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HORN OF AFRICA : GLOBAL SECURITY AND TRADE SYSTEM STABILITY
BY: Ali Nour.
Peace and Security Analyst
On the world we live today few great Maritimes arteries are the definitive check points for the International Trade System, International Stability and Wealth also. The Suez Canal, Baba-Almandab and the Red Sea region Sea lines. The waters of these sea lines have served as a vital commercial highway for the Global Trading System. Definitely
these strategic waters are not only of great economic importance only to the countries that border it like Danube River System but the whole Global Trading System at large. It is clear that the Suez Canal took the advantage of the mechanization of ship to create a stable, rapid and increasingly reliable heavy fright capability.
Further more, this International water contains one of the most importance strategic waterway in the world, the Baba-Almandab, with out it much of the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa would make little sense. It is estimated that approximately 18,000 ships pass via Bab-Almandab yearly.
Similarly, around ten percent of the Western Oil supplies pass through Bab-Almandab. This is why all the maritime trading nations that use the Suez Canal have an interest that Bab-Almandab remains open and safe for shipping movement.
It is necessary to understand this Global matrix to provide a context for understanding the paramount significance of the Horn of Africa region to the stability of the global economies and the wellbeing of the lives of the International community. Indeed, you can imagine the geopolitical link and how the red sea region is tied to the Horn of Africa
For instance, the State of Israel, which has a strong trade in the Far East and has a political conflict with the Arab World over the past 50- years, is so sensitive the safety of the openings of the Bab-Almandab. Strategically, the State of Israel needs the Bab-Almandab more then they need the Suez Canal. It was said there was a secret strategic war alliance agreement between Egypt and Republic of Somalia during the Egyptian-Israel war in 1973.
The Egyptian Government appealed to the Republic of Somalia which was a credible state within the Arab League and a potential ally of Egypt to disturb and refuse the Israeli Shipping movement going to the Far East via the Bab- Almandab. However, this strategic war alliance against Israel failed as the western countries opposed it. In 1993, The State of Israel established a military base in one of the Countries that borders the red sea region to secure its national security in the region.
Despite its strategic for today's world economies, the red sea region faces many problems, especially security, pollution and environmental degradation. Experts believe that these problems will only intensify as the coastal population increase in size. It will be only to this problem if the red sea countries will overcome their weakness and consolidate their economic, security, political and strategic cooperation.
Such cooperation would not only bring peace and stability in the region but also support the increase of the prosperity and welfare of the peoples of the Horn specifically and the world at large. It is marked the region we live to day -The Horn of Africa - a Zone which security threats and political instability are ever present and one of the most factors is lack of strong regional integration among the States of the Horn.
The Horn of Africa controls a long coastline of the red sea and there are some strategists and geopolitician who are far too overlooked today in this world of quick-fixes and instant technologies, talked about the significance of these coastlines of both world and regional economies.
It is an historic fact that Horn of Africa red sea ports has played a great role the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As the Cold War developed, Soviet interests of establishing Military Base in the Horn of Africa grew. Thus, Moscow began donating the Republic of Somalia military logistical supply which lead Moscow of establishing naval access at Berbera port. Definitely, when the war between Somalia and Ethiopia broke out, the forces of Somalia was backed by the Soviet Union .
However, as the Horn become the center of the Cold War build up on the continent Somalia gained support from the United State of America which give them the chance to take over the Strategic port of Berbera. The importance of the region for the western powers continues to this day as a huge amount of Oil still being shipped out of the middle east as well as the rise of Global war against terrorism led by Washington and its new strategies of establishing AFRICOM in the continent.
In this connection, U.S. forces in the neighboring Djibouti are habitually visits the Somaliland' main sea port of Berbera and this resulted at the last that Senior Officers of the Pentagon expressed U.S. administration their willingness of establishing military base in Somaliland's strategic city of Berbera. In addition to that independent Security and Counterterrorism experts recommending that Horn of Africa is a forgotten Counterterrorism Strategy.
I call Washington to provide political, economic and military support to the States in the Horn of Africa to enable it to withstand security threats of the terrorism and ensure the Stability of this International Water way.
As long as I fellow the situation step by step, Washington's new policies of the region was also backed by a recommendations coming from the American Senior diplomats and Scholars. For example, Hon: Ambassador David Shinn- Specialist in East African Affairs at University in Washington called US government to establish diplomatic office in Hargiesa, Somaliland.
Also, Mr. Shinn advised the U.S. to send American diplomats speaking Arabic language and having some Islamic courses throughout the Horn as the Muslim are significant number the entire population in the Horn.
Similarly, on June 2006, Dr. J. Peter Pham American Somalia specialist who spoke at House of Africa Subcommittee meeting urged Bush Administration to open of what he called "minimal consular presence" in Hargeisa and to initiate Security co-operation with Somaliland through the US counter-terrorism force stationed in nearby Djibouti.
Finally, the fact that Horn of Africa essentially dominates strategic position in the red sea waters at straits of Bab-Almandab would give the Horn of Africa an enormous strategic importance to serve as of world and regional shipping routes as the red sea is a Bridge between the Arab World and Africa.
BY: Ali Nour.
Peace and Security Analyst