The recent incident of Qatar’s open involvement in an instant of bombing in Somalia has opened a can of worms.
According to a WikiLeaks report, Somalian youth have been transported to Qatar, in the guise of employment, being trained as military support to be sent to Libya’s Tripoli region. Qatar had shifted its support from Haftar to the other side, once UAE came into the picture.
This is not the first time that the poor Horn of Africa has been used by nations in the position of power, to meet their own vested interests.
It has had to protect itself, without taking sides. However, recent years has seen systematic penetration into Somaliland, much to the dismay of the common man. In 2017, saw another instance of Somali faced to be the good boy between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In an arm twisting tactic, Saudi Arabia had then forced the Somali President Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo to side with them and had offered a handsome sum of $80 million offer. Somaliland has therefore been a piece of a pie that both have been vying for.
Qatar, on its part, has been showing great support in form of infrastructure aid on one side and providing arms and ammunition to continue a state of unrest in the African country, on the other side.
Qatar and the UAE have also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Somalia in recent years. This scramble for power seems to be an extension of the cold war that flared across the region in the wake of the Arab spring when regional states took sides regarding rising Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.
The UAE firm P&O Ports manages the port in Bosaso. In February, two assailants disguised as fishermen shot and killed the manager working for P&O. The militant group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility, saying that it had assassinated him because it said the Emirati company had occupied the port of Bosaso.
With the way things have been sour between Qatar and the quartet including Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it will be no surprise that Doha has started to support Al-Shabaab and other militia in Somalia, though it has continued to deny its association. So, despite recent allegations, there isn’t any hard evidence pointing to Qatar’s involvement in the ongoing conflict with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
While Qatar has also been known to send ammunition and armored vehicles to Somaliland, Turkey has already created a fairly big military and airbase here. Turkey has been working for hand in glove with Qatar for a while, and this is evident in them backing war-torn Libya as well.