Monday, June 26, 2017

Uproar over plans for Egypt-UAE military base

(Africa Intelligence )- The prospect of an Emirati military base in Berbera has brought regional tensions into sharp focus. The existing version of the treaty between Somaliland and UAE authorities is only partial.

On Feb. 15 MPs from the opposition Wadani party violently manifested their refusal to ratify an incomplete agreement, which led security forces to intervene. In addition, well-informed circles have spoken of commissions offered by the Emiratis to ensure the treaty is clinched. The numbers doing the rounds are $50 million for the ruling Kulmiye party and $35 million for Somali former prime minister Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who approved the project. On Feb, 17, after Somalia’s presidential poll, Somalia’s Comptroller General, Nur Farah Jimale, said that the military base - which might accommodate Egyptian troops - was illegal and that Mogadishu might bring the affair to the attention of UN Security Council. Meanwhile, tensions with regional powerhouse Ethiopia are rising.

 The treaty document, which the Indian Ocean Newsletter has seen, and which was presented to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Feb.10 by a Somaliland delegation led by Kulmiye leader Musa Bihi Abdi, includes a clause stipulating that the base will only be leased to the UAE and that the latter cannot lease or sublet all or a part of it to a third party. Even if the Egypt is not explicitly named in this clause, it is clearly a veiled reference to Egypt designed to appease Addis Ababa,