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Africa Center for Strategic Studies 

Media Review for November 15, 2012   

US Africom ready to consider requests for Mali military support
The US's African command, Africom, is expecting to provide support for the planned west African military intervention in northern Mali, a top US general said on Wednesday. According to US intelligence, any military intervention force will encounter an estimated 800-1200 "hardcore" fighters. RFI


Mali rebels offer concessions as military push looms
One of the main Islamist groups controlling northern Mali offered important concessions Wednesday, as plans to send an international military force to the country gathered steam. Ansar Dine, which in Arabic means "Defenders of the Faith", said it was ready to help rid the region of "terrorism" and "foreign groups", and that it no longer wanted to impose Islamic law, or sharia, across all of Mali. France 24


Mali's Tuareg rebels to hold talks with Islamist group
Mali's Tuareg MNLA group, holding the country's vast north with Al-Qaeda and Islamists, will soon hold formal talks with the armed Islamist Ansar Dine group, an MNLA official told AFP on Wednesday. AFP


Kidnap threats escalate in Sahel
Instability in the Sahel region is a growing concern for Western governments, who warn their citizens against any unnecessary travel to the region. "The terrorist groups al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the splinter group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, pose the greatest kidnap threat," British Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds said on Thursday (November 8th). Magharebia


US military official: Some Benghazi consulate attackers had links to al-Qaida in North Africa
[...] Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. military's Africa Command, said some of the attackers had ties to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which was built on the remains of a former Algerian militant group. "Clearly some of these individuals have some linkages to AQIM," Ham told reporters in Paris. "That's not to say that this was an AQIM-planned or organized or led activity." He did not elaborate. The Washington Post


David Petraeus to testify on Benghazi attacks
The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said former CIA director David Petraeus has agreed to testify to Congress about the attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said Wednesday that Petraeus, who resigned from the CIA post on Friday because of an extramarital affair, indicated his willingness to testify. The Boston Globe


Can American Diplomacy Ever Come Out of Its Bunker?
When Ronald Neumann began his Foreign Service career in the early 1970s, he sometimes carried a pistol to protect himself. It was a reasonable precaution. American diplomats in those days lived without benefit of blast walls or security advisers, even in volatile countries, and consulates were at times housed on the ground floors of apartment buildings, with local families living on the upper stories. Neumann worked with a freedom that is scarcely imaginable for many diplomats today. The New York Times


Libya's New Government Sworn in Before National Congress
Libya's new government was sworn in today before lawmakers, with a third of the nominees absent amid an investigation into their alleged links to the ousted regime of Muammar Qaddafi. The new government takes over from an interim administration that has struggled to stabilize the north African nation in the year since Qaddafi's ouster and killing after a bloody eight-month uprising. Since then, the government has been unable to curtail militias amid a security vacuum that has left investors wary of returning despite the country's oil wealth. Business Week


General demoted for lavish travel and spending
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted the former head of U.S. Africa Command who was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Panetta stripped Gen. William "Kip" Ward of a star, which means that he will now retire as a three-star lieutenant general. Ward also has been ordered to repay the government $82,000. AP on CBS News


Ouattara dissolves Ivorian government over marriage law
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has sacked his government in a row over a new marriage law which would make wives joint heads of the household. Mr Ouattara's party supported the changes but the members of the ruling coalition were opposed. The strongest opposition came from the PDCI, which backed Mr Ouattara in the disputed November 2010 election. BBC


Savagery, witchcraft hold Africans in sway of warlord Kony
Despite unspeakable brutality committed over 25 years, Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony continues to elude betrayal even by his victims. He is hunted by thousands of African Union troops guided by U.S. special forces, yet few familiar with Kony's history of murder, mutilation, kidnapping, sexual enslavement and child-soldier recruitment see much immediate prospect for his arrest and trial on war crimes charges. LA Times


Iran and Turkey pledge support to rebuild Somalia
Top government officials from Iran and Turkey arrived in Mogadishu Wednesday on a one-day visit in a bid to bolster diplomatic and economic ties with Somalia as it emerges from decades of civil strife. Leading the two delegations were Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. AFP on Now Lebanon


FBI updates its most wanted terrorists list
An American suspected of operating with terrorists in Somalia has been added to the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists. The FBI on Wednesday placed Omar Shafik Hammami, formerly of Alabama, on its list. Officials believe Hammami is a senior leader in the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaida. He faces charges in Alabama of providing material support to terrorists. AP


Is China a better partner for Africa than Europe and the West?
New players in Africa like China, Brazil and other developing countries have a growing influence on the continent. These countries provide the African population with new opportunities and alternatives to the Western approach on aid and development. Vienna's VIDC and the GFSE invited three panelists to discuss and explain a very controversial topic in the European civil society: development policy and development aid. etalkTV on Youtube


World Bank reassesses Uganda aid after graft allegations
The World Bank said on Wednesday it was reassessing its assistance to Uganda over corruption allegations, potentially adding more fiscal strain on the east African country reeling from aid cuts by four major European donors. Uganda's largest bilateral donor, the United Kingdom, alongside Norway, Ireland and Denmark, recently announced their suspension of aid after a report by the auditor general showed about $13 million was embezzled by officials in the prime minister's office. Reuters on Yahoo News


Morocco helicopter crash kills 9
Nine people were killed and two seriously injured in a military helicopter crash in the Guelmim area of southwest Morocco late on Wednesday, medical sources said. The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Eight of the aircraft's 11 passengers were killed on the spot, said the sources on condition of anonymity. Of three people who were taken to hospital, one died of injuries. News 24


Morocco: Abuse of Child Domestic Workers
Girls as young as 8 endure physical abuse and work long hours for little pay as domestic workers in Morocco. The 73-page report, "Lonely Servitude: Child Domestic Labor in Morocco," found that some child domestic workers - who are overwhelmingly girls - toil for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as little as US$11 a month. Some girls told Human Rights Watch that their employers frequently beat and verbally abused them, denied them education, and sometimes refused them adequate food. Human Rights Watch


What the Arab Awakening, Salafists and Israel Have in Common
Enough time has now passed since the Arab Awakening commenced to identify some trends. It is clear that extremist elements have more or less won the first round of elections in the countries most impacted by the Awakening - either directly or indirectly - and will assume a disproportionately large role in the initial development of the new political and social systems that are emerging. This is clearly the case in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, where extremist forces are more organized than other groups, and because they are strongly motivated by deep religious belief and commitment. The Huffington Post


S. Africa workers return to Anglo American mine
Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said Thursday that miners at its operations in South Africa have returned to work, ending a more than eight-week strike that crippled the world's largest platinum producer. The miners arrived at Anglo American Platinum's operations in Rustenburg, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, and began attending safety seminars that morning, company spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said. AP on WBOC


Want to Know Where Subsidy money Went: Think Private Planes...$6.5 billion Worth of High Flying
Within the last five years, some of Nigeria's wealthiest people have spent about $6.5 billion acquiring new private jets, making it Africa's biggest market for private planes, according to a new report. In a report published Monday by Nigeria's leading newspaper, Punch, the number of privately-owned aircraft in the country has risen by 650% between 2007 and 2012. In 2007, there were a total of 20 private jets in the country; today there are over 150. Business News Nigeria


Troubled water: Oil search fuels tension over Lake Malawi
Following recent oil finds in Uganda and Kenya, Malawi hopes to be the next East African country to strike black gold. Malawi has awarded British oil company Surestream Petroleum the only contract to search for oil beneath Lake Malawi, the body of water that borders Malawi, Mozambiue and Tanzania. "We feel this area has a very high potential in the order of billions of dollars of recoverable oil," says Keith Robinson, of Surestream. CNN


Ivory Coast's 'iPad Government' Embraces New Media
Social networking sites and online innovation are changing the face of government, activism and business in Ivory Coast and throughout Africa. They are called the iPad government. Ivory Coast's ministers take notes and send e-mails on their touchscreen tablet computers during weekly cabinet meetings. They share and access documents through an online portal. The government is going paperless. Ministers are encouraged to blog, Facebook and tweet regularly. Many of them actually do. VOA

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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