Editorial: Somaliland to Officially Host UAE Military Base at Berbera
After the government inks the deal through the cobbling votes from stomach filled MPs and the manhandling of dissenter who opted to vote empty belied but consciously for the good of the nation.
Horn-newspaper- After months debating the pros and cons of a foreign military base fronted by the Administration of president Silanyo on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, Somaliland is host to a foreign military, the first in its 25 years post withdrawal from union with Somalia.
At a joint session of parliament, bringing together Guurti and House of Representatives members in Hargeisa where the UAE base agreement was presented by the Somaliland president , the deal received 144 aye votes and without any Nays.
Despite the huge vote since both Houses have 82 members of each, the approval we mired in irregularities especially the placement inside the chamber of a large contingent of heavily armed security personnel that not only intimidated opposing legislators but ended up beating them half to death not to mention forceful eviction from deliberations.
While the administration of Silanyo can now bask in the glory of having legalized the supposed military base in Berbera where the tiny Gulf country will ultimately establish naval and air bases the feelings of ordinary citizens have been totally ignored, not only by the admins testimony but by their over tenured legislators most of whom voted with their stomachs.
Similarly the Kulmiye ruling party must now ensure that it wins presidential and subsequent parliamentary elections slated for October 2017 and 2018 respectively.
For on failure to do so or on winning the presidency only the Kulmiye party might end up seeing the foreign base deal thrown out of the window courtesy of the constitution which has articles stipulating on the lack of powers to sign foreign agreements by an administration whose elective tenure has expired thence in office on borrowed time, as is the Silanyo one and Parliament.
On the other hand the demerits of the UAE overwhelmingly surpass the merits that the government has been trumpeting as of economic importance as well as one that well hasten floodgates to international recognition of Somaliland
Of that be the case, why doesn’t the UAE become the first to recognize the country that has offered it a foreign military base, the second for the Emirati after the one in Eritrea?
Economically how will the country enhance its economic wellbeing from the $1.2m as annual rent the UAE will pay for the base which is equivalent to $100,000 monthly?
What of dragging Somaliland into foreign conflicts considering that the UAE which is part of the Saudi led coalition waging war against Houthis in Yemen might utilize their Berbers base to launch strikes against the country’s which is only 70 Kim’s away?
These and many other issue more so on vehement rejection of the deal by neighbouring Ethiopia that has been the only country to honestly befriend Somaliland despite its unrecognized sovereignty to the extend of establishing fully fledged diplomatic relations, thus making Addis Ababa the gateway to the world for Somalilanders through visas issued and stamped on their country’s passport at the Ethiopian General consulate in Hargeisa.
The Ethiopian objection to the UAE military base is justifiable in lieu of the fact that Egyptians with whom a long standing controversy over use of Nike waters exists is known to be a major force behind the Emirati quest.
Other fears that Allah forbid will not come to bear related to the political policy maintained by the UAE that not only professes to be partial to the full unity of Somalia post 1991 but continues to covertly regard Somaliland as the northern r goon of the wa torn country to its South.
For the Silanyo administration that is reckoned with disposal of public property and rumoured to enter foreign contracts like the Berbera port management and multiple PSAs for oil exploration whose ultimate benefits in the millions go to a few the battle for the military facility must be very lucrative, yes, bountiful indeed for the few.
For ordinary Somalilanders who are very supportive of reconciliation talks with the Khatumo state secessionist movement, the jokes circulating are that
“Having disposed all public property in the rest of the of the country the only remaining public assets are in Las Anod, Buhoodle and Taleh controlled by Khatumo thence the reconciliation talks and urgently to Ensire a deal is in place before mid this year.
This is funny but if Silanyo does not do anything especially as to recant the UAE military base deal the such will not remain jokes but his Legacy