Sisi Goes to Addis Ababa

Egypt and Ethiopia have otherwise been locked in a low-intensity contest over which nation would dominate the region, undermining each other’s interests in Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan. A quiet but long-sustained rivalry, it is one of those rarely noticed but important fault lines in international relations that allow other conflicts to rumble on.

This week, however, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt is expected to fly to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to attend a summit of the African Union. He will also meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, a rare chance to shift the political landscape in northeastern Africa.

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Part Two: Mediation in the Political Marketplace

In these circumstances, the Darfur Peace Agreement became several overlapping bargains in an integrated political marketplace. It was a bargain between the GoS and the Sudan Liberation Army faction of Minni Minawi (the sole rebel signatory), whereby they jointly sought to impose their authority on those who didn’t sign, by force of arms. It was a series of local bargains with individual rebels. It was a deal between the GoS and the U.S., in which neither trusted the other, and which didn’t last long.

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Part One: Mediation in the Political Marketplace

I argue that our mediation paradigms are still framed by the “old” war ideal type, in that mediators seek to achieve compromise between two adversaries with political objectives, each of which has decided it cannot fully defeat the other. In both “joint enterprise” wars and “political marketplace” conflicts, a third party mediation process is liable to become subsumed within that system of governance itself.

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The contest over peace and security in Africa

The dominant interventionist approach to peace and security in Africa by-passes the hard work of creating domestic political consensus and instead imposes models of government favoured by western powers. The emergent African methodology offers a chance to develop locally-rooted solutions too often sidelined.

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