Exposing the lame ducks
Only a few weeks into the Ethiopia-led (AMISOM) military operation, the UNSGR warned the next violence that targets the UN may force it out of Somalia.
“I am deeply conscious that if we make a mistake in our security presence and posture, and suffer a significant attack, particularly on the UN, this is likely to mean to us withdrawing from Somalia,” said UN Special Representative Nicholas Kay.
To underscore his message, he adds this: “There are scenarios in which if we take further significant losses, then that would have a strategic effect on our mission.”
Was this a reckless telegraphing intended to implicitly dare al-Shabaab with a “Go ahead, make my day; force us back to Nairobi” message? Or was it a cryptic warning intended to preempt the Ethiopia/Kenya tag-team from getting too creative in their covert operations intended to manipulate facts on the ground?
While you ponder, consider adding this into your calculus: The UN deliberately bypassed AMISOM when it commissioned a Ugandan contingent of over 400 Special Forces to guard its facilities and staff. This particular contingent is neither officially part nor does it take any orders from AMISOM. Why?
Because, the controversial implanting of Ethiopia and Kenya into AMISOM has changed its dynamic from a peacekeeping force into a political vehicle.
Ambassador Kay is too experienced to make haphazard security-related statements. He was well aware of what he was saying and where he was saying it. He affirms that awareness in his presentation. Between the lines he was signalling his frustration with the Ethiopia-driven AMISOM, and how he and UNSOM ended up biting the dust. I have argued before that the Ethiopia/Kenya and US/UK interests are in an imminent collision course. [Continue on page 4]