Sunday, July 08, 2018

Could Ethiopia Have a Modularized Navy?

This is an interesting article on whether Ethiopia could become a power in the Horn of Africa. It has a long history of being a regional power (but without the inherent long-term thinking that China's long tradition of existence gave them?) and could be again:

To project power in the region, the Ethiopian government must achieve three main objectives: maintain control over the domestic population, secure its borders and diversify its sea access. The rise of the Aksum and Ethiopian empires was possible only with these three conditions in place. And indeed, there are signs that the country is already moving in this direction.

The idea is that Ethiopia has an interest in keeping foreign influence away from the region. Given that America has long had such military influence, this must mean China for the most part. But there is a lot going on in the area that hem in Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia is moving into the region. Iran is moving into the region. And Turkey is moving into the region. These must be considered different than the stabilizing influence of America.

I wonder if Turkey's forays into the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and Horn of Africa could be a safely distant competitor that could rally Ethiopians and give coastal neighbors a reason to support Ethiopia if that balances Turkey.

One issue for a local Ethiopian power is the need for a navy to defend interests in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Which is a problem for a landlocked country that is trying to secure port access through neighbors.

Could Ethiopia have a transient navy that is built for and dismantled after specific missions or patrols?

Would my idea for The AFRICOM Queen modularized auxiliary cruiser apply to The Ethiopian Queen? Would Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Kenya welcome an Ethiopian counterweight to encroaching naval power? Would Yemen ultimately be willing to lease port and airfield access to Ethiopia on Socotra Island?

If Ethiopia equips their warships based on container ships, installing the containers in friendly neighbors' ports but only activating the weaponry when the ships reach international waters, could Ethiopia build a fleet as needed to defend Ethiopian interests at sea even without a coast?

UPDATE: Settling the dispute with Eritrea which is an outlet to the sea would be a good start.