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The United Arab Emirate must stop its interference in Somalia

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Opened on October 07, 2017

Somalia turns down $80m to cut ties with Qatar

The Somali government’s decision to take a neutral stand in the Arab states disputewith Qatar although welcomed by majority of Somalis who viewed it as a prudent policy, the policy however did not sit well with an Arab state which criticized the government’s stand. The Arab state did not criticize Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, and Tunisia as well as other non-Arab states who also chose to stay neutral and called for a dialogue between Qatar and Arab states.

Unlike the other neutral states with strong intelligence and internal security, Somalia lacks the capabilities to investigate and prosecute influencing agents of foreign governments, resulting in free for all, were some are paid by hostile governments to negatively influence Somalia. This environment is fueled by corrupt and greedy so-called politicians who worked to undermine the effectiveness of successive governments and contributed to the poor state of the nation.

Since the start of the current Gulf crisis, the Mogadishu-based government has faced external pressures, including the delay and/or cancellation of financial commitments made since the election in early February. Although the external pressures were expected due to the historical use of financial blackmail by some Arab states to pressure the governments, the use of these resources to buy internal witting actors including current and former members of the parliament constitutes a direct threat to the sovereignty, stability, and the national security of the republic.

 In addition, the idea Somali nationals are working for foreign governments to exert influence and shape the government’s foreign policy and national security decision although not new, the overt effort raises serious concerns.

Sources close to Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, explained to the New Khalij that the rulers of the UAE, in particular the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed, would have preferred the former president, Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, to remain in power, especially because of the concessions that the UAE were given by Mahmoud, including contracts for the unfettered access and management of a number of Somali ports that would have provided the UAE with an important strategic position in trading across the world. The new Somali President, Farmajo, has vowed to reverse a number of agreements, some of which have been described as “illegal”.    However Somali's neutrality has resulted in a recall of the United Arab Emirates ambassador in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. 

The UAE is extensively engaging in Somalia has proved controversial, with the country’s auditor general accusing Somali officials of taking bribes to enable the deals. But in many ways, the port concessions underpin the geopolitical face-off looming in the Horn of Africa. As Somalia regains a semblance of peace, its over-3300 kilometer coastline could prove the next frontier for global powers looking to deepen their presence across this strategic waterway.

Contrary to the commercial façade of these projects, the main objective is one of geopolitical and geoeconomics,” says Abukar Arman, a political analyst and a former Somalia envoy to the US. 


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