September 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2012
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AFRICA

Somalia

Expected Council Action

The transition to permanent federal government institutions in Somalia that was underway at press time will be of primary concern for the Council in September, as Council members will be watching closely to see how events on the ground continue to develop. It is possible that the Council will request a briefing on the political situation in Somalia. A press statement or presidential statement welcoming the transition is also possible.

Also in September, the Council is due to receive the next 60-day report of the AU on the implementation of the AU Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) mandate. This report will not be considered until October, when the 31 October expiration of the mandate approaches.

A high-level mini-summit, involving representatives of the new Somali government, key regional actors and financial institutions, is planned for 26 September on the margins of the General Assembly. The Secretary-General will co-chair the event with the chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The meeting will focus on issues of transparency, stability and security, while also establishing medium-term goals for the new Somali administration. A communiqué following the meeting is likely.

Key Recent Developments

The period immediately preceding the scheduled deadline for transition to a provisional government, originally set for 20 August, was plagued by delays as well as incidents of violence and intimidation. On 1 August, the 825-member National Constituent Assembly approved a provisional constitution that will provide the legal framework for the new Somali federal government. The nine-day assembly session was the target of multiple assaults, including a mortar attack on 28 July and a suicide bombing on 1 August in which six security officers and the two bombers were killed.

According to news reports on 9 August, individuals dressed as Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces fired upon supporters of presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, killing two people. In a 10 August press statement (SC/10740), Council members reiterated that those selecting new parliamentarians be able to do so “without fear of violence or intimidation.”

On 13 August, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Augustine Mahiga issued a statement condemning the killings of a journalist and a government official from the Ministry of Information. Invoking the killing of a Somali comedian two weeks earlier, Mahiga decried the culture of impunity prevailing in Somalia and called for the TFG to “strengthen its police investigative capacity.”

Press accounts on 17 August reported that the Technical Selection Committee had rejected more than 60 potential legislators on the basis of their involvement with groups accused of contributing to instability in Somalia. On 20 August a new parliament was inaugurated and 215 (out of 275) parliamentarians were sworn in, enough to constitute a quorum and allow the new body to convene. In a statement the Secretary-General described the inauguration as a “watershed moment.” The new parliament elected Mohamed Osman Jawari as its Speaker on 28 August. On 29 August, Jaylaani Nur Ikar and Mahad Abdalle Awad were elected first and second deputy speakers, respectively. The election of a new President is currently expected in early September.

On 27 August in Mombasa, Kenya, the extremist Islamic cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed by unknown assailants.  Aboud Rogo had been added to the Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee’s list of individuals subject to a travel ban, assets freeze and targeted arms embargo on 25 July. The report of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (S/2012/544) identified Aboud Rogo as the ideological leader of Al Hijra, formerly known as the Muslim Youth Centre, and accused him of covertly funding the Islamist rebel group al-Shabaab while advocating the violent overthrow of the Government of Kenya and the derailment of the Somali peace process. A close associate of Aboud Rogo also residing in Kenya, Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, was added to the sanctions list on 23 August.

Three civilians (two boys aged 11 and 15, and a pregnant woman) were killed and four injured in the port city of Kismayo, stronghold of al-Shabaab, following shelling of the town by Kenyan naval forces on 11 August. (Though Kenya provides troops and resources to AMISOM, Kenya operates outside of the mission’s mandate.) As a battle for control of the town appeared imminent, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, expressed concern over the civilian casualties and reiterated his call for parties to the conflict to minimise its impact on civilians. Ultimately, a planned assault on the town by AMISOM was postponed following the crash of three Ugandan helicopters en route to Somalia to spearhead the assault on 12 August. A spokesperson for AMISOM reported that the mission had taken the port city of Merca, near Mogadishu, from al-Shabaab forces on 27 August.

Security Council members have been keeping abreast of developments in Somalia. On 7 August, they heard a briefing by the Department of Political Affairs, in which the approval of the constitution and selection of parliamentarians were discussed.

On 28 August the Security Council was briefed in consultations by Mahiga (via videoconferencing from Mogadishu) on the political situation in Somalia and the Secretary-General’s most recent report on Somalia (S/2012/643). In his report, the Secretary-General asserted his intention to conduct an inter-agency review of the UN presence in Somalia and present recommendations to the Council by the end of 2012. In a press statement on 29 August, Council members welcomed “recent landmark events in Somalia,” condemned instances of intimidation and corruption and underlined that the parliament should “elect a President without further delays.”

Key Issues

The primary issue for the Council is seeing through the transition from the TFG to a new provisional government.

A key issue will be whether or not specific objectives agreed by signatories to the 6 September 2011 Roadmap to ending the transition and in subsequent meetings fall by the wayside, such as the mandate that women receive 30 percent of all seats in new federal institutions (as agreed in February as part of the Garowe II Principles). (According to the most recent report of the Secretary-General, only 15 percent of new parliamentarians as of 15 August were women.) 

Allegations of corruption within the new Somali government are a major issue for Council members.

As the new government continues to take shape, an issue for Council members will be how closely it resembles the outgoing TFG.

A key concern in September will be to make clear to the new Somali administration that past Security Council pronouncements addressed to the TFG continue to apply to the new authorities.

A separate issue for the Council will be AMISOM’s attacks on civilians, in particular the likely impact of its forthcoming assault on Kismayo.  The outcome of this battle may have consequences for the review of AMISOM’s mandate in October.

Options

The Council has several options for marking the end of the transition in Somalia. Following presidential elections expected by early September, the Council could:

  • request a briefing from the Department of Political Affairs or the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the political situation in Somalia;
  • adopt a statement welcoming Somalia’s transition to a new government, expressing concern over the reports of bribery, intimidation and corruption that accompanied the transitional process and making clear that the conclusion of the transition represents the first step towards a permanent federal government; or
  • adopt a resolution addressing similar issues, helping set out the parameters for the high-level mini-summit on the margins of the General Assembly and articulating new medium-term goals for Somalia.
Council Dynamics

The Council remains in general agreement on most issues related to Somalia. For the time being, the Council shares the opinion that encouragement rather than criticism should characterise its approach to Somalia.

However, the lack of any Council statement specifically addressing many of the charges laid out in the July report of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group on Somalia is indicative of the divisions that exist within the Council regarding approaches to corruption issues in Somalia. Some Council members are reluctant to criticise key actors in Somalia on the subject of corruption, while others feel that more forceful action on the issue is called for.

It seems Council members have also begun to discuss the possibility of a new resolution on Somalia to mark the end of the transition and the election of a new President and lay out some medium-term goals on stabilisation and transparency, but further details have yet to emerge.

The UK is the lead country on Somalia in the Council, while India chairs the Sanctions Committee and Russia has taken the lead on legal issues related to piracy.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions  
25 July 2012 S/RES/2060 This resolution extended the mandate of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea for 13 months, as well as the humanitarian exemption to the Somalia sanctions regime for 12 months.
22 February 2012 S/RES/2036 This resolution authorised an increase in AMISOM’s troop ceiling as well as an expansion of its UN support package and imposed a ban on importing charcoal from Somalia.
Secretary-General’s Report  
22 August 2012 S/2012/643 This report of the Secretary-General was on Somalia.
Security Council Press Statements  
29 August 2012 SC/10749 This press statement was on Somalia.
24 August 2012 SC/10748 This press statement announced the addition of Abubaker Shariff Ahmed to the list of individuals subject to sanctions.
10 August 2012 SC/10740 This press statement supported the Somalia transition process.
25 July 2012 SC/10728 This press statement announced the addition of Aboud Rogo Mohamed to the list of individuals subject to sanctions.
Security Council Letters  
11 July 2012 S/2012/544 This letter contained the final report on Somalia of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.
20 June 2012 S/2012/468 This letter contained a 60-day AU report on AMISOM requested by resolution 2036.
Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia
Augustine P. Mahiga (Tanzania)

AMISOM
Maximum Authorised Strength: 17,731 troops, plus maritime and air components
Strength as of 2 June 2012: 16,660 troops
Duration: February 2007 to present. Council authorisation expires on 31 October 2012; AU mandate expires on 16 January 2013.