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The Horn of Africa is undergoing far-reaching changes in its external security environment. A wide variety of international security actors—from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, the Gulf, and Asia—are currently operating in the region. As a result, the Horn has experienced a proliferation of foreign military bases and a build-up of naval forces. The foreign military presence in the Horn increasingly operates as part of much wider military networks—across the Middle East and the Gulf, and the Indian and Pacific oceans.
The external militarisation of the Horn is promoting a shift in regional security. In particular, the increased importance of maritime security issues has blurred the conventional division between the Horn, the Middle East and the Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. Over the next decade, the Horn’s international security linkages are likely to strengthen further. The emergence of crowded international security politics in the Horn raises the prospect of proxy struggles, growing geopolitical tensions and a further extension of externally driven security agendas in the region.
SIPRI’s work on the Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean Security will analyse peace and conflict challenges in the region. Specifically, the work will focus on the interface between the fast-developing regional agendas of external emerging and traditional international security actors, and the evolving conflict dynamics within the region.