Media Review for November 14, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 11/14/2012

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

Analysts Press Obama Administration to Focus on sub-Saharan Africa
[...] Many Africa watchers complain that in this environment, the administration has not paid enough attention to sub-Saharan Africa. J Peter Pham, the director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the non-partisan Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, said “There’s a bit of disappointment the president himself has not been so engaged, that in sub-Sahara Africa he arrived in Ghana one time in his first year in office for little more than 19 hours to deliver one speech; there has not been consistent follow up engagement at that very highest of levels. VOA

Kenya: hundreds flee in fear of state wrath after police killings
Hundreds of people fearing a government backlash over the killing of at least 32 police officers are fleeing their homes in north-western Kenya as the military prepares to help police pursue the bandits who carried out the attack, officials have said. Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said a “serious” operation has begun to find those responsible for the deaths of the officers over the weekend. The Guardian

Uganda closes border with DR Congo
Uganda has closed its border with the DR Congo at Bunagana post following reports that the M23 rebels were taxing trucks from the former. Sources told Kampala’s Daily Monitor newspaper Tuesday that trucks heading to DR Congo were stopped by the Ugandan military to deny M23 rebels revenue collection. East African

UN orders sanctions against DRC’s M23 rebel group head
The United Nations and United States have ordered sanctions against the head of a rebel group accused of atrocities as it seized territory in the DRC. Mail and Guardian

What’s happening on Africa’s western front?
A World replete with crises is focusing its attention on a new place, Mali. The strategically located West African country is attracting attention for a lot of reasons: The central government is disintegrating and the rising tide of militancy with links to Al-Qaeda. This combination sent shock waves around the world and has generated an agreement of sorts on the need for military intervention and the offer of a helping hand to a flailing government. MENAFN – Arab News

Growing ties between Egypt, Turkey may signal new regional order
Egypt and Turkey are forging an alliance that showcases two Islamist leaders maneuvering to reshape a Middle East gripped by political upheaval and passionate battles over how deeply the Koran should penetrate public life. The relationship may foreshadow an emerging regional order in which the sway of the United States gradually fades against Islamist voices no longer contained by militaries and pro-Western autocrats. LA Times

Tunisia Battles Over Pulpits, and Revolt’s Legacy
On the Friday after Tunisia’s president fell, Mohamed al-Khelif mounted the pulpit of this city’s historic Grand Mosque to deliver a full-throttle attack on the country’s corrupt culture, to condemn its close ties with the West and to demand that a new constitution implement Shariah, or Islamic law. [...] Mosques across Tunisia blazed with similar sermons that day and, indeed, every Friday since, in what has become the battle of the pulpit, a heated competition to define Tunisia’s religious and political identity. Revolution freed the country’s estimated 5,000 officially sanctioned mosques from the rigid controls of the previous government, which appointed every prayer leader and issued lists of acceptable topics for their Friday sermons. The New York Times

Post-war Sierra Leone’s elections a test of democracy
The elections are viewed as a test of the country’s democratic institutions. After the 11-year-long civil war, which ended in 2002, “political, social and commercial institutions have been rebuilt from virtually nothing”, an analyst of the London-based think tank Chatham House says. Authors of the Pan-African Pambazuka News concur with the importance of progress made, especially “in the area of electoral management,” but warn that “legacies of identity politics, violence, corruption and inequality have been – and will continue to be – harder to overcome.” Mail and Guardian

Strategic Posture Review: Nigeria
Nigeria is a diplomatic force within West Africa, a major participant in continental African politics and an important international actor. As the world’s seventh-most-populous country, its 14th-largest oil producer and home to Africa’s fifth-largest military, Nigeria possesses tremendous resources. Yet Nigeria’s internal security challenges and political dysfunction constrain its role on the regional, continental and world stages. World Politics Review

Mozambique’s ageing ex-guerrillas threaten fresh bloodshed
The marching begins before dawn at a revived Cold War-era guerrilla base nestled at the foot of Mozambique’s remote Gorongosa mountain range. Former anti-communist fighters who laid down arms 20 years ago at the end of a devastating civil war are again preparing to fight. They are angry, believing the peace dividend that has swept Mozambique has passed them by. Times Live

The Real Danger for Egyptian Democracy
Western observers worried about the fate of Egypt’s attempted democratic transition are closely watching the new Muslim Brotherhood–led government for any signs that it will impose an illiberal Islamist straitjacket on the country. It is true that the Brotherhood’s intentions regarding a number of sensitive social and political issues remain uncertain and that clashes between the Brotherhood’s vision for Egypt and some liberal values will surely occur. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Piracy is down, can we all go home?
With the number of pirate attacks on maritime shipping off the coast of Somalia down over the past year, there are increasing calls to declare that the threat from piracy is over. Last month the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said that the number of ships reporting attacks by Somali pirates fell this year to its lowest level since 2009. Worldwide, pirates have killed at least six crew and taken 448 seafarers hostage this year. The IMB reports that 125 vessels were boarded, 24 hijacked and 26 fired upon while there were 58 attempted attacks. Defence Web

Special Report: South Sudan’s Chinese oil puzzle
A few months before South Sudan seceded last year, Henry Odwar drove to a Juba hotel to confront the men who would be at the heart of the new country’s economy. Reuters

Sudan’s Forgotten War
After years of war in Sudan, Bernard-Henri Lévy asks Yasir Arman, secretary-general of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, what the world can do to stop the violence. The Daily Beast

After Qaddafi: The Surprising Success of the New Libya
Security agencies, parents and non-governmental organisations in Uganda have sounded alarm bells over the increasing number of children who are being killed for ritual purposes. At least six children are believed to have been murdered in the last three weeks for suspected ritual purposes in northern Uganda, a child protection organisation has said. Foreign Affairs

Africa : International Humanitarian Law
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) defines International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as: “International rules, established by treaties or custom, which are specifically intended to solve humanitarian problems directly arising from international or non-international armed conflicts and which, for humanitarian reasons, limit the right of parties to a conflict to use the methods and means of warfare of their choice or protect persons and property that are, or may be, affected by conflict[1].” Think Africa Press

Canada Eyes African Resources amid Shrinking Foreign Aid
With an initial focus on oil-producing Nigeria and mineral-rich Ghana, Ottawa is bolstering its trade strategy in Africa, but some within the international development and economic communities have expressed concerns about Canada’s approach. The Canadian government was criticised for cutting foreign aid a few years ago, and in particular when Africa amassed some of the greatest hits. IPS

Zimbabwe: Succumbing to the debt trap
[...] Zimbabwe’s newspapers are filled with public notices for auctions as many other individuals and companies lose their property to banks and money-lenders after falling behind on loan repayments. The country’s financial sector has enjoyed three years of economic growth following the adoption of multiple currencies in early 2009 and an end to a tumultuous trading period characterized by record inflation, bank closures and failures. Buoyed by phenomenal growth in deposits and a steady currency, many banks have introduced personal bank loans to attract new clients. IRIN

Somalia news website is run by the US military
The website’s headlines trumpet al-Shabab’s imminent demise and describe an American jihadist fretting over insurgent infighting. At first glance it appears to be a sleek, Horn of Africa news site. But the site – sabahionline.com – is run by the U.S. military. The site, and another one like it that centers on northwest Africa, is part of a propaganda effort by the U.S. military’s Africa Command aimed at countering extremists in two of Africa’s most dangerous regions – Somalia and the Maghreb. Stars and Stripes

Does It Matter Who the Next Secretary of State Is?
Whether Kerry, Rice, Donilon, or somebody else is named America’s top diplomat, there will be one man in charge in Foggy Bottom — Barack Obama. Foreign Policy

The Expendables: The Dark Romance and Grim Reality of Life in the French Foreign Legion
It’s the dark romance of the French Foreign Legion: haunted men from everywhere, fighting anywhere, dying for causes not their own. Legionnaires need war, certainly, and Afghanistan is winding down. But there’s always the hopeless battle against rogue gold miners in French Guiana . . . Vanity Fair

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