Geopolitical Terrain and Provoking Concerns in Egypt and Eritrea


Geopolitical Terrain and Provoking Concerns in Egypt and Eritrea.


Written by  Gulaid Yusuf Idaan Senior Lecturer and Researcher.


Somaliland’s Ascendancy: Shaping the Horn of Africa’s Geopolitical Terrain and Provoking Concerns in Egypt and Eritrea”

The Horn of Africa is a region characterized by its intricate geopolitical dynamics, where the interests of various regional and international actors intersect. Among these actors, Egypt and Eritrea stand out as significant players, each with its own strategic objectives and concerns in the region. However, recent developments, particularly the burgeoning relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia, are reshaping the geopolitical landscape, prompting a reevaluation of traditional alliances and strategies.

Egypt’s strategic interests in the Horn of Africa are closely tied to its water security concerns, particularly regarding the Nile River. As the most populous country in the Nile Basin, Egypt relies heavily on the river for its freshwater needs, making the preservation of its water rights a top priority. Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile poses a direct challenge to Egypt’s water security, as it could potentially disrupt downstream water flows. Consequently, Egypt closely monitors developments in the region, including any alliances or actions taken by neighboring countries like Eritrea that could affect the GERD project.
Eritrea, despite its small size, occupies a strategically important position along the Red Sea coast, granting it access to vital maritime trade routes. This geographic advantage endows Eritrea with significant influence over regional shipping lanes and underscores its relevance in the broader Red Sea security landscape. Additionally, Eritrea’s historical involvement in conflicts with neighboring countries, such as Ethiopia and Djibouti, has shaped its security posture and highlighted its role as a key player in regional dynamics.
The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Somaliland and Ethiopia has drawn attention from both Egypt and Eritrea, raising concerns about its potential implications for regional stability and sovereignty. The MoU outlines areas of cooperation between Somaliland and Ethiopia, which could be interpreted as a challenge to Somalia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, exacerbating tensions in the region. Egypt and Eritrea have emphasized the importance of respecting Somalia’s sovereignty and expressed support for measures aimed at preserving its unity and territorial integrity.

Related: Forging Futures: Ethiopia and Somaliland Seal Historic Partnership with Memorandum of Understanding”

Moreover, both Egypt and Eritrea have demonstrated a willingness to respond to perceived threats or challenges to their interests in the region with hostilities, whether through diplomatic tensions, military posturing, or support for proxy forces in neighboring countries. This strategic alignment underscores their shared interests in maintaining stability and influence in the Horn of Africa, albeit for their own strategic and national security reasons.
Somaliland’s Awakening: A Strategic Shift in the Horn of Africa
Somaliland’s recent steps towards asserting its independence and forging closer ties with Ethiopia mark a significant turning point in the geopolitical landscape of the Horn of Africa. No longer content to play a supporting role in Egypt’s strategic maneuvers against Ethiopia, Somaliland has demonstrated a newfound awareness of its own interests and agency in shaping its destiny.

This awakening signifies a departure from the passive acceptance of external influence and reflects a growing recognition of the multifaceted significance of its relationship with Ethiopia—politically, diplomatically, and economically. While historical alliances and power struggles have shaped the region’s narrative, Somaliland’s assertiveness highlights the evolving nature of geopolitical dynamics, where nations increasingly assert their independence and pursue alliances based on their own interests.
As Somaliland navigates this new era of geopolitical awakening, its actions will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the future trajectory of the Horn of Africa, leaving a lasting imprint on the geopolitical landscape.
Ethiopia: A Closer Ally for Somaliland
In the evolving geopolitical landscape of the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has emerged as Somaliland’s primary ally, fostering robust political and diplomatic ties that overshadow the interests of the Egyptian government. This transformative shift represents a departure from the past, where Somaliland was often seen as a pawn in Egypt’s regional power struggles.
The strengthening alliance between Somaliland and Ethiopia is underpinned by a shared vision for regional stability and prosperity. Ethiopia, as a landlocked nation, recognizes the strategic importance of Somaliland as a gateway to the sea, facilitating its access to crucial maritime trade routes and enhancing its economic viability. In turn, Somaliland benefits from Ethiopia’s growing economic clout and strategic significance, forging a partnership that bolsters its own geopolitical standing.
Moreover, the alliance between Somaliland and Ethiopia is founded on a shared commitment to addressing common challenges and seizing opportunities for mutual benefit. Both nations recognize the importance of cooperation in tackling transnational threats such as terrorism, piracy, and organized crime, which pose significant risks to regional security and stability.

Furthermore, the historical ties and cultural affinities between Somaliland and Ethiopia provide a solid foundation for their burgeoning alliance. The two nations share a long history of interaction and trade, as well as cultural and linguistic similarities that facilitate closer collaboration. This shared heritage strengthens the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Somaliland and Ethiopia, fostering a relationship built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.
As Somaliland increasingly aligns itself with Ethiopia, it signals a strategic realignment in the Horn of Africa, with far-reaching implications for regional dynamics. By prioritizing its partnership with Ethiopia over traditional alliances, Somaliland demonstrates its commitment to pursuing relationships that serve its own interests and contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region as a whole.

The Wake-Up Call for Egypt: Adapting to Shifting Geopolitical Realities
Despite the evident geopolitical shifts, Egypt appears to be slow in acknowledging the evolving dynamics in the Horn of Africa. The assumption that Somaliland can still be manipulated as a political instrument against Ethiopia is becoming increasingly outdated. Somaliland’s awakening serves as a resounding signal that its priorities now align more closely with Ethiopia, emphasizing a more dependable partnership closer to home.
In the face of this wake-up call, Egypt finds itself at a crossroads, requiring a fundamental reassessment of its approach to regional diplomacy. The changing landscape demands a nuanced understanding of the aspirations and alliances of nations within the Horn of Africa. As Somaliland asserts its agency and solidifies its ties with Ethiopia, Egypt must recognize that traditional strategies rooted in historical dynamics may no longer yield the same results.

Related: Fostering Reciprocal Diplomacy: An In-depth Analysis of the Somaliland-Ethiopia Memorandum of Understanding

A diplomatic recalibration is imperative for Egypt to effectively navigate the shifting geopolitical currents in the region. This entails acknowledging the evolving priorities and interests of Somaliland, Ethiopia, and other key actors, and adjusting diplomatic strategies accordingly. Rather than attempting to assert dominance or manipulate regional dynamics, Egypt would benefit from engaging in constructive dialogue and fostering relationships based on mutual respect and cooperation.

Furthermore, Egypt’s recalibration of its approach to the Horn of Africa must extend beyond short-term political calculations to encompass broader strategic objectives. By recognizing the interconnectedness of regional dynamics and prioritizing stability and development, Egypt can play a constructive role in shaping a more prosperous and secure Horn of Africa.
Ultimately, the wake-up call for Egypt serves as a reminder of the need for adaptability and foresight in navigating complex geopolitical landscapes. By embracing a more flexible and inclusive approach to regional diplomacy, Egypt can position itself as a constructive partner in the Horn of Africa, contributing to the advancement of shared interests and the promotion of peace and stability in the region.
Looking Ahead: Embracing Change in the Horn of Africa
As the geopolitical landscape undergoes profound transformations, nations must adapt their diplomatic strategies to align with current realities. Somaliland’s recalibration of alliances underscores the significance of recognizing the agency of nations in shaping their destinies. The era where Somaliland served as a mere pawn in geopolitical chess games, particularly for Egypt, appears to be drawing to a close, heralding a new chapter of diplomatic independence and strategic partnerships in the Horn of Africa.
In response to these shifting dynamics, Egypt must heed the wake-up call presented by Somaliland’s assertiveness and reassess its approach to regional diplomacy. It is evident that Somaliland will no longer be swayed by tales of political intrigue or manipulated for external interests—it has chosen to chart its own course, based on its own priorities and aspirations.
Looking ahead, the future of geopolitical relationships in the Horn of Africa hinges on a delicate balance of mutual respect, cooperation, and a nuanced understanding of each nation’s aspirations. As regional dynamics continue to evolve, diplomatic finesse will be paramount in ensuring stability and prosperity for all stakeholders involved.

The evolving story of Somaliland’s relations with Egypt and Ethiopia serves as a microcosm of the broader tapestry of international relations in the Horn of Africa. It reflects a paradigm shift where nations are increasingly asserting their agency and shaping their destinies on their own terms. By embracing this new reality and fostering genuine partnerships based on mutual benefit and respect, the nations of the Horn of Africa can navigate the complexities of the modern geopolitical landscape and build a more prosperous and secure future for their people.
Author Name: Gulaid Yusuf Idaan
Tell: 00252634420801
Senior Lecturer and Researcher
Master’s Degrees in:
International Law and Diplomacy
International Relations
Project Management and Planning.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Araweelo News Network