16.11.2022: New York, United States
Acting under the now infamous Chapter VII (7) of the Charter of the United Nations, the 15-member Security Council (UNSC) voted to adopt Resolution 2661, which extended Resolution 2607 by two days until November 17, 2022.
Resolution 2607 was adopted by the UNSC in November 2021. It reaffirmed the partial lift of the UN imposed arms embargo on Somalia and the humanitarian exemption to the assets freeze without specifying an expiry date. The resolution also renewed and expanded the maritime interdiction of charcoal and weapons as well as military equipment including IED components despite Al-Shabab generally using homemade devices. The resolution also renewed the mandate of the so-called ‘Panel of Experts’ on Somalia – a rebranded version of the now infamous ‘UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea‘.
As for Resolution 2661, in a press statement released by the U.N., it was outlined that the new resolution effectively enables the legal rollover the initial Resolution 2607 but for only two days – ending on the 17th of November.
Since the Hayat Hotel attacks in Mogadishu, the Somali government has embarked on a new campaign and offensive against the militant group Al-Shabab to flush out its fighters from various regions in central Somalia, currently focusing on the Federal states of Hirshabelle and Galmudug.
The reality is that the continued arms embargo only handcuffs the Somali Government’s hands behind its back. It prevents the army and security forces from exerting serious amounts of firepower and air superiority against Al-Shabab militants that obviously do not have air defence systems. Instead, the U.N. Security Council is forcing the Somali Government to rely on Western firepower against the militants which is clearly conditional and scarce.
If the world is serious about supporting the Somali Government in its fight against Al-Shabab, it must first unshackle the Somali National Army.
One has to ask themselves, is Somalia really an independent country under Chapter VII? A continuous question asked by Somali political analysts.