Gulf Crisis Threatens East Africa Peace Efforts, EU Warns

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Diplomatic tensions between countries in the Gulf are threatening peace efforts in East Africa, particularly in the Horn of Africa, the EU's special envoy has warned.

The crisis, which erupted nearly a year ago, has pitted Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain against Qatar, with Riyadh and its allies accusing Doha of fostering close ties with Iran and backing Islamic extremists.

But the fallout has had direct repercussions in the Horn of Africa where it has exacerbated already-existing tensions, notably in Somalia, said Alexander Rondos, Europe's special envoy to the region.

In particular, tensions have escalated steadily between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates, which has sought to extend its influence there as the war in Yemen rages on.

Although the two countries have been traditionally close, Mogadishu's attempts to remain neutral over the Gulf divisions have not gone down well.

One of the EU’s "most important objectives" is to make sure that East Africa "is as well protected as it can be from what is a rapidly shifting geo-political environment" in the Gulf, he said on Friday following a two-day seminar of EU envoys to the region.

Political strife between Gulf states and their alliances with east African players was "the biggest strategic issue because it could easily undermine all of the efforts to overcome East Africa's own particular crises, whether it's South Sudan or Somalia," Rondos said.

"We don’t need something aggravating these efforts," he added, describing the geo-political challenge as the "biggest game in town".

In Somalia, the conflict has raised tensions between the federal states and the central government, with many unhappy about President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's neutral stance.

For some, there would be many economic benefits to throwing Mogadishu's support behind Saudi Arabia or the Emirates in a development which has put pressure on already fraught internal relationships in a country already fraught with violence.

Rondos also expressed concern that the Gulf crisis could exacerbate tensions between East African nations working together on efforts to solve regional crises, notably South Sudan and Burundi, as well as in Somalia.

Comments 2
Missing phillipo 26 May 2018, 14:54

It is about time that the Republic of Somaliland was recognised as an independent state.
For over 25 years there has been peace, democracy and prosperity there, whilst in the Republic of Somalia, from which it broke away, there has been death, famine, piracy and for most of the time since the early 1990's no central government whatsoever.

Thumb chrisrushlau 26 May 2018, 17:24

Europe should reconquer Africa and Arabia, but this time its job will be to protect Africa and Arabia from European exploitation. The Gulf monarchies are examples of European exploitation. If there was no oil in Arabia, there would be democracy there intead of monarchy. I don't know just why Europe must repeatedly rape East Africa, in person and via its local surrogates like Rwanda and Uganda and poor little Kenya. An international ranger force would make sure foreign dollars and guns stayed out of Africa and Arabia. It would exist under the EU/NATO by authority of UN treaty. Can European police handle European criminals? African and Arabian police have failed to do so.