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Moscow May Recognize Breakaway Somaliland Republic To Open A Base – OpEd


Russia hopes to open a 1500-man naval base in the breakaway republic of Somaliland in the horn of Africa, a region where numerous countries have done so in recent years because of its strategic location. But in exchange, Africa sources say, the Somaliland leadership expects Russia to recognize its independence from Somalia.

If that happens, Moscow, which under Vladimir Putin has recognized two breakaway republics on the territory of the former Soviet space and promoted secessionist movements in Europe and the United States, would send a powerful signal that it is now prepared to get involved with secessionist groups in Africa, which are both numerous and troublesome.

And that more than the extent to which such a base would challenge other countries including the United States and China which have military facilities in the horn could open the way to even greater Russian adventurism, especially coming on the heels of Russian intervention in the Central African Republic.

According to reports in the Moscow media this week, Russian diplomats began talking with the breakaway government at the end of last year about the possibility of establishing a base in Somaliland and are close to an agreement ( and

The base would be home for two minesweepers, four frigates, and two submarines, a reflection of Russia’s inability to build larger ships. It would also have two long runways capable of handling up to six military transport jets and 15 fighters, the Russian media say. Moscow reportedly has offered 250 million US dollars in investment.

Somaliland in turn wants official Russian recognition and has not been shy about talking about that in the media. Whether the republic will get that remains to be seen, especially as one country – the UAE – already has a base there but has not officially recognized the breakaway republic.

Moscow, however, has shown itself more than willing to violate the international rules of the game; and consequently, it may be quite prepared to shake things up by taking this step, especially as that likely would allow Russia to claim a military presence there without having to spend money it does not now have.

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Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

3 thoughts on “Moscow May Recognize Breakaway Somaliland Republic To Open A Base – OpEd

  • April 10, 2018 at 6:41 am

    Do you dread entering a negotiation? Do you worry that what you want will not match what the other person wants to give? Do you worry about having to “play hardball” and souring a good working relationship? After all, for someone to win, someone else has to lose, right? Well, not necessarily.

    Chances are, you can find a solution that leaves all parties feeling like winners by adopting the aptly-named “win-win” approach to negotiation.

    In this article, it is win win for both side if russia recognize somaliland they are not breaking any law and this is what south africa say about somaliland In 2003, Department of Foreign Affairs by way of a legal opinion stated that: “it is undeniable that Somaliland does indeed qualify for statehood, and it is incumbent on the international community to recognise it.[17]” It is without doubt that Somaliland has demonstrated rarest of rare things: self-generated post-conflict reconstruction resulting in harmony and good governance with no international intervention.

  • April 10, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Sorry Paul but the Russians are dancing all over the world.

  • April 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    we welcome any state working to respond the development of somaliland and its people.


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