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Africa Center for Strategic Studies 

Media Review for November 5, 2012   

U.S. Election 2012: The African Perspective
A compilation of articles by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) .


Somalia forms new government, woman named foreign minister: official
Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Said announced the members of his new government on Sunday, noting that a woman has been named as foreign minister for the first time in the country's history. "After long discussions and consultations, I have named my cabinet which consists of only 10 members. Among them is a female foreign affairs minister for the first time in Somali history," the prime minister said. AFP


Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman's Travel to Somalia
On November 4, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman visited Mogadishu, Somalia to meet with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud, Speaker of the Federal Parliament Mohammed Osman Jawari, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti, the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia, and leaders of Somalia's civil society and business community. Under Secretary Sherman is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Somalia in more than twenty years, and her visit underscored the U.S. Government's commitment to Somalia's stabilization efforts. State.gov


Somalia: The Kismaayo Conundrum(s)
If insecurity was the thorniest problem that plagued Somalia's previous governments, the new one will be dogged by multiple political challenges. Chief among those is the status of Kismaayo, Somalia's third largest city. At the center of the Kismaayo conundrum is a rancorous clash of two narratives. A Kenyan-backed armed group that recently captured the port city from al-Shabaab fighters wants to unilaterally decide the fate of the city and, ultimately, form a regional administration called 'Jubbaland' - this would theoretically come under the control of the Federal Government. African Argument on allAfrica 


Tussle over charcoal stockpile could trigger new Somalia war
Somalia, now nearly liberated from Al Shabaab militants, has two new world records. According to the African Union (AU) and UN, in and around the recently captured port city of Kismayu and the surrounding areas in the southern Jubbaland region, lies the largest charcoal stockpile in the world. The stockpile of about four million bags - whose value the AU and UN estimate ranges from $25 million to $40 million in the Middle East market where most of it is sold. The East African


Al-Qaida-linked group in Burkina Faso for talks
Representatives of an al-Qaida-linked group that controls northern Mali arrived on Saturday in Burkina Faso for talks with President Blaise Compaore, who is trying to mediate a solution to the conflict in the west African nation. A second delegation traveled to Algeria for talks with regional leaders there, officials said. AP on Boston Globe


U.S. Impatient with African Response to Northern Mali Conflict
Despite growing western concerns about the continuing reign in northern Mali by an Al Qaeda-linked group, analysts here say it will take months before conditions could be ripe to oust it from the region, by military force if necessary. The United States and the European Union (EU), which have held a series of meetings about the situation, are hoping that the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will soon come up with a viable plan to reclaim the area, which has been in the hands of the group Ansar al-Din since last spring. IPS


U.S. Army Beefing Up Partnership With Special Forces in Africa
A lot is riding on the performance of U.S. Army soldiers with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, as they begin their ramp-up for deployment with U.S. Africa Command next spring. The unit has been tapped as the Army's first regionally aligned forces (RAF) brigade, a concept that everyone from the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, on down has touted in recent months as the service's best shot at staying regionally engaged around the globe, while training host nation forces to provide their own security in a more effective manner. DefenseNews


Libya Attack Shows Pentagon's Limits in Region
[...] The assault, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, has already exposed shortcomings in the Obama administration's ability to secure diplomatic missions and act on intelligence warnings. But this previously undisclosed episode, described by several American officials, points to a limitation in the capabilities of the American military command responsible for a large swath of countries swept up in the Arab Spring. At the heart of the issue is the Africa Command, established in 2007, well before the Arab Spring uprisings and before an affiliate of Al Qaeda became a major regional threat. It did not have on hand what every other regional combatant command has: its own force able to respond rapidly to emergencies - a Commanders' In-Extremis Force, or C.I.F. New York Times


'Troubling' Surveillance Before Benghazi Attack
Sensitive documents found amid the wreckage of the U.S. consulate shine new light on the Sept. 11 assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. [...] One letter, written on Sept. 11 and addressed to Mohamed Obeidi, the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs' office in Benghazi, reads: "Finally, early this morning at 0643, September 11, 2012, one of our diligent guards made a troubling report. Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of a building across from our compound. Foreign Policy


Pentagon saw chance for hostage mission in Libya
The Pentagon says that the U.S. military was ready within a few hours of the terrorist attacks on U.S. outposts in eastern Libya to respond to numerous possibilities, including hostages. Pentagon press secretary George Little said Friday that when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered several U.S. military units to respond from bases in the U.S. and Europe, he did not know what they might face. Politico


Rival Libya militias battle on streets of Tripoli
Rival Libyan militias fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other in Tripoli on Sunday and set fire to a former intelligence building in one of the worst breakdowns in security in the capital since Muammar Gaddafi's fall. Reuters


Dozens of 'Boko Haram' executed by Nigerian military
Nigerian troops shot dead dozens of people during raids in the north-east city of Maiduguri, bastion of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram on Friday, according to witnesses and hospital staff. Boko Haram's stated aim is to create an Islamic state in Nigeria. Its fighters have killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks targeting security forces, politicians and civilians since 2009 and the sect has become the top security threat to Africa's biggest energy-producing state. The Guardian


Exodus from Nigerian city after execution-style killings
Fear gripped Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri with many men fleeing after the alleged execution style killings of around 40 young men, mostly teenagers, who residents said were rounded up and shot. Times Live


Analysis: Burundi's bumpy road to the 2015 polls
The US$2 billion pledged by donors on 30 October to support Burundi's development sounds like a ringing endorsement of the central African country's progress from civil war to peace and democracy. But memories are still fresh of the 1993-2005 conflict that killed more than 200,000 people, and analysts, human rights experts, and civil society and political opposition members - while they agree significant gains have been made - worry about a range of security and governance issues that could derail them ahead of the 2015 elections. IRIN


Egyptian Coptic Church pick new Pope
The Egyptian Coptic Church on Sunday chose a new leader by a blindfolded altar boy picking from a cup the name of a former pharmacist turned priest to become Pope Tawadros II. The Telegraph


Morocco's king keeps strong hand despite reforms
Unlike other Arab leaders challenged on the streets early last year, King Mohammed VI swiftly reformed Morocco's constitution, held an election and let an Islamist party lead the government. His response smothered popular ferment, drew plaudits from the West and seemed to set Morocco on a more democratic course, but 20 months on it is unclear how much power has changed hands. Reuters


Africa, Sovereignty and International Law
Sovereignty was not simply a creation between European peoples, but something that governed relations between Europe and the rest of the world. Think Africa Press


Can Ethiopia's Political Conflicts Be Resolved Peacefully?
The collapse of peace talks between the Ethiopian regime and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) last month begs the question; can Ethiopia's mounting political problems be resolved, peacefully, through negotiation? Zenawi's successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, declared that he would not deviate from the path charted by the "Great Leader" dispelling any notion that the ruling party would open up the political process following the death of its longest-serving leader. OPride


Britain and Ireland Suspend Aid to Uganda after Millions Go Missing
Britain has joined Ireland in suspending aid to Uganda's office of the prime minister. The move comes after a draft report by Ugandan's auditor-general found that over $15 million [€12 million] in aid had been transferred to unauthorized accounts in the office of the Ugandan prime minister. VOA


ICC: Gbagbo fit enough to stand trial for crimes against humanity
Laurent Gbagbo, the man who refused to step down from power in the Ivory Coast prompting a conflict which killed thousands, has been deemed well enough to face allegations of crimes against humanity. The former president faces four charges - murder, rape, persecution and inhuman acts - linked to crimes allegedly committed by his supporters as he clung to power following 2010 elections. The Daily Mail


Ivory Coast: Fighters infiltrate Ghana refugee camps, launch attacks on security posts
Fighters who backed former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo have infiltrated refugee camps in Ghana and are accused of attacking security bases back in Ivory Coast, according to Ivorian officials. Human rights groups say the presence of Gbagbo's ex-fighters in the camps poses a threat to the security of refugees. The Washington Post

Transnational organised crime and fragile states

Transnational organised crime (TOC) refers to a fluid and diversified industry that engages in illicit activities ranging from drug and human trafficking to drug smuggling, piracy and money laundering. Although it may affect strong states, conflict-affected and fragile states are especially vulnerable to the dynamics of TOC and may provide more favourable conditions for its development. The implications for those states are many and serious. International Center for the Prevention of Crime and the Clingendael Institute


Organised crime hits Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is coming under the grip of deadly organised crime run by an intricate network whose operations include killings, cargo theft, minerals smuggling, prostitution rings, drug and human trafficking. The mafia's hand has even penetrated business and state-run enterprises, a fact that start-up firms will soon discover. Moreover, its reach in the business world is widespread in the tantalising southern African country - currently using US dollars as a major instrument of trade after ditching its worthless currency in 2009 due to hyperinflation. Daily News Zim


Brazil in Africa: Just Another BRICS Country Seeking Resources?  Over the last decade, Brazil has expanded its engagement with Africa, doubling its diplomatic presence from 17 to 37 embassies. New economic partnerships have been forged, raising trade with Africa in the same period from US$4.2 billion to US$27.6 billion. Oil and other natural resources account for 90% of Brazil's imports from the continent and Brazilian investment is focused mainly on Lusophone Africa. Chatham House




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