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For the Middle Eastern states, the Horn is a second or even third order priority, well below their concerns with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In fact, their interest in Africa is an offshoot of these higher concerns. They do not treat African states as equals, not least because African leaders tend to ask for money when they visit. The African Union has come to recognise that it needs an external policy for the “shared space” of the Red Sea. But it approaches the Middle East from a position of relative weakness. The most dramatic illustration of such an imbalance was Libya in 2011 when the Arab states and NATO brushed aside an African Union initiative for a negotiated solution to the war.

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