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Condi Rice Chooses Somali Prime Minister Over Pirate President, Dodges on Eritrea

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- Condoleezza Rice sided Tuesday with the Somali prime minister whom that country's President has fired, and in so doing agreed with the Ambassador of Sudan, among others. Inner City Press asked Ms. Rice to comment on her Department seeking to deem Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism, and on who is the leader of Somalia who can legitimately authorize military incursions by the U.S. and other want-to-be fighters of piracy.  Ms. Rice referred to "difficulties caused by the policies of Eritrea" and said "we'll look at what actions we should take." Video here, from Minute 14.

  A Democratic Party-leaning think tank, the Enough Project, last week accused Rice and George W. Bush of planting landmines in Somalia policy to trip up Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Condi's namesake -- and former student -- Susan Rice. But South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, when Inner City Press asked if he thought the U.S. taking action on Eritrea would be a good idea, said he hadn't heard of it. He acknowledged that it is hard to know who is in control in Somalia -- some say there are two Prime Ministers, he said. Video here, from Minute 1:43.

  But what is behind President Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed firing Nur Hassan Hussein and replacing him with former interior minister Mohamed Mohamud Guled? Inner City Press' UN sources say that once Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed lost the support of Ethiopia, and became accused of profiting from piracy, he saw the end was near for him. He is like a sinking ship, and everyone from Condi Rice to Sudan's Ambassador is jumping to the side of the prime minister Nur Hassan Hussein.

Condi Rice at UN on Dec. 16, moves against Eritrea not shown

  One thing on which Rice and Sudan are not in agreement is whether the U.S. will use the piracy resolution to justify incursions onto the Somali mainland and to establish, as Sudan put it, a permanent presence in the region. Inner City Press asked, don't the U.S. and France already have permanent bases in Djibouti? That's different, Sudan's Ambassador said. That is arranged with the countries. Video here, from Minute 1:11.

   Yeah, but it's permanent, and some suspects picked up in Somalia have been whisked to Camp Lejeune in Djibouti. Perhaps Obama will solve all this. Perhaps.

Postscript, 11 p.m. -- Hours after the UN Security Council's Somali pirate session ended, a few blocks south through the snow, Inner City Press learned yet more about the day's proceedings. The Somali foreign minister had asked to speak first, before the vote, for a mere five minutes. But the Croatian President of the Council said no, because Permanent Five members said that their ministers should speak first, their time was more important. Or were they concerned that the Somalis might not agree to turn their territory over to foreign intervention?

  Earlier at the Contact Group on Somalia meeting, two of the Permanent Five opposed each other on what a peacekeeping mission in Somalia should look like. US versus the UK -- as it was in Kenya, Inner City Press' snarky sources say...

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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