Israel Partnering in Africa Against Terror
Israel is increasing its partnership in Africa, united with factions which are battling fundamentalist Islam.
Following February talks between Israel and the Kenyan government in which the African country requested Israeli assistance in fighting terror, Israel and Kenya may form a joint force to guard against the entry of terrorists through the northern Kenyan border with Somalia.
In addition, Israel has reportedly expressed an interest in being the first country to recognize the autonomous province of Somaliland as a country, according to a report in Somaliland's Golis News. Somaliland broke away from Somalia – Kenya's eastern neighbor – in 1991, rebelling against Somalian military dictator Siad Barre.
A positive relationship with Somaliland could have important geo-military significance for Israel, due to the province's position at the northeastern tip of Africa, on the southern bank of the Gulf of Aden. Somaliland's northern coast is located just south of the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait at the southern end of the Red Sea.
A deputy leader of al-Qaeda recently announced the terror group's aim to re-enforce Somali militants in order to turn Somaliland into a bastion of Islamic fundamentalism and hamper the ability of Israeli vessels to sail south out of the Red Sea. He said al-Qaeda wants to put Bab al-Mandab "under the protection of Islam," according to a report by the al-Malahim Establishment for Media Production.
The Somali press has also reported that Israel may establish an outpost at the port of Berbera in Somaliland, to guard the entrance to the Red Sea.
Up until now, Somaliland – which is overwhelmingly populated by Sunni Muslims – has been unable to receive any kind of foreign aid, development assistance, or military equipment because of a lack of international recognition.