أسرار الأسبوع: Why did Somalia blacklist its country's top UN diplomat?‏

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Declaring Nicholas Haysom 'persona non grata' might prove costly for the Federal Somali Government.

In the first week of the New Year, Somalia was one of the few countries that dominated the headlines. Not because one of her finest daughters, Ilhan Omar, who came to the US two decades ago and was elected as an American lawmaker, but because Somalia declared the UN’s chief diplomat—who had only been working there for three months—‘persona non grata’.

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The accusation was that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Nicholas Haysom, interfered in a sovereign state’s internal affairs - a bold claim that many, including myself, considered impulsive, ill-timed and a cover up that could only prove counterproductive for Somalia.

In August 2017, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) announced that Mukhtar Robow (aka Abu Mansour), the former spokesman and a deputy leader of Al Qaeda-linked militant group AL Shabab has defected. Shortly after that announcement, the government flew him to Mogadishu where he held a press conference.

Robow thanked the government for the dignified manner in which they received him. He also stated that he broke up with Al Shabab several years earlier due to disagreements on legal interpretations. Unfortunately, Robow did not explain what that meant or what his eureka moment was. He did not express any remorse for his terrorism nor asked for forgiveness – and no questions were asked.

Shortly after, Robow embarked on a government funded rebranding campaign. During that period he met with a number of traditional clan elders, international diplomats including the British Ambassador, and various government officials and Members of the Parliament.

The international community swiftly removed Robow from the sanctioned terror watch-lists, indicating the FGS and IC were clearly on the same page to showcase the Robow model of de-radicalisation by letting him participate in the South West federal state election. 

He flew in and out of Mogadishu to rally his clan base, and was allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia on a Somali diplomatic passport.

Race to the Top

Within his clan, which is the largest in the region, Robow was popular enough to unseat the incumbent—Sharif Hassan Aden—who enjoyed mythical reverence of being the Machiavellian par excellence of Somali politics.

Nevertheless, in a move that seemed as an attempt to reinforce the probability of winning against Aden, FGS doubled its handpicked candidates and deployed the highly trained federal counter-terrorism force to South West.

Once FGS’ determination to win by any means became clear, Aden dropped out of the race, packed, and moved out of town - literally.

All of a sudden, the FGS took a 180 degree turn and the posterman turned to pariah - a dangerous terrorist who could not be trusted. Robow was pressed hard not to run, but he remained adamant. And there is where the showdown intensified and the controversy began.

In the week before Robow was taken into custody, a leaked memo by a Western intelligence elements circulated among international NGOs and to those in-the-know. In a nutshell, the memo alleged that government forces included a team of assassins who were under order to terminate Robow. The target date was “either December 12 or 13th.”

On the 13th, all candidates were invited to the Baidoa airport compound where the electoral commission as well as the state government and other foreign elements were based. There, Robow walked into a sting operation. Though the details of what exactly ensued inside the compound is not clear, one thing is: Robow was taken into custody by Ethiopian forces claiming they were part of African Union peacekeeping forces - a claim that AMISOM has denied.

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الخبر : أسرار الأسبوع: Why did Somalia blacklist its country's top UN diplomat?‏ .. تخلي جريدة اسرار الاسبوع مسئوليتها الكاملة عن محتوي هذا الخبر وانما تقع المسئولية علي الناشر الاصلي للخبر و المصدر هو موقع : اليمن العربي

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