Thursday, December 7, 2006

Troubling Tidbits from NYT

Two tiny but very unsettling items in the Times caught my eye this morning

  1. Peacekeepers for Somalia (p. A7) - In only two sentences, a report that the U.N. Security Council had unanimously approved Amb. John Bolton's latest and (I hope) last piece of mischief: a resolution backing the formation of a peacekeeping force to "monitor" the Somali government's struggle with Islamist foes. It also "partly lifted" the arms embargo and called for peace talks.

  2. Somalia: Pray or die, town tells residents (p. A16) - An AP item quoting an Islamic Courts official in Bulo Burti, one Sheik Hussein Barre Rage, warning that town residents who do not pray five times a day "will definitely be beheaded."
Neither one is encouraging for Somalia's friends.

* * *

P.S. Hassan Warsame has kindly supplied the following link to the text of the Security Council's Resolution 1725 (2006) by e-mail:

After a quick reading of the text, I'm more dismayed than ever, especially since it explicitly places the resolution under the "use of force if necessary" umbrella of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. It further mandates the peacekeeping force "to protect the members of the Transitional Federal Institutions and Government, as well as their key infrastructures, and to train the Transitional Federal Institutions’ security forces to enable them to provide their own security and to help facilitate the re-establishment of Somalia’s national security forces. No mention of protecting members of the Islamic Courts, of course, or training their security forces.

The resolution goes on to modify the arms embargo the Council previously imposed to permit import "supplies of weapons and military equipment and technical training and assistance intended solely for the support of, or use by, the force."

Finally, it warns that the Council intends to "consider taking measures against those that [seek] to prevent or block a peaceful dialogue process, overthrow the Transitional Federal Institutions by force, or take action that further threatens regional stability." And how about those that seek to overthrow the Islamic Courts or their institutions by force??

I find it dismaying that the Security Council members could unanimously adopt a resolution that is as manifestly one-sided as this one. Perhaps after I wade through the "explanations of vote" by the Council's individual members (they're included at the link above), I'll be less mystified.

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