African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 390

Full Length Research Paper

Domestic sources of international action: Ethiopia and the global war on terrorism

Yonas Ketsela Mulat
  • Yonas Ketsela Mulat
  • Department of Politics and International Relations, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 23 May 2016
  •  Accepted: 25 August 2016
  •  Published: 30 November 2016


Using the concept of ‘strategies of extraversion’ as an analytical framework, this paper argues that governments in the developing world exploit Western concerns about security, especially US anti-terrorism policies, as a domestic policy instrument. The paper focuses on Ethiopia’s 2006 military intervention in Somalia to argue that Ethiopia’s active role in the fight against terrorism is centered on the regime’s domestic concerns. By successfully positioning itself as a key Western ally in the turbulent Horn of Africa, the Ethiopian Government has redefined external perception especially in the wake of the highly contested election of May 2005. The regime has managed to delegitimize internal opposition under the pretense of fighting terrorism; at the same time it became impervious to criticism from Western countries of its human rights records and democratic credentials. On the basis of the case study, the paper contributes to the analysis of Western/US relations with developing governments in the context of GWOT, and more broadly to the debate on the trade-off between security and the promotion of democracy in the third world.

Key words: Ethiopia, horn of Africa, war on terror, 'extraversion', foreign aid.


AAPO, All Amhara People’s Organization; AMISOM, African Union Mission in Somalia; AU, African Union; AU-PSC, African Union Peace and Secuirty Council; CJTF-HoA, Combined Joint Task Forces – Horn of Africa; EPLF, Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation  Front;    EPRDF,    Ethiopian    Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front; EIJ, Eritrean Islamic Jihad; EEBC, Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission; FDRE, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; GWOT, Global War on Terror; ICU, Islamic Courts Union (of Somalia); IGAD, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development; IFIs, International Financial Institutions; OAU, Organization of African Unity; OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; OLF, Oromo Liberation Front; ONLF, Ogaden National Liberation Front; PBS, Protection of Basic Services; SNF, Somali National Front; SSDF, Somali Salvation Democratic Front; TFG, Transitional Federal Government (of Somalia); TNG, Transitional National Government (of Somalia); TPLF, Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front; TSZ, Temporary Security Zone; UNMEE, United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia; WSLF,  Western Somalia Liberation Front;