UAE Military Presence Expands in Africa

The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement to establish a second foreign military base in the Horn of Africa.

uae-military
The United Arab Emirates’ second air and naval base in the Horn of Africa will be established in the port city of Berbera, Somaliland.

By Awad Mustafa,

The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement to establish a second foreign military base in the Horn of Africa.

The new base, according to the source present at the negotiations, will be established at the coastal city of Berbera in Somaliland and will be an air and naval base. According to the government source the MoU was signed in the last week of September when a senior Somaliland delegation was in the UAE.

The self governing semi-autonomous Somaliland and the UAE enjoyed close political, economic and military ties since 2012.

The cooperation between the two countries intensified after the UAE’s involvement in the Yemen operations where the region’s strategic location south of the Bab al Mandeb strait proved crucial to their projection capabilities.



An area of 40km sq compromising of Berbera airport and sea front have been provided to the UAE for a period of 25 years and is renewable, the source added.

The base has been provided in exchange for security training, support and protection to the autonomous region, the source added, providing a much needed security blanket to Somaliland which borders Somalia to the south.

Just five kilometres away from the base UAE ports giant, Dubai Ports World, has signed earlier this year a $442 million deal to develop Berbera port. The 30 year deal will see the commercial port expanded and doubled in size next to a large free zone and other infrastructure projects to provide a new gate way to Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest growing economy.

According to Alexander Mello, security analyst at New York based Horizon Client Access the UAE’s plan to operate their Eritrean Assab base simultaneously with the Berbera base is quite plausible.

“Assab is still a pretty austere base, the work the UAE is doing there – especially the the expansion of the hangars and apron and building a new docking facility for UAE vessels 10km north of of current Assab port – is consistent with a long-term UAE presence,” Mello said.

>> ALSO READ : How Eritrea Became a Major UAE Military Base

The UAE has been putting up aircraft shelters and deployed half a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighters to the base in September, Mello added, which again is consistent with a long-term presence.

“They might be speeding up development of Berbera now to have a base out of Houthi missile range. It’s possible Assab will be focused more on supporting ops in Yemen and Berbera will be primarily used for conducting naval and air ops in the Bab al-Mandeb and Gulf of Aden with the U.S. and Egypt,” he said.

Shehab al Makahaleh, political analyst at consultancy group Geostrategic Media, said that despite the UAE previously adopting a cautious foreign policy the recent financial chaos, the Arab Spring and Islamic militancy has forced the UAE to safeguard their national security by securing major sea ports in Africa.

>> ALSO READ : Analysis of the UAE Military Base in Assab – Eritrea

“The UAE is increasingly focused on projecting military power, the unrest has prompted the UAE to have its own base in the Eritrean port of Assab. In 2015, this simple port was built up from empty desert into a modern airbase, deep-water port, and military training facility,” he said.

Al Makahleh said that “the rapid militarization” in the Horn of Africa by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, China, Russia, the UK, France – and the American presence on the west coast – under the aim to preserve the security and stability of the region has turned out to be a competition for its resources.




45 thoughts on “UAE Military Presence Expands in Africa

  1. Ethiopia is now officially confined and encircled by smaller fraction of States as small as Djibouti. Ethiopia needs to who could be best regional partner that’s a natural fit. It’s projected DJibouti will hand China more space to operate more advanced systems then the U.S. The more resources China invests in Djibouti the more U.S. will decline to expand operation in fear of being challenged. Already China’s intelligence is picking up U.S. activities on the horn and vice versa and in the process possible opening dialogue with Gov of Eritrea on the condition of shifting geopolitics on the middle east and horn.

  2. Two faced arabs, just look how they destroy Somalia whenever it suite their interests, Somalia and United Arab Emirates are both Arab members states but this is second time United Arab Emirates back passed the government in Mogadishu to sign agreement with separatists tribalist pro mengistu rebels in Hargeisa, this only shows how arabs are two faced when it comes to Somalia, they have never treated Somalia as equal partners like others Arab states for simple reason we are dark and poor, I hope the Somali government recognize the houthi and brings back the Iranians.

    1. I understand your frustration but here, we are talking about the so called Somalia “government”, an entity that has no legitimacy beyond the capital Mogadishu and a few enclaves around it and depends entirely on foreign mercenary peacekeepers for its security and survival.

      In other words, it has no authority over Somalia and its people and so to be called a Somalia government. This insignificant entity also lacks political independence as most of its foreign policy decisions are made either by Addis Ababa or Nairobi.

      Say, if the Egyptians want to offer their help to build the army so that this so called government to start relying on its own army than on its neighbors. Guess what? The offer rejected right away simply because TPLF Ethiopia doesn’t like Egyptians on Somalia soil. But when similar offer comes from Turkey, it was welcomed with open arms because the Turks are Ethiopia’s buddies.

      So why do the Arabs or the UAE for that matter bother to enter into any kind of deal, military or economic, with such spineless and useless entity?

      1. Even if somali government has no control over her territory still that doesn’t give another fellow Arab member to violate another Arab member territorial and political sovereignty after all the Arab League’s main goal is to safeguard their member’s independence and sovereignty, but hey its poor Somalia innit, to be abused and step on it and rightly the saudis have also banned Somalia’s livestock, how convenient in the middle of a drought, this is what we get for joining the Arab League.

        Regards to Egypt well Egypt is a poor country not much difference then Somalia and Somalia doesnt need a poor country to train its armed forces when they can easily get the best armies in the world the Americans, Turkish and the Britist etx to train the Somali army, Egypt is only good at training ragtag militia.

    2. One unique ability of Eritreans (PPl & GOV) is that they can measure and evaluate the progression of events precisely to the point when, why and where to take the decisive decision. Everything that happing in Eritrea now is not new Political or Economical developments. It is was a gradual relationship advancement steps that was in Eritrea’s agenda. We can Guess and comment from different political angels, like Yemen conflict, Ethiopian upheaval, horn Africa volatility, development and economical relations…Etc. But the reality on the ground is different from what we say and hear. If we are optimist expect positive outcome.

    3. Somaliland is a country that is pro Ethiopia, nothing mengistu about them. It’s also has shown it can be successful as an independent country. I really think it’s wise and better for everyone, including Somalia. Also, Iran coming would mean their ugly war coming our way, not the time to be emotional.

      1. How about Ethiopia and Somalia propose a land swap, Somaliland for Ogaden and the entire Oromia? Ethiopia will get another chance to a port (Berbera).

        1. I suggest you follow your parliament election very closely. Let alone Oromo, few wants to be called Somalia right now. But I never understood why you get emotional about Somaliland? Doesn’t the people have a choice to be independent? I’m only learning from you 25 years ago about how you were kind enough to teach us about Eritrea choosing its destiny? Don’t be a bad teacher please, walk the walk.

          1. Well Somalia isn’t like Ethiopia who gave Eritrea their independence without any thoughts or plans, what was meles thinking lol giving its only port to Eritrea? look where that got you.

            The problem with Somaliland is they claim parts of Puntland aka Khatumo state which is rich with natural resources other then that they are free to leave Somalia.

            The Isaaq clan who are the main separatists claim the entire ex Britist Somaliland, but the former British Somaliland was composed of 5 tribes, and only one tribe of these 5 want independence so under the Somali ferderal constitution any clan that doesn’t see its future with Somalia can take their tribal villages and leave Somalia peacefully, so the Isaaq clan only inhabite three cities Hargeisa, Berbera and Burco etc so this should be their Somaliland but the Isaaq clan want to expand and take other non Isaaq tribes land too which is unacceptable.

            So this is where the problem is.

            Ps your country (Ethiopia) isn’t perfect, who you kidding?

          2. I think what Sentek said is let the Somalia regional division be official – ie let them be three countries, and each governed by TPLF style federal administrative gobollada (regions). By all account, TPLF Ethiopianists like Sentek think that this would be good for everybody in the region, most importantly for the TPLF gangs in Addis. As one Somali leader pointed out years ago, TPLF only needs to secure just one of the regions, preferably Somaliland, to achieve its regional objectives. He also said it’s not in TPLF interest the other two regions/countries of Somalia to have peace.

          3. Ethiopians are rooting for stronger Somalia without the old ways of back and forth rivery. For the first time in years, Somalia doesn’t look at Ethiopia with suspicion and same goes for us. They still remember who harbor the ICU leaders and when, reason why sanctions was slapped. Is Saudi building that base or its UAE? Waiting for confirmation sir

          4. I know UAE is. As for Saudi, you will have to wait till 2017, Now, where are my pilots? It’s been 3 month since those youtube interviews were promised on this site.

            Speaking of the New Year, I hope you plan to challenge and think for yourself. This means stop believing all the nonsense of TPLF propaganda. You don’t have to defend everything the do, especially the killing of civilians in broad daylight.

            Lastly, please tell Abel to stop his avalanche of tweets under the names “I Stand With Ethiopia” and Tigray Legend.” Unless of course, he is getting paid by quantity of tweet, not quality. Marry Christmas!

    1. Hey, wish is free and Santa will also be soon in town…..I didn’t mean Geldof. Well…maybe him, for the 9 millions currently starved Ethiopians?

  3. the tiny state of djibouti is changed from an independent country in to international military outposts.what the hell is going on in the minds of the djiboutian government.there are many sectors they can make commercial deals with other countries, making money by allowing and inviting a mosaic of leading foreign powers to establish naval bases is going to aggravate the already unstable region of the horn of africa.their eyes seems blinded by hard currency and they are unable to predict the negative consequences of executing such dumb policy.the invironment will be polluted with time, there will be fierce competition among the countries having naval base there and the country can not devise its own policies that would make it vulnerable to interferences.such scenarios will also greatly affects the neighbouring countries like eritrea and ethiopia, there could be proxy wars that cows the regions prospect for economic progress.

    1. Djibouti is not a country .it just a commercial city Owen by one local Chief ,call himself President. talk to him anything can happened .he is unpredictable. LoL.

  4. Ethiopians are watching while Djibouti,Somalia,Eritrea,Mombaza & Portsudan will follow in to join The Arabs while they open their Ass before their country for Arab Investor’s they blame others and finally The Egyptians are coming they were preparing for the coming war between Egypt & Ethiopia since longtime The Evil Satan Woyane days are counted

  5. I never trusted the Arabs as I don’t the western powers or East for that matter. The good thing is, our government appears to be on top of everything without getting blind sided by any of these external actors.

  6. It looks like Shaleka Dawit Welde Gergious’s nightmare is coming true. I heard him on ESAT a few months ago how the Woyane policies (with support of the US) is pushing Eritrea towards the Arabs, and away from, what he calls, its natural associate – Ethiopia. He professed that once the Arabs set foot, the Eritrea-Ethiopian link will be gone for good, and Ethiopia will never be the same, or something along that line. This former Dergue Shaleka must have known all this was in the works to make such comments.

    1. I second ‘my 2 cents’, what we are witnessing is the rush to set foot in and around the HOA while it appears to be the most opportune time to do so. Most of the HOA member countries are desperate due to poverty and insecurity, of course, most importantly had no indigenous( homegrown) political system nor aspirations. On the other hand, we have a clearly defined and Eritrea driven agenda; therefore, had never sided with the wrong even at the darkest hour in our struggle to attain Eritrea’s independence.. because we had our own vision and aspirations as a people. Even today, our government sits as equal and negotiates in the best interest of the Eritrean people. Remember UNMEE? We had never followed ‘ab gZey wuRa wuRa…’ policy. Until our HOA community realize what we have is more valuable than what they’re offering, the charade will continue In short, the circus act will continue, and if not amusing it should be entertaining, as such we shall enjoy it while it lasts.

  7. What makes this newsworthy is not the fact they are “expanding” since they have 12000 active duty with little understanding of the toys they have but what a country like Somaliland, independent only on papers are producing to help the horn in such a magnificent way. In the meantime, the King of north is keeping his supporters in a suspense like Trump with a slogan so cute only can be directed at Hollywood. We will be great again, it’s going to be fantastic but ask for details and you willl see what a single digit IQ really looks like. Qatar FM was in Addis few days ago with understanding the horn will never be a playground for Arabs and their job is to keep DP world operations smooth while Somalia is being rebuilt and GERD is done. Welcome to the horn.

  8. UAE aims to build military base in Somaliland

    (BBC World Service) – The United Arab Emirates wants to build a military base in the port of Berbera in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, according to a memorandum of understanding.

    Somaliland’s Transport Minister Farhaan Aadan Haybe said the issue would be debated in parliament.

    The UAE already has a military facility at the Eritrean port of Assab, which it uses in its campaign against Houthi rebels in nearby Yemen.

    Earlier this year, Somaliland signed a deal with the UAE ports giant, DP World, to develop the port at Berbera, which mainly exports livestock to the Middle East.

    1. Now that’s more like it but I have a question. Where is your confirmation there is Qatar permanent base in Assab? MoU, anything to suggest Qatar will violate UN embargo at all? The UN monitor has given clear advice on what constitutes violation, only cuz there is a part of me that likes to believe shabo supporters are a little different than Trump’s? They just don’t accept “trust me” for confirmation, do they?

  9. U see, the TPLF regime pushed Eritrea to its limits.. with the help of its handlers thru sanctions, spreading false propaganda and of-course abandoning Eritrean ports in-order to cripple its economy. And Eritrea shifted its gears for its best interest! Weather it is for short or long term interest, Eritrea has a legitimate right to secure its Interest. And that’s why we rented our port to the UAE because it’s in our interest. This is not about like or dislike– this is politics, and in politics it’s nothing personal just business. And those who doesn’t like it they can hang themselves simple as that.????

    The bridge with Tigray is not going to constructed ever again the best option is.. To build a wall between Eritrea and tiny-Tigray forever!!
    —————————————————–
    And yes we see some Ugumesh on the internet saying … Eritrea is bringing the Arabs and it’s bad for us blah blah. Well to all Ugumesh– Dah!! aren’t u the one to trying to destroy us thru the West/whites!! Soooo Tit-for-tat Ugumesh!! ????

    They think.. TPLF has the ” Right” to isolate, contain, sanction, bully, threaten to invade and/or change the Regime in Eritrea,not to mention the Evil Axis of the Sanaa Forum, why can’t Eritrea to defend itself by making Alliances and Mutual Cooperation? ”

    *****Eritrea is a sovereign nation!!-it can do whatever it wants with its land, sea and sky!!*** and in the end we crash our enemies and send them to the dustbin. “Eritrea didn’t sacrificed 100,000 Martyrs just to be bullied and threatened and manipulated.. Eritrea is an Independent and Sovereign State with full right to exercise what Sovereign Nations exercises!!”

    Zelalemawi k’bri N’swatna!!
    Awet n’Hafash!!✊????????????????????????????

    ——————————-
    Just to be clear about Djibouti..

    When Djibouti was given a Suicide mission by its handlers to fight Eritrea, in-order to creat another drama… Jabouti thought Eritrea was not that strong. However, GoE had something important in its mind. As Djibouti keeps attracting foreign powers it was inevitable that it was going to try to expand its land mass by pushing around Eritrea with the help of superpowers. And GoE faced them at their door step and stopped Djibouti’s dream once and for all. GoE is someone who does not get disturbed by short term challenges and of-course very experienced. And that is why ናይ ጂቡቲ ጠራዕራዕ ቀልጢፋ ዝሓለፈት!! ????

    1. Well elaborated my brother! The 100,000 plus the 19,000 (is it included in the 100,000?) is not for nothing. When I think of our traitors that comes to my mind is always our martyrs. Not only the dead and the life handicapped are also to my mind.

      1. Of-course..Yes they are included brother. And ya, this traitors in the end.. they are going to pay for all the havoc they caused.

    2. Off course ,You proud of it being a slave. I did n,t surprise because i know, you inherited it from your ancestors.

      The Eritrean Banda were a mercenary Of Arab groups. This Ascari was created in Eritrea by Sadik Hassan in 19th century.

      1. Slave?! LOL.. We all know who’s the slaves Uncle Toms of the West/Whites. Aren’t u the ppl that do the bidding of the white man for a bags of wheat!???? ur mission to isolate Eritrea backfired and now.. U are the most hated and isolated creatures inside Ethiopia. And soon u are going to lose what u already have. Sahsah Agame.

        Qomal Agame!! It’s time for u too weep!! There will be no mercy from us this time.

        1. You leve in a white mans nation you work for a white man’s company your hall live is dependent on the whim of the white man just like hunderends of tousends of your brothers also living and begging well fair and asylum all over the white man’s countrys.. you are a pathetic hipocrate, and your nation and your people is right now the woyanes of the world, you have riched the bottom of how blind and stupid on can be congratulation..

          1. All big companies even in Ethiopia are owned and controlled by the whites and asians, lol. However Eritrea has over 200 state-owned and therefore eritrean-owned companies. Many eritreans are also entrepreneurs in Eritrea & abroad, they start their own business such as a small café. We’re smart, unlike some others.

          2. Haha.. Ugumesh tigebra, we’re the owners of our country, everything in Eritrea is owned by Eritreans. Can’t say the same for u. Selling ur kids just to get by. LOL.. What a shame, sending ur soldiers to their deaths for the white man interest in Somalia and ur payment a bag of GM-wheats.????

    3. Stupid and blind as always UAE,Qatar and the soudis are the biggest us allay in that region ,they are the ones who will not be invaded unlike Syria, Iraq and now Yemen who are in the target to be bombed to Stone ages like Syria and your skizo gov have now joined the party helping Qatar bomb Yemen to stone ages. But senes you as a blind supporter you don’t calculate out of your free mind but out of what ever hgdf do is the right thing to do mind set..

      1. Who gives a shit if they are allies of the devil, we are getting billions without breaking a sweat. Unlike u sending ur soldiers to die all over Somalian desert for a bags of GM-wheats. ????

    4. Alec:
      Please give credit to where it belongs…
      This thread was CC from a certain comment made by “Truth” some where here or at madote.
      .”If TPLF has the ” Right” to isolate, contain, sanction, bully, threaten to invade and/or change the Regime in Eritrea,not to mention the failed agenda/ motive of the Evil Axis of the Sanaa Forum, why can’t Eritrea have the right to defend itself by making Alliances and Mutual Cooperation?

      *****Eritrea is a sovereign nation!!And as such,it has a right to do and can do whatever it wants with its land, sea and sky!!***
      Eritrea didn’t sacrifice 100,000 Martyrs just to be bullied and to be threatened and /or be manipulated.
      Eritrea is an Independent and Sovereign State with full right to exercise what Sovereign Nations exercise!!”
      Courtesy of Truth(aka Hope???)

  10. An Ethiopian dude gives the following shallow analysis about the expansion Arab militarism in the Horn of Africa

    The Arabs’ military incursion in the Horn: what does it mean for Ethiopia?

    Given the past records of Saudi, UAE, Qatar, and their messenger regime of Eritrea, the Horn of Africa, particularly Ethiopia’s security will be targeted. We should be reminded that there was a time when Eritrea supported Yemen’s Houthi fighters and functioned as a transshipment location for Iranian supplies heading to them. In the recent dance, Iran is rejected and the future will decide what the later will do to Eritrea if UAE and Saudi continue to settle there. Suffice to it; Sudanese troops also have participated in Saudi led military operation against Yemen which is shamefully against the Sana Forum. Thus, power balance of the region is changing. The political arrangement of the Horn is unpredictable. Friends can be enemies and enemies can be friends overnight, just like that. What is the position of Ethiopia in this regard?

    Last months, Egyptian leaders were busy begging Somalia, Somaliland, and Djibouti to secure commercial and military base lands, which all deals were unsuccessful for the sharp decision, came from Somaliland leaders. Stating Egypt’s move is against Ethiopia and only for its own self-interest, Somaliland leaders refused to provide any base lands. The Somali leaders responded similarly though what the response of Djibouti was unknown at least for this author.

    The Egyptian motive in the horn of Africa is not secret that it wants to encircle the historical perceived enemy – Ethiopia from halting the ongoing construction of Renaissance Dam which is being built on the Nile River. Thus, Egypt is conspiring to weaken Ethiopia by engaging in proxy war through supporting Eritrea, Al Shabaab terrorist groups in Somalia and some local anti-peace elements. Hence, it is simple to conclude that Egypt can side with anybody ready to wage war against Ethiopia for the sake of securing the Nile River fully. Egypt’s move is, thus strategically and is expected.

    The Qatari government is also famous for sponsoring anti Ethiopia groups in the region including Eritrea, Al Shabaab, and local rebels. Surprisingly, the tiny oil rich Qatar is against Saudi influence in the Arab world by projecting its own influence in the horn of Africa and beyond. Qatar is also strong in sponsoring Eritrea to involve in Somalia’s proxy war against Ethiopia.

    Exactly, the proxy war is among Egypt, Iran and Saudi for own deep interests in the horn of Africa. Qatar, Eritrea, UAE might have big role but are not the deciders. Saudi is known for organizing and spreading fundamentalist Islamists in the horn particularly to Ethiopia. And again, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia are next-door countries to Ethiopia. What happened to those countries has direct implications to Ethiopia. I do not see anything Ethiopia is doing to halt such serious encirclement against it by the stated countries so far. The strength of Al Shabaab against Ethiopia in Somalia attributed hugely to Saudi, Qatar, and Egypt through Eritrea. What is more worrying is that the stated opposing Arab countries are one in the issue of being against Ethiopia.

    The Ethiopian Foreign and Security white paper clearly states that Ethiopia cannot remain peaceful if the horn of Africa remained in state of anarchy. For example, the political crisis in Yemen, Eritrea, Somalia, and South Sudan has been affecting seriously to Ethiopia’s political, economic, and social orders. Egypt, Qatar, Eritrea are struggling to set foots in our backyard so that they can get bases to destabilize Ethiopia. In Somalia, Saudi, Eritrea, Qatar and Egypt have been playing the cards against Ethiopia’s constructive role in stabilizing Somalia. As a result, IGAD is seriously weakened. The Sana’a Forum where Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti established for this purpose has been dead the time Sudan, Djibouti sided with Saudi led coalition invaded Yemen who was member state of the forum. The Forum was a military cooperation where it was mandated to defend each other. However, we have seen the friends turned against each other abandoning the agreement.

    https://hornaffairs.com/en/2016/12/21/arab-military-incursion-implication-ethiopia/

    1. This is because they don’t see things 360 degrees. They talk what they wish instead of trying to think positively to the extent how Africans could be out of darkness. Thinking positive is always the best choice!

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