The bombing attack that hit the centre of Mogadishu on Saturday was the biggest in its history, as described by some observers, amid doubts about the ability of Mujahideen Youth Movement (MYM) to carry out such attacks. The observers, therefore, are suspecting the hands of intelligence agencies of some countries, behind the attack.
The bombing targeted a key area near the Foreign Ministry and the Qatari embassy. Observers believe the UAE could be behind the bombing due to its old and renewed differences with the Somalia government, which has so far resisted the pressure to sever its diplomatic ties with Qatar, in addition to the protracted dispute over the UAE base in Somaliland.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, including the MYM which usually claims responsibility for bombings or attacks in Somalia, a matter which raises doubts about the perpetrators.
The UAE has differences with Somalia over issues including the crisis of the UAE military base in Somaliland, the recently-established Turkish military base in Somalia, and Somalia’s refusal to sever its ties with Qatar over the GCC crisis.
As per a report issued by the Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the UAE has been found to be involved in supporting terrorism in Somalia.
The report cites the violations of international resolutions by the UAE, whether through arms smuggling or forging official documents to overcome the ban on export of Somali charcoal, as it is considered by the Security Council to be the key financial source for the MYM.
Observers say the UAE is also involved in promoting division of Somalia and supporting ‘Somaliland” which is not recognized internationally.
Despite the UAE’s stand on the unity of Somalia and its sponsorship of a reconciliation initiative between the parties in Somalia, the UAE has sought economic and strategic gains within Somaliland at the expense of the unity.
Over the past two years, the UAE media has promoted “Somaliland” as a land of stability, culture and democracy.
In June 2015, Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo announced that the UAE was setting up large-scale projects in Somaliland.
The UAE is also trying to establish a military base in Berbera in Somaliland.
In February, however, the Somali government rejected the unilaterally-declared agreement between the UAE and Somaliland on the establishment of the military base, accusing the UAE of violating international law.
Last year, a UAE company signed a $442 million agreement with Somaliland for the development of Port of Berbera for military purposes, after it was used mainly to export livestock to the Middle East.
Later, during a visit by Somali President Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo to Saudi Arabia, media reports revealed he had requested Saudi mediation to persuade the UAE to abandon the military base project.
Sources say the UAE’s policy towards Farmajo is based on offering him money and aid in return for more UAE influence in his country, but he has refused to toe their line.
Since the Gulf crisis began in June, Somalia has been tempted to accept a financial deal, reportedly by the UAE, to sever its ties with Qatar. However, Somalia has rejected the offer.