Media Review for March 29, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 03/29/2012

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

Mali coup: I’m free and in Mali, says ousted leader Toure
Toppled Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure has told reporters he is still in the country, a week after being deposed in a military coup. Mr Toure’s whereabouts had been unknown after the presidential palace was stormed last week. The leaders of the coup have meanwhile unveiled a new constitution. They have also announced elections in which those who took part in the coup would be barred from standing, but have not set a date for them. “I am free and in my country,” Mr Toure told French radio station RFI. BBC

West Africa: UN Official – ‘Race Against Time’ to Avert Disaster in Africa’s Drought-Stricken Sahel
The food and nutrition crisis facing countries in West Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate despite commendable early response efforts by governments and international aid agencies, a senior United Nations official said today. allAfrica

Mali coup leaders unveil new constitution
Mali’s coup leaders have unveiled a new constitution and pledged to hold elections even as the West African nation’s neighbours prepared to send a high-level delegation to lobby for the restoration of democracy. The charter, which did not specify when the elections would be held, came hours after the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, threatened sanctions and the use of military force to reverse last week’s coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. Al Jazeera

West Africa: Ecowas Suspends Mali
Final Communique From the Extraordinary Summit of Ecowas Heads of State and Government. allAfrica

It’s not too late to reverse Mali coup – US
The United States said on Tuesday it “is not too late” for Mali’s new military ruler Captain Amadou Sanogo to permit the return of civilian and democratic rule to the west African country. “We have had at least one if not two contacts with the Captain Sanogo, and our basic message to him is unchanged,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters. News 24

Clashes Raise Global Worries Over Sudan and South Sudan
After a brief, halting step toward reconciliation, military clashes along the long, disputed border between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan have stirred fears of a renewed conflict between the two sides. NY Times

UNAMID, World’s Largest Peacekeeping Mission, Faces Cuts
The United Nations and the African Union are reducing the size of their hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID. Conditions in the western Sudanese region are said to be improving, even as tensions flare along the Sudan/South Sudan border. VOA

Weapons link South Sudan’s White Army to prominent rebel groups
Support for South Sudan’s White Army is complex. Some say backing comes from a diaspora of armed youth, local politicians eager to stoke violence, and militias, writes a guest blogger. CS Monitor

Sudan’s Bashir heads to Arab summit despite ICC warrant
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, left on Wednesday for the Arab League summit in Baghdad, official radio reported. “Bashir left Khartoum for Baghdad, heading the country’s delegation in the Arab League summit,” state-run Radio Omdurman said. AFP

EU To Target Pirates Up to Two Kilometers Inland
Last week, the European Union agreed to expand its anti-piracy mission to include land-based targets in Somalia. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that air attacks up to two kilometers inland will be allowed. But an expansion of the mandate could face obstacles in Berlin, where opposition politicians warn that EU forces could get dragged into fighting on the ground. Spiegle

New strategies needed to eliminate piracy in Gulf of Aden
Somalian pirates have caused mayhem in the waters off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, where more than 20,000 ships transit the waters annually. The Gulf of Aden is now considered the world’s most dangerous due to persistent pirates, who have became more sophisticated and broadened their range of attack. Jerusalem Post

Why Al-Shabaab Will Never Be Able to Control Somalia
Of all my experiences as a graduate student, none can match the time I spent as a teaching assistant for Said Samatar. A professor of African History at Rutgers University-Newark, Samatar is the kind of scholar every up-and-coming aspires, or at least should aspire, to emulate: Intelligent, accessible, puckishly funny (he liked to prepare students for tests by quoting Dante: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”), and armed with a biography that makes one pause before whining about your own petty travails. PolicyMic

Morocco Spends More on Subsidies to Ease Public Opinion on the Political Front
The Moroccans have had their quiet revolution. No drama like Tunisia or Libya, but the regime and the monarchy have taken notice. With public anger boiling at some point over the issue of democracy, Morocco had its near-miss moment. With a clever announcement of changes in the constitution, largely of cosmetic nature, King Mohammed VI swiftly aborted a potential catastrophe, avoiding the sort of fate that the former leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and now Syria have met. The North Africa Journal

Egypt’s military generals defend their business
Egypt’s ruling military council has warned it will not allow civilians to encroach on the armed forces’ extensive business enterprises, in rare comments about its secretive economic interests in the face of increasing demands for public scrutiny. Stars and Stripes

Smoking Kills: Child Labour on Malawi’s Tobacco Farms
Landlocked and with approximately 80% of its population living in rural areas, Malawi’s economy is largely structured around its agricultural sector. Agriculture accounts for more than one third of the Malawi’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 90% of its export revenues. Tobacco alone comprises over half of Malawi’s exports. While large-scale cultivation of tobacco has historically been concentrated in the United States, today approximately 75% of the world’s tobacco is harvested in developing countries. Malawi is now one of the world’s five largest producers, and it appeals to cigarette companies “largely due to low tariffs on unmanufactured tobacco imports, cheap labour and lack of regulations.” Think Africa press

Africa Aerospace and Defence keeps getting better
The week of 19 to 23 September will mark Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD 2012) seventh exhibition, cementing its status as ‘The largest exhibition of air, sea and land capabilities on the African continent’. DefenceWeb

Africa: U.S. AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham Visits AU Peace and Security Department
On March 26, General Carter Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), visited Addis Ababa and the United States Mission to the African Union (USAU) to discuss current USAFRICOM engagement with the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Department and the significant role the African Union (AU) plays in mitigating and resolving conflicts on the African continent. allAfrica

Uganda opposition chief charged after deadly rally

A Ugandan court on Wednesday charged the country’s main opposition leader Kizza Besigye with an offence linked to the killing of a police officer during a rally last week. Radio Netherlands

Gaddafi family assets worth more than €1bn seized in Italy
Assets worth more than €1bn belonging to the late Muammar Gaddafi, his son, and his intelligence chief were seized in Italy in raids by its revenue guard made at the request of the international criminal court in The Hague. They included holdings in some of Italy’s biggest corporations, a 1.5% stake in the Serie A side Juventus and a Harley-Davidson motorbike. The Guardian

Obama’s Real Constitutional Overreach Was Libya, Not Health Care
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the onset of U.S. military engagement in the Libyan civil war. While the verdict is still out on the long-term effects of the conflict for U.S. interests in the region, it’s closer to home where one can point to the war’s greater lasting impact — namely in further increasing the power of the executive branch to wage war without congressional authorization. Foreign Policy

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