US expert: Qatar forcing Somalia to reject UAE aid ‘could have consequences’
Qatar strong-arming Somalia to reject years’ worth of aid and assistance from the United Arab Emirates might have “serious consequences” down the road, one US investigative and foreign policy journalist has said.
The UAE has trained thousands of Somali soldiers since it began a military training mission with Somalia’s government in 2014, which both helped the conflict-ravaged nation rebuild after decades of chaos and give Emirati soldiers more experience abroad.
The Gulf country ended its mission to Somalia after an April 8 incident that saw Somali soldiers board an Emirati airplane at the Mogadishu airport, assault its soldiers at gunpoint and confiscated $9.6 million.
Less than 10 days later, Qatar’s Ambassador to Somalia Hassan Hamza Asad Hashim handed over aid from Qatar to the Somali Government which included 30 transport buses and two large cranes.
“To dry up the support for Islamic militants, the UAE also built schools, hospitals and orphanages and poured in developmental assistance valued at more than $277 million from 1993 to 2016, mainly through the Emirati Red Crescent Society. Another $165 million was supplied through a charitable campaign called “For you, Somalia,” in 2017. All told, charity and aid grants by UAE to Somalia came to almost half a billion dollars,” Richard Miniter, who is said to be close to the Trump administration, wrote on AMI Newswire.
“Now, under pressure from Qatar, Somalia has renounced UAE assistance,” Miniter added.
UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Somalia had created tension that’s uncalled for after its seizure of a civilian aircraft this week and money on board that’s allocated for the Somali army.
“The current Somali government has, via several violations of previous arrangements and understandings with the UAE, created unnecessary tensions with a friend and an ally that stood with Somalia’s security and stability in the darkest moments,” Gargash said on Twitter.