The Indian Ocean Newsletter can exclusively reveal Abu Dhabi’s secret strategy for countering Qatari influence in Somalia.

Following the visit to Hargeisa on 2 May by the Saudi ambassador to Kenya and representative for Somalia Mohammed Khayat, a more discreet visit by United Arab Emirates officials took place on 8 May. The Emirati delegation is understood to have partaken of an iftarwith members of the Somaliland government and other powerful personalities in Mogadishu from the Hawiye clan, which is actively trying to counter the resurgence of the Darod clan exemplified in the person of the current Somalian president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo (Darod/Marehan) ( ION 1484). The main purpose of the gathering was to strengthen bonds between Issaq and Hawiye politicians so that they can form an anti-Farmajo front for the 2020 Somalian presidential election and identify potential Hawiyepresidential candidates.
The other purpose was to agree on Hargeisa being used as the main clearing house for financial contributions intended for candidates in that election who have the backing of the Riyadh-Abu Dhabi axis, with Nairobi serving as a secondary point for the transiting of funds. The Hawiyespresent reportedly agreed to back Somaliland’s Kulmiye party in its efforts to isolate the Waddani opposition party both politically and diplomatically.
On 19 May, a high-level delegation led by Prime Minister [Minister of Internal Affairs], Mohamed Kahin Ahmed and composed of members of Kulmiye and the UCID opposition party travelled to Nairobi. On 22 May, they held a secret meeting with the Hawiyes, including the Wadajir Party chairman, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame. It seems they also all had talks with members of the Kenyan government and Emirati officials and agreed that, in the event of victory in 2020, the new government in Mogadishu would cooperate with Kenya in the ongoing dispute over the maritime border ( ION 1492, ION 1498) and the oil blocks. In return, Kenya would recognise Somaliland diplomatically.

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