From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jun 08 2009 - 10:18:26 EDT
WHILE MOGADISHU BURNS, U.N. ENVOY IS FRONTING FOR OIL EXPLORATION IN
15 MAY 2009
Where there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY, anything can happen with impunity. It
started with Kofi Annan. But during Ban Ki-moon's tenure, Special Envoys
have practically taken over the role of the Secretary General,
particularly if they feel they have support of one or two big powers.
The case of Terje Roed Larsen in the Middle East is commonly known. Now
there is a worse case in Somalia which may grow into scandalous
proportions. There is no indication that the Secretary General is doing
anything about it.
"Somalia is a graveyard of bungled foreign interventions," as The
Financial Times recently reminded everyone. Hundreds of thousands have
been displaced and millions are living subsistence level while Secretary
General Ban and his Special Envoy Ould Abdallah were issuing "hot and
cold" statements from expressing concern to noting with great
satisfaction one event or another. Eventually, their irrelevance -- sad
as it is -- was taken for granted.
However, now they are going beyond failure to suspicious business
Less than a week after the formation of a new yet contested
"Transitional Federal Government of Somalia," Special Representative of
the U.N. Secretary General Ahmedou Ould Abdallah was named in a
"memorandum of understanding allowing the government of Kenya" -- where
Ould Abdallah operates (when he's not fine dining in New York!) -- "and
Norway to explore the offshore of Somalia for oil." The memo placed with
the U.N. seeks to ensure that no future Somali government would be able
to object .
According to the document, the U.N. Special Representative had initiated
the preparation of preliminary information indicative of the outer
limits of the continental shelf of Somalia. It added that the SRSG has
accepted an offer of assistance from the government of Norway, pointing
out vaguely that the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate "have been involved in the
preparations." Of course, all expenses related to the preparation of the
present submission have been covered by the Government of Norway. What
these "expenses" entail were unclear. What is clear is that one Somali
government member (who has been living outside his country's capital for
years) has placed his signature. Abderrahman Abdishakur, Minister of
Planning and International Cooperation in the Transitional, repeat
TRANSITIONAL, cabinet, is supposedly binding future Somali governments
from revoking his deal.
Now, that is just for openers. It is just a signal for inviting
politico-financial deals where Ould Abdallah would play a central role.
Meanwhile, the basic role of the Secretary General Special
Representative remains unattended.
Fighting is erupting regularly in Mogadishu, with hundreds killed and
thousands fleeing. The return of former Islamic Court's Chief, Sheikh
Cherif Ahmed Cherif, after the collapse of the U.N.-sponsored
government, did not seem to settle the situation, although secret talks
were being held by religious leaders. Former allies are now at each
others' throats. The Shabab (meaning youth) brigades overtook suburbs of
Mogadishu while Sheik Cherif's supporters hang on to other suburbs --
for now, at least. Meanwhile, World Food Programme indicated that it
needs $168 million urgently for this year (2009) alone.
Interestingly, a recent report about lack of funds for human assistance
in Somalia was mysteriously suppressed. Although reported by U.N. Radio,
it was never highlighted nor repeated. As if the situation on Somalia
was all fine, as long as the prospects of oil shore drilling are
Incidentally, Ould Abdallah recently called for establishing in
Mogadishu a Green Zone similar to that in Baghdad. Obviously,
hallucinating in the heat of Nairobi, he would like to have his own
palace to run Somalia. He may also invite "Abu Chatterjee" to visit.
Which troops would protect him is unclear. He first tried to fight until
the last Ethiopian soldier, but failed. U.S. Marines are no longer
interested. His co-signatory Abdishakur would rather stay at Djibouti's
Kempinski hotel. Kenyans are very hospitable; they would wine and dine
him at Carnivore but will not blaze a trail to central Mogadishu.
"Preparatory" Norwegian experts won't do. His Mauritanian countrymen had
given him up since he turned his back towards Paris then Washington. It
may be best for him to have another round at New York's Downtown
Cipriani. That would be expensive, but less costly to the U.N. than
another "Oil for Food" type scandal.