Horn Hero
Podcast / Africa 8 minutes

The Horn (Season 5)

The Horn of Africa is in turmoil. From the war in Sudan to Ethiopia’s rocky path out of conflict, from Somalia’s fight to defeat Al-Shabaab to the troubles of East African democracies, the pace of change in the region is difficult to keep up with. The Horn, a podcast series from the International Crisis Group, helps make sense of it all. Host Alan Boswell and guests dive deep behind the headlines as they analyse events, debate diplomacy and discuss possible avenues to peace. Produced by Maeve Frances. Episodes from past series of The Horn can be found here: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3 and Season 4.

Episode 9: Somalia, Somaliland and the Explosive Port Deal 

In this episode of The Horn, Alan is joined by Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Eastern Africa, to discuss the fallout of the Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding for Somalia and the region. They talk about Hargeisa’s motivations for the port deal with Addis Ababa and Mogadishu’s response. They look at what deteriorating relations between Ethiopia and Somalia could mean for the offensive against Al Shabaab as well as regional stability generally. They examine the flurry of diplomacy by Somalia aimed at rallying opposition to the deal. They also discuss whether Ethiopia could make a pitch for greater sea access that would benefit both Somalia and Somaliland. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Horn of Africa regional page.

Episode 8: Ethiopia’s Push for Sea Access

 In this episode of The Horn, Alan is joined by Christopher Clapham, Ethiopia expert and professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge. They unpack the context of Ethiopia’s major new quest for sea access, the regional tensions created by this public demand, and the tidal waves from the recent Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland that is fiercely opposed by Somalia and others. They also discuss the dire internal situation inside Ethiopia and whether the proliferating crises inside the country could continue to escalate. They also discuss the historic and current involvement of external actors in the region, including Gulf states.

 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our briefing Ethiopia’s Ominous New War in Amhara and our Ethiopia country page.

Special Episode: Sudan at War

In this Special Episode of The Horn, we are bringing you a panel discussion on Sudan moderated by Crisis Group’s President and CEO, Comfort Ero, at the 2023 Doha Forum. Comfort is joined by U.S. Special Envoy for The Horn of Africa Mike Hammer, UN Special Envoy for The Horn of Africa Hanna Tetteh, founding director of the Sudan-focused think tank Confluence Advisory, Kholood Khair and Crisis Group’s Africa director Murithi Mutiga. They assess the latest diplomatic push to try and get a ceasefire in Sudan, ways to better coordinate mediation efforts and the difficult task of bringing the warring parties in Sudan to the negotiating table. They discuss the investments needed to better protect civilians in Sudan and the state of civilian efforts to unify against the war. They also highlight how a prolonged war in Sudan risks further destabilising an already fragile region.

The link to the full video recording of the panel can be found here.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Horn of Africa page, our Sudan page.

Episode 7: No More Rules? Discussing the Crisis in Regional Diplomacy

In this episode of The Horn, Alan hosts a roundtable discussion with Alexander Rondos, a former diplomat and a senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Kholood Khair, founding director of Confluence Advisory, a Sudan-focused think tank, and Abdul Mohammed, who has served in senior positions for the United Nations and the African Union, to discuss the state of diplomacy in the Horn of Africa. They talk about the war in Sudan and the risk of conflicts and crises proliferating in the Horn, absent coherent diplomatic initiatives. They discuss the rising competition among regional and international powers to head diplomacy in Sudan and elsewhere, as well as the diminished role of the U.S. They also look at how the increasing strategic importance of the Red Sea is fuelling tensions between regional powers.

This episode of The Horn is produced in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Horn of Africa page and our Sudan page.

Episode 6: Can COP28 Deliver for Africa?

In this episode of The Horn, Alan hosts a roundtable discussion with Saliem Fakir, executive director of the African Climate Foundation, Robert Muthami, a member of Kenya’s delegation to previous COPs, and Nazanine Moshiri, Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Climate, Environment and Conflict in Africa to talk about Africa’s role at this year’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai. They discuss Africa’s negotiating position and priorities at this year’s climate summit, including climate financing. They look at the importance for African negotiators to speak with one voice. They explain why this year’s focus on peace and conflict is new for COP and important for African countries. 

This episode of The Horn is produced in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our COP28: A Special Series page and our Climate, Environment and Conflict page.

Episode 5: End of One War, Start of Another in Ethiopia

In this episode of The Horn, Alan is joined by Michael Woldemariam, associate professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy, to discuss the landscape in Ethiopia one year after the peace deal in Tigray. They explore how relations between Addis Ababa and Tigrayan leaders have evolved since the signing of a peace deal in Pretoria last year and the many challenges Tigray still faces today. They discuss how Abiy's wartime alliance with Eritrea and the Amhara elite broke down, leading to a new war in the Amhara region and rising tensions with Ethiopia. They also look at whether Addis Ababa’s recent bid for access to the Red Sea could raise the risks of a regional escalation.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our briefing Ethiopia's Ominous New War in Amhara and our Ethiopia country page.

Episode 4: Somalia’s Stalling Fight Against Al-Shabaab and America's Wobbly Strategy

In this episode of The Horn, Alan talks to Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Eastern Africa, and Sarah Harrison, Crisis Group’s Senior U.S. Analyst, about Somalia’s offensive against Al-Shabaab and the U.S. strategy toward the country. Alan and Omar update listeners on the stalling offensive, supported by clan militias and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). They also discuss the postponed withdrawal of ATMIS soldiers and whether the Somali government will be able to take over from the African Union forces by the end of 2024. Alan and Sarah evaluate successive U.S. administrations' approaches to Somalia as part of the Global War on Terrorism. They discuss how the Biden administration decided to send U.S. troops back to Somalia despite Biden's pledge to end the country's forever wars and whether U.S. strategy remains fit for purpose. Omar also discusses how Somalis view U.S. support.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our report Out of the Box: How to Rebalance U.S. Somalia Policy, our briefing Sustaining Gains in Somalia’s Offensive against Al-Shabaab and our Somalia country page.

Episode 3: After Six Months of War, Sudan is Disintegrating

In this episode of The Horn, Alan talks to Dr Suliman Baldo, Executive Director of the Sudan Transparency and Policy Tracker, about the dire state of Sudan six months into the war between Sudan’s armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and whether Sudan has already collapsed. They assess the current military dynamics across the country and the internal dynamics within both the RSF and the Sudanese armed forces, as well as why there has been no serious progress towards a ceasefire. They talk about how both parties’ mobilisation of different ethnic groups amplifies further social tensions among the population. They also discuss the involvement of outside actors in the conflict and why existing peace efforts have failed to make any meaningful progress.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Sudan country page.

Episode 2: Coups, Conflicts, and a New Era in Africa

In this episode of The Horn, Alan hosts a roundtable discussion with Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso, founder of Amani Africa, Paul-Simon Handy of the Institute for Security Studies, and Crisis Group expert Liesl Louw-Vaudran to discuss the state of peace and security in Africa. They assess the African Union’s response to the recent string of coups in West Africa and whether it still has the ability to deter military takeovers. They also talk about how the conflict in Sudan has tested the AU’s peace and security architecture and how competition between the AU and different regional bodies has hampered mediation efforts. Finally, they discuss what shape peacekeeping in Africa might take in the future and whether regional initiatives can fill the vacuum left by the departure of UN missions.

This episode of The Horn is produced in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Q&A What Future for UN Peacekeeping in Africa after Mali Shutters Its Mission?, our previous podcast episodes with Liesl and Solomon and our Africa program page.

Episode 1: Discussing Sudan and Regional Diplomacy with the EU's Annette Weber

In this first episode of The Horn’s new season, Alan Boswell talks with Annette Weber, EU special representative for the Horn of Africa, to discuss diplomacy and peacemaking in the region. They talk at length about the conflict in Sudan, the trajectory of regional and international mediation efforts, the prospects for serious ceasefire negotiations and the best ways of including civilians in a peace process. They assess whether anything can be done to improve the situation in Darfur even as national ceasefire talks falter. They also take a look at other developments in the Horn, from the unrest in Ethiopia to the region's approach to Eritrea, as well as the renewed negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the future of efforts to counter Al-Shabaab. They also discuss the growing role of Arab Gulf powers in the Horn and the changing nature of diplomacy in the region. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Horn of Africa regional page.

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