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A battle for access to seaports is underway in one of the world’s unlikeliest places: Somalia, now caught in a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side with Qatar backed by Turkey on the other.

 

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪somalia berbera bossaso‬‏ At stake: not just the busy waters off the Somali coast but the future stability of the country itself.

Somalia has been at war for decades and until the last few years has struggled to attract foreign investment. Rivalries in the nearby Arabian peninsula are resulting in serious inflows into Somalia.

A year ago, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates government signed a $336 million contract to expand the port of Bosaso, north of Mogadishu in the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland.

Less than a year before, another UAE-owned firm took control of Berbera port in the breakaway northern region of Somaliland and pledged up to $440 million to develop it. In March, Ethiopia took a stake in the port for an undisclosed sum.

At the same time, Turkey, an ally of UAE rival Qatar, is ramping up a multi-billion dollar investment push in Somalia. A Turkish company has run the Mogadishu port since 2014, while other Turkish firms built roads, schools and hospitals.

The rivalries have intensified since June, when the most powerful Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and including the UAE, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Iran and Islamist militants.

 

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