The nominated President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullah Farmajo received wide diplomatic and financial support from Saudi Arabia and UAE during his selection-based election process. The Saudi and UAE governments sponsored millions of dollars’ worth projects in Somalia including the building of the nation’s army and police.
Saudi government received Farmajo in Riyadh with highest diplomatic reception ever recorded for Somalia President during his latest visit to Riyadh, in order to show their commitment towards solidifying the relations with Farmajo regime in Mogadishu.
In other hand, UAE funded the creation of modern military training in Somalia and equipped the Somalia Army with a latest state-of-art weapon, which helped the defeat of Al-Shabaab in many parts of this fragile country, Somalia. UAE has undertaken mega projects covering political, diplomatic military, developmental, economic and humanitarian fields as part of its efforts to support the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Many former presidents of Somalia called on other countries to follow in the steps of the leaders and people of the UAE, in supporting Somalia
However, Farmajo switched sides and allied with Muslim Brotherhood including Qatar and Turkey, overlooking the centuries-old Saudi-Somalia trade ties. The 99% of the income of the Farmajo government is from the revenue generated from the livestock exports to Saudi Arabia and UAE via Mogadishu Port. Somalia trade with Gulf countries sustained due to many factories including geographical, political and economical.
Former Somali Republic (1960-1991) had the majority of its national budget generated from livestock exports via Berbera Port. One of the major factors that led the quick collapse of Siyad Barre regime in Mogadishu is after SNM blocked the Berbera Port revenue, and the regime failed to pay the salaries of the soldiers.
In other hand, Turkey and Qatar had no critical economic link with Somalia in last century, particularly after the Othman Empire vanished.
Farmajo, who controls Mogadishu under the AMISOM protection, disregarded the economic damage that Saudi blockade on Somali livestock exports would result.
He overlooked Saudi Arabia’s continuous support to Somalia as he recently turned down Saudi request to downgrade its diplomatic relation with Qatar after Qatar violated the GCC agreements.
“Somalia is not profiting from livestock exports to Saudi Arabia, instead Somaliland administration is the main beneficiary.” Farmajo administration replied to Saudi delegates who recently visited Mogadishu, in an attempt to damage Somaliland economically.
Saudi Arabia and UAE should support the government of Somaliland and campaign for getting Somaliland a diplomatic recognition, in addition to a permanent seat in the UN.
The government of Somaliland is an important ally against Muslim Brotherhood regimes in the region. Somaliland is part of the fight against the Pro-Iran Houthi militia, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Somaliland announced that they are officially part of the Saudi led coalition in Yemen.
Houthi rebels threatened Somaliland after Hargeisa government allowed UAE to establish military at the strategic city of Berbera.
Moreover, Turkish government withdrew all its development and educational projects from Somaliland, in order to punish Somaliland over its pro-Saudi-UAE policy.
Saudi-UAE collation should know that a faithful friend like Somaliland a strong defense, and it is far better to be alone than to be in bad company.
Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, a Kuwaiti national who is Horn Africa analyst and campaigner of Somaliland’s international recognition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org