Media Review for January 2, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 01/02/2013

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

Africa Achievements: Top 5 ways the continent shone in 2012
The deadly church and mosque attacks in Nigeria and Kenya, and the deaths of Ghanaian and Ethiopian leaders dominated sub-Saharan Africa headlines in 2012. But lost in the midst were a series of positive stories. For every conflict, there was a milestone. For every violence, there was reconciliation. For every setback, progress. Here are the top 5 positive stories out of the continent, as chosen by those who call it home. CNN

Dozens crushed to death in Ivory Coast stampede
Authorities say at least 61 people were crushed to death and hundreds injured when a stampede broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning, following a New Year’s fireworks display in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital of Abidjan. France 24

Rangers in Isolated Central Africa Uncover Grim Cost of Protecting Wildlife
[...] Out here, among the spent bullet shells and the freshly dug graves, the cost of protecting wildlife is painfully clear. As ivory poaching becomes more militarized, with rebel groups and even government armies slaughtering thousands of elephants across Africa to cash in on record-high ivory prices, a horrible mismatch is shaping up. Wildlife rangers — who tend to be older, maybe a bit slower and incredibly knowledgeable about their environment and the ways of animals, but less so about infantry tactics — are wading into the bush to confront hardened soldiers. The New York Times

Coveting Horns, Ruthless Smugglers’ Rings Put Rhinos in the Cross Hairs
[...] The rhino horn rush has gotten so out of control that it has exploded into a worldwide criminal enterprise, drawing in a surreal cast of characters — not just Thai prostitutes, but also Irish gangsters, Vietnamese diplomats, Chinese scientists, veterinarians, copter pilots, antiques dealers and recently an American rodeo star looking for a quick buck who used Facebook to find some horns. Driven by a common belief in Asia that ground-up rhino horns can cure cancer and other ills, the trade has also been embraced by criminal syndicates that normally traffic drugs and guns, but have branched into the underground animal parts business because it is seen as “low risk, high profit,” American officials say. The New York Times

Mali mission’s political perils
Mali’s army has a history of political aggressiveness, human-rights abuses, chaotic command structures, and resistance to Western training. Those problems are compounded by its uneasy alliance with revenge-minded militia groups. Instilling discipline in this unruly gang could be a near-impossible task. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, a spokesman for Mali’s army said it would welcome a Canadian training effort. Yet he also made clear that the army has its own urgent agenda – which could conflict with a more cautious Canadian approach. The Globe and mail

Traore won’t wait to fight Islamists
Mali’s interim president said on Monday his administration could not wait several months before launching an offensive to wrest the north of the country back from Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda. The United Nations in December approved a plan by regional bloc Ecowas to help Bamako oust the extremists, who have occupied the north for nine months, but officials have warned any intervention was unlikely before September. News 24

Shattered Dreams of Times Square: Brave Young Africans and the Salafists
The youth also dream of joyful crowds, confetti, Frank Sinatra, “New York, New York”… celebrating New Year’s Eve, carefree, with a bunch of friends, a glass of champagne in one hand, dancing and saying, “Happy New Year.” Why should this privilege only be reserved to the West? In Mali, similar to the rest of Africa, the youth dream of a brighter future. Regardless of the threat of Islamists, the military have their putsches with their subjective power. According to poet Birago Diop, we are millions to believe in our Africa, “springing up anew, springing up patiently, obstinately, whose fruit bit by bit acquires the bitter taste of liberty.” The Huffington Post

Renditions continue under Obama, despite due-process concerns
The three European men with Somali roots were arrested on a murky pretext in August as they passed through the small African country of Djibouti. But the reason soon became clear when they were visited in their jail cells by a succession of American interrogators. U.S. agents accused the men — two of them Swedes, the other a longtime resident of Britain — of supporting al-Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that Washington considers a terrorist group. Two months after their arrest, the prisoners were secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in New York, then clandestinely taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the United States to face trial. The Washington Post

US ‘deeply concerned’ over CAR
The United States on Monday voiced deep concern over “the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic” and urged rebels to halt their move on the capital, Bangui. “We call on the rebel alliance to cease hostilities and movements towards the capital. We also call on the rebels to ensure the safety of the civilian population,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement. News 24

Region sends troops to help embattled C. African army
The countries of central Africa began sending reinforcements Tuesday to protect the Central African Republic’s capital from rebels who control much of the country and are demanding the departure of President Francois Bozize. Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon have each pledged 120 troops to join 400 Chadian soldiers already deployed by multinational African peacekeeping force FOMAC to protect the key town of Damara, according to a FOMAC source. France 24

Central African Republic crisis: Bozize offer rejected
Rebels in Central African Republic have dismissed the president’s offer to form a national unity government. “We don’t believe in [Francois] Bozize’s promises,” rebel spokesman Eric Massi told the BBC. He accused the security forces of attacking members of ethnic groups seen as rebel sympathisers – the government has previously denied such claims. BBC

CAR rebels reject AU call for talks
Rebels fighting the president of the Central African Republic, François Bozize, have rejected appeals from the African Union to form a coalition government and to halt their advance on the capital Bangui. “We are not convinced of the commitments made by President Bozize,” said Juma Narkoyo, the rebel spokesman, when reached by telephone by the Associated Press in Bangui on Monday. “Bozize has always spoken, but he never keeps his word.” Al Jazeera

How to Build Democratic Armies
Democracy cannot be consolidated without democratic armies, that is, armies that support the principle of democratic governance. The question of how to build democratic armies, however, largely depends on the political environment in which democratizers and army-builders work. The tasks, processes, and the level of difficulty of building a democratic army will be very different if the starting point is, for instance, following a civil war, a military regime, or newly found independence of a former colony. NDU Press

Maghreb greets New Year amid tight security
Maghreb authorities are at red alert for the end-of-year festivities. Morocco deployed extra security officers to protect New Year revellers, with National Security chief Bouchaib Rmail urging all judicial police officers to be especially vigilant on Tuesday (January 1st). “Security chiefs will focus primarily on the protection of strategic buildings and sites, Christian and Jewish places of worship, restaurants and monuments, and tourists and foreign nationals in general,” he said in Casablanca on December 22nd. Magharebia

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell detained in UAE: report
The United Arab Emirates has arrested an “Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell” that trained local Islamists in how to overthrow Arab governments, a Sharjah-based newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the investigation. The oil-rich Gulf state – of which Sharjah is one part – has previously voiced strong distrust of the Islamist political movement which after long years of being banned took power in free elections in Egypt last year. Al Arabiya

Congo Fighting Leaves A Fragile City On Edge

Goma, a city on the eastern border of the Congo, has been a magnet for war refugees for nearly two decades. And in an expanding camp for displaced people, called Mugunga I, school principal Emmanuel Kibanja Miteso holds up a three-ring binder that reflects the history of war here. The pages are a logbook for parent-teacher conferences. Every time fighting flares in the region, people flood into the displacement camps and the roster of names swells in the principal’s binder. NPR

DR Congo M23 rebels placed under UN sanctions
The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on leaders of the M23 rebel movement in DR Congo. Under the measures, those linked to the group will have their assets frozen and be barred from travel. Similar measures were taken against Rwandan FDLR rebels. Made up of deserters from the army, the M23 captured Goma – on DRC’s eastern border with Rwanda – from government and UN troops last month. BBC

S. Sudan to withdraw its troops from border areas: Kiir
The Republic of South Sudan will withdraw its troops from border areas to allow for the operation of the proposed demilitarized border zone with Sudan, President Salva Kiir said Monday. “We are temporarily withdrawing our forces from the immediate border areas. This will allow the demilitarized border zone to be operational. We hope that these arrangements will make sure that peace and stability is maintained along our common border”, said Kiir in his new year’s message. Sudan Tribune

While change shakes the Arab world, inertia still reigns supreme in Morocco

Is it still plausible to see Morocco as an exception? Thrown into turmoil by the Arab spring, the kingdom has taken great care to promote this notion, while remaining cautiously on the sidelines of the changes rocking the Arab world. Unlike Tunisia there is no controversy about Islamist policies here. Nor has Jordanian-style popular unrest sought to oust the monarchy. On 18 November only a handful of militants gathered outside parliament to demand a cut in the royal budget, estimated at about $300m. A year after the general election that brought the Islamist Justice and Development party (PJD) to power for the first time, Morocco is still keeping a low profile in the Arab world. The Guardian

The Year the Arab Spring Went Bad
In the heady days of (relatively) peaceful mass mobilizations that brought down dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, the mantra from American observers in 2011 was: “Now comes the hard part.” In 2012, it came — with a vengeance. But my guess is that many of those watching the Arab Spring unfold did not really believe this year would be as bloody or fraught with risk as it has turned out to be. Foreign Policy

Jose Ramos-Horta Named UN Envoy To G/Bissau
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has tapped Jose Ramos-Horta, a former East Timor president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, as his new special representative to coup-stricken Guinea-Bissau. The man who helped bring independence to East Timor will also head up the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIOGBIS) in Guinea-Bissau. He replaces Rwandan diplomat Joseph Mutaboba, whose term in the troubled west African nation ends on January 31. AFP on Jollofnews

Africa’s energy consumption growing fastest in world
[...] Africa, home to 15 percent of the world’s population, consumes just 3 percent of the world’s energy output, and 587 million people, including close to three-quarters of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa, still have no access to electricity via national grids. But the situation is changing, and swiftly. At 4.1 percent growth, Africa’s per capita energy consumption is growing faster than anywhere else, driven by improved infrastructure, inward investment, and efforts to tackle corruption. CS Monitor

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