Best of Gregory Copley: Game of Ports in the Horn of Africa. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Nov 15, 2018, 02:03 AM

Photo: A Somali man extracting incense from a myrrh tree in the ancient land of Punt. While the best frankincense comes from Oman, the best myrrh comes from exactly these Somali trees. The Land of Punt was an ancient kingdom; a trading partner of Egypt, it was known for producing and exporting gold, aromatic resins, blackwood, ebony, ivory, and wild animals. The region is known from ancient Egyptian records of trade expeditions to it. It is possible that it corresponds to Opone as later known by the ancient Greeks, while some Biblical scholars have identified it with the biblical land of Put.

At times Punt is referred to as Ta netjer, the "Land of the God." Its exact location is still debated by historians; most scholars today believe Punt was situated to the southeast of Egypt, most likely in the coastal region of modern Djibouti, Eritrea, northeast Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Red Sea littoral of Sudan. It is also possible that the territory covered both the Horn of Africa and Southern Arabia. Puntland, the Somali administrative region situated at the extremity of the Horn of Africa, is named in reference to the Land of Punt.

Permissions: From the Somalia Ministry of Information and National Guidance. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Genericlicense. You are free: to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work; to remix – to adapt the work .

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Game of Ports in the Horn of Africa. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs. ‬

Somaliland Continues to Polarize as Military Opposes Political Moves Toward Rapprochement with Egypt Analysis. From GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs in Hargeisa.

Sources within the Somaliland National Armed Forces (SNAF) indicate that the prospect of an agreement between the Somaliland Government and the Egyptian Government — in order to apply pressure on Ethiopia — has caused a profound split between the military and the fracturing government of Pres. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, who, in failing health, has already declared that he will not stand for re-election in March 2017. The main question is if the Kulmiye Party of Pres. Silanyo will even credibly exist by the time the elections are held. (See: “Egypt Moves to Build New Ties with Somaliland and Somalia; Could Presage International Recognition of Hargeisa”, in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, April 12, 2016.)

The Somaliland military — and Somalilanders generally — remember the strong military support which Egypt gave to the Somalia Armed Forces in their attempt to suppress Somaliland during the rule of Somalian leader Muhammed Siad Barre (after he seized power in 1969), and also how Egypt has been the sole force behind the refusal of the African Union (and before that, the Organization for African Unity) to allow the recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state. Significantly, Somaliland fits absolutely the OAU and AU criteria for recognition as a sovereign state. It was independent and sovereign when Britain granted independence to the state in 1960, and only after that joined in union with the former Italian Somaliland to create the Union of Somalia. Thus, most Somalilanders have seen the recent Egyptian overtures toward Hargeisa as extremely self-serving by Cairo, and aimed at putting pressure on neighboring Ethiopia, traditionally the only ally of Somaliland. Somaliland bloggers — and Somaliland seems to have an exceptionally high per capita online presence — erupted after the visit by the Egyptian delegation, and after earlier movements of Egyptian troops into the port of Berbera in late 2015 to support the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen (where Egyptian Ground Force units have been deployed in Aden, and elsewhere). Essentially, the theme of the blog opposition to the government’s warm embrace of the visiting Egyptians has been to say that Egypt was soliciting not onl...