Following the signing of the Djibouti Agreement between the TFG and the Eritrean-backed Alliance for the Re-Liberalization of Somalia (ARS)on 19 August 2008 (mediated by the SRSG for Somalia), the Security Council passed UNSCR 1844 (20 November 2008) to apply targeted sanctions against individuals who might undermine the terms of the peace agreement, violate the arms embargo, and obstruct the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The newly adopted measures included a travel ban, an asset freeze, and a targeted arms imports embargo on designated individuals and entities.
Growing concern for the linkages between piracy and instability in Somalia (including the role piracy may play in financing arms embargo violations), as well as the threat of piracy to the delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, led the Security Council to authorize states and regional groups cooperating with TFG to use all necessary means to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery within the territorial waters of Somalia in December 2008 (UNSCR 1846). Exemptions to the arms embargo were authorized for anti-piracy efforts, but no sanctions for piracy were agreed to by the UN (due to concern over the criminalization of ransom payments).
On 23 December 2009, Security Council imposed secondary sanctions on Eritrea for its support of armed opposition groups and official rejection of the Djibouti Agreement, combined with its 2008 attempt to resolve militarily a border dispute with Djibouti. UNSCR 1907 authorized an arms imports and exports embargo, as well as a travel ban, an asset freeze, and a targeted arms imports embargo on designated individuals and entities. The responsibility for the monitoring of the sanctions on Eritrea was assigned to the Somalia Committee and its Monitoring Group. For more information, see the Eritrea sanctions regime.
The first sanctions designations were made on 12 April 2010, when the Security Council shifted its focus to securing the transitional government’s position in Somalia. This was motivated in part by the military gains of Al-Shabaab, an Islamist offshoot of the UIC that had splintered in 2006 following the Ethiopian invasion of the country, which had engaged in armed opposition to the Transnational Federal Government of Somalia (TFG), to Ethiopian forces, and to AMISOM since 2006. The process was led by the United States and targeted primarily Al-Shabaab and individuals associated with Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab undertook its first successful international terrorist attack in July 2010 and the group declared its merger/affiliation with Al-Qaida in February 2012. The June 2011 Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea report highlighted Al-Shabaab’s economic strength, as the group managed to generate an estimated USD 70-100 million in revenue from taxation and extortion in areas under its control, including exports of charcoal and cross-border contraband to Kenya.
In October 2011, Kenya intervened in the conflict in Somalia against Al-Shabaab and in support of the TFG, which resulted in territorial losses for Al-Shabaab. The operation, coordinated with the Somali military, was motivated by the activities of Al-Shabaab in and across the border with Kenya, including the kidnapping of foreign tourists and aid workers in the country. The Kenyan forces, as well as the Djibouti forces deployed in December 2011, were incorporated into AMISOM later in 2012.
Constrain forces, including Al-Shabaab, from challenging the TFG (and the 2008 Djibouti Peace Agreement) and violating the arms embargo.
Signal support for the peace process and the unacceptability of violations of the arms embargo (through the imposition of secondary sanctions on Eritrea).
Ongoing arms imports embargo on all parties to the conflict (with conditional government exemptions).
Newly imposed travel ban, asset freeze, and targeted arms imports embargo on listed individuals / entities (including rebel factions).
Note: Secondary sanction on Eritrea for its violations of the Somalia sanctions were introduced on 23 December 2009. For more information, please see the Eritrea sanctions regime.
Maximum number of designees during the episode: 11 individual designees, 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 and Monitoring Group in place. Designation criteria were specified and targets were designated. Enforcement authorities not specified.
Al-Shabaab engaged in armed opposition to the TFG, successfully conducted a terrorist attack outside of Somalia, and gained both territory and popular support in Somalia during the first half of the episode. Arms continued to be freely available in the country and Al-Shabaab was able to find alternative sources of revenue, including from taxation and charcoal exports. The economic health of Al-Shabaab was “as robust as ever” according to the June 2011 Monitoring Group report.
The designation of Al-Shabaab and associated individuals sought to constrain the group’s ability to challenge the TFG since April 2010. However, the developments on the ground, including the presence of AMISOM and Ethiopian forces and the intervention by troops from neighboring countries at the end of 2011, were most significant to constraining Al-Shabaab.
The lack of focus in articulation of purposes in the UNSCRs during the episode – challengers to the Djibouti Agreement, Al-Shabaab, piracy, support for the transitional government, condemnation of external intervention – initially diffused the signal. However, the Security Council’s imposition of secondary sanctions on Eritrea in December 2009 as well as the first individual designations (primarily of Al-Shabab and affiliates) in April 2010 reinforced the Council’s commitment to the effective implementation of the Somalia sanctions regime.
The presence of AMISOM and Ethiopian forces was significant, but sanctions designations played an important signaling role as did the imposition of secondary sanctions on Eritrea over its violations of the Somalia arms embargo.
Increase in corruption and criminality, strengthening security apparatus of sending states, strengthening instruments of the security apparatus of senders, increase in international enforcement capability, resource diversion, humanitarian consequences, decline in the credibility and/or legitimacy of UN Security Council.