Briefing on the situation in Somalia and the status of consultations in the Independent Assessment Report on AMISOM post-2021

Somalia

Date | 07 October, 2021

Tomorrow (07 October), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected convene its 1037th session to consider the situation in Somalia and the status of consultations in the Independent Assessment Report on the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) post-2021.

The session is expected to have two segments. In the first segment which will be open to invited guests, opening remarks will be delivered by the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the AU, Alfredo Nuvunga, to be followed with a statement from the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye. The representative of the Federal Republic of Somalia, as the country concerned, and representative of the Republic of Sudan, Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will follow with their statements. In the second segment of the session in which only PSC members and the AU Commission will participate, Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission in Somalia will make a presentation.

It is to be recalled that the PSC considered the report on Independent Assessment Team on the AU’s engagement in and with Somalia post-2021 during its 1015th session, which was held on 30 July this year. The Independent Assessment Team recommended the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilisation Support to Somalia as the most appropriate option for the future of AMISOM post-2021 while proposing an AU Multidimensional Stabilisation Support to Somalia (reconfigured AMISOM) as the second preferred option. No outcome document has been issued for the meeting.

The AU Commission subsequently sent a delegation led by Fiona Lortan to engage with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in August, to discuss among others, the new AMISOM mission post-2021. The two days meeting between the AU Commission and FGS resulted in a breakthrough agreement that culminated in a joint statement outlining the major issues they agreed on. Most notably, the two sides agreed to jointly consider the ‘AU Transition Mission’ as the post-2021 Somalia mission. Moreover, the AU Commission and FGS, together with UN and international partners, agreed to develop a joint ‘workable’, ‘realizable’, and ‘game-changing’ CONOPS, which forms the basis for the future ‘AU Transition Mission’, within the timeline for submission of no later than 31 October 2021. The PSC convened another session on 31 August to receive briefing about the meeting between the AU Commission and FGS from 18 to 19 August, but with no outcome document.

As a follow up to the August meeting, a joint steering committee meeting was held between the AU Commission and FGS from 21 to 23 September in Mogadishu, to develop the joint CONOPS for the ‘AU Transition Mission’. The meeting was convened specifically to work on the details of the CONOPS including the end state, objectives and tasks of the new transition mission; its composition and structure; sector alignment; command and control; joint operations and coordination with Somali National Army (SNA); force generation; and logistic requirements of the mission. It was agreed to review the zero draft of the CONOPS by 28 September and complete for the consideration by the PSC and subsequently submit to the UN Security Council by 31 October 2021. In tomorrow’s session therefore, the PSC is expected to receive update on the progress made towards the development of the joint CONOPS, which remains critical in shaping the envisaged transition mission in Somalia post-2021.

In addition, the Council may also hear about the activities of AMISOM particularly in the areas of joint military operations with SNA, the support provided in the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan (STP), as well as electoral assistances. One major development likely to be highlighted in this respect is the recent (22 September) launch of a Joint Operations Coordination Centre (JOCC) in Mogadishu, marking the establishment of such centres across all sectors of AMISOM. The August, AUC-FGS agreement emphasized the importance of joint operation between AMISOM and SNA and develop strong tactical cooperation and coordination to effectively degrade Al-Shabaab. In this context, the establishment of the centres is a step forward in bridging the existing gap in the areas of joint planning and coordination for military operations against Al-Shabaab. The financial, operational and technical support being provided to the elections in Somalia based on the PSC decision at its 994th session, are also likely to be highlighted.

It is also important to note that tomorrow’s session comes at the backdrop of deepening political tensions between Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo. There is concern that the ongoing disagreement within the government may affect the electoral process and the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab. The elections have already been delayed even before the disagreement between the two principals. Upper house elections, which were scheduled to take place from 25 to 28 July started after some delays. Lower house elections, which were supposed to start on 10 September, have been postponed. As the lower house delegates are the ones who will subsequently elect the president in an indirect voting model, the postponement will also affect the timeline for the presidential election, which was initially scheduled to take place on 10 October. There is so far no indication of when it will happen. Hence, there is growing call for the parties to resolve their differences through dialogue. They are being urged to work towards the successful organization of peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections and focus on the fight against Al-Shabaab.

On 2 October, International partners, including AMISOM and IGAD issued a statement expressing concern that the core issues of disagreement between the President and the Prime Minister have not yet been resolved in spite of the ongoing mediation efforts over the last couple of weeks. They indicated that the prevailing political uncertainty might have the risk of further delaying the elections and the ongoing dispute over the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Security (MoIS) and NISA, which will undermine the fight against Al-Shabaab. Therefore, they urged the two principals to resolve their differences and redirect their efforts towards implementing the 17 September 2020 and 27 May 2021 agreements on the holding of elections and agree on the appointment of the leadership of key security institutions, which will be critical for the holding of peaceful elections.

It is against this backdrop that the future of AMISOM post-2021 is being discussed. The mandate of AMISOM is due to expire in December 2021. The UN has already done its own independent assessment and recommended a reconfiguration of the mission. The AU Independent Assessment Team’s recommendation for establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission was rejected by the Somali government, which necessitated further consultations between the AU and the Somali government to resolve differences and chart a way forward.

From what appears, the discussion is not over yet and December is fast approaching. Obviously, there is a need for the host country, AU, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) to agree on a common way forward on the future of AMISOM. This may require some time and there appears to be a request for an extension. The fact that elections are going to be delayed also makes it all the more logical. The Secretary-General, upon the request of the AU, is said to have made the request to the UN Security Council (UNSC). However, this is being met with opposition by some of the permanent members. What this all means is that the mandate renewal process over the coming months will not be a smooth sailing.

The outcome of tomorrow’s session is not clear at the time of finalizing this ‘insight’. However, the PSC may take note of the progress made towards the development of joint CONOPS for the ‘Africa Union Transition Mission’ and commend the efforts of AU Commission, FGS, and international partners in this regard. Council is also likely to welcome the positive steps taken by AMISOM and the SNA towards enhancing joint planning and coordination of military operations against Al-Shabaab including through the establishment of JOCC. Cognizant of the need to transfer security responsibilities progressively to the FGS, Council may underscore the importance of AMISOM’s continued support to strengthen the capacity of Somali national security forces. In relation to the election, the Council is likely to reiterate its request for AMISOM, during its 994th meeting, to ‘continue providing technical support to the political and governance processes of Somalia at federal and regional levels, including technical assistance to the planning and conduct of the elections once an agreement has been reached’. On the political situation, Council is expected to express its deep concern over the feud between Prime Minister Roble and President Farmajo, and in this connection, it may echo the call of the latest joint statement by international partners to resolve their differences through dialogue, prioritize the implementation of the 17 September 2020 and 27 May 2021 electoral agreements, and ensure the ‘key security institutions (MoIS and NISA) are headed by able and legitimate leaders given the electoral season of the country. PSC may also request the AU Commission to use all available tools at its disposal with the view to supporting Somalia conduct peaceful and credible election, as well as preventing electoral violence.


Briefing on consultations with Somalia on post-2021 AU Engagement

Somalia

Date | 31 August, 2021

Tomorrow (31 August) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to convene a briefing session on the consultations with the Federal Government of Somalia on the post-2021 AU mission in Somalia the AU (AMISOM). The session is a follow up to Council’s meeting convened on 30 July during which the PSC considered the report of the AU Independent Assessment team regarding AU’s engagement in and with Somalia post-2021.

Following opening statement by Ambassador Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, Chairperson of the PSC for August, Fiona Lortan, the Ag. Director for Conflict Management, at the Political Affairs Peace and Security (PAPS) Department is expected to brief the Council. As the country of concern, a representative of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is also expected to deliver a statement.

It is to be recalled that the PSC considered the report on independent assessment on the future of AMISOM 1015th session. The independent assessment team, established pursuant to PSC Communique of 9 February 2021, led by Major General Xolani Mankayi from South Africa, recommended the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional stabilisation support to Somalia as the most appropriate options, among the four options, for the future of AMISOM post-2021. The consensus reached among members of the PSC during their last session on AMISOM was in support of AU-UN multidimensional stabilisation mission despite UN independent-led assessment report calling for a reconfigured AMISOM.

It is worth noting that the government of Somalia, through its Foreign Minister, rejected the report of independent assessment team, complaining on the lack of sufficient consultation. Somalia’s rejection of the AU independent assessment team’s report seemed to also show preference for a more supporting role from AMISOM through the supply of mobile forces while the main security responsibility falls within the hands of government forces. This perspective of Somalia’s Government was also emphasised by the country’s representative at the United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC)’s meeting on the situation in Somalia which took place on 12 August 2021.

While there is recognition on the need for transition involving transfer of security responsibility for Somalia security forces (SSF), how this is done and the nature of AMISOM support that the security situation and the state of readiness of SSF remain critical questions for averting rushed processes risking reversal of gains made with so much sacrifice. As stressed in the report of the AU Independent Assessment team, a premature withdrawal of AMISOM could result in a serious security vacuum and lead to the loss of positive gains that have been made over the years. The importance of a cautious approach is highlighted by the threat Al-Shabaab continues to pose in Somalia. This is particularly true in light of recent fears that were ignited as a result of Al-Shabaab’s hailing of Taliban following the latter’s takeover of Kabul in Afghanistan.

It is against this context that AU Commission sent a delegation led by Fiona Lortan to engage with the government of Somalia with the aim to iron out differences and reach on a common understanding on the future of AMISOM post-2021. The meeting between AU Commission delegation and the FGS took place on 18-19 August 2021 in Mogadishu, Somalia. This led to a breakthrough resulting in the signing of an agreement and a joint statement. Tomorrow’s PSC session is in accordance with the agreement reached between the AUC delegation and the FGS to present the outcome and main agreements of the joint meeting to the PSC as well as the UN Security Council and the international partners. In this respect, the briefing by Lortan is expected to highlight the major outcomes of the agreement.

One major issue likely to receive attention is the consensus reached on the AU Transition Mission as the post-2021 Somalia mission. The agreement reached focusing on strengthening the command control of AMISOM and most importantly the call for AMISOM and Somalia national army joint operations seem to suggest a model that resembles option 2, which is a reconfigured AMISOM. The exact shape that this post-2021 AMISOM takes in Somalia is expected to become clearer with the finalization of the joint Concept of Operations (CONOPS), which, according to the joint statement, ‘will form the basis for the future AU Transition Mission’. It is worth noting that the Commission and FGS agreed on developing a joint ‘workable’, ‘realizable’, and ‘game-changing’ CONOPS no later than 31 October 2021 with the participation of UN and other international partners. It is of interest to the Council that AU is also working with UN, EU, UK as well as the FGS to address the main concern of securing predictable and sustainable funding to the post-2021 AU mission in Somalia.

In light of the growing threats posed by the Al-Shabaab and the upcoming elections in Somalia, the other issue of interest to the Council is the consensus reached on enhancing military operational effectiveness of AMISOM and Somalia Security Forces (SSF). An interesting development in this respect is the agreement reached for joint operations by enabling ‘effective, agile and mobile operations with strong tactical cooperation and coordination’. As a follow up to this agreement, the military commanders of AMISOM held a two-day meeting with their Somalia counterpart to evaluate the progress towards the implementation of joint operations. The two sides also assessed progress made regarding AMISOM’s CONOPS, the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP), and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2568 (2021). The reconfiguration of military, police, and civilian components of AMISOM and the establishment of ‘mobile and quick reaction forces’ are considered as steps towards enhancing operational effectiveness in countering the evolving threats posed by Al-Shabaab.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a Communiqué. The PSC may commend the work done by the AIA team and the AU delegation that visited Somalia for reaching at a common position. Council may congratulate the AU and FGS for reaching an agreement on the modalities for determining the form that AU’s Mission in Somalia takes post-2021. It is also expected to underscore the need for a well-planned and phased and adequately resourced and structured transition that is capable of sustaining the gains and containing the threat posed by Al Shabaab. It may call on the UN, EU and UK as well as other relevant partners to engage with AU on the modalities and financing of the transition mission. The PSC may also reiterate its appreciation for AMISOM and call on its continued support to the country in realising the goals of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP). Council may also welcome the initiatives by AMISOM working with the Government of Somalia towards enhancing the effectiveness military operations. The PSC may also indicate next steps including the plan for engagement by the AU Commission and African members of the UNSC with members of the UNSC and the EU as well as the process and timeline for the elaboration of the CONOPS for post-2021.


Consideration of the Report on the Independent Assessment on the future of AMISOM

Somalia

Date | 30 July, 2021

Tomorrow (30 July) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1015th session to consider the report on the Independent Assessment Team (IA) on the AU’s engagement in and with Somalia post-2021. This session is expected to determine PSC’s policy decision on the form that the presence of AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) will take post-2021.

The session will have two segments. During the first and semi open segment, it is envisaged that following the opening remark of the Chairperson of the PSC, Victor Adekele, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Somalia, Mohamed Abdirizak, the Chairperson of the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Standby Force (EASF), IGAD Secretariat, the Special Representative of the Secretary General to the AU and Head of the United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU), Hanna Tetteh and Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to the AU, Birgitte Markussen will make statements reflecting their respective policy perspectives on the agenda of the session against the background of the engagement of each in Somalia and with AMISOM. During the closed segment, the Chairperson of the Committee of Experts of the PSC and the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye, will make presentation while the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson, Francisco Madeira, will present a briefing on the situation in Somalia.

The working documents that the PSC is expected to use for this session include the report of the independent assessment team and the report of the two meetings of the PSC Committee of Experts. Other documents that the PSC Committee of Experts proposed to serve as further source of reference are the outcome documents of the recently concluded meetings of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security (STCDSS) and the meeting of the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) of AMISOM.

It is to be recalled that the PSC took a decision for undertaking its own independent assessment after the UN undertook its own assessment upon the failure of the AU and the UN to conduct joint assessment. UNSC decided in March this year to renew the mandate of AMISOM until December 2021 through the adoption of resolution 2568 (2021). African members of the Security Council voiced concern over the draft process and advanced the common African position based on the PSC communique of February 2021 emphasizing the need to listen to the host country, the AU and troop contributing countries. Indeed, the AU had appealed to the UN Security Council ‘to avail the space necessary for the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), in close collaboration with the AU, to lead the discussions concerning the international engagement with Somalia post-2021, in line with the Somali Transition Plan, after undertaking its internal process and assessment’. That is why it requested the UN Security Council to refrain from pronouncing prematurely on any possible arrangements beyond 2021, including through the use of non-agreed concepts and terminologies that are beyond the existing applicable arrangements.

While the AU agreed with the ten months extension of AMISOM’s mandate, it expressed disappointment that its views were not taken into account in the UN Independent Assessment, particularly the request for joint leadership and expanded scope in undertaking the assessment. However, the UN went ahead and conducted the independent assessment on its own and recommended a reconfiguration of AMISOM post-2021.

Therefore, the AU did its own independent assessment based on the direction given by the PSC. The independent assessment team, set up pursuant to the PSC communique of 9 February 2021, was led by Major General Xolani Mankayi from South Africa. In undertaking the assessment and preparing its report, the IA interacted with troop and police contributing countries, various stakeholders in the AMISOM hosting country, concerned representatives of international organizations including the AU and the UN as well as experts on AMISOM.

During tomorrow’s session, the PSC will be briefed on the independent assessment team’s report. The issues that the team canvased to which PSC’s attention will be drawn include the political situation in Somalia, the ongoing stabilization and peacebuilding process, the security environment and the threat posed by Al-Shabaab as well as the broader regional geo-political dynamics. Most importantly, PSC will examine the four options identified in the report.

The options the independent assessment team proposed are the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia (UNMIS); an AU Multidimensional Stabilization Support to Somalia (reconfigured AMISOM); the deployment of the East African Standby Force (EASF); and finally, an AMISOM Exit and assumption by the Somali Security Forces (SSF) of security responsibilities under the Somali Transition Plan post-2021. In its report, the team recommended the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilisation Support to Somalia as the most appropriate option for the future of AMISOM post- 2021.

The first option is similar to the UN-AU Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The assessment team made this recommendation based on the consideration that it will ensure sustainable and predictable financing from UN assessed contribution and address the logistical challenges facing AMISOM. This has also been the view of troop contributing countries of AMISOM. However, UNAMID was deployed under unique circumstances and the UNSC may not necessarily agree to replicate such a hybrid mission. It is also worth recalling that the UN Assessment Team opted against this option on three grounds: that the UN doctrine and guidance clearly advise against using UN peacekeeping operations for counter terrorism and enforcement actions; that this option requires the allocation of significant additional resources than are currently committed for international security assistance in Somalia; and that this complex transition to a hybrid mission would distract international attention from focusing on investing in Somali-led security and would risk delaying transferring security responsibility to Somalia Security Forces (SSF). Indications are that this is not the option that the UNSC is inclined to support.

The second option, an AU Multidimensional Stabilisation Support to Somalia (or reconfigured AMISOM) is also what the UN independent assessment recommended. This is the second preferred option that may receive AU’s support if the first option fails to work out. This option would entail change in the mandate, force size and composition of AMISOM. It would also require logistical and financial support. As such, this would entail agreement between the AU and the host state on AMISOM’s roles and parameters for transfer of security responsibilities to SSF, the adoption of new concept of operations and consultations with the UN and the EU.

The AU seems to be interested in demonstrating its commitment to the operationalization of the African Standby Force (ASF) and the third option could be looked at from that perspective. It envisages that the EASF could be deployed in Somalia in the context of a reconfigured AMISOM. This would entail a complete transition rarely tried in earlier experiences and could also limit the broad continental scale contribution to and make up of AMISOM.

The fourth and final option for an AMISOM Exit and assumption by the SSF of security responsibilities under the Somali Transition Plan post-2021 may not appear to be feasible given the actual situation on the ground and the slow pace of STP implementation. But this appears to be the option supported by the FGS.

In tomorrow’s session, the Council is likely to pay attention to the first two options (the hybrid arrangement and reconfigured AMISOM). On this, the PSC is expected to rely on the presentation of the outcome of the discussions on the IA report during the two meetings that the PSC Committee of Experts and the Military Staff Committee held on 7 & 23 July. The Chairperson of the Committee of Experts is expected to highlight the conclusions of the meetings underscoring the need for maintaining the role of the AU, preserving the legacy of AMISOM, ensuring predictable and sustainable financing, addressing the logistical as well as command and control challenges along with taking on board the views of the Somalia government.

One of the difficult issues for tomorrow’s deliberation is Somalia’s hostile position towards the independent assessment report. It is reported that the government rejected ‘the report’s finding and recommendations.’ This is indicative of the need for the AU and Somalia to agree on a realistic option that avoids any risk of reversals of the gains achieved with the support of AMISOM and guarantees smooth and successful transfer of responsibilities to SSF.

Apart from the IA report, the PSC is also expected to discuss the current state of the situation in Somalia and AMISOM, among others based on Madeira’s briefing. The last time the AUPSC met to discuss the situation in Somalia was in April 2021 against the backdrop of the political crisis in the country following the unilateral decision of the lower house of parliament extending the term of the government for two years. This led the PSC to request that Somalia actors abide by the 17 September 2020 agreement on the holding of elections and the Chairperson of the AU Commission to appoint a Special Envoy to work with the Somali stakeholders with a view to helping resolve the political impasse. Although Former President John Mahama of Ghana was appointed as Special Envoy, in unprecedented move, the FGS rejected the appointment.

Meanwhile, after months of political stalemate, the Somali political stakeholders were able to renew their commitment to the implementation of the 17 September 2020 agreement on the conduct of elections and resolve outstanding issues after having undertaken series of consultations under the leadership of Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble. They also agreed on a new electoral calendar to hold indirect parliamentary and presidential polls. Accordingly, elections were set to start on 25 July in the various regions for the election of members of the upper house but they had to be postponed, reportedly because of technical and logistical delays. It is in this context that the PSC will be meeting tomorrow. The PSC will also review the security situation including the continuing threat that Al-Shabaab poses as demonstrated by the attacks it continues to orchestrate.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may commend the work done by the IA team for the work done. Based on exchange views focusing on Option 1 (AU-UN joint mission) and Option 2 (reconfigured AMISOM), it is possible that the PSC may welcome the recommendation for the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilisation Support to Somalia as the most appropriate option. The PSC is expected to indicate next steps including reaching at common understanding with the Somalia government, the plan for engagement by the AU Commission and African members of the UNSC with members of the UNSC and the commencement of planning to implement the option finally agreed on. The PSC is expected to welcome the agreement of Somalia parties for holding the elections in accordance with the 17 September 2020 agreement and urge them to ensure the successful and peaceful conduct of the elections. It may express concern about the continuing threat that Al-Shabaab poses and commend AMISOM for its roles and the UN and the EU for their partnership.


Briefing on the situation in Somalia

Somalia

Date | 22 April, 2021

Tomorrow (22 April) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene virtually its 993rd session to consider the situation in Somalia. The session was not originally part of Council’s monthly programme of work. However, following some of worrying developments which have been unfolding in Somalia recently, Council has been prompted to convene a meeting in order to address these developments. Particularly, Council will be addressing the recent adoption of a bill by the Lower House of the Parliament of Somalia, extending the term of the current President and in effect, postponing the election for another two years.

Opening remarks are expected to be delivered by the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti, Mohammed Idriss Farah. Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye is also expected to address the PSC. The Council is expecting to receive a briefing on the recent developments from Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). As per the practice of the Council, it is expected that the representative of Somalia, as the country concerned, and Sudan, as Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will also make a statement during the partially open segment of the session.

It is to be recalled that after intense negotiation between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS) during the course of 2020, a compromise was reached on switching from the initial plan of one person one vote model to that of a revised national election model known as the “Electoral Constituency Caucuses”. This 17 September 2020 political agreement envisaged that the parliamentary and presidential elections would be held on the basis of a modified form of the previous clan based electoral system in which clan delegates would choose members of the lower house of parliament, who would have in turn chosen the president. The agreement also envisioned that legislative and presidential elections were to be held in December 2020 and February 2021, respectively.

The failure of Somalia political leaders to reach consensus on the modalities for the implementation of the 17 September political agreement has precipitated a level of political tension unprecedented in recent electoral processes in Somalia. It is to be recalled that the expiry of the terms of parliament and the president in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively, without any political consensus on the time and modality of elections plunged Somalia into a constitutional crisis and political uncertainty. Various rounds of talks were held between the relevant stakeholders notably the FGS, FMS and Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) in February, March and April. Lack of agreement from these rounds of talks has continued to heighten the risk of triggering the unravelling of the delicate political arrangement and the relative stability that country achieved in recent years. For the AU and the troop contributing states of AMISOM, the situation risks the progress that have been achieved through the sacrifice of many made through their lives or limbs while serving the mission.

The constitutional crisis and the political tension witnessed further deterioration following the decision of the lower house of Somalia Parliament to extend its own term of office and that of the president for a further period of two years. President Farmaajo’s assent to the bill into a ‘Special Election Law’ purporting to return Somalia to a one-person one-vote electoral model, which also allows him to delay the election by two years and hence extend his term for two additional years, has exacerbated an already increasingly volatile and tense situation in the country. This has put Somalia in an unchartered constitutional, political and security waters.

The upper house of parliament rejected the term extension as unconstitutional. Beyond the constitutionality that arises from the expiry of the 4-year constitutional term of office of the President, legal experts question the constitutionality of the process adopted for extension of the term of office for a further two-year period without the support of the upper house of parliament. The term extension also implied the end of the 17 September 2020 agreement on the electoral model and timeline.

For tomorrow’s PSC session, this raises the question of the applicability of the AU norm banning unconstitutional changes of government, on the basis of unconstitutional extension of terms within the framework of Article 23 (5) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

Politically, this term has been received with opposition from a wide range of Somalia stakeholders as well. Not surprisingly, for many this constituted not only a usurpation of power by the President with the conniving of the lower house, but also a unilateral act that shunned all other political actors. While Puntland and Jubaland announced their rejection of the term extension, the CPC is calling for handover of power by the President to a transitional government headed by the Prime Minister. Various opinion makers and civil society actors also deemed the two-year extension of the term of office of the lower house and the president dangerous and unacceptable. Similarly, members of the international community also criticized the term extension and the delay in planning the elections. Both the US and the EU condemned the term extension, with the US Secretary of State expressing ‘deep disappointment’ and warning that ‘the implementation of this bill will pose serious obstacles to dialogue and further undermine peace and security in Somalia.’ Various international organizations (AMISOM, IGAD, EU, UN) and individual states supporting the stabilization of Somalia in a statement they issued on 14 April were categorical in rejecting any ‘parallel political process, partial elections, or new initiatives leading to an extension of prior mandates.’

Given this policy position that the AU shares with others, the issue for the PSC during its session tomorrow is communicating the position that the AU does not accept or support any attempt at changing the electoral process set in the 17 September Agreement and the need for resolving all the outstanding issues relating to the electoral process through dialogue.

In security terms as well, this situation has led to the emergence of deepening rifts within the security institutions of Somalia as well as among the FMS. In apparent attempt to thwart what he considered to be an illegal term extension, a police commander in Mogadishu, General Sadiq Omar Hassan “John,” ordered his forces to prevent parliamentarians from attending the parliamentary session. Although he was dismissed by the Somalia Police Commissioner, it is reported that he has relocated with his forces to the northern part of Mogadishu, raising fears of risk of fracturing of the security forces of Somalia. It was also reported that a number of soldiers from Somalia’s elite Turkish-trained Gorgor army units have since abandoned base and retreated to their clan strongholds.

While the opposition alliance under the CPC seems to be working with the leaders of Puntland and Jubaland, President Farmaajo continues to enjoy the support of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South West States’ leaders. This form of division therefore intensifies the risk of clan- based conflict within the country and could further intensify the type of political violence which unfolded during the demonstrations which took place following 8 February – when President Farmaajo’s four years term expired – where protesters were met with brutal police response, which left reportedly eight people dead.

With the political instability having such manifest impact on the country’s security situation and with Al-Shabaab still constituting a major security threat to the country, the continuing implementation of the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP) as well as the drawdown of AMISOM troops and smooth handover of responsibilities to the Somali National Army (SNA) is now put in serious peril.

At its 978th meeting which was its previous session on Somalia, the PSC underscored the need for all relevant stakeholder including FGS, FMS, AU and UN to commit to ongoing dialogue in order to address the impasses on election, political & security issues. In addition, Council also stressed that all concerned actors should avoid taking unilateral or non-consensual measures which may further deepen the existing political stalemates. It is expected that the PSC will reiterate this position, and urge that the unilateral measures threatening the country’s fragile political and security situation are reversed and that the Somalia stakeholders return back to the negotiating table for resolving their differences consensually.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to express its grave concern about the recent developments that pushed the country into deeper constitutional, political and security crises with major risk of the deepening divisions erupting into violence and creating opportunities for Al Shabaab to gain militarily. It may also call on all Somali actors from taking any actions that may aggravate the instability in the country. The PSC may remind the government of Somalia, AU’s rejection of unconstitutional changes of government as well as actions that involve unconstitutional term extension and jeopardize electoral processes and peace and stability. The PSC may call on IGAD, as well as the international community including the UN and EU, to work in collaboration with the AU towards initiating and organising fresh talks which could bring the parties back to negotiation and strive to find a compromise solution. Council in this regard may also expresses AU’s readiness to support Somalia within the framework of the 17 September 2020 agreement and the announcement that President Formajo made, following his meeting with AU’s 2021 Chairperson, President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi of the DRC on 19 April in Kinshasa, that he welcomes the role of the AU in facilitating a dialogue. Council may also highlight the continued critical role of AMISOM in ensuring stability within the country and contributing towards avoiding the fragmentation among Somalia security forces.


Briefing on the situation in Somalia and the renewal of the mandate of AMISOM

Somalia

Date | 11 May, 2021

Tomorrow (11 May), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to consider the situation in Somalia and the implementation of AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mandate based on the report of the Chairperson of the Commission. Although the focus of the discussion is supposed to be on AMISOM, the meeting will likely pay closer attention to the political crisis in Somalia. The country finds itself at crossroads following serious disagreement over the organization of elections. This latest development will also have enormous implications on the future of AMISOM.

Opening remarks are expected to be delivered by the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Salah Francis Elhamdi. Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye, is also expected to address the PSC. The Council is expecting to receive a briefing on the recent developments from Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) and Head of AMISOM. Representatives of troop contributing countries, the UN and the EU may also make statements in the partially open segment of the session.

It is to be recalled that the AUPSC met on 22nd April to discuss the political and security situation in Somalia following the decision by the lower house of the Somali Parliament, the House of the People, to extend the mandate of the President and the Parliament. The Council condemned this unilateral decision and reaffirmed its support to the 17 September agreement as the only viable way forward to ensure the holding of timely, transparent, and credible elections in Somalia. In this regard, it underscored the need for Somali parties and other stakeholders to return to dialogue and reach a political compromise. Reaffirming the AU’s readiness to support such a process, the Council requested the Chairperson of the Commission to appoint a Special Envoy who will work with the parties and assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable political compromise. Accordingly, Former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has been appointed as the AU Special Envoy and he is expected to visit Somalia over the coming days to discuss with the country’s political stakeholders on how to resolve the prevailing impasse and pave the way for the holding of elections in the shortest possible time. The Somali Opposition Alliance, Somali National Salvation Forum, in its letter addressed to the Chairperson of the Commission welcomed this decision, while expressing reservation on the inclusion of the Head of AMISOM’s Political Affairs Division as part of the Special Envoy’s team.

Based on the decision of the AUPSC, the 32nd Meeting of the Coordination Committee (MOCC) of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) of AMISOM was held on 28 April 2021 at the level of Ambassadors, and Chiefs of Defense Staff and Chiefs/Commissioners of Police. The meeting reflected on the political crisis in Somalia and its serious ramifications for the country’s security situation. Particularly, the MOCC looked at the implications in terms of the implementation of both the Somali Transition Plan (STP) and UN Security Council Resolution 2568 (2021). This resolution, in its paragraph 39, requested the AU to report to the Security Council through the UN Secretary-General on a number of specific issues, including progress on joint operations in support of the STP including the use and effectiveness of coordination mechanisms; progress against revised objectives and functions set out in paragraphs 11 and 12; accountability measures taken to address underperformance, including command and control, and conduct and discipline; measures taken to protect civilians; equipment review outcomes and use of force assets; and staffing of the civilian component.

The Report of the Chairperson provides specific updates on progress made in these areas over the past three months. The report acknowledges, however, the slow progress made in the implementation of the resolution 2568 (2021). In this regard, it emphasized the serious ramifications of the current political impasse in the effective implementation of the milestones set out in the resolution against the specified timeframes. Particularly, it put into question the viability of the STP in the face of the prevailing factionalism and divisions within the Somali Security forces, which was manifest during the recent incident in Mogadishu. This, the report says, is a matter of serious concern for AMISOM, making it difficult for the mission to facilitate joint operations in a divided and factionalized Somali Security Forces (SSF). Most importantly, the report argues that this situation is likely to undermine the ability of the SSF not only to assume security responsibilities from AMISOM but also plan, agree, and conduct joint operations with AMISOM in line with the operational timelines, objectives and functions identified in the STP and UNSCR 2568 (2021). The AU is doing its own independent assessment and it is expected to highlight the AU perspective on the future of AMISOM in view of this serious challenge.

One of the things underlined during the MOCC meeting was, in fact, the need for AMISOM to prepare contingency plans in light of the latest developments in Somalia and take the necessary steps to ensure the capabilities for its implementation. There was also indication of the possible T/PCC Summit, which could likely provide the necessary strategic guidance to AMISOM. In this connection, the Chairperson’s report emphasized that sustained progress in the implementation of the AU’s objectives and mandate in Somalia is largely dependent on the availability of appropriate logistical and financial support to AMISOM. Therefore, it once again underscored the need for continued mobilization of support for AMISOM, including through predictable, sustainable, and flexible financing mechanisms to ensure successful implementation of the AMISOM’s mandate.

In the meantime, things have moved in a positive direction in Somalia since the last meeting of the AUPSC. President Farmaajo, who came under increased pressure both from within and outside, addressed the nation in a televised speech on 26 April 2021, following which the House of the People reversed its April 12 decision and reinstated the 17 September Agreement as a basis for the organization of the upcoming elections. The Prime Minister has also been given the lead role to prepare for peaceful, credible, and transparent elections and ensure its security. This decision, which rescued the country from the brink, was welcomed by IGAD, the AU, and indeed the rest of the international community. Prime Minister Roble met with members of the international community in Mogadishu and assured them of his commitment to hold inclusive & transparent Federal elections. He expressed his intention to invite the Federal Member States to attend the National Consultative Forum to finalize the electoral process in line with the Sept 17 and Feb 16 Agreements. Following his meeting with the opposition, soldiers who rebelled against the term extension are said to have started withdrawing from the capital, Mogadishu. The Prime Minister also inspected the reopening of streets and the removal of barricades to restore normalcy and calm in the city.

The other major development is the announcement made by the Federal Government of Somalia to restore diplomatic relations with Kenya. The relations between the two countries had been strained over the past six months in relation to their maritime dispute and accusations by Somalia against Kenya of meddling in its internal affairs. Qatar is said to have provided good offices in facilitating the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Spokesperson of President Formajo announced that “In [the] interest of good neighborliness, the Federal Government of Somalia resumes diplomatic ties with Kenya based on mutual benefit and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-external interference, peaceful co- existence and equality”. The Kenyan Foreign Ministry in its statement noted this announcement and looked forward to further normalization of relations by the Somali authorities including with regard to trade, communication, transportation, people to people relations and cultural exchanges.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to welcome the reversal of the April 12 decision by the House of the People and the reinstatement of the 17 September agreement as a basis for the holding of elections. It may wish to reiterate the need for inclusive dialogue among Somali stakeholders leading to broad political consensus and compromise on the electoral processes within this framework. In this regard, it may welcome the appointment of Former President John Dramani Mahama as the AU Special Envoy and call upon Somali stakeholders to work with him in the search for finding a solution to the political impasse and pave the way for the holding of elections within the shortest time possible. The PSC may also welcome the restoration of diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya. With respect to AMISOM, the PSC may express concern over the serious implications of the political crisis in the country for the implementation and timelines of both the STP and UN Security Council Resolution 2568 (2021). It may also echo the call by the MOCC on AMISOM to avoid being drawn into partisan politics in Somala. The PSC may underscore the need for coordinated efforts with other international partners, including IGAD, UN and EU to address the current situation. It may look forward to the outcome of the ongoing AU independent assessment of AMISOM and once again reiterate the need for continued mobilization of support for the mission to ensure the successful implementation of its mandate. The PSC is expected to renew the mandate of AMISOM with its current troop levels until 31 December 2021.


PSC VTC Session on the situation in Somalia

Somalia

Date | 24 September, 2020

Briefing on the future of AMISOM and the upcoming elections in Somalia

Tomorrow (24 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to have a session on the situation in Somalia. The PSC is expected to consider the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the situation in Somalia. It is envisaged that the meeting will take place through VTC.

The Chairperson’s Report, prepared in accordance with the communiques of the 848th and 923rd sessions of the PSC and para 36 of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2520(2020), is expected to be introduced by Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security. Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) and Head of Mission of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), is also expected to provide update to the Council. As per the practice of the Council, it is expected that the representative of Somalia will also make a statement during the partially open segment of the session.

The last time the Council met to discuss the situation in Somalia was in May 2020, when it decided to renew the mandate of AMISOM and requested the Commission to review the AMISOM CONOPS, by September 2020, in order to align it with urgent priorities. The AU Commission is also expected to work closely with the United Nations, and the Government of Somalia to conduct, by 15 November 2020, an independent comprehensive assessment of the security environment giving due attention to broader and comprehensive stabilization and security requirements, with a view to presenting options for consideration to the PSC and UN Security Council on the role of the AU, UN and international partners in Somalia post-2021. Discussions are said to be currently underway in this regard.

Tomorrow’s session will be taking place against the backdrop of intense political engagements to address the political tensions among Somali political forces, which, among others, led to a vote of no confidence by Parliament in the Prime Minister and his resultant resignation. As Somalia gears up to hold elections, intense discussions have been underway between the leadership of Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States on the conditions and terms for the holding of the election sanctioned under Somalia’s Constitution. Agreement was reached between the Somalia Federal Government and three of the five regional leaders of Somalia at the meeting held on 21 August in Dhusamareb.

The outcome of the Dhusamareb meeting, which led to the establishment of a technical committee to come up with the election modalities, was very much welcomed. Accordingly, agreement has been reached on a revised national election model known as the “Electoral Constituency Caucuses” with some changes to the outcome of the Dhusamareb meeting. This indirect election system is now expected to replace the one person one vote election envisaged under the Constitution. While the new election model is similar to the past clan-based indirect voting, attempt has been made to try to make it more inclusive by increasing the number of MPS casting the vote. However, this new model has as yet to be approved by the two chambers of parliament. The term of the parliament is to expire in November and President Formajo’s term will end in February next year. While the agreement on the model for the election helps in easing the political tensions, it remains to be seen if this would completely settle the power tussle that fuels the tension both among federal institutions and between the Federal Government and some of the regional governments.

Although members of the UNSC expressed regret that the agreed modalities fall short of the longstanding goal of direct voting for members of parliament in this election cycle, they acknowledged that the agreement was reached on the basis of a Somali led and Somali owned dialogue. Somalia’s international partners also underscored the need for the 2020/21 electoral process to be free, fair, transparent, and inclusive. They also called for a roadmap with clear milestones, agreed among Somali political leaders, to ensure decisive democratic progress going forward. Furthermore, the Partners appealed to the leadership of the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States to continue meeting regularly in a spirit of dialogue and compromise to address urgent national priorities, including security and economic reform as well as inclusive politics.

Having reached agreement with the leaders of the Federal Member States, President Formajo appointed Hassein Roble as his new Prime Minister. This was following the resignation of Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire from his position after a vote of no confidence against him. Not surprisingly, the Khaire has already announced his candidature to run for the Presidency.

Tomorrow’s meeting is also coming against the background of mounting security threats, and increasing humanitarian challenges and the briefings will provide update on developments since the last PSC session in May. The security situation remains very concerning. Al-Shabaab attacks have intensified lately, giving rise to fears that the terrorist group may elevate its attacks ahead of national elections in the country. Series of deadly terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by the group recently in Mogadishu and several other regions claiming the lives of many innocent civilians. A number of factors have allowed the group to intensify its attack, including the prevailing tension between the center and the region, its exploitation of local dynamics, and issues surrounding delivery on the benchmarks in the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP) including slow pace of progress in the building of the Somali security institutions. The COVID pandemics and heavy rainfall and flashfloods, which coupled with the problem of dessert locusts, have also exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

In terms of the role of AMISOM, its support to the Somali National Forces (SNF) in degrading the activities of Al Shabaab remains absolutely critical. It is to be recalled the PSC has been expressing concern over the security implications of AMISOM’s drawdown. In this regard, in its communique of the 923rd session, it has stressed the imperative need for a halt in further reduction of AMISOM uniformed personnel to ensure the safe holding of elections and the successful implementation of the Somali Transition Plan leading to 2021. The briefing from SRCC is expected to provide update on the activities of AMISOM and issues of command and control and the operationalization of the force enablers including air assets specifically raised in the previous session of the PSC.

Another issue in respect of which tomorrow’s session will provide update is the request the PSC made in its 923rd session communique regarding the revision of the STP. The AUPSC in particular called for a comprehensive review of the Somali Transition Plan and its implementation modalities, led by the FGS, with full participation of the AU, UN, EU and key FGS bilateral partners by July 2020, in order to provide a solid basis for the reprioritization of critical elements in the Transition Plan leading to 2021, which would also inform AMISOM’s CONOPs review and guide the confirmation of Somali priority initiatives for post-2021, as well as support by the international community. There has however been inadequate progress. With the very little time left before the election and the end of the year, there is now a pressing need for finalizing this work.
At its meeting tomorrow, Council is expected to take note of the progress made in the discussion between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States and welcome the agreement reached on the modalities for the upcoming elections. It may also wish to encourage the Somali Political Stakeholders to continue their dialogue and cooperation to ensure conditions propitious for the holding of elections and promote greater stability in the Country. The AUPSC may also strongly condemned the upsurge of terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab which claimed the lives of many innocent civilians, paying tribute to the Somali Armed Forces and AMISOM for their continued efforts in the fight against Al-Shabaab. Underscoring the continued critical role of AMISOM, the PSC may also urge for the mobilization of support for AMISOM. With respect to the STP, the Council may reiterate its previous decisions for its comprehensive review and urge that this process is completed without further delay to recalibrate the priority areas for AMISOM’s support and updating its CONOPS. It may also urge the Federal Government and the Federal Member States to speed up the process of recruitment and deployment of SSF and the integration of the regional forces into the SSF. The AUPSC may also express concern over the serious humanitarian situation because of the multiple challenges facing Somalia and appeal to the international community for enhanced support to the country to reach out to those in urgent need of life-saving assistance.


Briefing on the Situation in Somalia and the Future of AMISOM

Somalia

Date | 9 February, 2021

Briefing on the future of AMISOM and the upcoming elections in Somalia

Tomorrow (9 February) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 978th session on the situation in Somalia and the activities of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The PSC is expected to consider the AU Commission Chairperson’s Report on Situation in Somalia and AMISOM.

The Chairperson’s Report, prepared in accordance with the communiques of the 848th and 923rd sessions of the PSC and paragraph 36 of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2520(2020), is expected to be introduced by the Peace and Security Department. Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) and Head of Mission of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), is also expected to provide update to the Council. As per the practice of the Council, it is expected that the representative of Somalia and Sudan, as Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will also make a statement during the partially open segment of the session. In addition the A3 members of the UN Security Council, UN Office to the AU, European Union and United Kingdom are expected to deliver their statements.

The session comes at a very delicate moment in the political situation in Somalia. The national elections scheduled to take place in 2020/2021 were set to be a key milestone in the stabilization and peacebuilding of the country. Although the initial ambition envisaged in the Constitution was to hold the elections on the basis of a direct vote by the electorate for the very first time, over the course of 2020 this ambition was lowered. It is to be recalled that after intense negotiation among the various political forces, a compromise was reached in August 2020 for using a revised national election model known as the “Electoral Constituency Caucuses”.

Despite the National Consultative Council agreement of 17 September 2020 on the holding of elections, Somalia’s political forces could not proceed to convene the elections as planned. The parliamentary election scheduled to take place in December 2020, meant to kick start the election season, was postponed at the very last minute. Similarly, the collapse of negotiations between President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo” and other stakeholders held in early February 2021 (negotiation the AU and other partners welcomed) meant that the presidential election scheduled to take place on 8 February could not be held.

President Formajo, whose term expired on 8 February is said to have requested the support of the Somali Parliament to extend his term, but the Parliament ruled out the possibility of such an extension. The international community, including the African Union (AU), in their statement issued on 4 February 2021, had warned against any alternative outcomes, including a parallel process or partial elections, or other measures short of an agreed electoral process.

The situation has plunged the country into a constitutional crisis and a political limbo. Puntland’s leadership is reported to have said that it will no longer recognize the leadership of President Formajo after his term expires. Similarly, the Council of Presidential candidates, an umbrella group of Somali opposition leaders issued a statement announcing that they could not recognize President Formajo as Somalia’s president after the expiry of his term of office on 8 February. Indeed, the end of the term of the president without political agreement and the lack of a deal on a plan for an inclusive election is considered a major setback for the transitional process and peacebuilding in Somalia.

It is to be recalled that Parliament had adopted a resolution even at the expiry of mandate of both parliament and president the incumbents remain in place until successors are elected. Although it does not totally address the grave political uncertainty, this is expected to ensure a semblance of continuity of government and to forestall the emergence of a power vacuum.

At its 949th meeting and its last session during 2020 on the situation in Somalia, Council welcomed the review of the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP). A communique of the Somali Partnership Forum held on 7 December underlined that Somalia also needs to complete ongoing revisions to implement the Somalia Transition Plan (STP). While a revised STP document has been developed and the draft of this transmitted to the AU Commission, the document has as yet to be endorsed at the National Security Council and the high-level Security and Justice Committee. The adoption of the revised STP set the stage for the AU Commission to implement the request of the PSC for revising AMISOM’s Concept of Operation (CONOPs) for 2018-2021 to ensure they are aligned with the revised STP.

The security situation remains very concerning. Al Shabaab continues to intensify the perpetration of its attacks. According to a recent report on the activities of terrorist groups in Africa, there was a 33 percent increase in violence involving Al Shabaab from 1,310 in 2019 to 1,742 in 2020. Series of deadly terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by the group recently in Mogadishu and several other regions claiming the lives of many innocent civilians. Early this month, Al-Shabaab’s attack targeted Hotel Afrik in Mogadishu that left many people dead or injured. Despite progress made in building the Somali security forces, the mounting threat that Al Shabaab continues to pose presents a challenge to the planned drawdown and eventual withdrawal of AMISOM by end of 2021.

The briefing from SRCC is expected to provide update on the activities of AMISOM as outlined in the AUC Chairperson’s report and issues relating to the existence of conditions for continuing with the timeline on the drawdown and withdrawal of AMISOM. The Chairperson’s report notes that despite progress in SSF capabilities to conduct independent operations, the generation of forces specifically for the SNA remains slow. It is to be recalled that the PSC in its communique of the 923rd session, it has stressed the imperative need for a halt in further reduction of AMISOM uniformed personnel. In the context of the continued threat from Al Shabaab, the remaining gaps in the capacity of Somali security forces and the need for political consensus among Somali political forces and the development of a new electoral calendar on the one hand, tomorrow’s session presents an opportunity for the PSC to reflect on the need for a reconsideration of the plan on the benchmarks and timeline for further drawdown and exit of AMISOM. In the context of the expiration of the current mandate of AMISOM next May, the Chairperson’s report thus underscores the necessity to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the mission and the broader Somali environment.

It is to be recalled that the PSC had renewed the mandate of AMISOM for twelve months pursuant to its Communique adopted at its 923rd meeting held on 7 May 2020. However, the UNSC took a different decision extending the mission’s mandate only for ten months until 28 February 2021. That is why the UNSC is expected to renew the mandate of the mission later this month and the Penholder, UK, is proposing a ten-month extension of the mission’s mandate for the last time. On its part, the AU is in favor of a short technical extension for three months, to enable the AU to conduct its own independent assessment.

In its last meeting, the PSC, among others, urged the UNSC to agree on the modalities for an AU-UN co-leadership in undertaking the independent assessment with a view to ensuring the effective integration of the African views vis-a-vis the policy options pertaining to post-2021 international engagements with Somalia. However, the UN went ahead with the independent assessment alone and the team under the leadership of General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz has already finalized and submitted its report. Accordingly, UNSC members have received copy of the report, which will inform their decision in the course of this month to decide on the future of AMISOM based on the options proposed by therein.

As noted in the Chairperson’s report, the regional dynamics and the souring of diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya has further complicated the tense political atmosphere in Somalia. The IGAD Heads of State and Government who held their Extraordinary Summit in Djibouti in December last year, had discussed this issue behind closed doors. In this connection, President Guelleh of Djibouti was entrusted to verify allegations against Kenya of interference in the internal affairs of Somalia. The fact-finding mission visited both Kenya and Somalia and submitted its report. While Kenya accepted the outcome of the fact-finding mission, Somalia rejected it accusing the team of being “partisan, unfair, compromised and predetermined.” On its part, Djibouti issued a statement underscoring its neutrality on the matter and defending the objectivity of the fact-finding mission.

The excepted outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may express serious concern over the prevailing political impasse and urge the Somali political stakeholders to work towards finding a compromise solution to preserve the gains made over the past decade and safeguard the security and stability of the country. In this respect, it may urge the need for Somali actors to avoid the emergence of power vacuum and to urgently agree on a new timeline and process on the holding of elections. The Council may express concern over the volatile security situation in Somalia and the continued attack by Al-Shabaab. Underscoring the continued critical role of AMISOM, the PSC may also urge for the mobilization of support for AMISOM. With respect to the STP, the Council may reiterate its previous decisions for its comprehensive review and urge that this process is completed without further delay to recalibrate the priority areas for AMISOM’s support and updating its CONOPS.

The PSC may condemn the latest attack in Mogadishu and express support and solidarity with Somalia. It may reiterate its position on halting further downsizing of AMISOM and appeal to the UNSC to consider its decision on the drawdown in light of the situation on the ground. The PSC may also underscore the need to review the timelines on the drawdown and exit of AMISOM in consultation with all stakeholders and having regard to the prevailing institutional capacity issues of SSFs, the political and security conditions in Somalia. To this end, it may request the need for conducting its own independent assessment with a view to formulate AU’s own informed view to be submitted for the UNSC for due consideration and integration of the views of the AU and the PSC. It may, therefore, call on the UNSC for a technical extension of AMISOM’s mandate for a further period of three months to allow time for discussion on the future of the mission and to ensure that the views of the AU are taken onboard.


PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 18TH MEETING

Somalia

Date |25 OCTOBER, 2004
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

COMMUNIQUÉ

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union, at its eighteenth meeting, held on 25 October 2004, adopted the following Communiqué on the situation in Somalia:

Council,

1. Welcomes the election of H.E Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, as President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and calls upon all Somali parties, including the civil society to extend full support to the newly formed Somali Government and institutions;

2. Welcomes the pledge by the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to promote a spirit of tolerance, and inclusiveness, and to work towards the consolidation of national unity and reconciliation;

3. Commends Kenya, the IGAD Facilitation Committee and the International Partners Forum (IPF) for their efforts and contribution to the process. Council further encourages the countries of the region to maintain their cohesion and unity of purpose to consolidate the gains made in the Reconciliation process;

4. Requests all AU Member States to extend political and financial support to the new Somali Government and institutions. Council further Urges Member States, particularly those of the region, to provide multi-sector support to the new Government and institutions of Somalia, mainly in the vital areas of capacity-building, including training of personnel in the fields of military, para-military and police for purposes of stabilisation of Somalia;

5. Requests the European Union, the League of Arab States, the United Nations and the rest of the international community to provide to the newly formed Somali Government and institutions all necessary support to ensure their functioning in Mogadishu and to assist in the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) programme and in the reconstruction of Somalia;

6. Requests the Commission, in conformity with the previous decisions of the AU relevant policy Organs, to accelerate preparations for the deployment of an AU Military Observer Mission in Somalia and submit to it, as soon as possible, for consideration and decision, a comprehensive plan on the deployment of such mission, including its size and mandate;

7. Takes note of the request made by the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia for the enhancement of the security situation in Somalia as well as the proposal by the IGAD Ministerial Facilitation Committee to facilitate participation of Somalia in the activities of the African Union and requests the Commission to study those proposals and submit to it recommendations for its consideration;

8. Urges all concerned to desist from any action that would, in any form, tend to undermine the progress achieved in the reconciliation process. Council invites all Member States, in particular those of the region, to stand ready to take collective action against spoilers to ensure the advancement of reconciliation, peace and stability in Somalia.


PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 18TH MEETING

Somalia

Date | 25, October 2004
Addis Ababa

COMMUNIQUE OF THE 8TH MEETING OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union, at its eighteenth meeting, held on 25 October 2004, adopted the following Communiqué on the situation in Somalia:

Council:

1. Welcomes the election of H.E Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, as President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and calls upon all Somali parties, including the civil society to extend full support to the newly formed Somali Government and institutions;

2. Welcomes the pledge by the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to promote a spirit of tolerance, and inclusiveness, and to work towards the consolidation of national unity and reconciliation;

3. Commends Kenya, the IGAD Facilitation Committee and the International Partners Forum (IPF) for their efforts and contribution to the process. Council further encourages the countries of the region to maintain their cohesion and unity of purpose to consolidate the gains made in the Reconciliation process;

4. Requests all AU Member States to extend political and financial support to the new Somali Government and institutions. Council further Urges Member States, particularly those of the region, to provide multi-sector support to the new Government and institutions of Somalia, mainly in the vital areas of capacity-building, including training of personnel in the fields of military, para-military and police for purposes of stabilisation of Somalia;

5. Requests the European Union, the League of Arab States, the United Nations and the rest of the international community to provide to the newly formed Somali Government and institutions all necessary support to ensure their functioning in Mogadishu and to assist in the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) programme and in the reconstruction of Somalia;

6. Requests the Commission, in conformity with the previous decisions of the AU relevant policy Organs, to accelerate preparations for the deployment of an AU Military Observer Mission in Somalia and submit to it, as soon as possible, for consideration and decision, a comprehensive plan on the deployment of such mission, including its size and mandate;

7. Takes note of the request made by the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia for the enhancement of the security situation in Somalia as well as the proposal by the IGAD Ministerial Facilitation Committee to facilitate participation of Somalia in the activities of the African Union and requests the Commission to study those proposals and submit to it recommendations for its consideration;

8. Urges all concerned to desist from any action that would, in any form, tend to undermine the progress achieved in the reconciliation process. Council invites all Member States, in particular those of the region, to stand ready to take collective action against spoilers to ensure the advancement of reconciliation, peace and stability in Somalia.


Consideration of the new Concept of Operations (CONOPS) of AMISOM

Somalia

Date | 4 February, 2019

Today (4 February), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to consider and adopt the new Concept of Operations (CONOPS) of African Union Mission to Somalia
(AMISOM) when it meets at 3pm. Although initially planned in the program of work for 15 February, it is brought forward to today as we indicated in our review of the Program of Work for the month late last week.

The AU Department of Peace and Security is expected to present the CONOPS. Following applicable rules and established practice, invitations have also been extended to all AMISOM troop/police contributing countries (Burundi, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to participate in the session.

It is to be recalled that the PSC at its 806th session expressed its expectation to the consideration and adoption of the new revised CONPOPs of AMISOM. It was the ministerial meeting of the PSC held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 30 June at its 782nd session which, on renewing the mandate of AMISOM and within the framework of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2431 called for the development of a new AMISOM CONPOPS.

Developed on the basis of the framework of the AMISOM Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA), the Somali Security Forces (SSF), the 2018 AU-UN Joint Review, the National Security Architecture (NSA), the Somalia Transition Plan (STP) and UNSC Resolution 2431, the CONOPS are designed to guide the operations and organizational reorientation of AMISOM for the transitional period of 2018-2021 during which AMISOM transitions and hands over security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces (SSF).

The CONOPS provide the operational framework for the implementation of the AMISOM exit strategy designed to reduce the threat from al-Shabab, secure the political process and transfer security responsibilities to Somali forces. Based on review of the prevailing political situation and threat analysis in the operational environment in Somalia, the CONOPS provides for a three-phased process of the reconfiguration and progressive handing over of responsibilities to SSF.

Phase I runs until 30 June 2019, during which AMISOM will be reconfigured to enable it to degrade al-Shabaab, secure Mogadishu-Baidoa MSR, hold and secure Leego, protect key population centers identified especially along the MSRs, collapse or consolidate existing FOBs and build ones (where appropriate jointly with SSF) and commence a multi-faceted transition from AMISOM to SNA/SSF. During Phase II, which runs from July 2019 to December 2020, SSF are expected to take increasing lead role to degrade al- Shabaab, build and hold positions along MSRs and continue to strengthen population centers with Somali or AMISOM police gradually taking over security of the main population centres. Phase III, which runs until December 2021 the end time of AMISOM’s operations, AMISOM takes the role of supporting the leadership of SSF and prepare for exit by 2021. In all the three phases, AMISOM will reconfigure its uniformed personnel while strengthen the role and presence of its police and civilian components to key locations. The CONOPS also outline the revised tasks of the military, police and civilian components of AMISOM.

The CONOPS and the effective implementation are premised on a number of assumptions including improvement in the political situation such as the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS) of Somalia working in partnerships, the generation of the required trained, equipped, and sustained SSF, adequate logistics support and effective strategic communications.

Yet, as the recent experience in the situaiton in Somalia shows, it is unlikely that there will be a linear implementation of the CONOPS and the AMISOM exit strategy. The first challenge comes from Al Shabaab. Despite gains registered in pushing back the terror group, it continues to orchestrate major attacks including those targeting AMISOM, SSF, FGS and UN. On 2 January 2019, in a sign of possible shift in tactics, Al-Shabab launched a series of mortar attacks against AMISOM camp in Mogadishu landing particularly affecting UNSOM compound. Outside Mogadishu as well Al Shabaab’s attacks remain high targeting convoys in Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Gedo, Hiiran and Bay regions. On 2 February, al Shabaab exploded a suicide car bomb outside a military base for Ethiopian soldiers.

That the implementation of the exit strategy and the different phases of the CONOPs depend on security situation came out when the initial plan of the withdrawal of 1000 AMISOM troops was
postponed from the initial period of October 2018 to February 2019.

The other challenge is in the political front. Here the major problem is the lack of cohesion among Somali government actors. There have been major issues between FGS and the FMS affecting the
implementation of the STP. There have been issues within the FMS of Somalia as well.

In terms of the drawadown of the size of AMISOM, a major issue has been whose troops should withdraw. The CONOPS envisage that the 1000 troops that will be withdrawn by end of February 2019 would be from Burundi. There seems to be no agreement on the criteria for troop withdrawal. Burundi appears to insist that the withdrawal has to be on the basis of equitable proportion from each of AMISOM’s troop-contributing countries, while the CONOPS is based on consideration of threat analysis. Indeed, one of the reasons for the factors for early convening of today’s session was to get the endorsement of the PSC in order to meet the planned deadline for the withdrawal of the 1000 troops by end of the month.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué, which is expected to endorse the CONOPS.