It was 1991 when Somali President Siad Barre was ousted, catapulting the country into disarray and prompting emboldened warlords to cleave the country apart.
Although an internationally-backed government was established in 2012 following interventions by Ethiopia and the African Union, the country remains fractured – bedevilled by humanitarian crises and a protracted struggle against Al Shabab militants.
In practice, the authority of the central government does not extend far beyond the capital, Mogadishu. It is within this context that Somalia’s recent row with the UAE should be dissected.
Ten months have passed since the Arab quartet of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. Hugely reliant on foreign investment and aid, Somalia has imported the crisis.
On April 8, amid rising tension, Somali security forces stormed a UAE jet at Mogadishu airport, seizing $9.6 million (Dh35.3 million) in cash destined for the Puntland Maritime Police Force, an anti-piracy unit of the Somali army backed since 2014 by the Emirates.