Media Review for June 11, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 06/11/2012

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

First senior U.S. official in 19 years visits Mogadishu
For the first time in nearly 20 years, a senior U.S. official visited the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Sunday, a sign of improving security in a country long considered a failed state. Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African affairs, met with Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, president of Somalia’s transitional government, along with several high-ranking government and diplomatic officials. CNN

US to act firmly on ’spoiler’ Somalis
The United States will impose travel sanctions and freeze assets of Somalis who hinder a political roadmap towards a new constitution and president in the Horn-of-Africa nation, a senior State Department official said on Sunday. Somalia faces an August deadline to achieve both targets, which are a key step towards restoring stability after more than two decades of turmoil following the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. News 24

Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Pull Out Main Town in Central Somalia
Columns of Ethiopian troops and pro government Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a ASWJ fighters backed by armored vehicles have on Sunday pulled out completely from the main town of Al Bur in Galgadud region, central Somalia, local residents said. Shabelle media Network on allAfrica

Enhanced Policing is Critical to Sustain Military Victories in Somalia
Recent victories over the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab in Somalia have boosted the confidence of the Somali government’s forces and its allies, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Kenya and Ethiopia. However, al-Shabaab hasn’t simply fled the areas where it has been defeated, but has resorted to guerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks, suicide bombings and grenade attacks. The people in the ‘liberated’ areas are now living in fear of reprisal attacks from the militants and doubt whether the government could provide them with sufficient protection. Thus, the significance of enhanced policing in these areas increases. ISS

3,000 soldiers to serve in Africa next year
A brigade will deploy to Africa next year in a pilot program that assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe, the Army announced in May. Roughly 3,000 soldiers — and likely more — are expected to serve tours across the continent in 2013, training foreign militaries and aiding locals. As part of a “regionally aligned force concept,” soldiers will live and work among Africans in safe communities approved by the U.S. government, said Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, head of U.S. Army Africa. Army Times

Kenyan minister’s death in helicopter crash fuels terrorism fears
The architect of Kenya’s military campaign in Somalia and a leading presidential candidate for next year’s election has died in a helicopter crash in the hills outside the capital, Nairobi. The Internal Security Minister, George Saitoti, and at least five of his colleagues died when the police helicopter they were travelling in crashed on the outskirts of the city. Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash, which comes at a time when Kenya is on high alert for terrorist attacks. “As we speak now, nobody knows the cause of the accident,” the Prime Minister Raila Odinga said yesterday. The Independant

With Kenya election, East Africa enters make or break season
As Kenya heads into the first election under its new Constitution, the East African Community too will begin its most dramatic transition. The transition season will end in 2017 in Rwanda, when President Paul Kagame is scheduled to step down. How the leaders and East African citizens play their hands over this period, could make or break the East African project. The East African

An Arms Buyback For Libya? – Analysis
[...] The surfeit arms floating have caused a massive illegal and clandestine immigration problem, with fighters from other African nations and members of militant groups, including Al Qaeda, constituting a major influx of people into the country. This population influx, a product of permeable Libyan borders, is exacerbating the arms smuggling and trafficking problem in Libya. Contrary to U.S. claims that no weapons have left the country, Libyan weapons are disappearing at an alarming rate. Intelligence reports claim that African jihadist group Boko Haram, Al Qaeda militants, Somali pirates and Iran have all acquired weapons from Libya in the last few months. Additionally, weapons originating from Libya have been found in Algerian and Egyptian arms black markets, with Egypt and Yemen responsible for intercepting shipments of Libyan arms headed towards Syria. Eurasia Review

Libya now ruled by the law of retribution
In Libya, executions, arbitrary arrests and torture emerge while the judicial system remains in paralysis, and suspected Moammar Kadafi supporters are targeted. LA Times

Boko Haram claims twin attack on Jos churches
A suicide bomber blew himself up at a church in the city of Jos on Sunday as militants sprayed a congregation with gunfire at another church a few hundred kilometres away. A purported spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks. France 24 \

US ‘concerned’ about M23, silent on Rwanda role
The United States said last week it is “concerned” about a troop mutiny in the Democratic Republic of Congo and by “recent reports of outside support” for mutineers operating under the name M23. The East African

Zimbabwe’s military sounds coup warning
Political parties and pressure groups fear that top military commanders are plotting to seize power in a coup in the event President Robert Mugabe’s dies or loses an election. The Africa report

Calls of the drones: Fears of an al Qaeda safe haven in the Sahara are overblown
[...] So should America start worrying about yet another haven for Islamist terrorists? Intelligence officials have been speculating for years about links between Sahelian tribes and the group known as al Qaeda in the Maghreb, or AQIM. Azawad looks like the realization of their worst nightmares. AQIM could treat Azawad as a host site, just as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has done with southern Yemen. And with the recent killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, al Qaeda’s No. 2, American officials have begun to think that the locus of jihadi activity may increasingly shift away from the Afghan-Pakistani border to the Persian Gulf and to North Africa. Azawad, in short, could be the next destination for the armed drones which have become the Obama administration’s weapon of choice in the war on terror. The Foreign Policy

EU security experts in Niger amid Sahel fears
An advance party of European military and civilian security advisors has arrived in northern Niger in a mission brought forward due to deepening fears over the threat of terrorism from neighboring Mali, Nigerien officials said. Reuters

Long reach of terrorism in Morocco
Morocco recently dismantled a terror cell dating back to the 1970s, raising spectres from the past for victims and families, and reopening a debate on the country’s painful history with extremism. After Judicial Police (BNJP) arrested at least 15 alleged members of the Harakat al-Mujahedeen al-Maghrabia (”Mujahadeen Movement in Morocco”) on May 5th, investigators found weapons stockpiled on farms near Tiflet and Sebaâ Ayoun. The arms arsenals are believed to have been hidden by members of the cell after the 2003 Casablanca suicide bombings that killed more than 40 people. Magharebia

Liberia seals Ivory Coast border after UN attacked
Ivorian government forces vowed Saturday to hunt down those responsible for an ambush that killed at least seven U.N. peacekeepers, while Liberia sealed its border amid fears that the gunmen had used the country to stage the cross-border attack. Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown said the president had ordered the immediate deployment of the armed forces to the border in the wake of Friday’s attack near the Ivorian town of Tai, which also left at least eight civilians dead and sent hundreds of people fleeing the area. AP on the Boston Globe

Liberia, Ivory Coast disagree over deadly ambush on UN
Liberia has called a deadly ambush Friday on a village across the border in Cote d’Ivoire an “act of terrorism” and has ordered the immediate closure of the border. But the Liberian government has said it cannot confirm whether the attackers came from within its territory, while the Ivorian government firmly asserts they did. CS Monitor

Cuba injects doctor diplomacy into Africa
Africa is a growth market for the world’s best-known Cuban brand after Havana Club rum and Cohiba cigars. That would be Cuba Rx, also known as Havana’s doctor diplomacy. A generation ago, Fidel Castro sent Cuban soldiers to intervene in African civil conflicts and fight the Cold War against US proxies. Now, Cuba’s doctors are fanning out across the continent as the island expands its role in administering medical services to some of the world’s most ailing countries. For Cuba the effort is good philanthropy, good diplomacy and, in some cases, good business. The Cuban missionaries are part of a widening global medical outreach that has boosted Havana’s ties around the world and earned billions in hard currency for the cash-strapped Castro government. Globalpost

France Africa relations: Le Grand Divorce?
Informal networks and unscrutinised presidential authority have shaped France’s Africa policy for decades. The last time a socialist politician won the presidency – François Mitterrand (1981-1995) – he promised to radically shake up France-Africa relations, as did President Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012). It is now President François Hollande’s turn to try to push for good governance and to normalise relations with France’s former colonies. The Africa Report

New Generation of Ethiopians March Toward Dream of Acceptance in Israel
[...] Armies of volunteers and organizations, and a plethora of programs largely financed by American Jews, helped ease the transition of the Ethiopians from the rural life to modern Israeli society. The government has also allocated significant resources to help them. But a second generation of young, educated adults who have grown up in Israel say they are still struggling to be accepted as Israeli, and are distancing themselves from the grateful passivity of their parents. The New York Times

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