The Bab al-Mandab Strait, a vital maritime chokepoint connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, has long been a focal point of global trade and security interests.

In a recent YouTube video by Johnny Harris, a prominent filmmaker and journalist, the strategic importance of this region is brought to light, particularly in the context of the United States facing challenges from emerging powers.

This post delves deeper into the intricate web of geopolitical dynamics surrounding the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the implications for key players in the region.


Unveiling the Strategic Landscape

The Bab al-Mandab Strait serves as a vital artery for international maritime trade, with millions of barrels of oil and goods passing through its waters each day. Its significance is further underscored by the ongoing power play between major global players seeking to assert their influence in the region. The United States, in particular, finds itself at a crossroads as it navigates the shifting geopolitical tides in the face of emerging challenges.

The Bab al-Mandab Strait’s strategic importance is multifaceted. It provides a critical shortcut for ships traveling between Europe and Asia, saving time, fuel, and resources. Moreover, it is a vital conduit for Middle Eastern oil exports, with approximately 4 million barrels of oil passing through the strait daily. The strait’s narrow width, approximately 29 kilometers at its narrowest point, makes it an attractive target for piracy and terrorist activities, underscoring the need for robust security measures to ensure safe passage.

The MoU Between Ethiopia and Somaliland

One of the key aspects not highlighted in Johnny Harris’s video is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a move that has the potential to reshape the geopolitical dynamics of the region. As Ethiopia seeks alternative trade routes and strategic partnerships, the port of Berbera in Somaliland emerges as a promising hub for fostering closer economic ties and regional cooperation.

The MoU between Ethiopia and Somaliland marks a significant shift in regional dynamics. By investing in Berbera’s infrastructure and developing its port facilities, Ethiopia aims to reduce its reliance on Djibouti’s port, which currently handles approximately 95% of Ethiopia’s trade. This move has far-reaching implications for regional trade patterns and could potentially challenge Djibouti’s dominance as a logistics hub.

Moreover, the MoU underscores the significance for the U.S. and its allies to consider the growing influence of Somaliland in regional affairs. As a beacon of stability and democracy in an otherwise turbulent region, Somaliland offers a promising alternative for fostering lasting partnerships based on mutual interests and shared values.

The Growing Influence of China and Turkey

While the spotlight is on the evolving relationships between key players in the region, such as Ethiopia and Somaliland, it is crucial to acknowledge the growing influence of external actors like China and Turkey. The unsustainable grip of the Ismail Omar Guelleh regime in Djibouti, coupled with its alignment with China, poses a challenge to the traditional power dynamics in the region.

China’s expanding presence in Djibouti is evident in its development of military bases and infrastructure projects. The Chinese-funded Doraleh Container Terminal, for instance, has become a critical component of Djibouti’s economy. However, this growing dependence on China raises concerns about Djibouti’s sovereignty and autonomy.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s increasing ties with Turkey signal a shift towards a new alliance structure that could have far-reaching implications. Turkey’s investment in Somali infrastructure projects, including ports and airports, has strengthened bilateral relations between the two nations. This burgeoning partnership could potentially challenge traditional alliances in the region and create new opportunities for cooperation.

Somaliland: A Beacon of Stability

In contrast to the tumultuous landscape in Djibouti and Somalia, Somaliland emerges as a beacon of stability and democracy in the region. With its thriving democracy and strategic port in Berbera, Somaliland offers a promising alternative for fostering lasting partnerships based on mutual interests and shared values.

Somaliland’s commitment to democratic governance is evident in its regular elections, vibrant civil society, and independent media outlets. This democratic trajectory sets it apart from its neighbors, making it an attractive partner for nations seeking stable and reliable relationships.

Furthermore, Berbera’s modern infrastructure positions Somaliland as a key player in regional trade dynamics. The port’s proximity to major shipping lanes and its ability to handle large volumes of cargo make it an attractive alternative to Djibouti’s congested ports.


The Bab al-Mandab Strait stands at the crossroads of global trade and security interests, with key players vying for influence and control in this critical maritime corridor. As the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, the choices made by nations and alliances in the region will shape the future trajectory of the Bab al-Mandab Strait and its implications for global trade and security.

In this complex web of alliances and rivalries, Somaliland emerges as a crucial player due to its strategic location, democratic governance, and modern infrastructure. As nations navigate the shifting tides of geopolitics in this critical region, they would do well to consider Somaliland’s role as a beacon of stability and cooperation.

Ultimately, understanding the intricacies of regional dynamics surrounding the Bab al-Mandab Strait is crucial for navigating the complexities of global politics. As we look towards an uncertain future, one thing is clear – Somaliland’s role in this critical maritime corridor will be pivotal in shaping the course of regional affairs.

Watch below the YouTube video by Johnny Harris