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Dec-16-2010 20:16printcomments

Somalia Pirate Update

Status of Captured Vessels and Crews in Somalia, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Piracy near Somalia
File photo

(NAIROBI, Kenya ECOTERRA Intl.) - No matter what the navies say: Today, 16. December 2010, 23h30 UTC, at least 36 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 659 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple - suffer to be released.

Request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor from ECOTERRA Intl. for background info and see the updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA.

WHAT NAVIES NEVER SEE:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/05/fighting_for_control_of_somali.html

What Simple Soldiers and even their Officers Never Seem to Know:
The Scramble For Somalia

LATEST:


OVER 650 SEAFARERS HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !


VESSEL BURNING OFF EYL
(ecop-marine)

At 23h22 LT (20h22 Z) local marine observers at the Somali coast reported on 16. December 2010 a burning vessel not far from the coastal town of Eyl in Puntland at the western Indian Ocean coast of north-east Somalia.
Neither the name or any other identification of the vessel are yet known, since apparently no distress signal was sent and no radio contact was made. The mobile phone network in the area is very weak tonight.
The observers speak of a larger ship - not just a small dhow and the naval command centres were informed.
Further reports awaited.

FAMILIES OF KENYAN HOSTAGE SEAFARERS IN DISTRESS (ecop-marine)
A second vigil was held today in Mombasa by the family members of hostage seafarers on three vessels abducted in Somalia.
39 Kenyan seafarers are held on Korean-owned, Kenyan-flagged GOLDEN WAVE 305, six on Thailand-owned and -operated FV TAI YUAN 227 and one Kenyan lady, who was a passenger, is held on MV ALY ZOULFECAR from the Comoros.

The biggest grief the families have is that they do not receive any support from the side of the Kenyan government nor the shipowners and that no official information about the cases or negotiations is provided, except by the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, who attended the meeting today.

All the families are in deep economic problems. The families of the Thai fishing vessel have not received any financial support since thirteen month, a long time even before the vessel was sea-jacked. Likewise the sailors and fishermen on the Korean-owned vessel have only received in average less than US$50 in total per family since the vessel was abducted at the beginning of October 2010. The fact that no financial support is provided to these families caused that already seven of the seafarer's families were kicked out of their rented house for non-payment.

The families appealed again to the Kenyan government to help them and to the Somali captors to free their breadwinners.

Sri Lankan Fishing Vessel Abducted (ecop-marine)
It has only transpired now that FV LAKMALI and two Sri Lankan fishermen were taken hostage by Somali pirates while the remaining four of a crew of six managed to escape to India, the Sri Lankan Fisheries Ministry stated on 15. December 2010.

A ministry spokesman said the two abducted fishermen had now been identified as Lal Fernando and Sugath Fernando, who had gone fishing from Beruwala in their boat “Lakmali” on November 20.

They were taken hostage ten days later while in international waters.

The Ministry of Fisheries of Sri Lanka has requested its Foreign Affairs Ministry to help rescue the two fishermen and the four others being held in Minicoy and the Foreign Affairs Ministry itself has requested their envoys in Nairobi / Kenya to follow up on the two fishermen taken hostage by the Somali pirates.

©2010-ecoterra/ecop-marine


From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news with an impact on Somalia)

Anarchy, Terrorism, and Piracy in Somalia: Revisited by Alemayehu Fentaw (*)

Somalia has long been anarchic, hitting rock-bottom claiming #1 in The Fund for Peace´s most recent Failed States Index. It had no functioning central government in the past two decades, albeit 14 attempts to reconstitute the state had been made since the ouster of the Cold War dictator Mohammad Siad Barre in 1991 after 22 years in power.

All such efforts had been doomed to fail and whether or not the latest initiative shall succeed only remains to be seen. One thing is crystal clear at this point in time, nonetheless, that Somalia´s ongoing state-building project has to be supported, rather than fought, by the international community in general and to be more specific, by the US, EU, AU, and countries of the Horn of Africa sub-region lest it should continue to be a hotbed of terrorism and piracy.

Despite the hitherto neglect, the Somalia issue managed to come into the limelight of international affairs as a result of the sudden surge in piracy in the waters of the coast of Somalia. As Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN special envoy for Somalia, put it, "the problem of piracy has opened the eyes of those who have forgotten Somalia." The waters off the Somali coast are the most dangerous in the world - accounting for a third of the world's pirate attacks.

The coast of Somalia has become the world´s worst piracy area only since 2007; though foreign fishing trawlers have been aggressively exploiting Somalia´s rich and unpatrolled waters since 1991 at the expense of coastal fishing villages.

Illegal fishing has undoubtedly decreased due to the effectiveness of Somali pirates. In 2008, 40 out of 111 attacks succeeded; Somali pirates carried out a record number of attacks and hijackings in 2009, despite the deployment of international warships to thwart them and a United Nations Security Council resolution to bring the fight against them to shore.

According to the Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau, pirates operating across the Gulf of Aden and along the coast of Somalia had attacked 214 vessels in 2009, resulting in 47 hijackings. In November 2010, the pirates held more than 25 foreign ships and 500 people hostage, according to Ecoterra International, an organization with offices in East Africa that keeps track of Somali piracy. Expert estimates has it that the Somali pirates netted more than $100 million, an astronomical sum for a war-racked country whose economy is in tatters.

It is worth noting that the international community launched a large naval operation in response to the widespread pirate attacks in the waters off the coast of Somalia. Naval powers from around the globe have dispatched a fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden to fight piracy including, (i) "NATO Counter Piracy Operations" (Ocean Shield) off the Horn of Africa, (ii) the "African Partnership Station" (APS), designed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa to foster enhanced maritime safety and security in Africa, and (iii) the European Union Naval Force (NAVFOR) Somalia – "Operation ATALANTA". The presence of this huge naval fleet has managed to thwart attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden. The fact that NATO´s Operation Ocean Shield and EU NAVFOR´s Operation Atlanta have both been extended until December 2012 shows that the military option will continue to be the predominant mode of containing piracy off the coast of Somalia by the Western powers for some years to come.

The United Nations Security Council on 27 April 2010 unanimously adopted the Russian sponsored Resolution 1918 (2010), which called on all states to criminalize piracy under their domestic laws. The Resolution also requires the UN Secretary‐General to report to the Security Council within three months on "possible options to further the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy." This indicates that all efforts are geared towards prosecution.

Besides, at a recent conference in Brussels attended by the leadership from the UN, the EU, the AU, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the international community pledged $213 million toward strengthening Somali security forces.

However, the question here is whether these measures are enough to address the piracy epidemic. The bone of contention is that the so-called antipiracy military measures are myopic and what the international community needs is a far-sighted long-term state-building agenda onshore in Somalia, promoting traditional peacemaking processes among the diverse conflicting Somali clans and sub-clans. In this regard, moderate Islam no doubt can provide a common ground for building consensus thereby easing the daunting task of entrenching a well-functioning and all-inclusive government.

Enough's recent strategy paper, entitled ´Beyond Piracy: Next Steps in Somalia, authored by Ken Menkhaus, John Prendergast, and Colin Thomas-Jensen emphasizes the aforementioned point. It analyzes the current situation in Somalia and provides recommendations for how the international community in general and the United States in particular can help Somalis address multiple security threats that put their country, the region, and even far-flung countries at risk.

It argues that while short-term measures to curb pirate attacks are certainly necessary, the Obama administration must not allow the piracy problem to distract it from putting in place a long-term strategy to help Somalis overcome their political predicament, i.e anarchy by enabling them to form a viable body politic which, with measured external support, can combat the twin problems of piracy and terrorism as well as promote peace and reconciliation.

It describes the irony of the problem of piracy as: "The lowest order of threat to the TFG, the Somali people, the region, and the United States is actually the security item enjoying the greatest attention right now." It goes on to say that "Even so, the continued epidemic of piracy off the Somali coast is a problem and a test of the capacity of the TFG to extend its authority."

The only viable and legitimate option would be for the TFG to prosecute piracy onshore, while leaving no room for the external actors, apart from helping in building the capacity of its security apparatus as well as in the ongoing peacemaking and peace-building initiatives.

The piracy epidemic in the Gulf of Aden waters is merely a reflection of the anarchy onshore. Piracy, like terrorism, is reflected by a deeper malaise.

The root causes behind the mushrooming piracy off the coast of Somalia are state collapse, humanitarian crisis, abject poverty, and the ongoing exploitation of the waters by global factory fishing vessels that left very few viable livelihoods for anyone in Somalia these days. In order to capture the essence of this problem, let´s try to consider the Somali narrative on the ongoing piracy as told by Ken Menkhaus. The narrative "sees it is justifiable protection of Somali shores from illegal fishing, and … sees the piracy as a minor problem we are overreacting to.

For instance -- they say at present there is a massive humanitarian crisis in Somalia, 3.5 million people at risk, and the UN is calling for $950 million in aid. We have only provided a fraction of that aid. Yet we're willing to mobilize the world's navies at considerable cost to stop a
$20-40 million piracy problem. That's how Somalis see it." Such being the nature of the piracy problem, it calls for a truly holistic approach covering the political, security and humanitarian dimensions. Efforts to prosecute cases of piracy should also include the issue of illegal fishing and toxic dumping.

Perpetrators of these crimes are no less guilty than pirates. In this regard, a practical proposal would be for the UN to enjoin governments whose national are engaged in fishing off the coast of Somalia to pay license fees to the TFG.
Downplaying the piracy problem, Menkhaus contends that "the United States and the international community have overstated the threat of Somali piracy. Somali hijackers earned between $30 and $40 million in ransom in 2008, a handsome sum of cash in one of the world´s most impoverished countries, but a paltry sum for international shipping -- not even enough to appreciably raise insurance premiums for ships passing through the Gulf of Aden." Explaining away naval military operation as the dominant normative mode of engagement in Somalia, as he logically should, Menkhaus argues "Most shipping companies prefer to live with the current piracy modus vivendi. The risk of any one ship being pirated is still low; their crews, ships, and cargo are returned safely; and the ransom fees are manageable. A military rescue, by comparison, is much riskier to the crew and will raise insurance costs considerably, as insurance companies will have to factor in the possibility of injuries and loss of life to crew and ensuing lawsuits."

For him, reasons that continued to justify the military response to the piracy problem are fear of copycat piracy elsewhere, fear of al Qaeda adopting the practice, and commitment to the principle of open seas, rather than the ransom amounts by themselves. Another reason, he pointed out, why the military response remained unwarranted is the practical impossibility to patrol a zone of 2.5 million square miles. Granted, piracy has over time grown in scope to include larger criminal networks, thereby posing a threat to efforts to bring an end to conflict in Somalia. As such, the situation calls for a comprehensive approach to addressing the root causes of the Somali predicament, namely state failure, abject poverty and humanitarian crisis, including strategies for effective environmental conservation and fisheries management.
Turning to the problem of terrorism, the military option equally failed to bring about lasting solution in Somalia. All military adventures, from the American Black Hawk Down in the 1990s to the December 2006 Ethiopian blitz, were doomed to fail.

Although I beg to differ with all analysts who, worth their salt, claim that Ethiopia fought in Somalia as proxy for the US, I agree with David Axe´s claim that "Ethiopia had received significant help — even urging — for its invasion."

However, it still remains to be seen if further wiki leaked cables
can provide us with details of the suspected American support and urging, if any. Both Ethiopia and the US have had their own, albeit concurrent, legitimate national security interests in Somalia. As Terrence Lyons aptly put it, "it´s important to note that Ethiopia moved into Somalia not as the puppet or proxy for the United States. Ethiopia had its own very specific national security interest relating to Somalia. Ethiopia saw stepped-up attacks on Ethiopia as originating in Somalia, aided by Eritrea. Ethiopia saw this as a real threat to the Ethiopian state and region. That´s why Ethiopia invaded, I believe, rather than just because the United States said ´Go get al-Qaeda."

But the crux of the matter is whether they had to pursue their security interests the way they did, that is: through war. The Ethiopian invasion, instead of improving aggravated the status quo, turned out to be disastrous as long as it eventually emboldened the threat emanating from the very Islamists Ethiopia had hoped to neutralize.

It rallied Somalis of all clannish allegiance and political persuasion against the invaders, ultimately boosting support for extremist Islamic groups that now had a clear enemy in the invaders and their American allies. Violence reigned throughout the two years of Ethiopian occupation. In what seems an admission of guilt, Donald Yamamoto, the former US ambassador to Ethiopia reportedly said in March "We´ve made a lot of mistakes and Ethiopia´s entry in 2006 was not a really good idea."

For instance, Johan Galtung- who is widely deservedly considered to be the Father of Peace Studies- claims, in a recent piece, that Ethiopia received payment from the US in exchange for its incursion in to Somalia. I dismiss Galtung´s allegation that Ethiopia was paid by the US to attack Somalia as unsubstantiated, if not credulous. Galtung was not alone in entertaining the idea that Ethiopia obtained a pecuniary gain from the US for its incursion in to Somalia.

A certain Eric Margolis also wrote in the Huffington Post that "Ethiopia received generous cash rewards from Washington for its invasion." The issue of American support aside, one has to be stupid enough to believe that Ethiopia invaded Somalia just because it was paid by the US or to believe that Ethiopia did what it did in Somalia in a bid to fight an American war on the Somali soil before engaging itself in a ´securitization calculus´. This, by no means, is meant to be a defense of the Ethiopian invasion, nonetheless. As to the merit of Ethiopia´s decision to invade Somalia, it was nothing short of foolhardy and shall always remain to be its biggest foreign policy blunder, though I don´t gainsay its legitimate national security interests, given that there were other ways and means of safeguarding its interests short of use of force, not to mention the issue of whether the requirements of just war were fulfilled. Ethiopia could have adapted a defensive, rather than an offensive, military posture insofar as it affords her a no-less effective aggression neutralization mechanism.
Moreover, Galtung´s simpleminded characterization of Ethiopia and Somalia as Christian and Islamic respectively lends itself easily to a fallacious interpretation of the nature and causes of the conflict as it gives the impression that the major factor that plays itself out in the Ethio-Somalia conflict is religious difference, which is an outright reductio ad absurdum.

First, FDR Ethiopia, unlike Imperial Ethiopia, is not a Christian state, as secularism is one of the pillars on which its new politico-legal order has been founded. Second, Ethiopia, in terms of its religious composition, is a country where almost half of its populace is Muslim. In the words of Terrence Lyons:

"While many portray Ethiopia as a Christian nation, the country in fact has roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. Ethnic and national identity rather than religion has proven to be the most important social cleavage. It is possible, of course, that religious divisions will grow as an additional spillover from Ethiopia´s incursion into Somalia. This is another reason why settling this conflict is imperative."

Commenting on the futility of military intervention in Somalia by drawing a parallel with the war in Iraq, Sadia Ali Aden said, "Like the Iraq war, the military solution is a failed solution. The military solution will only discredit if not altogether alienate the moderate elements, radicalize
insurgents, and perpetuate bloodshed and chaos. Therefore, it seems that the only way toward a win-win solution is through diplomacy and by adopting an alternative, constructive policy toward Somalia."

Writing in the same vein, Donald Levine also suggested "Ethiopia's incursion into Somalia, with US concurrence, if not active backing, is likely to have a similar effect. Our goal should be to strengthen the moderate Somalis there, not undermine them through arousing anti-Ethiopia and anti-US hysteria."

At any rate, the international community in general and Ethiopia and the US in particular should bear in mind the need to have a full grasp of the inner logic that governs and perpetuates anarchy in Somalia and its workings.

The twin problems of piracy and terrorism are symptoms of the deeper and broader problem in Somalia, namely anarchy or state failure. Any effort to address piracy or terrorism in isolation from its wider context would not produce the desired results. If a genuinely viable solution to the twin problems of piracy and terrorism is to be found, the international community must primarily focus on helping the Somalis address their deeper malaise themselves. Commenting on the piracy problem, Ken Menkhaus writes "the Somali piracy epidemic is unquestionably an on-shore crisis demanding an on-shore solution. Naval perations to interdict and apprehend pirates will help, but cannot possibly halt the daily quest of over a thousand gunmen in such vast waters when the risks are so low, rewards so high and alternatives so bleak in desolate Somalia."

Menkhaus argues that "The solution will ultimately have to be on-shore, with more effective government in Somalia." In keeping with Menkhaus´s proposal, Michael Shank argues that if we can find stability on land first, and then order will return to the seas.

What transpires from the foregoing is the fact that the key to solving the twin problems of piracy and terrorism on- and off-shore is to promote a negative peace agenda on-shore and off-shore buttressed by a positive peace agenda on-shore capitalizing on the gains of the Transitional Federal Government while ensuring its inclusiveness. On the former, the West must rally as long as it has all the resources if it has the requisite political will. Countries of the Horn of Africa must build consensus as to the necessity of getting over the prevalent anarchy in Somalia if their effort geared towards realizing a robust and effective regional integration, be it economic or political, is to bear fruit as long as it is in the best interest of the sub-region as a whole and its members as individual states. After all, the Somalis are such a widely dispersed population throughout much of the sub-region, and hence, the stability and prosperity of Somalia is a precondition for the enjoyment of stability and prosperity in the sub-region in general and to be more specific, in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya.
(*) The writer, Alemayehu Fentaw (LLB, MA summa cum laude), is an academic lawyer and conflict analyst based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He can be reached at alemayehu@ethgi.org

PRECIOUS STONES ATROCITIES EX ZIMBABWE NOW IN SOMALIA ?
The U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James D. McGee, reported on 12. November 2008, according to the WikiLeaked cable the following:
"The CEO of a British mining company described to us how high-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds from the Chiadzwa mine in eastern Zimbabwe. They are selling the undocumented diamonds to a mix of foreign buyers including Belgians, Israelis, Lebanese, Russians and
South Africans who smuggle them out of the country for cutting and resale elsewhere. Despite efforts to control the diamond site with police, the prospect of accessible diamonds lying just beneath the soil's surface has attracted a swarm of several thousand local and foreign diggers. The police response has been violent, with a handful of homicides reported each week, though that number could grow as diggers
arm themselves and attract police and army deserters to their ranks. END SUMMARY
While it is well known that the skirmishes in the Galgala mountains of Northern Somalia are caused by a voracious Puntland governance, which wants to get hold of the minerals there, and not by a falsely branded "terrorist" named Atom, who wants to protect them and the local community for their own benefit, the greed for precious stones and other minerals has reportedly now also got a firm grip on the regional state of Galmudug in Central Somalia and the young governance there. A well equipped and heavily armed militia paid by foreign investors similar to the now established mercenary outfit in Puntland has actually likewise a mineral exploitation background. The only difference seems to be that it is backstopped by a company with allegedly British roots, which first turned up under the disguise of a Dutch outfit which said it wanted to establish a fish-factory. Observers, analysts and investigators likewise wonder how in an otherwise seriously UN-masterminded country such outfits can establish themselves.

Somalis in Norfolk, Va., convicted of piracy By Abayomi Azikiwe (Editor, Pan-African News Wire)
Five Somali nationals were convicted of piracy in a U.S. federal court in Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 24, with their sentencing set for March 2011. Based on slave-era laws and criminal statutes that have not been enforced since the 1820s, the Somalis could be sentenced to life in prison.
The captured Somalis claimed they were fishing off the coast of the country and were forced to fire on the Nicholas, a U.S. boat that was part of an international flotilla of warships stationed in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Government prosecutors tried the case on the allegation that the defendants fired on a U.S. military boat thinking it was a commercial ship that could be held for ransom.
U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride stated after the convictions, “Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years. Today’s conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in U.S. courts.” (examiner.com, Nov. 27)
The trial lasted for nine days and resulted in the convictions of Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Mohammed Umar, Ali Abdi Wali Dire, and Abdi Mohammed Guerwardher. The five were found guilty of “piracy, attack to plunder a vessel, act of violence against persons on a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees, conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence, and multiple firearm counts, including the use of a rocket propelled grenade.” (examiner.com, Nov. 27)
These convictions come amid a chorus of demands from imperialist military forces to intensify their aggressive dominance of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean near the Horn of Africa. Since 2008 both the European Union and the United States have led a coalition of naval forces that have pledged to control the flow of goods, oil and arms through the Gulf of Aden and to work toward the prevention of the Islamic resistance forces from seizing power inside Somalia.
Philippe Coindreau, the European Union commander of the anti-piracy naval force known as NAVFOR, told media that the area of operations for the NAVFOR forces had broadened. (AFP, Nov. 25) In addition to the U.S. trial in Norfolk, ten Somalis arrested in the Indian Ocean went on trial in Hamburg, Germany, in November.
Despite the cooperation of the neighboring east African nation of Kenya, which has been assisting the imperialist states in the anti-piracy campaign in the region, a recent trial in that country resulted in the acquittal of 26 people also charged with hijacking vessels for ransom. More than 700 people are now in custody in 12 different countries for piracy.
Proposals have been put forward by the United Nations to establish an anti-piracy court, ostensibly under Somali control, that would put on trial people arrested and charged with this crime on the high seas. Kenya has been suggested as a possible location for the new court.
Trials provide pretext for U.S. intervention
The trial of the five Somali men in Norfolk should be viewed within the past and present political context involving U.S. foreign policy aims and objectives.
As part of its so-called “war on terrorism,” Washington has targeted Somalia. At present the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), underwritten largely by U.S. military appropriations, is propping up the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, the capital. The U.S.-backed governments of Uganda and Burundi supply several thousand soldiers to the AMISOM forces.
U.S. interest in Somalia goes back decades, when during the 1970s, the Carter administration sought to weaken the revolution in neighboring Ethiopia by bribing the military government of Mohamed Siad Barre into an alliance with the Pentagon. A subsequent U.S.-instigated invasion of Ethiopia by Somali forces in 1978 met with decisive defeat by the Ethiopian military, assisted by Cuban internationalist forces that were inside the region to help consolidate a socialist revolution in Ethiopia at the time.
Another U.S. intervention in Somalia took place from 1992 to 1994. Under the guise of a humanitarian mission to feed the hungry and displaced, U.S. marines invaded the country. Within a few months of the intervention, the Somali masses had risen up against both the U.S. and U.N. forces inside the country, compelling a withdrawal in 1994. In recent months the Pentagon has hinted of its desire to engage in another direct military assault on Somalia.
These U.S. ruling-class efforts stem from Washington’s desire to control the strategic trade routes in the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula regions. This is also linked to claims on oil concessions by U.S. multinational firms in and around Somalia.
In neighboring Djibouti, the U.S. and France both have military bases that are often used in war games conducted by the Pentagon and the EU military forces stationed in the region. The imperialists want no government to come to power in the region that is independent of U.S. influence.
This policy is manifested inside the U.S. when U.S. agents arrest Somali expatriates and charge them with crimes related to the “war on terrorism.” In Portland, Ore., during late November, a 19-year-old Somali youth, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, was entrapped and charged by the FBI in a sting operation involving a nonexistent plot to set off a bomb at a holiday celebration. The FBI concocted and engineered the entire plot, which it then used to ask for more domestic spending on homeland security as well as defense spending to wage a permanent war in the so-called Third World.
In April 2009, the U.S. Navy shot dead three Somali youth, wounded another and then brought a captured 16-year-old Abdiwali Muse to New York to stand trial for piracy.
These criminal cases, coupled with targeting the Somali community inside the U.S., have created an atmosphere of hostility among Somali expatriates around the U.S.

As Former Somali Diplomat Is Barred from Mission to UN, Is UNICEF Barred by TFG? WFP Withholds MOU with IOC By Matthew Russell Lee (innercitypress)
UNITED NATIONS, December 15 -- As the UN World Food Program continues to withhold its Somalia Memorandum of Understanding with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, even from other UN officials, a once and perhaps future Somali diplomat has reportedly reappeared at the country's Mission to the UN and had the police called on him.
   Idd Beddel Mohamed, who Inner City Press interviewed in 2007 as Deputy Permanent Representative denounced UN payments to warlords, recently came back to the Somali Mission, according to sources, saying that the new Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Oomar had authorized him to enter.
  But the current Permanent Representative said he'd heard no such thing, the sources say, the police were called to oust Idd Beddel Mohamed.
  Meanwhile, after both Mark Bowden, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia and Ms. Kiki Gbeho, Head of the Somalia Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Inner City Press they had not even seen WFP's agreement with the OIC, on December 14 Inner City Press asked OCHA chief Valerie Amos about it.
Ms. Amos answered that OCHA can't compel any UN system agency to “coordinate” with it.  Video here.
  On December 15, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon thought that UN system agencies should reach and withhold secret deals. Nesirky said he had nothing to add to what Mr. Bowden and Ms. Gbeho had said.
A WFP spokesperson has emailed offering to talk about the MOU and has been asked to provide a copy. He replied "I can't email the MOU to you." Watch this site.
Footnote: at the December 15 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Nesirky about reports that the Somali Transitional Federal Government has ordered UNICEF and other UN agencies to stop their work in Somalia, for missing a meeting about the drought.
  Previously, Inner City Press asked UNICEF's spokesman, but he is out of the office for a long time (question have been backing up for the past two weeks). Nesirky said that events have moved on and that the Somali block is not (any longer?) in place. We'll see.

* * *

On Somalia, UN Looks Away from Mercenaries & Funder, Withholds MOU By Matthew Russell Lee (innercitypress)
UNITED NATIONS, December 13 -- As not only Puntland but the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu move to use mercenaries, the UN is in denial even as its Security Council's sanctions regime is being violated.
On December 6 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky:
Inner City Press: there is a former US official, Pierre Prosper, who has said that Puntland, the portion of Somalia, has hired a private military contractor, Saracen, to do anti-piracy work — that it’s being all funded by a Muslim nation that he wouldn’t name. So what I wonder is whether, given Mr. [Augustine] Mahiga or anyone in the UN, given both the prohibitions against mercenaries and also the 1992 sanctions on Somalia, what does the UN say to Puntland pretty openly, or at least as acknowledged by a former US official, hiring a mercenary firm to patrol the coast of Somalia, and what’s the UN going to do in light of this report?
Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, thanks for the question, Matthew, and let’s see what we can find out. I don’t have anything at the moment.
A full week later, the UN Spokesperson's Office has not provided any information. But on December 10, Inner City Press asked the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden about mercenaries. Despite reports that the TFG is moving forward, Bowden said that there's been a step back. Video here, from Minute 13:55.
Inner City Press asked if the UN knows the identify of the country funding the mercenaries. Bowden did not answer, but said that the funder should contact the UN Somalia Monitoring Group, or they might be in violation of the sanctions. But the country has indicated it will not identify itself, ostensibly to not suffer attacks. Is there a loophole in the sanctions regime for this?
  On the UN World Food Program's confidential Memorandum of Understanding with the OIC, Inner City Press asked what it says about paying to deliver service.
  Ms. Kiki Gbeho, Head of the Somalia Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs replied that she “hopes” it has prohibitions, adding that the UN “in principle does not pay to deliver... perhaps it has happened, but it is the policy not to pay.”
But neither she nor Bowden have seen the WFP agreement. What does it mean, then, to be a UN Humanitarian “Coordinator” or OCHA Head of Country office? What is WFP doing? Watch this site.




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asad December 25, 2010 1:03 am (Pacific time)

awant to learn abouy this

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