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On Somalia, UN’s Pascoe Blames Shabaab for Marketplace Shelling, Hiring Hush Up

On Somalia, UN’s Pascoe Blames Shabaab for Marketplace Shelling, Hiring Hush Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 27 — Having been turned back from Somali airspace during a mortar attack on the Mogadishu airport, the UN’s political chief Lynn Pascoe on Tuesday presented to the Press a rosy picture of successful peacekeeping by Burundi and Uganda. Inner City Press asked about reports that these African Union peacekeepers fired into a marketplace and residential neighborhoods, killing at least twenty civilians.

  “It depends on what kind of story you’re trying to write,” Pascoe answered, repeating the claim that Al Shabaab has been shelling the neighborhoods it controls in order to blame the AU peacekeepers. Video here, from Minute 12:15.

  Al Shabaab has threatened to target Burundi and Uganda for the incident. Inner City Press asked Pascoe if that might impact his upbeat story of a growing AU force in Somalia. “Threats and statements are just threats and statements,” Pascoe said. Video here, from Minute 20:08. He said that the two countries are there because they perceive a threat from Somalia to their own peace and security.

  The threat Somalia poses to Burundi is not entirely clear. Nor is the legality of Uganda’s new screening of all Somalis in its territory, as an anti-terrorism measure. On that, Inner City Press asked Charles Petrie, now the deputy to Ould Abdallah at the UN’s mission to Somalia, based in Nairobi, if it is true that the U.S. is withholding $50 million in food aid in connection with an internal investigation by the UN World Food Program of alleged diversions.

  Petrie said to “ask the State Department,” and claimed it is not really about WFP. But WFP has admitted it it investigating itself. So which is it? Petrie dismissed claims by Somalis that food is being used as a political weapon, saying that there are spoilers in Somalia who are “on lists.” Video here, from Minute 21:59.

  Later on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked Richard Barrett of the UN’s Al Queda / Taliban Sanctions committee about this withholding of aid, and if there is any proof linking Al Shabaab to Al Qaeda. Barrett repeated what he had said in July, that Al Shabaab praises Al Qaeda. Video here. But is that the standard of proof? Recently, his committee de-listed that Barakaat financial institution, which had many remittances to Somalia frozen without any due process.

UN’s Pascoe, answers on hiring flap not shown

  The Chairman of this Resolution 1267 Committee, Austria’s Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, said that those sanctions are not punitive but preventive, and some are taken off once they no longer pose a threat. Video here. But did they ever? And how are they made whole? As in the Congo, the UN has taken sides in a conflict, and now suffers the consequences, including to the dwindling perception of its impartiality.

Footnote: Inner City Press, which first reported on what many in and out of Pascoe’s Department of Political Affairs view as a hiring scandal in which Pascoe laterally moved into a Sanctions Branch position an Irish woman — said to have long been pushed within DPA, back to two directorships ago under British management — after a full recruitment process had been done, asked Pascoe about it.

  Pascoe refused to comment. At first he said his answer would be boring. Then he said he would not comment on “my internal relations with my staff.” But it is a UN reform issue. The UN preaches transparency and accountability but refuses to practice either.

Source: http://www.innercitypress.com/

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