What a great few days to be Somali. Meles Zenawi dead after a long illness, the end of the Transitional Federal Government (not a wholly positive affair, but its a start), and now to top it off I hear this biased hack has been fired by the UN. I’ve only seen this firing reported on Eritrean forums which makes me a little sceptical but it wouldnt be completely surprising that he would be dumped by the UNSC just as it appears that President Sharif (a target of Bryden) looks to be re-elected. Just to be clear, I agree with the general message of the latest report by Bryden’s UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. The TFG have obviously plundered state funds shamelessly. However, I’m less likely to completely accept plausible claims like how only $7 was accounted for every $10 recieved by the TFG, when Bryden’s Group has previously made outrageous false claims about events in Somalia.
These politicised reports by Bryden, riddled with falsehoods, have been broken down well by the Somali Special Envoy to the US, Abukar Arman, in this article. Falsehoods including the unfounded/bizarre claim that radical Sunni militants from Somalia were assisting the (very) Shia Hezballah in 2006. As Arman highlights, these lies helped sway US support for Ethiopia’s brutal invasion of Somalia that year. Bryden has written extensively in favour of Somaliland’s right to independence, which he is entitled to do, but not as an impartial watchdog employed by a body which respects Somalia’s sovereignty. During his tenure, the Group has consistently ignored the violations of the arms embargo by the Somaliland government, even after fighting in the peaceful region broke out this year. Looking at the list of experts on the latest report, I understand the reluctance to include Somali experts on the conflict because of fears of clan/regional bias, but the idea that white ‘experts’ on Africa are not biased is dangerous and needs to stop.