Somaliland: Irro Rejects UAE Military Base, terms it Injurious to Recognition Aspirations


As the speaker of parliament and opposition party Wadani presidential candidate in a message to the nation argues that the deal ill only invite foreign conflict and paucity among the populace while urging MPs to act not with their stomachs by conscience
Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament cum Wadani party presidential candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi Irro

By: Yusuf M Hasan

Somalilandsun – The Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament cum Wadani party presidential candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi Irro has expressed great misgivings at the proposed agreement to facilitate a military base said to have been entered between the government of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates
Irro who issued a message expressing his misgivings which was addressed to all citizens and members of Parliament said that the planned military base will not only embroil Somaliland in conflicts abroad but will eventually lead to a breakdown in the livelihoods of citizens who depend on imports of basic commodities not to mention export of livelistock their economic mainstay.
In his message in which the speaker of parliament cum opposition Wadani party presidential candidate queries the inherent benefits of existing foreign agreements was also pertinent on the Imperatives of his colleagues at the legislature acting not as pertains dictates of their stomachs but in a manner geared towards protecting the nation.
On the proposed plan by the administration to submit an agreement signed with the UAE for a military base to Parliament on 12th February, the Opposition politician wondered on the content for berate in lieu of conflicting reports by the presidency, yes we have an agreement and Foreign minister, No a contract has not been signed.
On the issue of alleged huge financial benefits claimed by the government once the deal is approved
Irro said that the benefits of such a contract was negligible and unworthy of even perusal since it negates the quest for self rule pursued by Somalilanders at huge costs of live and property subsequently leading to withdrawal from union with Somalia in 1991.
Said he, “The UAE will pay $1.2m annually for using Berbera port and airport for naval and air force bases” terming it meager considering that when Russians used the same place it built the Somalia national army to become the strongest in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Irro when the Americans took over the base from the Russians they paid Siyad Barre $100m million annually as rent which would be equivalent to $1billion literally translating to $100m a month.
Below are verbatim of the initial, Somali language message from Irro translated by this writer who takes responsibility for any errors.

Message to the public and members of Parliament on the Position of the speaker of parliament and Wadani party presidential candidate On the proposed UAE military base in Berbera
Quote- Since my party Wadani has expressed its opinion and stand on the proposed awarding of a military base to the United Arab Emirates- this is my personal message to the public and members of Parliament as per my personal position on the issue.
To this effect I hereby inform members of the public that my personal position on the issue is in tandem with that of the Opposition Wadani party and its affiliate members of Parliament, that is total rejection
But first things first
Does our Country Need a Foreign Military Base?
The answer to this question is simply and concisely NO,
For every citizen of Somaliland the question is, Does the base enhance our national identity and does come with recognition?
Again the answer is NO
In this issue it is important for all citizens and members of Parliament to know that the proposed recipient of a military base is a country that officially regards Somaliland as a region of Somalia.
Will Somaliland get reciprocal benefits from awarding the base?
Definitely NO
According to the initial letter of request the UAE will pay $1.2m as annual rent for the base which is equivalent to $100,000 monthly.
Following public query on this figure the government justified the arrangement because of other funds to be facilitated by the UAE for development projects in the country
Berbera airport was once utilized by Russia and later by the United States of America as a military base.
During the use by Russia, the Berbera airport saw major developments that saw it attain its current status as having the longest runway in Africa while the Somalia National Army was developed to become one of the strongest in Africa.
When the USA took over in 1981 it paid the government of Siyad Barre an annual rent of $100m in today’s value equivalent to $1 billions, meaning that monthly rent paying would be $100m today.
My fellow citizens and Members of Parliament we fought the government of Siyad Barre and withdrew from union with Somalia because we want our country to benefit more than it was receiving then and not less if the UAE military deal is example.
What is the Inheritance here?
Totally Nothing
For twenty five years we have offered our children zero, inheritance and benefits while we freely avail foreigners our resources and land.
Ironically and despite giving our land freely we as nationals are not allowed to even enter or look inside whatever is the end use, not to mention that any prior agreements entered are never implemented
My fellow citizens and members of Parliament, this agreement we are about to enter for military base will surely embroil our country in conflicts it is not part of, for the UAE Air Force will use the base to attack Yemen
If the UAE which is a part of the Saudi led coalition waging war in Yemen attacks that county from our territory, it is without doubt that this will create enmity with Yemen a neighbouring and friendly country which is approximately 70kms away from our borders
On the hand this outcome will surely harm our national economy if Somaliland is pulled to the War in Yemen considering that most of our basic livelihood commodities are imported insurance free from Yemen while the UAE base will also drive away other shipping lines from our port.
Citizens and MPs both the dragging to war and loss of free flowing imports and exports as a result of such a military base will no doubt impinge negatively on our national economy and people’s lives
Is there already an agreement with the UAE
Impossible to discern because
1. On 7th February 2017 the Somaliland informed the two chambers of Parliament that it shall submit on the 12th an agreement for a military base it the administration entered with the UAE
2. But on 10th February 2017 the minister of foreign affairs revealed that an agreement for the military base between Somaliland and UAE is yet to be signed.
So the question is what will the administration submit to Parliament on the 12th February?
Joint Session of Parliament
While the presidency has informed that it shall submit the UAE military base agreement to a joint session of the Somaliland Parliament namely Guurti and House of representatives, as per article 38 section 6 of the constitution Records do not indicate any foreign agreement approved after being entered by the government.
But in contrary the authority to approve such foreign agreements is vested on the House of Representatives by article 53 section 3 of the Somaliland constitution
To this effect the proposed joint parliamentary session called by the presidency on the 12th February 2017 is unconstitutional but will take place in respect to request by the head of state
That said it is important to note the law does not shift only People do, thence this should not be allowed to become the norm
My Personal Messge to Members of Parliament
Honourables, today a great responsibility is vested on your shoulders
It is your duty to correct and set the administration straight while acting in concert with wishes of your constituents, the citizens of Somaliland.
From your actions on this day and as pertains the UAE military base you will either be acclaimed or given negative nicknames.
Honourables, You have STOMACHS, You have BRAINS, today choose BRAINS.
On Authority of the three National. Arms of Governance
In the run up to submission of the UAE agreement the presidency has turned special attention to the legislators.
The administration has been summoning legislators, by clan affiliation and individually to the presidency where they are being enticed to support the agreement.
Our legislature requires urgent support and I therefore call upon members of the public to avail, urgently this support to their parliamentarians

Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi ‘Irro’
Speaker of Parliament and
Wadani Party presidential candidate
Hargeisa Somaliland