AFRICA/SOMALIA - The clash between Qatar and Saudi Arabia behind the Mogadishu attack?

Monday, 16 October 2017 terrorism  

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - There could be the Gulf crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia behind the Mogadishu attack on October 14, which provoked, according to the latest provisional toll, at least 300 deaths and more than 200 wounded. This is a possible interpretation presented to Agenzia Fides by Luca Puddu, Senior Africa Analyst at the Institute of Global Studies, expert on Somalia.
"With all the caution of the case, it can be said that if the government of Mogadiscio accused the Shabaab movement of committing the attack, this bloody act that affects the civilian population, does not help to strengthen the image of the national liberation movement on which the Shabaab try to build their own rhetoric", explains the analyst. "On the other hand, the Shabaab have denied being responsible for the explosion. Given the contingency of the moment, I think the attack aims at weakening the federal government, which is already under investigation for the extradition of Abdikarin Sheikh Muse in Ethiopia about a month ago, a prominent member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which provoked strong protests of the parliamentary opposition. A motion of mistrust against Premier Hassan Ali Khayre was presented", says Puddu. "It is also necessary to contextualize the vicissitudes of Somalia, including the latest attack, in the serious clash in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates on one side, and Qatar on the other. The Somali Federal Government maintains a neutral position in this clash, but in fact more or less openly supports Qatar. Mogadishu has made available its airspace to Qatar Airlines to remedy the closure of Saudi Arabia's airspace and the Emirates, whose governments have repeatedly exerted pressure on the Somali federal authorities so that they take a position of clear condemnation towards Qatar. So far, however, the federal government has resisted the pressure", Puddu recalls.
"Moreover, President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed won this year's election thanks to Qatar's financial aid. In fact, he is building a preferential axis with Qatar, and above all with Turkey, ally of Doha, who is building a military base in Somalia, to train Somali army officers and non-commissioners", the analyst adds.
"On October 8, in Chisimaio the Presidents of the regional States met to discuss the constitutional reform and the peace process".
"Security was top priority of the current president in his winning election campaign" concludes the analyst. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/10/2017)