A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Somaliland" to Give Emirates Air and Naval Bases at Berbera

The UAE plans to build air and naval bases at the port of Berbera in the self-declared "Republic of Somaliland," the northern region of Somalia that has functioned as a state since declaring independence in 1991, despite the lack of international recognition. Somaliland, which was the part of Somalia ruled by Britain before independence, maintains trade relations with the UAE and other Gulf states.

Under the agreement approved by the Somaliland Parliament in Hargeisa, the Emirates will provide investment and expertise to build the air and naval base, and will lease it for 25 years, after which Somaliland will occupy it.

This is clearly another stage in the UAE's increasing force projection beyond its borders, which have included a base at Assab in Eritrea for operations in Yemen, and deployments to Egypt for strikes in Libya. This move implies a long-term Emirati presence in the horn of Africa.

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