Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UN Security Council Imposes Sanctions on Eritrea

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Eritrea today by a vote of 13 to 2 (with Libya voting against and China abstaining). The sanctions (you can read the resolution here) include a travel ban and assets freeze on Eritrean officials and, of course, an arms embargo on Eritrea.

Now this has been under discussion for a while because of Eritrea's long-standing role in supporting armed groups in Somalia, in particular Al-Shabab (if you want to read about that, check out the reports of the Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia, here). The other main justification for sanctions is Eritrea's refusal to withdraw from territory it took from Djibouti earlier this year in a border dispute.

A couple points of interest: as far as I know, this is the first time that the Security Council has imposed secondary sanctions on a country that's been accused of violating sanctions against a first country. In other words, these sanctions were imposed because Eritrea violated sanctions on Somalia.

Second, when the Security Council imposes sanctions it normally creates a sanctions committee. Well, instead of doing that, the Council has asked the Committee on Somalia to monitor the implementation of the Eritrea sanctions. In addition, the Council has now asked the Monitoring Group on Somalia to also track sanctions on Eritrea. All of this makes sense but, like I said, as far as I know, it's the first time it has happened.

Finally, for just a bit more context, you might want to read this Reuters story with excerpts from the interview the President, a former Marxist guerilla who led his country to independence from Ethiopia back in 1993, gave to the news service back in October.


  1. What you need to ask is who is benefiting from this and who is pulling the strings.
    Ethiopia is benefiting to the tune of $3billion, and the other countries that make the IGAD (Djibouti, Uganda etc) who instigated all this are the main beneficiaries of the WOT in Somalia.
    It is typical concocted propaganda to hide their own involvement and Ethiopia’s crimes.
    The sad thing is AU and UN are being used as a rubber stamps for the few countries adventures in Somalia and in the Horn of Africa.
    In 2007 the UN monitoring group published the same falsified report that claimed 2000 Eritrean Special forces were dispatched to Somalia before the invasion, yet not a single Eritrean soldier was found dead or alive in Somalian soil. You are a journalist, go and ask the UN where did they vanish to ?
    But there are evidence upon evidence of the US, Ethiopia, AU peace keepers running arms in Somalia. Here are few links from Reuters incase you have forgotten.

    Have you asked why the very Ilyushin 76 that the UN monitoring group accused Eritrea of using to transport arms, crashed in lake victoria transporting American Dyncorp contractors and AMISOM soldiers ?
    Well never mind, we live in make belief world, where Ethics and Justice does not exist.

  2. I'm not going to address all the barely connected threads of your conspiracy theories, but I'll point out that paragraph 11 of UNSC resolution 1772 specifically exempts weapons, military supplies, and training intended for AMISOM or to build the security institutions of the transitional government from the embargo. There's no question that there are plenty of competing agendas in the HOA, but your baseless inferences and the selectivity of your cynicism don't amount to a coherent critique.

    You've no business invoking ethics and justice while excusing Eritrea for the kind of abuses for which you (rightly) condemn Ethiopia.

  3. Simon, I agree with part of what you say. I don't think that Ethiopia is blameless (or hasn't done reprehensible things), I think the US has made some huge mistakes in Somalia, and I'm not sure that what we're doing in Somalia will either make a difference either way or even really help those the US hopes it will. Finally, the dynamics of this of course go beyond IGAD and the region.

    A couple things though: I looked (again) at the 2007 Monitoring Group report and in fact it doesn't mention the 2000 Eritrean Special forces but it does discuss Ethiopia's use of white phosphorus (S/2006/436, paras. 30-35). The later (2008) reports also criticized assistance provided by the US and others as violations of the embargo. Similarly, the 2008 reports detail how AU (in particular Ugandans) soldiers did sell weapons weapons in Somalia. Now, of course, the embargo has been modified to allow such assistance.

    As to Dyncorp using the IL-76 that the monitoring group had accused Eritrea of using, I'm not surprised. If you haven't read Doug Farah's Merchant of Death, it really takes the US to task on these types of things.

  4. And as usual, MK puts things better than I do...

  5. I'm waiting for the announcement that US special forces are working with the Ethiopean government to fight AQ in Somalia. Yes, we certainly need to go in and "fix" Somalia - again.