The Impact of Signing a Memorandum of Understanding… Somaliland's breakaway regions Ethiopia is engaged in regional and internal communications, and observers believe Addis Ababa's latest move will lead to a tripartite alliance of Somalia, Eritrea and Egypt to contain and pressure it to prevent its expansion in Addis Ababa. Find a foothold in Beba waters. Red Sea.
On the other hand, societies in the breakaway region of Somaliland are experiencing deep divisions over the understanding reached between the region's president, Moussa Bihi Abdi, and Ethiopia's prime minister. Abiy AhmedUnder the agreement, Ethiopia recognized the region's independence, which in turn gave it access to naval ports and military bases.
Reference map of alliances Somalia's president is working with Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud According to her plan, his plane landed at Asmara International Airport, the capital of Eritrea, on January 8 for a two-day working visit.
issues of common concern
The choice of Eritrea as the destination for Mahmoud's first overseas trip since the crisis began did not exceed expectations, as Ethiopia's desire to go to sea is a common concern for Mogadishu and Asmara, two countries with which Addis Relations with Ababa have experienced mild tensions, culminating with a statement by Ethiopia's prime minister in which he affirmed the country's right to a sovereign port on the Red Sea.
The Eritrean Information Ministry responded to Ahmed, without publishing his name, stressing that it would not “get caught up in such alleys and platforms”, while sources spoke of troop reinforcements on the country's southern front lines to prevent an Ethiopian attack on Eritrea. . Port of Assab, Eritrea.
The signing of a memorandum of understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland did little to alleviate Asmara's concerns, especially after Ethiopia's prime minister issued a statement saying Addis Ababa had lost access to the sea due to “historical and legal mistakes.” “In the wake of civil war and foreign intrigue, the Ethiopian government has been working for years to right this wrong.
These phrases did not go down well in Eritrea as they were interpreted as referring to the country's independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year war that resulted in Ethiopia becoming one of Africa's largest landlocked countries. one.
On the other hand, relations between Somalia and Eritrea have achieved significant development in recent years. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and President Isaias Afwerki signed an agreement on strengthening defense and security cooperation in July 2022. Memorandum of Understanding.
Observers predict that the Sower-European relations will achieve greater development in the next stage, and the areas of cooperation between the two parties will continue to expand.
Somali political analyst Nur Gedi believes that Asmara and Mogadishu are likely to unify their positions on many documents related to foreign policy, especially regional policy.
Gedi added to Al Jazeera that Eritrea opened its first embassy in Eritrea last November to strengthen diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Mohamed Haile Omar, an expert on Horn of Africa affairs, believes that Somalia's ambassador to Eritrea Omar Idris, one of the country's top diplomats, is one of the key figures in solving the Somali issue. Developing Somalia-Eritrea relations.
military security cooperation
In a statement to Al Jazeera Network, Omar confirmed that based on information received from Somalia, Mogadishu believes that the troops trained in Eritrea are the best, adding that the Somali government is investing in Eritrea to train more soldiers.
Since the era of former Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (2017-2022), Asmara has begun training thousands of Somali soldiers on its territory, with the first batch of soldiers returning at the end of 2022, There are reports that they are an important part of the Somali army. forces involved in Mogadishu's war against the movement. Since the middle of last year, young people.
It is expected that the training mission carried out in Asmara in the next phase will become the core of further expansion of security and military cooperation between the two sides. The escalation of conflicts in Ethiopia and Somalia may lead to the resort to force by both parties. proxy wars against each other.
Under this scenario, Mohamed Haile Omar expected Somalia to provide support to Ethiopian opposition groups, especially the Oromo Liberation Army in southern Ethiopia, while Eritrea would increase its support for the Fano Amhara militia in the north.
The Ethiopian government is fighting multiple rebel military factions, the most prominent of which is the Oromo Liberation Army, which issued a statement after signing a memorandum of understanding stressing that such measures require federal approval in Mogadishu, calling on Somalia Iran respects the principles of Somalia's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the agreements it has concluded.
Egypt returns to the Horn of Africa
At the same time, many indicators point to Cairo joining this alliance as it loudly rejects Ethiopia’s memorandum of understanding with Somaliland.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry issued a statement stressing the need to fully respect Somalia's sovereignty and the right of the Somali people to “fully” benefit from its resources, and warned of the dangers of movements and actions that destabilize the Horn of Africa.
Mohamed Haile Omar explained this position, saying that competition is a feature of Egypt's relations with Ethiopia and that Cairo does not want Ethiopia to have access to the sea, given the bitter dispute between the two countries over the Renaissance Dam. considered a threat to its water security.
The Somalia-Ethiopia crisis provides an opportunity for Egypt to reposition itself in the Horn of Africa region, where Cairo has gradually lost many of its allies and power factors in favor of Ethiopia.
Developments in Sudan's raging war have sounded alarm bells at the decision-making center in Cairo, especially as the Rapid Support Forces near Ethiopia continue to gain ground while Sudanese forces are under threat. A hostile alliance emerged on its southern border.
In this context, Egypt's diplomacy is active. After the signing of the memorandum, a high-level Egyptian delegation went to Mogadishu. Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry arrived in Asmara one day after the Somali president left and met with Afewor on January 11. President Key this year.
The Eritrean Ministry of Information said the two sides discussed the importance of consultation and coordination between the two countries in dealing with current regional and international challenges.
Meanwhile, Somaliland society has also become sharply divided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia, with Defense Minister Abdul Ghani Mahmoud Atiyi announcing his resignation in protest against the agreement and calling for a fight against the project Lease sea areas to Ethiopia.
Demonstrations were also held in the regional capital Hargeisa in support of the agreement as a step towards long-awaited recognition, while others in the Oder region, which contains the aims, came out to condemn the agreement. In established waters. Lease to Addis Ababa.
Some observers believe that tribes living in the area are concerned that millions of Ethiopians will immigrate to Somaliland for trade after the agreement is signed, which may lead to demographic changes since the area has a population of no more than 4 million and less than In ten years, Ethiopia's population is expected to reach 150 million.
Said Wali Abdi, a lecturer in international relations at the University of Mogadishu, believes interactions within Somaliland have yet to take a final form due to a lack of details on the terms of the MoU, prompting many parties in the region to be skeptical. attitude and await clarification from the ruling government.
Abdi said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the reason for the large-scale demonstrations in several coastal cities is that the residents of these cities belong to tribes that do not believe in secession from Somalia and have also accepted the lease of their land to Ethiopia. plan. The defense minister's resignation is part of a sentiment that rejects the recent deal.
Abdi said in a statement to Al Jazeera that Djibouti, which is affected by the MoU, could directly influence the minister's decision to resign because of his family ties to Djibouti President Mohamed Omar Guelleh. In this way, the latter is putting pressure on the Somaliland government to change its decision.
Djibouti is a major exporter for Ethiopian imports and exports, a reality that could change if Hargeisa and Addis Ababa succeed in reaching an agreement.