January 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 December 2009
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Expected Council Action
In January the Council is expected to renew the authorisation of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The current authorisation expires on 31 January as decided in resolution 1872 of 26 May 2009. AMISOM’s AU mandate expires on 17 January and is expected to be renewed.

The Council is also scheduled to discuss a report on Somalia from the Secretary-General due on 31 December 2009. The report is expected to include the regular periodic update, as well as an assessment of progress in implementing the three phased approach to Somalia endorsed in resolution 1872. A briefing by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah is likely.

Key Recent Developments
In November 2009, Council discussions focused on piracy and sanctions issues. On 18 November 2009 the Council held a debate to discuss the Secretary-General’s 13 November report on implementation of resolution 1846 (which authorised anti-piracy action off the coast of Somalia) and heard a briefing by Ould-Abdallah. On 30 November, the Council adopted resolution 1897 renewing the anti-piracy measures of resolutions 1846 and 1851 (which authorised action on land) for another 12 months.

On 16 November 2009 Council members met in informal consultations and were briefed by the chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee, Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller. They reviewed the targeted sanctions imposed by resolution 1844. (The resolution stipulated that the Council should review these measures one year after its adoption.) In a press statement following the meeting the Council noted that the targeted measures remained necessary to address the situation in Somalia. (However, there are currently no names on the list for the targeted measures.) It also reiterated its support for the Djibouti Peace Process and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

On 3 December 2009 an attack by a suicide bomber during a medical school graduation ceremony in Mogadishu killed at least 22 people, including three TFG ministers (for health, education and higher education). The Council condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” in a presidential statement adopted that same day.

On 7 and 8 December 2009 there were demonstrations against Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu and in some camps for internally displaced persons in which its black flag was burned.

On 8 December 2009 the Somalia Sanctions Committee was informed by the Somalia Monitoring Group that its experts had received threats and warnings by unknown sources. The Group has reportedly been investigating whether Somali businessmen, including contractors working for the World Food Programme, are diverting aid money to insurgent groups in Somalia. On 11 December 2009 the Committee issued a press statement deploring such acts of intimidation and urging states to cooperate with the Monitoring Group.

The 2010 Somalia Humanitarian Appeal was launched on 3 December 2009, requesting $689 million. There is little or no carryover funding for 2010 and donors were urged to provide early funding to respond to the humanitarian crisis. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, held a news conference in New York on 8 December 2009, stressing that the humanitarian consequences would be very serious if the situation in Somalia was not addressed. On 17 December 2009 the UN Children’s Fund said it was having difficulties raising funds for its work in Somalia.

The International Contact Group on Somalia met on 17 December 2009 in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. It issued a communiqué calling on the international community to provide “coordinated, timely and sustained support” and welcoming the idea of holding an international conference to discuss transition objectives.

On 21 December 2009 the Somali parliament convened in Mogadishu for the first time since August 2009. The meeting was hit by mortar attacks reportedly killing eight people, but no lawmakers were injured.

On 23 December 2009 the Council adopted a resolution imposing sanctions on Eritrea, with Libya voting against and China abstaining. The new sanctions regime includes an arms embargo, as well as targeted measures (travel ban and assets freeze) on Eritrean nationals and entities that violate the arms embargo, provide support to insurgent groups which aim to destabilise the region, obstruct implementation of resolution 1862 concerning the Djibouti/Eritrea border dispute or obstruct the work of the Somalia Monitoring Group. (Please see also our 16 December 2009 Update Report on Eritrea for further details.)

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 27 November 2009, Shamsul Bari, the Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, condemned the series of stonings that had taken place in Al-Shabaab controlled areas of Somalia. He called on all parties to immediately refrain from acts of torture and murder, including stoning, amputations and floggings and abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

On 3 December 2009, Bari expressed shock and dismay at the suicide bombing that day in Mogadishu and appealed to the international community to strengthen the capacity of the TFG to investigate the explosion and to prosecute its perpetrators.

Key Issues

The key issue for the Council in January is renewal of the authorisation for AMISOM to operate in Somalia. A related question is whether the AU will seek to change the mission’s mandate. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, has called on the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the Security Council to change AMISOM’s rules of engagement to improve its “response mechanism”. An AU meeting in Tripoli on 31 August 2009 requested the PSC to review the mandate of AMISOM, in particular with regard to its authorised strength and logistical support.

A second issue is progress in implementing the three phased approach to Somalia endorsed by the Council in May, in particular regarding delivery of international assistance. Donors have still not delivered on all the pledges made at the conference in Brussels in April 2009. Coordination also seems to be an issue. The Somali government has presented a budget for 2010 of $108 million (40 percent is allocated to security) of which almost 80 percent would have to come from donors.

Another issue is whether recent developments, in particular the 3 December suicide bombing, signal increasing foreign influence and an escalation of the security threat beyond Somali borders. Some observers suggest that Somali insurgents have imported terrorist tactics and technology used in Iraq and Afghanistan which have allowed them to reach a new level of sophistication. The deputy AU representative to Somalia warned in December that Al-Qaida was strengthening its presence in Somalia and that the security situation was getting out of hand.

A further issue is implementation of the sanctions regime for Somalia. The Somalia targeted sanctions resolution was adopted in November 2008. But listings imposing targeted measures have yet to be acted upon by Council members. Despite the evidence presented by the Monitoring Group, no individuals have yet been designated as subject to the sanctions. (The recent resolution on Eritrea gives the Somalia Sanctions Committee responsibility for designations under this new sanctions regime as well.)

A major underlying issue is the suffering of the civilian population, the continuing deterioration in the humanitarian situation and the ongoing violations of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

Options for the Council in January include:

  • a simple renewal of the authorisation for AMISOM for another period (for how long will to some extent depend on the AU’s mandate renewal, but six months seem likely);
  • reiterating previous messages, including in support of the Djibouti Peace Process and the TFG, and stressing in particular the importance of international assistance to Somalia in all areas;
  • revisiting the question of appropriate timing for establishment of a UN presence in Mogadishu and requesting another report from the Secretary-General on progress in implementing the three phased approach;
  • addressing the parties’ obligations under international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, condemning violations and calling for measures to fight impunity; and
  • on sanctions, if designating individuals and entities for targeted measures under the Somalia and Eritrea sanctions regimes fails to progress within the Sanctions Committee, an option would be to bring the issue to the Council for a decision.

Council Dynamics
The three phased approach to Somalia appears to still enjoy Council members’ support. In this regard it seems unlikely that the new Council membership in 2010 will lead to any significant changes in dynamics. Renewal of the AMISOM authorisation appears uncontroversial and at this time changes to the mandate are not expected.

Most recently the focus has been on the role of Eritrea in the region. As was evident from the vote on the recently adopted sanctions resolution, the Council is clearly split on what action to take. Several members would have preferred a more gradual approach. It remains to be seen whether the Somalia Sanctions Committee will be able to agree on implementation of the new provisions anytime soon.

The UK is the lead country on Somalia in the Council.

Selected UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1907 (23 December 2009) imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea.
  • S/RES/1872 (26 May 2009) renewed authorisation of AMISOM until 31 January 2010, approved its funding from assessed UN contributions and requested the Secretary-General to implement the phased approach recommended in his 16 April report.
  • S/RES/1862 (14 January 2009) demanded that Eritrea withdraw its forces within five weeks to the positions of the status quo ante in its border dispute with Djibouti.
  • S/RES/1853 (19 December 2008) renewed the mandate of the Monitoring Group tasked with monitoring the sanctions regime for Somalia for 12 months.
  • S/RES/1844 (20 November 2008) imposed targeted sanctions relating to the situation in Somalia.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2009/590 (13 November 2009) was the report of the Secretary-General regarding piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Selected Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6254 (23 December 2009) was the adoption of the Eritrea sanctions resolution with explanations of vote and statements by Djibouti and Somalia.
  • S/PV.6221 (18 November 2009) was a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/31 (3 December 2009) condemned the 3 December attack in Mogadishu.
  • S/PRST/2009/19 (9 July 2009) reiterated its support for the Djibouti Peace Process and the Transitional Federal Government and expressed concern at foreign support of insurgents.


  • SC/9813 (11 December 2009) was a press release from the Somalia Sanctions Committee concerning threats against the Monitoring Group.
  • SC/9790 (16 November 2009) was a Council press statement regarding an informal briefing from the chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee, Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller.
  • S/2009/569 (3 November 2009) was a letter from the Secretary-General submitting a report on the activities of EU’s anti-piracy operation Atalanta.
  • S/2008/769 (10 December 2008) was the latest report of the Monitoring Group for the Somalia sanctions regime.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (Mauritania)

Chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee

Claude Heller (Mexico)


  • Maximum authorised strength: 8,000 troops plus maritime and air components
  • Strength as of December 2009: about 5,200 Ugandan and Burundian troops.
  • Duration: February 2007 to present: AU mandate expires on 17 January 2010 and Council authorisation expires on 31 January 2010.

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