A leaked phone call between a Qatari businessman, who was described as “close to Qatari emir” and Doha’s ambassador to Somalia unveils the notorious role of Qatar in Somalia to harm interests of United Arab Emirates which manages the port of Northern Somali city Bosaso, New York Times reported on July 22nd.
The phone call record obtained by New York Times revealed that both the Qatari ambassador to Somalia, Hassan bin Hamza Hashem, and a businessman, Khalifa Kayed al-Muhanadi acknowledge knowing the perorations of “The bombings and killings” in Bosaso we know who are behind them,” the businessman, Khalifa Al Muhanadi, said in the call on May 18th, about a week after the attack.
The Horn of Africa region is strategically important as it offers passage for shipping from the Strait of Hormuz and greater economic opportunities as the region’s markets grow.
NYtimes revealed that Muhanadi spoke of the bomb as part of a plan to try to discourage UAE contractors from the country.
“As you know, the perpetrators who are behind the port’s bombings and killings are known for us and we had a previous arrangement with them.” Al-Muhanadi said according to the reported call. “We intended the violence as it ‘God bless you’ will pull out the confidence from the Emiratis,” he added.
Qatari ambassador to Somalia replied saying: “This will force the Emiratis to run away from there. then the contracts come to you.”
Neither the Qatari diplomat or the businessman denied the authenticity of the call, or even disputed it, but said they were speaking as private citizens rather than on behalf of the government, NYtimes reported.
Al Muhanadi and Sheikh Tamim have been photographed together on several occasions, also reports and text messages provided by the foreign intelligence agency that recorded the phone call say they often travel together.
The Qatari businessman is heard telling the ambassador that he is connected to the Somali president and would work to shift contracts from UAE-owned DP World from that company to Doha.
Qatar has issued official statements by foreign affairs ministry and Qatar’s Government Communications Office (GCO), but they both show the extent of the contradictory narrative adopted by the country regarding the accusations.
In the GCO statement, Qatar has denied any links with al-Muhanadi who was reported as “close to the emir of Qatar” according to NYtimes. The statement even ignored defending its ambassador to Somalia who was involved in the notorious phone call revealed.
Qatar has been in a standoff with four Arab countries which are Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, led by Saudi Arabia which severed diplomatic ties with the country to pressure Doha halt its terror activities and allying with destabilizing forces and extremist groups in the region.