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Reports in early February indicate that the United Arab Emirates has gained agreement from Soamliland to establish a military port and base at Berbera, to be used to support the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts against Yemeni rebels. The coalition has imposed a naval blockade on Yemen since 2015.

Somaliland declared itself independent from the rest of Somalia in 1991 and last year signed an agreement with a Dubai firm to upgrade the port of Berbera. The deal could provide an economic boost and the agreement for a military base there could provide assistance for continuing operations against al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia. For the UAE, Berbera provides a less controversial location than Eritrea, which is currently under UN sanctions.

Observers believe that in addition to providing a more robust base for operations in Yemen, the Berbera facility will enable the UAE to offer more effective training and other capabilities for government forces in Somalia and Somaliland.

 

The new UAE base will be used to support the nation’s continuing conflict with Houthi rebels. (Photo: Project on Middle East Democracy)

- Mönch Publications - Latest Issues -

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