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Published 26th October 2001

Vol 42 No 21


Washington's new pragmatism

Forget the broad principles, Bush's people prefer trade, practical details and anti-terrorism

Africa will see little of the billions of dollars being pumped into the United States' military, diplomatic and intelligence services since the 11 September attacks. However, already there is a new shift in Washington's Africa policy. The idea - current in Republican circles after George W. Bush's disputed election win last December - that Washington doesn't need an Africa policy because the USA has no strategic interests on the continent has been quickly junked (AC Vol 41 No 25). From the killing fields of Algeria and the El Gama'a el Islamiya bases in Egypt to the hosts of Usama bin Laden and Al Qaida in Sudan and Somalia, Washington has rapidly identified a range of strategic interests in Africa. Meeting journalists in London on 17 October, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter H. Kansteiner III, called the counter-terrorism campaign 'the topic I deal with most'. Washington's new internationalism will be pragmatic. Money, arms and diplomatic muscle will be available to undermine Islamist and terrorist groups across Africa, especially in the north, and there will be a more constructive attitude to the United Nations. Washington's interest in conflicts, however (such as those of Congo-Kinshasa or Sierra Leone-Liberia), is seen as less strategic and may wane further. States regarded as at risk from Islamist subversion such as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya will move to the top of Washington's watch-list, along with Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. The National Islamic Front regime in Sudan, (former) hosts to Al Qaida and headquarters of the Islamist International, is in another category.


October evolution

Power is shifting from party to Premier – and maybe, to the people

October has been good for Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He has appointed a new President, reshuffled his cabinet, won gushing tributes from Western diplomats and donors, and turned ...


Payback time

The President's cheque is stolen and the election heats up

The arrest of three men last week on charges of stealing President Frederick Chiluba's salary over the past 16 months is instructive. Apparently Chiluba hadn't noticed that 82 mill...


Presidential runners

Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD): formed 1990, governing since 1991. Support: Copperbelt and Bemba people, trades unions; endorsed by Dean Mung'omba's Zambia Alliance f...


Piecemeal

Nelson Mandela's plan annoys almost eveyone but there's no alternative in sight

We are on the verge of reaching a breakthrough which will bring permanent peace and stability', said Nelson Mandela, former South African President and Burundi's peace mediator, on...


Walk out

The Kinshasa government's abandonment of the Inter-Congolese dialogue on 19 October raises new doubts about its commitment to the Lusaka peace accord. Foreign Minister Léona...



Pointers

On Blaise's trail

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaoré is the latest in a series of African leaders on overseas visits to be harried by human rights organisations. He spent mid-October in...


Murky depths

Hopes that the people of Western Sahara might one day decide their own future (AC Vol 42 No 10) have been dealt a possibly fatal blow by Rabat's decision to grant oil exploration r...