Somali soldiers will not, it now appears, have to tangle with private-sector German soldiers.
Somali soldiers will not, it now appears, have to tangle with private-sector German soldiers.

Alarm at German private army



Berlin // German legislators have voiced alarm at plans by a German firm to send more than 100 mercenaries to Somalia to assist a warlord opposed to the president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the head of the UN-backed transitional government. Asgaard German Security Group, the only private military contractor in Germany, said it had agreed to a contract with Abdinur Ahmed Darman, who claims to be the president of Somalia, to provide training and equipment for the police and the military, and security for the Somali government.

Asgaard, which employs former soldiers of the Bundeswehr, the German army, says it offers personal, building and convoy protection worldwide and currently has contracts in several locations, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Dubai, according to the company's website. Somalia has been in a civil war since the collapse of the military government in 1991, and rival clans and Islamist militia have been fighting each other for power ever since. Mr Darman declared himself president in 2003. Mr Ahmed, a moderate Islamist elected by Somali MPs in 2009, has western backing but he controls only parts of the capital, Mogadishu, while Islamist groups control much of the south of the country.

The German government said this week it would look into the contract after a television report about Asgaard's agreement led to a public outcry. Legislators said sending former German soldiers to Somalia would destabilise the country even further, undermine international peace efforts and embarrass Germany. Rainer Stinner, a foreign policy spokesman for the Free Democrat Party, which is part of the chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition government, said any agreement between Mr Darman, who was not the recognised president of Somalia, and Asgaard would be "a clear breach of the sanctions agreed by the UN Security Council".

The defence policy spokesman of the opposition Left Party, Paul Schäfer, said: "This development is worrying because it is a form of shadow foreign policy that is outside parliamentary control." Asgaard's statement announcing the deal in December had gone largely unnoticed. In it, the company referred to Mr Darman as the "President of the Republic of Somalia" and said the contract comprised "all necessary measures to reintroduce security and peace to Somalia".

Asgaard's plans sounded less ambitious last Wednesday. Its chief executive, Thomas Kaltegärtner, a former sergeant major in the Bundeswehr, said in an interview that the agreement would come into force only if Mr Darman was recognised by the UN as the legitimate president of Somalia. "In that case we will provide security consultancy, personal, building and convoy protection and security for Dr Darman and his government," Mr Kaltegärtner said. "If Dr Darman doesn't become president the contract will not come into force."

Mr Kaltegärtner refused to say how much the contract is worth. The state prosecutor's office in Münster said yesterday it had launched an investigation into whether Asgaard had acted illegally. Recruiting German citizens for military activities on behalf of a "foreign power" is illegal. "I'm not worried about the investigation because we haven't broken any laws," Mr Kaltegärtner said. A UN arms embargo against Somalia also covers the provision of military training, except for training by international peacekeepers.

Legislators said assisting Mr Darman could directly counteract a European Union military mission to train the forces of the Somali government. The EU mission, which began this month, contains German advisers. Asgaard rejected accusations that it would undermine peacekeeping efforts in Somalia. "We want to make clear that we want to work closely with the German government and will not act against its interests in any way," the firm said on its website this week. It said it had not yet sent any staff to Somalia.

Omid Nouripour, the defence spokesman for the opposition Greens party, said: "We have done too little in recent years to regulate private security firms." The prospect of German mercenaries getting involved in an unstable region such as Somalia has awakened memories of the global controversy about the the use of private military contractors by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater, since renamed Xe, faced allegations of wrongly killing Iraqi civilians in 2007 while protecting US diplomats. The staff of other private firms were involved in the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal.

"German companies must not make profits at the expense of Somali civilians and undermine the security policy of Germany and the European Union," said Franziska Brantner, a member of the European Parliament for the Greens party. Security analysts said there was a strong risk that militants might kidnap German contractors in Somalia and hold Berlin to ransom, either by demanding money or by making political demands such as the withdrawal of German troops from Afghanistan.

@Email:dcrossland@thenational.ae

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: DarDoc
Based: Abu Dhabi
Founders: Samer Masri, Keswin Suresh
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding: $800,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, angel investors + Incubated by Hub71, Abu Dhabi's Department of Health
Number of employees: 10

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

Expert input

If you had all the money in the world, what’s the one sneaker you would buy or create?

“There are a few shoes that have ‘grail’ status for me. But the one I have always wanted is the Nike x Patta x Parra Air Max 1 - Cherrywood. To get a pair in my size brand new is would cost me between Dh8,000 and Dh 10,000.” Jack Brett

“If I had all the money, I would approach Nike and ask them to do my own Air Force 1, that’s one of my dreams.” Yaseen Benchouche

“There’s nothing out there yet that I’d pay an insane amount for, but I’d love to create my own shoe with Tinker Hatfield and Jordan.” Joshua Cox

“I think I’d buy a defunct footwear brand; I’d like the challenge of reinterpreting a brand’s history and changing options.” Kris Balerite

 “I’d stir up a creative collaboration with designers Martin Margiela of the mixed patchwork sneakers, and Yohji Yamamoto.” Hussain Moloobhoy

“If I had all the money in the world, I’d live somewhere where I’d never have to wear shoes again.” Raj Malhotra

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder MHEV

Power: 360bhp

Torque: 500Nm

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Price: from Dh282,870

On sale: now

if you go

The flights

Etihad, Emirates and Singapore Airlines fly direct from the UAE to Singapore from Dh2,265 return including taxes. The flight takes about 7 hours.

The hotel

Rooms at the M Social Singapore cost from SG $179 (Dh488) per night including taxes.

The tour

Makan Makan Walking group tours costs from SG $90 (Dh245) per person for about three hours. Tailor-made tours can be arranged. For details go to www.woknstroll.com.sg

A new relationship with the old country

Treaty of Friendship between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates

The United kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates; Considering that the United Arab Emirates has assumed full responsibility as a sovereign and independent State; Determined that the long-standing and traditional relations of close friendship and cooperation between their peoples shall continue; Desiring to give expression to this intention in the form of a Treaty Friendship; Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1 The relations between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates shall be governed by a spirit of close friendship. In recognition of this, the Contracting Parties, conscious of their common interest in the peace and stability of the region, shall: (a) consult together on matters of mutual concern in time of need; (b) settle all their disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

ARTICLE 2 The Contracting Parties shall encourage education, scientific and cultural cooperation between the two States in accordance with arrangements to be agreed. Such arrangements shall cover among other things: (a) the promotion of mutual understanding of their respective cultures, civilisations and languages, the promotion of contacts among professional bodies, universities and cultural institutions; (c) the encouragement of technical, scientific and cultural exchanges.

ARTICLE 3 The Contracting Parties shall maintain the close relationship already existing between them in the field of trade and commerce. Representatives of the Contracting Parties shall meet from time to time to consider means by which such relations can be further developed and strengthened, including the possibility of concluding treaties or agreements on matters of mutual concern.

ARTICLE 4 This Treaty shall enter into force on today’s date and shall remain in force for a period of ten years. Unless twelve months before the expiry of the said period of ten years either Contracting Party shall have given notice to the other of its intention to terminate the Treaty, this Treaty shall remain in force thereafter until the expiry of twelve months from the date on which notice of such intention is given.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned have signed this Treaty.

DONE in duplicate at Dubai the second day of December 1971AD, corresponding to the fifteenth day of Shawwal 1391H, in the English and Arabic languages, both texts being equally authoritative.

Signed

Geoffrey Arthur Sheikh Zayed

RESULT

Aston Villa 1
Samatta (41')
Manchester City 2
Aguero (20')
Rodri (30')

Tori Amos
Native Invader
Decca

The specs

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 194hp at 5,600rpm

Torque: 275Nm from 2,000-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Price: from Dh155,000

On sale: now

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

On Instagram: @WithHopeUAE

Although social media can be harmful to our mental health, paradoxically, one of the antidotes comes with the many social-media accounts devoted to normalising mental-health struggles. With Hope UAE is one of them.
The group, which has about 3,600 followers, was started three years ago by five Emirati women to address the stigma surrounding the subject. Via Instagram, the group recently began featuring personal accounts by Emiratis. The posts are written under the hashtag #mymindmatters, along with a black-and-white photo of the subject holding the group’s signature red balloon.
“Depression is ugly,” says one of the users, Amani. “It paints everything around me and everything in me.”
Saaed, meanwhile, faces the daunting task of caring for four family members with psychological disorders. “I’ve had no support and no resources here to help me,” he says. “It has been, and still is, a one-man battle against the demons of fractured minds.”
In addition to With Hope UAE’s frank social-media presence, the group holds talks and workshops in Dubai. “Change takes time,” Reem Al Ali, vice chairman and a founding member of With Hope UAE, told The National earlier this year. “It won’t happen overnight, and it will take persistent and passionate people to bring about this change.”

Overview

Cricket World Cup League Two: Nepal, Oman, United States tri-series, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

Fixtures
Wednesday February 5, Oman v Nepal
Thursday, February 6, Oman v United States
Saturday, February 8, United States v Nepal
Sunday, February 9, Oman v Nepal
Tuesday, February 11, Oman v United States
Wednesday, February 12, United States v Nepal

The bio

Favourite food: Japanese

Favourite car: Lamborghini

Favourite hobby: Football

Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough

Favourite country: UAE

The specs: Volvo XC40

Price: base / as tested: Dh185,000

Engine: 2.0-litre, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 250hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 350Nm @ 1,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 10.4L / 100km

Five calorie-packed Ramadan drinks

Rooh Afza
100ml contains 414 calories
Tang orange drink
100ml serving contains 300 calories
Carob beverage mix
100ml serving contains about 300 calories
Qamar Al Din apricot drink
100ml saving contains 61 calories
Vimto fruit squash
100ml serving contains 30 calories

The Vines - In Miracle Land
Two stars

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Biography

Favourite Meal: Chicken Caesar salad

Hobbies: Travelling, going to the gym

Inspiration: Father, who was a captain in the UAE army

Favourite read: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

Favourite film: The Founder, about the establishment of McDonald's

MO

Creators: Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef

Stars: Mohammed Amer, Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Ejari
Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Founders: Yazeed Al Shamsi, Fahad Albedah, Mohammed Alkhelewy and Khalid Almunif
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $1 million
Investors: Sanabil 500 Mena, Hambro Perks' Oryx Fund and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The biog

Name: Greg Heinricks

From: Alberta, western Canada

Record fish: 56kg sailfish

Member of: International Game Fish Association

Company: Arabian Divers and Sportfishing Charters

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Switch Foods
Started: 2022
Founder: Edward Hamod
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Plant-based meat production
Number of employees: 34
Funding: $6.5 million
Funding round: Seed
Investors: Based in US and across Middle East

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Difference between fractional ownership and timeshare

Although similar in its appearance, the concept of a fractional title deed is unlike that of a timeshare, which usually involves multiple investors buying “time” in a property whereby the owner has the right to occupation for a specified period of time in any year, as opposed to the actual real estate, said John Peacock, Head of Indirect Tax and Conveyancing, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, a law firm.

Women’s World T20, Asia Qualifier

UAE results
Beat China by 16 runs
Lost to Thailand by 10 wickets
Beat Nepal by five runs
Beat Hong Kong by eight wickets
Beat Malaysia by 34 runs

Standings (P, W, l, NR, points)

1. Thailand 5 4 0 1 9
2. UAE 5 4 1 0 8
3. Nepal 5 2 1 2 6
4. Hong Kong 5 2 2 1 5
5. Malaysia 5 1 4 0 2
6. China 5 0 5 0 0

Final
Thailand v UAE, Monday, 7am

Army of the Dead

Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera

Three stars

RESULTS

5pm: Al Bateen – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: Ma’Aly Al Shahania, Bernardo Pinheiro (jockey), Mohamed Daggash (trainer)
5.30pm: Al Khaleej – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: AF Rami, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel
6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Bant Al Emarat, Bernardo Pinheiro, Qaiss Aboud
6.30pm: Al Nahyan – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Rasam, Marcelino Rodrigues, Ernst Oertel
7pm: Al Karamah – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Zafaranah, Bernardo Pinheiro, Musabah Al Muhairi
7.30pm: Al Salam – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Nibras Passion, Tadhg O’Shea, Ismail Mohammed

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Mamo

Year it started: 2019 Founders: Imad Gharazeddine, Asim Janjua

Based: Dubai, UAE

Number of employees: 28

Sector: Financial services

Investment: $9.5m

Funding stage: Pre-Series A Investors: Global Ventures, GFC, 4DX Ventures, AlRajhi Partners, Olive Tree Capital, and prominent Silicon Valley investors.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


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