U.S. “Secretly” Circumvents Somalia Arms Embargo

07.24.12 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

In apparent violation of an arms embargo on Somalia that it helped to impose 20 years ago, the United States is providing clandestine military support to Somali security services without notifying United Nations monitors as required by the embargo.

That is among the findings of the UN Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group, as reported by Eli Lake in “Obama’s Not-So-Secret Terror War,” The Daily Beast, July 24.

The UN Monitoring Group report “illustrates how President Barack Obama’s often-secret war against al-Qaeda can sometimes conflict with his administration’s commitment to work cooperatively with the U.N.,” wrote Mr. Lake.

“Non-compliance [with the arms embargo] by Member States and International Organizations has become a growing problem in Somalia over the past year,” the UN report said, citing 144 undocumented flights “of a military nature” carried out by 12 member states, including the U.S.

The U.S. does provide some acknowledged support to the Somali National Army in accordance with international agreements.

However, the new UN report said, “The Government of the United States is also carrying out in Mogadishu and in Puntland extensive programmes in support of Somali security sector institutions without any prior approval of the Committee.”

Specifically, for example, “a United States Government intelligence agency has been providing technical assistance, training and equipment to the Somali National Security Agency for several years.”  In a January 9, 2012 speech, the Somali “NSA Director General Ahmed Moallin Fiqi thanked the United States Government for its assistance to his service.”

Yet officially, “the Government of the United States does not acknowledge any form of direct support to the Somali National Security Agency or any other Somali agency.”

Details of various presumed US covert operations were presented in the UN report, as first reported by the Daily Beast.  A copy of the confidential report to the UN from members of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea is posted here.