Gloucester City Hall
Red Sea Region in Flux
The Red Sea basin, a critical transport bottleneck for nearly all trade between Europe and Asia, has become a major site of contention for a new generation of leaders in the oil-rich Arab Gulf states as the influence of the United States, which has slashed its diplomatic corps, has diminished, says Boston University political scientist Michael Woldemariam. He warns that multiplying rivalries and conflicts there could spin out of control if ignored.
A radical reconfiguration of traditional relationships is underway across the Middle East and Horn of Africa that is heightening tensions throughout the strategic region. These include an Israel-Egypt alliance against Islamists in the Sinai, a civil war in Yemen between a Saudi-led alliance and Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, a tug-of-war between Egypt and Ethiopia over control of Nile waters, an Arab Emirates-Eritrea pact to provide bases for the Yemen conflict, and a feud among the Gulf States that pits the Saudis and Emirates against Qatar.
Dr. Woldemariam is an assistant professor of international relations at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies. He also serves on BU’s graduate faculty of political science and as a faculty affiliate at the African Studies Center. He previously worked as a research specialist with Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies program and held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C. and Penn State’s Africana Research Center. Woldemariam’s research includes a focus on armed conflict in the Horn of Africa.