Media Review for May 29, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 05/29/2012

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.

Les Dépêches

US wades deeper into counterterrorism fight in Yemen and East Africa
A congressionally approved $75 million cash influx for American-led counterterrorism operations in Yemen and East Africa is the latest sign of a quietly escalating war against terrorist factions in the region. The money was part of the $631 billion defense budget bill approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. Those funds will finance DOD efforts to support ongoing counterterrorism offensives against al Qaeda’s terror cells in Yemen and East Africa, according to the legislation. The Hill

US security experts meet today on Boko Haram
AS debates rage on the classification of Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation in the United States, top security and intelligence experts will today (Tuesday) gather in Washington, United States, to brainstorm on the challenges posed by the sect to the Nigerian and United States security. The panel’s discussions with the theme, “Threats to Nigeria’s Security: Boko Haram and Beyond,” will be held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, under the sponsorship of Jamestown Foundation. Nigerian Tribune

Nigeria Islamic group Boko Haram spreads fear far and wide
[...] Boko Haram radically changed its tactics and ideology after mid-2010 when a leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said in an interview that his group would give the militants weapons and training, analyst J. Peter Pham contended in a paper last month for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in Washington. LA Times

Egypt confirms Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq in election runoff
Egypt’s final presidential race is now certain to be between the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate and a former air force general who is widely considered to be a stalwart supporter of the deposed Hosni Mubarak, it has been confirmed . The Guardian

Egypt’s Presidential Choices: The Trouble with Democracy
To Egypt’s liberals and leftists, it’s a nightmare scenario. In a race that involved 13 candidates, and five frontrunners — including three relative moderates, like Sabbahi — the country has wound up with two extremes to choose their next leader from. It’s a reality that has left some Egyptians promising to boycott the June electoral finale, and others simply wondering: where did we go wrong? Time

Kenyan PM: Nairobi Blast an Act of Terrorism
An explosion tore through a clothing shop in downtown Nairobi Monday. Police say at least 28 people were injured, but the cause of the blast was not immediately known. VOA

Mali Tuaregs and Islamist rebels to merge and create new state
The two rebel groups that seized control of the northern half of Mali have announced they are to fuse their movements and work together to create an independent Islamic state on the territory they occupy, a signatory to the agreement said. Alghabass Ag Intalla, one of the leaders of Ansar Dine, which is fighting to create an Islamic state, confirmed that his movement was joining with the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, a secular rebel group led by Tuareg separatists. The Guardian

Mauritanian troops stage border drills
Mauritania held extensive military exercises last week outside the city of Bassiknou, located along the Malian border. The operations were part of efforts to step up border surveillance and prevent the infiltration of terrorists and smugglers, Mauritania’s Aray al-Mostenir reported May 22nd, noting that the country’s security forces were placed on high alert. Magharebia

AQIM leader reveals strategy
A long-time GSPC and al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader spoke this week, on condition of anonymity, about the organisation’s history in Algeria and its future plans for Mali. “AQIM leaders usually reveal their real identities when they claim an attack, pass a message or express a position on an issue,” Alakhbar editor Sid Ahmed Ould Baba told Magharebia about his website’s landmark interview with the terrorist on May 20th. “It’s different when they talk about strategy and history.” Magharebia

Congo May Have Violated IMF Deal With Mining Asset Sale
The Democratic Republic of Congo sold a stake in a mining company last year, according to company minutes, potentially breaching conditions attached to the country’s $561 million International Monetary Fund loan agreement because it failed to disclose the transaction. Bloomberg

Sisulu fights for an increased defence budget
Defence departments are normally associated wars, but the South African Department of Defence is fighting a foe that every citizen can associate with: money. The Department of Defence and Military Veterans is waging a hard battle to gain much needed funds to maintain the Defence Force’s capabilities at a time when Cabinet is placing ever more responsibilities on its plate. This is something the Department has in common with many other defence forces around the world. DefenceWeb

African Union troops secure Somali aid corridor
African Union and Somali government troops secured an aid corridor between Mogadishu and a former rebel stronghold close to the capital, the AU said, wresting control of a strip of land believed to hold around 400,000 people displaced by conflict. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces seized the town of Afgoye from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents on Friday. DefenceWeb

Somali forces storm suspected pirate base in Puntland
Police in Somalia’s northern Puntland region have arrested several suspected pirates, including a heavily armed gang accused of holding a Danish family hostage last year, officials said Monday. Troops from semi-autonomous Puntland attacked the northeastern pirate base of Hafun on Sunday, arresting 11 men including suspected pirate Mohamed Hassan — known as Dhafoor — and seizing automatic rifles and a machine gun. Al Arabiya

On the frontline: Amisom’s mother of all battles to capture Afgoye, Somalia
On the morning of Tuesday May 22, as showers of rain bombarded Mogadishu, African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) and Somali forces loaded and oiled their guns and shared last-minute jokes as they prepared for their bravest and most dangerous mission so far. The battle of the Afgoye corridor was a decisive one in the campaign known as ‘Operation Free Shabelle.’ Anything could go wrong. “It is a day to make heroes,” Somali National Army Deputy Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Abdi Kareem, alias Dhagabadan, told his forces. The East African

Take a holiday in Somaliland: journey to the state that isn’t
[...] The Somali diaspora is well-known internationally, particularly since the civil war forced many of them out into prominent communities in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Somalia is now the second biggest importer of goods from Dubai, with wooden dhows risking pirates whilst plying trade routes across the Arabian Sea to dock at Berbera, Bosaso or Mogadishu down the Somali coast. Positioned on the upper haunch of the Somali dog-leg the Republic of Somaliland looks initially unpromising. It is mainly dry and rocky, there are few paved roads, and the population is small and generally dispersed. Only in the capital city do you really see the potential of the place. Downtown Hargeisa is booming, and the centre of the boom is Dahabshiil – the country, and region’s major money transfer company. African Argument

Guniea-Bissau: ECOWAS, coup plotters and drug kingpins
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has deployed the last batch of a 600-strong regional military force mandated to restore stability in Guinea-Bissau following the April coup that shook the inceasingly unstable West African nation. The Africa Report

How Crumbling U.S. Dollars Bailed Out Zimbabwe
Four years ago, Zimbabwe experienced one of the worst cases of hyperinflation in history. The country abandoned its own currency and switched to the U.S. dollar — a move experts say prevented a complete economic collapse. But using American dollars has created a host of bizarre issues. The bills are filthy, crumbling and often in short supply. There are no U.S. coins to make change, so chocolate is handed out instead. There is, oddly, an abundance of $2 bills. NPR

600-strong ECOWAS mission deployed in Guinea-Bissau
The 600-strong mission of the West African bloc ECOWAS has been deployed in Guinea-Bissau to facilitate the return of constitutional rule and military reform after the April 12 coup, according to local press. Xinhua

Sudan announces withdrawal of troops from Abyei
The Sudanese army known as SAF has redeployed troops out of the hotly contested region of Abyei at the behest of African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki, the country’s official news agency, SUNA, reported on Monday. “The [Sudanese] Armed Forces announces its withdrawal from Abyei on the request of Mbeki” SUNA said, citing a statement by SAF. Sudan Tribune

UN: Rwandans trained to fight in DRC
Rwandan citizens have been recruited and trained to fight in support of army mutineers in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a confidential UN report obtained by the BBC. “The United Nations has conducted interviews with 11 combatants who abandoned their positions in the mountainous forests on the border between the DRC and Rwanda. News 24

Museveni backs First Lady for the presidency
President Yoweri Museveni’s recent statement in an interview with NTV Uganda that he will not be in office beyond the constitutional age limit of 75 years has kicked off a race to succeed the Ugandan leader, with frontrunners jockeying to win the big man’s backing. The East African

Tanzania: Rioters Torch Churches in Zanzibar
POLICE are hunting for suspects in connection with Saturday night’s clashes in the municipality of Zanzibar, that left property destroyed including two churches that were set on fire. Police confirmed yesterday that Uamsho faith group was to blame for the criminal acts. Tanzania daily news on allAfrica

Mass anti-government protest in Morocco
Tens of thousands of Moroccans have taken to the streets of Casablanca in protests against the government’s failure to tackle unemployment and other social woes. Sunday’s rally, which is believed to be the largest opposition protest since a new government took office, was organised by trade unions. They accuse Abdelilah Benkirane, the prime minister of failing to deliver on the pledges of social justice that brought his party to power in November. Al Jazeera

Me Against the World
In a Foreign Policy exclusive, American jihadist (and rapper) Omar Hammami sends word about al Shabaab’s bloody leadership wars and how he became a target. Foreign Policy

View Past Issues