Between May 2019 and September 2020, the United States Institute of Peace convened a bipartisan senior study group to consider the factors that have reshaped the Red Sea arena. The study group determined that, in recent years, the geopolitical and geo-economic dynamics of the Horn of Africa have become tied to the Middle East and broader Indian Ocean in a manner unprecedented in the last century. However, U.S. strategy in this evolving environment has struggled to keep pace with these interconnected, complex, and transregional dynamics and to account for the region’s increased relevance to U.S. interests. The final report of the senior study group defines U.S. interests within a hierarchy of priorities to assist policymakers in calibrating diplomatic, development, humanitarian, and security interventions and provides recommendations for defending and advancing these interests.
The study group has benefited enormously from the wisdom and advice of numerous diplomats, officials, academics, and analysts throughout the Red Sea region, in Europe, and in the United States, and, in particular, the insights and contributions of the EU Special Representative for the
Horn of Africa Ambassador Alexander Rondos. The group also wishes to thank Lauren Ploch Blanchard, a specialist in African Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, for her support in compiling US foreign assistance data. This senior study group is part of a multitrack initiative at the Institute to examine the evolving geopolitics and changing conflict dynamics in the Red Sea arena. That initiative would not have been possible without the inspiration of Ambassador Princeton Lyman. Ambassador Lyman’s decades-long stewardship of US-Africa relations and tireless efforts to promote international peace and security around the globe exemplified the very best of US diplomacy and embodied the core values and mission of the Institute
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The members of the study have participated in their personal capacities; the views expressed are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of their institutions or employers.