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The Horn of Africa, Kidane Mengisteab

Reviewed by Edmond J. Keller



The Greater Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan-Khartoum, and South Sudan) has been the site of intense domestic and regional conflict over the past 50 years or so. Most recently, what were domestic upheavals have spilled over borders and become regionalized. This, in turn, has led to a major regional security dilemma for Africa, which, up until recently, was thought of as having avoided such challenges.

What are the root causes of current sociopolitical conflicts in the Greater Horn of Africa, and how are such conflicts to be ameliorated? These are the questions that Kidane Mengisteab attempts to address in The Horn of Africa. The author suggests that there is no one theory or analytical framework that would be most appropriate for his analysis. He instead proceeds to organize his discussion in terms of the factors that seem to be most common across the region. Most pronounced are the underlying factors of the “weight of history,” the nation-building strategies of past regimes, the structure of postcolonial politics, bad governance, identity politics, and environmental degradation. Each of these structural factors can be found in all of the countries of the Horn region; however, in order to understand the factors that provide the dynamics of po

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