Dec 12, 2006

Somaliland: African Force to Be Deployed In TFG Area, UN Agreed

The UN Security Council recently approved a resolution to send a regional African peace-keeping force to protect the weak transitional government of in Somalia against an increasingly strong Union of Islamic Courts movement.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday 06 December approved a resolution to send a regional African peace-keeping force to protect the weak transitional government of Abdillahi Yusuf in Somalia against an increasingly strong Union of Islamic Courts movement. The 15 nation Security Council authorized the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and African Union member States to establish a protection and training mission in Somalia (IGADSOM), which will be reviewed after an initial period of six months.

The resolution was passed after the United States accommodated a European request to exclude Somalia's neighbors, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, in the new force. The resolution 1725 (2006) said mandate for this new African force is to protect the ‘members of the Transitional Federal Institutions and Government, as well as their key infrastructures, and to train the Transitional Federal Institutions’ security forces to enable them to provide their own security and to help facilitate the re-establishment of Somalia’s national security forces’.

The resolution said ‘Affirming that the resolution’s provisions aim solely at supporting peace and stability in Somalia through an inclusive political process and creating the conditions for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Somalia, the Council urged the Transitional Federal Institutions and the Union of Islamic Courts to fulfill the commitments they had made, resume without delay peace talks on the basis of the agreements reached in Khartoum, and adhere to agreements reached in their dialogue’.

The Council also stated ‘its intention to consider taking measures against those that sought to prevent or block a peaceful dialogue process, overthrow the Transitional Federal Institutions by force, or take action that further threatens regional stability’.

The Security Council said ‘the situation in Somalia has changed drastically since the Transitional Federal Government was formed.   There are two major players in Somalia, namely the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government and the new reality represented by the Union of Islamic Courts.   The latter controls Mogadishu and continues to increase its sphere of influence’.

Speaking after adoption of the resolution, United States UN ambassador John R. Bolton said ‘he was pleased to have co-sponsored the resolution with all of his African colleagues on the Council. And said ‘in Somalia, the security situation was deteriorating and tensions continued to run high, which was of deep concern to the United States and we view the deployment of a regional force to Somalia as a key element in preventing conflict’.

Ambassador John R. Bolton, said ‘although both parties had violated the terms of the Khartoum Declaration, the Union of Islamic Courts had done so through concrete military expansion, he said.   It had sought to further destabilize the Horn of Africa region through irredentist claims on the Somali-populated regions of neighboring States and support for insurgent groups in Ethiopia’.

The decision to allow foreign intervention without consulting the approval of the Islamic militias may provoke even greater violence in Somalia. "The United States is leading the authorization of another intervention force in another Muslim country against the will of a large percentage of the people," said John Prendergast, an Africa specialist for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. "The use of force as a substitute for diplomacy will have disastrous results in Somalia.

"You've got to get a negotiated power-sharing deal" before sending in a peacekeeping force, he added. "Doing the reverse simply alienates the courts and potentially will drive them to preemptive military action."

At closing stages of the Security Council session, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser ( Qatar), the current serving president of the 15 nation Security Council said he had supported the draft out of a need to respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its political independence and the unity of its territory.   He reaffirmed his readiness to undertake all measures that would contribute to alleviating the intensity of the crisis in that country.   He also reaffirmed the need to deal with that situation cautiously, and without rushing to any preconceived judgments, in order to spread peace and the rule of law throughout Somalia’. President of the Council Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser ( Qatar), said ‘his positive vote had stemmed from his understanding that the text aimed to encourage all Somali parties to arrive at a peaceful settlement through a comprehensive dialogue among all parties.   It was important that the resolution not have a negative impact and that it not be construed as being directed against a certain party at the expense of another; that must be kept in mind when the resolution was implemented’.

The full-version of the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1725 on the situation in Somalia is available here