Sunday, July 31, 2011
ADDIS ABABA — The African Union says it will host a donors conference for Somali drought victims here on August 9.
"I ask the African continent...to look hard at how they can contribute to alleviating the suffering," Erastus Mwencha, the deputy chair of the African Union, said in a statement released Friday.
"Around the globe, everyone must dig deep into their pockets to rescue the people of Somalia from the abyss they find themselves staring into," he added during a one-day visit to Somalia's war-torn capital Mogadishu.
The conference is to bring together African heads of state, members of regional economic blocs and international organizations .
The AU has donated $500,000 to address the crisis in the Horn of Africa. But the United Nations on Friday said a total of $2.48 billion was required in order to reach those suffering in the region.
Somalia is the worst-affected country, with some 1.25 million children in need of urgent life saving care, according to UNICEF. This month, the UN declared famine in two areas of the country, the first time famine has been announced this century.
The AU's representative for Somalia, Jerry Rawlings, visited Somalia earlier this month, prompting him to call on African countries to provide more support.
"This is not a time for second thoughts, or any hesitation. Not for more than twenty years has the continent faced such a catastrophe of food shortages that we are seeing today in the Horn of Africa," Rawlings, a former Ghanaian president, then said.
Ongoing violence between Somalia's Islamist al-Shebab militants and pro-government troops has exacerbated the food crisis.
On Friday, fighting broke out in Mogadishu, killing three African Union troops whose bodies were dragged through the streets, according to witnesses.
"I paid $150 to be brought here from Mogadishu," said Abshira Abdullahi, speaking in the courtyard of a guesthouse after emerging from a crowded mini-van.
For most of the destitute families trekking through rebel-controlled southern Somalia, their livelihoods destroyed by the triple shock of conflict, the worst drought in decades and a lack of food aid, that is a princely sum beyond dreams.
Abdullahi left her five children in the care of her younger brother, saying life had become unbearable in Mogadishu's Madina district, near the capital's old quarter where once-majestic colonial facades now tumble into the turquoise ocean.
Two decades of civil war in the anarchic Horn of Africa country have reduced much of the city to rubble.
An insurgency started in 2007 still rages on, with almost daily tit-for-tat artillery fire and gun battles between al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants and Somali forces.
"Life in Mogadishu was like being under house arrest," said Abdullahi, a 30-year-old divorcee.
The United Nations has declared famine in two regions of Somalia and says 3.7 million people in the country are going hungry due to drought.
In a report for countries sending aid, the U.N.'s umbrella humanitarian agency OCHA said the crisis was expected to continue to worsen through 2011, with the whole of the south slipping into famine.
INSURGENCY LIKE HOUSE ARREST
The sandy, windswept town of Liboi, a small trading centre patrolled by marabou storks less than 20 km (13 miles) from the border, was Abdullahi's final stopping point en route to the overflowing Dadaab refugee camp 80 km (50 miles) deeper inside Kenya.
In early 2007, Kenya officially closed its frontier with Somalia, marked outside Liboi by a single concrete pillar and two makeshift military road-blocks, in an effort to block the movement of Somali Islamist rebels.
The closure forced the shutdown of a transit centre in Liboi where the U.N. refugee agency screened, registered and handed out food rations to incoming asylum seekers before transporting them to Dadaab.
Several lodges have sprung up in the dusty alleyways behind the main drag, owned by Liboi's bigwigs who see money to be made from the wealthier refugees before their final push to Dadaab.
Business has boomed with the recent influx of refugees.
"We run this as a private lodge," said a local administrator in the courtyard of another guesthouse, where as many as 10 family members were squeezed into a single room with three beds.
A young boy collecting cash said the charge was 100 Kenyan shillings ($1.10) per person, though for a couple with five children this was discounted to 400 shillings.
Over a mug of sweet milky tea, some residents muttered that it was not surprising that some officials were reluctant to throw their weight behind re-opening the transit centre given that it would likely kill the lodges' business.
Hassan Mahmoud Mohamed would have welcomed a U.N. reception centre.
His family sat exhausted in the grounds of Liboi's clinic, the children's feet deeply cracked after dragging their scrawny limbs for 15 days from southern Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, the famine's epicentre.
"We walked up to 12 hours a day without anything to drink, no water, no milk, only what people we passed gave us," the father-of-seven told Reuters.
"The children don't understand what is going on. At least we're told here we'll get assistance," he said
But he was wrong. Apart from water from the town's borehole, there would be no help until they reach at Dadaab, a sprawling tent and shack city of more than 400,000 people and the world's largest refugee camp.
"They're needy and vulnerable people but what more can we give them? There's also a drought here. It would be too much of a burden," said local resident Adow Noor Burl.
Moments later, a gang of loud-mouthed youths kicked Mohamed and his family out of the clinic, demanding they take their illnesses elsewhere.
Visiting aid workers watched as Mohamed and his kids trudged wearily down the road to Dadaab.
While Mohamed asked for nothing more than food, water and safety for his family, Abdullahi, a bus ticket to Dadaab in hand, had grander expectations.
"Perhaps I will be resettled to Australia where I have family," she said. (Editing by David Clarke and Sonya Hepinstall).
The increasing violence in Syria is transforming the country into a Hobbesian state.
Larbi Sadiki - Aljazeera
There have been many setbacks during the "Arab Spring". None, however, are more flagrantly obvious than in Syria. This leads to one question across the Middle East: Who is the rebel?
The protesters who peacefully demand civil, political and economic rights from monarchical republics and deligitimised ruling elites? Or the states which, such as in Libya and Syria, find themselves literally in a "state of nature", rendering life for the citizen dangerous?
The Assads' 'Leviathan'
Hobbes comes to mind so naturally. More than any other, this English philosopher grasped the ins and outs of human passions and failings, which drive human beings to become their own worst enemies.
Right now, the Assads are in a similar state of affairs. And these affairs disqualify them from ruling over a state and a people, which they are butchering. If only Bashar Assad, who has now bared his political canines to all, had widened his search outside optometry to see the contractual world constructed by Hobbes. Had he done so, he would have learned that strong government does not mean flexing martial muscle.
The excessive use of force against Hama is not an expression of strong and rational government. It is illegal coercion that could one day land the ruling Assads and the top brass of their coercive apparatus in the International Criminal Court.
Hobbes' political theory focuses on the disorder and civil strife caused by unruly human passions, as he knew well from his study of the English Civil War.
Maher Assad's tanks are sinking an entire nation in a "state of nature", and that, for Hobbes, results in a "war of all against all". This is the risk facing the "Arab Spring" in Libya, Yemen, and of course, in our case here, Syria.
Syria: a regime in rebellion
Nearly 30 years after Hafez Assad, aided by his brother Rifa'at Assad (the butcher of Hama) who now enjoys asylum in the West, the younger Assad generation is tempting political fate by killing in the name of a "regime in rebellion".
The killing they are engaging in makes the state the rebel, the outlaw, the lawless, and the illegal side in this messy uprising, which from the onset, like in Libya, the Assads sought to militarise through hundreds of killings.
Throughout the "Arab Spring", the millions of protesters - no matter the dialects, geography, political specificity, or forms of protest - have been resoundingly declaring to the world they share with billions of fellow human beings one thing: "The regime is the rebel".
That is some declaration - the "mother of all declarations". Such a declaration claims the legitimacy of resisting the regime, persisting in such resistance, and if need be, as in Libya, bearing arms against it.
The Assads' "leviathan" has rendered life for the ordinary citizens living under a rebellious regime, to go back to the words of the brilliant Hobbes, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".
In fact, the rule of the Assads, who may now be left with little or no recourse to protection against the rage which will be spewed at them in the crowded mosques and public squares during the holy month of Ramadan, is in deep crisis. The Assad dynasty is finished and Bashar is its last "prince". Whatever legitimacy the Assads have so far derived from anti-Israeli resistance by proxy via Hizbullah and Hamas is also no more.
The killing campaign being waged at the moment against many cities and towns all over Syria, such as Hama and Deir ez-Zor, is meant to quell the protests before Ramadan. Ramadan draws crowds to mosques even more than the weekly Friday sermon, and at a time of uprisings, the last thing Maher Assad wants is for such space to become platforms for greater mobilisation against the dynasty.
Luckily for Syrians, the Assads cannot whimsically amend the lunar calendar (like they did to the constitution to hand over power from father to son in 2000) to postpone Ramadan.
Hama 'out of control'?
The sudden military escalation against Hama serves three objectives: to kill the momentum of the protests before Ramadan; to send a not-so-thinly-veiled threat to other cities about the consequences of endless protest; and to reclaim state control over cities, including in Kurdish areas such as Qamishli.
Some of these areas have been in full defiance for weeks, often under a state of siege, with the army guarding all entry points to them.
Hama remains a festering sore in state-society relations: this is the city where an Islamist uprising was quashed violently in the 1982, killing more than 20,000 people. This is the kind of material Hobbes marshals as evidence of how nasty life can be during civil war.
Hama's stand must be seen in this context: it, more anywhere else in Syria, declares the regime to be the rebel, not the peaceful civilian protesters. The marches are not calling only for the dismissal of the Assads, but calling to account an entire regime that nearly 30 years ago victimised almost every family in that city.
Maybe the Assads do not wish to be reminded. Bashar has had all of the time in the world to copy King Mohamed VI's path, and hold his own truth and reconciliation process.
No one was ever punished for Hama, but the regime blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for bearing arms and being the root cause of such a rebellion, leading to prosecution, persecution and exile. Hama is still licking its wounds from 1982, and today's killings add insult to injury. But it also adds to the wide sentiment of defiance for self-preservation.
Four layers of power share the blame for what happened in Hama: the Assads and the Ba'ath Party; the police and the military bureaucracies; the state bourgeoisie and the media; and the client clergy. They are also responsible for the counter-revolutionary dynamic throwing a spanner into the pistons of the human trains carrying millions all over Syria. These millions are protesting against exclusion, state violence, marginalisation, and dynastic and nepotistic practices.
The role of the economic elite in the counter-revolutionary trajectory observed of late is more subtle and thus more dangerous. It is a social stratum that remains the repository of political conservatism, and acts expediently. They live by bureaucratic authoritarianism, and should it die, they face an uncertain future where more rigorous audits and accounting for state wealth is undertaken.
The gentrification of the 'country bumpkins'
The coups of the 1950s and 1960s ruralised the Arab Middle East, bringing into the state officers largely of rural background. They promised republicanism, socialism, pan-Arabism, social welfare, and the liberation of Palestine. They have failed on all accounts.
Instead, the "country bumpkins", who occupied the state in putschist ways, have after 50 years or so in power become the new gentry. Power has been "gentrified". The soldiers of yesteryear have booked a seat in the business class. So today, power comes out of the barrel of a gun only when the new gentry's interests become jeopardised by protest and resistance.
In Syria, a story like this has unfolded. The state has been turned into a milking cow for the new gentry, whose power derives from the billions the state apportions to it. The gentrified officers and partners in power will defend those interests fiercely, and to the bitter end.
Back to Hobbes
Is it back to the "state of nature" for Syria? Not a good trajectory to follow for either Bashar or Syria.
For someone so adamant to retain the presidency, Bashar must consider what Hobbes has to say about the absence of legal and contractual political community under a state of nature: "... no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death".
A regime cannot purge a society. That is the golden lesson of Egypt and Tunisia. Coercion will not do it.
This is one of numerous questions for President Bashar to ponder. If felicity is to be for the Syrian people to have and to hold, then Bashar can begin by purging his brother Maher, the top brass now implicated in more than 1,500 deaths, and by enabling civil society to flourish, which will help build a genuine democracy.
In Syria, regardless of how long the Assads stay in power, whether months or years, the future is no longer what it used to be.
Larbi Sadiki is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Fadhigii Saaka ee Golaha Wakiilada Jamhuuriyada Somaliland ayaa lagu ansxiyey xeerka Furashada Ururda Siyaasada.
Fadhigan oo uu gudoominayay Gudoomiyaha Golaha Wakiilada Md Cabdiraxmaan Ciro kana soo xaadireen 49 Mudane ayaa waxa u codeeyey Ansixinta Xeerkan 29 Mudane waxa diiday 4 mudane 15 Xildhibaana Way ka aamuseen Gudoomiyuhna Muu codayn, Sidaasaanu kua ansaxay Xeerku.
Ka hor intii aan codka la qaadin Ayaa madasha waxa ka dareeray 15 Xildhibaan oo ah kuwa lagu sheegay in ay ka aamuseen ansixinta Xeerka , Mudanayaasha ayaa ku kala qaybsanaa Aragtida ah sida codka loo qaadayo iyada oo xildhibaanada Qaarkood doonayeen in xeerka qodob qodob loogu codeeyo halka kuwa kalena ay wateen in si duuduub ah loogu codeeyo, iyada oo aakhirkii si duuduub ah lagu meel mariyey Xeerka Furashada Ururada Siyaasada.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Kingdom extends helping hand to Horn of Africa
By GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN | ARAB NEWS
Published: Jul 30, 2011 23:05 Updated: Jul 30, 2011 23:05
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has donated SR225 million in aid to Horn of Africa countries that have been hit by a massive drought affecting millions of people.
Other Gulf states have also come forward with donations to help the African countries, where about 500,000 children are in need of urgent help including food and medicine.
"The countries in the Horn of Africa hit by famine — Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea — have welcomed the Saudi support," said Mohammed Ali, charge d'affaires at the Ethiopian Embassy in Riyadh, on Saturday.
Ali said the situation was worsening in some countries on the Horn of Africa, an impoverished region inhabited by over 100 million people.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had personally thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for the donation for food supplies through the UN's World Food Program. The UN has asked for more support from Gulf states to enable UN agencies to rush adequate food supplies to the drought victims.
Appeals for more help for the drought-hit African countries have already been sent to the rulers of Gulf states including Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said a UN official in Riyadh.
"Ethiopia alone is looking at 4.5 million people in need of food assistance," said Dan Leonard, an Ethiopian official who works for the Mennonite Central Committee in southern Ethiopia, in a press statement obtained by Arab News.
Referring to the situation in the Horn of Africa, a spokesman of the Kenyan Embassy said the crisis was growing ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.
The UAE has dispatched a four-member team for Mogadishu this week to coordinate the distribution of relief supplies of food, drinking water and medical supplies. Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has already pledged $10 million for relief efforts in Somalia through the Red Crescent Society.
The Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is also working in Somalia and other areas to distribute food.
According to UN agencies, Kenya is currently facing its worst drought in six decades, with over 3.5 million Kenyans mainly in the country's north facing imminent starvation and death. The situation has been exacerbated by runaway inflation, a poor maize crop for the current season and a ballooning refugee crisis in unstable Somalia, Kenya's northern neighbor.
On Friday, the World Bank made available $140 million to address the current drought crisis in the region. So far, an estimated $1.1 billion has been committed from non-Arab donor countries, about half of what will be needed for the humanitarian response to the emergency, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Friday, July 29, 2011
It's been a year. A year of progress. A year of stability. A year of making the right moves on the international diplomatic front. The government of Somaliland has made progress no doubt in terms of forwarding the case for independence. They have made the right noises at the right times to the right people. This has been done through well coordinated meetings and a PR machine that is punching above its weight. I say well done.
In contrast, the internal functions of government are yet to be reviewed and improved. From the outside, it seems as though there is no urgency to introduce and implement internal procedures that will improve the government's functionality and provide a medium for the public clarifying what needs to be done when requiring government approval. There is no readily available information for someone who wishes to set up a business for example. The importance of such information being readily available to citizens isn't even on the radar.
In addition, the internal government communication system is non existent. Ministers and government officials are still using personal email addresses. Why hasn't the government installed a basic IT system for its internal communications? Why isn't there any information on the structure of each ministry (who is under the Minister, what are their responsibilities are and what the organisational structure is?) and how does one register ownership of a house or a car?
These are just examples I've become aware of. On top that, there are a number of draft laws waiting to be debated in parliament. These laws include much needed regulatory frameworks and procurement procedures designed to ensure compliance and transparency.
I fully understand these things may take time to implement however, from personal observations and having visited a number of Government departments, it seems as though the Somaliland Government is lacking the urgency to implement these measures and have convinced themselves everything depends on international recognition and UN Capacity Building.
Such measures are not difficult to implement and by no means require any additional funding or other parties to coordinate. It is basic stuff expected of a competent government to put in place for their civilians. So, Somaliland Government, please take the necessary steps to provide the right services for the citizens of Somaliland who should be your priority.
SOMALIA: Hundreds of drought-displaced seek shelter in Somaliland
LAS-ANOD, 29 July 2011 (IRIN) - Hundreds of families from south-central Somalia who have sought refuge in the self-declared independent Republic of Somaliland lack food, shelter and water, say local officials.
Most of the 276 families (about 1,650 people) are in the town of Las-anod in Sool region, neighbouring south-central Somalia.
"At least 10 families arrive in Las-anod daily; some pass through to other towns in Somaliland but many remain here," Khadra Mohamed, secretary-general of Somaliland's internally displaced persons (IDP) organization, told IRIN. "Some of the new arrivals are [staying] with conflict-displaced Somalis who have been living in the town for the last several years. These people have no food or shelter.
However, Mohamed said, local communities have been providing food aid to the new arrivals.
"These families have little access to health services, some of them lost their children during their long journey to Somaliland," Mohamed added.
Abdillahi Jama, governor of Sool region, told IRIN: "Those arriving are registered by local NGOs who inform us weekly. In the past three days, for example, between 10 and 20 families have arrived in Las-anod. Most end up living with families who have been displaced by past conflict in south-central Somalia, expanding the number of people per IDP family to 10-20.
"We collect some assistance from the local people and encourage them to help, because they are our brothers and sisters displaced by the drought," Jama said. "Our capacity is limited and we can do little to help them."
Zainab H. Mohamoud, head of the Gashan Women's Umbrella Organization, said in Buroa, Togdheer region, several families had fled drought; some went to Hargeisa and others to the town of Buhotle in Buhotle region.
Mohamoud told IRIN that at least 23 families from south-central Somalia reached Buroa, 70 people had reached Buhotle and 12 went to Hargeisa.
Meanwhile, in Nairobi, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) issued a statement on 29 July appealing for immediate life-saving interventions for an estimated one million Somali children, the majority in southern Somalia.
"The children of southern Somalia desperately need our help; too many of them have already died and many others are at great risk unless we act now," said Rozanne Chorlton, the UNICEF Somalia representative. "Families shouldn't have to leave their homes, mothers and their children shouldn't have to endure days of perilous journey in search of food and water and then face a life of uncertainty in a camp. All our energy should be focused on saving lives."
According to UNICEF, an estimated 1.25 million children across southern Somalia, 640,000 of them acutely malnourished, urgently need life-saving interventions.
To reach children as quickly as possible, the agency said, it had, with its partners, mounted a massive scale-up of its operation and was using "all avenues available" to get supplies into the region.
So far, UNICEF has airlifted supplementary feeding supplies for 65,000 children to the drought-affected regions of southern Somalia.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
(Reuters) - A U.N. Monitoring group report seen by Reuters on Thursday said Eritrea was behind a bomb plot in Ethiopia and that the Red Sea state bankrolled Somali al Shabaab rebels.
The report also said networks run by Kenyans in east Africa's biggesteconomy were channeling funds to al Shabaab fighters in Somalia.
Following are some other highlights from the report:
AL SHABAAB FINANCES
Somali rebel group al Shabaab earns money from taxation and extortion; commerce, trade and contraband; diaspora support and external assistance, the report said.
The UN Monitoring group conservatively estimates that al Shabaab generates $70-$100 million a year from duties at ports, taxes on goods and services, taxes in kind on domestic products, "jihad contributions" and extortion.
Al Shabaab also earns millions of dollars a month trading charcoal, sugar and other contraband. The trade cycle is dominated by Somali businessmen in Gulf Cooperation Council countries, notably Dubai, the report said.
"In a very real sense, al Shabaab is becoming a business: a network of mutually supportive interests in Somalia, Kenya, the Middle East, and even further afield. Even businessmen who are not ideologically aligned with al Shabaab have little incentive to see the Islamists displaced by a predatory and corrupt Transitional Federal Government," the report said.
Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in late 2006 to fight Islamist rebels holding the capital. Addis Ababa has supported the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia since it was established in 2004. It also supports authorities in Somaliland and Puntland, all eligible for help under UN resolutions.
The report states that Ethiopia also supports the sufi militia Ahlu Sunna, and while this is a group that could be considered eligible for assistance, Addis Ababa has never sought authorization from the Security Council to do so.
The Monitoring group also said that Ethiopian troops have frequently crossed into Somalia to help government troops and pro-government militias fight al Shabaab. In March, Ethiopian troops set up a base with Ahlu Sunna fighters inside Somalia.
"Whereas Ethiopian support for Somali security sector institutions should be addressed as a compliance issue within the context of Security Council resolution 1772 (2007), the presence of Ethiopian military forces on Somali soil constitutes a violation of the general and complete arms embargo on Somalia.
The report includes evidence that weapons and ammunition supplied to the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu, known as AMISOM, are sold on the capital's main Bakara Market, which is in an area controlled by al Shabaab.
"Diversion of arms and ammunition from the Transitional Federal Government and its affiliated militias has been another significant source of supply to arms dealers in Mogadishu, and by extension to al Shabaab," the report said.
"Of the 11 varieties of ammunition observed in Bakara market, 8 bore the same lot number as those found in AMISOM ammunition stocks. Moreover, among the six varieties of ammunition seized from Al-Shabaab, four were of the same lot number as AMISOM ammunition."
The study of the weapons was carried out between January and April 2011.
The report states that a group of fighters from the Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), captured in Ethiopia in September 2010 had weapons originally supplied to Eritrea by Bulgaria.
Rocket-propelled grenades seized by the Ethiopian authorities were assembled in Bulgaria in 1990-1991. Bulgaria confirmed they were part of a consignment sent from Port Bourgas, Bulgaria, to Eritrea in March 1999. The end user certificate is included in the report.
UN investigators questioned the captured ONLF fighters. The ONLF rebels said they had been trained in Eritrea and deployed to Ethiopia via Somaliland.
A Lebanese-registered company called Saracen International has significantly violated a U.N. arms embargo on Somalia and represents a threat to peace and stability in the country, the UN report concludes.
Between May 2010 and February 2011 Saracen provided military training and equipment and deployed armed, foreign security personnel on Somali territory. The report includes pictures of a Saracen base, vehicles and personnel in Bosasso, the main city in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
"The most egregious violations of the arms embargo during the Monitoring Group's current mandate were committed by the Hong Kong-registered company Southern Ace, and by the Lebanese-registered company Saracen International, together with affiliated companies registered in South Africa, Australia and Uganda," the report said.
"Saracen's presence has increased tension in north-eastern Somalia because its operations are perceived as a military threat by Puntland's neighbors, as well as by some parts of the Puntland population.
DADAAB/NAIROBI, 28 July 2011 (IRIN) - A fourth camp for refugees in Dadaab, northeastern Kenya, lies empty, despite an announcement of its imminent opening by Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga on 14 July.
The camp, Ifo II, was meant to decongest [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93332 ] the overcrowded three existing camps, struggling to cope with tens of thousands of new arrivals from Somalia.
Instead, the refugees are currently being moved to an extension area, a few hundred metres away from Ifo camp, with the inaccessible Ifo II in plain view.
The Dadaab camps were initially intended to host 90,000 refugees but are now home to 400,000 people. More than 65,000 newly registered Somali refugees are sheltering on the outskirts.
Refugees who settle informally on the outskirts have no proper shelter in a dry, dusty area continuously swept by winds. They have trouble getting enough food and water and have few health facilities. There are no latrines, making open defecation the only option and increasing the spread of diseases. Safety has also been a problem.
Neither the refugees nor the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is allowed to build any permanent structures on the outskirts of Dadaab, even if they could afford it, because the land belongs to the host community.
UNHCR has begun erecting temporary tents instead to house those who had spontaneously settled on the camp outskirts.
Since 25 July, UNHCR has relocated nearly 2,000 refugees to the new extension site. "We are expecting to relocate 60,000 people and continue doing this until the government releases Ifo II," said a UNHCR field officer in Dadaab.
But the tents are a poor substitute. Installed in an open field, there are no health facilities, and latrines and water supply are under maintenance.
"We are told to share with 20 people per latrine, which is just 5m deep; it is very difficult to live here," said Mohamed Hassan Noor, whose family was relocated on 27 July.
Ifo II can accommodate about 80,000 people and has all the basic social amenities, including schools, health facilities, agency buildings and latrines. It also boasts comparatively good shelters - houses made of mud bricks that make the informal settlements on the outskirts look like flotsam.
UNHCR had been urging the Kenyan government to open Ifo II for the past two years but the government has cited security concerns.
When Odinga announced that Ifo II would open, the aid community congratulated Kenya on its hospitality in a time of crisis.
At a Nairobi press conference, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Reuben Brigety II, said he was "enormously heartened" by the announcement.
Brigety said informal settlements indicated an ineffective registration system where camp authorities were unable to keep track of exactly where each refugee was housed - which he deemed a security risk. In this case, he said, "the security considerations and the humanitarian considerations are entirely coincident".
But Odinga now says the Kenyan cabinet has to discuss the opening of the camp before the new arrivals may officially move in.
"We did not yet receive any written document uplifting the suspension of Ifo II and the same applies to the border," said a UNHCR representative in Dadaab, who declined to be named. "But we are working on the improvement of the situation of the spontaneous settlements in the outskirts which will include provision of enough tents for shelter, adequate water supply and access to health facilities."
In April, UNHCR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenyan government in which it would support the government to enable it to patrol the border and secure Dadaab and its surroundings, Elike Segbor, UNHCR country representative, said on 26 July in Nairobi.
"With a refugee population of over 400,000, compared to the host community's 100,000, only 80km from a border of a country at war, you can imagine there are security concerns," said Segbor.
But the reason the refugees were shifted from one field to another instead of Ifo II was a mystery to the mass of waiting families, who have no idea of what is planned for the camp, or for them.
"I never thought the situation would be worse in Dadaab; we are really desperate, we do not understand why we are not being taken to the new camp," said Hassan Ali Yarow, 50, whose family arrived seven months ago. "No one bothers to tell us what is actually taking place. We feel abandoned but hope that one day life will be better in Somalia."
The new arrivals are not the only ones disappointed. Before the massive influx, long-time residents of flood-prone areas also wished to relocate to Ifo II. They did not, however, put up a fight when they learned they would be passed over for space on drier ground.
With the ongoing drought, the crisis of space and services seems much more pressing to everyone in Dadaab.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
New York, Jul 27 2011 6:10PM
Allegations of sexual abuse by soldiers serving in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have declined by 75 per cent since 2008, the commander of the force said today, noting that strict measures have been instituted to prevent such misconduct.
"We have instituted specific measures to bring down these figures to something like zero per cent," said Lieutenant-General Chander Prakash, the commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), at a news conference at UN Headquarters.
"We have issued a code of conduct for the peacekeepers, we provide them orientation training – we make them aware of the circumstances in which they are operating. We even have curfew hours for them in late evenings," said Lt-Gen. Prakash.
Similar measures have also succeeded in discoursing sexual misconduct among troops serving in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the operation's Force Commander, Major-General Muhammad Khalid, told the same news conference. He said three recent allegations of sexual abuse were not proven and could have been launched with ulterior motives.
Asked about movement restrictions for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan's conflict-hit region of Darfur (UNAMID), force commander Lieutenant-General Patrick Nyamvumba explained that the force had carried out more than 20,000 patrols in Darfur during the first six months of this year with only 135 incidents of movement restriction.
"Put in context they [restrictions] don't in any way inhibit much of our operations activities," said Lt.Gen. Nyamvumba. "Under the status of forces agreement, the host nation agreed for this mission to deploy, therefore for us to be able to move around we do not require additional permission other than what is provided for in the status of forces agreement."
However, he added that in certain circumstances, it would be unwise to put peacekeepers in harms way because their mandate is not to stop active belligerents in the conflict from fighting but to protect civilians. "I think to a great extent we have done that job of protecting civilians," Lt. Gen. Nyamvumba added.
Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, the Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), said he would not speculate as to whom was responsible for yesterday's bomb attack on the force's convoy near Saida, adding that the incident will be investigated.
Six soldiers were wounded in the attack, but none of them sustained life-threatening injuries, Maj-Gen. Asarta Cuevas said.
The force commanders of UN peacekeeping missions were in New York to brief the Security Council.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
More than 40 Americans have been recruited and radicalized by al-Qaida-linked terrorists in Somalia and have gone to the war-torn country to fight, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., plans to outline the findings of his committee's own investigation Wednesday during the third hearing in a series on Muslim radicalization in the U.S.
U.S. counterterrorism officials have not confirmed the high numbers of Americans joining the Somali terror organization, al-Shabab. The government has said at least 21 Americans are believed to have traveled to Somalia to join the terror group, which began as a push to expel Ethiopian soldiers, and some of those young men have died in the fight. Al-Shabab has expanded its focus over the years, and it has aligned itself with other anti-Western terror groups.
Republican staff on the Homeland Security Committee also found that more than 20 Canadians had also been recruited and radicalized and joined the fight in Somalia. Canadian police have said several Somali youths from the Toronto area are suspected to have traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabab.
In his prepared opening remarks, obtained by The Associated Press, King said al-Shabab is "engaged in an ongoing, successful effort to recruit and radicalize dozens of Muslim-American jihadis, who pose a direct threat to the U.S."
King said al-Shabab is not just a Somali problem — the organization has a large cadre of American jihadis and ties to al-Qaida, particularly the terror group's Yemen branch.
"We must face the reality that al-Shabab is a growing threat to our homeland," King said.
King has been criticized for unfairly singling out Muslims in his series of hearings over the past few months on Islamic radicalization in the U.S. Some of those who oppose these inquisitions have said the committee should also focus on the threat other types of extremism, including right-wing extremism in the U.S., particularly as that ideology appeared to motivate the man accused in the recent deadly attacks in Norway
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
XUS IYO XUSUUS SANADGUURADII KOWAAD EE HOGAANKA MADAXWEYNE AXMED SIILANYO
Monday, July 25, 2011
MOGADISHU, 25 July 2011 (IRIN) - At least 1,000 of an estimated 14,000 malnourished children in 50 camps for the drought-displaced in Somalia's capital are in a critical condition and government officials have appealed for immediate help.
"According to samples taken by the ministry and its partner organizations, about 14,000 children are suffering from serious malnutrition in the 50 drought-displaced camps in Mogadishu," Aden Ibrahim, the Health Minister in Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), told IRIN.
"The ministry is focusing on the children under five as most of them are suffering from diseases such as measles, diarrhoea, malnutrition, etc."
According to the latest Humanitarian Action Update [ http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/reliefweb_pdf/node-435750.pdf ] from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), more than half a million severely malnourished children in the Horn of Africa are at risk of imminent death. The agency said access to food for these populations should be scaled up immediately.
In Somalia, UNICEF said, "population-wide death rates are above the famine threshold with more than two deaths per 10,000 people every day or four child deaths per 10,000 children every day. Across Somalia, out of a total 3.7 million people, as many as 1.85 million children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. This represents an 85 percent increase since mid-2010, and an increase of over 35 percent, or one million people, since January this year."
The agency said urgent food deliveries were needed to stabilize the plight of children and families on the move.
"The number of acutely malnourished children has risen from 476,000 in January to 780,000, with 82 percent of all acutely malnourished in the south - where 640,000 children are acutely malnourished," UNICEF said. "Under-five death rates are higher than 4/10,000/day in all areas of the south where data is available, peaking at 13-20/10,000/day in riverine and agro-pastoral areas of Lower Shabelle."
The agency added: "Humanitarian operations have been very difficult but not impossible, with increasing access to the south gradually being tested. UNICEF will continue to work with government, UN agencies, international NGOs and a network of capable national partners in 2011 to meet the pressing needs of 1.85 million children."
According to Lul Mohamoud Mohamed, director of Banadir Hospital - the largest in Mogadishu - the number of malnourished children was increasing daily at an alarming rate.
"Due to the increase of the malnourished children in Mogadishu and the wide range of the town that the hospital covers, the nutrition kits are only sufficient for this month; by next month, we will not have any nutrition kits," she said.
Banadir is one of two hospitals catering for the malnourished children, mostly from the southern parts of Mogadishu.
"The other one catering for children in Mogadishu is the SOS hospital, in the north of the city," Mohamed said. "In the south, where most of the displaced people are, only Banadir provides services for malnourished children."
According to a report [ http://home.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/communications/wfp220979.pdf ] by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), scientific evidence has shown that chronic under-nutrition in the first two years of life leads to irreversible damage, meaning that children may never reach their full mental and physical potential.
"When a child under two chronically lacks the right nutrition, mental and physical damage is irreversible," WFP said. "This lack of nutrition makes the child more susceptible to illness throughout his or her life and a less productive member of society. And during emergencies, not only does the vulnerability of children increase, but the incidence of disease also goes up. This is a double threat to health and well-being."
The agency added that children who suffered from chronic malnutrition when young may live with a high risk of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, in later life.
Meanwhile, school-going children from poor families in Mogadishu have stopped learning because there is no public school in the city.
Hussein Shire Jima'ale, a teacher at the private Muqdisho Primary School in the capital, told IRIN: "There are hundreds of private schools in the city; the fees pupils are charged vary; for example, high schools charge between US$10 and $12 per student per term while primary schools charge $7-10 per pupil per term.
"This has had a negative impact on the children in Mogadishu; I believe it is one of the reasons that has forced children on to the streets because their families have lived with violence and displacement during the past 20 years and can hardly afford school fees."
Jima'ale said the government had "some" control over only three schools, with a combined 700 students; "all other previously public schools are now private institutions".
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Initial reactions to the attacks in Norway showed a "clash of civilisations" exists, but not in the way many understood.
Ahmed Moor -ALJAZEERA
The Norwegian terrorist who murdered more than ninety innocent civilians - many of whom were teenagers - did not act alone. Or rather, he acted within a cultural and political context that legitimises his fearful and hate-infested worldview. It is now clear that Anders Behring Breivik was exposed to large amounts of right-wing propaganda. This tragedy underlines the urgency with which normal people around the world must combat fundamentalist nationalists and chauvinists wherever they may be. But it also demonstrates the extent to which reactionary bigotry has infected mainstream thought.
Shaping both sides of the narrative
The war continues
Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American freelance journalist based in Cairo. He was born in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Somaliland: The former British colony that shows Africa doesn't need our millions to flourish
By IAN BIRRELL.....Daily Mail
The Summer Time restaurant was buzzing. On the dusty road outside, new four-wheel drive cars fought for space with smart saloons. Inside, waiters in bow ties rushed about serving spicy chicken, camel milk and piles of spaghetti.
Families and groups of friends queued for tables at the entrance.
A father eating with his four sons stopped me for a chat about football. As we spoke, a group of women swathed in bright robes wafted by, talking with cutglass English accents.
City of Hope: The capital Hargeisa was, two decades ago, in ruins and obliterated by bombers sent up from its airport by a vindictive dictator and littered with mines
A health worker toured the tables, pushing tickets for a $20-a-head charity fund-raiser.
Another man greeted me as I left. Five minutes later, he had invited me to a family wedding the following night and I accepted.
I could not have been made more welcome as I watched comedians, poets and traditional dancing. This, incredibly, was Somalia: the world's most failed state, notorious for bloodshed, chaos, piracy, Islamic fundamentalists and hostility to Westerners.
Or that, at least, is where I was according to the UN. In reality I was in Somaliland, an unrecognised republic that has broken away in the north.
This tiny, impoverished, little known nation – a former British protectorate that still serves bananas in lumpy custard for pudding – is offering the rest of the world a salutary lesson.
Two decades ago, it was shattered as it emerged from Somalia's civil war. The capital Hargeisa, which I visited last week, was in ruins, obliterated by bombers sent up from its airport by a vindictive dictator and littered with mines.
Colourful: A woman in Somaliland in traditional dress
Hundreds of thousands were killed, millions driven from their homes. Today it is an astonishing success story for a country that officially does not exist and sits in one of the most chaotic corners of the world.
Denied international help, the people of Somaliland made their own peace, disarmed their militias and created a unique system of government, one that fuses Western-style democracy with African traditions.
The nation has its own president, parliament, passports and currency. It has fair elections – including one that left two presidential candidates just 80 votes apart but was resolved by courts, not conflict – plus free speech and a belief in free markets that is clearly paying off.
It is also a conservative Muslim country that is pro-Western, retaining a special affection for Britain, which ruled it for 80 years before granting independence in 1960.
Five days later, its leaders merged with Italian Somalia in the south, a union they rapidly regretted.
The people take great pride in their enforced self-sufficiency since separation. 'The key to our success was the lack of foreign influence,' said Abdirahman Abdillahi, Speaker of the parliament.
'It was all done by Somalilanders alone.'
This story is all the more remarkable given Somaliland's location: its neighbours include Somalia and also Ethiopia and Eritrea, two repressive regimes that have had endless border skirmishes and a full-blown war.
Yemen, also in meltdown, is just over the Gulf of Aden. Now, amid growing recognition of its success, this nation of four million is being hailed as the place that proves development aid does not work.
Last week, on his brief trip to Africa, David Cameron defended his controversial policy to raise spending on overseas aid while cutting spending at home, adding that the Coalition was bolstering support for troubled states.
'By 2015 we'll be putting nearly a third of all our aid into conflict states,' he said. 'The aid sceptics are wrong. Aid is essential.' Critics, though, suggest aid encourages a dependency culture and undermines governance, since politicians are not obliged to respond to citizens' needs.
Instead, they fritter away cash on weapons or stash it in personal bank accounts. Somaliland proves the point. Its fledgling government receives no direct aid since it is unrecognised.
Instead it has had to rely on tax revenues, ensuring it has developed an inclusive, transparent and accountable political system in contrast with so many other developing nations propped up by foreign donors.
Days gone by: The British colonial past of Somalia
It is highlighted in a new paper by Nicholas Eubank, a political economist at Stanford University in the US, who said Somaliland's history offered unique insights into the downside of current levels of foreign aid.
His paper shows how politicians were forced into 'revenue bargaining', accepting checks on power that laid the basis of political stability.
He pointed to a dispute over the port of Berbera, a trade hub for landlocked Ethiopia, which the government tried to take by force from a small clan.
'I'm not a huge believer in foreign aid. How many countries have moved ahead and developed with international aid? It is not the formula for development.There's an aid lobby that feeds on this. For every dollar put in by taxpayers, so little gets to the intended destination. The aid groups feed off the photo ops. I hate to say it, but they love starvation.'
- Hussein Abdi Dualeh
Having failed, but needing the revenue, it entered discussions that led to the inclusion of all clans in representative government. With aid money, the sums involved would have been too small to bother with – or it would have spent more on armed forces, and crushed the smaller clan.
Eubank estimated that in the previous year, for example, the government would have had at least £44 million in foreign aid if getting the level given elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa – more than twice its annual revenue.
His theory that Somaliland benefited from lack of international support was backed by all the key figures I met there last week. Among them was Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the energetic minister for mining, energy and water.
He took the post last year, leaving behind his family and a wellpaid job in Los Angeles to return to a country he last saw devastated two decades ago. 'My coming here was part of the effort to come up with a new way of governing,' he said.
'It was a hard sell to my three kids, but what could be more rewarding than the chance to leave a real and tangible legacy? 'Given our resources and the state of the country, it is remarkable what we have achieved, especially since we are in such a rough neighbourhood.
'We were left to rely on our own resources. During that time we were given space to sort out our own issues. There could be no complacency or relying on other countries to give us aid or help.'
Would he like to see aid flood in now? 'I'm not a huge believer in foreign aid. How many countries have moved ahead and developed with international aid? It is not the formula for development.
'There's an aid lobby that feeds on this. For every dollar put in by taxpayers, so little gets to the intended destination. The aid groups feed off the photo ops. I hate to say it, but they love starvation.'
Indomitable spirit: Ian Birrell meets Dr Edna Ismail
There are once again desperate appeals for emergency aid to feed people amid famine in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia.
But even the aid lobby admits the root causes include political chaos in one of the world's most conflict riven regions, just as in the Ethiopian famine that sparked Live Aid.
Having survived the flight to Somaliland on a Russian jet more than 50 years old, sitting on a broken seat and sweltering without air-conditioning, I met up in Hargeisa with Khadar Ali Gaas.
Proud: A young Somaliland woman holds her national flag
He had spent three terrifying months trapped there during the civil war before walking to Ethiopia, then fleeing to Europe. He was back for the first time in 12 years, joining the exiles who flood back in the summer.
'This city has grown so much,' said Mr Gaas, who is a chauffeur in London. 'Then there was war damage everywhere, while now there is almost none.'
As he showed me round Hargeisa, avoiding goats splayed out in the shade and a pair of swollenbottomed monkeys sauntering down the street, it was clear life remains a struggle.
Donkeys haul water tanks – the official supply system was built 40 years ago for 200,000 people, today there are nearly five times that number.
Traders try to sell stacks of shoes, ancient electronics and bushels of the stimulant qat. More than half the population is nomadic; two-thirds rely on livestock for their income – which explains why cows mooch nonchalantly down the main roads of Hargeisa and there is a daily camel market.
Even a printing executive flying to China for three months confessed to me he had dried camel meat in his bag to sustain him there.
One of the MiG jets that destroyed the city sits on top of a memorial to independence, with its gory murals of fighters with limbs chopped off.
The many youths hanging around underlines the high unemployment: some say four out of every five adults is jobless. Yet women feel safe enough to sit in front of stalls laden with gold jewellery until 10pm, and men peer over walls of bank notes at open-air currency exchanges.
Signs proclaim that weapons must be registered. Somalia's capital Mogadishu, of course, is notorious for gun-toting militia.
In Hargeisa, private business, often funded by the flow of remittances from families that fled abroad, is thriving. The place hums with construction work – the buildings going up include a shopping mall – and everyone seems to clutch a mobile phone.
Billboards advertising rival networks vie with those warning against human trafficking. One young man stopped to talk with my companions, then drove off in his gleaming white Jeep.
Self-declared: Somaliland people protest in London as they try to get international recognition for their currently unrecognised state
He had been given £2,500 by his sister to escape the civil war, but could not get out. So he started a construction business and is now a millionaire. Khader Hussein did escape, but returned ten years ago from Britain.
'There was absolutely nothing here. I asked myself what I could do to help and decided to open a hotel.'
He ploughed more than £1 million into creating the upmarket Ambassador Hotel by the airport.
'Everyone thought I was a madman,' said Mr Hussein, who is also an opposition MP.
'Now my hotel supports 400 families.' But no one epitomises the nation's indomitable spirit more than Edna Adan Ismail, or Dr Edna, as everyone knows her.
Controversial: David Cameron, on last week's brief trip to Africa, defended his controversial policy to raise spending on overseas aid while cutting spending at home
This inspirational woman, who trained as a nurse in London and was married to the country's first president, decided to build a hospital when she retired from the World Health Organisation aged 60.
She sold her Mercedes and put all her savings and pension into a maternity hospital which opened nine years ago.
It has slashed maternal death rates in a land where being pregnant is a mortal risk, expanded into emergency care and been acclaimed Africa's best hospital.
Now aged 74, she lives above the hospital and works all hours. She has set up satellite units around the country – one to prevent women dying in transit to her hospital from Ethiopia – and is focused on training new health workers and pharmacists.
She relies on just two full-time doctors and 17 trained nurses and midwives; there are only 369 nurses in the entire country.
She shows me a library used for lectures and pristine rooms, a stark contrast with dilapidated hospitals too often found in Africa. A passing trainee nurse receives a gentle clip on her veiled head and a rebuke.
'She was wearing the wrong shoes, all click-click on the floor, but she's a good girl really,' Dr Edna tells me. Her hospital symbolises how Somaliland rose from the chaos and carnage.
'Our choice was to lie down and die, or rely on what I call people power to rebuild our nation. 'It's been good for us. When the infrastructure was totally destroyed, if outsiders had said, "Here's the money to rebuild yourselves and to set up institutions," it would have built into us a dependency culture.
'Instead, through trial and error we found what worked.'
Reconciliation involved conferences at which elders, intellectuals and ordinary people slowly sorted out differences to agree a system of government.
Malnourished: This picture of a child from southern Somalia on the floor of Banadir hospital, in the country's capital Mogadishu, is in stark contrast to what Ian Birrell witnessed in Somaliland
There is a US-style president and an elected House of Representatives, plus an upper house of elders to ensure all clans have a voice.
There were outbreaks of fighting before a permanent constitution was agreed in 2001 by 97 per cent of voters.
The peace process is estimated to have cost less than £60,000, against the huge sums poured in for years in the attempt to impose peace on Somalia, much of it ending up in the pockets of warlords and Islamist groups.
Britain is increasing aid to Somalia, recently branded the world's most failed state.
Somaliland's nascent democracy is not perfect. There has been concern over judicial detentions, and disputes over voter registration delayed presidential elections that were finally held last July.
But in a region of failed states, communal violence, brutal repression and brazen electoral fraud, even Human Rights Watch said Somaliland's accomplishments were 'improbable and highly impressive'.
Journalists have been jailed also, but the new government promised to stop such behaviour.
The chief editor of Jamhuuriya, the oldest paper, was arrested two weeks ago after criticising the attorney-general. 'It was a setback,' said Mustafe Sa'ad, the paper's manager.
'But at least when we rang the government to complain, they did not know about it and got him out straight away.'
There are also fears that increasing amounts of indirect aid – while still far lower than levels in most developing countries – are weakening the emphasis on tax collection.
But in a region of failed states, communal violence, brutal repression and brazen electoral fraud, even Human Rights Watch said Somaliland's accomplishments were 'improbable and highly impressive'.
Now the focus is on winning international recognition, which would allow access to capital markets and encourage foreign businesses to invest. Hopes have been boosted by the birth of South Sudan, which ended the African Union's ban on breaking the old colonial borders, although what passes for a government in Somalia remains opposed.
'Recognition has always been a priority,' said Amina Weris Skeik Mohamed, the first lady, as we talked over fizzy apple juice in the presidential palace.
'We are fighting the same enemies as you and share the same values of peace, democracy and humanity. Recognise us, and we could do so much more together.'
The palace was attacked three years ago, reportedly by Al-Shabaab, the Islamic militia in Somalia. Security is tight: I watched as her husband's convoy prepared for a trip, with two identical cars supported by three trucks filled with troops and heavy artillery at the back.
I asked why she thought they had been attacked. 'Because we are friends of the infidel,' she said with a smile.
Surely it is time for us to reciprocate this friendship and recognise the astonishing achievements of this courageous country.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2018055/Somaliland-The-British-colony-shows-Africa-doesnt-need-millions-flourish.html#ixzz1T2EXdR1O