Russia to have its first military base in Somaliland


Russia will be the second country that would establish military base on the unrecognized self-declared independent Somaliland.
Media outlets from Somaliland reported that Russia is looking to establish a naval and air facility base at the historical harbor town of Zeila, which is close to the border of south east of Djibouti.
Recently UAE agreed with the government of Somaliland, who come to power on periodic and democratic elections after its separation from Somalia, to establish base and improve the port of Berbera with an investment of over USD 442 million.
With investment via DP World at the port, Ethiopia has also took a 19 percent share and the Dubai based company and Somaliland took 51 and 30 percent stake respectively.
The move of UAE disappointed Somalia, who argued entering in unrecognized country that it claimed part of it, is against the sovereignty right of the country.
Even though the country has a right to get its independence, lack of international recognition has affected its activity mainly its economic and developmental programs.
It has been stated by experts that the coming of UAE is a good opportunity for the country to start steps to gain some economic benefits and protect from external attacks. Additional port development will be also an option to attract clients like Ethiopia, according to experts.
It is stated that the coming of Russia would be add more confidence for the self-proclaimed independent state and clients, according to logistics experts. “The country, which is peaceful than the rest Somalia, has ample economic potential in relation with its natural resources that would benefit its citizens,” logistics experts based in Addis Ababa said. According to the experts, the government of Ethiopia has interest to use its ports for goods that will be transported in areas to the eastern, south eastern and southern Ethiopia.
Reports from Somaliland stated that Russia, which had developed military base at Port of Berbera in the 1970s, seeks a permission to construct a small naval and air facility, housing no more than 1,500 personnel outside the city of Zeila.
In the beginning of the month a local media, Somaliland Informer, reported that the naval facility will serve two destroyer sized ships, four frigate class ships, and two large submarine pens. The air facility will include two airstrips and will be able to host up to “six heavy aircraft and fifteen fighter jets as well as space for fuel, ammunition, and base defenses.”
In return, Moscow is allegedly promising to assist Somaliland in the international recognition and is willing to send more military advisors, both tactical and strategic, to assist the emerging Somaliland military.
Another Somaliland media, Qaran News, reported that Russia is interested in investing USD 250 million in Somaliland natural gas and petroleum extraction and transport in exchange for 35 percent of total profits.
The republic of Somaliland is the former British Somaliland Protectorate from the 1880s to June 26 1960. It was granted independence on June 26, 1960 by royal proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The state of Somaliland was recognized by 35 UN member states including the five permanent members of the Security Council.
The Italy Somaliland that got independence on July 1, 1960 five days after British Somaliland formed a republic and the formation of the union was a result of voluntary union between two states with their own colonial history. But separatist civil war breakout few decades after the union.
The number of external power is increasing in the region. Recently China has opened the first base in Djibouti, while Japan has established its oversea military base for the first time after World War II. USA, France, Italy and some few nations have bases in Djibouti in different scale, Saudi will be the next power to have a base in Djibouti. Turkey is also on the process to join the military crowed by forming a base in Somalia.