As if things weren’t bad enough in Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have funded an increasingly active death squad that has embedded itself within Somalia’s security forces, according to a new investigative report from Waagacusub, a Somali news service.
The report also says that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are behind a decision for Somalia to “discontinue” its long-fought war against the terrorist organization al-Shabaab.
By way of background, Somalia modified its internal law enforcement and domestic surveillance service in January of last year and rebranded it as the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA). NISA has since been compromised.
A July report from the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea warned that “there are grounds for concern that Al-Shabaab and other spoiler networks may have leveraged entry points into NISA, where they have succeeded in gathering intelligence on NISA operations or positioning themselves to exploit political disputes at the heart of Government in Somalia.”
Specifically, the UN report cited Artan Bidar as “an agent involved in infiltrating Al-Shabaab agents into the National Intelligence and Security Agency.” The UN report further revealed that former NISA director Ahmed Moallim Fiqi and al-Shabaab “enjoy a close relationship.”
Separate from NISA is an entity known as Dam Jadid, the ruling Islamic political party of Somalia. Different ministers of the government represent different factions of Dam Jadid, with some ministers being more fundamentalist than others. One freelance reporter contacted by Money Jihad described Dam Jadid simply as an offshoot of Al-Islah (Somalia’s Muslim Brotherhood).
Dam Jadid has close ties to Arab states. Shabelle Media noted last year that “recently named ambassadors [from Somalia] to the Arab countries all hail from Dam Jadid.” Ahmed M. Yassin, A Somali living in Toronto, told Money Jihad that Dam Jadid is funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E.
Waagacusub has revealed that Dam Jadid operates its own blackshirt security and intelligence squad known as “Ruhanta,” meaning “ghosts” or spirits. Ruhanta is allegedly behind a host of political assassinations and the recent slaying of three Syrian physicians in Somalia.
Waagacusub reports, “According to the ministry of foreign affairs of the Somali government, Qatar and Saudi Governments are the main source fund providers to Ruhanta.”
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have previously and in many ways still continue to back al-Shabaab directly. Perhaps the shift in resources toward Ruhanta and the fifth columnists within NISA is a Gulf-based attempt to take over the government of Somalia from within, rather than through costly military operations carried out by Shabaab fighters.
The Gulf’s funding of Ruhanta and NISA infiltration in the war-torn country amounts to kicking a man when he’s down. The exploitation of Somalia by Gulf powers resembles how Pakistan has for decades coveted Afghanistan as its private playground, and has employed and deployed jihadists there to gain a strategic advantage in the region.