Cablegate: Somalia: Understanding and Countering Uk Opposition to a Peacekeeping Operation
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHLO #3038/01 3391328
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 041328Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0581
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1313
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME PRIORITY 0022
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 003038
DEPART FOR AF/FO, AF/E, AND IO/PSC
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2018
TAGS: PREL KPKO PHUM SO UN UK
SUBJECT: SOMALIA: UNDERSTANDING AND COUNTERING UK OPPOSITION TO A PEACEKEEPING OPERATION REF: A. STATE 127595 B.
LONDON2498 LONDON 00003038 001.2 OF 002
Classified By: PolMinCouns Greg Berry, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1. (C/NF) Summary. At senior levels, HMG characterizes its opposition to a peacekeeping operation in Somalia as "realistic." It has two main strands of thought: one political regarding the peace process and one technical regarding peacekeeping operations. Sharing information about USG engagement with the TFG, our assessment of progress in the peace process, and thoughts on the extremist threat that would fill a security vacuum may help HMG appreciate the limited time the international community has to advance progress. Additionally, comparing notes with London on what troop contributing countries have been identified, the competence and equipment levels of their troops, and plans for long-term resource commitments to those countries may allay some concerns over force generation. High-level political engagement will likely also be necessary to turn around what is now strong UK opposition to a peacekeeping operation in Somalia. End summary.
Understanding HMG's Opposition to a PKO in Somalia --------------------------------------------- -----
2. (C/NF) Based on recent conversations with FCO East Africa Director James Tansley, FCO Somalia Desk Officers Gill Atkinson and Tiuu Morris, FCO Conlict Group Deputy Head Matthew Taylor, FCO Peacekeeping Team Leader Nicola Murray, HMG has a "realistic" opposition to peacekeeping in Somalia. Politically, senior British government officials assess that "there is not enough peace to keep in Somalia" and that "there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the Djibouti process will fail." Additionally, if a peacekeeping operation were successfully deployed, HMG believes that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Djibouti Process would not be in a position to develop state institutions. Somalia is not at a stage where government structures will be able to develop, even if there is peace and security on the ground. HMG is not convinced by arguments that a potential security vacuum following a possible Ethiopian and AMISOM withdrawal would necessarily allow al-Shabaab to take control of southern Somalia, as there are many actors who will be competing for primacy in various areas, in the British view. A more likely outcome, HMG assesses, is a situation similar to medieval Italy, where different actors control and secure small pockets around the country.
3. (C/NF) Technical to peacekeeping operations, HMG thinks that force generation will be almost impossible and that troops identified will likely be inadequately trained for such a difficult security environment and reconstruction task. It would be "irresponsible" to put ill-trained and poorly equipped troops in such a complicated peacekeeping operation. Additionally, HMG is seriously concerned about the UN's peacekeeping reputation, if such a mission were to fail, especially in the wake of UNAMID's lack-luster deployment. The UN's peacekeeping reputation is extremely important to HMG. Moreover, HMG's peacekeeping budget is over-stretched and likely to be decreasing. HMG does not want to commit the UN to a long-term mission without re-assurance that the effort will be funded.
How To Counter HMG's Opposition
4. (C/NF) Politically, HMG wants to know that the TFG is building its capacity and that the Djibouti Process is moving forward. Sharing detailed reports of USG engagement with TFG and an assessment of where the process is going, including positive and negative trends, may engender greater faith in London that progress is being made. Additionally, sharing information and assessment on al-Shabaab across HMG agencies may help HMG appreciate more fully the extremist threat. Similar to HMG's last-minute change of position in favor of the MONUC troop increase after a meeting between PM Brown and UN SYG Ban Ki-Moon, high-level U.S. (and UN) political engagement will also likely be necessary, as many HMG LONDON 00003038 002.2 OF 002 officials are wedded to their positions. 5. (C/NF) On peacekeeping operations, HMG would be interested to learn what troop contributing countries have been identified, the competence and equipment levels of their troops, and plans for long-term resource commitments to those countries. HMG would also like to see DPKO more involved in the drafting and consideration of a peacekeeping mandate. Visit London's Classified Website: http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Unit ed_Kingdom TUTTLE