This study examines the impact of securitization on the democratization of three countries in the in the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan. The three countries, all members of the Arab League, represent diverse but integrated securitization models. The study assumes that securitization in the region has left democratic transformation low in the list of priorities for the major powers, at a time when counterterrorism rhetoric is overwhelming. The paper raises the following questions: Why has securitization discourse overpowered talk of democracy in the Horn of Africa? How do the mechanisms of the securitization discourse interact with political reality? What is the role of regional institutions in enhancing securitization discourse?