On 14 November 2018 the Security Council lifted the sanctions on Eritrea, following five consecutive years in which the Monitoring Group found no evidence of the country's support for Al-Shabaab. The lifting took place following a request from Ethiopia in the aftermath of the July 2018 peace summit between the two countries, and as Eritrea's relations with Djibouti were improving. The Security Council had been divided on the lifting of Eritrea sanctions for several years because although there was no evidence of direct support to Al-Shabaab, Eritrea had consistently refused to cooperate with the Monitoring Group and continued to support armed groups in Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Although the federal elections of 2018 were a political landmark for the country, this episode saw continued violence conducted by Al-Shabaab, including a series of attacks against both Somali and foreign security targets, which has led to worsening humanitarian situation. According to the Panel of Experts (formerly Monitoring Group), Al-Shabaab has been able to further diversify and establish a steady stream of funds for its activities, primarily through a broad taxation in southern and central Somalia. The group has been able to develop sources of revenue in territories it does not fully control, including for example through the taxation of imports incoming to the Port of Mogadishu (by infiltrating port institutions, obtaining detailed cargo manifests, and then extorting business owners).
Throughout the episode, Al-Shabaab's resources translated into a capacity to exercise violence and resist attacks from the Federal Government and allied forces, like the United States, as well as a violent competition with ISIL for territory and sources of revenue. The group was able to conduct a large number of attacks against civilians in various public spaces, notably in Mogadishu, and targeted attacks on high profile targets, including a suicide bombing that killed the mayor of Mogadishu and an attack at a hotel in Nairobi.
In response to these events, as well as the group's new methods of warfare, the Security Council adopted UNSCR 2498 (15 November 2019) to impose a conditional ban on the import of components used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Given the lack of effectiveness of the charcoal exports ban, the Panel of Experts recommended the Council to review the measure.
As of 2020, the Somali Federal Government had made some progress in its security-related objectives with the support of AMISOM and US forces, but the state-building process was complicated by difficulties in the dialogue between the Federal Government and States, especially in relation to the National Security Architecture and the transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM to Somali security forces.
Constrain Al-Shabaab from challenging the Federal Government of Somalia.
Signal support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and subsidiary concerns such as the transitional government and process, good governance, anti-terrorism, anti-piracy, among others.
Ongoing arms imports embargo on all parties to the conflict (with conditional government exemptions) and designated individuals and entities, travel ban and asset freeze on listed individuals/entities (including rebel factions), and charcoal exports ban from Somalia.
Newly imposed conditional ban on the import of items that can be used for the manufacture of explosive devices to Somalia (from November 2019).
All secondary sanctions on Eritrea were lifted at the beginning of the episode.
Current and maximum number of designees during the episode: 15 individuals and 1 entity.
UN sanctions can have some non-discriminating impact on the general population, since they include arms embargoes, diplomatic sanctions, and/or restrictions on the conduct of particular activities or the export of specific commodities.
Sanctions Committee in place. The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group was terminated at the start of the episode and replaced with a Panel of Experts on Somalia. Designation criteria were specified and targets designated. Enforcement authorities specified (AMISOM).
Al-Shabaab has been able to maintain a diverse source of revenue (mainly extorsion/taxation of economic activity) and has continued to be able to engage in violence, in particular through IEDs. The 2019 Panel of Experts report stated that money was not a limiting factor for Al-Shabaab.
While there has been a decline in charcoal exports from Al-Shabaab, the group has been able to establish new sources of revenue. The use of military force by the Federal Government, AMISOM and its international allies have been the most significant for constraining Al-Shabaab forces.
The lifting of sanctions on Eritrea narrowed the focus of the sanctions regime, although the broad set of objectives related to the regime,from piracy to the presence of Al-Shabaab and the state-building process, weakens the signal and stigmatization of targets.
The continued presence of AMISOM and other forces, and diplomatic efforts are more significant for the signaling.
Strengthening security apparatus of sending states, increase in international enforcement capability, resource diversion, humanitarian consequences.