On December 06, 2022, the final text of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was published by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. It includes a historic new directive in Section 1275 calling for a stronger U.S.-Somaliland partnership.
As a result of China’s expanding influence in the Horn of Africa and the unrest that has spread to many nations along the Red Sea, which is one of the most important waterways for international trade, the American administration has been considering how to build a presence in this region.
Both the US government and France, a political close friend of America, maintain a military presence in Djibouti. These bases are used mostly for counterterrorism activities in the region and elsewhere in Africa.
However, when the government of Djibouti opted to host Chinese military forces and supplied a military facility in exchange for a lucrative payment, the situation in the region quickly shifted, placing the United States and its Western allies in an awkward and conflicting position with China.
The American government’s attention was immediately drawn to Somaliland’s strategic possessions – the port and the airstrip – which is in close proximity to Djibouti. They soon realized that Somaliland is not only a perfect match and compatible in many ways, including the burgeoning free market economy and the well-established democratic process, but also can provide what they need.
Although the weak government in South Somalia and its lobbying agency in Washington attempted hard to thwart this effort, their efforts were ultimately futile due to the support of shadow organizations that lacked the legal authority to conduct such activities.
On the other hand, the Somaliland government, led by its representative in the United States, her lobbying firm in Washington, DC, and the Republican political establishment in the United States – particularly a number of influential senators – have expended a great deal of effort to advance this crucial American interest through the corridors in Capitol Hill.
The US Somaliland Partnership Act was finally approved by Congress on December 6, 2022, and it is now on its way to the White House for final approval. This means that December 6th, 2022, will go down in history as a day of great success for Somaliland.
Bashir Goth, Somaliland’s representative in the United States, has provided comprehensive details of the situation on his Twitter account.
Today, the final text of the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was published by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. It includes a historic new directive in Section 1275 calling for a stronger U.S.-Somaliland partnership. https://t.co/OqcV3xV06c (1/14)
— SomalilandUSA (@SomalilandUS) December 7, 2022
The following is his commentary on the development:
The final text of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was published by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. It includes a historic new directive in Section 1275 calling for a stronger U.S.-Somaliland partnership.
Here’s what the NDAA says about Somaliland.
- It requires from US State Department, US Department of Defense, and USAID to submit an annual report to Congress detailing assistance, diplomatic engagement, and security initiatives in Somaliland.
- It further requires from State Department and Defense Department to produce a feasibility study by June 2023 on opportunities for enhanced security collaboration between the U.S. and Somaliland
- Clearly distinguishes Somaliland from the Federal Member States of Somalia.
- The NDAA charts a path for greater engagement between the U.S. and Somaliland. Somaliland people and their government are indebted to the initiative of a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.
How did Somaliland get here deserves to be highlighted and stressed:
First, Somaliland Mission and Somaliland Diaspora in America conducted consistent dialogue and demonstrated professional engagement with Democrats and Republicans who were persuaded by the merits of their advocacy.
Second, the bipartisan Somaliland Partnership Act (S.3861) was introduced in March by Senators Risch, Chris Van Hollen, and Rounds, and joined by Senator Wicker before approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June. Somaliland is profoundly grateful to them for initiating the effort to recognize our value as a strategic partner of the U.S. and in particular to Senator Risch for his enduring leadership.
Third, an amendment offered by Rep. Chris Smith was included in the House-approved NDAA. We are incredibly appreciative of Rep. Smith’s longstanding leadership to advance closer U.S.-Somaliland relations.
Fourth, a successful effort by Rep Veasey, who proposed report language in the House Armed Services Committee’s guidance instructing the Department of Defense to explore areas of potential security cooperation.
What’s next? Following the NDAA’s passage by the House of Representatives and the Senate, it will go to the desk of the US president to sign into law. Once signed, the NDAA will include the first reference to Somaliland in U.S. law since we reasserted our independence in 1991
Citizens of Somaliland – many of whom revere America and have friends and family in the U.S. – have long-awaited such an acknowledgment. The NDAA significantly advances Somaliland’s partnership with the U.S. Today we made history
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