Evaluating Abiy’s MoU game-changing strategy approach to Awdal

Exclusive Background

In geopolitics, strategic manoeuvres and diplomatic agreements often influence the fate of countries and their connections. An event that has attracted significant attention and research is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and the secessionist region of Somalia on January 1, 2024. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s strategic approach to Awdal, namely on the Zaylac Town Naval Base, is at the core of this significant accord. The importance of this agreement is amplified by the simultaneous nomination of Redwan Hussein, Abiy’s national security advisor, as the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Ethiopia’s primary intelligence agency. The MoU, a diplomatic instrument often used to delineate the terms and conditions of a pact between two entities, acts as the pivotal element in Abiy’s transformative plan. The emphasis on Awdal, an area in northeastern Somalia that has been a subject of historical and geopolitical dispute, highlights the seriousness of the situation. A naval station in Zaylac Town is a central location in this complex geopolitical landscape, where strategic actions and reactions have significant consequences for the countries participating. 

The appointment of Redwan Hussein as the head of NISS by Abiy adds more intricacy to this geopolitical equation. Hussein, a trusted and experienced security professional, supervises Ethiopia’s intelligence apparatus. His job is anticipated to directly influence implementing and enforcing the requirements specified in the MoU. The combination of diplomatic agreement and strategic appointment intensifies the importance of the situation, necessitating a meticulous and discerning examination to grasp the possible consequences fully. To properly assess Abiy’s MoU game-changing approach, thoroughly analysing the Awdal area’s historical background is necessary. This analysis should focus on the territorial conflicts, intricate ethnic relations, and regional power dynamics that have shaped its geopolitical situation. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of the details in the MoU is crucial for comprehending the responsibilities and pledges undertaken by Ethiopia and the seceded region of Somalia.

In addition to the text itself, it is crucial to consider the wider geopolitical ramifications of the agreement. What is the effect of Abiy’s strategic manoeuvre on regional power distribution? How have neighbouring countries and international parties responded to this development? To address these inquiries, a comprehensive examination is necessary, considering not just the immediate ramifications but also the possible cascading impacts that might significantly influence the geopolitical terrain in the long term. Abiy’s strategic approach in signing a MoU for developing the Zaylac Town Naval Base in Awdal and the nomination of Redwan Hussein to a vital intelligence role necessitates a comprehensive and analytical examination. An in-depth analysis is necessary to fully understand the complex interaction of historical, diplomatic, and strategic elements involved in this geopolitical manoeuvre and its possible impact on regional security and power dynamics.

Abiy’s Strategic Move amid Redwan Hussein’s Appointment 

Redwan Hussein was recently named chief of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a stunning appointment that has generated much discussion and controversy. Redwan Hussein, renowned for his involvement in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), has emerged as a pivotal figure in Ethiopia’s intelligence domain. The timing and reasons behind Abiy’s choice to assign such a crucial role to Hussein have caused suspicion, especially considering the recent border conflicts and the reported invasion of Somali territory. The selection of Redwan Hussein as the leader of NISS raises several inquiries as individuals strive to unravel the hidden intentions and tactical deliberations that influenced this momentous choice. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies related to the MoU and Hussein’s role in it is essential for uncovering the broader significance of his appointment. 

An incident in the border town of Dolow involving Somali and Ethiopian civilians and Ethiopian military personnel has significantly increased tensions in the area. The confirmed fatalities in the event have exacerbated the already tense relations between the two adjacent countries. The purported incursion of the Ethiopian military into Somali territory has raised apprehensions and allegations, adding to the intricacies of the geopolitical situation. Abiy Ahmed’s choice to choose Redwan Hussein as the leader of NISS is seen by some observers to have a direct correlation with the intensifying tensions in the area. The alleged invasion of Somali territory has sparked conjecture that the appointment is a deliberate strategic manoeuvre to escalate the region. By appointing an individual closely connected to the MoU as the head of the intelligence agency, Abiy may be indicating a change in the country’s strategy towards regional security.

An essential part of the developing situation is the purported objective of Ethiopia’s armed troops in Awdal, which several opponents contend is a thinly disguised pretext to facilitate the arrival of Redwan Hussein in the area. The concerns indicated that Hussein’s presence serves not simply to handle urgent security difficulties but also to contribute to a broader strategy of mitigating possible threats and establishing a narrative emphasising the need for a robust intelligence agency. Furthermore, there are allegations that the nomination of Redwan Hussein is connected to a broader scheme, including the cultivation of extreme radicals in Awdal. Under Hussein’s leadership, the intelligence agency may have been assigned the responsibility of monitoring and combating radical forces in the area, possibly impeding the dissemination of extremist doctrines.

It is crucial to carefully examine the consequences of Abiy’s choice to nominate Redwan Hussein as the leader of NISS as the situation develops. The convergence of regional tensions, border issues, and the purported mission in Awdal further complicates this appointment. Observers will carefully monitor Redwan Hussein’s approach to these difficulties and assess whether his leadership can effectively achieve the intended results regarding regional stability and national security.

Unraveling Complex Political Developments in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s political environment has changed dramatically in the last several days, with notable appointments and incidents that have caused both internal and foreign observers to have doubts and worries. An example of a recent trend is the selection of Redwan Hussein as the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Ethiopia’s primary intelligence agency. The appointment of Redwan Hussein as the leader of the NISS has generated intrigue and scrutiny within political circles. Redwan Hussein, renowned for his political expertise and extensive experience in several governmental positions, offers a distinctive viewpoint to the intelligence agency. An in-depth evaluation of this appointment entails scrutinising the rationales for choosing him for this pivotal role and evaluating the possible ramifications for Ethiopia’s national security and intelligence endeavours.

The scheduling of this appointment is remarkable, given the difficulties Ethiopia has seen in recent years, including internal strife and tensions at the regional level. To comprehend the reasons for selecting Redwan Hussein, it is necessary to examine the political atmosphere, persistent security apprehensions, and the government’s tactics to tackle them. Regarding a separate matter, the choice to release an interview with Nageeye Ali Khaliif, an individual linked to a splinter group aligned with Al-Shabaab, adds an element to the intricate circumstances in the area. Examining the reasons for such publishing entails investigating the possible ramifications for regional stability, counter-terrorism endeavours, and diplomatic ties.

Moreover, the succession of homicides targeting individuals prompts inquiries into the motivations and culprits responsible for these actions. Conducting a thorough investigation is crucial to understanding these episodes’ intricacies and ascertaining if they are isolated occurrences or connected to a broader objective. The potential orchestration of these events to lure Ethiopian soldiers into the Gado area introduces an additional aspect to the research. To comprehend the reasons behind these possible instigations and their influence on the local dynamics, it is necessary to thoroughly analyse the political, social, and economic elements involved. Consequently, it is vital to conduct a meticulous examination of recent advancements in Ethiopia, encompassing significant appointments, publications, and occurrences, to have a comprehensive understanding of the changing political environment. By examining the underlying reasons for these occurrences, we may get a deeper comprehension of their impact on national security, regional equilibrium, and Ethiopia’s standing in the international arena. 

Implications on Regional Power Dynamics

A critical examination of the strategic decisions taken by different countries in the Horn of Africa’s complicated geopolitical environment has been spurred by recent events, with a particular emphasis on Somalia’s defence agreement with Turkey. This crucial development occurred after Ethiopia’s secession involvement in the Somalia Accord, which followed the appointment of Redwan Hussein, the head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Ethiopia. The consequences of these events on the regional power balance have elicited reactions from neighbouring nations and international entities. The signing of a defence agreement between Somalia and Turkey has sparked curiosity and led to a more thorough analysis of the changing alliances in the Horn of Africa. This action occurs at a period when the area is experiencing changes in diplomatic and security dynamics. Turkey’s growing engagement in Africa, particularly in areas prone to violence, has garnered attention, and the defence pact with Somalia is seen as a strategic move with wider ramifications. 

Adjacent nations have reacted to this advancement with curiosity, apprehension, and tactical readjustment. Given its influential position in the area, Ethiopia is expected to monitor the consequences of Somalia’s alliance with Turkey closely. The secessionist aspect of Ethiopia’s participation in the Somalia accord has introduced an additional level of intricacy, and the reaction from Addis Ababa will be pivotal in deciding the regional consequences. The appointment of Redwan Hussein, the head of Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service, at the same time as these events adds a fascinating aspect to the scenario. The significance of intelligence services in influencing regional geopolitics should not be understated, and the selection of Hussein may indicate Ethiopia’s dedication to a proactive and forceful strategy in protecting its interests. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s geopolitical manoeuvring has had a complex impact on the regional power allocation. The reevaluation of alliances and the shifts in conventional geopolitical fault lines are clearly apparent. Somalia’s partnership with Turkey can potentially impact regional power distribution, introducing new actors and processes. The growing influence of Turkey in Africa and its military deployment in Somalia are expected to affect the fragile balance in the Horn of Africa. The involvement of other international players, such as Western nations and global organisations, will play a vital role in determining the future direction of the area. The strategic ramifications of these advancements go beyond the primary participants, with possible cascading consequences on matters such as counter-terrorism endeavours, naval safety, and local equilibrium. 

Finally, the careful examination of recent events in the Horn of Africa uncovers an intricate network of strategic actions driven by geopolitical interests. The defence pact between Somalia and Turkey, inspired by the Ethiopia-breakaway faction in the Somalia accord and the nomination of Redwan Hussein, has initiated a reassessment of alliances and power dynamics in the area. The reactions from neighbouring nations and international entities highlight the importance of these occurrences, and the allocation of power in the region is uncertain as the geopolitical situation continues to change.


After the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on January 1, 2024, between Ethiopia and the breakaway territory of Somalia, focusing on the strategic approach to the Awdal in Zaylac town naval base, many things have happened that make people question and worry about the agreement’s intentions and effects. An important factor is the selection of Redwan Hussein as the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Ethiopia’s top intelligence organisation. This action has intensified conjecture over the significance of intelligence in the implementation and execution of the MoU. Redwan Hussein’s experience and skills strongly emphasise security and intelligence problems, highlighting the seriousness and intricacy of the geopolitical forces involved. 

The interview with Nageeye Ali Khaliif, who hails from the breakaway area, and his alleged affiliation with the militant organisation Al-Shabaab has sparked suspicion and necessitates further examination. The temporal occurrence of this alliance after the signing of the MoU raises inquiries about the underlying intentions behind this alignment and its prospective ramifications on the stability of the area.

Alarmingly, there have been allegations of deliberate assassinations of certain individuals, which has further complicated the issue. One must consider if these deaths were a calculated endeavour to provoke turmoil and prompt the intervention of the Ethiopian military in the Gedo area. Gaining insight into the reasons for such actions is essential for fully understanding the broader consequences of the events occurring after signing the MoU. As neighbouring nations and international actors react to these events, the geopolitical environment is seeing a ripple effect. The defence pact between Somalia and Turkey, signed shortly after the Ethiopia-Somalia accord, suggests a change in alignments and strategic ties. The international community’s reaction to these manoeuvres is crucial in determining the future dynamics of the area.

The MoU implemented by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has unquestionably changed the regional power dynamics via strategic manoeuvring. The appointment of Redwan Hussein, the alignment with Nageeye Ali Khaliif, and involvement with Al-Shabaab, along with targeted executions and subsequent defence deals, together contribute to an intricate network of geopolitical variables. The ramifications of these actions taken by Abiy Ahmed are extensive and need continuous examination as the situation progresses. The thorough assessment of Abiy’s transformative strategic approach to Awdal in Zaylac town naval station uncovers a complex problem, including intelligence, extremist associations, focused aggression, and changes in regional alliances. The consequences of the MoU have initiated a sequence of events that will determine the geopolitical configuration of the area in the foreseeable future.

By: Mohamed H Salad: Researcher and Analyst, Studied International Security & Peace Conflict, Specialist in the Horn of Africa, and Secretary of former President of Somalia Dr Abdikasim Salad Hassan (TNG).