A scandal is brewing between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates

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  • 24 July 2019

The Al Arabiya news agency, citing the New York Times, has published information about Qatar’s involvement in the terrorist attacks in Somalia on objects belonging to the United Arab Emirates.

In particular, the article deals with secret negotiations between Qatari entrepreneur Khalif Kayed al-Muhanadi and Qatar’s ambassador to Somalia, Hassan bin Hamza Hashem. During this conversation, which took place on May 18, 2019 and whose audiotape was allegedly at the disposal of the information agency, the entrepreneur told the ambassador that the terrorist attacks in Mogadishu were committed in order to “expel the inhabitants of Dubai from there”.

According to the official representative of the Libyan army, Colonel Ahmed al-Massmari, who is referred to by the Tunisi Telegraph news agency, Khalid Kayed al-Muhanadi is an Qatari intelligence officer who worked in Libya and financed a number of Libyan opposition groups. As the source dreams, al-Muhanadi carried out his activities in Tunisia, covering the fishing industry in Khabar, and also engaged in the construction of tourist facilities in Tozuer. In addition, it is known that in January 2019, al-Muhanadi participated in a high-level meeting in the Indonesian city of Jakarta.

During a phone call, a Qatari businessman informs his country’s diplomatic representative in Somalia that he is associated with a member of the family of Somali President Mohammed Abdullah Farmadjo and can assist in transferring contracts from the UAE port operator “DP World” to Qatar. “Our friends were behind the last bombings,” al-Muhanadi replies. Qatari entrepreneur could talk about the terrorist act that occurred in northern Somalia on May 10, 2019. So, as a result of the explosion of an improvised explosive device in the city of Bosasso at least 10 people were killed.

According to the official press, the local grouping of the Islamic State was directly related to the organization of the terrorist act. It is worth noting that relations between the United Arab Emirates and Somalia began to rapidly deteriorate almost immediately after the election of Mohammed Abdullah Farmadjo to the presidency of official Mogadishu in 2017. Abu Dhabi was going to punish the new Somali leader for liaising with Qatar. Mohamed Abdullah Farmadzho’s pro-Qatar orientation was largely due to his desire to please Ankara as the main investor in Somalia. In turn, such a turn in foreign policy Mogadishu caused anger from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

As a result, the international opponents of the head of Mogadishu began to support the Somali opposition and, above all, the illegal armed groups operating in the country. Special support for the Saudis and the emirate received a project to develop separatist tendencies in Somalia. So, they took the initiative to recognize the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland. The interest in Somaliland was caused by the limit of everything, because of the port city of Terrier located on its territory, which the UAE and Saudi Arabia use to launch military strikes against the facilities of the Yemeni group Ansar Allah (Hussites).

Among other things, the city has economic significance, and the UAE organization “DP World” intends to ensure control over the city for the export of livestock. Meanwhile, in April 2018, Mogadishu declared invalid the agreement between DP World and Somaliland on the grounds that it does not consider Somaliland to be an independent state. Not limited to this, the manager of the DP World subsidiary was killed in February 2019 in Puntland. This further angered the emirate, who was on the verge of entering troops in Mogadishu in order to forcibly overthrow the President of Somalia.

The culmination of the conflict was the incident with the kidnapping of Somali army soldiers $ 9.6 million from a civilian plane in which there were UAE diplomats. According to Somali sources, this amount of money was intended to finance terrorist groups in Somalia. However, the emirate denies these charges. However, the incident actually ended the official relations between the countries. But despite this, Abu Dhabi is still considering Somalia in the sphere of its strategic interests. This allowed Turkey to quickly fill an empty Somali niche, in 2017 creating a military base in Mogadishu.

This turn of events, which contradicted the interests of the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, served as a starting point for a telephone conversation between Qatari entrepreneur Khalif Qayed al-Muhanadi and Qatar’s ambassador to Somalia Hasan ben Hamza Hashem. According to experts, if this conversation really took place and is not falsified, then this may serve as a reason for imposing additional international sanctions against Qatar to finance terrorist attacks.

However Qatar does not confirm the fact of the said telephone conversation. Moreover, according to sources, this kind of misinformation can be spread by Doha’s opponents in the international arena in order to discredit the emirate’s foreign policy. In particular, according to representatives of Doha, Saudi Arabia may be particularly interested in breaking its relations with Mogadishu as the main initiator of the Qatari blockade. In support of this, a source citing the Somalia Today news agency claims that as early as June 2017, the President of Somalia was under pressure from Riyadh to sever relations with Qatar. Instead, the Saudis allegedly offered the Somali leader $ 80 million.

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