African Conflicts and American Diplomacy: Roles and ChoicesConference Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and theAmerican Academy of Diplomacy29 October 2009Washington, D.C.Remarks on the Horn of Africa by David H. ShinnAdjunct Professor, Elliott School of International AffairsGeorge Washington UniversityI will begin with a provocative statement. Since the end of World War II, the fivecountries of the Horn of Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti) haveconstituted the most conflicted corner of the world—not necessarily in terms of the mostdeaths and destruction but in terms of the number of conflicts and their complexity.There are some other good candidates for this unfortunate distinction. Theyinclude Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in an earlier era; the nexus of Lebanon, Israel,Syria, Palestine and Jordan; more recently the combination of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistanand Iran; the Great Lakes region of Africa; and even possibly the former Yugoslavia. Butover the past sixty plus years, I would argue that the Horn of Africa holds the record forthe sheer number of separate conflicts. There is not time during this panel to discuss allof the conflicts that have occurred in the Horn since the end of World War II. I will onlyaddress those that exist today or those that occurred in the past couple of years and havethe potential to return.Sudan is warily implementing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement thatended the war between northern and southern Sudan that resumed in 1983. There areserious concerns whether a resumption of conflict can be avoided. The crisis in Darfur,which began in 2003, remains unresolved although the level of violence is mercifullyreduced. The eastern Sudan is free of conflict at the moment but there is little confidencethat there has been a permanent solution to the discord there. The Lord’s ResistanceArmy has recently resumed attacks in southern Sudan and ethnic conflict in the south hasprobably resulted this year in more violent deaths than have occurred in Darfur. Even thedisputed Halaib Triangle on Sudan’s border with Egypt remains unresolved and thesource of potential conflict. Finally, there is sporadic conflict along the Sudan-Chadborder driven in part by the situation in Darfur and in part by long-standing support fromSudan and Chad for rebel groups across the border. I have four countries to go.Somalia holds the distinction as the world’s most failed state. The weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia is militarily opposed by al-Shabaab,an extremist organization allied with al-Qaeda. Al-Shabaab, in turn, has a loose alliancewith another extremist organization known as Hizbul Islam, which claims not to have tieswith al-Qaeda. Significant numbers of Ethiopian troops entered Somalia late in 2006 insupport of the TFG. Although Ethiopian forces left in early 2009, they continue toconduct periodic cross-border operations. Eritrea supports al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islamas a way to create problems for Ethiopia. As if this is not enough, Somali pirates havebeen tying up about twenty-five international naval vessels in the Gulf of Aden andwestern Indian Ocean as a result of attacks that expanded exponentially starting in 2007on commercial shipping and unsuspecting yacht owners.