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UAE committed an act of piracy in Somalia
Thursday April 19, 2018
By Shakir Husain
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its allies, including notorious Blackwater private militia founder Erik Prince, continue to pursue acts of sabotage against Somalia.
It has been a long-standing Western policy to keep Somalia impoverished and destabilized and they have found in the UAE a reliable agent to achieve their aims. The brazenness they have shown in pursuing the schemes of sowing chaos in East Africa is normally found among common outlaws.
The UAE is working on a two-pronged policy in Somalia and neighboring countries. It is helping its Western allies to secure their neocolonial aims in the region while furiously advancing its own vital economic interests.
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Dubai-based port management company DP World is a crucial part of this strategy. The U.S. military trusts DP World more than any other company in facilitating port calls and other logistics services. Dubai's Jebel Ali Port is a major facility used by the U.S. military and it works in Western interests to encourage DP World's ambitious expansion into new territories.
On the strategic Horn of Africa, Djibouti was an early success for DP World when it secured a concession in 2006 to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal. But the UAE suffered a setback when Djibouti's government terminated the deal this year, alleging the company used illegal methods and corruption to secure the contract.
Another accusation against Dubai is that it undermined the Djibouti port's development to maintain the competitive edge of Jebel Ali, which is facing a threat to its supremacy from Qatar's new Hamad Port, Iran's Chabahar and Gwadar in Pakistan.
The combined impact of these three ports will end Jebel Ali's role as a regional shipping hub. The UAE's port and free zone infrastructure investments have relied on unrealistic endless growth projections in regional trade and also the thinking that every country, big or small, is willing to eat out of the UAE's hand.
In Djibouti, the UAE's plan was not only to manage East Africa's transshipments, but position itself close the strategic Mandeb Straight sea lane through which so much energy and other commercial cargo passes to Asia and Europe.
Losing Djibouti is a shock to the UAE's system and would make it even more desperate to find other assets to compensate for its loss.
Dubai, which enjoys Western lobbying support, has taken the matter to an arbitration court in London.
"The illegal seizure of the Terminal is the culmination the Government's campaign to force the DP World to renegotiate the terms of the concession," the company said in a public statement in February. Djibouti said DP World rejected "good faith attempts" from the government "to resolve the issue amicably."The mindless war being conducted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE against Yemen has similar goals to remove all maritime challenges in the neighborhood. Capturing Aden is key to Abu Dhabi's deadly future regional man oeuvres and the U.K. and U.S.'s enthusiasm about bringing destruction to Yemen and its people must also be seen in this perspective.
Long before the Arab Spring, DP World had tried to take control of the Port of Aden when Ali Abdullah Saleh was president and enjoyed unchallenged authority. The late Yemeni leader was a veteran of the Arab League's Byzantine politics and handled UAE officials well. He understood the harbor's importance well as a tool to do a commercial deal favoring the UAE.
Gwadar Port was part of DP World's acquisition quest, as well, but it did not succeed and the Emirati bosses are upset over it like petulant school children.
For those not familiar with DP World's history, it is a rebranded Dubai entity that came into being after the emirate acquired British-owned port operator P&O in 2006 in a multi-billion-dollar deal. Today it manages about 75 terminals around the world.
P&O played a role in advancing British imperialism and, today, DP World is not averse to performing that role of serving Western expansion projects in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Their expansion projects are too big and pretty much everything is closely monitored by British, American and Israeli intelligence agencies before the UAE makes a foreign move.
Therefore, a recent port deal by DP World to sell a 19 percent stake in Berbera Port in Somaliland on the northern side of East Africa, to the Ethiopian government must not come as a surprise, even if it is a blatant illegal act to subvert Somali sovereignty and federal authority. It clearly shows that the UAE is willing to go to any extent in pursuing its interests on the Horn of Africa, clearly aligned with Western military objectives.Prince, a former Navy SEAL who has launched new shady ventures since his Blackwater enterprise was discredited, should be considered a dangerous global terrorist, but he is able to freely move armed men and weapons using private aviation in Kenya, the UAE and other places. It is no secret that Prince is involved in the UAE, and much has been written about his links to Abu Dhabi's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
Somalia is alarmed at aggressive UAE activities to make illegal deals for its strategic deals with third parties and support secession in Somaliland.
Unmindful of the realities on the ground as well as the dubious nature of its conduct, DP World continues to suffer from hallucinatory visions of business prospects and investments.
"I am so excited about the prospects of working with the Ethiopian government." DP World Chairman Ahmed Sultan bin Sulayem said on March 1.
The Somali government has rejected the agreement between the Dubai enterprise and the Ethiopian government.
Somalia's parliament has passed a vote banning DP World from working in the country. It also described a free zone project the company signed last year with Somaliland as illegal.
Let's hope Somalia will resolutely thwart the UAE and its mercenaries from carrying out any further acts of piracy in its territory.
* India-based journalist
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