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: 392

Full Length Research Paper

Ethiopia’s armed entry into Somalia in 2006: Projection of its foreign policy or aspiration for hegemony?

Yohannes Gebeyehu Alebachew
  • Yohannes Gebeyehu Alebachew
  • School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Ethiopian Civil Service University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 25 October 2016
  •  Accepted: 15 November 2016
  •  Published: 30 April 2017


Ethiopia’s armed entry into Somalia in 2006 has been subjected to heated academic and policy debate. Some take it as part of the effort of Ethiopia’s aspiration to hegemony in the Horn of Africa region, while others link it to the old-fashioned thinking of Christian Ethiopia’s animosity to Islamic Somalia. The Ethiopian government defended it in terms of protecting its national interest. Ethiopia also justifies its intervention in Somalia as something that it did as per the will and the invitation of the Transitional Federal Government. This paper juxtaposed Ethiopia’s entry into Somalia in 2006 against theories of hegemony, and Ethiopia’s foreign policy. This piece used the foreign policy analysis of neoclassical realism and realist explanation of hegemony to see the situation all together and analyzed the data collected through document and text analysis and empirical literature review. This piece prefers to use realism because the paper is about what is called ‘intervention’ which includes, needless to say, conflict and elements of power which are currency to realist thought and narrative. Ethiopia in the process of protecting its national interest may have been involved into activities that deemed hegemonic. But given the policy direction and principles that concentrate on activities at home, it is difficult and beyond imagination to conclude that Ethiopia entered into Somalia aspiring for hegemony. It definitely went there only following line of its national interest as articulated in the policy document. So, Ethiopia ‘s entry into somalia in 2006, according to this paper’s reach, was projection of its foreign policy and indeed projection of its national security and survival.

Key words: Hegemony, Ethiopia's Foreign policy, armed intervetion.