Power projection of Middle East states in the Horn of Africa: linking security burdens with capabilities

Federico Donelli, Brendon J. Cannon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    The reported militarization of the Horn of Africa by Middle Eastern states has generated great interest among scholars and analysts alike. Their analyses and articles about the projections of power from the Middle East to the Horn of Africa are exaggerated, however, because they underappreciate the extant and enduring security burdens of the states in question and overestimate their national power capabilities. This is largely due to common misperceptions and faulty measures of military power. The question that this article answers is therefore not whether states such as Turkey or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could redeploy limited military resources extra-regionally, but why would they and for how long? Using empirical data from interviews, defence statistics and data from recent deployments of the UAE and Turkey, we show how these key players are inhibited from prospective, long-term, and sustained deployments extra-territorially. This is supported by our analysis of the two states’ power capabilities (latent and actual) and their security burdens that constrain and limit options for the use of military tools abroad in the pursuit of foreign policy aims. This has led both Turkey and the UAE to engage in various forms of remote warfare involving local partners, allied militias, and mercenaries.

    Original languageBritish English
    JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
    StateAccepted/In press - 2021


    • extra-regional military deployment
    • Horn of Africa
    • Middle East
    • Military power projection
    • remote warfare
    • security burdens


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