Media Review for December 27, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 12/27/2012

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

Violent protests outside French embassy in Central African Republic
The demonstrators say France, the former colonial power, has done little to deter rebels who have taken over large parts of the country’s east and north. “France has a tendency to abandon us,” a protester told news agency AFP. “We no longer need France. France may as well take its embassy and leave.” The French ambassador says the protests sere “particularly violent”. RFI

France says will not intervene in C. Africa’s conflict
President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that French troops would not interfere in the internal affairs of its former colony the Central African Republic, where rebels have seized a large chunk of territory in recent weeks. “If we are present, it is not to protect a regime, it is to protect our nationals and our interests, and in no way to intervene in the internal affairs of a country, in this case Central Africa,” he said. “Those days are gone.” Expatica

CAR: Rebels urge state troops to stop fighting
Rebels in the Central African Republic called on government troops to lay down their arms on Wednesday, but said they had no plans to move on the capital after capturing their fourth major town in a month. “We call on all the sons and daughters of Central Africa, on all members of defence and security forces still loyal to (President) Francois Bozize’s regime… to lay down their arms immediately,” said a statement from the Seleka rebel coalition. News 24

UN, US issue warnings in Central African Republic
The UN has begun evacuating staff and families from the Central African Republic, while the US has also urged its citizens to leave the country as rebel forces closed in on the capital Bangui. France 24

US urges citizens to quit Central African Republic
The United States expressed “deep concern” on Wednesday about fighting in Central African Republic, warning all Americans to leave the country and urging Bangui to protect the US embassy. “The embassy issued an emergency message to all US citizens in the CAR strongly encouraging them to take advantage of commercial flights to depart the CAR until the security situation improved,” the State Department said. AFP

France hastens military intervention against al-Qaida-linked groups in Mali
France has named the general who will lead a European mission to the Sahel region, in a move widely seen as intended to speed up military intervention against al-Qaida-linked forces occupying northern Mali. The announcement came after al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb on Christmas Day issued a four-minute video in which one of the group’s leaders, Abou Zeid, criticised France for “not deigning to respond to our offer of dialogue” over four Frenchmen kidnapped in Niger in September 2010. The video was carried by Mauritanian regional news website Sahara Media. The Guardian

Al-Qaeda group: France endangers hostages by intervening in Mali
A group affiliated with al-Qaeda is accusing France of endangering the lives of a half-dozen French hostages by helping to organize a military intervention in Mali instead of negotiating for the hostages’ release. The accusation, in an online video, came from Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, a battle-hardened Algerian who leads the most active of three squads of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the terrorist group’s affiliate in the Sahel region of northern Africa. The Washington Post

CIA’s Global Response Staff emerging from shadows after incidents in Libya and Pakistan
The rapid collapse of a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya exposed the vulnerabilities of State Department facilities overseas. But the CIA’s ability to fend off a second attack that same night provided a glimpse of a key element in the agency’s defensive arsenal: a secret security force created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Two of the Americans killed in Benghazi were members of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, an innocuously named organization that has recruited hundreds of former U.S. Special Forces operatives to serve as armed guards for the agency’s spies. The Washington Post

Algeria prepares for ‘guerrilla’ warfare
The Algerian military is running combat simulation exercises on rocky terrain, ahead of possible confrontations against armed Islamists and terrorist brigades from northern Mali. Since al-Qaeda and the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) are well-armed with weapons smuggled from Libya and stolen from within Mali, the Algerian army is taking an unconventional approach similar to guerrilla warfare. Magharebia

Mohamed Morsi signs Egypt’s new constitution into law
Egypt’s controversial new constitution has been signed into law by President Mohammed Morsi, a day after he announced it had been approved by a large majority in a referendum that his opponents claim was marked by widespread irregularities. Critics say the new constitution, which was hurriedly drafted by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and its Salafist allies, is undemocratic and too Islamist, and that it could allow clerics to intervene in the lawmaking process and leave minority groups without proper legal protection. The Guardian

State Dept. on Egyptian Constitution
This past weekend, the draft Egyptian constitution passed a public referendum. We have stood with Egyptians as they have engaged in the difficult work of democratic transition. We have consistently supported the principle that democracy requires much more than simple majority rule. It requires protecting the rights and building the institutions that make democracy meaningful and durable.

Al Azhar rises in new Egypt
[...] Enshrining in the legal system a role for Al Azhar, the 1,000-year-old mosque and university and Sunni Islam’s highest authority, could be the most important change of all. Judges and politicians – and before them, kings and rulers – have sought the advice of Al Azhar’s scholars for centuries, but the new constitution lays out changes to the institution in the greatest detail yet. It both guarantees Al Azhar independence over its affairs and gives it a consultative role in determining if new laws are compliant with sharia. The National

Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital in South Africa
The former South African president, Nelson Mandela, has been discharged from hospital, the South African presidency says. Mr Mandela will continue to receive treatment at his home in Johannesburg until he has fully recovered, according to a statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office. Mr Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital 18 days ago. He was treated for a lung infection and gallstones. BBC

South Sudanese fighters attacking disputed area: Khartoum
“Armed groups” from South Sudan clashed with Arab tribesmen in Samaha, a flashpoint border region disputed by Khartoum and Juba, the Sudanese military says. Times Live

Africa image harming aid effort
A negative image of Africa in the UK is harming efforts to raise food aid in the continent, charity Oxfam has said. It found that three out of four people had become desensitised to images showing hunger, drought and disease. Three-quarters thought it was possible to end hunger in Africa, but just one in five believed they could play an active role in achieving it. BBC

Diamonds Are Forever? Not Even Close
Botswana, well known for their diamond industry , is now experiencing a setback despite its relatively positive deal with DeBeers back in the 1960s. Under their agreement, the Botswana government would split a 50/50 joint venture with DeBeers rather than simply taxing them on their revenues. Botswana quickly became the world’s leader of diamond production and is now the source of over one fifth of our world’s diamonds. The Huffington Post

The Other Pivot: America rediscovers diplomacy
The foreign-policy Christmas gift of the year may have been given by the president of the United States and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the new nominee for Clinton’s job, Sen. John Kerry. The gift is not, however, Secretary Clinton’s seventh-floor office at State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom. It is instead related to what could actually someday be seen as the administration’s most important international affairs legacy and Clinton’s greatest contribution as secretary of state: the restoration of diplomacy to its proper place in U.S. international policy. Foreign Policy

Cameroon archbishop calls same-sex marriage crime against humanity
As in most African nations, homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon. But a number of incidents have highlighted the clash between a largely conservative culture backed by draconian law and youth for some of whom it is less of an issue. “Marriage of persons of the same sex is a serious crime against humanity,” Victor Tonye Bakot, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Yaounde, told followers at Christmas Day mass. Times Live

Saving the rhino with US military drones
Clive Vivier, co-founder of the Zululand rhino reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, said he was granted permission by the US state department to buy the state-of-the-art Arcturus T-20 drone. He is now seeking clearance from local civil aviation authorities to put 30 of the drones in South African skies. Radical solutions are needed, he argued, at the end of a year that saw a record of more than 650 rhinos slaughtered for their horns to meet demand from the Far East. Mail and Guardian

In Gabon, Lure of Ivory Is Hard for Many to Resist
Gabon’s government, blessed with billions of dollars of oil money and miles and miles of virgin rain forest, has made many of the right moves to protect its animals by setting aside chunks of land for national parks, actually paying wildlife rangers on time (a rarity in Africa) and recently destroying a towering mountain of ivory in a statement of its refusal to look the other way. But as the price of ivory keeps going up, hitting levels too high for many people to resist, Gabon’s elephants are getting slaughtered by poachers from across the borders and within the rain forests, proof that just about nowhere in Africa are elephants safe. The New York Times

Reverse brain drain: Heading home to Somalia
[...] The more than 20 years of chaos, warfare and destruction that ripped Somalia apart propelled many of its citizens abroad. Today Somalis constitute one of the largest, most far-flung diaspora communities on the planet, with an estimated 1.5 million in the US, Europe and the Gulf States. In many cases they were the lucky ones. But although they left they continued to support networks of relatives in Somalia, sending back up to $2 billion a year in remittances according to World Bank estimates. As Somalia’s war begins to subside, the trickle of returning diaspora Somalis is becoming a tide. GlobalPost

The Story of Kwanzaa
Does your family celebrate Kwanzaa? According to the African-American Cultural Center in Los Angeles, an estimated 40 million people worldwide celebrate Kwanzaa, the African-American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. As Kwanzaa kicks off today, brings you the backstory of the culturally-rich celebration. BET

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