Ian Crittenden deserves our congratulations for his wonderful work on the Malawi Pangea Project.
Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category
At the Washington Times,
Islamic militants boosting role in drug trade
The sea lanes of the South Atlantic have become a favored route for drug traffickers carrying narcotics from Latin America to West and North Africa, where al Qaeda-related groups are increasingly involved in transporting the drugs to Europe, intelligence officials and counternarcotics specialists say.
A Middle Eastern intelligence official said his agency has picked up “very worrisome reports” of rapidly growing cooperation between Islamic militants operating in North and West Africa and drug lords in Latin America. With U.S. attention focused on the Caribbean and Africans lacking the means to police their shores, the vast sea lanes of the South Atlantic are wide open to illegal navigation, the official said.
“The South Atlantic has become a no-man’s sea,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity owing to the nature of his work.
A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) confirmed the new route.
“The Colombians have shifted their focus from sending cocaine through the Caribbean, and they saw an opportunity to sell cocaine in Europe, transshipping it through the South Atlantic from Venezuela and then to Africa, through Spain and into Europe,” DEA spokesman Michael Sanders told The Washington Times. “That’s what we’re seeing. It’s just a new location. That’s the route they’re taking, for the most part.”
Islamists, the FARC and Venezuela are involved:
Concerns center on groups such as al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), which operates primarily in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. North African officials say they worry that AQIM is amassing large sums of money from the drug trade to use in financing attacks, with the object of frightening away tourists, undercutting local economies and, ultimately, secular regimes.
Much of the drug trafficking passes through Venezuela, said Jaime Daremblum, the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute and a former Costa Rican ambassador to the United States.
“Caracas has become the cathedral of narco-traffickers,” he said.
Colombian and Peruvian drugs pass through Venezuela en route to Africa and then are transshipped to European markets, anti-drug specialists say. The FARC guerrilla movement, which seeks to destabilize the government of Colombia, is involved and has links to the Islamists in North Africa, they say.
These releationships should come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog: Background post from three years ago, Caribbean oil, Caribbean drugs, and major players.
Islamist savagery, this time in Somalia:
Somali Women Whipped for Wearing Bras
Somalia’s hardline Islamist group al Shabaab is cracking down on residents who do not follow a strict form of Sharia Islamic law, now publicly whipping women who wear bras, the Times of India reported.
Residents tell the paper that gunmen have been gathering women in Mogadishu who are perceived to have firm busts. These women are then publicly whipped by masked men as punishment for what Islamist leaders call deception.
After the public whippings, the women are forced to remove their bras and shake their breasts, the Times reported.
“Al Shabaab forced us to wear their type of veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,” a resident, Halima, told the Times of India. Her daughters were whipped for wearing bras.
“They first banned the former veil and introduced a hard fabric which stands stiffly on women’s chests. They are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat,” she said.
The insurgent group recently amputated a foot and a hand from two young men accused of robbery. Al Shabaab has also banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer.
Religion of peace, you say?
A couple of people asked if I’ll be posting on the election results in Puerto Rico. Yes, I’m working on a post for later this afternoon
Please note that I translated all the items below that were not originally in English from their original Spanish, French, or Portuguese. If you use any of them please credit and add link to this blog. Thank you.
Brazilian newspaper O Globo has a list of newspaper reactions from around the world: Principais jornais do mundo: vitória de Obama é feito histórico (Main newspapers of the world: Obama’s vitory is an historic event).
Clarin, Argentina: El Gobierno considera que la victoria de Obama es “un mensaje de esperanza” para el mundo (The [Argentinian] government considers Obama’s victory a “message of hope” for the world.) Argentinian chancellor Jorge Taiana added, “it’s the end of the cycle of neoliberalism.
El Universal, Venezuela, quotes Hugo Chavez, who never misses a chance to be inopportune,
“I truly wish (the new president of the United States) to change the imperialist vision; I wish him to suspend the blockade on Cuba (which has been effective since the 1960’s); everybody has been asking for it for a long, long time.”
Noticias 24, Venezuela: La embajada de EEUU en Caracas celebro una fiesta electoral (Election night party at the US Embassy in Caracas)
La Razon, Bolivia América Latina busca mayor atención
REACCIONES • Los gobernantes y analistas consideran que se acabará la indiferencia con la región, serán revisados los acuerdos comerciales y restablecidas las relaciones diplomáticas. (Latin America seeks more attention
REACTIONS: Leaders and analysts believe it’ll be the end of indifference towards the region, business agreements will be revised, and diplomatic relationships will be re-established.)
El Mercurio, Chile: Obama se convierte en el primer Presidente de color de EE.UU. (Obama becomes the US’s first president of color.)
Las victorias demócratas en los estados clave de Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Carolina del Norte, Nevada y Colorado le aseguraron a Obama tempranamente el triunfo, a pesar de que aún faltaba el recuento de votos en parte del territorio. (The Democrats’ victories in the key states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado insured Obama’s early triumph, in spite of parts of the country’s vote not yet being tallied.)
El Tiempo, Colombia: Editorial Obama logro lo practicamente imposible (Obama achieved the nearly impossible)
Granma, Cuba: Obama a la Casa Blanca (Obama to the White House)
As I said in the podcast, prior to the podcast I didn’t have enough time to link to Mexican newspapers; here are two, both from Mexico City:
El Universal: Cae barrera racial
Obama primer presidente negro en Estado Unidos (Racial barrier comes down. Obama’s first black US president)
El Sol de Mexico: Récord de votantes hispanos en EU; mayoría con Obama (Record number of Hispanic voters in the US; most for Obama)
El Pais, Spain: Sarkozy destaca la “victoria brillante” de Obama
Los mandatarios mundiales felicitan al líder demócrata.- Irak no espera “grandes variaciones” de la política de EE UU en su país (Sarkozy highlights Obama’s “brilliant victory”; World leaders congratulate the Democratic leader – Iraq doesn’t expect “big changes” in US politics towards their country). El Pais lists world leaders’ reactions:
France’s Sarkozy highlights the “brilliant victory”
Germany’s Merkel asks for unity between the US and the EU
The EU’s Barroso believes in the “strength through unity”
UK’s Brown is encouraged by Obama’s “progressive values”
Iraq doesn’t expect “big changes” in US politics towards their country:
“El Gobierno iraquí, que da la bienvenida y respeta la elección del pueblo estadounidense, no espera un gran cambio en la política de EEUU hacia Irak, ni que se pueda producir de la noche a la mañana”, ha destacado el ministro iraquí de Asuntos Exteriores, Hoshiar Zibari. (“The Iraqi government, which welcomes and respects the American people’s election, does not expect a big change in US policy towards Iraq, nor that it would change overnight,” Exterior Minister Hoshiar Zibari stated.
Mexican president expects a new stage in US-Mexican relations
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asks for “accelerated efforts to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”
Afghanistan “applauds” the voters’ choice
Iran believes the US should change its attitude
Moscow expects a more constructive relationship
The EU’s Solana proposes joint solutions between the EU and the US
Italy’s Berlusconi congratulates the winner
Mandela applauds the commitment to peace and security
Notice the difference between what that article said about Iraq, and that of The Guardian, UK: The world reacts to the new US presidentOverwhelming congratulations and an ‘awesome’ from Bush while Baghdad remains sceptical
Elsewhere, the vast majority of world leaders welcomed Obama’s win as a landmark moment for both the US and the wider world, while warning of the challenges the new president will face once in office.
A couple were less enthusiastic – Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, noted that the new president “will not have the same enthusiasm and momentum for this situation (in Iraq)” as did Bush – while Sudan was distinctly underwhelmed.
Additionally, El Pais did not mention Israel.
Times, UK: Analysis: Barack Obama’s victory is head-spinning stuff
Two years ago Barack Obama identified that the overwhelming sentiment in this election would be a desire for change They also have a video on Obama’s rise.
Le Monde, France: “Les Etats-Unis ont surmonté les démons du passé” (“The US has surmounted the demons of the past,” says Le Monde’s editor, Alain Frachon)
Le Figaro, France: Le monde salue la victoire
de Barack Obama (The world salutes Obama’s victory)
Pravda, Russia: A change for the better, which starts with
Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime.
I guess that’s their take on “thank goodness for term limits”?
Haaretz, Israel: Livni: Israel expects strong U.S. friendship to continue under Obama
“Israel expects the close strategic cooperation with the new administration, president and Congress will continue along with the continued strengthening of the special and unshakeable special relationship between the two countries,” she said.
In a statement, she called the Obama’s election “a mark of merit for American democracy.”
China Daily: Commentary: We wish US president-elect Obama well
The Standard, Kenya: Kenya erupts in celebration as Obama wins
The Australian, Australia: Janet Alberchstein’s blog, Is America a racist nation after all?
The NY Times: The Promise
For Many Abroad, an Ideal Renewed
Wall Street Journal: Read Their Lips
And the winner is … tax cuts.
Washington Times: EDITORIAL: Why weren’t they ready?
In heavily contested battleground states like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida, state elections officials recorded ever-expanding voter rolls month after month. But in most cases, they only marginally expanded access or upgraded their voting machines. Tuesday, the high turnouts proved they weren’t ready. Election officials need to explain why.
Post from last August: Latin American news media cover the Presidential campaign, and McCain is invisible
More on world reaction at 10AM Eastern in today’s podcast. The call-in number is 646 652-2639, and chat’s open by 9:45AM. Please join in!
You can listen to the podcast here.
She has more background here:
Ten years ago today–using the time-tested truck-bomb method–Islamists blew up the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The toll: in Nairobi 213 dead—of that number 12 were American; in Dar es Salaam 11 dead—all Africans—and 85 wounded.
Go read all of it.
Muslim leaders in Kenya’s North Eastern Province have resolved to campaign against the promotion of condoms as a means of preventing HIV.
The leaders agreed to actively preach against the use and public promotion of condoms as a strategy to contain the pandemic and prevent pregnancy. They also agreed to oppose the distribution of condoms in villages and educational institutions across the northeast.
What to do, instead? Avoid looking at women, for starters:
The leaders expressed their view that the best way for the youth to avoid HIV was through the observance of Islamic teachings such as fasting, regular prayer and shunning extramarital affairs. They advised men to avoid looking at women, who should dress modestly.
Then there’s the myth, too:
Abdi Welli, a taxi driver in Garissa, told IRIN/PlusNews he agreed with the clerics that condoms should be banned. He believed the widespread myth that condoms and contraceptives were laced with the HI virus. “We know the condoms are not safe … if you want to contract the virus that causes AIDS, then use [a condom],” he said. “After all, we have heard in the past that the Western world is using the condom to eliminate Africans, and Muslims in particular.”
In another part of the world, a Yemenite cleric claims to have found the cure for AIDS by reading a hadith: He “won’t object to American companies adopting his invention on condition that they pressure the American administration to remove his name from the list of terrorism suspects.”
What a guy.
Back in the olden days Fidel was sending troops to Angola.
Now we have Hugo sending advice to Africa. Doug Ross has the details, and pictures.
Venezuelan Minister Encourages Africa to Nationalize Oil: Who better to export the Bolivarian Revolution to Senegal than a guy named Reinaldo Bolivar? Mugabe’s stranglehold on Zimbabwe is not about to ease, and Senegal can follow down the path to ruin.
Don’t expect the Democrats to pay notice, especially after handing the Chavez Rule.
In a day filled with news, some really big news: Arms Dealer Arrested in Thailand
Police Col. Petcharat Sengchai told reporters that Bout was wanted for conspiring to provide “weapons and explosives for Colombian rebels” known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The leftist FARC has been fighting Colombia’s government for more than four decades, and funds itself largely through the cocaine trade and kidnapping for ransom.
He has been accused of trafficking weapons through a series of front companies to war-wracked Central and West Africa since the early 1990s. U.N. reports say he set up a network of more than 50 aircraft around the world, owned by small, tightly controlled companies including Bukavu Aviation Transport, Business Air Services and Great Lakes Business Co.
Counterterrorism Blog asks, Why Was Viktor Bout in Thailand When He Was Arrested?
The Ronulans are coming
Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love?
Two words for Nicholas Kristof: 39th
Laurie gets Morgellon’s disease.
Eric clarifies some Details which give me a splitting hair ache
Is it real, or is it Mexifornia photoshop?
Scrambling for Africa: A Conversation with John Ghazvinian
Left bass player – sort of
What is “Conservative” In This Republican Race?
Last but not least, don’t miss Jon’s huge Blogroll amnesty day roundup.
The Tour de France was the big news yesterday in France, for good reason: ETA detonated two small explosive devices (the article didn’t specify what kind of devices), and Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen of Denmark was removed from the race and fired from his team after winning the 16th stage yesterday. Since the Tour ends on Sunday, this was way more than the usual excitement, particularly since this morning the Tour resumed with no-one wearing the yellow jersey.
But for the news addict like myself, there was another item of interest. Sarko’s on a tour of Africa and dropped by Muammar Gaddafi‘s.
Always the fashion plate, Gaddafi wore a white suit with the emblem of African unity prominently pinned over his heart, black shirt and a wide (silk chiffon, maybe?) sash. Sarko looked appropriately French in traditional business garb. The day before yesterday Sarko was in Liberia, were he was warmly welcomed. Today Sarko’s in Senegal, where he probably will have to work a little harder.
As it turns out, the Libya meeting took place a day after Libya released the six Bulgarian medics who had been convicted of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV. The medics had confessed under torture and had been sentenced to death. According to the BBC,
The medics’ release was made possible by a deal struck in Tripoli on improving Libya-EU ties, following years of negotiations.
Not one to let a good opportunity go to waste, Sarko – whose trip was strategically timed – showed up, and the Guardian has the headline:
Sarkozy flies to Libya to reap rewards of medics’ release
Mr Sarkozy ignored criticism that he and his wife Cecilia had been grandstanding by intervening at the end of the eight-year crisis when the hard work had been done by the European commission and other EU governments. Mrs Sarkozy joined in negotiations and then flew to Sofia with the freed medics.
Sarko and Gaddafi/Gadafy also agreed to work on a nuclear energy project that will turn sea water into clean drinking water.
Shall we drink to that?