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close this bookThe Somali Conflict (Oxfam)
close this folderPart III: Mogadishu: peace-enforcement
View the document1. The internationalisation of the Somali conflict
View the document2. The politics of UNOSOM II
View the document3. Conclusions
View the document4. District councils
View the document5. Humanitarian issues: NGOs and UNOSOM II

1. The internationalisation of the Somali conflict

The killing of 24 Pakistani UN peace-keeping troops in Mogadishu on 5 June 1993 ushered in a new round of violence in Somalia. The repercussions of that incident continue to reverberate. Between then and the time of writing, over 50 UN personnel have been killed and several hundred Somalis, including many women and children. While concern has been expressed that too much attention is focused on Mogadishu, to the detriment of the rest of the country, the conflict between UNOSOM and General Aideed, and a solution to that conflict, are critically important for future progress in peace and reconciliation in Somalia. The conflict dominates the thinking of the UN; it priorities the military rather than humanitarian role of UNOSOM; it consumes vast amounts of resources, and reinforces a negative perception of Somalia which is affecting donors. It may also have repercussions on other UN peace-keeping operations in the world. There is therefore a need to understand why the conflict has arisen. The following is an attempt to document the events which led up to the incident on 5 June, and its aftermath.

1.1 'Operation Lost Hope'

The UN Security Council Resolution (794) that authorised the intervention of the US-led, UN International Task Force (UNITAF) in Somalia in December 1992 provided 'Operation Restore Hope' (ORH) with the limited mandate to create a 'secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian relief'. Critical assessments of ORH have argued that, while delivery of food was improved, the operation failed to address wider problems in the country (African Rights, May 1993; Africa Watch, March 1993). Security declined in many areas, little progress was made on disarming the 'warlords' and gunmen, and the underlying political conflict was held in abeyance. The potential for substantial conflict remained, as was evident in the massacre of over 100 people of the Harti clans in Kismayo in February 1993, and in the re-capture of Kismayo by the SNF forces of General Morgan under the very eyes of the UN peace-keepers. The 'quick fix' solution of military intervention was itself creating long-term problems.

ORH was first and foremost a military operation with humanitarian objectives. Limited attention was given to longer-term political and humanitarian needs. The operation was initially welcomed by many Somalis. But with such a substantial force, local expectations of the intervention were more than the mere securing of routes for relief supplies. Its failure to do any more than this left many Somalis feeling bitter that their restored hopes had been betrayed.

The convening, in March 1993, of a Conference on Humanitarian Assistance, followed by a Conference on National Reconciliation, and a plan for UNITAF to hand over to a broader civilian and military operation (UNOSOM II) in May, provided an opportunity for the UN operation in Somalia to change its emphasis.

1.2 The Addis Ababa Conference on Humanitarian Assistance

In March 1993 two conferences were convened in Addis Ababa, which were intended, according to the UN, to build upon the 'dramatic changes' brought about by ORH. On 11 March, donors gathered at the Third Coordination Meeting for Humanitarian Assistance to Somalia, to discuss a request from the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) for $166.5 million, to fund a ten-month programme of relief and rehabilitation in Somalia. The UN received pledges of $142 million. Among the major donors were the EC with $43 million, the USA with $30 million, and Germany with $20 million.

1.3 The Addis Ababa Conference on National Reconciliation

The donors' meeting was followed on 15 March by a Conference on National Reconciliation. Many hopes were placed on this conference. Since January 1991, there had been three internationally sponsored reconciliation conferences, and several locally brokered meetings. If this one was to fail, people wondered whether there would be another chance.

Before it started, the Addis Ababa meeting came under criticism. The main concern was that the signatories at the conference were to be 15 political leaders, the 'warlords', who in the eyes of many Somalis were criminals, responsible for much of the suffering in Somalia. UNITAF, out of a need to protect its own forces, had sought the cooperation of the warlords, thus conferring on them a measure of legitimacy. Their participation in the Addis Ababa meeting would legitimise them further.

In response to these concerns, attempts were made to broaden representation at the conference. At least half of the 250 intellectuals, clan elders, religious leaders, women, and artists invited to the conference fell outside the narrow confines of the political factions. This broader participation was, in part, the result of efforts by some non-governmental peace institutes, such as the Life and Peace Institute (LPI), which sponsored a number of individual Somalis and NGOs to attend. Scheduling the Reconciliation Conference after the donor conference on humanitarian assistance also meant that a larger number of observers were present. In the end, however, it was the 15 factional leaders who signed the final agreement on 27 March 1993.

Somali African Mukti Organisation (SAMO) - Mohamed R. Arbow
Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA) - Mohamed F. Abdullahi
Somali Democratic Movement (SDM) - Abdi Musse Mayow
Somali Democratic Movement (SDM/SNA) - Mohamed Nur Alio
Somali National Democratic Union (SNDU) - Ali Ismail Abdi
Somali National Front (SNF) - Gen. Omar Haji Mohamed
Somali National Union (SNU) - Mohamed Rajis Mohamed
Somali People's Movement (SPM) - Gen. Aden Abdullahi Nur 'Gabiyo'
Somali People's Movement (SPM/SNA) - Ahmed Hashi Mahamoud 'Jess'
Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) - Gen. Mohamed A. Musse
Southern Somali National Movement (SSNM) - Abdi Warsame Issaq
United Somali Congress (USC/SNA) - Gen. Mohamed Farah H. Aideed
United Somali Congress (USC) - Mohamed Qanyare Afrah
United Somali Front (USF) - Abdurahman Dualeh Ali
United Somali Party (USP) - Mohamed Abdi Hashi

The Addis Ababa Agreement reaffirmed the January 1993 agreement on a cease-fire and disarmament, and established agreement on the formation of 'transitional mechanisms' for the restoration of political and administrative structures. In particular it agreed upon the formation of (a) a Transitional National Council (TNC), with legislative functions; (b) Central Administrative Departments, to reestablish civil administration; (c) Regional Councils in 18 regions of the country; and (d) District Councils in all districts of the country.

The TNC is to comprise three representatives (to include one woman) from each of the 18 regions, five seats for Mogadishu, and one seat for nominees of each of the 15 factions present in Addis Ababa. This structure would be effective for two years. Four committees for Charter Drafting, the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, and Cease-fire and Disarmament were also established. A charter for the TNC was to be ready for approval at the second session of National Reconciliation on 8 June. The TNC was expected to be established by 1 July 1993.

The agreement also stated that the TNC would be the 'sole repository' of Somali sovereignty. This angered the SNM, who assumed observer status at the meeting, because it contradicted the wishes of those in Somaliland, involved at that time in their own National Reconciliation Conference at Boroma. Concern was also expressed at the legitimacy of those signatories (USP and SDA) purporting to speak for the non-Issaq clans of Somaliland, whose other representatives were also meeting in Boroma.

It has also been commented that the Addis Ababa agreement was 'so full of ambiguities' that any signatory who wished to repudiate it would have no difficulty in finding a pretext to do so (African Rights, May 1993). During the conference, fighting erupted in Kismayo between the forces of the SNF and the SPM. The fact that this could happen during the conference gave little hope that the signatories would stick to the agreements. Interestingly, one of the main complaints of Somalis (of different leanings) is that it has been UNOSOM which has repudiated the Addis Ababa agreements, by not implementing them.

While the Addis Ababa conference provided a framework for national reconciliation, insufficient time was allotted to determine clear mechanisms for implementing the agreements. In fact, the meeting was originally scheduled to finish on 23 March. Before an agreement was signed, the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Admiral Howe, the newly appointed US special envoy, Robert Gosende, and the Head of Political Affairs in UNOSOM, Kapungo, returned to Mogadishu. The task of overseeing the drafting of the final agreement was left to the Deputy SRSG, Ambassador Lansana Kouyate. With the assistance of the Ethiopian government and the Standing Committee on the Horn of Africa, the meeting was extended for a further five days to allow time for the signatories to reach this final agreement.

Observers of the conference have very different perceptions of its outcome. It is alleged that when Kapungo returned to Mogadishu, from his analysis of the conference he proposed to the Secretary General that the peace process should be widened, in order to marginalise the warlords. A different version purports that Aideed 'performed well' and proved to be the only person with leadership potential. It is further alleged that this version of events was vehemently rejected by others, particularly US advisers in UNOSOM, who had decided there was no future role for Aideed.

Whichever version of events is correct, the lack of clarity in the mechanisms for implementing the agreements hampered the ability of the UN to build upon any progress made at Addis Ababa. This was critical, as the Addis Ababa conference was staged to coincide with a critical juncture in the UN programme in Somalia, when UNITAF was preparing to hand over responsibility to the UN-led administration, UNOSOM II.

The conflict that erupted at the beginning of June 1993 seems to have arisen from several factors:

1. confusion during the handover from UNITAF to UNOSOM and a change in the mandate of the UN in Somalia;

2. lack of clarity in the mechanisms for implementing the Addis Ababa agreement;

3. the fact that the UN set the agenda and pace of the post-Addis Ababa reconciliation process;

4. a re-alignment among the political factions, jockeying for positions in the new TNC and jobs with UNOSOM;

5. perceived bias within the UN/US body against Aideed's faction, and attempts by the UN to marginalise Aideed;

6. perceived preferential treatment by the UN of other politico-military leaders.

1.4 UNOSOM II and a New Mandate

On 26 March 1993 the UN Security Council invoked Chapter VII of the UN Charter and unanimously adopted Resolution 814 (93) to expand the UN's role in Somalia, under a UN administration to be called UNOSOM II. By this resolution the security council approved the expansion of the multi-lateral force to 28,000 peace-keepers, with 8,000 logistic personnel, through to 31 October 1993. The budget for the military operation was $1.5 billion, making it the most expensive UN peace-keeping operation ever.

UNOSOM II has a two-year mandate, which will expire in February 1995. The objectives of the operation, as defined in Resolution 814, are to assist in the provision of relief and economic rehabilitation, promote political reconciliation and the maintenance of peace and stability, and to assist in the re-establishment of national and regional political and civil administrations in the entire country.

The formulation of UNOSOM II signalled a significant change in the UN's approach to Somalia. Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, UNOSOM II was given powers of 'peaceenforcement', above those given to UNITAF. This enabled those in charge of UNOSOM to opt for force when 'international peace and security' were threatened, rather than normal rules of engagement which would limit UN military action to self-defence.

A further change from the UNITAF mission was the requirement that UNOSOM troops should be deployed throughout Somalia, not only in the south. While the Force Commander of UNOSOM II was required to take account of 'particular circumstances in each locality', UNOSOM II was given powers vastly in excess of those assumed for the US-led UNITAF intervention.

While Somalia was not placed under UN trusteeship, UNOSOM was given, de facto, international authority to make decisions for and on behalf of the Somali people. The problem is that in this process individuals and interested parties, under the UN umbrella, have been able to make decisions on behalf of the Somali people. It is partly from this change of mandate that accusations by some Somalis that the UN is 'recolonising' Somalia arise. By invoking Chapter VII, the UN fundamentally changed the nature of its operation in Somalia. In this process, the goals of the UN operation and the Somali people have come into conflict.

Authorised under UN Chapter VII, UNOSOM II is a unique UN peace-keeping operation. With military forces from 27 different countries, it is the largest multilateral force ever used in peace-keeping operations. It is also the first time that the USA has placed its troops under the UN flag and command. The arrival of German soldiers in Somalia on 15 May 1993 was the first time in the history of the Federal Republic that German soldiers were operating outside NATO. Unlike other UNOSOM forces, they are operating under Chapter VI.

Somalia has become a test case for a 'new world order', in which the Western-led UN will have a role to impose peace through force. In the words of one Somali: 'The UN is working under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Is this used anywhere else in the world? There are no set formulas, principles or precedents to follow. We are witnessing trial and error. Much of it is error.'

1.5 Regional Peace Conferences and Political Re-alignments

After the Addis Ababa conference the factional leaders began to realign and strengthen their support bases in the run-up to the formation of the TNC, which was scheduled to meet in July 1993. In May two peace processes were initiated. One focused on Kismayo and the Lower and Middle Juba regions, and a second on Galkaiyo and the central regions of Mudug and Galgaduud. The Kismayo peace process, which eventually led to a peace agreement for 'Jubaland' (see Part IV below), was initiated and supported by UNOSOM. The one in the central regions appears to have been locally initiated and did not receive the support of UNOSOM.

In order to understand the significance of these conferences, it is necessary to recall that, after the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, two power blocs emerged in southern Somalia, centred on General Aideed and Ali Mahadi. The division between Aideed and Ali Mahadi had its roots in a dispute between the Manifesto Group of businessmen, politicians and intellectuals who sought to persuade Barre to hand over power peacefully, and the more radical military wing of General Aideed, who sought Barre's removal by force. When the UNITAF forces entered Somalia at the end of 1992, two broad alliances had been formed:4

(a) Ali Mahadi
USC (Abgal, Murosade)
SSDF (Majeerteen)
SPM (Ogaden)
SNF (Marehan)
USP (Dolbahunte, Warsengeli)
SDA (Gadabursi)

(b) Aideed
USC (Hater Gedir, Xawadle, Galjaal)
SPM (Ogaden)
SDM (Dighil, Rahanweyne)
SSNM (Dir, Biyamal)
SAMO (Bantu)

The latter bloc (b), under Aideed, was known as the Somali National Alliance (SNA).

Militarily, Aideed and Ali Mahadi had fought each other to a stand-still in four months of brutal warfare in Mogadishu between 1991 and 1992. After a UNbrokered cease-fire in May 1992, the inter-clan fighting was mainly restricted to southern Somalia, between Aideed's SNA alliance and the SNF. In December 1992, when UNITAF intervened, Aideed was said to be losing ground, having overextended his forces. The SNF, reconstituted under Morgan, was beginning to regain some ground. On the eve of the UNITAF intervention the SNF captured Bardheere. It is suggested that Aideed welcomed the US-led intervention as a means of shoring up his diminishing power base. In March 1993 this was further weakened when the SNF recaptured Kismayo.

On 24 and 25 March 1993, during the Addis Ababa conference, fighting broke out in Mogadishu between the Habr Gedir and Abgal. This is said to have arisen from pressure exerted on Aideed by factions that had regrouped under Ali Mahadi. During the Addis Ababa conference the SDM split into three. The loss of the SDM (Digil-Mirifle) further weakened the SNA alliance. Aideed's two-year mandate as USC Chairman was coming to an end, and was challenged by a call for a USC Central Committee meeting.5 The initiative was unsuccessful.


Diagram 4: Hawiye Genealogy ·

· Other clans associated with Hawiye are the Xawadle, Degodia, Galjaal, Garre, Hober, and Aurmale.

1.6 The Galkaiyo Conference and the Marginalisation of Aideed

Following the Addis agreement, elders in Mudug region, from the Habr Gedir, Majeerteen and Marehan (from Abudwak), initiated a process of reconciliation in Galkaiyo. Also involved in the process were the Lelkasse and Awrtabley (Darod). Aideed (Saad/Habr Gedir) and Abdillahi Yusuf (Rer Mahad/Omar Mahmoud/Majeerteen) of the SSDF, both of whose sub-clans come from Galkaiyo, gave their support to the meetings.

It is not clear where the initiative came from for this peace conference. One interpretation is that it was initiated by Aideed and Abdillahi Yusuf (the first leader of the SSDF, and since 1992 commander of the SSDF military), who met in Addis Ababa. Another interpretation is that it was initiated by the elders and hijacked by Aideed and Abdillahi Yusuf to strengthen their own support bases. Whatever the truth, the meeting was endorsed by both leaders. On 29 May 1993, Aideed called a meeting in Mogadishu to draft a peace agreement for the central and southern regions of the country. Under the impression that UNOSOM was supposed to provide support for such meetings, Aideed applied for financial and logistical support for the meeting.

UNOSOM, however, had not been involved in the Galkaiyo initiative and refused to recognise the conference as official, or support it. They were clearly concerned about Aideed's motives. They were suspicious that Aideed was prepared to bargain over Kismayo, in return for a settlement in Galkaiyo. They also objected to the participation of Omar Jess, who had been marginalised from the Kismayo meetings. This latter argument held little water with the supporters of Aideed, who saw UNOSOM using General Abshir (Chairman of SSDF) to broker the peace meetings on Kismayo.6

While the Galkaiyo and Kismayo conferences were in preparation, fighting took place in Kismayo between the SNF and the SPM. On 12 May, Admiral Howe criticised SPM/SNA for their attacks on Kismayo, stating that they were a violation of the Security Council Resolution 814 and the Addis Ababa accord. On 3 June 1993 Somali clan elders from the Kismayo area adopted a peace declaration for the Juba region.

The Galkaiyo meeting was concluded on 4 June in Mogadishu. According to Aideed, 227 people participated in the meeting, from the SSDF, SDNU (Lelkasse and Awrtabley), SNA and communities from Mudug, Nugaal and Bari regions. The meeting committed the participants to the return of property, the withdrawal of militia from Galkaiyo, and the opening of roads to traffic. (SWB 415/93)7

The meeting also resolved that UNOSOM should be asked to assist in the demobilisation of encamped militia and to store and maintain all 'technicals' (land cruisers, cut down and mounted with guns) that had been collected. The meeting was chaired by Dr Ali Ismail Abdi of the SNDU. Aideed reportedly concluded the meeting by urging delegates from Lower Juba to take seats at the negotiating table. (SWB 415/93)

At the same time, another conference was taking place in Karaan district of Mogadishu, involving Ali Mahadi (USC), General Abshir (SSDF), and Omar Moalim (Deputy Prime Minister to Ali Mahadi), Aden Abdille Osman (first Prime Minister of Somalia), and representatives from USC, SPM, SSDF, USF, USP, SDA, SAMO, SNF, SDM, and SNDU. (SWB 515/93) In contrast to the meeting called by Aideed, this meeting received the support of UNOSOM. It was concluded on 5 June.

In May, another dispute arose between Aideed and UNOSOM over attempts by the USC to set up a judiciary. They objected to UNOSOM's replacing a Habr Gedir General (All Kadir) with an Abgal (Jillao) as Chief of Police.

As a result of the preferential treatment shown by UNOSOM to the Ali Mahadi meeting, Aideed began to broadcast anti-UN propaganda. Aideed insisted that conferences aimed at pacifying areas in the centre and south were a Somali affair, for which the UN should provide the resources, but not the agenda. Through Mogadishu Radio, Aideed accused UNOSOM of opposing the implementation of the Addis agreement, rather than implementing it.

In the view of Aideed's people, after the Addis Ababa meeting, UNOSOM tried to set the pace and the agenda for political reconciliation in Somalia, and the form that new political structures, like the TNC, should take. This is not untrue. According to the Life and Peace Institute, UNOSOM Political Division was unhappy at the way in which the Addis Ababa meeting had further legitimised the warlords. It was their contention that a peace process should be broad-based and inclusive. At Addis Ababa it was agreed that the transitional committees should be composed of representatives of the 15 factions. The Political Division, in the interests of broadening the process, insisted that representation should be increased to 30.

From the perspective of Aideed's people, UNOSOM was therefore acting like a 'colonial power', deciding what process political negotiations should follow. This clearly threatened Aideed's own ambitions. His efforts in Galkaiyo may have been less to do with making peace than with a deliberately provocative attempt to challenge this assumption of 'colonial' authority by UNOSOM. UNOSOM were equally unsubtle. The speed at which they tried to push through negotiations and prevent Aideed from regaining a footing was at fault. Whatever crimes Aideed has committed (and in the eyes of many Somalis they are countless), there are other warlords who can equally be described as criminals. Trying to marginalise the warlords by forcing the pace of negotiations at the top, without enabling reconciliation at other levels to take place, had its inevitable consequences.

1.7 The 5 June Killings

There was much speculation that once the UN took over from UNITAF, General Aideed, who had never favoured UN military intervention, would try to test the new UN forces when UNOSOM II assumed control.

It is reported by those present in Mogadishu in May 1993 that the tension caused by these two meetings, expressed in the anti-UN rhetoric from the Aideed-controlled Radio Mogadishu, was such that conflict seemed inevitable. Perhaps mindful of the February riots in Mogadishu, stirred up by the recapture of Kismayo by the SNF, a contingent of UNOSOM troops entered Radio Mogadishu at 12 noon on 5 June, on what, according to some reports, was a staged operation and, according to UNOSOM, was a 'routine' weapons search to confiscate arms. Aideed was notified beforehand of the weapons search.

At the radio station the Pakistani peace-keepers met resistance from USC fighters. In the fight 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed, and an unknown number of Somalis. Six of the Pakistanis listed among the dead were killed away from the radio station, while overseeing food distribution at a feeding centre. Apparently unaware of what was happening at the radio station, they were pinned down by morijan (bandits) for five hours until their ammunition ran out. During this time, locals say that UNOSOM helicopters and vehicles passed by, but did nothing to assist them.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the killings of the soldiers, and a factor that has reinforced hardline opinion against Aideed, was the fact that many of the Pakistanis killed were badly mutilated. It is alleged that women were responsible for the mutilation.8

The UNOSOM action against Radio Mogadishu was seen by Aideed and his supporters as an attempt to interfere with those efforts to implement the peace resolutions reached on 4 June by leaders from Nugaal, Mudug and Galgaduud. Aideed accused UNOSOM of sabotaging the 'peace meeting'. Why didn't UNOSOM support the peace solution and why, instead, did they carry out this ugly act?', they asked. 'The country does not belong to UNOSOM ...'. (SWB 5/4/93)

1.8 The Significance of the Galkaiyo Conference

It is somewhat ironic, if not surprising, that the conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed arose over two such potentially important conferences. Kismayo, strategically and economically, is the second most important town after Mogadishu in the south. It has been fiercely fought over by the USC/SNA and the SSDF/SNF/SPM since 1991. Galkaiyo, which lies in the central rangelands region of Mudug on the main road connecting southern Somalia with the north, is also of critical importance. A historical political analysis of the Somali conflict suggests that, in many ways, an agreement in the central rangelands was more critical than Kismayo in the reconciliation process in Somalia.

Since independence, the clans which live in Mudug and Galgaduud region have been influential in Somali national politics. Here the Omar Mohamoud/Majeerteen, Habr Gedir/Hawiye, and Rer Koshin/Marehan share and compete over grazing lands. The coastal town of Hobbio was one of the first ports of entry for the Italians into Somalia, in 1889. Essentially a pastoral area, it is also one of the most underdeveloped of Somalia's regions. The Majeerteen and the Habr Gedir were some of the first to benefit from the education system introduced by the Italians, while the Marehan, smaller in number, were taken into the army.

In the first pre-independence Somali administration in 1956, the first Prime Minister, Abdillahi Issa Mohamed, was Habr Gedir Saad (related to Aideed). At independence Aden Abdulle Osman (Sheikal/Hawiye) became President, with Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke (Majeerteen) the Prime Minister. In 1964 Abdirizak Haji Hussein (Majeerteen) became Prime Minister, and Aden Abdulle Osman remained President. In 1967 Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal (Issaq) became Prime Minister and Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke President. The 1967 elections returned the same Prime Minister and President.

In 1969, General Mohamed Siad Barre (Rer Koshin/Marehan) overthrew the civilian government, and power passed into the hands of the Marehan. In 1977, Majeerteen colonels attempted to overthrow the Barre regime. Colonel Abdillahi Yusuf (Rer Mahad/Omar Mohamoud/Majeerteen from Galkaiyo) went on to form the SSDF. Most of the military activities of the SSDF took place in the central rangelands, where they captured Galdogob, 50 km from the Marehan town of Abudwak. General Aideed (Hater Gedir) commanded some of Somali forces in the central regions during the war against the SSDF in the late 1970s.

The Habr Gedir, Majeerteen and Marehan have therefore had central roles in Somali politics since independence. It has been suggested that Aideed's opposition to Ali Mahadi, who was a member of the Manifesto Group, in which several establishment figures from the Majeerteen were prominent, stems from a fear that the Habr Gedir would lose out to the Majeerteen (Darod)-Abgal alliance. From this perspective, the war between the Abgal and Habr Gedir, who have never fought before, was fuelled by this ancient conflict.

A settlement in Galkaiyo had potential to build a broader peace and reconciliation process in Somalia. The extent to which this would have happened can only be guessed. However, a significant factor in the process would have been the traditional relationship between the clans that occupy that area.

Marriage is most common between those clans who live closest together and share resources. Their relationships are defined by common xeer. Political alliances are also most likely between those who share a common xeer. The Habr Gedir Saad share common borders with the Omar Mahmoud, and in particular the Rer Mahad (Abdillahi Yusuf's lineage of the Majeerteen) and the Rer Koshin Marehan of Abudwak. The Habr Gedir and Xawadle also border each other in the Middle Shabelle and southern Galgaduud regions. Compared with the Habr Gedir and Abgal, who traditionally inhabit different locations, do not share common borders, and do not have an established xeer, reconciliation is probably more feasible among the Habr Gedir and the clans in the central regions around Galkaiyo.

These clans in the central regions also share a common resource. This is the Chinese road linking Beletweyne and Mogadishu with Bosasso. After the UNITAF intervention, the Xawadle and Habr Gedir lost control of Mogadishu port and airport. One can speculate therefore that, political motives aside, it was important for those clans in the Middle Shabelle, Galgaduud and Mudug regions to open the Chinese road and enable trade to resume to the north-eastern port of Bosasso. Motivating factors such as this would have been important in the Galkaiyo agreement. Since the agreement in Galkaiyo, traffic is moving between Bakara market in southern Mogadishu and Bosasso.

After the intervention of UNITAF, much of Aideed's heavy weaponry was moved into the central regions. In April, the area north-east of Beletweyne was reported to be full of technicals and tanks. The Marehan were said to be equipped with 12 tanks, 32 technicals, several anti-tank guns and artillery pieces, and 5,000 fighters. Aideed was said to have 6,000 men with technicals and tanks. A settlement in that region, potentially, could have been important to a disarmament programmed.9

Whether by default, design, or bad advice, the impression of Aideed and his supporters is that UNOSOM deliberately undermined the Galkaiyo meeting. The political furore this created in Mogadishu was evident from the radio transmissions emanating from the Aideed-controlled Radio Mogadishu and the UN-run Radio Manta at the end of May. It led directly to the confrontation between Aideed supporters and UNOSOM on 5 June.

UNOSOM may have made a critical mistake in under-estimating the importance of a settlement in that region. It is possible that if UNOSOM had reacted in a different way and had worked with the elders of that region, they may have achieved their apparent objective to marginalise Aideed, without bloodshed.

1.9 Resolution 837: from Peace-keeping to Peace-Enforcement

The killing of the 24 peace-keepers shocked international opinion. On 6 June 1993 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 837, strongly condemning the attacks on UN personnel in Mogadishu. Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, they authorised the Secretary General 'to take all necessary measures against all those responsible for the armed attacks, to establish the effective authority of UNOSOM II throughout Somalia [and to secure] their arrest and detention for prosecution'. The resolution called on member states to contribute military equipment to provide UNOSOM with the capability to deter armed attacks against it.

The details of the 5 June killings, the subsequent shooting of civilians by Pakistani troops, the retaliatory bombing by UNOSOM of Aideed's headquarters on 17 June and 'the house of Abdi' on 12 July (now known as 'Bloody Monday') have been documented in the press. In the bombing of Abdi's house a number of elders and businessmen, representing the Habr Gedir, Ogaden, Dir, Majeerteen, Murosade and Sheikal, were meeting to discuss dialogue with UNOSOM. The killing of these people prevented an early resolution to the conflict.

Some crucial questions have been raised over the UN's response to the 5 June incident (MSF France, 1993; African Rights, July 1993). To date, however, despite a number of critical internal documents on the affair, the UN has not provided adequate answers to these questions. Whatever opinion one holds of Aideed, one expects different standards of behaviour and accountability from the UN.

1.10 The Situation in Mogadishu as of August 1993

Since 5 June Mogadishu south has experienced a spiralling of violent conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed, with both parties accusing each other of heinous acts. The SRSG Admiral Howe (with dubious legality) offered a reward for information leading to the capture of Aideed, and Aideed in response offered a reward for the capture of 'Animal Howe'. The situation in Mogadishu has turned into an urban war of attrition between the UN and one faction in Somalia. In effect the civil war in Somalia has turned into an international conflict.

There were daily attacks by Aideed supporters on UNOSOM targets. On 8 August, four US marines were killed by a hand-operated mine in Mogadishu, and on 22 August a further six US peace-keepers were wounded by a land mine. These tactics, unacceptable by any standards, create heightened tension among UNOSOM troops who travel the roads. There was some evidence to suggest that Aideed was using children and women in the war against UNOSOM. In August an armoured personnel carrier (APC) was stopped by a crowd of children standing in front of it. They climbed on board and robbed one of the soldiers. UNOSOM troops no longer carry out any foot patrols, and travel only in convoy. The majority of UNOSOM military and civilian staff move around Mogadishu by helicopter.

The response of the UN to this situation was to strengthen their military presence. In August 1993 a further 48 APCs were imported. On 20 August, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali called for a further 5,000 UN troops for Somalia. The USA deployed a further 400 elite Rangers and a contingent of the special Delta Force, with the aim of capturing Aideed. The aim was to create enough stability to enable the USA to withdraw its 4,000 troops 'with dignity'.

UNOSOM military operations against Aideed override all other concerns. Almost daily skirmishes between these two forces and the continual overflight of helicopters creates a repressive and frightening atmosphere for anyone living in Mogadishu. In the words of UNOSOM's humanitarian division, Mogadishu has taken on the appearance of a 'city under siege'. What signals are the United Nations sending to the Somali people?

Despite the vastly superior weaponry available to the UN and the presence of the 13,000 troops in Mogadishu, the UN do not appear to be winning the war. The failure of the US elite troops, the Rangers, and the special Delta 4 forces to capture Aideed has left the UN looking embarrassed. On 30 August, the UN was further embarrassed when the Delta Force launched a night-time raid on UNDP headquarters in Mogadishu, in the belief that it was an Aideed command and control centre. In the process they also destroyed property belonging to Oxfam (UK/I) and AICF (Aide Internationale Contre Le Faim). The conflict has also led to disputes within the UNOSOM operation itself (see section 2 below) In addition to the heavy loss of life, UNOSOM's actions have wreaked a lot of destruction. The National University, the vaccine factory, the cigarette and match factory, Radio Mogadishu, the Ministry of Livestock, and several other buildings have all been destroyed by UNOSOM in the name of security.

UNOSOM, and the United Nations, appear unmoved by criticism of their military operations in Mogadishu. After 'Bloody Monday', Ambassador David Shinn of the US State Department visited Mogadishu. Shinn left convinced that all was going well for UNOSOM. They claim to continue to have the support of the majority of the Somali population. This may have been true during the first raids on Aideed. It is clearly no longer true. The longer the military operation continues, the more they will alienate the Somali people and raise serious questions about their own accountability.

1.11 Inter-clan Conflict

The conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed has also resulted in an increase in interclan fighting. There are intermittent killings between Abgal and Habr Gedir, and NGO Somali staff are more cautious about travelling to different parts of the city. In early August 1993 a well-known Somali gynaecologist from southern Mogadishu was killed in north Mogadishu.

During the first two weeks of August 1993, there was an increase in inter-clan conflict around Afgoi, between the Murosade and Abgal and the Habr Gedir. The Habr Gedir are perceived to have been weakened by the actions of UNOSOM, and there were reports of Murosade attacking Habr Gedir trucks. As a result, Murosade living in the Bakara market area of Mogadishu were feeling increasingly vulnerable.

In July there was a outbreak of fighting in Brava and reports of clashes in middle Juba. In early September there was fighting in Qorioley. On 10 August there was fighting between Xawadle and Habr Gedir in south Mogadishu in which two people were killed. Later that day over 100 Somalis, many of them women and children, were killed when UNOSOM helicopters fired on crowds after Pakistani peacekeepers came under attack.

1.12 Negotiations

Following the killing of four US peace-keepers on 8 August 1993 by hand-operated mines, it was generally expected that UNOSOM would make further retaliatory strikes against Aideed. When this did not happen, there was speculation that UNOSOM might be involved in negotiations with Aideed.

It materialised that UNOSOM were attempting to start dialogue with Aideed up to the beginning of September 1993. Kouyate, the Deputy SRSG, is reported to have staked his position on being able to open a dialogue with Aideed, saying he would resign if the military would not allow him. In mid-August, through intermediaries, Kouyate was able to start a dialogue between UNOSOM and moderates in the USC/SNA.

The initial negotiating position of UNOSOM was that the USC should surrender Aideed and his new radio. In mid-August, Aideed received offers to go into exile from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen. He turned these down, suspecting in them a sign of the UN's weakness. He felt his position was strong and was prepared to remain in hiding in Mogadishu, using hit and run tactics against UNOSOM, until they tired and left. He staked his own negotiating position on the call for an independent enquiry, by international jurists, to investigate events since 5 June.

On 4 September it was reported that Aideed was ready to sign a deal with UNOSOM, to include a cease-fire and the formal opening of dialogue. It is said that Kouyate asked for another 24 hours in order to convince the military. On 5 September, seven Nigerian troops were killed. Since then, it is not clear whether any further negotiations have taken place, and the violence in Mogadishu has intensified.

2. The politics of UNOSOM II

UNOSOM II, at $1.5 billion, is the most expensive UN peace-keeping operation in the world. (The next is Bosnia, at $222 million.) Somalia is hosting the largest number of UN troops ever deployed. Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the UN peacekeeping role in Somalia has been transformed to one of peace-enforcement. UNOSOM Somalia is a new experiment for the UN, with very high stakes. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are internal conflicts within UNOSOM. The conflict between Aideed and UNOSOM has helped to highlight, and one suspects may arise from, divisions within the organisation. The vested interests of various parties within UNOSOM certainly impede its ability to respond adequately to the situation in Somalia. It is therefore necessary when assessing the present situation in Somalia to be aware of the dynamics at play within UNOSOM II.

2.1 New Agendas

In his Agenda for Peace (1992), Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali sets out his vision for the future peace-keeping role of the UN in the post-Cold War period. His vision gives the UN a central role in policing the 'new world order', and intervening in situations of armed conflict. This includes the ability to enforce peace, where necessary. At the same time, the USA is also looking for a new role in this postCold War period. The Clinton administration envisages that the USA should no longer respond unilaterally to crises, but seek to play a role of 'world policeman' through the UN. As part of his plan to restructure the UN, Boutros-Ghali believes it is necessary to establish a new UN command centre for all military and civilian peace-keeping operations.

The political dynamics that these new UN and US agendas create have a direct bearing upon the actions of UNOSOM and the situation in Somalia. The political machinations within the UN in New York over who will lead this new Peacekeeping department directly affect the UNOSOM II operation.

2.2 Structure of UNOSOM II

UNOSOM has four main divisions (see Diagram 5): Force Command, the Division for Humanitarian Relief and Rehabilitation (DHRR), the Division for Political Affairs, and the Justice Division.

These divisions are officially coordinated by, and report to, the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG). Since March 1993 the SRSG, and head of UNOSOM, is retired US Admiral Jonathan Howe. He replaced the former envoy Kittani. His deputy is Lansane Kouyate, Guinean Ambassador to the UN, who has been with UNOSOM since February 1993. The SRSG reports to the Secretary General in New York, as well as Kofi Annan, Under Secretary for Peacekeeping Operations and Jan Eliasson, Under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs (DHA). A former US Admiral and National Security Advisor, he presumably also reports to the US State Department. The SRSG is advised by the Policy and Planning Group, headed by Dr Omar Halim.

1. Force Command: These are the military peace-keepers turned peace-enforcers, responsible for over-all security in Somalia, and charged with protecting the UN operations. The Force Commander is a Turkish General, Cevik Bir, appointed in February 1993, who reports to Kofi Annan in the Department of Peace-keeping. His second in command, Major General Montgomery, is a US military officer, who is assumed to be more influential. As commander of the US Quick Reaction Force, with their Cobra helicopter gunships and over 1,000 troops, he is responsible to General Shahin, Chief of Operations at the US Pentagon.

2. Division for Humanitarian Relief and Rehabilitation (DHRR):, This is responsible for the planning and coordination of all humanitarian activities. The head of the DHRR is Hugh Cholmondeley, appointed in February 1993. He officially reports to the SRSG, but is also responsible to the Under Secretary for the DHA, Jan Eliasson.

3. Division for Political Affairs: This is responsible for promoting political reconciliation and building of transitional governmental and administrative structures. The head of this division since late 1992 is Kapungo. While officially reporting to the SRSG, he is also responsible to James Jonah, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

4. Justice Division: This is responsible for the formation of civil police and rehabilitation of the judiciary.10 Responsibilities also include monitoring violations of international law, and bringing to justice those guilty of human rights abuses.

The UN agencies, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, and FAO fall outside this structure. Almost equivalent to NGOs, they report directly to their offices in New York. Having their own (and greater) funding sources than the DHRR, they are able to safeguard their independence.

2.3 Personal and Political Conflicts of Interest

At the highest levels of this structure there are problems, both personal and political. Plans to restructure the UN peace-keeping division have created tensions between the Peace-keeping, Humanitarian, and Political divisions. The tensions were clear in disputes over who should be in control of UNOSOM: the military, the humanitarian, or the political divisions? Relations between Boutros-Ghali and Eliasson are said to be very poor. Eliasson, an experienced mediator himself, is said to be open to more dialogue with Aideed, and has been openly critical of the military emphasis of the operation in Mogadishu.

The relationship between the SRSG and his deputy, Kouyate, is also reported to be strained. It is reported that Kouyate was Boutros-Ghali's original choice to replace Kittani as the SRSG in Somalia. His appointment was overturned when the USA insisted that an American had to be in charge, because of the large number of US troops in Somalia. Admiral Howe, a former National Security Advisor under Bush, seems to have been chosen to provide the continuity between the Bush and Clinton Administrations. Kouyate appears to have more of a political role in Somalia, involved in direct negotiations with the factions. He also has a direct line to BoutrosGhali.

The domination of the US Administration and the Pentagon in the affairs of UNOSOM is no secret. The USA has dominated the operation since US troops led the UNITAF intervention. Somalis are aware that it is President Clinton, rather than Dr Boutros-Ghali, who speaks on behalf of the UN of the 'successful' raids against Aideed. Although UNOSOM II is a multi-lateral operation, with over 27 countries involved, the decision-makers in Somalia are primarily American. Other countries have very little representation within the overall command structure of UNOSOM. The military commanders of each contingent therefore insist on maintaining their command structures with their own governments. This has led to public disputes between the USA and UN and other countries with military forces in Somalia, in particular Italy, France, Pakistan, and Germany.


Diagram 5: Structure of UNOSOM II11


Diagram 6: Structure of Zone Offices

The UNOSOM have divided Somalia/Somaliland into five Zones:

1. Northwest - Zone Office Hargeisa
2. Northeast - Zone Office Bosasso
3. Central - Zone Office Baidoa
4. South - Zone Office Kismayo
5. Mogadishu - Zone Office N. Mogadishu

Three political factions have developed in UNOSOM. One ('the Hawks') includes Howe, US adviser Teitlebaum, the American Ambassador Gosende, Generals Bir and Montgomery and, when she was in post, Howe's senior adviser, April Glaspie (former US Ambassador to Iraq). It is this group which has dominated the policies of UNOSOM. It has been reported that Gosende and Glaspie were determined to marginalise Aideed, in preference for other more moderate leaders, such as General Mohamed Abshir.12 Glaspie has been identified as the one who approved the arms search of Radio Mogadishu which resulted in the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers on 5 June 1993.13 It is also reported by sources in UNOSOM that the 12 July ('Bloody Monday') bombing of Abdi's house in Mogadishu was intended to kill Aideed, and as many others as possible, an objective supported by the Hawks.14

A second political faction includes the Deputy SRSG (Kouyate). This is considered more moderate. It is Kouyate who has been involved in attempts to develop dialogue with Aideed. The DHRR could probably be included in this group. A third political faction is Kapungo's Division for Political Affairs. The district council programme managed by Kapungo has received a great deal of criticism from within UNOSOM.

These conflicts within UNOSOM reflect political disputes at the highest levels of the UN. The effect is that UNOSOM is dominated by political concerns that have more to do with internal political wranglings in the UN, and long-term plans for UN and US policy, than with the immediate situation in Somalia, or the Somali people.

An important division in UNOSOM is the special Policy and Planning Group attached to Admiral Howe's office. This is headed by Omar Halim, who seems to command respect among moderates within UNOSOM. The extent to which this group is actually able to influence UNOSOM policy, given the other vested interests, is unclear. To my knowledge, the Policy and Planning Group includes the only social scientist in UNOSOM whose knowledge of Somalia is based on experience.

In addition to these internal conflicts within UNOSOM and the UN, an additional factor affecting the UNOSOM operation in Somalia is an old animosity between Boutros-Ghali and Aideed. This stems from a time when Boutros-Ghali was Foreign Minister of Egypt. At the time Egypt, one of Barre's main supporters (after Italy), was involved in trying to mediate between the military factions and Barre. Aideed, who was trying to raise support for his war against Barre, was deported from Egypt. Aideed went on to become a 'warlord' and BoutrosGhali went on to become Secretary-General of the UN. Some people (Aideed's supporters in particular) perceive a personal conflict between Aideed and Boutros-Ghali within the conflict between the UNOSOM and Aideed.

3. Conclusions

The description above is a review of the situation in one small part of Somalia. Many Somalis believe that the UNITAF military intervention was necessary, that it halted the conflict and reduced the numbers of Somalis dying. Certainly not all Somalis are opposed to the military operation against Aideed. Indeed, many support their actions. The great danger, however, is that the conflict between Aideed and UNOSOM will spiral out of control, increasing again the daily death rate and setting back recovery in Somalia.

The conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed at one level is a simple one of conflicting goals. UNOSOM has a mandate to pacify the country and support the establishment of transitional political and administrative structures in advance of elections in 1995. The mandate gives UNOSOM personnel the right to move freely throughout the country and make decisions on behalf of the Somali people.

At the same time, Aideed's aim is to gain power and influence for himself and his clan. This is to be achieved either through his presidency, or through an alliance of seats in the TNC and other national bodies such as the police and judiciary. Aideed was quick to test the authority of the UN. Power brokers within the UN, particularly the USA (and possibly Boutros-Ghali), appear to have decided that there is no role for Aideed in the future Somalia. They set about trying to marginalise him. After the Addis Ababa meeting they indicated their positions by supporting the Ali Mahadichaired conference rather than that of Aideed. The result is that the UN lost its neutrality, and the Somali conflict became an international conflict between the UN and Aideed.

There is a reticence among NGOs to be too critical of the UN in Somalia, in a belief that there is a need for a constructive relationship. However, while the conflict in Mogadishu between UNOSOM and Aideed continues, little progress will be achieved towards reconciliation and rehabilitation elsewhere in Somalia. Resolving this conflict is crucial. Even if there was a military solution to this conflict (and I believe the killing of Aideed is unlikely to solve anything), the means, which will involve the deaths of many Somalis, do not justify the end. There is a moral issue here that Oxfam and other agencies ought not to keep silent on.

Somalia has become an experiment for many other international political concerns. At stake in Somalia is the reputation of the UN and future peace-keeping operations, such as in Bosnia. Assuming that agencies wish to continue to have a constructive relationship with the UN, there is a need to advocate a change of approach in the UN operation in Somalia.

3.1 Recommendations

There are several areas where agencies might be able to influence the situation in Mogadishu and Somalia. They might consider pursuing the following:

Advocacy: Agencies should use their international standing to pressurise the UN into changing its approach in Somalia. The message must be clear:

· There is no military solution to Somalia's problems in the long run, or in isolation from other factors.
· Dialogue is needed with all factions.
· The UN need to return to the humanitarian and political objectives of the mision.
· The full participation of the Somalis in the UN operation, at all levels, is essential.

In essence, peace-enforcement has failed, and agencies should advocate a return to the principles of peace-keeping peace-making.

Lobbying should be done both individually and through the NGO Consortium. Agencies should take these messages to their home governments. Oxfam (UK/I) should take these messages to the British government and the European Union and other inter-governmental bodies. Other agencies should seek to get questions raised in their own parliaments and assemblies.

The key country in the multilateral force in Somalia is the USA. British agencies, separately or with US agencies, should be proactive in their lobbying in the USA, to advocate a thorough evaluation of the UNOSOM operation and US policy in Somalia. Integral to this message should be the need to replace: the SRSG Howe with a diplomat, or someone experienced in humanitarian affairs, and probably an African.

In this vein, agencies might consider sponsoring non-official consultations between acme key Somali elders, intellectuals, Somali NGOs, and businessmen from within Somalia.: These consultations should not be high-profile nor be facilitated directly by the agencies, but through existing peace groups or institutes with experience, such as the Nairobi Peace Initiative, Ergada, or the Mennonites. Such consultations should happen, as much as possible, within Somalia. The objectives of such consultations would have to be clearly defined, but might include:

· to provide a forum for Somalis to meet and discuss and identify some common concerns and solutions in a relaxed environment;

· to identify individuals who might be able to influence the situation;

· to identify and empower a 'peace constituency'.

Discussions with Somaliland elders indicate that it might be possible to elicit the assistance of the Somaliland Guurti (elders' committee) to facilitate such consultations (see Part V).

It is recommended :that agencies consider initiating some workshops between Somali staff off NGOs as part of the consultations process.

Human Rights: Human rights abuses by the Barre regime have been documented as one of the causes of the Somali conflict. The continuation of such abuses only prolongs the conflict. The abuse of human rights that occurred on a large scale throughout the war has not yet been documented. There is now sufficient evidence to indicate that the UN itself has, through use of excessive force, violated international humanitarian laws and is committing human rights abuses in Somalia. The warlords have shown contempt for human rights and international laws. We expect the UN to protect human rights, not to ignore them. Agencies should therefore:

1. Urge that an independent commission of enquiry is established to investigate all events since 5 June 1993, and to investigate accusations of human rights abuses by the warlords and the UN.

2. Commission a report on the legal status of the UN in Somalia. This should clarify to what extent the UN is subject to international humanitarian laws. Who is the UN accountable to? What is the legal status of the multi-national forces operating in Somalia under the UN flag? To whom are forces like the US Quick Reaction Force accountable? What mechanisms exist to investigate incidents? What training do these forces receive in international law and human rights?3. Consider funding the establishment of a human rights monitoring office in Somalia, to document and monitor abuses by both local and international forces.4. Consider funding the documentation of human rights abuses, especially those against women, children and minorities.Consider funding local human rights organisations as they (and if they) arise, and human rights training for Somali NGOs where requested.Media: The media played a major role in promoting an international response to the Somali crisis. There has been critical press coverage of the UN operation, but, other than CNN, little television coverage. Agencies might consider encouraging investigative teams to cover the situation, to promote serious international debate on the situation in Somalia.Policy: Agencies may need to review their positions on the role of military intervention in complex emergencies. Can one enforce peace? Do short-term gains outweigh long-term effects? A military solution is not an easy or necessarily quick solution. A military solution can become part of the long-term problem. Agencies should initially commission an in-depth review of the UN peace-keeping and peace-enforcement operation in Somalia.

4. District councils

UNOSOM is mandated by Resolution 814 of March 1993, to 'assist the people of Somalia to promote and advance political reconciliation, through broad participation by all sections of Somali society, and the re-establishment of national and regional institutions'. The Addis Ababa agreement commits the Somali political factions to the formation of transitional political and administrative structures.

Since the Addis Ababa conference, UNOSOM II, in line with its mandate, has moved ahead with a programme to form District Councils. This programme is the responsibility of the Political Division. The motivation to proceed with the formation of District Councils, while the future of the TNC remains in some doubt, comes from the view that a 'bottom-up' process of political reconciliation is the best way to build peace in Somalia. It is believed that the process will eventually marginalise the warlords. Problems have arisen, however, in the implementation of this programme by UNOSOM.

The constitution for the District Councils has been drafted by the Charter Drafting Committee. By this, the councils are to have 21 members, with a 'mixture of traditional and new leaders', and one woman. Three representatives elected from the District Council will go on to participate in one of the 18 Regional Councils. Each region is assumed to have five districts. The aim was to form 39 District Councils in southern Somalia by December 1993. Somaliland will be dealt with separately. As of August 1993 UNOSOM claimed that 21 district councils had been formed.

On 22 August UNOSOM started a training programme for those Councils, using the services of the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI) from Arusha. The training programme, which covers a wide range of topics on local government management, administration and finance, lasts for six days. The Life and Peace Institute (LPI) are funding the training programme and are considering establishing a liaison post in Somalia, to coordinate and monitor the work of these Councils.

There has been much criticism over the District Council programme by Somalis, from within UNOSOM, and from NGOs. Some of the concerns raised are:

· The legitimacy of the districts (some of which were formed by Barre as late as 1988).

· The legitimacy of the council elections: as one Somali said, 'The man who slaughters ten camels will have many seats'. (In some cases Kapungo is accused of having chosen the candidates himself.)

· The representativeness of councils, given the massive internal and external displacement of people.

· In some places UNOSOM are insisting that councils should be formed, even where there is a functioning local structure of elders (e.g. north-east Somalia).

· The legitimacy of UNOSOM's insistence on equal representation of clans in the council and the inclusion of one woman on the council. It is suggested that equal representation cannot be enforced, and the one woman on a council will have no more than token authority.

· There is an opinion that DCs should not be formed until the revenue-collecting potential of an area has been assessed and added into the plan.

· There is an opinion that 'political leaders' should be involved in the process, to give the councils some legitimacy. Without the involvement of the TNC, how will they relate to each other?

· There is a lack of clarity in the functions and authority of the Councils, and there has been no dialogue about the District Councils with the Somali population as a whole.

· The Political Division and DHRR have no resources to assist the councils, once formed, and donors are unwilling to support the political process. (The exception is Sweden, which has funded the Life and Peace Institute.)

· While it has been stated that UNOSOM and the NGOs will have to work with the councils, no information has been made available to NGOs, nor consultations held with them or with UNOSOM.

The District Council programme has largely been organised by one man (Kapungo) in a division that is under-resourced and under staffed, both centrally and at a regional level. Under pressure from New York, the time allotted for the formation of these councils is seriously inadequate. This is indicated by the attempt to provide local government management training to a District Council in six days. The lack of consultation with Somalis, and mixed messages about the role of the Councils and what resources will be available to support them, have confused matters further. It is not clear whether they are to be considered permanent or temporary bodies.

UNOSOM appear to have taken no time to study how District Councils might be formed. Although they claim that elders have been 'instrumental in electing councils',15 it is not clear how closely they do relate to indigenous councils or bodies that exist or are re-emerging. In the north-east and Somaliland, localised councils of elders have been acting with de facto and de jure authority for some time.

The speed at which UNOSOM are implementing this programme gives no time for local reconciliation to take place, which is necessary if stable and democratic councils are to emerge. The process used to form these councils suggests that UNOSOM have spent no time in trying to understand how localised political reconciliation can work in Somalia. In Somaliland, where local-level reconciliation has been going on for some time, particularly in the rural areas, the basic 'building blocks' in this process are the diya-paying groups.16 Among the Hawiye, Majeerteen, Marehan, and Ogadeni this is likely to be the same. Among the Rahanweyne, the building blocks will be at the clan level.

In some cases, the District Council programme has led to armed conflict. In July 1993 fighting over District Councils led to the deaths of 100 people in Brava. In Jowhar it is reported that the Councils have created divisions among the Abgal. In the first week of September fighting broke out in Qorioley, in which some 20 people were killed and the hospital ransacked. The fighting there is said to have erupted over the formation of District Councils. While not everywhere has suffered the same problems, the District Council programme is clearly not as successful as UNOSOM would like the international community to believe.

4.1 Conclusions

Two theories have been proposed to suggest how political reconciliation can be promoted in Somalia. One proposes that there is a need to reach a political settlement between the 'warlords'. The argument goes that one cannot distinguish between the warlords and the elders, politicians and financiers, and that Aideed and the other warlords are presently the de facto political leaders in the south. A political settlement in Somalia is therefore not possible without them, and one must find some way of working with them. The UN initially did much to legitimise the warlords, whom many Somalis see as criminals. They have ended up with a bias towards one rather than another.

The other theory suggests that reconciliation can be built only from the base, where localised, indigenous, and more democratic institutional mechanisms of conflict resolution can be empowered to bring about reconciliation. In this process the warlords will be marginalised. As implemented by the UN, through the District Council programme, this approach is failing and leading to more conflict. The bottom up approach threatens the interests of the warlords. As implemented by the UN, it has not been impartial or indigenous. Both approaches indicate the dangers of trying to impose an outside solution to the conflict in Somalia.

UNOSOM is a bureaucratic, centralist body in orientation. Constituted by governments, its mandate is to establish a central government structure, albeit with some emphasis on decentralised regional and district structures. Through the District Council programme UNOSOM are, in effect, supporting the formation of 'top-down', albeit localised, political structures in the hope that they will be a catalyst for a 'bottom-up', broad-based reconciliation process. This is risky. In many ways there is little difference between this system of district and regional councils and the one set up by Siad Barre during his regime. In the words of one Somali, the District Councils are 'just replicating the mess'. A centralised government structure is the very thing many Somalis have been fighting against.

4.2 Recommendations

District Councils: Agencies should commission an independent review of the District Council programme, in order that the concerns raised can be discussed openly, and provide recommendations on how the programme might be improved. This could be carried out as a joint agency initiative.

Agencies should also renew the way in which their own programmes are working with and strengthening local structures - elders, councils, political parties, NGOs - however defined in the particular locality. Some useful ideas might be gained from looking at each other's experience.

Advocacy: Agencies should emphasise to donors the need to invest in political reconciliation and the development of civic institutions.

5. Humanitarian issues: NGOs and UNOSOM II

The justified and vociferous criticism by NGOs of the UN's inaction in Somalia, between 1991 and 1992, was partly responsible for the eventual US-led UN military intervention. Many NGOs at that time supported military intervention as a necessary international response to Somalia's problem. Others were more cautious. This caused a serious rift in the NGO community in Somalia.

Initially, relationships between the NGOs and UNITAF were relatively good, as UNITAF was able to break the strangle-hold of banditry and extortion rackets that had held up the delivery of humanitarian relief. Since the assumption by the UN of a wider political and military role in Somalia, relationships have deteriorated. This arises from a failure by UNOSOM to create a secure environment, and the increasing prioritisation of military over humanitarian objectives. There is now deep concern among NGOs at the path the UNOSOM military operation has taken. In particular there is concern:

· that the humanitarian objectives of UNOSOM have become secondary to the military objectives, and the UNOSOM II operation risks losing direction;

· at the continuing ineffectiveness of the DHRR (70 per cent of all humanitarian assistance to Somalia is being handled by NGOs);

· that the security of NGOs' humanitarian operations is being compromised, and the lives of Somali and international staff working for humanitarian agencies put at risk (with Somali staff subject to harassment by both Somali and UNOSOM military, there is concern at continuing insecurity outside Mogadishu, particularly along roads north and south of the city);

· at the conduct of UNOSOM troops in Somalia and the lack of accountability for their actions;

· that little or no progress had been made on disarmament agreements signed by the Somali military factions;

· that few of the agreements reached at Addis Ababa in March 1993 are being implemented;

· that, since the departure of Mohamed Sahnoun, there has been no attempt at any real diplomacy and dialogue between UNOSOM and the Somali people. The level of involvement of Somalis in decisions affecting the future of their country is extremely small.

At the Second UNOSOM Informal Donor Consultation in Nairobi in July 1993, NGOs made these concerns known to the donors. They argued that, rather than military operations being a 'success', the fact that UN troops have had to be used in combat is a reflection of the 'failure' of the mission.

On 10 July, the International NGO Consortium (NGO-C) for Somalia wrote to the SRSG, expressing their concerns on the deteriorating security in Mogadishu. In July MSF France submitted an appeal to the UN for an investigation of events surrounding the 17 June UN bombings in Mogadishu. African Rights (July, 1993) and Africa Watch have made similar appeals. On 11 August, 26 international NGOs from the NGO Consortium wrote to the Secretary General, drawing his attention to their concern at the effects that military force was having on humanitarian efforts, at the moral and legal questions raised over UNOSOM's military action, and at the need to 'search actively' for alternative, durable solutions to conflict (NGO-C, August 1993).

By and large, however, there has not been the same vigorous criticism of the UN that was witnessed the previous year. This arises from the lack of unanimity among NGOs since the intervention, which some supported and others opposed. There is some reticence in criticising UN operations against Aideed, whom few would consider a legitimate representative of the Somali people. There is concern that further criticism of the UN may lead to a withdrawal of UN and donor assistance to Somalia. International commitment to Somalia is limited to short-term goals, when what is needed is a long-term commitment. The UN 1993 Relief and Rehabilitation programme was developed within the short-term framework of a relief programme, when what is needed is longer-term rehabilitation. While the USA contributed $750 million to the UNITAF operation, it has pledged only $50 million for rehabilitation.

NGOs consistently stress in their communications the need for a constructive dialogue between the NGOs and the UN. The sentiments of ENCAS17 are not untypical, when they propose that NGOs should 'make every effort to come to a constructive and positive relationship with the UN agencies, no matter how critical we are of certain actions and policies' (ELCAS, July 1993). However, given the present domination of the military in UNOSOM, it is difficult for NGOs to build up that constructive relationship.

Although UNOSOM and most international NGOs have offices and residences in southern Mogadishu, communications between them are minimal. Contact is maintained through daily security briefings at the Civilian and Military Operations Centre (CMOC), which is part of DHRR. As most information is regarded as sensitive military information, the briefings, which are dubbed 'weather reports', are very brief and uninformative. They normally begin with a claim that the situation in Somalia is 'generally stable'.

The NGO Consortium in Mogadishu provides a useful medium of communication between the NGO community and UNOSOM. It has done much to facilitate coordination among NGOs in various sectors, a role that should have been fulfilled by UNOSOM DHRR. Relations between the NGOs and DHRR have been strained and reached a low point in February 1993, after the appointment of a new Coordinator of the DHRR, Hugh Cholmondeley. A rapprochement took place after 5 June, when DHRR and NGO international personnel were evacuated to Nairobi, and they were able to find common ground in their concerns over the military operations of UNOSOM. This was reflected in the criticism of UNOSOM by Jan Eliasson in July, that for every $10 spent on military protection, only $1 was spent on humanitarian assistance.18


Diagram 7 Structure of Division of Humanitarian Relief and Rehabilitation

For NGOs, the DHRR should provide the best avenue to influence the military. The problem is that, while the DHRR Coordinator reports to Howe, he has limited access to him. Howe refers instead to his smaller circle of advisers. Furthermore, the DHRR is heavily underfunded; of the $166 million requested at Addis Ababa in March 1993, only $93 million was pledged and, by August 1993, only $15 million had been received. Their only capacity seems to be for staff recruitment. Some NGOs question whether the DHRR would be so open to NGOs if the DHRR had more resources of its own. The lack of funding severely undermines the effectiveness of the DHRR.

UNOSOM, more generally, has a staffing problem. At full capacity UNOSOM civilian staffing should be over 1,000. The total number of staff in the DHRR is supposed to be 59. By mid-August 1993 there were reported to be as few as 10 sectoral officers for 35 posts. Under-staffing means that UNOSOM are unable to provide full regional, political and humanitarian representation. Consequently this gives the military a greater role in these affairs. Furthermore, the majority of contracts are for a short term (six months), so there is a problem of continuity and consistency in staffing. UNOSOM salaries make Somalia an attractive option for those who want to make money in a short time. Thus the quality of those staff recruited varies enormously.

What DHRR has shamefully failed to do is respond to its own rhetoric to recruit Somalis. There remains a reluctance within UNOSOM to recruit Somali staff for any but the most junior positions. There have been demonstrations by Somalis, complaining about the small number of staff requited by UNOSOM (NGO-C June 1993).

In August 1993 relationships between the DHRR and the NGOs deteriorated again. This arose partly through the extended absence of Hugh Cholmondeley from Somalia and the lack of clear leadership within the DHRR, but also because of the escalating conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed. For NGOs the weakness of DHRR means that there is little opportunity to influence the situation. At a time when the role of the DHA, world-wide, is under review, some aid agencies are concerned that the inability of the DHRR in Somalia to influence the military wing, and provide an alternative approach, could have serious repercussions on peacekeeping operations elsewhere in the world.

5.1 RecommendationsAdvocacy: Agencies need to reinforce to donors the need to meet funding requirements for the DHA/DHRR programme Agencies should publicly support the concerns of the Under-Secretary for the DHA in this. They should take these concerns to their own governments.At the same time, agencies need to retain a critical perspective on the DHRR/DHA operation in Somalia. Their faults in Somalia cannot be entirely laid at the door of the military. Agencies must emphasise the need to increase Somali involvement at all levels of the DHRR.NGO Consortium: The consortium is an important body for coordination of information on NGO activities. (One suspects that the Consortium has been important in psychological ways in providing a forum for NGO workers to meet and share common problems and concerns.) Agencies might consider increasing support to it:
1. To strengthen its political lobbying and coordination role with the UN, and its role in coordinating information on NGO operations.

2. To enable it to expand its network in Somalia. It is too narrowly focused on south Mogadishu. It needs to be aware of what is happening in other areas of the country.

3. lb increase its network with bodies outside Somalia.

4. To explore whether the consortium could have a role in supporting regional Somali bodies in planning and coordination.

5. To provide the focus for inter-agency training programmes, or workshops (such as the Oxfam workshop in Hargeisa, see Appendix D), for NGO Somali staff from different regions. In this way it might have a role in peace-building.