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On Somalia, UN & AU Defend Shelling of Markets & Mosques, Museveni Vs UNSC

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- Since African peacekeepers in Somalia are paid less than three-quarters of what the UN pays elsehwere, "they all want to go to Darfur," African Union Commission President Jean Ping told Inner City Press on Thursday.
   Outside a closed door ministerial meeting at the UN on Somalia, Ping and UN envoy Augustine Mahiga both defended the AU troops' shelling of markets and mosques in Mogadishu.
   Inner City Press has asked about the call by the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights for an investigation of the AU peacekeepers' shelling of civilian areas.

   Mahiga said that all what is being called for is a "Mapping Exercise" -- the same term used for the report on genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has led Rwanda's Paul Kagame government to threaten to pull its troops out of Darfur.

   Days after the Prime Minister of the UN-based Transitional Federal Government resigned, Inner City Press asked the two men what this portends for Somalia.

UN's Ban, AU's Ping, Somalia Prez, shelling of mosques not shown

 Mahiga said that a new Prime Minister will be named. But that has happened before.

  Inside the meeting, three separate sources tell Inner City Press, Ugandan President Museveni said that the UN "Security Council has donated Somalia to a terrorist organization." When Inner City Press asked Mahiga about the quote, he said it was another way of saying that the international community should do more.  Ya might say. Watch this site.

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Italy to Patrol Off Yemen, Frattini Confirms Before Stealth Meeting, UK Too

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- Italy will give Yemen an “integrated satellite Coast Guard system” to patrol the waters between its coast and Somalia, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told Inner City Press on Thursday night at the UN.

As Frattini left a closed door meeting about Somalia, Inner City Press asked him if Italy among with the UK is making such an offer to Yemen, at the Group of Friend of Yemen meeting.

Yes,” Frattini answered, “we will confirm them tomorrow.” He said Italy is coordinating with the UK, offering not only patrols but also to “train coast guard officers” with “technical expertise.”

  Inner City Press asked if this was directed at militant, presumably from Al Shabab, or would also sweep up refugees. Frattini paused and said Italy would “help the legal authorities of Yemen” to “better assist refugees.”

Frattini at UN previously, patroling of Yemen not shown

  Little has been heard about the Group of Friend of Yemen meeting, compared to the meeting on Sudan the same day, or even the Somalia meeting Frattini was leaving from. Some say that while Yemen is fighting insurgencies -- even that it has lost control of large segments of its territory -- it wants to stay off the UN agenda, and does so successfully, including Inner City Press is told by using its chairmanship of the Group of 77. The meeting may not even be held in the UN. Watch this

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At UN, Somalia Post Handed from Ould Abdallah to Mahiga, of Yemen's G-77 Deal

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- The UN's envoy on Somalia Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, who called for a moratorium on press reporting of civilian deaths in Mogadishu and cut a stealth deal about Somali off shore rights with Kenya and Norway, has been relieved of his functions.

Sources last week told Inner City Press that he was being replaced by Tanzania's current Permanent Representative to the UN, Augustine Mahiga. The affable Ambassador Mahiga has been seeking a UN job for some time. He put himself up for the number two post in the UN Development Program, running against his own foreign minister. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UNDP's Helen Clark bypassed the African Group and gave to post to Rebecca Grynspan of Costa Rica.

On June 4, rather than simply write the story without receiving confirmation, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe:

Inner City Press: Ould-Abdallah.. is leaving in July and seeks to remain as an adviser to the Secretary-General. I just want you to confirm that he is leaving, and to confirm or deny that Augustine Mahiga, the Tanzanian ambassador, is going to be named the SRSG [Secretary-General’s Special Representative].

Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing on any appointments.

Inner City Press: But Ould-Abdallah has said publicly that he is leaving in July. Is that the case?

Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing on that.

Inner City Press: He said it.

Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing on appointments for Somalia today.

Even thought Inner City Press knew it to be true, confirmation was sought from Mahiga himself. The Tanzanian Mission said he was in Europe thought June 18, but they would ask him (the staffer said, "that is good news"). But Mahiga, who previously asked Inner City Press to email him articles, did not respond.

Now, five days after Inner City Press publicly asked about Mahiga and Somalia, Ban Ki-moon has formally named Mahiga to the Somalia post, which is actually based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mahiga, stars and bars behind him, TFG not shown

  On June 9, before the confirmation, Inner City Press asked Ban's Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the UN had consulted with the Transitional Federal Government about Mahiga. Haq said yes -- but we'll have more on this.

  Several sources say that Mahiga is "so pro American, he'll make it all about counter - terrorism." Then again, that has already been the UN's approach.

These sources note that the UN way for a diplomat to seek a Secretariat job is for he or she -- almost always he -- to beginning selling out his Group and even his country, in exchange for the coming favor. The Secretariat uses the needs and wants of Permanent Representatives to obtain certain actions or forbearance in the budget committee -- which has continued meeting this week, despite the announced conclusion in May -- the General Assembly and in this case the peacebuilding commission.

"Consider Yemen," one well placed source told Inner City Press. "With all of the conflicts and problems, you might expect the UN to name an envoy or otherwise get involved. But since Yemen managed to head the Group of 77 this year, they use that leverage to tell the UN to do nothing. In exchange for which, the Group of 77 does not move to hold Ban accountable." Watch this site.

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

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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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