate strategic partnerships that take advantage of people and resources in global trade?
REASONS BEHIND THE DERG REGIME’S FOREIGN POLICY CHANGE TOWARD CHINA BY THE END OF 1970S: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS [Abstract ID: 0901-09]
After the establishment of diplomatic relations on 24 November 1970, Ethio-China relations undergone a period of repaid deepening for nearly 4 years. A number of long last bilateral cooperation traditions between China and Ethiopia were initiated during this period. The 1974 military coup brought an end to the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie and opened a new era full of uncertainties for both Ethiopia and her relations with China. The friendly foreign policy adopted by the newly established Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia toward China allowed the relations between the two countries to develop with considerable momentum in the early years of the Derg. Old bilateral projects were quickly resumed and new ones initiated. However, this did not last long. Soon after the rise of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1977, the Derg regime gradually changed its foreign policy toward China with increasing hostility. Bilateral relations deteriorated as a result. This paper intends to dig into the reasons behind this policy change which hopefully would contribute to the reconstruction of the history of Ethio-China relations.
THE ADVENT OF COMPETING FOREIGN POWERS IN THE GEOSTRATEGIC HORN OF AFRICA: ANALYSIS OF OPPORTUNITY AND SECURITY RISK FOR ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0901-04]
This paper examines the opportunity and security implication of the advent of competing foreign powers in the geostrategic Horn of Africa for Ethiopia. Accordingly, the paper argues that since the advent of competing foreign powers in Horn of Africa is both an opportunity and security risk for Ethiopia, there is a need for a rational and assertive foreign policy aimed at utilizing the opportunity, minimizing the risk and countering neo-colonialism and ‘Clientelism’. Methodologically, the study employed qualitative research methodology. Accordingly, the study used secondary source of data; collected from books, published journal articles, published and unpublished theses and dissertation, governmental and non-governmental organization reports and remarks, magazines and other internet sources. To substantiate the data, the paper also used primary data collected through key informant interviews. Given the data gathered are qualitative; the study employed qualitative data analysis techniques. The finding of the study shows that Horn of Africa has become ‘an athletic field’ of foreign powers. It can be argued that the region has become ‘a military garrison’: U.S, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China and Saudi Arabia have already established their military base at Djibouti. Thus, the militarization of the Horn is both an opportunity as well as a risk for Ethiopia, a nucleus and landlocked country of the sub-region. It is an opportunity in areas of military, regional stability, accelerating factor of regional integration and economic worth. However, these opportunities are largely determined by the Ethiopia’s diplomatic utmost effort and policy reorientation. Despite these opportunities, the rise of foreign powers in the Horn of Africa has a security risk: national security, economic, political and military. Therefore, Ethiopia needs a rational and assertive foreign policy to utilize the opportunities and at times to minimize the security risk. First, in domestic policy setting constitutionalism is highly needed which is imperative. Second, regionally, Ethiopia must stabilize and normalize its relation with Eritrea. Moreover, Ethiopia must strength its relation with all of its neighbours. Third, Ethiopia must maintain a good relation with foreign powers that already established a military base in Djibouti. In this regard, over-reliance on some foreign powers and neglecting others, becoming an instrument of foreign powers must be avoided. Rather Ethiopia must use a rational policy and at times must follow the foreign policy of Emperor Menelik ‘playing one foreign power over the other’. Moreover, emphasis also should be given to the importance of collective security. Finally, Ethiopia and the region must work towards countering neo-colonialism and patron-client relations. Falling to adopt countering strategy may be quoted as ‘neo-colonialism and Clientelism’ by invitation’.
"THE OTHER" IN ETHIOPIA'S POLITICS [Abstract ID: 0901-07]
In history, it has become a normal feature of politics that states use the image of the Other" for political purposes, for instance to come up with certain claims that can have impact to both inside and outside the country. Ethiopia is no different. Throughout the last century, we can see the changing range of "the Others" and since 1991, it is mainly Eritrea, Somalia, and the Western world that play the role of "the Others". This paper will analyze the process and context of creation of "the Others" and the impact on Ethiopia's politics both inside and outside the country.