Street FIGHT:
Analysis
Does the US, UN and AMISOM Supply Al-Shabaab?
UN Report Determines AMISOM Provides Up To 50% Of Ammo Sold in One Market Alone
By ROBERT YOUNG PELTON 07/30/2011
Ugandan soldier shops at small store near front lines
Ugandan soldier shops at small store near front lines
Any resident of, or visitor to, Mogadishu can only marvel at the extraordinary amount of ordnance that is fired by African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces. In the battle against al-Shabaab, Ugandans, Burundians and Somalis not only have plenty of light and heavy weapons, but fire them day and night into the crowded city of Mogadishu with cinematic abandon.

What is more surprising is that the volume of firepower that cash strapped al-Shabaab fires back. It is not unusual to hear dozens of RPGs and rockets and thousands of bullets firing in barrel-melting full auto mode for hours. A more analytic view would wonder where exactly the supposedly cash strapped al Shabaab is getting the impressive amount of semi automatic, heavy machine gun, anti aircraft, 50 calibre, RPGs and mortars that keep the war going.

Both sides use the same Soviet-designed weapons and the ammunition. The difference is that AMISOM has an established supply line while Shabaab has to be more creative in getting weapons and supplies. Casual observers would be correct in assuming that ammunition provided by the shipload for AMISOM would work perfectly well for al-Shabaab especially if provided at deep discount prices, with no charge for freight courtesy of Uncle Sam.

To get the money to buy ammo they simply tax the locals...and the massive aid organizations. The UN Report details how Al Shabaab demands $10,000 from aid groups as starter fee, another $10,000 for registration and $6000 every 6 months. In addition the terrorist organization charges a tax of 20% of estimated goods and 10% of the value of the vehicles. Aid organizations funding terrorist groups is an unpleasant reality of Mogadishu. So is the reality of AMISOM and TFG soldiers selling their weapons and ammunition for that tainted money.

UN Report Does Not Reveal Full Extent of Problem

The recent UN report on violators of the arms embargo mentions the insurgent use of AMISOM weaponry by examining the weapons and ammunitions for sale in Bakaara market. The markings are a match. But the UN tries to soft pedal the link by insisting that rebel-held airstrips have been visited by mysterious Russian cargo planes supposedly carrying weapons. There is little conclusive proof that this is the source of al-Shabaab's firepower. They do finger a Hargeisa, Somaliland based arms dealer as shopping around three decade old Surface to Air Missiles that the militants uses for photo posing purposes only.

They also ping 33 US military and US contractor flights that landed in Mogadishu ranging from cargo planes to a small twin engine aircraft like a Beechcraft Huron to large cargo planes. Since the Beechcraft had no tail number it most likely was an ELINT platform used to track mobile phones and communications of terrorists. But there is no confusion that the large US military cargo planes landing at Mogadishu are clearly bringing something heavy and large on a regular basis. But it would be doubtful that the US support of "the security apparatus" as the UN describes it, would keep the conflict going.

There are many more cargo aircraft and ships that supply the AMISOM effort but since this is the legal avenue of bringing weapons in it is not under scrutiny. Nor does AMISOM have any official interest in supplying al Shabaab. So with the concrete proof that ammunition and weapons supplied by the US to Uganda and therefore AMISOM where is the obvious investigation>

The argument could be made that the UN has a conflict of interest in assigning its own people to investigate arms smuggling when it is actually the UN process that allows the unimpeded flow of weapons to al-Shabaab.

The UN Is an interesting institution. There is no higher authority to appeal to when dealing with the UN. No editor to write stern letters to. No backroom deal makers to smooth over problems. So pointing out the clearly convenient logic of the reporting body. The result of this flawed report is that the UN is not set up to investigate its own contribution to the conflict. the group's mandate was extended for another year two days before it was expected to be disbanded.

The deliberately downplayed role of AMISOM as the main supplier of ammunition and weapons to al-Shabaab needs to be highlighted and not buried in this report. Thankfully non-UN experts like Pieter D Wezeman of SIPRI details this problem without a conflict of interest. Wezeman clearly points out that this same UN Arms Monitoring group led by the same person pointed out as far back as 2008 that the TFG was the source of 80% of all insurgent weapons, ammunition and supplies. It should be asked why this is not a key part of the report. The UN does a good shop of showing that al Shabaab can generate cash from khat, piracy, charcoal and cartel like business deals. Where does that cash go? And from where to the weapons come that kill Somalis?

The concept that secret planes fly in weapons is not supported with proof. So the UN Monitoring Group tried to pawn off this serious allegation on the Ethiopian forces who had occupied the capital but provided no proof that their weapons were left behind. This year the report correctly identifies Eritrea as a major supporter of al-Shabaab but does not go into Belarus, Bulgaria, and France as being the original suppliers of weapons to Eritrea. Before 2005 it was Russia. In 2005 Yemen did provide "personal weapons" to the TFG while Ethiopia and Uganda are major suppliers of light and medium weapons to the US backed government. Ammunition is something that is consumed and therefore the current cacophony in Mogadishu and beyond must be from recent suppliers.

In May of 2009 the US gave $2 million to the TFG to buy weapons locally without much concern about where they would come from. This logically created a mini boom for weapons importers in Mogadishu. AMISOM was just getting set up but Ethiopia was eager to arm anti rebel forces. With covert U.S. funds Ethiopia set up ASWJ in 2008 and they poured weapons into the Sufi group to fight al Shabaab. Any minor clan who could scrape up a militia could expect $250 a man, assault weapons, AKs, RPG and training. The only problem is that this new military force was a clear violation of the UN arms embargo. ASWJ insisted they actually bought their own weapons but the sheer volume of weaponry and Ethiopian support indicated otherwise. A prominent militia leader approached Somalia Report discussing manpower and funding and insisting not to worry about the weapons because they came by the plane load courtesy of Ethiopia the only hard part was getting the 250 a month his gunmen needed to operate in the field.

To cover this embarrassment of violent riches, the TFG quickly signed a power sharing agreement with the ASWJ in 2010 and requested Ethiopia to arm them. Even the training programs provided by nations has funneled trained fighters into al-Shabaab as the TFG neglects to pay the newly trained recruits.

Also beginning in 2009 and until March 2010, the US delivered 94 tonnes of assault weapons, machine guns, mortars and ammunition using Uganda as a cutout. The weapons were "donated" by Uganda and then Uganda was reimbursed for them by the US. Covert funding of Ethiopia and their proxy ASWJ delivered unknown amounts of the ever popular AK and PKM machine guns. The heavy bandoliers of machine gun ammo quickly became the "in" fashion statement for both rebel and government forces.

With Friends Like Ethiopia, Who Needs Enemies?

If Ethiopia hopes to get off lightly they shouldn't. The United States provided $3 million in military support in 2010 via Foreign Military Financing programme. It is not known how much covert support Ethiopia gets but a quick look at the ASWJ militia's weapons and their Ethiopians forward trainers is enough even for the UN to figure out what is going on. The SIPRI report also details tens of millions in weapons sold to Ethiopia by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary and Romania between 2004 and 2008. In other words if the UN is baffled as to who is arming al-Shabaab they only need contact their own member states for a full accounting of their weapons. This years' coverage of the AMISOM violation is not top of the list but buried back in the Annexes. Annex 5 on page 230 correctly points out that the major supplier of ammunition to the terrorist group is the very UN group assembled to defeat it. Once again the United States of America stands head and shoulders above all other arms importers into Somalia. By the end of 2009 the U.S. openly admitted that it had supplied $135 million in weapons, armored vehicles, logistical support, supplies and training for AMISOM.

That is not a bad thing since the idea was to prop up the TFG and allow AMISOM to protect the government and ensure free flow of relief. The problem is that these weapons have not only been found in the hands of al Shabaab but in the hands of rebels in unrelated conflicts around central Africa. It is important to remember that the four year old AMISOM mission is on the surface an African Union construct but must go hat in hand to the United Nations, the United States and the European Union for actual funding. They then hire troops from Uganda and Burundi to defend the U.S and UN created TFG.

It is no secret that AMISOM is constantly underfunded and undermanned. Its troops live and fight in deplorable conditions in Mogadishu. It is not inherently a corrupt organization. Ugandan soldiers are paid $750 a month but Uganda keeps $200 of that. The troops go unpaid for months at a time. Even when the soldiers are paid their salaries are not paid directly to the soldiers but to a central fund in Kampala or Bujumbura and then deposited into a local bank account so the families can use the money.

A Booming Black Economy

With the lack of commercial activity in AMISOM held Mogadishu, the difficulty of money transfer to and even limited shopping opportunities for embattled AMISOM troops you would think that makes sense to keep their money at home. Except that the AMISOM payment debacle leaves thousands of troops surrounded by tons of weapons with no way to buy even "small small" things like personal items, sweets or mobile phone recharges to call home.

The resultant black market in weapons and ordnance is obvious as is the mystery why the soldiers consume so much ammunition so they can order replenishment under the guise of exhausting their current supplies. Somalia Report spent time at the front lines and confirmed the low standards of their living conditions and funding. AMISOM soldiers put up a brave face but their daily rations and grim existence is brightened only by the occasional soda, snack or comfort sold to the Ugandans and Burundians by enterprising Somali women. That money comes from sale of ammunition to intermediaries who then sell it to al Shabaab.

How damning is the proof that the UN and the US is funding and arming al Shabaab?

The UN's own records confirm this. In April of 2011 the UN determined that 90% of all 12.7 x 108mm ammunition was from an AMISOM stock created in 2010. An RPG captured from al Shabaab was analyzed and determined to have been delivered by DynCorp to the Ministry of Defense in Uganda. The contract was to supply weapons and ammunition to the Ugandan Forces in Mogadishu.

AMISOM and TFG do not record serial numbers of weapons or ammunition they transfer and although lip service is given to the attempts of AMISOM to prevent sales of its deadly supplies to the rebels. Little to no effort is being taken to stop it. Soldiers as in all wars quickly learn ways to get around even the most diligent checks and balances.

The bottom line is that even with their conflict of interest, the UN estimates that one third to a half of all ammunition supplied by the United States to AMISOM ends up in the hands of al-Shabaab.

Now read the resolution that was created as a result of this 417 page report and look for any mention of al-Shabaab's major arms supplier.

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10348.doc.htm

Security Council 6596th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL TIGHTENS SANCTIONS REGIME ON SOMALIA, ERITREA, EXTENDING MANDATE OF MONITORING GROUP FOR 12 MONTHS

Resolution 2002 (2011) Targets Recruiters of Child Soldiers, Among Others

The Security Council today tightened its sanctions regime on Somalia and Eritrea to include individuals and entities identified as political or military leaders recruiting or using child soldiers in Somalia’s armed conflicts, and targeting civilians or committing attacks against schools and hospitals in the conflict-torn Horn of Africa country.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2002 (2011), by which it also extended for 12 months the mandate of the expert group monitoring implementation of its sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea, while expanding the scope of the panel’s area of concern.

The resolution also considered that all actions threatening the peace and security of Somalia, as well as those that threatened the 2008 Djibouti Agreement, could include, but were not limited to, misappropriation of financial resources and thereby undermining the ability of the Transitional Federal Institutions to fulfil their obligations in delivering services within the framework of that accord.

Calling on the Transitional Federal Government to consider banning all trade by large merchant vessels with ports controlled by Al-Shabaab, the resolution said that the Council considered all non-local commerce via such ports to constitute financial support for a designated entity, and posed a threat to Somalia’s peace, stability and security. As such, individuals and entities engaged in such commerce may be subject to the targeted measures established by resolution 1844 (2008), including an arms embargo, a travel ban and a freeze on assets.

Also by the text, the Council requested the Monitoring Group, among other duties, to investigate any seaport operations in Somalia that may generate revenue for Al-Shabaab, an entity designated by the Sanctions Committee as meeting the listing criteria in resolution 1844 (2008), as well as all activities, including in the financial, maritime and other sectors, generating revenues used to violate the arms embargoes on Somalia and Eritrea.

The Council requested the Monitoring Group to investigate any means of transport, routes, seaports, airports and other facilities used in connection with violations of those embargoes, and to assist in identifying areas where the capacities of neighbouring States could be strengthened to facilitate the implementation of the measures. Further by the text, the Group would submit to the Council two final reports, one focusing on Somalia and the other on Eritrea, covering all the above tasks, no later than 15 days prior to the termination of the Monitoring Group’s mandate.

By other terms of the resolution, the Council reiterated its serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, and the impact of the current drought and famine. It strongly condemned the targeting and obstruction of relief-aid delivery by armed groups, and demanded that all parties ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to persons in need across Somalia.

The meeting began at 5:33 p.m. and ended at 5:35 p.m.

Resolution 2002

The full text of resolution 2002(2011) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Reaffirming its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Somalia, and concerning Eritrea, in particular resolution 733 (1992), which established an embargo on all delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia (hereinafter referred to as the “Somalia arms embargo”), resolution 1519 (2003), resolution 1558 (2004), resolution 1587 (2005), resolution 1630 (2005), resolution 1676 (2006), resolution 1724 (2006), resolution 1744 (2007), resolution 1766 (2007), resolution 1772 (2007), resolution 1801 (2008), resolution 1811 (2008), resolution 1844 (2008), resolution 1853 (2008), resolution 1862 (2009,) resolution 1907 (2009), resolution 1916 (2010), and resolution 1972 (2011),

“Recalling that, as set out in its resolutions 1744 (2007) and 1772 (2007), the arms embargo on Somalia does not apply to (a) weapons and military equipment, technical training and assistance intended solely for support of or use by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and (b) supplies and technical assistance by States intended solely for the purpose of helping develop security sector institutions, consistent with the political process set out in those resolutions and in the absence of a negative decision by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992), the mandate of which was expanded pursuant to resolution 1907 (2009) (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”), within five working days of receiving an advance notification of such supplies or assistance on a case-by-case basis,

“Recalling its resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011) on children and armed conflict, resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010) on women, peace and security, and resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1325 (2000), 1612 (2005), 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006), 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009), 1888 (2009) and 1889 (2009) on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts,

“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea respectively,

“Reaffirming that the Djibouti Peace Agreement and the Peace Process represent the basis for a resolution of the conflict in Somalia, and reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), and reiterating the urgent need for all Somali leaders to take tangible steps to continue political dialogue,

“Taking note of the report of the Monitoring Group dated 18 July 2011 (S/2011/433) submitted pursuant to paragraph 6 (k) of resolution 1916 (2010) and the observations and recommendations contained therein,

“Condemning flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia and Eritrea in violation of the Somalia arms embargo and the Eritrea arms embargo established pursuant to resolution 1907 (2009) (hereinafter referred to as the “Eritrea arms embargo”), as a serious threat towards peace and stability in the region,

“Calling upon all Member States, in particular those in the region, to refrain from any action in contravention of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, and to take all necessary steps to hold violators accountable,

“Reaffirming the importance of enhancing the monitoring of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes through persistent and vigilant investigation into the violations, bearing in mind that strict enforcement of the arms embargoes will improve the overall security situation in the region,

“Expressing concern at acts of intimidation against the Monitoring Group and interference with the Monitoring Group’s work,

“Reiterating its serious concern about the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, and the impact of the current drought and famine, strongly condemning the targeting and obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid by armed groups in Somalia, which has prevented the delivery of such aid in some areas and deploring the repeated attacks on humanitarian personnel,

“Reiterating its condemnation in the strongest terms of all acts of violence, abuses and violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, committed against civilians, including children, in violation of applicable international law, stressing that the perpetrators must be brought to justice, recalling all its relevant resolutions on women, peace and security, on children and armed conflict, and on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, and considering therefore that the existing designation criteria for targeted measures under resolution 1844 (2008) need to be reaffirmed and further strengthened,

“Reaffirming the need for both the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and donors to be mutually accountable and transparent in the allocation of financial resources,

“Calling for the end of the misappropriation of financial funds which undermine the ability of local authorities to deliver services in Somalia,

“Determining that the situation in Somalia, Eritrea’s actions undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia, as well as the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea continue to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1. Decides that the measures in paragraphs 1, 3, and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall apply to individuals, and that the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 7 of that resolution shall apply to entities, designated by the Committee:

(a) as engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia, including acts that threaten the Djibouti Agreement of 18 August 2008 or the political process, or threaten the TFIs or AMISOM by force;

(b) as having acted in violation of the general and complete arms embargo reaffirmed in paragraph 6 of resolution 1844 (2008);

(c) as obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, or access to, or distribution of, humanitarian assistance in Somalia;

(d) as being political or military leaders recruiting or using children in armed conflicts in Somalia in violation of applicable international law;

(e) as being responsible for violations of applicable international law in Somalia involving the targeting of civilians including children and women in situations of armed conflict, including killing and maiming, sexual and gender-based violence, attacks on schools and hospitals and abduction and forced displacement;

“2. Considers that acts under paragraph 1 (a) above may include, but are not limited to, the misappropriation of financial resources which undermines the Transitional Federal Institutions’ ability to fulfil their obligations in delivering services within the framework of the Djibouti Agreement;

“3. Considers that all non-local commerce via Al-Shabaab controlled ports, that constitutes financial support for a designated entity, poses a threat to the peace, stability, and security of Somalia, and thereby individuals and entities engaged in such commerce may be designated by the Committee and made subject to the targeted measures established by resolution 1844 (2008);

“4. Calls upon the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to consider banning all trade by large merchant vessels with Al-Shabaab controlled ports;

“5. Demands that all parties ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid to persons in need of assistance across Somalia, underlines its grave concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, urges all parties and armed groups to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and supplies, and expresses its readiness to apply targeted sanctions against such individuals and entities if they meet the listing criteria set out in paragraph 1 (c) above;

“6. Decides to extend the mandate of the Monitoring Group referred to in paragraph 3 of resolution 1558 (2004), extended by paragraph 6 of resolution 1916, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the Monitoring Group for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution, consisting of eight experts, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the Monitoring Group established pursuant to resolution 1916 (2010), and consistent with resolution 1907 (2009), in order to fulfil its expanded mandate, this mandate being as follows:

(a) to assist the Committee in monitoring the implementation of the measures imposed in paragraph 1, 3, and 7 of 1844 (2008), including by reporting any information on violations; to include in its reports to the Committee any information relevant to the potential designation of the individuals and entities described in paragraph 1 above;

(b) to assist the Committee in compiling narrative summaries, referred to in paragraph 14 of resolution 1844 (2008) of individuals and entities designated pursuant to paragraph 1 above;

(c) to investigate any seaport operations in Somalia that may generate revenue for Al-Shabaab, an entity designated by the Committee for meeting the listing criteria in resolution 1844 (2008);

(d) to continue the tasks outlined in paragraphs 3(a) to (c) of resolution 1587 (2005), paragraphs 23 (a) to (c) of resolution 1844 (2008), and paragraphs 19 (a) to (d) of resolution 1907 (2009);

(e) to investigate, in coordination with relevant international agencies, all activities, including in the financial, maritime and other sectors, which generate revenues used to commit violations of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes;

(f) to investigate any means of transport, routes, seaports, airports and other facilities used in connection with violations of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes;

(g) to continue refining and updating information on the draft list of those individuals and entities that engage in acts described in paragraph 1 above, inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council, and to present such information to the Committee as and when the Committee deems appropriate;

(h) to compile a draft list of those individuals and entities that engage in acts described in paragraphs 15 (a)-(e) of resolution 1907 (2009) inside and outside Eritrea, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council, and to present such information to the Committee as and when the Committee deems appropriate;

(i) to continue making recommendations based on its investigations, on the previous reports of the Panel of Experts (S/2003/223 and S/2003/1035) appointed pursuant to resolutions 1425 (2002) and 1474 (2003), and on the previous reports of the Monitoring Group (S/2004/604, S/2005/153, S/2005/625, S/2006/229, S/2006/913, S/2007/436, S/2008/274, S/2008/769 and S/2010/91) appointed pursuant to resolutions 1519 (2003), 1558 (2004), 1587 (2005), 1630 (2005), 1676 (2006), 1724 (2006), 1766 (2007), 1811 (2008) 1853 (2008) and 1916 (2010);

(j) to work closely with the Committee on specific recommendations for additional measures to improve overall compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, as well as the measures imposed in paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008), and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) concerning Eritrea;

(k) to assist in identifying areas where the capacities of States in the region can be strengthened to facilitate the implementation of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, as well as the measures imposed in paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008), and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) concerning Eritrea;

(l) to provide to the Council, through the Committee, a midterm briefing within six months of its establishment, and to submit progress reports to the Committee on a monthly basis;

(m) to submit, for the Security Council’s consideration, through the Committee, two final reports; one focusing on Somalia, the other on Eritrea, covering all the tasks set out above, no later than 15 days prior to the termination of the Monitoring Group’s mandate;

“7. Further requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary financial arrangements to support the work of the Monitoring Group;

“8. Requests the Committee, in accordance with its mandate and in consultation with the Monitoring Group and other relevant United Nations entities, to consider the recommendations in the reports of the Monitoring Group and recommend to the Council ways to improve implementation of and compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes as well as implementation of the targeted measures imposed by paragraphs 1, 3, and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008) and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009), in response to continuing violations;

“9. Decides that for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution, and without prejudice to humanitarian assistance programmes conducted elsewhere, the obligations placed on Member States in paragraph 3 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, and their implementing partners, including bilaterally or multilaterally funded NGOs participating in the UN Consolidated Appeal for Somalia;

“10. Urges all parties and all States, including Eritrea, other States in the region, and the TFG, as well as international, regional and subregional organizations, ensure cooperation with the Monitoring Group, and ensure the safety of the members of the Monitoring Group, and unhindered access, in particular to persons, documents and sites the Monitoring Group deems relevant to the execution of its mandate;

“11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”