Media Review for February 27, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 02/27/2013

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

On Terror’s New Front Line, Mistrust Blunts U.S. Strategy
[...] In vast West Africa, a new front-line region in the battle against al Qaeda, Nigeria is America’s strategic linchpin, its military one the U.S. counts on to help contain the spread of Islamic militancy. Yet Nigeria has rebuffed American attempts to train that military, whose history of shooting freely has U.S. officials concerned that soldiers here fuel the very militancy they are supposed to counter. It is just one example of the limits to what is now American policy for policing troubled parts of the world: to rely as much as possible on local partners. For the U.S., though, cooperation with Nigeria is unavoidable. The country is America’s largest African trading partner and fifth-largest oil supplier. Some 30,000 Americans work here. The Wall Street Journal

Terrorist Designations of Iyad ag Ghali
The Department of State has designated Iyad ag Ghali as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Ghali has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him or to his benefit. Ghali is also listed by the United Nations 1267/1989 al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee. The UN listing requires all member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Ghali. The UN action demonstrates international resolve in eliminating Ghali’s violent activities in Mali and the surrounding region.

What about North Africa?
Yonah Alexander, senior fellow at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, is out with his annual report on terrorism in North Africa. His message is an important one: [T]he threats of Al-Qaida’s new regional hub in northern Mali and from its associates constitute both tactical and strategic challenges. For instance, primary sources of financing of their activities include kidnappings (in some cases kidnapping is outsourced to criminals); piracy; and illicit trafficking of drugs, humans, vehicles, and other contraband goods (at times originating from Latin America onward to Africa and Europe). Intelligence reports and arrests have confirmed that AQIM has established links with Latin cartels for ‘drugs-for-arms’ smuggling into Europe through terrorist-trafficking networks in the Sahel that include members of the Polisario Front. The Washington Post

French in tough fight in northern Mali
France’s defense minister said Tuesday that French troops are involved in “very violent fighting” in the mountains of northern Mali and that it’s too early to talk about a quick pullout from the West African country, despite the growing cost of the intervention. The fighting against Islamic extremists in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains has been going on for days. A clash in the area killed 23 soldiers from neighboring Chad on Friday, according to a letter from French President Francois Hollande expressing condolences to his Chadian counterpart. AP

Belaid’s killer on run, four accomplices held: Tunisian minister
The suspected murderer of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid has been identified and is on run but four of his accomplices have been arrested, Interior Minister Ali Larayedh said on Tuesday. “The killer has been identified and is being chased,” AFP reported Larayedh saying in a news conference. “Four other suspects have been arrested. They belong to a radical religious” group, said Larayedh, who is also prime-minister designate tasked with forming a new government. Al Arabiya

Covert auctions in Egypt put arms that freed Libya into hands of terrorists
The weapons that helped Libyan rebels oust dictator Muammar Qaddafi are turning up for sale at clandestine auctions in Egypt’s lawless Sinai Desert, where shadowy buyers purchase firearms for Al Qaeda and Hamas operatives, sources told The illicit sales take place in the barren Sinai peninsula, where Moses is believed to have wandered with the children of Israel for 40 years. Auctions announced through the grapevine bring caravans of foreigners, all with huge sums of money at their disposal and all with the same mission, Israel Defense Force sources told Fox News.

President Kagame reshuffles Cabinet
President Paul Kagame, yesterday, reshuffled his Cabinet bringing on new entrants, as well as creating new portfolios. Amb. Claver Gatete and John Rwangombwa switched positions with the former taking over as Minister of Finance and the latter appointed head of the Central Bank. Other new faces on Cabinet include Prof. Silas Lwakabamba (Infrastructure), Séraphine Mukantabana (Refugees and Disaster Management), and Oda Gasinzigwa as Minister of Family and Gender Promotion in the Office of the Prime Minister. New Times

What Does the Future Hold for the Sudans: An Assessment by America’s Envoy
Princeton Lyman continues to be troubled by the question of whether he could have done more to foresee and prevent a recent conflict that broke out in Sudan and says he will be for a long time. The U.S. special envoy to the country stepped down from his post in January — an assignment he began in 2011 — but the fighting in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions has been going on for more than a year, displacing over half a million civilians and killing hundreds as separatist rebels fight for autonomy from Khartoum. The soft-spoken 77-year-old veteran diplomat told TIME that the conflict “has been a terrible, terrible impediment to the process of peace.” Time

Somalia accredits five European ambassadors
Somalia accredited ambassadors from five European nations Tuesday, a move hailed by the president as sending a signal that the war-ravaged nation was “becoming a normal country.” Ambassadors of Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Finland presented their credentials to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who said he hoped Somalia would “soon see many international flags flying over Mogadishu”. Globalpost

Observers declare Djiboutian election legitimate, opposition plans protest
Domestic and international observers have declared Djibouti’s legislative elections last week legitimate and transparent, although the opposition Union for National Salvation (USN) has announced plans to protest alleged fraud. Sabahi

Are Chinese immigrants undermining African progress?
There are now 1 million Chinese living and working on the African continent, but while some are investing in employing and training locals, others have hauled most of their profits back to China, writes Henry Hall. CS Monitor

Scandal claims dominate Kenya poll debate
Candidates running for the presidency in Kenya went head to head in a final televised debate before one of the most highly contested election in the nation’s history. Eight candidates, some of whom have been in public office for years, were on Monday taken to task to defend past actions and answer accusations of corruption in the run-up to the March 4 vote. Al Jazeera

For Egypt’s women, fear of rape now governs Cairo’s Tahrir Square
In the weeks after a group of men surrounded and sexually assaulted her in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, Yasmine Faithi has returned repeatedly to the place where the nearly hourlong attack began. She’s retraced her steps from where the crowd of men insisted they were there to protect her even as they ripped off her clothes and groped and tore at every inch of her body. She’s walked past the spot where her attackers told those who were trying to help her that she was wearing a bomb – to keep them away. She’s ended up where a woman, accompanied by a group of men, finally rescued her. McClatchy

Prosecutors OK Kenya trial delays
The Hague – Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court say they do not object to delaying the start of the trials of four prominent Kenyans charged with orchestrating post-election violence in 2007-2008. Two of the suspects, Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former education minister William Ruto are running mates in next week’s presidential elections. News 24

Guinea president picks ally to replace army chief
Guinea President Alpha Conde named Brigadier General Namory Traore as head of the West African state’s armed forces on Tuesday, replacing General Souleymane Kelefa Diallo who died in a plane crash with five other top army officials on Feb. 11. Traore is seen as a close ally of Conde’s who will carry on a U.N.-backed reform effort to rein in the notoriously undisciplined and bloated Guinea armed forces, blamed for killings and coups since 1958 independence. Reuters

Once prized African oil struggles to find new markets
African crude exports to the United States could slip to a trickle this year as the world’s top oil consumer enjoys a shale oil boom, allowing China, often now the buyer of last resort, to become ever more choosy. The dire prospects for West African and Algerian exports to the U.S. is also stoking competition among producers, which must sell to a reduced pool of Asian and European clients. And the growing glut of sweet oil in the Atlantic Basin has already started creating price havoc from last year and this will likely heat up in 2013. Angola has lost the U.S as its top buyer, which last year accounted for just 11 percent of exports, behind China and India. Reuters

African, U.S. Military Forces Join Together to Mark Opening of Central Accord 13
Exercise Will Enhance Partners’ Capabilities in Aerial Resupply, Aeromedical Evacuation Hundreds of Cameroon military members, alongside U.S. and other Central Africa service members, lined the 102 Air Force Base airfield in Douala, Cameroon, Feb. 20 as part of an opening ceremony for Central Accord 13. The exercise, which continues until March 1, will enhance the readiness of participating countries’ logistical and resupply capabilities as well as their ability to conduct aeromedical evacuations. Africom

Army accused of killing Gbagbo supporters
Ivory Coast’s army has committed “widespread human rights violations” against supporters of ousted former president Laurent Gbagbo, Amnesty International said in a report published on Tuesday. A restructuring of the Ivory Coast Republican Forces (FRCI), to incorporate former rebels, began after a violent post-electoral crisis which lasted from December 2010 to April 2011, claiming about 3 000 lives while Gbagbo refused to concede defeat at the polls to President Alassane Ouattara. IOL news

Zambia arrests opposition leader: party
The leader of Zambia’s second-largest opposition group was arrested Tuesday over the killing of a ruling party supporter in the midst of campaigning for a by-election, his party said. Police detained Hakainde Hichilema, head of the United Party for National Development (UPND), in the tourist town of Livingstone 540 kilometres (336 miles) south of the capital Lusaka, according to party spokesman Cornelius Mweetwa. Globalpost

Barack Obama’s Cairo Speech, and His Israel Problem
Last week President Obama announced he will finally visit Israel. But there’s no guarantee that it will be a pleasant trip. And it certainly will not be if he lectures the Israelis yet again about what they owe the Palestinians. After all, the Arabs of Palestine could have had, like the Jews, a state pursuant to the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan (which sanctioned for the Arabs a bigger state than the Jewish one that was offered) and then again after the 1967 Six-Day War. Instead the Arab League responded to Israeli peace overtures with the Khartoum declaration of the “three nos” of the Arab Solidarity Charter: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” The Daily Beast

Morocco’s Jews, once integral to the kingdom’s heritage, being remembered once more
[...] Once home to some 300,000 Jews, the largest population in the Arab world, Morocco is increasingly taking a fresh look at its long history with Judaism and is spurning the flat rejection of all things Hebrew found in so many other Arab countries. In the film, “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah,” Hachkar talks to people in Berber villages high in the Atlas mountains about their memories of the Jews suddenly leaving for Israel in the 1960s. He then travels to Jerusalem and finds many of these Jews, still speaking Moroccan Arabic and the Berber language, fondly reminiscing about the land they left behind. The Washington Post

FOR THE RECORD – AFRICA – U.S. Government Events, Statements, and Articles
A weekly compilation by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS)

East African Security Forces Host Inaugural Special Operations Conference
Special Operations Command Africa, Office of Public Affairs
Across east Africa, the use of Special Operations Forces as a means to enhance the capability to protect civilians is a growing trend. Each nation has a unique mission and purpose for its SOF component, and no two look exactly the same. However, SOF in nearly every nation share a common set of experiences as they continue to grow and develop their individual capacities.

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