In June 13th, the web site of the Wall Street journal published a report by Martina Stevie - Green - green of the Middle East power struggle in the new stage in June 1st.
In an ancient African port, a battle for hegemony is spreading in the Middle East. Here, the traditional fishing vessels share space with huge container ships.
Berbera is located on the narrow channel leading to the Suez canal, which is only 260 nautical miles from Yemen in the civil war. Since ancient times, the town's strategic coast has been coveted by military and maritime powers. The port was described by colonialist travelers as "the key to the Red Sea", once a stronghold of the Osman Empire, and later a British colony.
This explains why, as Saudi Arabia's most staunch ally, the United Arab Emirates has committed to take 450 million dollars to take over the port here. In other parts of the horn of Africa, Saudi Arabia and the two allies of the United Arab Emirates robbed the ports and military bases of Djibouti and Eritrea in Somalia and farther north. Qatar and Turkey support different political Islamic models, closer to Saudi Arabia's main rival, Iran. They are also building up in Somalia and Sultan. China has a military base and a container port in Djibouti, and is exploring other places in Somalia. At the same time, the United States is also conducting African operations and directing UAVs in the Persian Gulf from the Le Mo Ni army camp in Djibouti, the largest base in the continent of the United States.
The narrow channel to the Suez canal is the fastest and most used link between Asia and Europe, dealing with about 10% of the world's shipping trade, including about 10% of the oil trade.
Since 2010, because of the commercial and strategic importance of the region, the world powers have invested billions of dollars in ports and military bases here.
The United Nations and independent investigators say Iran is using Sultan and Somalia ports to smuggle weapons to Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemen allies. In order to support the other side of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates established a huge military base in Eritrea in 2016, which has become a stronghold for UAVs and military airstrikes.
Other problems are everywhere. Saudi Arabia and its allies are worried about Jihad, including the "Islamic state" extremist group and the "base" organization, which are growing in the Arabia peninsula.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates broke up with Qatar last year, claiming that the latter supported terrorism, which reversed the traditional alliance. The diplomatic crisis has prompted agreements in Africa's poorest and perilous coastal areas, and Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sultan have received $2 billion from the wealthier Middle East since 2016.
Rashid Adi, a regional expert at the global geopolitical think-tank, based in Brussels, said: "the riots in the Gulf have dramatically escalated the already dangerous militarization of the horn of Africa. The Gulf States want to control the region to support an economic future that does not depend entirely on oil production and is ready to deal with the possibility of a future war with Iran. "
Western diplomats say the situation has weakened Washington's influence. The United States has almost no commercial investment in the region, but has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on military projects in recent decades, including action against piracy, and increased UAV attacks on Somali Jihad and deployment of special forces.
"There is no evidence that the United States has a coherent strategy to cope with the division of the horn of Africa and the militarization of the Red Sea," said Peyton Napf, of the American Peace Research Institute, a non partisan think tank in Washington.
In December 2017, Turkey gained the right to develop Savoy's Golden Island, which was once the outpost of the former Osman empire in Sultan. Qatar reached a preliminary agreement with Sultan in March this year to spend $4 billion to develop a port near Sultan's mainland to receive a ferry to Jeddah, the Saudi port. If finalized, this will be the largest investment to date in the port plan of the region.
Berbera, a coastal city with a population of 200 thousand, is the focus of military and commercial construction. The Soviet Union built an important military base here in 1960s and 70s. In 1980s, the Soviet Union stopped supporting dictator Siad Barre. He turned to the United States and the base fell to the United States.
The world's third largest port operator, the Dubai world port company of the United Arab Emirates, has reached a $442 million agreement to modernize and manage Berbera by the year 2016. A lucrative military agreement between Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates quickly followed. The agreement will enable the UAE to renovate this ancient military base and a small port nearby for military use for 25 years.
Others worry that the cost of these investments is too high: they will be further dragged into the conflict between the Middle East and the horn of Africa. (compiling / flooding)
Data map: in January 5, 2017, the US Army, the Marine Corps and the MV-22 "Osprey" were drills in Djibouti, Africa.
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