Somalia rekindling relations with the UAE?

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) of the Federal Government of Somalia has signed an MoU with the United Arab Emirates [UAE] with the objective of combatting money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The Memoranda of Understanding was signed by Amina Ali, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Somalia with her UAE counterpart Ali Faisal Ba’Alawi, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the United Arab Emirates (UAE FIU), according to the state media.

Ba’Alawi said the new deal reached this week is part of ongoing efforts to exchange financial information and combat financial crimes, adding that the moved aims to strengthen relations between the UAE and Somalia.

The relations between the two countries have been at a low point since the outbreak of the Gulf crisis in June 2017 when the Somali government stood neutral on the GCC diplomatic rift but later sided with Qatar.

Doha developed close ties with Somalia after Farmajo won in Feb 2017 election on its funds through Fahad Yasin, the former Al-Jazeera Arabic’s Mogadishu bureau chief who is currently serving as the country’s Intelligence boss.

This was reported by Rashid Abdi about few weeks ago. The root cause is said to be a rift between Farmaajo and Qatar. Qatar has been pushing Farmaajo to sign a deal with Kenya, including pulling out from the Court case regarding the Maritime dispute.

Farmaajo’s circle has been getting smaller and smaller. He has been trying to contact China, Russia and where ever. So it seems a desperate call to knock on UAE’s doors.

Once the US closed financial support to the Somali government due to the political deadlock (which included Qatar and Turkey closing the taps as well), it made sense to run to China and Russia, as they are US adversaries. But the UAE is peculiar, as it’s in the US camp. You saw the Qatari fella in Hargeisa a few weeks ago and now this UAE dude is in Mogadishu, which tells me we are all still firmly in the grips of the US. The US never deals direct with Somaliland always through proxies.

The cynic in me.
The new Berbera Port is about to be commissioned and the airport is to follow soon after. Its election season in Somalia, and they are financially desperate and dependent on the gulf. The UAE will give financial support, and soon we might hear flights resuming from UAE to Somaliland, heck that naval base might even be completed!

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I think the UAE is smart enough to know when someone is desperate. Obviously they will get the most out of it, but they won’t be seriously offering anything of tangible help to Farmaajo. They have other dogs in the race that will be of more benefit to them than Farmaajo.