Colin Thomas-Jensen writes with Judd Devermont in Center for Strategic & International Studies commentary: “Five Ways to Set Up a Special Envoy for Success in the Horn of Africa”
“When in doubt, dispatch an envoy. That’s become an old diplomatic standby, and it is currently under consideration for the Horn of Africa, where a civil war rages in Ethiopia and has ensnared neighboring Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan. The conflict, which broke out in November 2020, has left millions in dire need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance. The UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide recently warned that ‘the risk of atrocity crimes in Ethiopia remains high and likely to get worse.’ If the crisis continues to fester, it will have grave consequences for U.S. interests in a region situated on the crossroads between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
“There is certainly merit to urgently deploying a point person to stitch together a coordinated response in the face of a complicated, multi-faceted, and urgent crisis. The challenge, however, is getting it right, and too often the U.S. government doesn’t. With war clouds darkening in the Horn of Africa, it is imperative to tightly scope the mission of a prospective regional envoy, ensure the support of the president or secretary of state, and arm the envoy with enough resources to do the job…”
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