Expected Council Action
In July, Ambassador Oh Joon (South Korea), chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee, is scheduled to brief Council members in consultations. An outcome is not anticipated.
Key Recent Developments
Despite territorial gains by the joint AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) offensive, Al-Shabaab continues to pose a serious asymmetrical security threat in Somalia and nearby countries. Al-Shabaab attacked the parliament building in Mogadishu on 24 May, resulting in the death of 10 AMISOM and SNA troops and eight attackers. The Council issued a press statement condemning the attack (SC/11412). On 15 and 16 June, gunmen killed more than 50 people in the coastal town of Mpeketoni, Kenya. Although Al-Shabaab has publicly claimed responsibility (and details in media reports seem to offer corroboration), President Uhuru Kenyatta has claimed the attacks were local political violence unrelated to the Islamist group.
The latest confidential midterm report of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), which was leaked to the media, apparently documented governmental corruption—often in the form of diverting SNA arms to clan militias and public markets—and a lack of state regulatory capacity. Nonetheless, on 5 March the Council adopted resolution 2142 reauthorising a partial lifting of the arms embargo until 25 October. As requested by the Council, the Secretary-General offered technical advice to improve sanctions compliance by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on 3 April (S/2014/243). On 22 May, the Council issued a presidential statement regarding arms and ammunition management by the FGS (S/PRST/2014/9). The first of two FGS reports to the Council regarding implementation of resolution 2142, which was due 13 June, has been submitted.
The embargo on the export and import of charcoal continues to falter. According to the final report of the SEMG published 12 July 2013 (S/2013/413), Al-Shabaab derives significant revenue—perhaps more than $25 million per year—from the charcoal trade, and the overall scale of charcoal production and exports had actually increased despite the imposition of UN sanctions on 22 February 2012. The 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee posted on its website an implementation assistance notice dated 7 May, which provides recommendations regarding the interdiction of charcoal from Somalia. Developed in conjunction with the UN Environment Programme, the document principally covers: Council requirements, particularly as stipulated in resolution 2036; measures to prevent the export and import of charcoal from Somalia (respectively by the FGS and other member states); and technical guidance on the seizure, disposal or destruction of charcoal.
Oil continues to be a potential source of instability in Somalia. In the absence of an agreed-upon regulatory framework for the industry, oil rights remain disputed among the FGS, federal states, the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and secessionist Somaliland (for more on this, see Oil in Somalia: Adding Fuel to the Fire? by the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies). According to media reports, the SEMG sent the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee a letter on 27 May expressing concern regarding a “Oil Protection Unit” planned by Somaliland. Puntland and Somaliland have a contested border covering much of the Sanaag and Sool regions and have issued competing oil concessions within this area. On 12 June, troops from Somaliland occupied Taleh in the Sool region (as they had also done briefly in mid-April), prompting a joint statement issued on 14 June by the UK, the US and EU calling for the withdrawal of all forces from Sanaag and Sool.
According to publicly available information, half of the 12 individuals currently listed under the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea sanctions regime have defected to the FGS, have been arrested or have been killed (but the consolidated list has not yet been modified accordingly):
- Aboud Rogo Mohammed, listed as an Al-Shabaab fundraiser, was killed by unknown gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, on 27 August 2012;
- Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former Al-Shabaab commander, surrendered to the FGS in June 2013;
- Omar Hammami, an Al-Shabaab commander and spokesperson, was killed by the group’s intelligence service, Amniyatt Mukhabarat, on 12 September 2013;
- Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, listed as an Al-Shabaab recruiter, was killed by unknown gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya on 1 April 2014;
- Hassan Mahat Omar, listed as an Al-Shabaab recruiter and fundraiser, was arrested in Nairobi on 2 April; and
- Mahomed Sa’id, an arms trafficker and Somali warlord in Puntland and the Sanaag region closely allied to Al-Shabaab, defected to the FGS on 7 June.
In resolution 2158 of 29 May, the Council renewed the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for a period of one year and changed the Secretary-General’s reporting cycle from 90 days to 120 days. On 4 June, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos briefed Council members in consultations regarding the critical humanitarian situation in Somalia. Poor weather, conflict-related factors and a lack of funding for humanitarian assistance have caused early-warning indicators of an impending famine similar to three years ago. On 6 June, members of the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) issued a joint communiqué following their eighth annual consultative meeting which highlighted the need for the FGS to adhere to the terms of the partial lifting of the arms embargo, such as reporting obligations (S/2014/400).
With respect to sanctions, more effective implementation of the embargo on the export and import of charcoal continues to be a critically important issue, particularly as it is apparently still a substantial source of revenue for Al-Shabaab.
Another fundamental issue is full FGS compliance with the regulatory provisions linked to the partial lifting of the arms embargo, which has implications for the availability of arms and ammunition to clan militias and Al-Shabaab.
Improving public financial management and creating a regulatory framework for natural resource management that is mutually accepted by the FGS and federal states are central issues for peacebuilding and statebuilding in Somalia.
As specified in paragraph 23 of resolution 2036, the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee can list individuals and entities—such as those identified by the SEMG—that have violated sanctions on the export and import of charcoal from Somalia, particularly in cases where there has been a link to Al-Shabaab financing.
Regarding the partial lifting of the arms embargo, Council members are unlikely to take any action in July other than reviewing the report submitted in June by the FGS.
Recognising the potential for contested oil concessions to exacerbate instability in Somalia, the Council could impose a moratorium on further oil contracts until the allocation of resource rights between the FGS and federal states has been resolved and a functional regulatory framework for the oil industry has been established.
Another option could be for Council members to take a visiting mission to Somalia in order to better assess developments in the country.
Council and Wider Dynamics
During 2014, Council members have exhibited significant cooperation with regard to policymaking on Somalia, unanimously adopting two resolutions as well as issuing a presidential statement and seven press statements. Meanwhile, Somalia faces numerous challenges that suggest the need for sustained (and perhaps increased) UN engagement, such as inadequate humanitarian financing, chronic insecurity, little progress in the federal state-formation process, rampant corruption and a conspicuous lack of state capacity. The depth of these obstacles to peacebuilding and statebuilding and the relative lack of progress by UNSOM thus far would seem to indicate that a more proactive implementation of certain existing measures (e.g., charcoal sanctions) is warranted. However, due to a number of factors—including UN budget constraints, national sovereignty concerns and counter-insurgency priorities—there also currently seems to be little latitude in the Council for pursuing alternative approaches to UN engagement in Somalia.
The UK is the penholder on Somalia, the US is the penholder on piracy, Russia is the penholder on legal aspects of counter-piracy measures and the Republic of Korea is the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee.
UN Documents on Somalia
|Security Council Resolutions|
|29 May 2014 S/RES/2158||This was a resolution renewing the mandate of UNSOM for one year.|
|5 March 2014 S/RES/2142||This resolution extended the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia until 25 October 2014.|
|24 July 2013 S/RES/2111||This resolution reauthorised the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 25 November 2014.|
|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.|
|Security Council Press Statement|
|22 May 2014 S/PRST/2014/9||This was a presidential statement regarding arms and ammunition management by the Federal Government of Somalia.|
|Security Council Letters|
|6 June 2014 S/2014/400||This letter transmitted a joint communique of the eighth annual joint consultative meeting between members of the Security Council of the UN and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.|
|3 April 2014 S/2014/243||This letter transmitted the Secretary-General’s recommendations for improved regulation of small arms by FGS.|
|Security Council Press Statement|
|24 May 2014 SC/11412||In this press statement, Council members condemned the attack on parliament by Al Shabaab, which caused numerous deaths and injuries.|
|Sanctions Committee Document|
|12 July 2013 S/2013/413||This letter transmitted the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia.|
Other Relevant Facts
On 8 May, the Human Rights Council appointed Bahame Nyanduga of Tanzania as the new Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.
Useful Additional Resource
Dominik Balthasar, Oil in Somalia: Adding Fuel to the Fire?, The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies, June 2014.