(04-04-23) MOGADISHU – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has returned 3,000 soldiers, part of the UAE forces in Somalia, to Mogadishu. The soldiers’ management, guidance, salaries, and supplies are provided by the UAE government. The move comes after the Somali government signed a controversial security agreement with the UAE, which has raised concerns about Somalia’s sovereignty and its potential status as a colony.
Some of the returned troops have been trained in Uganda, and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud recently participated in the completion of their training. The soldiers were given a first month’s salary of $500 upon their departure from Mogadishu, making them better paid than all of the federal government’s registered soldiers, including those trained by Western governments.
The security agreement between Somalia and the UAE grants the latter full authority to establish bases of any kind in Somalia. The UAE has already begun implementing this provision, with military bases in Mogadishu and Kismayo, and shipments of military vehicles arriving in the country.
Critics argue that the agreement undermines Somali sovereignty and could effectively make Somalia a colony of the UAE. This could let the UAE to maintain tight control over the parliament and parliamentary committees, ensuring that no anti-UAE laws are passed. The terms of the deal permit the UAE to:
- Build military bases in Somalia.
- Assume responsibility for Somalia’s security.
- Bring in mercenaries and create their own Somali forces under their direct control.
- Establish intelligence forces within the country.
- Conduct natural resource surveys and extraction.
- Immune to questioning or legal consequences for their actions.
Opponents of the agreement question the motives behind the Somali government’s decision to enter into such an arrangement, given the potential loss of sovereignty. They argue that the agreement makes Somalia a vassal colony and that no amount of economic benefit or short-term stability should outweigh the nation’s long-term independence and self-governance.
President Hassan Sheikh’s involvement in the supply of these forces, as well as the involvement of his family and close friends, has raised further concerns about corruption and personal gain influencing the decision-making process within the Somali government.
Many experts and academics concur that the terms of the security agreement may indeed jeopardize Somalia’s sovereignty, warning that the nation could become a vassal colony under the UAE’s influence.
The Somali government has yet to address these concerns publicly, but the growing unease among Somali people and international observers alike could pressure them to reassess the long-term implications of their partnership with the UAE. As the situation unfolds, the question of what led the Somali government to willingly enter into such a controversial agreement and whether the nation’s sovereignty can be preserved remains at the forefront of the discussion.