Minister Dodges on Saracen & Sharif Term, Even Who
14 -- When Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government's new Prime Minister Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed Farmajo
spoke to the Press at the UN on Friday, Inner City Press expected
answers about the TFG's
contract with private military contractor
Saracen, about Sheikh Sharif, at least about who now is the TFG's
Permanent Representative to the UN.
none of these questions were
he has “assigned a committee” on the issue of Saracen, which
will report in “the next couple of weeks.”
asked who has signed the contract for the TFG with Saracen, since
Mohamed Abdulahi's predecessor Prime Minister Shamarke had denied he
signed, has said the document used by Mohamed Abdulahi is a forgery.
“We have the
letter of intent.. singed by the former Prime Minister,” Mohamed
Abdulahi answered. When Inner City Press asked for his personal view
on the use of mercenaries, Mohamed Abdulahi said it would be improper
for him to comment for the next two weeks. Video here,
from Minute 3.
cracked down on charcoal exports from Somalia, calling these a
product of the country's chaos. But isn't a contract with
mercenaries, with a company affiliated with the brother of Yoweri
Museveni president of AMISON troop contributor Uganda, a product of
asked what will happen in August 2011 when the TFG expires -- will
Sheik Sharif move to extend his term? Mohamed Abdulahi said “I
don't want to speculate,” there are “several options” which
will be clarified “in the next two months.” Video here,
from Minute 8.
What is the
Security Council's, and the United States', position on the use of
mercenaries? Former US State Department official Pierre Prosper is
speaking to the Press about the TFG deal, but its fundings have not yet
been made public. (Inner City Press is told by sources the funders are
the UAE and Jordan.)
What is the Security
Council's, and the United States', position on democracy in Somalia?
Susan Rice and TFG's Mohamed
Abdulahi, Saracen mercenaries not shown
official Charles Petrie told Inner City Press he would be working in
Somalia for the TFG. But when Inner City Press asked Mohamed Abdulahi
about this, Mohamed Abdulahi said “never heard of it.” Video here, from Minute 8:45.
told Inner City Press that the new foreign minister of the
TFG had written directly to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
re-naming Idd Beddel Mohamed as Permanent Representative, and saying
that the long time Permanent Representative was being recalled to
immediately asked Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office to confirm
receipt of such a letter, on December 23. Having no answer, Inner
City Press repeated the question several times between Christmas and
New Years. Finally this answer arrived:
- Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
receipt of a 17 December letter from the Somali Foreign
Minister recalling the Permanent Representative for consultations.
The Permanent Representative himself sent the Secretary-General a 22
December letter confirming his recall.
prepared to write a follow up article, but wanted to speak to Idd
Beddel Mohamed himself. But on January 5 in front of the first UN
Security Council meeting of the year, Idd Beddel Mohamed refused to
answer any Press questions.
January 12, he
chided Inner City Press for its articles. Inner City Press said that,
since it covers Somalia, it will be better to speak, to be
Inner City Press spoke with the long time Permanent Representative
and his staff. Who is running the Somali mission?
wouldn't say. He answered that “we have an ambassador, he is with
me here today, that is an internal matter.” Video here,
from Minute 7:05. Which one is the
Ambassador? Watch this site.
* * *
Secret, Link With AMISOM Denied,
UN Not Briefed
-- Amid growing doubts about
contractor Saracen working for the Somali Transitional Federal
Government and Puntland, the lawyer for the program, former US
Ambassador at Large for War Crimes
Pierre Prosper, spoke to a half dozen UN correspondents on December
23, ostensibly on background.
subsequently disseminated, Prosper said that he was briefing the
Group of Experts of the UN's Somalia Sanctions Committee but would
not yet provide the name of the program's funder, due to concerns the
UN would leak it.
on the record asked the outgoing chairman of the UN's
Somalia Sanctions Committee, Claude Heller of Mexico, if he or the
Committee had been briefed about the use of PMCs or mercenaries in
Somalia. No, Heller said, he had only read about it in the
newspapers. Video here.
leaving the Council at the end of the month, India is to be given the
chair of the Somalia Sanctions Committee, as first exclusively reported
by Inner City Press. Will Saracen reach out to India? We will be asking.
Prosper about the involvement in Saracen of a brother of
President Museveni of Uganda, which provides the majority of African
Union peacekeepers to the TFG. Prosper's answer involved different
arms of Saracen, one in South Africa as opposed to the Uganda based
arm in which Museveni's brother is involved.
to the UN Ruhakana Rugunda gave a briefing
later in the day, Inner City Press asked about Museveni's brother's
interest in Saracen. He is a retired general, Rugunda answered, of
course he wants to stay involved in the field.
“private” work “has nothing to do with AMISOM,” the
African Union peacekeepers. Video here.
mean the two don't coordinate?
Some troops, answers on Saracen not shown
questions, two on the record and one on background, this
use of mercenaries in Somalia gets more and more murky. Who is
funding it? Watch this site.
Footnote: Ambassador Heller's and Rugunda's press
conferences were in connection with each leaving the Council after two
years. We hope to cover this wider context in the next few days. And we
will report anything we hear on the record from Saracen, "the funder"
Mr. Prosper -- even what he may think of his
successor's positions on war crimes ranging from Sri Lanka to Cote
* * *
Sanctions in Puntland, TFG Tricks
and Puntland have become hotbeds for
diplomatic entrepreneurs as they leave the UN and US government. The UN's
Charles Petrie has said he will be working for the Transitional
Federal Government -- but some in the TFG are not so such, not
about for whom Petrie will be working.
Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky about a former US
State Department official seemingly involved in violations of the
1992 UN Somalia sanctions regime:
former US official, Pierre Prosper, who has
said that Puntland, the portion of Somalia, has hired a private
military contractor, Saracen, to do anti-piracy work — that it’s
being all funded by a Muslim nation that he wouldn’t name. So what
I wonder is whether, given Mr. [Augustine] Mahiga or anyone in the
UN, given both the prohibitions against mercenaries and also the 1992
sanctions on Somalia, what does the UN say to Puntland pretty openly,
or at least as acknowledged by a former US official, hiring a
mercenary firm to patrol the coast of Somalia, and what’s the UN
going to do in light of this report?
question, Matthew, and let’s see
what we can find out. I don’t have anything at the moment.
6, Inner City Press asked SRSG Mahiga directly. He
said the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General had not
asked him, but to his credit gave a long and detailed answer.
officials that they might well be violating the UN's
Somalia sanctions. They replied, according to Mahiga, that since it
“doesn't involve arms, it can't violate the sanctions.” This is
an inaccurate reading of the sanctions regime.
working for the US. Not on paper, is the answer.
Mahiga said Petrie's roll is even more confusing. According to
Mahiga, Petrie wanted to work as a consultant to the TFG while still
under UN contract.
City Press previously corresponded with Petrie -- one of the more
intriguing UN officials -- then asked for formal confirmation, of his
letter, and his role.
UN's Ban and Mahiga, Charles Petrie, Prosper and Somalia sanctions not
To: Inner City Press
Your question on Charles Petrie
the UN effective 1 November,
but was asked, for operational reasons, to postpone his departure to
the end of the current mandate, which concludes 31 December, 2010. He
is continuing to exercise his functions as ERSG for Burundi until
that time. It was also decided that while still under the UN’s
employ Mr. Petrie would provide some support to the UN Political
Office for Somalia's work with the Transitional Federal Government,
drawing on his past experience as Deputy SRSG for Somalia. He is
doing so in close collaboration with SRSG Augustine Mahiga.
on December 6, Mahiga told Inner City Press that "No one knows who
Petrie is working for." Petrie says he had the agreement of
the previous TFG, but according to Mahiga, the current government is
not so sure. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
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
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.