Media Review for March 26, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 03/26/2012

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

Senegal’s Wade admits presidential election loss
Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade has admitted defeat in a run-off election to his rival Macky Sall, reports say. The president conceded in a telephone call to the former prime minister. Mr Wade, 85, was seeking a third term in office, after arguing that a new two-term limit should not apply retrospectively to him. BBC

A Turbulence-Free Election in Senegal
For months, the president, Abdoulaye Wade, who has been in office since 2000, had appeared to be going the route of his regional peers in proclaiming his invincibility and seeking a third term in defiance of a constitutional limit of two. But that quest appears to have failed. The Senegalese Press Agency reported Sunday night that Mr. Wade had called his opponent, Macky Sall, a onetime protégé of his and a former prime minister, to congratulate him on his apparent victory at around 9:30 p.m. local time. NY Times

Mali’s Coup: Echoes From A Turbulent Past
[...] The current president, Amadou Toumani Toure, was a former paratrooper who seized power in a 1991 coup. But he yielded authority to elected politicians after a little more than a year. After retiring from the Army, Toure won the presidency in 2002 and was re-elected in 2007. [...] Africa Center for Strategic Studies Analyst Mathurin Houngnikpo says Mali fell victim to “a lethal mixture” of circumstances that worsened after the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in neighboring Libya. NPR

Leader of Mali military coup received U.S. training
The leader of the military coup that toppled the democratic government of the West African nation of Mali this week underwent basic officer training in the United States, the Obama administration acknowledged Friday. Capt. Amadou Sanogo, who is the apparent leader of the group of junior officers that toppled the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure, “participated in several U.S.-funded International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs in the United States, including basic officer training,” the U.S. military’s Africa Command said in an email to McClatchy. The State Department confirmed Sanogo’s U.S. connection in a separate email. McClatchy

Mali’s Amadou Sanogo emerges from obscurity to head junta
Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, once a US-trained English instructor to his fellow Malian officers, has emerged as the leader of a military junta which ousted a democratic regime. Radio Netherlands

Rebels take advantage of coup in Mali
Mali’s Tuareg rebels pressed on with a campaign to seize the north as mutinous soldiers faced a global backlash Friday for staging a coup over the government’s handling of the insurrection. The African Union temporarily suspended Mali and Europe froze aid amid a chorus of rebukes over the coup in a West African country key to fighting trans-frontier drug trafficking and growing regional terrorism. The coup in Bamako opened the way for Tuareg rebels to deepen their hold on the north, and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) said it had seized the town of Anefis between the key cities of Gao and Kidal. The Montreal Gazette

Mali: Is There a Route Back to Democratic Stability?
The 21-22 March overnight putsch in Mali’s capital Bamako forced President Amadou Toumani Touré to flee his official residence and seek refuge with loyalist troops. Several ministers and leading political figures were arrested. At least four citizens have died, and soldiers have looted shops and petrol stations. allAfrica

Mali: Mutineers return to barracks
Life in Mali’s capital, Bamako, slowly returned to normal yesterday after most mutinous soldiers returned to their barracks, but rebels exploiting a military coup in the country pushed towards three northern towns. Times Live

AQIM after bin Laden
Al-Qaeda terror suspects captured this month in Algeria say big terror attacks are planned for the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. Is it a legitimate threat or a desperate boast? Magharebia

Assessing Al-Qa`ida’s Presence in the New Libya
A year after Libyans rose up against Colonel Mu`ammar Qadhafi, Western governments and observers continue to watch the security situation in that country with trepidation, concerned with instability in the wake of Qadhafi’s ouster but also watchful for a possible spread of al-Qa`ida in the sparsely populated, oil-rich country. Combating Terrorism Center – West Point

African Union to launch force for Kony hunt
The African Union has said it will deploy a 5,000-strong military force to hunt down the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The force – with troops from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – will be led by Uganda where the LRA, headed by Joseph Kony, abducted and massacred civilians in a decades-long armed rebellion. Al Jazeera

George Clooney’s satellite spies reveal secrets of Sudan’s bloody army
Nathaniel Raymond is the first to admit that he has an unusual job description. “I count tanks from space for George Clooney,” said the tall, easygoing Massachusetts native as he sat in a conference room in front of a map of the Sudanese region of South Kordofan. Close by, pins and ink scrawlings on the map detail the positions of Sudanese army forces and refugee populations in the troubled oil-producing province, where the Sudanese army is carrying out a brutal crackdown. The Guardian

China in a tug of war between two Sudans
On the day South Sudan became independent last year, China opened an embassy here, eager to protect its oil interests. It quickly dispatched its foreign minister and began discussing a huge aid package for this destitute land. Just a few months later, Beijing finds itself trapped in a bitter wrangle between South Sudan and its former rulers in Sudan, with both countries pressing Beijing to take their side. Washington Post

Ethiopia’s ploy to get West to move on Eritrea
With Somalia becoming the centre of international attention, Ethiopia’s recent attack on Eritrea is being seen as part of an effort to persuade the international community to intervene in the Red Sea nation too. East African

Washington and London urge Juba to stop supporting Sudanese rebels
Washington and London have expressed support for the upcoming presidential meeting between Sudan and South Sudan and urged Juba to stop its support to the Sudanese rebels who fight the government troops in the border regions. Sudan Tribune

A Year After the War: Promise and Peril in Ivory Coast
When talking about the last 12 months in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan, tailor Ibrahim Diabate’s voice quickens. “Look how good the roads are,” he exclaims. “There’s garbage removal, and more and more people find jobs. Alassane has done more in 10 months than his predecessor did in 10 years,” he says, referring to President Alassane Ouattara, who took office last May. Times

Egypt military looking to keep its grip at least on economy
As a power transition looms in Egypt, the military bargains with the Muslim Brotherhood to protect its widespread but murky business dealings. LA Times

Sierra Leone: political tensions, arms-shipment and an upcoming election
The Sierra Leone government has raised eyebrows around the international community after it imported several million dollars’ worth of assault weapons ahead of the country’s presidential elections. The Africa Report

Combating Maritime Piracy
Maritime piracy has been on the rise for much of the past decade, even as international efforts have helped reduce the number of successful hijackings, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy 2011 report. Large-scale attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2008 prompted the deployment of an ongoing international coalition of navies to the Gulf of Aden. A report by One Earth Future’s Oceans Beyond Piracy initiative estimated Somali piracy’s impact on the global economy to be $7 billion for 2011, the most detailed estimate to date. A previous report by OEF estimated the global cost of piracy for 2010 to be in the range of $7 to $12 billion. Council on Foreign Relations

Benin meeting focuses on maritime security in West, Central Africa
Piracy, drug smuggling, child trafficking and illegal fishing are all challenges for the African countries that border the Gulf of Guinea. Those issues hinder economic development, which in turn can lead to destabilization of countries. According to the director of the Maritime and Coastal Security Africa conference held in October. USAFRICOM

EU expands Somali pirate mission to include attacks on land bases
The EU is to expand its seagoing anti-piracy mission to include the Somali coastline and waterways inside the country for the first time. The expansion of the operation appears to herald a significant shift in strategy for a mission that has focused until now on stopping pirates at sea. The Guardian

SA Navy reviews fleet needs as antipiracy patrol highlights capacity constraints
Largely unnoticed by the country’s people, the South African Navy (SAN) has moved from a largely peacetime routine to a predominantly operational profile. This change has been caused by two developments – one domestic, one foreign. The domestic development has been the adoption of the ‘back to the borders’ policy by government, under which the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been reassuming responsibility for the protection and patrolling of the country’s borders from the South African Police Service. As the country has a maritime frontier as well as a terrestrial one, this has affected the SAN as well as the army. Engineering News

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, Former Somali Strongman, Dies at 77
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, a cantankerous former warlord who led Somalia’s beleaguered transitional government as president from 2004 to 2008 and was forced to resign as the country sank deeper into chaos, died on Friday in Abu Dhabi. He was 77. The cause was complications of pneumonia, his family said. Mr. Yusuf, who was granted asylum in Yemen after he stepped down, had gone to Abu Dhabi for treatment, government officials said. He had undergone a liver transplant in 1996. NY Times

US suspends aid to Malawi over rights violations
The Unites States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board on Thursday voted to suspend a $350 million (Sh29.1 billion) aid to the Malawian energy sector over “ongoing concerns about democratic governance” in the country. Daily Nation

Swaziland to ban anti-Mswati tweets
Swaziland plans to crack down on criticism of King Mswati III by making it illegal to bad-mouth Africa’s last absolute monarch on Facebook and Twitter, the justice minister said on Friday. “We will be tough on those who write bad things about the king on Twitter and Facebook. We want to set an example,” Justice Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze told the senate. News 24

Ex-Zambian leader takes up U.S. job
Zambia’s former head of state Rupiah Banda has left his native southern Africa state to take up a new job as African President-in-Residence at Boston University in the United States. Banda, 75, announced his retirement from politics, a day after his party, the Movement for Multiparty for Democracy was stripped off its legal status by the registrar of societies for failing to settle a debt. Africa News

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