As the demonstrators Outside UAE embassy in London not only reject establishment of an Emirati military base in Berbera but protest intervention of Somaliland affairs by Somalia as well
By: Yusuf M Hasan
This Somalilandsun- We are not against the UAE, the Emirates and its people are our brothers. They’ve helped us throughout time,”
This sentiment was expressed by Somaliland citizens in the U.K. during demonstrations outside the United Arab Emirates embassy in London in protest against the creation of an Emirati military base in the Somaliland port town of Berbera
According to Middle East monitor https://www.middleeastmonitor.com the Protesters carried banners in Arabic and English calling for an end to wars and for the funds to be redirected to aid projects rather than military warfare, “Somaliland needs aid not military base”,
“We are not against the UAE, the Emirates and its people are our brothers. They’ve helped us throughout time,” a protester said.
“We don’t want to be dragged into a war. Our country is stable. We don’t care if someone is Shia or Sunni, we are all Muslim.”
“All we want is peace,” another explained, “but our government has sold land to the UAE for a military base so it can attack Yemen, but the people of Yemen are our brothers and we don’t want to be dragged into this war on them.”
News that the UAE is to build a military base in Berbera was made public last month.
For the organizers there were FIVE REASONS TO SUPPORT DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE UAE EMBASSY IN LONDON ON THURSDAY 2ND MARCH 2017 IN PROTEST AGAINST MILITARY BASE
During the demonstration the citizens of Somaliland in the diaspora also showed great disdain to regular interference of their yet to be recognized country’s internal affairs by neighbouring Somalia.
Following approval by Somaliland parliamentarians to award a military base to the UAE, the Somalia Federal Authorities in Mogadishu who continue to claim jurisdiction over Somaliland termed the deal as illegal and committed to derailing it through the Arab league and UN.
This move to curtail the deal saw the just elected Somalia president Farmajo make Saudi Arabia his first maiden visit abroad destination with the purpose of persuading King Salman to intervene with the Emiratis
Though not internationally recognized as a sovereign nation, Somaliland a former British protectorate withdrew from its 1960 voluntary later turned fateful union with Somalia a former Italian colony , 25 years ago.
In Hargeisa where a elders and MPs unanimously approved the government deal to award a military base to the UAE during a joint session of parliament (Guurti and House of Representatives) issues were not so unanimous.
According to the Opposition party Wadani the approval came through a hijacked legislature in which dissenting members were manhandled by presidential guards while terming the inclusion of Guurti elected as unconstitutional
In a post approval press statement the Somaliland Opposition party Wadani stated that “considers the 12th Feb 2017 act of voting in the Somaliland Joint Session of the House of Representatives and the Guurti as unconstitutional and no agreement is approved for the establishment of a military Base in Berbera by the UAE”
Click to read verbatim excerpts of the Wadani press statement.
For the government things had gone perfectly and as per law as pertained the its deal facilitating the first foreign military facility in Somaliland since it reclaimed its sovereignty 25 years ago, which the authorities used expected financial and development support from the UAE as justification.
As per the demonstrations in London, the government which accused Opposition Wadani party as organizers in collusion with Somalia federal authorities, which is tantamount to alluding treason by the Opposition politicians though without providing any evidence, were also quick to point out that the protests in the U.K. will not change an iota back home since the Emirati military base issue was a foregone conclusion
In the meantime the debate on the pros and cons of the first foreign military base in Somaliland goes on with divergent views but one thing Somalilanders are unanimous about is that ,Somalia has nether legal nor moral purview over what Somaliland does within its boundaries.