Media Review for December 18, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 12/18/2012

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

NATO: Somali pirates seized no ships for 6 months
NATO officials say no ships have been hijacked off the Somali coast in the second half of this year, reflecting a sharp decrease in piracy along one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. Commodore Ben Bekkering attributed the success to the continuing efforts of an international fleet along the coastline, combined with better security measures by merchant ships and increased pressure on the pirates within Somalia itself. AP on The Washington Post

AQIM’s senior leader arrested in Algeria
Algeria’s counterterrorism forces on Monday arrested the Number Two leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Salah Gasmi, alias Mohamed Abu Salah, local media reported. After being informed of the AQIM senior official’s whereabouts in Cheurfa in Bouira province, 130 km southeast of the capital Algiers, security forces arrested him near a restaurant at around 2 p.m. (1300 GMT) Monday, TSA news website reported citing security sources. Abu Salah is being interrogated by security services, the sources said. Xinhua

The Challenges of Retaking Northern Mali
Once considered Africa’s flagship of democracy, Mali has turned into a shipwreck of anarchy seemingly overnight. Restoring state authority and legitimacy to northern Mali will require a radical break with the governance and security strategies adopted by Malian political elites during previous decades. This article will show why northern Mali is prone to rebellion. It will then explain how the state has supported militias to quell these frequent uprisings, argue that the state might reemploy that same strategy to unseat Islamist militants in the north, and identify what results an international military intervention might bring. Combating Terrorism Center

French push Algeria to join Mali incursion
French President Francois Hollande flies to Algeria, North Africa’s military heavyweight, this week seeking to persuade its leaders to back armed intervention in Mali to crush Islamist militants there, an undertaking many see as fraught with risk. UPI

General Azazi’s Final Hour
[...] The General was a towering man. Dressed in a grey striped French suite and black shoes, I watched him walk in his usual calculated steps as he left the tent to the other tent where the reception for visitors was to be held. He looked fresh, like he had rested well after his surprising removal as National Security Adviser. [...] He was served soup and he ate light. In about forty-five minutes he was done. Just about then, he receives a signal that the ill-fated helicopter was on its way. Osun Defender

Curbing Violence in Nigeria: The Jos Crisis
Since 2001, violence has erupted in Jos city, capital of Plateau state, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region. The ostensible dispute is over the “rights” of the indigene Berom/Anaguta/Afizere (BAA) group and the rival claims of the Hausa-Fulani settlers to land, power and resources. Indigene-settler conflicts are not new to Nigeria, but the country is currently experiencing widespread intercommunal strife, which particularly affects the Middle Belt. The Jos crisis is the result of failure to amend the constitution to privilege broad-based citizenship over exclusive indigene status and ensure that residency rather than indigeneity determines citizens’ rights. International Crisis Group

Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala: Kidnappers ‘demanded resignation’
Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says her mother’s kidnappers demanded her resignation. In her first public comments since her 82-year-old mother’s release, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said the kidnappers mentioned her battle against a multi-billion dollar fuel scam. Kamene Okonjo was freed on Friday after gunmen held her for five days. BBC

Congo militia boss Ngudjolo acquitted of war crimes at Hague
Former Congolese militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui has been acquitted by the International Criminal Court of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The case related to the 2003 killings of 200 residents of Bogoro village in the mineral-rich Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The court in the Hague heard reports of victims being burned alive, babies smashed against walls and women raped. Mr Ngudjolo denied ordering the attack, saying he learned of it days later. BBC

Troops Mass in Fought-Over City, Raising Fear of New Violence in Congo
Hundreds of troops from opposing sides have been moving into new positions around Goma, a strategic, contested city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, aid organizations said Sunday, raising worries of yet another explosion of violence. Witnesses reported that truckloads of Rwandan soldiers recently crossed the border and were camped within 20 miles of Goma, which was captured last month and briefly occupied by a rebel force called the M23 movement. United Nations officials confirmed a sudden military buildup around Goma but said that they did not know the identities of the various groups of soldiers. The New York Times

Libya: Zidan discusses diplomatic tour
Interim Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan returned home Friday (December 14th) following a whirlwind diplomatic tour that took him to Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan. According to Zidan, the visit primarily focused on security and sending a message to all countries that Libya today is “a country of good neighbourhood relations, close ties and is no longer a source of worry or disturbance for neighbours”. Magharebia

100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense
The U. S. defense community encompasses the best America has to offer: leadership, innovation, technology and vision. It’s a combination that has helped ensure the U.S. has fielded the best-trained, best-equipped military force in the world for nearly a century. But the U.S. military does not exist in a vacuum. The world’s most powerful military operates under the civilian control of the president and his appointees and is funded through Congress; its size, shape and employment are determined by many influencers, both civilian and military. Some are elected; most are not. Some move in and out of government, alternating between stints in industry and think tanks, and others wield influence less visibly, sharing experience and wisdom behind closed doors. Defense News

Untouchable: How come nobody ever blames Hillary Clinton for anything?
Washington can be a cruel and unforgiving place. Want a friend? Harry Truman once said. Get a dog. Or maybe he didn’t say it. But it’s a good point: In this town, nobody gets a free pass from the press, the pundits, and the pols. Nobody, that is, until Hillary Clinton. At the end of her tenure as secretary of state, she alone has emerged virtually unscathed — the lone superstar of the president’s first term. A recent poll has her numbers well above the president’s and exceeded only by — you guessed it — her husband Bill. And those high favorability ratings have remained pretty consistent since 2008. Foreign Policy

AFRICOM headquarters to stay in Germany, Dempsey says
U.S. Africa Command isn’t going anywhere, at least for now, according to the U.S. military’s top officer. Since it became fully operational four years ago, perhaps nothing about AFRICOM has been a source of more controversy than its location. From the outset, numerous African countries pushed back against the idea of an AFRICOM headquarters on the continent while political leaders in the U.S. have steadily lobbied for the command to be relocated to their home districts. Stars and Stripes

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni: Don’t kill gay people
Uganda’s president has said gay people should not be killed or persecuted, as MPs continue to consider a controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In his first public comments on the bill for some time, President Yoweri Museveni also said that homosexuality should not be promoted. The original version of the bill stipulated the death penalty for some homosexual acts but this has reportedly been dropped. BBC

President Teodoro Obiang plans new Equatorial Guinea capital
Deep in the rainforest of Equatorial Guinea, a giant dome of steel and glass forms the centrepiece of one of the most grandiose construction projects in Africa. The Telegraph

Egypt’s top prosecutor quits ‘under pressure’
Egypt’s Prosecutor General Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah (left) submitted his resignation on Monday “under pressure from protesters”, a judicial source said, just weeks after President Mohammed Morsi swore him in after sacking his predecessor. France 24

ElBaradei: Washington’s Giving the Muslim Brotherhood the Mubarak Treatment
[...] “[Brotherhood officials] are using the same language of Mubarak — stability. These guys are thugs. It’s the same thing,” he says. “At least by what you read, some of the [Brotherhood's] militias are killing some of these guys [in street clashes] — they are using the same tactics. Except they have beards.” The interview came with Egypt in the midst of a referendum on a new draft constitution, which was primarily written by the Muslim Brotherhood and its hard-line allies, the Salafis. ElBaradei, who has tried to rally the “no” vote, says the document “confuses law and morality.” Foreign Policy

Licensed to kill: The world of Kenya’s elite forces
In 2009, Captain Xavier Omondi of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) led a team of six to the US Army National Guard (ARNG) Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. Their mission was so secretive that not even their closest friends in the military knew about it, and their arrival on US soil on August 8, 2009 was the second time is as many years that Kenyan soldiers had stepped out for specialised Ranger training. Daily Nation

After grenade attacks, Kenya wants Somali refugees in camps
In light of an uptick in violent attacks in Kenya over the past year, often linked to Somalia’s Al-Shabab, Kenya recently ordered all refugees living in its urban areas to move to established refugee camps. CS Monitor

The Last Stand of Somalia’s Jihad
[...] Operation Linda Nchi is the first combat deployment ever undertaken by the KDF; until now it has been confined to supporting U.N. peacekeeping missions. The original aim of Linda Nchi, which means “Protect the Nation” in Kiswahili, was to keep the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab out of Kenya. But the KDF has now been in Somalia for over a year. It has 2,500 troops here and plans to deploy 2,000 more by next year. According to commanders, the new mission is to “mop up” what is left of al-Shabab — that is, to end the Islamist insurgency for good. Foreign Policy

Al-Shabaab leader admits defeats
Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane has admitted publicly that his group’s fighters have been defeated in a series of recent battles in Somalia. “This year comes as the crusade against Islamic rule in Somalia has been mounting and the crusader enemy has intensified its military, security, political and media capabilities to dim the light of sharia and defeat Islamic rule,” he said in an audio message released Tuesday (December 11th) by al-Kataib Foundation, al-Shabaab’s media centre, and other websites affiliated with the group. Sabahi

Sudan: Mbeki makes new proposals to break deadlocked security talks
The African mediation handed new proposals for the Sudanese and South Sudanese delegations aiming to help the two sides to strike a deal on the implementation of the security arrangements. The two countries failed in two meetings held in Juba and Khartoum to agree on the implementation of the security deal inked last September because Khartoum demands Juba to disengage with the SPLM-North rebels while the latter says this issue is not part of the signed agreement. Sudan Tribune

£5bn illegally taken out of Zambia over past decade, says report
More than £5bn has been illegally siphoned out of Zambia over 10 years, with most of it ending it up in offshore banks and tax havens, according to a report by financial transparency campaigners. Washington-based group Global Financial Integrity blamed “crime, corruption and tax evasion” for the loss of $8.8bn (£5.4bn) from the resource-rich country. The lost money, most of which can be traced to multinational copper mining operations, is equivalent to almost half of Zambia’s GDP. The Guardian

South Africa: ANC leadership debate swamps meaningful discussion of policy
This week in South Africa it seems like an entire nation’s hopes are pinned on the decision 4500 delegates will make at Mangaung in the Free State. More than 50 million South Africans at the mercy of policy resolutions determined by the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), which are likely to filter down to the overall policy objectives of the country. The drama intensified last week when Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe stated he will challenge Zuma for the leadership. Multimillionaire tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa also threw his hat in to the ring for deputy president of the party, challenging National Executive Committee (NEC) members Tokyo Sexwale, Mathews Phosa and Motlanthe. African Argument

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