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Somaliland : - Global Security and International Trade System Stability ?
On the world we live today few great Maritimes arteries are the definitive check points for the International Trade System, International Stability and Wealth also. The Suez Canal, Baba-Almandab and the Red Sea region Sea lines. The waters of these sea lines have served as a vital commercial highway for the Global Trading System.
Definitely, these strategic waters are not only of great economic importance only to the countries that border it like Danube River System but the whole Global Trading System at large. It is clear that the Suez Canal took the advantage of the mechanization of ship to create a stable, rapid and increasingly reliable heavy fright capability.
Further more, this International water contains one of the most importance strategic waterway in the world , the Baba-Almandab with out it much of the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa would make little sense. It is estimated that approximately 18,000 ships pass via Bab-Almandab yearly, or in other words, about 50- ships per day. Similarly, around ten percent of the Western Oil supplies pass through Bab-Almandab. This is why all the maritime trading nations that use the Suez Canal have an interest that Bab-Almandab remains open and safe for shipping movement.
It is necessary to understand this Global matrix to provide a context for understanding the paramount significance of the red sea region to the stability of the global economies and the wellbeing of the lives of the world community. Indeed, you can imagine the geopolitical link and how the red sea region is tied to the Horn of Africa. Also, you can feel how different of states - Egypt to Israel and from USA to Australian are so careful the wellbeing of this sea -lines; infact their economies and security depend on it.
For instance, the State of Israel, which has a strong trade in the far east and has a political conflict with the Arab World over the past 50- years, is so sensitive the safety of the openings of the Bab-Almandab. Strategically, the State of Israel needs more then they need the Suez Canal . It was said their was a secret strategic war alliance agreement between Egypt and Republic of Somalia during the Egyptian-Israel war in 1973.
The Egyptian Government appealed to the Republic of Somalia which was a credible state within the Arab League and a potential ally of Egypt to disturb and refuse the Israeli Shipping movement going to the Far East via the Bab- Almandab.
However, this strategic war alliance against Israel failed as the western countries opposed it.
In 1993, The State of Israel established a military base in one of the Countries that borders the red sea region to secure its interests in the region.
Despite its strategic for today's world economies, the red sea region faces many problems, especially security, pollution and environmental degradation. Experts believe that these problems will only intensify as the coastal population increase in size. It will be only to this problem if the red sea countries will overcome their weakness and consolidate their economic, security, political and strategic cooperation.
Such cooperation would not only bring peace and stability in the region but also support the increase of the prosperity and welfare of the peoples of the Horn specifically and the world at large. It is marked the region we live to day -The Horn of Africa - a Zone which security threats and political instability are ever present and one of the most factors is lack of strong regional integration among the States of the Horn.
Somaliland controls a long coastline of the red sea waters of around 900-km including the ports on Berbera, Maid and Zeila. There are some strategists and geopolitician who are far too overlooked today in this world of quick-fixes and instant technologies, talked about the significance of Somaliland 's coastlines of both world and regional economies. Somaliland make these strategic ports available to Ethiopia to export its produce and for imports in an agreement known as Berbera-Addis Corridor.
This would give an Ethiopia an alternative ports of the region and also, would forever put an end to the prospect of Ethiopian dependence on exports and imports via Djibouti which had since the last Ethio-Eriterain hostility of monopoly most of the Ethiopian exports and imports.
It is an historic fact that Somaliland's red sea port of Berbera has played a great role the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union . As the Cold War developed, Soviet interests of establishing Military Base in the Horn of Africa grew. Thus, Moscow began donating the Republic of Somalia military logistical supply which lead Moscow of establishing naval access at Berbera port. Definitely , when the war between Somalia and Ethiopia broke out, the forces of Somalia was backed by the Soviet Union .
However, as the Horn become the center of the Cold War build up on the continent Somalia gained support from the United State of America which give them the chance to take over the Strategic port of Berbera. The importance of the region for the western powers continues to this day as a huge amount of Oil still being shipped out of the middle east as well as the rise of Global war against terrorism led by Washington and its new strategies of establishing AFRICOM in the continent.
In this connection, U.S. forces in the neighboring Djibouti are habitually visits the Somaliland' main sea port of Berbera and this resulted at the last that Senior Officers of the Pentagon expressed U.S. administration their willingness of establishing military base in Somaliland's strategic city of Berbera. In addition to that independent Security and Counterterrorism experts recommending that Somaliland is a forgotten Counterterrorism Strategy.
The extremist elements in Mogadishu look upon Somaliland as a potential ally in opposing the fundamentalist ideology through out the region and intending to take actions against Somaliland as an act of retaliations.
The statement of Hon. Kim Howells, Minister of State at the UK foreign and commonwealth office while in official visit to Somaliland was an alarm, Hon. Howells stated "Yet we that there are a people who would like to disrupt life in Somaliland who is it as a country which is trying to modernize itself in a way that they find distasteful. The international Community will regret of losing a credible Moderate Muslim Democratic State in the region that if supported would be a sample of African Family and the Muslim world. I call the attention of Washington to provide political, economic and military support to ensure Somaliland 's survival as a democracy and to enable it to withstand security threats of the terrorism".
Republic of Somaliland and U.S Government have mutual interests in combating terrorism though into a small degree. Thus, I believe strategically institutionalizing the status relations will reduce the security threats of the terrorism in the region and the western interest at large.
On the other hand, in January of 2008, high level of delegation heading H.E: President Dahir Rayaale Kahin was invited to Washington for a visit that was officially acknowledged by the US Department of State. The delegation had had a meeting with top US diplomats of the State Department and discussed issues relating Security, Political and development.
While in Washington , President Kahin invited the US Government to resume its military base of the Somaliland red sea port of Berbera . US Under - secretary for African Affairs Ambassador Jendayi Frazer arrived Somaliland with Ambassador John M. Yates and stated that Washington recognized the democratic institutions in Somaliland and promised capacity building programs of strengthening the democratic institutions in the country.
The most prestigious institutions dedicating Advancing Democracy through out the Global, the International Republican Institute- IRI- now established a three year program of working the three political parties in Somaliland .Somaliland Times has reported that US Under - secretary for African Affairs Ambassador Jendayi Frazer declared Washington's interest of having some sort of Diplomatic representation or office in Hargeisa, Somaliland giving a lecture at the University of Washington School of Law of bout the future of Africa and U.S. foreign policy on Thursday May 29th , 2008 .
As long as I fellow the situation step by step, Washington's new policies of the region and Somaliland was also backed by a recommendations coming from the American Senior diplomats and Scholars. For example, Hon: Ambassador David Shinn- Specialist in East African Affairs at University in Washington called US government to establish diplomatic office in Hargiesa, Somaliland . Also,
Mr. Shinn advised the U.S. to send American diplomats speaking Arabic language and having some Islamic course through out the Horn as the Muslim leads the entire population in the Horn and suggested the establish! ment of VOA Somali program. Similarly, on June 2006, Dr. J. Peter Pha m American Somalia specialist who spoke at House of Africa Subcommittee meeting urged Bush Administration to open of what he called "minimal consular presence" in Hargeisa and to initiate Security co-operation with Somaliland through the US counter-terrorism force stationed in nearby Djibouti .
Finally, the fact that Somaliland essentially dominates strategic position in the red sea waters at straits of Bab-Almandab would give Somaliland an enormous strategic importance to compete of hosting AFRICOM- USA Military Base on the African continent. Looking a different way, Somaliland can serve as of world and regional shipping routes as the red sea is a Bridge between the Arab World and Africa . Thus Somaliland is by no means to have one of the most important strategic waterways in the world.