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Published 21st October 2011

Vol 52 No 21


Kenya

Kibaki gambles on regional war with Al Shabaab

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After chasing kidnappers across the border, the Kenyan army is digging in for the longer term in Somalia

As the Kenyan army ventured deeper into Somalia, in its first cross-border campaign in 44 years, a regional grand strategy to deal with Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen is beginning to emerge. Kenya’s intervention was under detailed consideration several weeks before Nairobi’s official declaration of war against Al Shabaab on 15 October. There is little substance to media claims that United States diplomats based in Nairobi were surprised by Kenya’s operation. Both the USA and Britain run substantive regional counter-terrorism operations from Nairobi.


New rules for a new order

The likely winner of the Constituent Assembly elections is the Islamist party which the deposed autocrat Ben Ali tried to repress

Tunisians kept their affection for constitutional principles and the rule of law throughout the corruption and autocracy that prevailed under President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who...


Contenders for the Assembly

The eight contenders for the Assembly include: • Hizb Ennahda (Renaissance Party): founded in 1989 by Rachid Ghannouchi, the party has established itself as a mainstream Islamis...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The demise of Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi on 20 October will quicken the rush for contracts with the new regime from those who backed the revolution. The contract race was summed up by a Korea Herald headline: ‘Korean builders brace for post-Gadaffi boom’. China, which had remained loyal to Gadaffi until the fall of Tripoli, may lose out to its neighbour because of political misjudgment.

The prize is more than US$160 billion in foreign holdings, which the National Trans...

The demise of Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi on 20 October will quicken the rush for contracts with the new regime from those who backed the revolution. The contract race was summed up by a Korea Herald headline: ‘Korean builders brace for post-Gadaffi boom’. China, which had remained loyal to Gadaffi until the fall of Tripoli, may lose out to its neighbour because of political misjudgment.

The prize is more than US$160 billion in foreign holdings, which the National Transitional Council says it will use for reconstruction. Much of it was frozen in Western institutions during the fight against Gadaffi. We hear that French and other officials are offering guaranteed credits, using the blocked funds as collateral, for contracts with their national companies.

The United States provided much of the military backbone for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s campaign but lagged behind European companies until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Tripoli on 18 October.

Qatar will prove a problematic winner. It backed NATO and air-freighted weapons to the Libyan opposition, favouring the Islamist militias under Tripoli’s military commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj. The officially funded Al Jazeera television network supported the revolutionaries since they took to the streets in February. For those efforts, it expects political and commercial favours from the NTC as it prepares elections to form a constituent assembly and form a more representative government.

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Generals stall the revolution

The fall of Hosni Mubarak left a vacuum and the army wants to be sure his replacement will protect its interests

The generals who rule in Cairo are well positioned to shape the new political landscape and hold on to their huge financial interests. As economic pressures grow on the post-revolu...


Military momentum

The impetus for the opposition’s new determination comes from the military success of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The SPLA-N...


The President starts purging

After his presidential victory, long-time oppositionist Michael Sata is sacking his predecessor’s key officials in the name of clean government

During his presidential campaign, Michael Chilufya Sata told electors: ‘I am allergic to corruption.’ After he won, he quickly set about trying to prove it. Anti-corruption rhetori...


Coffers empty, power for sale

The revolution has run low on funds as tourists have stayed away and businesses closed after President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak fell in February. Flaunting its nationalism, the Suprem...


Oil in troubled waters

Accusations in Kampala of high-level corporate bribery are as much about politics as business

Documents purporting to show that Ireland’s Tullow Oil made corrupt payments of 16.5 million euros (US$22.59 mn.) to Uganda’s Foreign Minister, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, and other state ...


A Scott in office

Most onlookers perceive Michael Sata as the Patriotic Front and the PF as Sata. Most also acknowledge the pivotal role Guy Scott has played in Sata’s rise to power. He is the intel...


Opposition on the march

Political and military oppositionists coordinate their campaigns as economic pressures mount on Khartoum

A new military-political alliance of northern oppositionists is determinedly confronting the Khartoum regime, just three months after South Sudan formally seceded. The two developm...


From Delta militias to piracy

The amnesty deal in the Niger Delta seems to have driven the gangsters offshore in pursuit of seaborne business opportunities

Governments and oil companies were sufficiently alarmed by the spate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to call for help from the United Nations Security Council (AC Vol 52 No 20). Th...


How Banda got bounced

A party insider told us how the President’s team fouled up his expected election victory

Ex-President Rupiah Banda seemed to have everything on his side before the 20 September elections. The economy was strong, buoyed by record copper and cobalt export prices, and his...



Pointers

Teodorin’s week

On 19 October, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo nominated his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue (‘Teodorín’) as his new deputy envoy to the Paris-based United Nations Educat...


Devil take the hindermost

After Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams met President Robert Mugabe on 10 October in Harare, he told journalists Mugabe had appeared shocked by the dossier of property seizur...


BAE Systems’ fine dilemma

Confusion still surrounds British arms company BAE Systems’ failure to make its promised ex-gratia payment of £29.5 million (US$45.6 mn.) to Tanzania, as part of a global settlemen...