Hargeisa, 15 July 2022 (TDI): The US has entered into a monumental defense arrangement with the Republic of Somaliland, as per its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

After months of lobbying, the US Congress and Senate Foreign Relations Committee finally approved the legislative agreement which builds on the prior Somaliland Partnership Act.

 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The legislation demonstrates bipartisan support for expanding the US-Somaliland partnership through collaboration on matters of mutual interest.

This includes advancing democracy, enhancing trade and investment in the Horn of Africa, and countering terrorism, piracy, and trafficking in the region.

Through this NDAA, the US will be able to expand and fulfill military objectives in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region.

It is especially seeking to counter the presence of Iran in the Red Sea region and the growing Chinese presence in Africa.

The agreement however does stop short of granting diplomatic recognition to Somaliland.

The region of northern Somalia declared its independence three decades ago. Its independence is not formally recognized by any state.

However, It is finding increased bipartisan support in the US amid continued political instability in Somalia and Sudan, conflict in Ethiopia, and intensifying Chinese influence in the region.

A strategic defense agreement

The Pentagon has shown interest in Somaliland’s offer to grant the US military access to port and airport facilities in Berbera.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander Stephen Townsend and US Ambassador to Somalia Larry Andre also met with President Abdi in Hargeisa last month before traveling to Berbera in this regard. The US will therefore modernize the port of Berbera and Berbera International Airport, as per the agreement.