Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

United Nations' Incompetency and Incoherency are Hard To Die

Reason is the essential ingredient in problem solving. Rational problem solving involves not one decision but a series of choices, ending only when and if the problem is resolved. The trick, of course is to reason well, weigh and consider the facts, identify and evaluate alternatives, choose an alternative and implement it.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 733 (Implementing an Arms Embargo on Somalia), at its 3039th meeting, on 23 January 1992, was adopted at the height of the civil war conflict in Southern part of Somalia as stated in the resolution as following:

“Gravely alarmed at the rapid deterioration of the situation in Somalia and the heavy loss of human life and widespread material damage resulting from the conflict in the country and aware of its consequences on the stability and peace in the region. Concerned that the continuation of this situation constitutes, as stated in the report of the Secretary-General, a threat to international peace and security.
This was a well timed and indeed a useful resolution. But the political realities in the 1990’s that were the premises of this resolution have changed. Today, with the help of the international community including the UN, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and its institutions (the Parliament, the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) and the transitional Charter are all in place.
Unlike the era of warlords 1991 to 2004, the international community cannot principally and morally justify the continuation of the arms embargo, when in the history of modern civilization there never was a government nor will be that established law and order while denied the very means to do so. Political writer and philosopher, Ayn Rand once explaining The Nature of Government vs. Anarchism stated “ … a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. … even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreement among men that necessitates the establishment of a government.”
No wonder, pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns at the luxury vessel Seabourn Spirit on the Somali Coastline, no wonder, a cabinet minister is threatening to shoot down civilian planes in Somali airspace and no wonder the Prime Minister convey is ambushed in Mogadishu.

Again, the UN Security Council in its 5227th meeting, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter and through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1587 (2005), the Council requested the Group to continue the tasks entrusted to it, including the investigation of the implementation of the arms embargo by Member States and violations, as well as actions taken by the Somali authorities. The Council here justified its resistance among other arguments as follows: “ Expressing concern at the recent disagreements threatening the viability of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions, the Security Council this afternoon urged the immediate conclusion of a national security and stabilization plan, to include a comprehensive and verifiable ceasefire agreement leading to final disarmament.” It looks as if the Security Council is “putting the cart before the horse”.

The above statement is mind-boggling to Somali people who are aware the so-called “disagreement” was debated and approved overwhelmingly in both the Council of Ministers meeting and Parliament session. May, I remind the UN officials that Democracy is the rule of the majority under the law and not the rule of few individuals. We, Somalis are asking, “If democracy is only for non-Africans or maybe according to UN officials, it’s just a lip-service utterance that has no application?” I can see the parallel here to Langstone Hughes poem in Black Man Speaks:

I swear to the lord
I still can’t see
Why democracy means
Everybody but me!

We submit, that the Charter of the United Nations, under Chapter 1 (Purpose & Principles), article 1, states: The Purposes of the United Nations are:

To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of the threats of peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

Again, we submit, on October 25, 2004, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) meeting attended by representatives of the UN, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the chair of IGAD Partners’ Forum (IPF) and the chair of the Stockholm Donors’ Conference for Somalia, all participants agreed on a proposal and principal to deploy IGASOM to Somalia. They also affirmed to collectively sanction and punish those who act against the establishment of law and order by the government.

Under Chapter VIII (Regional Arrangements) of the UN Charter, articles 52-54 dictates the Security Council to encourage and help regional action to deal with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security.

Somali people are yearning for law and order and want their transitional government to be accorded the means, material and sovereign rights to enforce the laws. Security Council’s inconsistency with current realities shouldn’t be used to tie down the hands of Somali government or diminish the very objective and goals of UN Charter they pretend to protect.

Finally, let me remind the United Nations leadership, in the fight of good against evil, neutrality means indifference and evading responsibility. I conclude with Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “ There is no one incident in the history of humanity in which defeatism led to peace which was anything other than a complete fraud.”

Old habits are hard to be broken, it was under Kofi Annan’s stewardship on UN peacekeeping forces that the massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica in 1995, took place. This is how UNPROFOR soldier recalled it “The saddest thing about Srebrenica is that it could easily have been stopped. The UN peacekeeping operation in the former Yugoslavia was a joke.
I served as a British soldier in UNPROFOR in 1993, and we were prohibited from intervening in all but the most extreme of situations, and for a combat soldier to be placed in such a predicament was torture. Peacekeepers must be able to enforce the peace rather than just observe. I only hope that the UN can learn the same lesson.” CM, Norfolk, UK Again, the genocide - in which some 800,000 people died, occurred when Mr. Annan was head of UN peacekeeping forces.
The UN Security Council failed to reinforce the small UN peacekeeping force in the country. "The international community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret," Mr. Annan said. "I believed at that time that I was doing my best, but I realized after the genocide that there was more that I could and should have done to sound the alarm and rally support."

In April 2000 the UN Security Council admitted responsibility for failing to stop the genocide. Well, as Native American’s say when they hear an empty promise “it’s all thunder but no rain”. By refusing to even partially lift the arms embargo on Somalia, in order IGASOM achieve its limited mandate to help TFG secure law and order. It’s evident that Mr. Annan’s regret was dead on arrival. It also obvious the UN Security council’s admission of failure to stop Rwandan Genocide wasn’t even worthy it on the paper written on.

The head of the small UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda at the time, Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, told the conference that no one was interested in saving Rwandans and the bulk of his force was ordered to leave.

He suggested that attitudes now had not changed. "I still believe that if an organization decided to wipe out the 320 mountain gorillas there would be still more of a reaction by the international community to curtail or to stop that than there would be still today in attempting to protect thousands of human beings being slaughtered in the same country."

The third piece of the puzzle is Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, François Lonsény Fall, who many Somalis believed is being paid by Mogadishu warlord to draw a picture of divided government and therefore confuse the international community. “those who stand for nothing fall for anything” –Alex Hamilton

The final piece is the UNDP officials in Nairobi who are responsible on Somali affairs. These officials are administering the money given to Somalia by donor governments. No wonder they create an atmosphere of re-negotiation by encouraging the Mogadishu warlords hunker down. Their roadblocks: CMC, SACB and now the JNA are equally harmful to TFG’s efforts to consolidate its power in Somalia as roadblocks (ISBAAROS) in streets of Mogadishu by warlords and extremists.

Ugandan President, H.E. Yoweri Museveni, addressing to IGAD defences ministers gathering in Uganda said "I do not remember any positive change in Africa brought about by the UN or Europe," he said. "It is a shame for one of the ancient races in Africa to suffer for so long as we look on, what are we waiting for?"

We appeal to our African brothers to ignore this unjust decision as NATO dutifully and responsibly did it when Bosnia and Kosovo needed intervention. By recalling that Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter recognized the role of regional arrangements in dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action; African nations must respond immediately to help Somali government to preserve peace, security and stability in all areas of the country.

Ali Farah
Communication Director
Somali-American Community Alliance of USA
Annandale, VA

The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"


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