The Red Med at War: Ethiopia, Egypt, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland and the US vs. Russia/China Battle for the Suez-Red Seal Lines of Communication. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Oct 22, 2016, 04:14 AM

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The Red Med at War: Ethiopia, Egypt, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland and the US vs. Russia/China Battle for the Suez-Red Seal Lines of Communication. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Analysis. By Gregory Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs. The current political implosion in Ethiopia — growing, violent confrontations between protest groups and the Government — is coming to a head at a time when several other major and related factors in the region are also in a state of crisis: the war in Yemen, the polarizing conditions within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Egyptian con-cerns over the stability of Nile water flows and the stability of the Suez-Red Sea sea line of communica-tion (SLOC) during a global economic downturn. These external factors have triggered attempts by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in particular, to contain and constrain Ethiopia, and overall developments have also drawn in the United States in a military capacity in the Red Sea. At the same time, the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Turkey are attempting to make strategic gains in the Red Sea/Horn of Africa region. Neighboring Eritrea and Somalia, too, sense the growing power vacuum in Ethiopia, and are playing different rôles in addressing or attempting to capi-talize on it. The Ethiopian Government, for its own part, has been hinting that it would respond to the ma-jor channel of support for dissidents, Eritrea, by undertaking a decisive military engagement with Eritrea before the end of 2016, assuming the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) are not preoccupied in supporting internal security operations. And yet the Ethiopian Government, which has never recovered a coherently-focused Federal Govern-ment since the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2012, seems to have little comprehension of the interrelationship of its own situation with the regional trends. As a result, while it has been aware that the Egyptian Government, for example, has resumed funding and arming of rebel groups (particularly the Oromo Liberation Front) via Eritrea and Somalia (and attempted to do so via Somaliland), the Ethiopian Government has been unsure how to react to the foreign pressures and has focused mainly on handling domestic unrest which, in part, has been fed by the foreign issues….”

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