The Chairperson of the Commission appeals for calm, restraint and stresses that the AU is fully seized with the matter.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, June 19, 2017 – The Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is following the recent developments between the Republic of Djibouti and the State of Eritrea in the aftermath of Qatar’s decision to withdraw its peacekeeping troops at the Djibouti- Eritrea border.
The Chairperson of the Commission appeals for calm, restraint and stresses that the AU is fully seized with the matter. He highlighted that the AU Commission, in close consultations with the authorities in Djibouti and Eritrea, is in the process of deploying a fact-finding mission to the Djibouti-Eritrea border.
The Chairperson of the Commission stands ready to assist Djibouti and Eritrea to normalize their relations and promote good neighborliness within the framework of relevant AU instruments.
“In times of war, the law falls silent.
Silent enim leges inter arma” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Merriam Webster defines the Snowball effect like this: “a situation in which one action or event causes many other similar actions or events” (Merriam Webster). At this moment and time, the Qatar diplomatic crisis has hit another level. A level that is unbelievable. To fellow Republics on the Horn of Africa are already in a military dispute over a territory, which they have fought over twice. Last time these nations fought over it was back in 2008.
These Republics are Eritrea and Djibouti. Who are two different states and with different approach to alliances and matters in general. Eritrea has in this crisis hold itself neutral to either Saudi Arabia and the GCC, while not doing anything with it’s affiliation to Qatar. Therefore, the Djibouti did earlier cut their ties with Qatar and with that the Qatari Peacekeepers in the area has left the nation. That Djibouti is important to Ethiopia and their trade is natural as the port and railway goes from Ethiopia to Djibouti. So if Eritrea want to hit two birds with two stones, they go and bang on Djibouti.
So the sudden cutting off Qatar has lead to change of powers and also of military stronghold between Djibouti and Eritrea. As the Eritrean has reacted to and sent the army closer to the disputed area. Both nations has claims to this area. Similar to activity on the Ethiopian border, which has been disputed since the independence of Eritrea. The same seem to be the case on the Djiboutian border and land.
That is why it isn’t surprising that the Eritrean government sends army and attack when the peacekeepers who has secured the territory since the last war in 2008. Certainly, the Asmara government want to take advantage, even if it costly, as the Djibouti sends their reports straight to the African Union and the United Nations Security Council to clear the air of the vicious attack from Eritrea. So the state can be seem as warlords and criminal in their acts on international scale. This is the own making of Eritrea, as they have done in recent years. Gone into war with neighbors without winning and neither getting recognition for their military operations.
There are reports that on Monday the 19th June 2017, the UNSC will take the dispute behind closed doors before finding out solution to the stalemate and current crisis between the nations. This is a long for conflict for the territory and not the first time Eritrea does this. Certainly, the GCC should intervene and help Djibouti, especially since the Republic sided with them. If it wasn’t just play for the gallery and needed display for the GCC. So that they have enough cards in the deck to hopefully get Qatar to give-in. Instead, there isn’t any indication of acts from KSA, Bahrain or United Arab Emirates, as the soldiers and territory is supposed to be ceased.
The GCC and allies have been in communication with neighboring Federation of Somalia to get them to cut ties with Qatar, without any luck, but Djibouti did so and even sent the Qatari peacekeepers home. Therefore, their proof of loyalty deserves to be repaid and that in full. That is if there are any honor in the GCC and their diplomacy in their sphere. So the Eritrean forces are now in the Dumera mountains and Dumera island, which violates the border territory of Djibouti.
Just to make matter worse, this report has also come out recently:
“Not trusting his army, Ismael Omar Guelleh sent a request for military support to Ethiopia and China. He wants Ethiopia and China to send military men and equipment to the border with eritrea to impress the latter. On the other side asmara concerned the movements of Ethiopian troops to the conjunction between the three countries, Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia, sent three military miles to its southern border or the region” (Hassan Cher Hared, HCH24.com, 12.06.2017)
And this one which is more on the nerves of Eritrea:
“The statement by the retired Ethiopian general is so nerve wracking to all levels of the regime even the aging Eritrean president has wrote a letter to selected world leaders. “Washington feverishly worked at the time, through the State Department, to drive a wedge between the two peoples who have deep historical and strategic ties in order to foment a crisis and micro-manage the affairs of the Horn of Africa,” he is quoted by Eritrean state media to have said” (…) “Isais Afwerki always says it is not Ethiopia that is working against him, but the government of the United States of America. He says this to make himself bigger than life by antagonizing the world super power unsteady of another third world country which happens to be 20 times his tine country. “The ‘border dispute’ was a simple ruse as the boundary between the two countries was defined and determined without any ambiguity in colonial times. But Washington feverishly worked at the time, through the State Department, to drive a wedge between the two peoples who have deep historical and strategic ties in order to foment a crisis and micromanage the affairs of the Horn of Africa,” said the Eritrean president in the letter, according to the Eritrean ministry of information website” (Tigrai Online – ‘The Eritrean regime is nervous about an Ethiopian retired general’ 16.06.2017 link: http://www.tigraionline.com/articles/fear-nervousness-eritrea.html).
Clearly, if these allegations are true, this would give reasons not only for the GCC issues and the interference in the Horn of Africa, that the KSA, Bahrain and UAE have in the region. As they got the Djibouti government to cut ties and make sure they loyalty would be rewarded. While that is happening, the Eritrean have not taken sides, but takes advantage of the Qatari battalions leaving Djibouti. This gave way for a demilitarized zone, which they could come and takeover. This is what happening, but if the state of Eritrea are using the media this way and swaying the public as the reports are. Than it is sick and twisted, but not surprising with the massive overload of the regime of Asmara has on its citizens.
Well, the situation between Djibouti and Eritrea isn’t over, if Djibouti will get help from either their close ally Ethiopia or China, even the GCC, time will tell. Because they should see it is their time to help out, since they we’re taken by surprise, and has now also the advantage that the international community, the African Union and the United Nations Security Council will react to the hostile act of Eritrea. This is not a good look on the matter.
How news and media company describes the recent history!
“9TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONFLICT RAS DOUMEIRA
There are feelings that even words will never translate. Feelings that we only feel in front of these heroes… Doumeira. In front of these men who face the enemy night and day. Depends on their lives. With only one currency: Homeland or death. Yesterday, no one was insensitive. ” Military, police, gendarmes, Republican Guards, whatever your rank, we all join in your pain to have lost some of your brothers in arms, some of which are still in an unknown position. In this moment of celebration, I fully associate myself with the sorrow felt by their families. We have lost soldiers who have become heroes that neither the history nor the republic of Djibouti will ever forget” (Djib-Live, 09.06.2017).
Let’s end it on a Djiboutian note:
“Mahamoud Ali Youssouf statement about the withdrawal of the Qatari troops from Ras Doumeira, the Eritrean troops have move back into the area. “All options are on our table whether its diplomatic or military,” said the Djiboutian Foreign Minister” (Djiboutian, 16.06.2017).
Hopefully it will be sorted out diplomatically and not with arms, even if the Eritrean answered the other one with invasion of border territory. Clearly a violation and a breach of trust between neighbor states. That the Djibouti republic have a good case and also the upper-hand is evident, but if the Eritrean forces will back-down and go back without a fight. That is only a matter of their will retaliate if the Djibouti army returns to their expected territory. Peace.
The Federal Government of Somalia in Mogadishu has not cut their ties to Qatar, after the treat of cutting their aid. As even the meeting in Saudi Arabia haven’t gone well, and the Qatar Foreign Diplomat met with Hassan Ali Khaire yesterday. This proves that still, the Federal Republic of Somalia plans to stay neutral on the matter, even as Somaliland are embargoing and closing their borders for Qatar. This is the current report today!
Harun Maruf Statement today:
“Saudi Arabia knows it has no leverage on Somalia, pledges made to Somalia weren’t met, diplomatic relations not strong, source tells me” (…) “UAE does have leverage on Somalia – it’s training military and maritime forces in Mogadishu and Puntland, 1000s Somalis work in UAE” (…) “UAE may not rush to punish Somalia for not cutting ties with Qatar: Somali parliament will soon open deliberations on UAE interests in port and bases” (Harun Maruf, 12.06.2017).
The Middle East Monitor is spelling out that the Somali Government still doesn’t care for the blackmailing the Mogadishu representatives, as the KSA are trying to pay them to cut ties with Qatar. They are not giving-up and wanting them to give in, like Yemen, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Djibouti, Tchad and Comoros, who has all cut ties with Qatar. They we’re expecting the same from Somalia, but apparently this is not at the interest of the FSG.
“Somali President, Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo, has been offered $80 million in exchange for his agreement to sever diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, the New Khalij news outlet reported a prominent journalist has revealed. “After two hours of enticement, Farmajo rejected the tempting offer,” journalist Jaber Al-Harimi said” (…) “The sources confirmed that Saudi Arabia threatened to withdraw financial aid to the Somali government unless Somalia change its neutral stand in which it has called for an end to the political dispute between Qatar and the other Arab nations through dialogue via Islamic organisations like the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The sources added that “ministers of the Somali government returned from Saudi Arabia after meetings with their counterpart were unexpectedly postponed.” It is understood that the rulers of the UAE, with the knowledge of Saudi Arabia, have already sought to persuade Farmajo, who won the presidency despite opposition from the UAE, to change his position” (Middle East Monitor, 2017).
Clearly, the Saudi Arabian diplomat’s have used their preservation to sway the Somali of changing their ways. As it is even reported not as earlier before that President Farmaajo said no to $50m, but $80m. Which is a hefty sum, and could make a big difference. Still it is envelope politics and blackmailing. Not of discussions of mere accords or even guidelines of just behavior, but more of trying to pay them to drop their agreements and deals with Qatar.
So it is not like the KSA does this with tact or honesty, they are more trying to use their petrodollars to silence Mogadishu and their representatives. They are clearly trying to cut of more airspace and one of few neutral partners, who hasn’t taken a direct side. That is why the KSA are working so hard and even offering more and more aid. Not because the KSA cares about Somali life or the Federation, more use it as tool to make more of the airspace and the embargo more effective. We can easily see this and see the reason for the battle of loyalty from Mogadishu, but blackmailing shouldn’t be the way. The KSA should know this, but apparently they don’t. Peace.
Middle East Monitor – ‘Somalia turns down $80m to cut ties with Qatar’ (12.06.2017) link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170612-somalia-turns-down-80m-to-cut-ties-with-qatar/
The Federal Republic of Somalia are under continued pressure from the Kingdom of Somalia to cut their ties with Qatar. This happens as Qatar and Turkish representatives are in Mogadishu on talks. While the KSA and Gulf Cooperation Council members are adding threats and sweetening the deals with possible pledges of aid if they do cut their ties.
If the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) are accepting to be bamboozled by the KSA pressure, as the Somaliland state has already done. This is happening after the Somali delegation who had a meeting in Saudi Arabia, which didn’t go well.
So the neutrality in the conflict in the gulf is tightening up, as the regional aspects seems dire. Since Yemen, Djibouti as well has cut ties. While Ethiopia haven’t formally done anything, but promising a statement. Eritrea doesn’t want to take stand and stay neutral. While Sudan has sided with Kuwait and wishing to support a dialogue between the Gulf nations.
Today, supports of Somaliland said this: “Somaliland interest first; supporting UAE & Saudi is the right decision for our country while #Somalia “supports” Qatar Turkey & Iran” (Somalilanders, 11.06.2017). The Somliland officials has even made directions today on how the cut ties will be put into effect:
“In his post cabinet presser at the presidency in Hargeisa minster Dr Saad Ali Shire the anti Qatar decision was not taken lightly but made after strenuous discussions as pertains the political, economic and diplomatic relations existing between Somaliland and Gulf Countries.
To this effect the foreign minster announced that the cabinet unanimously concurred that
1. The republic of Somaliland fully stands behind the decision taken by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Countries as pertains relations with Qatar.
2. As from 10th June 2017 nobody without explicit authority form the government of Somaliland princess shall be allowed to this countries airspace
3. Somaliland is fully responsible and in charge of its air, land and sea, thence those securing authority for use of such from Somalia shall be liable to due process of the law” (Hasan, 2017).
This is happening while Farah Maalim says: “Farmaajo is restoring Somalia’s image in the international arena. Resist dictation by Gulf fat cats. Maintain Qatar as a friend regardless” (Farah Maallim, 11.06.2017). So the dialogue today with Qatar, bring the internal problems into hot-air. As the Somaliland authorities are defying the Mogadishu government, the federal government of the republic. This is worrying as all parts of Somalia needs each other as the battles between government and Al-Shabaab continues, as well as droughts regions of the nation.
The FGS doesn’t need defiance, it needs collaborations in it’s quest for better future. The Somaliland decision to work on their own, proves that the power of investment in the port are clearly more important than inner works between all the Somali government bodies. Peace.
Hasan, Yusuf M. – ‘Somaliland: Government warns against Airspace Transgression, Backs Saudi Against Qatar’ (11.06.2017) link: http://www.somalilandsun.com/politics1/government/10531-somaliland-government-warns-against-airspace-transgression,-backs-saudi-against-qatar
The Qatar crisis continues as the diplomatic meeting announced yesterday, that the Federal Republic of Somalia where together with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). So they were reports that the KSA would stop giving aid to the Federal Government of Somalia. This would really hurt the Somalian government. Therefore, this meetings was really crucial for the Somalian government and their funding. This is something the KSA counterparts know. That is why the reports from the KSA trip hasn’t gone as the Somali representatives should expect.
Reports from the credible Harun Maruf reports: “Somalia ministers return to Mogadishu after KSA trip; reports suggest they were given a “cold shoulder” but ministers insist it “went well” (…) “Diplomatic sources: Saudi Arabia asked Somalia to either cut ties with Qatar or downgrade relations; Somalia rejected both propositions” (Harun Maruf, 09.06.2017).
While Somaliland has now sided with KSA and UAE. “Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire made the announcement at Somaliland’s Presidential Palace, following an emergency cabinet meeting. Many expected Somaliland would side with the Saudi-led coalition, as the UAE was granted permission to build a military base in Somaliland in February, and has close relations with the Government of the Republic of Somaliland” (The National Somaliland – ‘Breaking: Somaliland sides with Saudi Arabia and UAE against Qatar’, 10.06.2017).
So while earlier this week the Federal Republic of Somalia called for dialogue on the 7th June as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) diplomatic squabble in the gulf-states that they are exporting to add pressure other places. This as Djibouti already has sided. Sudan has sided with the dialogue of Kuwait, while Eritrea doesn’t want to be involved. Ethiopia has invested in Djibouti, so that might be their way into this. Therefore, the report from Fana is clearing the way for what they will do: “Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held talks today with Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court Adviser Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb on issues of common interest. The two sides discussed about ways of further strengthening mutual ties”(Fana Broadcasting Corporate – ‘PM meets Saudi, S Sudanese envoys’, 10.06.2017).
That Somalia is under fire, as even one of their states are now partial and has taken sides, it is not unexpected as Somaliland already has agreements of running their ports through a UAE run company. This was about to come, but when it was happening was about to arrive. Now it has and the Mogadishu government has to decide, as their partners in Hargeisa. While Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen has taken sides with KSA, UAE and Bahrain. It is now only Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia who has talked about needing dialogue between the Gulf nations.
The politics of the Horn of Africa has been implicated in Qatar crisis and in a heavy way. The Somalia representatives even was back-slapped in Saudi Arabia, even if they don’t want to say so. The threats of cutting of aid and making it hard not to cut from Qatar. Proves how far the KSA will go to settle the stand with smaller and poorer nations. They will bait them to even make it hard not to cut the ties to Qatar, as the funding and support of the GCC allies will be suspended as well.
You can wonder when the GCC partners will ploy into South Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya. They are the next in line. We just have to wait and see. The UAE and KSA will certainly want Somalia to cut ties as Somaliland have already done. Pea