Many Somalis view Saudi Arabia as a brotherly ally that is united to them by faith, cultural affinity, and proximity. But throughout its history, Saudi Arabia has shown little regard for Somalia or Somalis and its action toward the country and the region can only be explained by the Kingdom’s ruthless adherence to realpolitik.
To illustrate this point, Samaynta News has attached to this post a U.S National Security Council Memo (previously top-secret) that describes a meeting between a high-ranking Saudi official and his U.S counterpart in the late 1970s. During the course of the meeting, the Saudi official speaks dismissively of Somalis and of the leading Somali cause of the time—the recovery of the colonized Somali-inhabitated Ogaden region from Ethiopia—saying “We do not care about the Ogaden” and even “We do not care about Somalia.” The Saudi official characterizes aid to Somalia simply as a means to undermine Russian influence and communism in neighboring in Ethiopia, but otherwise says Saudi Arabia will gladly cut Somalia loose and ally with Ethiopia if the country becomes “moderate” (meaning Ethiopia stops practicing communism).
And as history would have it, Saudi Arabia has abandoned Somalia in favor of Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest investor in Ethiopia—and it’s investments in the region are expected to grow drastically in the coming decade, with a project 30 to 50 billion in Saudi money being invested just in the Ethiopian renewable energy sector alone by 2030.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has not only largely ignored Somalia—a Muslim country, and a fellow member of the Arab League—but has punished the country with repeated animal trade bans that have crippled the country’s economy. Saudi Arabia also regularly deports and abuses Somalis trying to make a living in the Kingdom.
But yet, many Somalis continue to be major fans of Saudi Arabia.