Media Review for January 10, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 01/10/2013

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

Egypt on the brink of economic collapse
An injection of US$2.5 billion (Dh9.1bn) in loans and grants from Qatar is a stopgap solution that delays what Egypt needs – a politically unpopular austerity package to cut the budget deficit and set the stage for growth, economists said. “Getting new loans won’t do anything but slow the problems down,” said Tarek El Ghamrawy of the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies. “The fundamental problems won’t be solved without real changes to the laws and a vast increase in investment. We need factories and projects, not more debts. The Nation

Malian army says seized major town from Islamist rebels
Mali’s army forced Islamist rebels out of an important northeastern town on Wednesday, a senior army official said, the first major pushback by government forces since the north of the country fell to insurgents last year. Reuters

NATO says no Mali plans, Compaore urges talks
NATO said Wednesday that it had not been asked to assist a military alliance in resolving the armed conflict in Mali as Burkina Faso’s president pushed for renewed talks between Islamist fighters and the Malian government. AFp on Daily Times Pakistan

Mali: Civilian militias join counter-terror fight
The task of freeing northern Mali from the grip of radical Islamists is no longer limited to outside mediators, African military forces and the Bamako government. Citizens are also training to save their country. Ganda Koy (or “Lords of the Land” in the Songhoi language) has several thousand members, making it the largest militia in the coalition of armed civilians known as the Patriotic Resistance Forces (FPR). Magharebia

Libya struggles to assert control in Benghazi
Libya’s interim government allocated an emergency budget for Benghazi late last month as authorities seek to restore order and get the economy moving. Prime Minister Ali Zidan held a meeting December 26th with Benghazi city chief Mahmoud Buraziza and the local council’s policy chief Mohamed al-Zouaoui in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Dr Awad Barasi, Interior Minister Ashour Shuwail and Defence Minister Mohammed al-Barghathy. Magharebia

U.S. Condemns Sudanese Bombardment of Rebel Areas
The United States has condemned the Sudanese government’s aerial bombardment of rebel areas in the south and called for the United Nations to take action to address a humanitarian emergency there. “We remain deeply concerned by the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile,” U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice said in New York January 8. Those two states in southern Sudan are fighting an insurgency against the government in Khartoum. State.gov

The US Is Accelerating A Military Policy Shift In Africa
[...] Analysts could look at burgeoning Africa the strategy as countering growing Chinese development influence — though it could also serve to protect Chinese development interest as the U.S. has done in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the deployments, under the newly formed AFRICOM, fit nicely inside the frame of Obama’s two recent nominations — that of drone warfare king John Brennan, and foreign policy conservative Chuck Hagel. Business Insider

New House Foreign Affairs Committee takes shape
The House Foreign Affairs Committee and its staff have new leadership following a series of decisions by the incoming chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). “I am pleased to announce these Subcommittee chairmen, all of whom will be valuable members of the Foreign Affairs Committee leadership team and critical to fulfilling the important mission of the Committee,” Royce said in a Tuesday statement, in which he revealed that the committee will now have 46 members: 25 Republicans and 21 Democrats. Foreign Policy

Rift Between Ugandan President, Parliament Widens
The death of a member of parliament in Uganda has sparked anger against the president, with several MPs accusing his government of murder. The dead woman’s boyfriend has been charged with manslaughter, and an inquest is due to begin soon. Uganda’s parliament has been rocked by scandal, arrests and rumors of poisoning in recent weeks, as lawmakers argue over the death of 24 year-old opposition MP Cerinah Nebanda. The young woman’s boyfriend was arrested in Kenya, and has been charged this week with manslaughter. VOA

Burkina Faso: : Greater efforts needed to avert herder-farmer clashes
Recent fighting between herders and farmers in Burkina Faso’s central-eastern Sangou area which left seven people dead is a warning that recurrent violence between the two groups could get out of hand unless urgent action is taken. “We are used to having frequent clashes between herders and farmers in this part of the country, but they have never been this bad,” said Allahidi Diallo, governor of the Central-East region, one of the country’s most fertile. IRIN

Kenyan ethnic strife overshadows upcoming vote
A potent mix of politics, economics, old ethnic scores and new alliances has turned this remote corner of eastern Kenya into a cauldron of violence that has cast a shadow over the upcoming March 4 elections. France 24

Fake police officer shocks Kenya
An investigation into Kenya’s largest ever loss of police lives may be compromised because one of the men involved lied about who he was. Joshua Waiganjo has been arrested for impersonating a police officer for years before being discovered. Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan explains. Al Jazeera

Kenya Has Over 530,000 Illegal Arms – Report
There are estimated 530,000-680,000 firearms in the wrong hands in Kenya. The number of illegal arms has grown over the years and is said to fuel the conflicts witnessed within Kenya and the region. In an investigation that took close to a year, our correspondent Kassim Mohamed tracked down some of the people who smuggle small arms and light weapons into Kenya and unveils a dangerous trend that can affect the current peace if nothing is done by not just the Kenyan Government but the international community. The Nairobi Star on allAfrica

US backs plans for drones in DR Congo
Plans to help UN peacekeepers working in the Democratic Republic of Congo by using surveillance drones won US backing on Wednesday, despite opposition from Rwanda and other neighbours. “The United States does support the UN’s proposal to use unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles, for example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to increase the surveillance capacity of the UN peacekeeping operation,” a US official said. The East African

Does DRC need surveillance drones?
[...] “We recognise that the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in peacekeeping operations has far-reaching implications on national sovereignty and territorial integrity and thus believe that, as suggested by the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C-34), a clear legal, financial and technical assessment is needed before any endorsement of such technology is put forth”. “Therefore, we express reservations about the introduction of UAVs to peacekeeping operations when the issues that go along with it are still being discussed,” the diplomat added. This position of Rwanda, he said, has nothing to do with Congo. NewTimes

UN wants new troops and night-vision for Congo
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seeking additional resources to strengthen the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo with “intervention” troops, night-vision equipment, surveillance drones with cameras, and enhanced river patrols. U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters Wednesday that Ban sent a letter to the Security Council on Dec. 27 outlining the proposals which are aimed at improving the protection of civilians from the threat of armed groups in Congo’s vast mineral-rich eastern region which has been engulfed in fighting since the 1994 Rwanda genocide. AP on WNCT

Staying connected: A strategy for survival in eastern Congo
[...] With the sheer complexity and intractability of the crisis, eastern Congo is increasingly at the epicentre of professional challenges confronted by the humanitarian community. How to engage with dozens of continuously mutating armed groups to ensure at least a minimum of access and protection of the civilian population against the most egregious attacks is one such challenge.[...] The displaced themselves have clearly demonstrated that their chances of survival and longer-term recovery depend largely on their ability to maintain social connections. Reuniting family members, particularly separated or unaccompanied children, and reconnecting families in social networks, is therefore critical. Al Jazeera

Killing the Dollar Softly In The Democratic Republic of Congo
Top Congolese leaders say it’s time the DRC got off the US currency and returned to the local franc. But ending “dollarization” comes with risks if not done properly. Worldcrunch – Syfia International

Nigeria urged to grant amnesty to Boko Haram militants
A Nigerian security consultant, Max Gbanite, on Wednesday joined the clamor for amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect to end the spate of bombings in the West African country. Gbanite told reporters during the two-day National Summit on Security Challenges in Nigeria held in the capital Abuja that the insurgency by the sect could only be addressed through amnesty. Xinhua

‘Fuel explosion’ and fire erupts at Nigeria’s main port
The explosion occurred on Wednesday on a barge seeking to discharge fuel into a tank on a jetty at the port, leading to a fire that sent a huge plume of smoke into the air but which was put out a couple hours after it began. “There was a ship that was trying to discharge into an oil tank owned by [Nigerian firm] MRS and there was a fire, but I don’t yet have any details as to what led to the fire,” said Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency. Mail and Guardian

Zambia arrests ex-information minister, 3 journalists
Zambian authorities arrested an ex-information minister and three journalists for old stories that were critical of the then opposition leader and now president Michael Sata. Sowetan

President Joyce Banda: New Focus on Women’s Health and Empowerment in Malawi
When Joyce Banda unexpectedly ascended to the presidency of Malawi last April, after the death of President Mutharika, many in her country and around the world wondered what her impact would be as Malawi’s first female president. Among the many challenges, her government faces high rates of maternal mortality, high total fertility rates, and high HIV prevalence among women and girls, combined with low levels of women’s economic empowerment and widespread violence against women. Center for Strategic & International Studies

North Africa: U.S. Navy Ship Takes Security Cooperation Underwater
Currently on deployment to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of responsibility, USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53) has already worked with two different countries, and is scheduled for a third, hosting bilateral diving exchanges, preparing for any future combined missions. “A bilateral diving exchange allows us to work hand in hand with our host nations, such as Spain, Algeria, and Morocco on this deployment,” said civil service mariner Capt. Curtis Smith, master of Grapple. “In the grand scheme of things, if an amphibious or subsurface event occurs that would require the use of multi-national support, we will have an understanding of each nation’s techniques, assets, and limitations with regard to a specific means of diving.” U.S. Navy

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