On May 15, Somali legislators selected former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to reprise the chief executive role he played from 2012-2017. The vote marks a critical transition for Somalia and in the Horn of Africa, particularly after the election was delayed by two years and marred by corruption and violence. President Hassan Sheikh will return to power in a country seemingly splitting at the seams, amid a devastating drought, a metastasizing terrorist threat and a fractious political scene. Meanwhile, President Biden has decided to redeploy U.S. troops to fight the terrorist group al-Shabab, reversing a move made by President Trump at the end of his term.
David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, examines how great and regional power competition is impacting political and security dynamics in the Horn of Africa and complicating U.S. interests in the region.
The Trump administration has appointed four special envoys to coordinate U.S. policy toward key hot spots: Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Afghanistan. Yet in the Red Sea—one of the most volatile and lethal regions of the world afflicted by several interconnected conflicts and rivalries that pose significant challenges to American interests—U.S. policy has been rudderless in large part due to the absence of a similar post.