Somaliland: A Precious Triangular Stone On The Red Sea

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By Hamdi Abdi Jama

The former British Somaliland protectorate achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on 26 June 1960, the state of Somaliland united with Somalia, a territory under a U.N mandated Italian Trusteeship until that same day, thereby creating the Somali Republic.

The Republic of Somaliland restored its independence after the total collapse of Somalia on 18 May 1991 as result of the civil war of the late eighties and early nineties.

The decision was made by the Congress of Council of Clan Elders held in Burao from 27 April to 15 May 1991.

In addition, the Republic of Somaliland is situated in the Horn of Africa. Its boundaries are defined by the Gulf of Aden in the north, Somalia in the east, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in the south-west, and the Republic of Djibouti in the north-west.

Somaliland has a coastline which is 850kms long in the Red Sea.

Thus Somaliland is an unrecognized state which was a part of Somalia before 1991 but the worsening crises in Yemen have increased the interest of countries to open military and naval bases in Republic of Somaliland such as the recent agreement made between Somaliland and U.A.E to use military airport of Somaliland.

The Red Sea is very much sensitive for its geopolitical and economic importance because of its importance for world’s most powerful states, for instance, the transport of goods from China to Europe transfers to the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Market products from Europe pass through this route in bulk. The largest amount of oil movement is made the same through the same way to Europe.

Thus the region is important to China, European countries and Russia and America.

Solely China transacts trillion USD via the Red Sea per annum.

Therefore, the region is very close to Somaliland and has highest geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-security importance.

This has also great meaning to Saudi, Iran and major powers in the world.

Similarly, the recent agreement made between Russia and Egypt to use military airport of Egypt and the decision of Egypt to provide two Islands in the Red Sea coast to Saudi though faced opposition from the public are intended to control the neck of the Red Sea strip to the Suez Canal.

The political crisis along the Red Sea seems to have reached to its peak with the worsening crisis in Yemen, the intervention of Egyptian military commanders to Sawa Military Base in Eritrea and continued Saudi-led forces coalition operation in Yemen.

The increased presence of world great powers and the opening of new military bases in the region as well as the new marriage between Saudi and Egypt have now grabbed the eyes and ears of political analysts in the Horn of Africa which is considered as the most important part for its geopolitical location.

Furthermore, Sudan has closed its borders and moved troops recently to the eastern parts bordering with Eritrea. It is also accusing neighboring Egypt of its provocation of clashes, training Sudanese antigovernment rebel groups and Eritrean militants.

These days, the increased interest of countries to open military and naval bases along the Red Sea exerts an influence on the stability of Horn of Africa countries.   They affect the pattern of cooperation and inter- conflicts within the Horn of Africa. Such relations define the parameters for the search for external resources as well as for the extraction of domestic resources and military and naval bases.

Even relations between the superpowers, countries of different ideological persuasions, those with competing for national interest.

Unfortunately, these countries are not building industrial zones but strengthening their military bases. These may lead the region to increase competition among the various powers, and eventually to an obvious turmoil.

YEMEN:

Yemen is in severe crisis; several religious institutions have been destructed. About 80 percent of its population has been receiving food and non-food aid.

Furthermore, Yemen is divided by race, religion, and thought. And particularly, the religious dissimilarity between Shia and Sunni and the absence of the political system that can accommodate these two dichotomies, is leading the country to the worst state failure.

Yemen is presently the potential safe haven for militants and pirates similar to that were in Somalia.

Thus, the incidents in Yemen during the last three years created a rift to foreign intervention, the Saudi-led Military Coalition begun to undertake operations. Presently, the political chaos between Iran-led Shai and Saudi-led Sunni has been deepening in the region.

Finally, these recommendations are important for the government of Somaliland:

  1. To establish independent strategic study centers and institutions to deal such issues and provide timely research and advisory services to the government on the areas of international relation, diplomacy, and recognition as well.
  2. Go to ensuring economic advancement in the country so that it can reduce the vulnerability of the nation to foreign challenges thereby keep its national interest.
  3. To have accurate foreign and national security policy and strategy. It must be scientific and to the right way in a manner to create smooth relations in the neighboring countries and the globe.
  4. In Somaliland, development, democratization, peace and stability efforts at home matters more in order to protect Somaliland’s national interest in the Red Sea.
  5. At the domestic level, the government has to make every effort to narrow the divisiveness of the nation by adopting partnership policy rather than domination.

Hamdi Abdi Jama

Hargeisa, Somaliland

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