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Title: Strategies for managing regional conflicts : Ethiopia's foreign policy in 1991-2018
Author: Gebreluel, Goitom
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 4368
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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Regional rivalries have been a major source of insecurity in the Horn of Africa, and have contributed to inter-state wars, civil wars and state partitions. This thesis examines Ethiopia's rivalry management strategies under the EPRDF government. It does so by focusing on the initiation, escalation and de-escalation of Ethiopia's rivalries with Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia in the period 1991-2018. I argue that Ethiopia's approach to rivalry management has been shaped by its foreign policy orientations. Three distinct orientations are identified, which lead to different strategies and outcomes. The first and oldest foreign policy orientation is Ethiopia Irredenta, which is rooted in Ethiopia's pre-modern Imperial past. It has two core foreign policy objectives: territorial irredentism and status seeking, and has an approach to rivalry management that centres on military force and the pursuit of a victor's peace. The second orientation is the Revolutionary orientation, which guided the EPRDF's foreign relations in 1991-1998. It was based on the premise that the belligerence of past Ethiopian governments had been the main cause behind regional conflicts, and concluded that with the 1991 revolution in Ethiopia peaceful regional relations would follow suit. This orientation did not anticipate conflict and therefore led to policies such as a significant demobilization of Ethiopia's armed forces. It also did not problematize cooperation and hence did not formulate a strategy for cooperation. The Developmental State orientation guided Ethiopia's foreign policy in 2002-2018, and was premised on the idea that Ethiopia was an economically and politically fragile state that needed to prioritize speedy economic development. From this premise an approach to rivalry management that centres on strategic restraint and the active pursuit of economic development was derived. This meant that Ethiopia had to avoid conventional military confrontation due to its high economic costs, and instead rely on diplomatic strategies such as co-optation, linkage-diplomacy and coercive isolation to manage rivals. Under the Revolutionary orientation, rivalries between Ethiopia and Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia were initiated. This trend was reversed under the Developmental State orientation, which culminated in Ethiopia deepening its alignment with Sudan, establishing security inter- dependence with a number of Somali actors and finally terminating its rivalry with Eritrea in 2018.
Supervisor: Curtis, Devon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Ethiopia ; Security ; Foreign Policy