Malawian President Joyce Banda dissolved her cabinet last Thursday, following a demonstration in the capital. “Joyce Banda has failed to govern this country”; “Mphwiyo should explain the looting”; “Top government officials should resign to pave way for investigations,” the marchers’ placards proclaimed. A new cabinet was appointed on Tuesday.
The protest and dissolution of the cabinet followed revelations of a corruption scandal, starting in late September, about cash being stolen from government. To give some background, Malawi uses an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) payment platform, and it is alleged that through this platform, government accountants had been making fraudulent payments and stockpiling cash in their homes and vehicles. New reports suggest there is collusion between civil servants with access to funds and politicians. The scandal is referred to as “Cashgate,” and has been widely reportedon in Malawi in the past few weeks.
Prior to arrests associated with the Cashgate scandal, Malawi’s Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo was shot on September 13, after having received numerous death threats in connection with his cracking down on fraudulent government contracts and embezzlement loopholes. Mphwiyo was only appointed budget director in July of this year.
Much of these developments surrounding the Cashgate scandal unfolded during President Joyce Banda’s 23-day trip out of the country, partly spent at the UN General Assembly meeting. During her absence, news and rumors circulated that the corruption of the Cashgate scandal reached high up into the administration, and there were reports that President Banda had known about the embezzling as early as five months ago. A major opponent for President Banda in the upcoming May 2014 tripartite elections, MCP Presidential Candidate Lazarus Chakwera, publicly called for her to cut her trip short and return to Malawi to deal with the Cashgate saga. The civil society leader who organized Thursday’s demonstration had also previously called for the President to return home early, and even went so far as to call for her resignation.
There was pressure from donors to do something about the Cashgate scandal as early as the days following the shooting of Budget Director Mphwiyo. In a jointly released statement, major donors—including the British High Commission and the US Embassy—expressed great concern about the shooting and the events surrounding it.
An ambitious example of South-South cooperation paired civil servants in South Sudan with civil service support officers from Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya, to rapidly build capacity in a country that is just forming, said Angeth Acol de Dut, the Undersecretary of Public Service and Human Resource Development in the Republic of South Sudan.
This initiative from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been going on for two years and “did help, to a large extent, address the noted lack of skills by on-the-job coaching and mentoring through the concept of 'twinning' between the civil service support offices and civil servants from South Sudan,” Ms. de Dut said in this interview.
"Twinning" refers to the concept in the IGAD initiative of pairing highly skilled civil service support officers—199 of them—with their counterparts in the South Sudan to rapidly develop core capacity through coaching and mentoring.
Ms. de Dut said security is a key challenge there, as it prevents support from reaching the rural areas, where the vast majority of the people live. “For me to be able to take development to them, I should be able to deploy the people with the capacity to assist in training. However, with insecurity, I cannot put them at risk there. And that to me is a challenge.”
Ms. de Dut said that this initiative was a step towards trying more innovative ways of doing things. “We don't have to restrict ourselves to only tried systems, but try to explore innovative ways by which we can help build capacities—because situations are dynamic, and they're very different from country to country, region to region.”
The interview was conducted by Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Visiting Fellow at the International Peace Institute.
Andrea Ó Súilleabháin: I'm here today with Ms. Angeth Acol de Dut, the Undersecretary of Public Service and Human Resource Development in the Republic of South Sudan. She has been the anchor person for the IGAD, or Intergovernmental Authority on Development, initiative in South Sudan since it began two years ago.
The IGAD initiative has sent 199 civil service support officers to South Sudan where they are “twinned” with counterparts across ministries and sectors of government to rapidly develop core capacity through coaching and mentoring. This is the largest and most ambitious example of South-South cooperation on capacity development that uses peer-to-peer learning or twinning as its main approach.
Angeth, can you describe the capacity needs and gaps that led to the IGAD project in South Sudan?
Angeth Acol de Dut: South Sudan is a new country that has emerged from decades of war—so the setup of the government itself made it very clear that we do have a lot of capacity gaps in various sectors of the government. As a result of that, the IGAD initiative was conceived as part of the reform program to help address these capacity gets that were noted in the government. So, the bringing in of civil service support officers from the IGAD countries of Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya did help to a large extent address the noted lack of skills by on-the-job coaching and mentoring through the concept of twinning between the civil service support officers and civil servants from South Sudan.
AOS: What ministries and areas of government was it most common for these civil servants to work in?
AADD: We made it very open in the beginning because we had at our disposal 200 civil service support officers. We sent out a request to all the ministries of the government—by then we had 29 ministries—asking them to identify what kind of skills they needed. Based on the response that we got, we were able to deploy people in about ten to fifteen institutions. The vast majority were in the Ministry of Health, and then these were deployed across the whole country. Then my ministry benefited from them, as well as education and other sectors within the government.
AOS: With 200 civil servants in two-year placements, this is quite a major example of South-South and regional cooperation for civilian capacity development. So, from your experience, what are the benefits of this relatively new approach?
AADD: You know, when you look at it, there are lots of similarities between the countries involved. Aside from the fact that we are different countries—divided by imagined borders, in my opinion—we are very similar, which made the issue of cultural affinity become very prominent as an advantage to them being able to adapt and assimilate to situations in the countries.
We have also the situation whereby the civil service support officers came in with high skills and their civil service was formed in almost the same manner as the one in South Sudan. So, there were lots of similarities which enabled them to adapt to working.
And then when you look at the aspect of ownership, there was local ownership both from the receiving country as well as the countries contributing—whereby they felt that they are part and parcel of the development. So, they are helping their younger brother to come up and develop also.
Enthusiasm for the Arab Spring is waning. It was embraced by the US when it was perceived as being responsive to Western pluralistic and liberal democratic ideals. Egypt is tottering on the precipice. Egyptian authorities have now banned the Muslim Brotherhood organization and intensified the crackdown on its supporters, with over 50 people reported killed in deadly clashes earlier this week. Libya and Yemen face perennial instability. Syria is in free fall.
The democracy project in the Middle East is on a cliff-edge. Egypt's interim prime minister, Hazem Beblawi, in a piece written in 1990, suggested that nations relying on oil as their primary income, or "rent," would find it harder to democratize. This is a particularly pressing problem in the Middle East, he argued, because of its "strategic value on the world chessboard," which leads it to receive not just oil rent but also "location rent."
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Iraq, Iran and some other countries are confronting the oil versus democracy conundrum—not very successfully, one might contend, from the vantage point of the future of democracy. Egypt is the recipient of one of the greatest location rents in the world, second only to Israel. The US views Egypt as its lynchpin for security in the Middle East. In order to keep its military loyal, it provides $1.3 billion a year.
Egypt is also the world's largest per capita recipient of US food aid. This is where matters get complicated. Soaring rhetoric on democracy develops cold feet when it produces results that interfere with US national interest.
This was first witnessed in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections when the Islamist group Hamas beat the US-allied Fatah. The US refused to recognize the newly elected Hamas government only to make the Hamas held territory of Gaza even more of a haven for extremism. The US has avoided calling the military ouster of the democratically elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi a "coup" for two reasons. One, such a characterization would, under US law, prevent it from channeling the billion-plus dollars a year to Egypt. Two, it would most certainly affect relations with the Egyptian army. Strong military ties between the two countries have thus far prevented President Obama from cutting aid. However, the escalation in violence this week has reopened the debate in the US, which is now beginning to lean towards cutting all but essential military aid.
Egypt has a critical position not only within the US security architecture, but also as a trendsetter in the Arab world. The path it takes will set the pattern for the region. Since President Morsi's ouster, Egypt has been rocked by political turmoil. The military has killed more than 1,000 people, most of whom are supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party, the bloodiest summer in the country's modern history.
Egypt's military rulers have already drawn the battle lines. The narrative they espouse is one of secularists versus Islamist extremists, of security versus terrorism. It is a war in which the military has appointed itself as the guardian of the state. Since the coup, the generals have returned the country to martial law. They have used heavy firepower to break up peaceful protests, arrested prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and detained over 2,000 Morsi supporters, most of whom are being held without trial. The interior ministry, another important arm of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak's state, is also asserting itself and has reinstated the old state security apparatus, the symbol of the authoritarian state. Reports from Cairo suggest that police and security services are again beginning to act with impunity.
The primary targets of the military's campaign have been the country's Islamists, a push that has the support of many Egyptians. The military's narrative resonates with a deeply polarized population, half of whom are suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood, weary of political Islam, and inclined to view the Islamists as an existential threat. Such sentiments allow for the military to sell the crackdown and the return of the security state.
But where does this leave the other half of the population? Fifty-one per cent of the country voted for Morsi. The weekly demonstrations taking place across Egypt provide an indication of the Brotherhood's support base. This needs to be thought through. Will support for the Brotherhood diminish with Morsi's removal? Can such a war be won?
A hard-won fight to get the writer Jane Austen's face on a bank note in England was greeted with rape threats targeting the effort’s main champion, Caroline Criado-Perez, cofounder of the Women's Room.
Ms. Criado-Perez said the day after the decision was announced was the day she received her first threat, on Twitter. “And this descended into two and a half weeks of continual rape and death threats. They were incredibly graphic, incredibly violent and very specific about which parts of my body were going to have what happened to them—very gruesome things that were being suggested,” she told the Global Observatory.
Because the attacks were happening on Twitter, the perpetrators acted with abandon. “A lot of the people who were attacking me clearly felt that they could act with impunity—that no one was going to do anything about it. One of the men said, ‘Call the cops. We'll rape them too.’ They felt that there was going to be no come back for their actions.”
Eventually a Labour politician Stella Creasy got involved and put Ms. Criado-Perez in touch with a stalking advocate who works with the police, because “some of the men had become very obsessed with me and were now tracking all my movements online, looking into my family and work history.”
As a result of all this, Twitter introduced a new one-click button to report abuse on every post, though it took quite a bit of effort. “They certainly were eventually talking to me about these issues, and I am still in contact with Twitter,” she said.
“I think, to a certain extent, the message is getting through, but perhaps not quite as quickly as I would like. And I think also there are a lot of cultural barriers up. I suppose what I'm saying is that I think that social media companies tend to be run by people who don't tend to experience this kind of aggression and oppression.”
She said social media companies need to take upon themselves to ensure that their platforms ensure free speech for everyone, and not just the people who shout the loudest. “They are creating an amazing tool, and it's a tool that can make them a lot of money. But they’re giving themselves a lot of power here. And I hate to use an old cliché, but with power does come responsibility.”
The interview was conducted by Warren Hoge, Senior Adviser for External Relations at the International Peace Institute.
Warren Hoge: Our guest in the Global Observatory today is Caroline Criado-Perez, a freelance journalist, broadcaster, and feminist campaigner who is cofounder of the Women's Room, an organization that campaigns for more women experts in the media. She also started and ran the high-profile Keep Women on Banknotes campaign in the United Kingdom, which attracted global attention when she ended up in the center of a Twitter abuse storm receiving crude rape and death threats after the Bank of England decided to put the image of the nineteenth-century romantic novelist of manners, Jane Austen, on British bank notes.
Caroline, though your situation got broad coverage, many people may not know the story, and it is an amazing story. So please go back to the beginning and tell us why you launched the women on bank notes campaign in the first place.
Caroline Criado-Perez: Well, basically what happened was that the Bank of England announced the new face of the new five-pound note, and that was going to be Winston Churchill; and I realized that as a result Winston Churchill being on the new five pound note, that meant that the one woman we had on notes, Elizabeth Fry, was going to be taken off. And that meant that there was going to be an all male and in fact all white line-up on our bank notes. And I felt that this sent a really damaging message about the contribution of anyone who wasn't a white man to British society and British history. And the bank of England themselves acknowledged the role that bank notes play in shaping our cultural narrative, and I was just really concerned that here was yet another decision about who we are going to celebrate in the public sphere that was going to be excluding women from it.
So I started the campaign, challenging the bank of England’s decision, suggesting that they needed to review their selection procedures because they were clearly inadequate. I mean, if you end up with all men on bank notes, it suggests that your selection procedures aren't really thinking about the wide gamut of people’s contributions to society. And it was fantastic. In a way, it was quite sad to see how hard I had to fight for such a relatively minor thing as asking for a woman's face to be on bank notes. Three months of hard campaigning raising over thirteen-thousand pounds for a legal challenge, and a lot of stonewalling from the bank, but eventually they did agree that they needed to review their selection procedures.
WH: Do you remember the reaction of Mervyn King, the then governor of the bank?
CCP: Oh yes, I do remember the reaction of Mervyn King. Mervyn King's reaction was initially very dismissive and quite patronizing. He said that the Queen was on all the bank notes. And there were a number of issues with that. For a start, the suggestion that I would start a campaign without ever having looked at a banknote and noted that the Queen was on all of them, and also indicating a total failure to engage with the type of debate that I was trying to have, which is how we value women in our society. The Queen is a woman, but she's not there by virtue of being a woman. She's there by virtue of being the monarch. She'd be there if she were a woman or not, she would also be there if she were an effective monarch or not. She’s there because of her role, not because of anything she's achieved.
And all the people who were on the other side of the bank notes were people who we agreed as a society had achieved great things and deserved to be honored. And a failure to include women in that list was very troubling to me and I felt indicative of a culture in which women aren't celebrated and women aren't recognized, and in my opinion, also leads to a culture in which women are not expected to be in the public sphere because we don't see women very much in the public sphere. And when we don't see women in the public sphere, it means women who do appear in the public sphere attract a lot of abuse, which is of course what ended up happening to me.
WH: Now, the Bank of England gets a new governor, the first non-Briton. I should point out a North American, a Canadian, and he decides to put the image of Jane Austen on the bank notes. At that point, you probably thought you'd had some success, but then what happened?
A meeting of the African Union on Friday has put the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the spotlight as countries on the continent voice concerns about the court, though these discussions are not new, said Tiina Intelmann, the ICC President of the Assembly of States Parties, in this interview with the Global Observatory on September 19.
“There have been discussions about the relationship of the African Union and the ICC, and African states parties and the ICC, even before the Kenyan cases started,” she said. “This discussion has been ongoing with respect to the situation in Sudan, Darfur, [with] arrest warrants issued against President al-Bashir. So, it’s not a new discussion.”
“If we remember correctly, there were also some skeptics who thought that this court would never work, and it did start to work. And it has been doing quite remarkably, I should say. The proof of that is also all the self-referrals that countries have made of their situations,” she said.
“Uganda, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo—all of them came to the court and said, we do not have existing judicial instruments to take care of investigations and prosecutions of crimes that have happened in our territory," she said. "Mali—the same thing, just quite recently; and Comoros, even more recently asked the ICC to investigate specific crimes that had taken place on a ship that had been registered on the flag of Comoros.”
“Of course, when we established the court, we didn't think that it was going to be easy, and indeed, the path that we are following now is not easy at all,” she said. “We are fighting against impunity, and ultimately we try to prevent crimes from happening, but we are very far from that.”
John Hirsch is Senior Adviser to the Africa program at the International Peace Institute.
John Hirsch: Good afternoon. We're here at the International Peace Institute with Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, the ICC President of the Assembly of States Parties, and I thank you very much for joining us today.
Clearly, there was a need for the International Criminal Court when it was first established in 2002. How would you assess the performance of the courts over the past eleven years?
Tiina Intelmann: Yes indeed, there was a need for the International Criminal Court when it was established. If we remember correctly, there were also some skeptics who thought that this court would never work, and it did start to work. And it has been doing quite remarkably, I should say. The proof of that is also all the self-referrals that countries have made of their situations.
Of course, when we established the court, we didn't think that it was going to be easy, and indeed, the path that we are following now is not easy at all. We are fighting against impunity, and ultimately we try to prevent crimes from happening, but we are very far from that.
JH: Some countries have not signed up to the Rome Statute, in particular, very large countries; the United States, Russia, India. How does the lack of universal adherence constrain or impact the effectiveness of the ICC?
For 16 years there have been more than 30,000 people living across six refugee camps in Tripura, a state in the northeast region of India. Since fleeing from ethnic violence in neighboring Mizoram in 1997, the people of these Bru communities (also known as Reang) have sought to return, and on Monday, September 30th, a new effort began to do just that. Last week, the first 84 Bru families were transported to Mamith district.
Yet there still remains little progress towards a political or social settlement for the Bru people within Mizoram. Despite renewed rehabilitation packages offered to the displaced communities, there are still deep political and economic grievances that show little signs of being addressed. What remains is a situation vulnerable to prolonged instability: communities which perceive the treatment of ethnic groups as unjust; without means for peaceful recourse to their grievances; and a devolved, under-resourced and under-accountable security apparatus.
The responsibility to protect displaced people in India usually falls to the state level, yet conflict-effected groups rarely are able to access these rights. India’s National Human Rights Commission is expanding its reach and mandate to obligate state action for displaced people. However, without any oversight of security forces in conflict-afflicted areas, the agency remains powerless in Mamith district.
The killing of a federal ranger in 1997 by Bru separatists triggered an escalation in ethnic tensions which had been growing over a proposed Autonomous District Council (ADC) for the Bru people. There are three ethnic ADCs in Mizoram, each for the Lai, Chakma and Mara populations. The Bru are recognized as one of India’s Scheduled Tribes and, like these other ethnic groups, exist outside the “Mizo” identity. In addition, India granted the Bru the status of “Primitive Tribal Group,” which indicated a need for special development and protection measures; however, it was not backed up by the same autonomous structures that other groups had been granted.
Representing a population comparable to these other non-Mizo ethnic groups, Bru organizations began their campaign for an ADC, yet were met with fierce resistance from Mizo groups over its implications for reallocations of land and state resources. The ethnic conflict that unfolded involved the formation of a militant group called the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF), and the displacement of around 45,000 Bru people.
Mongolia’s peaceful revolution in 1990 ushered in 23 years of democracy, and President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj believes his country can both be a model country and learn from others as he seeks good relationships and partnerships with the rest of the world. “After twenty years of doing democracy, I see one truth,” he said in this interview with the Global Observatory. “Democracy is not a destination. Democracy is a way.”
Landlocked between two of the world’s biggest powers, China and Russia, he said Mongolia also prizes its "third neighbor," which is what he calls other—even farflung—nations.
“We have two big neighbors, and, of course, we are really striving to maintain neighborly good relations with our two neighbors. As well, we want to have good relations with other nations. All those other nations we call our third neighbor. This is the concept after 1990.”
"We are really committed to rule of law, human rights, and market economy. And those are attracting more investments, more people to Mongolia, and we would like to see more investments from our third neighbor."
Mongolia recently joined the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and served as chair of the Community of Democracies. “If we become more relevant, and I think also independent, and the security of Mongolia is guaranteed. That's my philosophy, and we are working for that.”
“I really believe that civil society is the soul of any nation,” he said. “Civil society is equal to democracy. If your people have that right, I think your nation benefits from that. People usually manage their life better than government manages people's lives.” The Mongolian president recently joined US President Barack Obama in launching a civil society initiative in New York.
The son of a herdsman, the president expressed great joy at serving as the country's freely elected president. “Working for your people, serving your nation by their free choice? That's the greatest joy you can have.”
The interview was conducted by Warren Hoge, Senior Adviser for External Relations at the International Peace Institute.
Warren Hoge: We are pleased to have a very distinguished guest in the Global Observatory today, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, the president of Mongolia. President Elbegdorj was sworn into office on July 10 for his second term as president of Mongolia. He was prime minister of the country twice, and he led the peaceful democratic revolution in 1990 that ended seven decades of communist rule in Mongolia.
Mr. President, you have helped transform Mongolia from a dictatorship to a democracy in a single generation. That's quite an accomplishment. How did you do it?
President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj: You know, after twenty years of doing democracy, I see one truth. Democracy is not a destination. Democracy is a way. It can end after some time. I think still we have challenges. Even in some advanced countries have challenges related with democracy, with freedom. And we have challenges in Mongolia.
I usually say that freedom is like a child; it never grows up, and you have to change the diapers every morning. And that's what we are doing in Mongolia.
But in terms of the democracy, in terms of freedom, one thing is good—you can advance. I usually say that freedom, democracy, is a learning process. When you learn more, you can advance. You can make a little bit better decision. And with that, we can share our experiences. Of course, why we achieve that kind of result, I think, is thanks to our people’s support. And I really believe in the people’s power. And that power is, I think, the most amazing power that we have.
WH: Mr. President, Mongolia is a landlocked country with two very big and very powerful neighbors, Russia and China. How does this affect your trade and foreign policy? And can you tell us a bit about your third neighbor policy?
TE: Yes, we have two big neighbors, and, of course, we are really striving to maintain neighborly good relations with our two neighbors. As well, we want to have good relations with other nations. All those other nations we call our third neighbor. This is the concept after 1990.
And I think we are really proud that with many of our third neighbors, we have great values connections. Of course, we don't have land connection with them, but we have values connection. We are really committed to rule of law, human rights, and market economy. And those are attracting more investments, more people to Mongolia, and we would like to see more investments from our third neighbor. It may help us to balance our investments in Mongolia. It may help us to balance those economic interests. I usually say to our two neighbors, "You know when we have more investors from third neighbor, you, our two neighbors, Russia and China, will have more opportunity to invest, to work together. And that is my message usually. And, of course, our two neighbors respect our way of life, and also we have great cooperation with our neighbor countries.
WH: Mongolia has recently joined the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, and chaired the Community of Democracies, for two years, I think. What other steps are you planning to project Mongolia’s profile in the international community?
TE: I think we were very happy to join Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and also we were very happy to chair Community of Democracies, and those involvements, that cooperation actually raised our profile internationally. And we would like cooperate with international organizations very closely. Mongolia is open for those international organizations, also regional organizations. Now, we are talking about becoming a member of APEC, for example, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization, and our neighbors in APEC member countries are actually supporting us. And we need to raise our profile, and one thing is that we need to make Mongolia more connected, more relevant to international issues. If we become more relevant, and I think also independent, the security of Mongolia is guaranteed. That's my philosophy, and we are working for that.
WH: In that same connection, can you describe the Civil Society Initiative, and I think I'm right in thinking that you discussed this with President Obama, Yes?
TE: Before coming to the UN, I received one invitation from the White House, and that invitation was from President Obama. And he asked me to join to supporting this civil society, and I was very happy, and I was the only president sitting together with President Obama launching that initiative in New York.
I really believe that civil society is the soul of any nation. Civil society is equal to democracy. If your people have that right, I think your nation benefits from that. People usually manage their life better than government manages people's lives. And I believe in that. We need to give more access, more opportunities for civil society, and because of that, I joined that initiative, and I think our success in Mongolia also can be shared with others. I'm really happy to launch that initiative.
WH: Mr. President, Mongolia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But with so much potential wealth, particularly from extraction industries, and yet a limited population and capacity, what steps are you taking to avoid the so-called resource curse?
This week marks the 20th anniversary of Black Hawk Down, an American military operation on October 3-4, 1993 in which 18 American soldiers and over 500 Somalis were killed, and 78 Americans and thousands of Somalis wounded, in an attempt to capture top lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed.
Black Hawk Down brought to an end the American engagement in Somalia, and opened the way for the international abandonment of Somalia from 1995-2007. Furthermore, Black Hawk Down had major ramifications for the Clinton administration’s Africa policy, including the decision six months later not to become engaged in preventing the genocide in Rwanda. This 20th anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned about American military interventions in far away countries.
American efforts to assist the Somali people in coping with the man-made famine crisis precipitated by the fall of Siad Barre in January 1991 and the ensuing civil war were well intentioned. Appeals by American humanitarian organizations and Senators Howard Baker and Nancy Kassebaum led outgoing President George H.W. Bush to offer Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali an intermediate US-led peace operation (the United Task Force–UNITAF) before a second UN force (UNOSOM II) could be stood up in early 1993.
The US intervention, led by Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Johnston and Ambassador Robert Oakley (the latter had been US Ambassador to Somalia from 1982-84), took a conciliatory and cautious approach, underscoring that the Somalis had to decide their own destiny. The warlords were assured that UNITAF’s role was solely to assist in alleviating the famine crisis. Ambassador Oakley urged Somali leaders to enter into political dialogue to establish a new Somali government. They succeeded in persuading the warlords to set aside their “technicals” and open the roads to the delivery of relief supplies. A Civilian-Military Operations Command (CMOC) was set up as a unique and highly successful initiative whereby UNITAF forces accompanied delivery of relief and medical supplies by humanitarian agencies to the afflicted regions in the South. The humanitarian crisis was quickly mitigated if not totally resolved.
On January 3, 1993 during Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s visit to Mogadishu to review the security and humanitarian situation, Aideed organized a peaceful demonstration against him and his party accusing the UN of planning to impose a trusteeship on the Somali people. While the demonstration ended peacefully, Boutros-Ghali felt that the UN had been humiliated. In retrospect, this probably contributed to his willingness to see Aideed captured by Delta forces. Later, Republicans were to blame Boutros-Ghali for the deaths of the Delta forces.
At the transition from the Bush to the Clinton administration in January 1993, the political situation changed quickly, although on the surface it seemed relatively stable. In preparing for a successor peacekeeping force, the US Representative to the UN Security Council, Ambassador Madeline Albright, described the UN plans for Somalia as “an unprecedented enterprise aimed at nothing less than the restoration of an entire country.” The international community was going to re-build a “failed state.” This was the beginning of peacebuilding.
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