Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

26 June 2019

Conflict and Competition in Sudan Middle Eastern powers are closely monitoring the protests in Sudan.

Protests erupted in Sudan in December after the cost of food rose dramatically. In April, after 30 years of dictatorial rule, Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by a military coup, whose leaders promised a quick transition to civilian rule. But when they formed a Transitional Military Council and announced that the transition would take two years, protesters again took to the streets to demand faster change.

25 June 2019

Conflict and Competition in Sudan

Protests erupted in Sudan in December after the cost of food rose dramatically. In April, after 30 years of dictatorial rule, Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by a military coup, whose leaders promised a quick transition to civilian rule. But when they formed a Transitional Military Council and announced that the transition would take two years, protesters again took to the streets to demand faster change.

20 June 2019

Can Sudan’s Revolution Be Saved?

Richard Downie

On June 3, the eve of the 30th anniversary of China’s bloody dispersal of demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Sudan’s military authorities launched their own massacre of unarmed pro-democracy protesters. State-linked paramilitaries attacked a peaceful sit-in in the capital, Khartoum, claiming, without proof, that it had been infiltrated by drug dealers and criminals. More than 100 people were killed, according to doctors’ groups in Khartoum. Scores of bodies were dumped into the Nile River, women were reportedly raped and hospital staff attacked as they tended to the injured. That the atrocities echoed those conducted in Darfur for more than a decade was hardly surprising; the perpetrators were the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, a successor militia to the infamous Janjaweed that was accused of genocide in Darfur. In the days that followed, the authorities rounded up protesters, deported political leaders and cut off internet services

19 June 2019

The Old Guard Are Killing the World’s Youngest Country

WAAT, South Sudan—“Jeck,” a voice calls from inside the mud-and-thatch hut. I recognize the pronunciation of my name—it’s close enough—and the voice. “My friend, Jeck,” the man says again. Ducking and then emerging through the door of the hut is a handsome face atop a large angular frame. At 6 feet, 8 inches tall—with broad shoulders and long arms—Koang (pronounced Kong) has a smile so wide it could span the Nile. We slap shoulders and then hands, in the Sudanese way, and then embrace.

It’s the summer of 2016, and I’ve returned to South Sudan, where two years of civil war have shattered the promise of the world’s newest state. I’ve come to speak with South Sudan’s elites and its ordinary citizens, with those perpetuating conflict and those who want nothing to do with it—hoping to revisit the country’s failure in a new light.

I haven’t seen Koang since the night we first met, in 2009, but the memory of our first conversation prompted me to seek him out again. Koang has come of age since I saw him last, and I am confident he will offer a different perspective on where his country has been, and where it is going.

“It’s been what, seven years?” I ask Koang. “Yes, long time Jeck,” he says, laughing. “You have been so lost”—a favorite expression in South Sudan when you haven’t seen someone in a long time. “But now you are found.”

17 June 2019

Tracking African Swine Fever

African swine fever is an infectious disease that has already spread from Africa to Europe and Asia. The current outbreak has led to more than 1 million pigs being culled in China.

Despite Historic Rapprochement With Ethiopia, ‘Nothing Has Changed’ in Eritrea

Tanja Müller

ASMARA, Eritrea—The streets of Eritrea’s capital in the runup to this year’s Independence Day celebrations on May 24 were unusually quiet. But cafes and restaurants were full of many Eritreans from the diaspora who had traveled back to mark 28 years of national independence. “I come every year on this occasion,” an Eritrean living in Germany told me, “to celebrate my country.”

Most of the people I know who put up with life in Eritrea the whole year, however, do not feel like celebrating. For them, the holiday is a day off work that they will spend at home, in part because security tightens, with soldiers or police on every street corner. In the past few months, arbitrary arrests have apparently increased, so everyone is cautious and seems to avoid the center of the city. It is impossible to verify these stories, or other rumors of splits within the ruling party and increasing forms of dissent, given how opaque politics are in Eritrea. The only visible sign I encountered last month was anti-government graffiti inside a building, profanely calling out the ruling party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice. Photos of other anti-government graffiti have recently circulated on Eritrean social media. ...

11 June 2019

Sierra Leone, 2000: A Case History in Successful Interventionism

Janine di Giovanni

There is one place in the world where Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is not vilified for his part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a West African country where, less than three years earlier, his government’s intervention helped to end one of the most vicious conflicts in recent history. In Sierra Leone, where he is a hero, the “Blair Doctrine” was a rare case of an overseas military operation not for strategic or commercial interest, but for humanitarian purposes and in the name of an ethical foreign policy. Blair would later write in his autobiography that the episode was one of his proudest moments in office.

A paradox of this claim is that the scope and success of the intervention depended less on deliberate policy and careful planning in Downing Street or Whitehall than on a daring degree of improvisation by the commanding officer on the ground. “Operation Palliser,” which began in May 2000, was led by General Sir David Richards, then a brigadier, later appointed chief of the British general staff and NATO commander in Afghanistan. Without official sanction from London, Richards protected the capital Freetown from rebel attacks and prevented it from falling. In so doing, he made a remarkable unilateral decision to go beyond his mandate in order to save a civilian population from the overwhelming likelihood of an all-out slaughter. The military historian David Ucko, writing in the Journal of Strategic Studies in 2015, calls Richards’s action “A rare success story, but… a poorly understood and little studied case.”

11 May 2019

Who Owns South Africa?

By Ariel Levy

There is a good paved road that runs into McGregor, a pastoral village at the foot of South Africa’s Riviersonderend Mountains, but it stops at the edge of town. When the road was cleared and paved, in the nineteen-twenties, the plan was to keep going through the mountains toward Cape Town, but that project, like many other public works that followed, was abandoned before completion. Consequently, McGregor has a sleepy, almost otherworldly feel. Summers are long, winters are mild, and the soil is fertile: fences along the dusty roads crawl with hot-pink Zimbabwe creeper and orange Cape honeysuckle. The sun is so strong that, when clouds go by, the sky turns not gray but almost white.

There are a handful of flourishing vineyards in the vicinity, but even small plots teem with growth. On a half acre behind his house, a seventy-year-old retiree named Gawie Snyders grows pumpkins, onions, green beans, lettuces, grapes, stone fruit, and roses. “I am a farmer without a farm,” Snyders, a voluble man with brown skin and a bald head, declared one afternoon, looking at his garden. “I know how to prune apricots, peaches, plums—you name it. I worked on a contract basis: forty people on a truck and I prune your farm. That is how I make my money. I harvest your farm.” He was sitting at a picnic table, surrounded by chickens, a litter of puppies, several neighbors, and two men he employs to help with his crops: they were sorting through plastic buckets of pears harvested from Snyders’s half-dozen fruit trees. “They are not working hard now,” he grumbled, gesturing toward the workers. “They are looking at you, because they have never seen a white woman sitting next to me. It’s apartheid, my girl—apartheid never dies. Apartheid will be with us for a very long time.”

10 May 2019

The X Factor in China-UAE Relations: The Horn of Africa

By Samuel Ramani

On April 26, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum, the ruler of Dubai, signed $3.4 billion in investment deals between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China. These contracts were hailed in Dubai-based news outlet, Khaleej Times, as a catalyst for a UAE role in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Overall, annual trade between China and the UAE is expected to increase to $106 billion by 2022.

While this major boost to the China-UAE economic partnership follows years of strengthening trade links, the foreign policies of both countries are not aligned in numerous respects. The most commonly cited obstacles to a durable China-UAE partnership stem from Beijing’s deepening economic links with Iran and Qatar, but conflicting interests on the Horn of Africa could also emerge as a cleavage between the two countries. The primary areas of contention between China and the UAE in the Horn of Africa relate to trade policy and the status of Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia that has independence aspirations.

18 April 2019

South Africa A Shining Example Of Dismantling Nuclear Arsenal – Analysis

By J Nastranis

As the nuclear weapons and fossil fuel divestment campaigns gather steam, their political impact could be as powerful as the divestment campaign against South Africa in the late 20th Century, which was a critical factor in moving the South African government to end apartheid in 1994, anticipates Thies Kätow, researcher for the World Future Council.

There are hardly any signs that such an expectation will be realized and the campaign under way would persuade heavily armed nuclear states to disarm. Yet South Africa remains a shining example of a country that went from developing its own nuclear arsenal to dismantling it and being an outspoken advocate against these weapons of mass destruction.

The Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan also dismantled and destroyed nuclear weapons systems and facilities – but these were inherited Soviet Union when it collapsed.

Sanity And Humanity Return To The World Bank? – OpEd

By Paul Driessen

President Obama infamously told Africans they should focus on their “bountiful” wind, solar and biofuel. If they use “dirty” fossil fuels to raise living standards “to the point where everybody has got a car, and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over.”

So when South Africa applied for a World Bank loan to finish its low-pollution coal-fired Medupi power plant, his administration voted “present,” and the loan was approved by a bare majority of other bank member nations. The Obama Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a power plant designed to burn natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted in Ghana’s oil fields.

As David Wojick and I have documented (here, here, here, here and here), eco-imperialist, carbon colonialist policies by the World Bank and other anti-development banks have perpetuated needless energy deprivation, poverty, disease and early death in Africa, Asia and beyond for much too long.

14 April 2019

South Africa’s Election Will Be a Referendum on Ramaphosa, for Better or Worse

James Hamill 

Like all elections, South Africa’s upcoming national vote on May 8—the country’s fifth ballot since the end of apartheid—will see rival parties waging a struggle to control the narrative and frame the contest in the best possible terms. Given the change in the leadership of the ruling African National Congress in December 2017, that means much of the campaign will focus on President Cyril Ramaphosa and the extent to which he is delivering his promised “new dawn” in South Africa following what he has called the “nine lost years” of Jacob Zuma.

Restoring the sense of mission and idealism that drove the ANC in the immediate post-apartheid era after 1994 has been central to Ramaphosa’s platform, as he repeatedly invokes the values and ethos of Nelson Mandela. After 15 months in power, and as the figurehead of the ANC campaign, Ramaphosa will own May’s election result, for better or worse depending on the outcome. .

9 April 2019

Kenya’s Political Truce Holds, Shifting the Political Landscape

Julian Hattem 

This time last year, Kenya was recovering from a bitter presidential election that descended into a constitutional crisis between two longtime political adversaries. After an initial ballot was annulled by the Supreme Court for irregularities, incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won a repeat election that opposition leader and perennial presidential candidate Raila Odinga boycotted. Amid rising tensions, Odinga rejected the outcome and subsequently proclaimed himself the “people’s president” in an unofficial swearing-in ceremony.

But with memories still fresh of violence that followed Kenya’s contested 2007 election, when more than 1,000 people died, Kenyatta and Odinga abruptly shifted course. In a meeting at Harambee House, the president’s office in Nairobi, the two shook hands and agreed to a truce that watchers anxiously hoped would lead to a new political realignment for East Africa’s largest economy. 

8 April 2019

World’s Poorest Of The Poor To Hit One Billion By 2020 – OpEd

By Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

In the arid dunes of sub-Saharan Africa, women walk six hours to fetch water with nothing to eat. Arriving home, one mother decides who among her four children will eat the last oatmeal from a food aid caravan three weeks back, and who will starve.

The picture is no different in the Philippines where in the Visayan region, rural mothers scour the forests for something to eat as crops have failed. Their counterparts in Manila eat whatever food they get from the garbage, unmindful of their health.

These are images of the world’s poorest of the poor. They are trapped in long-term poverty where most likely, their children, if they survive, will live in worst or similar conditions. They are hardcore poor, extreme poor and ultra poor. They are the victims of chronic poverty because they are in it for a long, long time, an entire life or even across generations.

5 April 2019

Africa Looks To China And Beyond For Its Energy Development – Analysis

By Timothy Dissegna
Source Link

In a vast continent like Africa, currently entering a new phase in its development, no plans for the future can exist without the availability of raw materials. Now more than ever, the issue must be analyzed through the double lens of industrial progress and environmental sustainability. These are two aspects that seemed opposite until a few years ago, as often proven by the conferences on climate change that have taken place over the past decades, which saw several developing countries (LDCs) claiming their “right to pollute” in order to improve their economies.

China was also a member of that “club.” At the moment, instead, it leads the global ranking of national and international investments in renewable energy, with $360 billion by 2020. Nonetheless, this honorable leadership must be associated with the fact that many of its cities are still included in the Greenpeace/Air Visual top 50 of the most polluted places in the world. The ecological issue with all that it entails – climate change and pollution first of all – plays an important role in the close alliance between China and Africa.

4 April 2019

The Truth About the U.S. Military in Africa

The U.S. military has been expanding its presence and operations in Africa over the past decade. In doing so, it has obscured the nature of its actions through ambiguous language and outright secrecy. It limits the amount of information available about the objectives of its operations, how those operations are carried out, the facilities it uses, and how it partners with governments in the region. At times, this has involved subverting democratic processes in partner countries, an approach that runs counter to years of diplomatic engagement ostensibly designed to strengthen governance institutions. 

Nevertheless, interest in the U.S. military’s activities is on the rise and is set to increase further as incidents like the October 2017 Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger--which left four U.S. soldiers dead--make them more visible. In June, for example, militants from the al-Shabaab extremist group in Somalia ambushed a group of American special operations forces, African Union peacekeepers and Somali government soldiers, killing one American Green Beret.

The U.S. military’s gamble that the public, in both America and across Africa, won’t find out about questionable actions, and won’t have the means to challenge them if they do, is becoming increasingly risky. 

22 March 2019

A First: India Begins Military Exercises With 17 African Countries

By Ankit Panda

On Monday, Indian military personnel were joined by counterparts from 17 African states to begin the inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise 2019, or AFINDEX-19. An opening ceremony for the exercises was held at the Indian Army’s Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra, in the country’s west.

The 17 participating African states include Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, according to a statement by Lt. Col. Mohit Vaishnava, an Indian Army public relations officer.

“The aim of the exercise is to practice the participating nations in planning and conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under Chapter VII of United Nations Peace Keeping Operations,” the statement added. It continued:

20 March 2019

Bouteflika May Have Stepped Aside, but the Generals Really Running Algeria Won’t

Francisco Serrano

In any other country, the news that peaceful demonstrations had forced the incumbent president to drop his unpopular re-election bid would have been a startling announcement. But given Algeria’s political system, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s move to withdraw his candidacy for a fifth presidential term and postpone April’s elections, made public on Monday, was welcomed by protesters as only a good start.

Amid a growing protest movement, Algerians are being cautious about Bouteflika’s announcement because of what they call le pouvoir—the shadowy “power” that rules Algeria, made up of an assortment of aging army generals, secret service operatives and party apparatchiks. For decades, they have wielded control from behind the scenes, choosing presidential candidates, rigging elections, dividing opposition movements and using repression when needed. Every important decision is taken behind closed doors. In a way, no one really knows who rules Algeria.

9 March 2019

Fears Rise in Nigeria as Opposition Leader Moves to Challenge Election Results

Philip Obaji Jr.

LAGOS, Nigeria—The last time a leader of an opposition party in Nigeria rejected the results of the country’s presidential election, nearly eight years ago, hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands displaced in the ensuing violence. Now there are fears of a similar scenario unfolding as Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president long tainted by corruption allegations, heads to court to challenge the outcome of the Feb. 23 election that President Muhammadu Buhari easily won.

Atiku, as Abubakar is widely known in Nigeria, lost by nearly 4 million votes, with 11,262,978 against Buhari’s 15,191,847. He and his supporters dispute the claim by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission that voter turnout was higher in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, where Buhari won handsomely, than in any other part of the country, arguing that frequent deadly attacks by the militant group Boko Haram, including on Election Day, would have made it impossible for people to turn out en masse. They are also claiming that the vote totals from Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi and Katsina states, where the president won by more than 2 million votes, were hugely inflated. 

5 February 2019

Venezuela’s Oil Industry Decline by the Numbers

The United States is the biggest importer of Venezuelan crude oil, and its sanctions will likely hit the industry hard. 

This week, the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil firm PDVSA in an attempt to force President Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power to opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido. Maduro responded by calling the sanctions criminal and vowed not to allow ships with crude oil destined for the U.S. to leave Venezuela without being prepaid.

The move is the latest setback for Venezuela’s oil industry. Years of underinvestment and government mismanagement, including siphoning off profits to pay for social programs, have taken a heavy toll. Production has fallen from roughly 3 million barrels per day in the late 1990s to 1.3 million barrels per day in 2018. Changes made under the Maduro government and that of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have led to a decline in foreign investment and a spike in debt. The country’s oil sector is estimated to owe creditors some $100 billion. Whatever the cost of the latest U.S. sanctions, the industry’s downward spiral has no end in sight.