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Africa Center for Strategic Studies 

Media Review for November 6, 2012   


The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa's historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Nigerian army's Mali mission stalls amid doubts it can fight
The "shocking" state of the Nigerian army has delayed plans for a military intervention in Mali, amid reports that it lacks the capability to fight on the frontline. A senior source in Mali told the Guardian that a lack of training and discipline among Nigerian troops - who are being heavily relied on by regional bloc Ecowas to oust Islamists in control of northern Mali - is becoming increasingly apparent. The Guardian

Non-African troops could intervene in Mali: conference
Non-African troops could play a role in ousting Islamic radicals from northern Mali, if African leaders agree to such a plan, experts finalising details for the military intervention said Monday. "If African heads of state agree, there will be non-African troops on the ground to help Mali win back its territory," an African official taking part in the meeting of international experts told AFP on the last day of the conference. AFP

Head of AU standby force Sékouba Konaté in Mali
The former transition President of Guinea, Gen Sékouba Konaté, has started his mission in Bamako, capital city of Mali, ahead of a planned military intervention to dislodge Islamists from the country's north. The African Union in October appointed Gen Konaté as its High Representative for the Operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF). He is also responsible for strategic planning and management of AU Peace Support Operations. Africa Review

Egyptian President opposes military intervention in Mali
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi asserted his opposition against any military intervention in Mali and his support for a peaceful solution to the Malian crisis to ensure development in Africa, official news agency MENA reported on Monday. During his meeting with chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Morsi said Egypt rejects any armed conflict in Mali, which will disrupt the development in Africa. Xinhua on China Daily

Hidden Africa
America has had and seems likely to maintain, whichever President is elected by voters, a single-minded perception of Africa as a locus of unrest and upheaval rather than as an opportunity to embrace a region of rapid, indeed unparalleled development and promise. There has been little talk of Africa during this long American political campaign-beyond the fixation on the role of terrorist cells in a handful of nations and failed responses to revolution and violence. Leadership

Uganda holds Somalia hostage in high-stakes diplomacy
It's fair to say that the Ugandan government was not particularly happy with the contents of a United Nations report that unequivocally implicated it in the ongoing rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report found that Uganda was assisting the M23 rebel movement "in the form of direct troop reinforcements in DRC territory, weapons deliveries, technical assistance, joint planning, political advice and facilitation of external relations".[...] Since then, the Ugandan government decided to play its trump card. Fine, they said; if the international community insists on propagating these baseless accusations about Uganda, then they shouldn't expect Ugandan troops to keep on keeping the fragile peace in a country where the international community fears to tread: Somalia. The Guardian

U.S. expects Ugandan peacekeepers to stay in Somalia
The United States expects Uganda to keep its peacekeeping forces in Somalia, despite a threat to withdraw in protest at a U.N. report accusing Kampala of aiding rebels in eastern Congo, a senior State Department official said on Monday. Chicago Tribune

Confessions of an ex-Al-Shabaab fighter
Isa Ali Senkumbi, 19, was recruited into al-Shabaab group and trained as a suicide bomber. Born to Abdullah Muyingo and Khadija Nakayiza of Mengo, Senkumbi studied at Nakivubo Blue Primary School till P.6. He told Petride Mudoola his story. New Vision

State Dept. Official Visits Somalia Amid Signs of Recovery
Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of state for political affairs, visited Somalia on Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking American official to set foot in the country in more than 20 years, the State Department announced on Monday. Ms. Sherman, the No. 4 official in the State Department, met with Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was selected in September, and other political and business leaders during her six-hour visit to Mogadishu, Somalia's bullet-riddled seaside capital. The New York Times

Heirs to a private business empire called Angola 
Oil, diamonds, cars, banking, real estate, cement, retail, television, music, advertising and now sovereign wealth funds - there are few sectors of Angolan life into which the children of long-serving President José Eduardo dos Santos have not spread their tentacles. The 70-year-old's first-born, Isabel dos Santos, has a vast portfolio of investments in Angola, Portugal, Mozambique and Cape Verde and is often cited as Africa's richest woman. Mail and Guardian

Analysis: Is US action against use of child soldiers on the backburner?
The Child Soldier Prevention Act (CSPA) was a prime example of US bipartisan human rights legislation: sponsored by Democratic and Republican senators and signed into law in 2008 by Republican President George Bush, the law entered into force under the Democratic presidency of Barack Obama. But even armed with this political consensus, the US consistently shies away from using the full spectrum of the law, citing national security interests. IRIN

Nigeria floods kill 363, displace 2.1 million
Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency says 363 people died over months of flooding across the West African nation and 2.1 million others were displaced. Times Live

US military delegation visits Egypt's Sinai 
The deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command paid a visit Monday to American troops stationed in Egypt's troubled Sinai Peninsula, which has been plagued by lawlessness and a series of militant attacks on local troops and cross-border strikes into Israel. AP on Stars and Stripes

The Document That May Define the New Egypt: Why the Constitution Matters
The words of a document are likely to determine what the new Egypt looks like - more than demonstrations in Tahrir Square. And now, the drama over the drafting of the country's new constitution is approaching its endgame. A final version is expected to be presented soon, and a confusing partial draft is already circulating widely. The impending final stages of this saga promise to dominate the public debate and could further destabilize a country that has struggled to find a degree of public calm and consensus in the year and a half since Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power. Time

Biafra protests: Nigeria police in mass arrests
At least 100 people have been charged with treason in south-eastern Nigeria after a march supporting independence for Biafra, their lawyer says. Members of the Biafran Zionist Movement declared independence, raised the Biafran flag and then marched through the region's main town, Enugu. BBC

Malawi suspends laws against homosexual relationships
Malawi has suspended laws against same-sex relationships pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, the justice minister has said. Police have been ordered not to arrest or prosecute homosexuals until parliament has debated the issue, said Ralph Kasambara. BBC

South Sudan: Calls to end the death penalty, improve prison conditions
Rights groups are calling for an end to the death penalty in South Sudan and for improvements to the squalid prison conditions where people languish for years, often without due process. A statement on 5 November and an accompanying letter to South Sudan's government, signed by Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and local church and civil society groups, has called for a moratorium on executions, especially as "South Sudan is currently not able to fully guarantee the minimum safeguards... on the use of the death penalty". IRIN

Ghana's Presidential Election: Asking the China Question
The re-emergence of China as a world power has led to controversy surrounding its increasing influence in many regions of the world. The actions of China as part of this growing dominance have become in many cases a source of internal political conflict and argumentation among the different political groupings within polities. This effect is even more marked in cases of impending elections, as illustrated by the prominent part China played in the third US presidential debate this year. Think Africa Press

Libyans debate federalism
Thousands of people in eastern Libya took to the streets Friday (November 2nd) after Asr prayers to demand a federal system. Demonstrators in Benghazi met opposite the Tibesti Hotel to call for recognition of the Cyrenaica region. Proponents of federalism argued the region was side-lined under the Kadhafi regime. Magharebia

South Africa: Lack of strategic airlift capability a challenge - SA DoD
The lack of a strategic airlift capability remains a challenge and affects external deployments, according to the Department of Defence, something which has been exacerbated by the cancellation of an order for eight A400M airlifters in November 2009. "The absence of an SANDF strategic lift capability remained a challenge which negatively impacted on the deployment and sustainment of SANDF external operations, as well as the deployment and sustainment of the SANDF's reaction force," the Department of Defence said in its recently released annual report for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. The chartering of aircraft and ships addressed this challenge, but at a very high cost to the Department of Defence (DoD). DefenceWeb

In S. Africa, former ANC youth leader is a divisive figure

[...] The once-rising star wielded enormous power inside the party that ended white rule. President Jacob Zuma had labeled him a future leader of the country. Now, as he faces allegations of fraud and money laundering, Malema has used national outrage over the killing of 34 striking miners in August and a wave of labor unrest to revive his political fortunes. 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) .
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