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Out  of shadow: UAE’s new political war creeps wider into Somalia’s sovereignty

In Somalia, UAE’s latest political moves as seen to be an attempt by the gulf state to perpetuate a ‘divide and rule’ game in violation of the country’s sovereignty to increase their influence at the expense of ‘greater Somalia’.

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Hidden behind the hundreds of stories in recent years about the United Arab Emirates’ secret strategic interests in Somalia lies a basic process obscured by the talk of diplomacy and deals that officials say are aimed to drive a wedge among Somalis to further increase its political influence.

For years, the rich Gulf state had used proxy networks including regional states in Somalia to exert further pressure on the central government in a bid to compel it to change its neutral stand towards the Gulf crisis, an attempt which has thus far proved difficult for the Arab nation, thanks to Somali leaders’ blunt refusal in bowing to the demands.

According to Somali officials, UAE’s aggressive political moves in the country have eclipsed its principle of non-interference approach in the internal affairs of the impoverished horn of Africa nation, further straining the already troubled relations between the two countries.

However, the United Arab Emirates which is currently locked in a relentless economic battle with Turkey, a long-time strategic rival has since escalated its political expedition, systematically promoting political divisions across Somalia, reflecting the twists and turns of its new revised Somalia policy.

STUCK BUT PERSISTENT 

But for UAE which despite multiple attempts to settle scores, but found it difficult to present itself as a better positioned ally to Somalia than Turkey, its new political game termed by Somali officials and ‘divide and rule’ scenario has come at a heavy political price, with Somali government is heavily turning towards Qatar and Turkey against UAE.

Much to the UAE’s frustrations, Turkey is also becoming a major power player in Somalia, with the construction of a Turkish military base in the Somali capital last year has also caught UAE offguard.

Turkish military officers parade during the opening ceremony of a Turkish military base in Mogadishu, Somalia September 30, 2017 © Feisal Omar / Reuters

According to analysts, the base which had cost an estimated USD$50 million for Turkey and inaugurated last year is expected to train and house over 1000 Somali soldiers at a time by 200 Turkish military personnel stationed at the base has deepened a sense of suspicion in the Saudi-led coalition which has last year cut ties with Qatar which has since forged closer relations with Somalia and Turkey, a longtime UAE strategic rival.

Unnerved by UAE’s aggressive strategic interests and support for the opposition politicians, Somalia has in turn resorted to a subtle behind-scenes diplomatic war with UAE, a move which has since failed to address the problem.

“In a wider context, the construction of the Turkish base has caught UAE entirely off guard and dealt a major blow to its Somalia plans.” says professor Ahmed Mohamed, a university political science lecturer in Mogadishu by email.

“The latter has put Turkey in a more dominant position than it were earlier in the post-war Somalia.” he said.

Turkey, a major ally for Somalia has invested hundred millions of dollars in multiple projects in Somalia has won hearts and minds in Somalia, having become the first country to have come to Somalia’s assistance at the height of the 2011 famine which killed more than half a million people.

Despite the fact that Turkey and UAE are engaging in geopolitical and economic competitions Across the world, but the tide is apparently turning in favor of Turkey whose influence is also on the rise in Mogadishu and beyond, thanks to its passive political and economic approach.

EVERYTHING BUT SHORT OF WAR

In view of the growing rift between the two sides, Somali government’s persistent opposition towards a 30-year contract that the UAE-owned international ports operator, DP World had signed with the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland to manage its largest port has further fuelled UAE’s anger.

A cargo ship being loaded in the port of Berbera in Somaliland. PHOTO: ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

However, Somalia has again declared the tripartite agreement over Berbera port which was signed last week ‘null and void’, claiming that it undermines its unity, sovereignty and is a violation of its constitution. Somalia considers Somaliland is parts of greater Somalia, a suggestion repeatedly dismissed by Somaliland which maintains its status of being an independent state.

Ethiopia holds 19 per cent of the Berbera port, in an agreement with Somaliland’s Port Authority and UAE Company DP World. DP World remains the major share owner; with a 51 per cent stake, while Somaliland holds 30 per cent. The Ethiopian government will invest in infrastructural development for the Berbera port.

DP World Group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

In response, DP World’s chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem has angrily reacted to the Somali government’s statement, dismissing it as an ’empty talk’, referring Somaliland as an independent state.

“Somali government cannot have any say in the internal affairs of Somaliland. Somaliland is an independent state.” he said in a statement widely circulated in the Arab world media last week.

The move is seen by Somalia as a ‘blatant disrespect’ towards its sovereignty and judicial system by UAE’s ‘interference’ which they say threatens to destabilize the long-chaotic horn of Africa nation

Meanwhile, Mr. Sulayem’s remarks, the first official comment by a UAE official who have long maintained their secret agenda on the controversial port deal have added animus to the already tense relations marked by suspicions and  have moved through a cycle of alliance and enmity between the two countries, further threatening to sink relations to the bottom.

Somaliland’s new president Muse Bihi Abdi

In addition, Somaliland’s new president Muse Bihi has also echoed the Emirati official’s remarks, warning Somali government to stop interfering in the enclave’s internal affairs, saying that it was an independent state.

SOMALI PM’S MYSTERIOUS DUBAI TRIP

The controversial port deal has been signed during a mysterious visit by Somali prime minister Hassan Khaire in Dubai late last month which has came under public scrutiny, with many have cast doubt over the purpose of the visit. However, Mr. Khaire who fell short of giving further details about his trip has opposed the deal, saying that it violates his country’s sovereignty.

‘DIVIDE AND RULE’

Though Somali government is yet to respond to the UAE’s irked response, thousands of Somalis took to the social media accusing the gulf state of trying to perpetuate a ‘divide and rule’ game in violation of the country’s sovereignty to increase their influence at the expense of ‘greater Somalia’.

The development has also marked a moment of unity among the politically polarized Somalis across the world who found the matter through one telescope in this case.

Even some of the country’s fiercest opposition leaders, often accused of having received funds from UAE have rallied behind Somali president who is facing a large-scale social media troll by dozens of suspected UAE-sponsored bloggers.

And journalists, perhaps moved by patriotism sentiment were not an exception at this point, too.

“These three accounts – @CibaadoHadaqL, @AyaanKhudairS, @DhoolshafieP – have one thing in common – they joined Twitter on January 4, 2018, time 13:01, 13:07, 13:52. They share one other thing – they’re all attacking @M_Farmaajo.” Tweeted Harun Maruf, a prominent Somali journalist and Twitter personality.

But for others, the matter is more of division of the country than a political and economic war.

“This is a systematic divide and rule policy that UAE is consciously attempting to split our country into small fiefdoms.” Tweeted Mohamed Ahmed, a Somali university lecturer in Zambia.

In the meantime, the timing of the remarks have raised the eyebrows of Somalis, with many say that it was a carefully planned to stop an ongoing plan by Somali government and Somaliland to hold the third round of talks to discuss about the country’s unity.

“UAE is grudgingly doing this so that there will be no unified Somalia that can challenge its illegal interests.” tweeted Anab Ahmed, a university student in Mogadishu.

While a handful of other countries continue to pursue their special agendas in Somalia, many in the country and diaspora have raised suspicions about political and military demands that Arab nations may seek to impose as they embark on their mysterious strategic interests.

As political complications continue to arise, analysts hope that UAE can stir the pot in Somalia but remained skeptical the likelihood of it achieving any decisive breakthrough in rolling back the widening Turkish influence.

“At the end of the day Somalia would stand with Turkey, and that’d complicate the diplomatic row further,” said Jacob Moses, a horn of Africa political analyst, based in Nairobi.

“But in the present circumstances, UAE would be determined, more than ever to bite back more venomously.” He noted.

(Additional reporting by John Thiongo in Nairobi, Kenya, editing by Timothy Moses)

Copyright ©2017 Alleastafrica.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Alleastafrica.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Alleastafrica.com

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2 comments

Muse Jama Mar 13, 2018 at 9:46 am

Dreaming Somalia people. Somaliland people have build their own country with gained any support from international community, after 1991 in Somaliland their was no any security guides or soldiers that protecting and supporting the government. there was no amison and other foreign country even, united nation army who concerned peacekeeping where not present in Somaliland. when the civil war erupt in Somaliland 1994, people of Somaliland come together and solved their conflict and built again their democratic states.

today Somaliland had right to invest in their country and sign any agreement for other country, Somalia people should come together and build their country instead of crying behind Somaliland. Somaliland will never come back and join in Somalia. they declared war against them.

mahamat hassan mahamat Mar 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm

DP WORLD MA AHA SHIRKAD MAALGASHI, EE WAA DULLINKA DEKEDAHA (PARASITE) AMA HAY’AD SIYAASADEED kana faa’iidasanaysa dhibaatada iyo kala qaybsanaanta dalka ugu xeebta dheer africa istiraatiji ahaana ku yaala meel aad muhiim ugu ah caalmkana
Ecuador waxay ku maal gelisay $1 billion ooy ku hor marinayso kaabayaasha ganacsi ee dekadaha waana 50 sano heshiisku, waa barobogaando waayo maka soo geleyso
Peru dekada callao iyana waxay ku maal gelisay inaan ka yarayn intaas in ka yareyn ,
Dominican republic dekada Caucedo sidoo kale,Prazil dekada santos , Argentina dekada Buenos aires, Panama.
Waxaaa la leeyahay ganacsiga ay la leedahay latiin America wuxuu gaarayaa $35 billion kaliya Panama sanadki lasoo dhaafay waxay la samaysay $20.6 million taasi ma runbaa mase badeecadaha transitkaa ayay ka dhigaan inay iyagu soo saaraan mise brobogaando siyaasadeed
Dubai sooma saarto shidaal qayraad kalena ma leh marka laga reebo inay tahay xarun ganacsi ta ugu weyn ee kala gudbisa badeecooyinka kakala yimaada daafaha caalamka
GOORMAA UAE SIDAAN CAAN U NOQOTAY sababta aqri
Dubai kuma taalo meel istaraatigi ah lkn sidee bay ku kasbatay inay noqoto xarunta ganacsiga ee bariga iyo bartamaha caalamka aan taariiqda dib u raacno
Bilowgii 70kii xarunta ganacsi ee bariga dhexe ugu wayn waxay ahayd dekada Cadan waxaan filayaa dad badan oo weli nool inay xusuustaan dekada cadan iyo tan hobyo xiriirkii ka dhexeeyay
balse isbedelkii siyaasadeed ee dawladii koonfurta yaman ee ay qaadatay nidaamka shuuciga ayaa siisay fursadii ugu horeysay sidaa si la mida waxaa fursad siisay dowladii dhexe ee somalia ee xilligaaoo nidaamkii hantiwadaaga qaadatay Somalia waa ka istiraatijisan tahay xitaa yaman maadaama ay heysato halka ay isaga xirmaan badda cas iyo badweynta india
Ta labaadna waxay ahaayeen dekadaha iiraan eek u yaal gacanka iiraan waxay la wareegtay xarumihii gancsi ee dekadahaas ka dib markii la afgambiyay 1979 shaahi iiraan ee xukumayay dalka iiraan iyo dagaalkii dhex maray iyaga Ciraaq hada kama hadlayno sababta ka dambeysay dagaalkaas balse ilaa iyo hadda dalka ugu horeeya ee wax ka dhoofsada dekadaha dubai waa iiraaniyiinta dalka labaad ee kusoo xiga waa dalka somaliya,balse marki UAE diiday aqoonsiga passporka somaliya Ethiopia ayaa somalidii siisay passporka taas oo kaalinta labaad gelisay dalka Ethiopia fursadaas dalka jabuuti oon walaalaha nahay waa dayaceen
ka hor dhicitaankii dawladii dhexe waxa yaraa ganacsiga ka dhexeeya Somalia iyo dubai marka laga reebo waxoogaa kunteenaro ah oo transit ku soo mara soomaliduna ganacsigooda waxay toos uga soo waaridi jireen china japan labada kuuriya india iyo yurub iyo America hadii aa taariiqda dib u baarto ma heleysid xiriir ganacsi oo ka dhexeyn jiray marka laga reebo heshiis carabnimo iyo mis islaanimo Somalia kaliya maahee caalamkoo dhan wax ganacsi lama lahayn waayo waxay ahaayeen dad iska baahan oo lama degaan degan waxayna wax ka soo qaadan jireen sekadana siin jiray walaalahooda carbeed ee ay hada jiritaankooda tirtirayaan sida siriya ciraaq yemen iyo Somalia
hada ka hor waxaa soo weeraray maraakiib dagaal ooy lahaayeen Iiraaniyiinta dawladihii usoo gurmaday waxaa koow ka ahaa ciidamada bada ee somaliya oo u diray markab dagaal
aan dib ugu laabano laatiin America makula tahay in $35 billion ganacsi dhan ay dubai la samaysay latiin America anigu u malayn mayo mana jirto ayaan leeyahay lkn waxaan u arkaa brobogaando loogu talagalay dadka geeska Africa ku nool ineey ku sirmaan waana u hir gashay ilaa hada sida muuqata lkn masii socon doontaa
Dp world waxay heshiis lagashay Ereteria dekada casab lkn maka macaashtay Ereteria jwbtu waa haa waayo Ereteria waa dal ka xiran aduunka intiisa kale dekada casabna waxba kama soo degaan xitaa dawlada Ereteria waxay isticmaashaa dekeda Musawac dawlada imaaraadkuna waxay bixisaa dhamaan shidaalka ay isticmaasho dawlada ereteria waxay kaloo bixisaa dhamaan mushaaraadka ciidamada ee wadankaas
dawlada Jabuuti ayay la gashay dekada dooraale mudo 30 sano ah lkn marki ay arkeen ineeysan wax hurumar ah samaynin weey isaga baxeen heshiiskaas dacwo ingriiska ka dhacday ka dibna waa laga gar helay dawlada jabuuti lkn waxay aqbaleen ineey mag dhaw bixiyaan sidaasna ay isku dhaafaan waxaa jira heshiis qabyaa oo ay hada jibuutiyaanku lagalayaan shirkado laga leeyahay Singapore iyo chine kuwaas oo laga yaabo ineey u celiyaan lacagta ay sheeganayso Dp world
waxay lagashay heshiis Dalka yemen dekeda Cadan heshiis 35 sano ah waxayna balan qaadeen inay sanadki ka dhoofin doonaan 100.000 oo container lkn waa benoowday waxayna ka dhigeen 10,000 oo container taas oo ka caraysiisay yamanta waana sababta dagaalka yemen salka ku haysa
waxay heshiis maalgashi la saxiixdeen dekado ka mida kuma maraykanka lkn waxaa si aqlabayid leh ku diiday labada aqal ee maraykanka iyagoo ku tilmaamay wax lagu qoslo lkn dawlada maraykanku waxeey ku dhiiri gelisay inay dekadaha caalamka ugu muhiimsan ee gacanka cadan iyo badweynta india inay qabsadaan saldhigyo melatarina ka samaystaan iyagoo ka masuul ah dawlada maraykanka si dadban tusaale’ saldhigii dekada berbera ee maraykanku ku lahaa xilligii dawladii dhexe waxay uga kiraysneyd $40.000.000 taas oo manta lacag la’aan uga samaysan karaan waxay rabaan iyagoo aan soomali kala hadlaynin balse UAE iyo ETHEOPIA taas waxaa marqati u ah heshiiska somaliland iyo dp world ay galeen waxaa ku qoran inay ka kirayn karto cidaay doonto taasina sababta ay Ethiopia u siisay 19%
dp world waxay dad Somali ah heshiis kala galeen dekeda berbere iyo boosaaso ma dhahaayo Somaliland iyo puntland waxay hada u socdaan jubba land iyo koonfur galbeed
sidoo kale ma dhahaayo Somaliland iyo puntland xaq uma leh ineey dantooda fiirsadaan mar hadaan dowladii dhexe kaalinti ay lahayd kazoo bixi wayday sabab kasta ha jirtee lkn waxaan leeyahay wax dan ah uguma jiraan dadka soomaaliyeed meel kaztoo ay joogaan
hadaan wax ka dhaho hadalada labad baarlamaan ee koofurta iyo waqooyiga anigoo ixtiraamaya inaan loo baahnayn haday diidaan iyo haday aqbalaan waayo aduunyada hada joogta ninki xoog leh sharci ma qabto marka caloosha cirta markaa dad noqotaan wax diida ama yeela waxaanse idiin sheegayaa inaan midkiin wax noqon doonin adinkoon midoobin
waxaan la dar daar mayaa somali land laba walaala midkood dulqaadkiis ayay sharaf ku yeeshaan kuna wada noolaadaan somaliya waxba noqon mayso adinkoo ka maqane soomali mideeya sabra walaallihiin weeye koonfurtu way idiin dhaamaan wlhi blhi CARAB IYO ITOOBIYAAN
waxaan ka cudur daaranayaa inaan ku soo darin tixraaca heshiisyada aan ka soo hadal nay iyo dhacdooyinka lkn waxaan balan qaadayaaa hadii loo bahdo inaan idinla wadaago insha’alaah BERRITO WAXAAN KA HADLI DOONAA DANTA AY KA LEEDAHAY DP WORLD AMA UAE QABSASHADA DEKEDAHA GACANKA CADMEED IYO BAABUL MANDAB IYO SABABTA AY ITOOBIYA DHABARKA UGU WADATO EE YAAN LA MOOGAAN

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