Somalilandsun -Gulf Cooperation Countries aligned with Saudi Arabia are now perceiving Somaliland as a very important strategic partner.
The new perception has been exacerbated by two events revolving in the GCC namely the fallout with Qatar and the ongoing Saudi led coalition war in Yemen.
With somaliland’s nemesis Somalia having sided with Qatar , authorities in Hargeisa have turned in the opposite direction thence support to the Saudi and UAE led cause.
Relations between Somaliland and this two major GCC countries have heightened to multi-million dollar and official political high level relations
The United Arab Emirates which is investing over a quarter billion dollars in the DP World managed port of Berbera has also announced that Somaliland is its third ranked country as pertains to investment.
At the same time the Emiratis have secured rights to establish a military base in the Somaliland port city of Berbera which has ensued with its relations with Somalia deteriorating to its worst levels ever.
Somalia has even approached the United Nations on this issue as it claims sovereignty of Somaliland though the two countries union was scampered in 1991 Following a decade of brutal war between SNM rebels and Somali army under Late Siad Barre.
As the tussle in the UN dissipated in thin air, the Somalia authorities seized an Emirati plane and confiscated millions of dollars at the Aden Adde airport in Mogadishu.
A short while later Somalia’s administrative region of Puntland seized a large amount of military equipment belonging to the Emirates, this time in Bosaso.
The Huff by the Mogadishu based Somali federal government against the UAE that even saw diplomats from the two capitals recalled had earlier on been preceded by Somaliland authorities not only ceasing all Cooperation with Qatar but banning the Gulf countries airliner from overflying its airspace.
As for the giant Saudi Arabia which had been visited, thrice, by President Farmajo of Somalia specifically to entice King Salman Bin Abdulaziz to intervene with the UAE, did not only ignore the request but actually intensified its contacts with authorities in Hargeisa.
To add salt to injury the Saudis also accepted the Somaliland passport as a valid traveling document to that country, a decision replicating the Emiratis who had a few days earlier done the same.
To raise the ante for Somaliland, King Salman hosted VP Abdirahaman Sayli and his entourage at the king’s palace in Riyadh from where the pursuant discussions revolved around the recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign nation by the kingdom.
While no official statement was released by either of the government’s, an interview given to Gobjoog, a Somalia news agency by Ahmed Mohamed Member of Somaliland parliament’s House of Representatives is worthy of noting.
According to MP Ahmed who first started by terming the federal government of Somalia as his country’s enemy number, the much opposed recognition of Somaliland by Mogadishu is now almost a foregone conclusion.
“The governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are at advanced stages with preparations of formal Somaliland recognition”
For Somaliland which has been in pursuit of an elusive recognition since withdrawing from its union with Somalia in 1991, the pursuit of GCC nod is strategically important for both sides
According to the president of Somaliland Muse Behi Abdi, the alliance with these two countries is not only economically important either way but long standing as well
“In today’s world we should be very strategic and cooperate with who is a friend of us and resist who is exploiting us, therefore we should make use of our strategic location in the world,” President Bihi told Arab News.
In the Gulf, President Bihi added, Somaliland is very close to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for a number of reasons.
“Firstly we are neighbors of Saudi Arabia and not neighbors of Qatar, second, our exports go to Saudi Arabia, third in Saudi Arabia there are two holy mosques that we have to visit, so consider all these reasons for us to be aligned with Saudi Arabia.”
The UAE, President Bihi said, is a key economic ally.
“All our imports depend on the UAE and their ports, all our flights come through the UAE. It is our bridge to the world,” he said.
Despite the seemingly good news as pertains the 27 Years elective quest for recognition, Somalilanders should actual hold their horses until Riyadh and Abu Dhabi does as anticipated, for it might be just another gimmick.
While waiting for the GCC the authorities in Somaliland should seriously think of changing tack in its quest for recognition from the Western world and eye the east especially Russia.