Media Review for January 22, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 01/22/2013

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

Media Review Special – Obama’s Second Inauguration – African elections
Africa center for Strategic Studies

Terrorist Attack in Algeria
Compilation of articles by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies

North Africa Is a New Test
The bloody resolution of the hostage crisis in Algeria has brought into focus the broader challenges the United States and its allies face in confronting terrorist cells that have taken up sanctuary across northern Africa. The United States and France have been courting Algeria for months, hoping to secure its support for an international effort to evict Islamic militants out of northern Mali. But the militants’ advance south, which set off an appeal for the French military intervention by the Mali government, and the hostage-taking at a gas-producing complex in the Sahara to the north have caught the United States by surprise and prompted fresh White House vows to combat terrorism in the region. The New York Times

Mali conflict exposes White House-Pentagon split
The widening war in Mali has opened divisions between the White House and the Pentagon over the danger posed by a mix of Islamist militant groups, some with murky ties to Al Qaeda, that are creating havoc in West Africa. Although no one is suggesting that the groups pose an imminent threat to the United States, the French military intervention in Mali and a terrorist attack against an international gas complex in neighboring Algeria have prompted sharp Obama administration debate over whether the militants present enough of a risk to U.S. allies or interests to warrant a military response. LA Times

France says military goal is ‘total reconquest of Mali’
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday the end goal of France’s military action in Mali was to retake control of the whole country from Islamist militants who have seized the north. “The goal is the total reconquest of Mali. We will not leave any pockets” of resistance, Le Drian said on France 5 television. “The goal is to ensure that AFISMA, the African force, can take the baton from our own intervention,” he said. France 24

French, Malian Troops Retake Rebel-Controlled Town
French and Malian troops have retaken the town of Diabaly in central Mali from Islamist militants. A witness in Diabaly told VOA the town was retaken Monday, a week after Islamist fighters seized control. Reports from the area say armored vehicles carrying French and Malian soldiers entered the town with no resistance, after days of French airstrikes. Residents say Islamists either fled the town or are attempting to blend in with the local population. VOA

Senegal starts to send troops to Mali
A group of some 60 soldiers of the 500 men contingent that Senegal has decided to send to Mali as part of the multinational force of West Africa, left Dakar to Bamako on Sunday, local media reported. Private radio RFM reported the movement but did not give details on the deployment schedule of the Senegalese contingent. Xinhua

Making Sense of Mali: mThe Real Stakes of the War Rocking West Africa
Recent reports have oversimplified the conflict in Mali, hinting that the country hosts a coherent Tuareg separatist bloc and a popular radical Islamist movement. In fact, mainstream Malians love neither. Most of them just want a return to democracy with broader participation and more freedoms — the precise opposite of what they fear the separatists and Islamists would bring. As long as French assistance helps hold those groups off, it will be welcome. Foreign Affairs

France and Mali: An ‘ironic’ relationship
The French President Francois Hollande has this week sent more soldiers into Mali, despite his previous promise to downsize their military presence there. The situation reflects France’s complex with the West African country. For as long as I have been covering French news, which is more than 20 years now, there has been a constant refrain that it is time to move away from the old idea of what they call here La Francafrique. BBC

Mali’s army suspected of abuses and unlawful killings as war rages
There are growing reports of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses in Mali, as troops battle Islamist militants in the west African country. Residents of Mopti, in the centre of the country, told the Observer of arrests, interrogations and the torture of innocents by the Malian army of those mistakenly suspected of involvement in rebel activity. “One day my son just disappeared,” said a woman from the Fulani ethnic group, who asked not to be named. “We looked for him there for two or three days, but couldn’t find him. Then some people told us that on the day he left, the army shot two people and put them in a pit inside the military base.” The Guardian

‘Vive La France:’ Quick Islamist retreat raises questions about Mali’s army
On Saturday morning, a Malian commander painfully tried to explain why none of his troops had moved north despite a rebel retreat 24 hours earlier in a train of vehicles that had headed northeast to the desert. “There is no enemy in Diabaly, but they may have scattered in the bush,” Col. Keba Sangare said. “We are prepared, but we are waiting for orders.” On the road just a few yards away, a bus rolled past, so overflowing that men clung to the back for a ride. Where are you going? “Diabaly,” the driver shouted back. McClatchy

Politics, logistics, fears cloud timetable for African troops promised to help troubled Mali
West African nations that promised to send troops to fight al-Qaida in Mali are finding it’s a lot trickier than they’d hoped to actually get boots on the ground. Political debates, fears that fleeing militants might scatter abroad, and logistics — even feeding the troops— have stalled plans to deploy against the nimble jihadists in Mali. The Vancouver Sun

Timbuktu Who’s Who

Africa’s arc of instability has myriad causes
Events in Africa are a vivid illustration of what happens when the west forgets all that has gone before. The Observer

Africa pushes for control of peace efforts in war-ravaged eastern DR Congo
Chiefs of defense forces from Africa’s Great Lakes region and Southern Africa Development Community met here on Sunday to finalize a military strategy to eliminate negative forces in war torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Behind the scene negotiations indicate the intricate position Africa is in to stay in charge of the peace efforts in eastern DRC after what may be termed as failed international efforts to make the guns silent. Xinhua

Rwanda president says he has no issue with UN drones in Congo, backs African peacekeepers
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Monday he has no problem with a United Nations proposal to use surveillance drones in neighboring Congo. Kagame told a news conference that if the U.N. thinks the drones will help achieve peace, then “let them do it.” He added that he doesn’t think Rwanda has the power to stop such a U.N. deployment. Earlier in January, the U.N. outlined its case to the Security Council to use surveillance drones in Congo for the first time but ran into opposition from Rwanda’s U.N. ambassador, who expressed reservations over the plan. The Washington Post

Anti-poaching drones to take off in Africa
The discovery was gruesome. A family of 12 dead elephants rotting in the midday heat of south-eastern Kenya, their faces hacked apart by poachers as they removed the animals’ ivory tusks. The massacre this month in Tsavo East National Park highlighted a surge in poaching in Africa that has pushed conservationists to embrace new technologies in an effort to save threatened elephants and rhinos. Now, rangers plan to deploy remotely controlled drone aircrafts above three African parks this year. Al Jazeera

Kenya tackles hate speech ahead of elections
With elections weeks away, Kenya is tackling the hate speech that fanned ethnic violence that followed presidential polls five years ago in which more than 1,100 people were killed. Set up in 2008 after the contested polls, Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission tries to identify those guilty of hate speech in the run up to the next elections on March 4. Daily Times

Ex-youth leader Ble Goude charged with war crimes over postelection violence in Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast’s state television says former youth leader Charles Ble Goude has been charged with war crimes over his alleged role in violence linked to the West African country’s disputed presidential election two years ago. RTI television said Monday that Ble Goude also faces charges of murder and theft of public funds. He was arrested in neighboring Ghana last week and extradited to Ivory Coast. Fox News

Egypt diplomat clarifies remarks over Barqa region with Libya
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zaidan held on Sunday a meeting with Egypt’s ambassador to Libya Hesham Abdulwahed to discuss the alleged remarks by Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, which were denied later by the Egyptian cabinet. The Lebanese newspaper al-Diyar alleged that Qandil said his country has historical rights in Barqa Region, eastern cities of Libya, and its oil. Xinhua

Libya defense chief says deputy tried to kill him
Libya’s defense minister is accusing his former deputy of trying to assassinate him in eastern Libya. In a statement issued on Sunday, Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghathi claimed Siddiq al-Ghaith was behind the attack on his convoy in the city of Tobruk. He says his former deputy carried out the attack because he recently was replaced with a new deputy. The defense minister was in Tobruk near the Libyan-Egyptian border on Saturday for a ceremony where former rebels were handing security for an airport over to the military. AP on WNTC

Nigeria: Gunmen Attack Emir of Kano

Gunmen yesterday attacked the convoy of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, near Murtala Mohammed Mosque at Hausawa quarters in Kano metropolis, killing his driver, orderly and a palace guard. But the respected traditional ruler escaped unhurt, said government officials. Daily Trust on allAfrica

At least 15 bodies found floating on Nigerian river: police
Police in Nigeria have found at least 15 unidentified corpses floating on a river in southeast Anambra state, officials said Sunday, while local media said the number of bodies could be much higher. Times Live

Soldiers Seize Eritrean Information Ministry
Dissident soldiers in Eritrea have ended their day-long siege of the information ministry. Information ministry sources told VOA that the soldiers got into armored personnel carriers late Monday and drove back to their base south of the capital, Asmara. The soldiers, reported to number about 100, took over the ministry in Asmara mid-morning Monday – a rare challenge to the government of President Isaias Afewerki. VOA

Ethiopia’s PM Expected to be New AU Chair
African heads of state will choose a new chairperson for the African Union next Sunday. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to be elected. Hailemariam has only been in office since September, after long-time leader Meles Zenawi died in August. Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Solomon Dersso says the Ethiopian leader has shown he is involved in African affairs. VOA

Despite declining number of pirate attacks, seas still far from safe
Pirate attacks have dropped 27 percent since 2009, when reports of armed bandits off the coast of Somalia drew navies from throughout the world to East Africa to protect trade routes. Despite that progress, the seas are far from safe. There were 297 piracy attacks and 28 hijackings worldwide in 2012, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center. Of those, 75 incidents were tied to Somali pirates, who captured 250 hostages last year. Stars and Stripes

Burundi: Trying And Failing To Stamp Out Corruption In Africa
In the nation of Burundi, serious efforts are being made to make businesses more attractive to outside investors. Still, it ranks near the very bottom of global transparency rankings. Worldcrunch – Syfia

Nigeria-U.S. Pact Will Leverage Millions for Agriculture
The Nigerian and U.S. governments have partnered to increase private financing for Nigerian agriculture. A new U.S.-Nigeria agreement signed January 17 in Abuja, Nigeria, is expected to leverage up to $100 million in commercial lending for Nigeria’s agriculture sector. In a ceremony at the Central Bank of Nigeria, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah, Nigerian Central Bank Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, represented by the Minister Akinwumi Adesina, launched the partnership.

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