Media Review for February 22, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 02/22/2012

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

West Africa: Ambassador Rice At UN Debate On West Africa and Sahel Region
Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At a Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa . Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations – New York, NY. February 21, 2012. U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Mali traces Touareg attack to al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) may have had a hand in the Aguelhok massacre that claimed scores of lives late January, according to Malian and French officials. “There were indeed summary executions on this day. People’s throats were cut, others were simply shot in the head,” AFP quoted Malian army information chief Colonel Idrissa Traore as saying on February 13th. Magharebia

Will Senegal’s ballot be transparent?
Senegal’s opposition believes that President Abdoulaye Wade is insisting on standing on re-election because the February 26 polls have already been rigged. Wade is among 14 candidates including two women who are standing for election. The Africa Report

Senegal’s Ndour injured during rally
Senegalese music icon and opposition activist Youssou Ndour was injured in the leg on Tuesday after being hit by a projectile at the scene of a banned rally in Dakar, his entourage told AFP. “Youssou Ndour was injured in the left leg, he has been seen by a doctor, but he doesn’t want to make a big issue out of it and we won’t be giving any more comment,” said Charles Faye, spokesperson for Ndour’s Fekke ma ci boole (I am involved) movement. News 24

African envoy in Senegal to defuse tension
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has arrived in Senegal to mediate the country’s political standoff, while police once again fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital. The demonstrators want President Abdoulaye Wade to step down, instead of running for a third term in this weekend’s election. Al Jazeera

Ethiopian troops take Somali town from al Shabaab
Ethiopian troops backed by tanks wrested control of a town in southern Somalia on Tuesday from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, officials said. Addis Ababa sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in November as part of a wider campaign to crush al Shabaab rebels who control swathes of central and southern Somalia. Reuters

UN to bolster Somalia peacekeeping troops by 5,700
The UN Security Council is to vote to increase the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia by more than 5,000 soldiers, diplomats have said. The resolution will increase the number of troops in the country to 17,731 from its current level of 12,000. BBC

Kenya blames Somali militants for food crisis
[...] food supplies to the area are running low because fighting between Kenyan troops and the al-Qaida-affiliated Somali militant group al-Shabab is blocking food from both the Kenyan border and the Somali port of Kismayo. Officials said Somalia’s south is now in the beginning stages of a humanitarian crisis because its residents are not getting the needed supplies, and they urged more relief agencies to step in. Stars and Stripes

Somalia: UK weighs up air strikes against rebels
Mounting concern about the twin threats posed by pirates and Islamic insurgents operating in Somalia has led Britain and other EU nations to consider the feasibility of air strikes against their logistical hubs and training camps, the Guardian has been told. The Guardian

Getting Somalia Right This Time
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain will convene a big international meeting on Somalia on Thursday. The tasks: stopping piracy in the Indian Ocean, uprooting terrorism, relieving a famine and ending a civil war. The approach: Western ships, U.S. drones, African soldiers and international money for the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu. This is all very laudable, except for one thing: It won’t work. The New York Times

Kenyan Military to Benefit From U.S. Aid to Somalia
The Kenya military is set to benefit from the United States financial assistance once it is fully integrated into the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), an envoy has said. US special representative to Somalia James Swan said Tuesday his country has given US$340 million in voluntary assistance to countries that have contributed troops to Amisom since 2007. allAfrica

Somali pirates take more risks and rethink tactics
The Somali pirates did not have a good year in 2011, statistically speaking at least. According to Nato, they only managed four successful attacks off the coast of the country, and only one in the Gulf of Aden, just further north. [...] There are signs they are already rethinking. Tighter security at sea may have driven some pirates to include kidnappings for ransom on land. The Guardian

Britain’s anti-piracy ‘conveyor belt’ stretches from Somalia to Seychelles and back
British prison officers and prosecutors are at every stage of the ‘conveyor belt’ as part of anti-piracy action in the Seychelles that begins with pirates being captured in the Indian Ocean by Royal Marines. Mike Pflanz reports. The Telegraph

Islamist attacks draw Nigeria and US military closer
Dealing with Islamist groups such as Nigeria’s Boko Haram will require more than a purely military approach, although Nigeria welcomes training from the US military’s Africa Command. [...] Nigeria’s military needs more than the kind of counterinsurgency training and equipment that the $300-million Africom has to offer, says J. Peter Pham, director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington. CS Monitor

Will 2012 be the Year of the African Despot, again?
Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade is running for a third term, even though his country’s constitution specifically bans it. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has also indicated he will extend his 32 years in power, even as his parliament is attempting to ban the move. Congo’s President Joseph Kabila is trying to patch together a coalition to stay in power, even though his party lost more than 40 percent of its seats in parliament in last December’s elections. CS Monitor

We must avoid the temptation to compare Malawi to Zimbabwe
[...] It’s hard not to join in with the comparison being drawn by outside observers such as George Soros’s Open Society Initiative for Africa, who have warned of Malawi turning into not only a police state or a failed state, but another Zimbabwe. [...] The Zimbabwean analogy conveys the precariousness of the situation, but is unhelpful for understanding the underlying issues. Like all basket-case narratives, it offers immediacy without insight. The Guardian

Rwanda immigrant faces post-genocide fraud charges in U.S.
A 42-year-old immigrant from Rwanda, who is accused of lying her way into the United States after allegedly participating in the 1994 genocide that left up to 800,000 people dead, goes on trial Wednesday in a New Hampshire federal court. CNN

Huge oil deposits discovered In Liberia
The African Petroleum (AP), an oil and gas exploration and development company in West Africa, announced on Tuesday that a potentially large accumulation of oil deposits had been found off the coast of Liberia, The discovery was made at National Oil Company of Liberia (NACOL) Narina-1 exploratory well drilled in Block LB-09. Xinhua

2012: The Year for Change in Sierra Leone – and Africa
If 2011 goes down in history as the year of Arab revolutions, then there is hope 2012 will be the year democracy triumphs. Across the world, from Russia to the continent of Africa – where my country of Sierra Leone is holding Presidential and Parliamentary elections this year – so many countries are in need of governments that are in tune with the needs of their people. The Huffington Post

UN: W. Africa cocaine trade generates $900M a year
The U.N. agency that fights drugs and crime estimated that cocaine trafficking is generating some $900 million annually in West and Central Africa as South American cartels use the shortest route to transport drugs to Europe. Boston Globe

South Libyan clashes kill 100. Fighters from Chad, Sudan
Fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya’s remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days, tribal sources said on Tuesday. At least 113 people from the Toubu tribe and another 23 from the Zwai tribe have been killed in the town of Kufra since fighting erupted on Feb. 12, the sources said. The Windsor Star

A Year Later, One Libyan Fighter Says ‘Nothing Has Changed
‘”Nothing has changed,” he said, shaking his head again. “It’s one year now. One year. Tunisia had an election, Egypt had an election. And Libya? No. And now they (the interim government) may not let go of power. They’re just as corrupt. Killing Gadhafi is nothing. Nothing. How do we kill corruption?” NPR

Escaping Africa: a new dawn for French policy?
Africa – except as an immigration issue – is unlikely to feature prominently in the forthcoming French Presidential election. But the continent remains a vital part of French politics. From independence Africa was the buttress for France’s claim to be a global leader. French Africa policy was conducted by the presidency. Like a parallel government, teams directly responsible to the president ran foreign, defence, finance and aid ministries for Francophone Africa, separate from the normal government ministries. African Argument

Playing a dangerous game in Egypt
I’ve been waiting for this story to die away but it doesn’t appear to want to. I’m observing its escalation with amused horror. Amused, because it looks like the Egyptian military government is effectively bullying the U.S. in a crisis neither really controls. Horror, because when all is said and done the losers will be the Egyptian people. Foreign Policy

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