C I V I L - M I L I T A R Y
F U S I O N
C E N T R E
Review 11 June 2013
INSIDE THIS ISSUE North Africa
Horn of Africa
This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 28 May –10 June 2013, with hyper-links to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.
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Algeria Algeria’s political process has stagnated as a result of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s absence since suffering a mini-stroke on April 27, according to Associated Press (AP). For instance, all new Algerian laws must be reviewed by the president’s cabinet, which has not convened for several months. As such, a new audio-visual law regulating media and a supplementary budget law, among others, have not moved forward. Additionally, a commission established in March to amend the constitution ahead of the 2014 elections remains inactive. William Lawrence, the North Africa analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), said “[t]he system depends in many ways on the man on the top and when he’s not there it doesn’t function with the same efficiency and confidence so a lot of things in Algeria are on hold until his return”. The political opposition has even demanded the implementation of article 88, effectively removing the president from office, over speculations about his ailing health. Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal urged people to stop focusing on the president’s health, reports AP. Although Algerian and French governments disclosed little information on the president’s condition, Sellal said “[they] have nothing to hide”. He further expressed s disappointment with the public for not believing official statements.
Egypt An Egyptian court adjourned the retrial of former President Hosni Mubarak, charged with corruption and the killing of 850 protesters during the 2011 uprising; proceedings will resume 06 July, reports AP. Additionally, the court ordered the release of Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, also on trial for corruption. However, both sons will remain incarcerated on other corruption-related charges. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr promised he would not give up “a single drop of water from the Nile”, informs Reuters. On 09 June, Amr announced he will visit Ethiopia to discuss the Nile River project currently under construction in the country. Cairo deems it a threat to national survival. The government requested that the project be halted; however, Ethiopia rejected the request. The dam project is set to become Africa’s largest hydropower station. The Ethiopian government called on the Egyptian ambassador after Cairo politicians were televised suggesting military intervention or providing support to Ethiopian rebels in order to end construction on 06 June. Although Ethiopia claims the project will not diminish water supplies, Amr remains concerned that the country cannot survive, saying, “No Nile-no Egypt”. Egypt believes it possesses “historic rights” to the river, guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959, giving the country 87 per cent of the Nile’s flow, as well as the power to veto upstream projects. However, in 2010, other Nile Basin countries signed a new deal, giving them permission to implement river projects without Cairo’s prior consent. On 10 June, the Tamarod campaign designed to “withdraw confidence” from President Mohammed Morsi announced the collection of 13 million signatures since petitions were first circulated on 01 May, reports Al Arabiya. The campaign is planning mass protests on 30 June which is Morsi’s first anniversary in office. A spokeswoman for Tamarod said: “The Egyptian people are the ones who gave confidence (power) to President Morsi, and so we have the right to withdraw it, because he has breached a contract with the people when he did not meet the demands of the revolution.” US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised the sentencing of 43 international non-governmental organisation (NGO) employees on 05 June, reports Al Jazeera. Kerry called the guilty verdicts “incompatible with the transition to democracy”. The court sentenced a group of Americans, Europeans, and Egyptians, as well as other Arabs, in a case in which the government accused the NGOs of working illegally in the country. Egypt also complained that the US government had diverted USD 150 million from aid earmarked for the country to the NGOs. Twenty-seven defendants tried in-absentia, including fifteen US citizens, were given five-year sentences by the court. Eleven Egyptians were also implicated in the case, each receiving one-year suspended sentences.
Libya On 08 June, deadly clashes erupted in Benghazi. A group of protesters called for the militias to submit to the central authority outside the headquarters of Libya Shield brigade. The brigade helped to oust former leader Moammar Gaddafi, reports AP. An elite military unit took control of the brigade’s base. The clashes resulted in 31 dead and at least 120 wounded, reports Bloomberg. Army Chief of Staff Youssef al-Mangoush resigned following the incidents, citing the high death toll. Military officers protested against alMangoush’s inability to address corruption and for failing to control the militias. The UN Support Mission in Libya called for restraint by both parties and highlighted the “necessity of resolving disagreements peacefully through dialogue”. Clashes between members of two tribes of Arab and African origins, in the southern Fezzan region of Libya, left five dead on 03 June, reports AP. Fighters from Al Shourafa Arab tribe and Tabu, using light weapons as well as rocket propelled grenades, damaged nearby houses and cars. Since the fall of Gaddafi, governments are unable to impose order in the southern region of Libya due to the absence of a unified army and police force. Moreover, there are concerns that, aside from the local tensions, southern parts of the country may be the scene of broader regional security problems involving al Qaeda. There are concerns that Islamists militants, drawn out of Mali by French troops, may try to regroup in southern Libya. NATO is sending a team to assess how the Alliance can provide security assistance to Libya, especially in military training, reports The New York Times. According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the team will leave “as soon as possible” and report back by the end of June. Rasmussen also said such security assistance “would be a fitting way to continue our cooperation with Libya after we successfully took action to protect the Libyan people two years ago”. He stated that Libya made a formal request for assistance last week, adding that this is not a troop deployment in that country and any such military training “could take place outside Libya”.
11 June 2013
Mali President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso met with a delegation from Bamako before hosting a three-day series of talks between Mali’s central government and leaders of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a separatist Tuareg group, reports Deutsche Welle (DW). Although details were not immediately announced, Voice of America reported that the two sides reached an agreement “in principle” that will permit elections to take place in July. The Malian army, which marched to Kidal last week, threatened to occupy the city by force on 10 June if an agreement is not reached, notes DW. The situation throughout the Kidal region has remained tense since late May. Malian and international troops encamped around the city but Tuareg leaders, who collected taxes and formed a de facto government in Kidal, refused to disarm and cede control to the Malian army. The central government needs Kidal, a key city in the northeast with a history steeped in Tuareg culture, to participate in elections on 28 July. According to Reuters, “The immediate goal of the talks is to agree to a ceasefire and establish conditions for Mali’s government and armed forces to return to Kidal before the presidential vote”. On 05 June, the Malian army recaptured Anefis, a small town 100 km south of Kidal held by MNLA forces. France 24 reported that ten Tuaregs were killed during clashes. The negotiations with Burkina Faso came as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that al Qaeda-linked militants continue to pose a threat to West African countries. The UN plans to deploy peacekeepers to Mali on 01 July under the UN Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Finally, Amnesty International released a report in preparation for the MINUSMA operation that found security forces throughout Mali perpetrated grave human rights violations between January and June 2013. “The Malian security forces’ human rights record since January is simply appalling. They continue to violate human rights with apparently no fear of being held accountable,” said Gaetan Mootoo, a member of the research team. The most serious allegations include incidents of torture, forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings.
Morocco About 200 protesters from the February 20 Movement, joined by hundreds of unemployed graduates, demonstrated outside the Ministry of Justice on 05 June, demanding the release of political prisoners, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). One of the protesters told AFP, “The February 20 movement is peaceful, it has never called for violence. We will continue to protest until our comrades are freed.” Charges levied on the political prisoners include “taking part in non-authorised protests, violence against the security forces and drug trafficking”. During a lower house session on 03 June, an opposition parliamentarian posed a question to Minister of Health Hossein El Ouardi in Amazigh language, which is used by the Berber minority in Morocco, reports Middle East Online. El Ouardi responded in a different Amazigh dialect to the question regarding inadequate health infrastructure in the Berber region of al Hoceima, saying “I will visit AlHoceima soon and I will call you to go and see what’s going on there and to resolve the problem”. Berber activists hailed the ministers’ dialogue as the first time in the country’s history that Amazigh was used in parliament. Reforms introduced in 2011 by King Mohammed VI included the elevation of Amazigh to one of Morocco’s official languages. Morocco and the European Union (EU) signed a cooperation agreement on migration and mobility on 07 June, reports Magharebia. The two parties will join efforts to fight illegal immigration. In addition, the EU will ease visa procedures for certain groups such as students, researchers and business people. The European Commission said, “one objective of the partnership is to improve the information available to qualified Moroccan citizens on employment, education and training opportunities available in the EU and also to make mutual recognition of professional and university qualifications easier”.
Tunisia A roadside bomb struck a military vehicle in Jebel Chaambi mountain region on the Tunisia-Algeria border on 06 June, killing two Tunisian soldiers and wounding two others, reports AP. This is the first incident with fatalities in a region that has seen twenty soldiers injured since operations began in late April. Tunisia is not impacted to the same extent as Algeria; however, many militants took refuge in Tunisia after a French-led military intervention defeated al Qaeda-linked groups in Mali. Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said that the search for militants in the region will continue until their groups are dismantled and their aides are caught. During another operation in the same region on 03 June, a soldier was killed by friendly fire, reports AFP. Ministry of Interior spokesman Mokhtar Ben Nasr said “[t]he army set a trap for the terrorist elements but a soldier left his position and his comrades told him to stop, believing that he was a terrorist, before opening fire”. A branch of the League for the Protection of the Revolution (LPR) held a rally in the capital Tunis on 01 June, despite a ban imposed by the Ministry of Interior, reports AFP. The controversial group, linked to the ruling Islamist Ennahda party, demanded to swiftly adopt a bill on the “immunization” of the revolution. The leader of the LPR, Imed Dghij, vowed to orchestrate weekly protests until demands are met. According to reports, the police on-site at the event did not intervene. Many civil society groups perceive LPR as a brutal Islamist militia. However, Ennahda and President Moncef Marzouki’s centre-left Congress for the Republic deny such allegations and openly support the group. 11 June 2013
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South Sudan – Sudan Cross Border Issues
According to South Sudan’s Minister of Information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Sudanese troops advanced ten kilometres into the South Sudanese state of Upper Nile on 10 June, according to BBC. Benjamin stated that Juba would submit formal protests to both the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) concerning Sudan’s actions. Meanwhile, on 08 June, Sudan accused Juba of supporting rebels trying to overthrow the government of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir. Sudan suggested a future blockage of South Sudanese oil exports, effective in sixty days. South Sudan is reliant on Sudan to export its oil through pipelines to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. An earlier dispute in 2012 over oil transport fees halted production for fifteen months. Sudan’s intelligence chief, Mohammed Atta al-Moula, claims that the rebels in Darfur and two other Sudanese states received weapons, ammunition, fuel, food and spare vehicle parts from South Sudan. According to Bloomberg, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir called Sudan’s threat a “declaration of war” and denied supporting rebels in Sudan. Source: Britannica Fighting between the SPLM-N rebels and the Sudanese government began in early 2012 in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states resulting in the displacement of over one million people, according to the UN. Since then, the SPLM-N created an alliance with three other rebel groups in Darfur to establish a “viable democratic alternative” to Bashir’s government, according to a 2012 report by the Small Arms Survey.
On 09 June, Sudan’s Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal Osman announced that Khartoum supports Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River, reports Sudan Tribune. Osman further stated that Addis Ababa includes Sudan in all dam construction operations, and he expects the country to benefit from the dam once it is completed in about three years. Sudan is reportedly prepared to send experts and technicians to Ethiopia to assist with construction. Furthermore, Sudan dismissed fears of the dam collapsing and flooding surrounding cities and towns located on the Blue Nile River, forty kilometres from the EthiopiaSudan border. The US government, in partnership with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), will provide assistance to nearly 4 million vulnerable people across Sudan, reports Sudan Tribune. A further 1.4 million people will benefit vis-à-vis food rations including lentils, sorghum and oil fortified with vitamin A. The contribution comes ahead of the “lean season”, enabling a WFP response to those recently displaced by increased fighting in Darfur. Furthermore, the US has earmarked another USD 43 million on top of the contributions to provide food assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in conflict-affected Blue Nile and South Kordofan states to which WFP has access.
South Sudan Approximately 60,000 people are using their bare hands to mine for gold in South Sudan reports Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). The miners, facing growing food shortages, and inability to feed their families, are leaving home in search of gold. While substantial discoveries were common in the past, it is now more difficult to find gold. WFP reports “poor climatic conditions, inaccessibility, poverty and underdevelopment, and occasional insecurity” are taking a heavy toll on the area, increasing food insecurity. Local authorities requested aid earlier in the year following reports of numerous hunger-related deaths. WFP provides food assistance in the region and implements a food-for-assets programme to alleviate the impact of continued climatic and conflict-related shocks, such as cattle-rustling. Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau also indicated it would “help South Sudan… It will diversify the economy, moving away from just relying on oil”, which represents 98 per cent of the country’s annual budget. According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, the UN will deliver emergency medical care to tens of thousands of IDPs in Jonglei state. Pibor and Boma remain deserted a month after civilians fled the towns looking for safety. The two towns were the scene of intense fighting as government forces and rebels, led by David Yau Yau, battled for control over both. As a result, both towns suffered heavy damage amid fighting and looting. Aid officials report that civilians are too afraid to return to the towns to look for food or medicine. On 05 June, the UN reported receipt of USD 5.4 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF); the monies will be used to purchase helicopters and medical equipment to treat or evacuate civilians in the state. It is estimated that over 1,600 people have been killed by violence in Jonglei state since 2011.
11 June 2013
Horn of Africa
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Eritrea Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth, presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 04 June. Keetharuth urged the international community to scrutinise Eritrea for forced conscription, extremely limited political freedoms, and “countrywide arming and military training of the civilian population”. Speaking to the HRC, she summarised, “I am extremely concerned about the human rights situation in Eritrea. The prevailing situation in the country is characterised by extrajudicial killings and forced disappearance and incommunicado detention, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and inhumane prison conditions”. Eritrea responded to the remarks, expressing “surprise” and thanking delegations for their “constructive comments”.
Ethiopia The Foreign Ministry summoned Mohamed Idris, the Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia, on 06 June. According to Associated Press (AP), the ministry sought an explanation about “hostile remarks” made by Egyptian politicians over the Renaissance Dam. During a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, the politician – unaware their comments were televised – suggested aiding rebel groups in an effort to destroy the dam. On 10 June, Morsi said that Egypt did not intend to go to war with Ethiopia but that he will keep “all options open”. Reuters described the comments as “bellicose rhetoric” that could lead to a water war. Morsi also insisted on further study of the construction’s impact. The Renaissance project escalated tensions between the two countries in May amid concerns that it might disrupt the flow of the Nile River. However, Idris announced the construction was not a surprise and had been planned since November 2012. Ethiopia began diverting water from the Blue Nile on 28 May in accordance with pre-existing construction plans, reports All Africa. The government points to a report prepared by an international panel as evidence the dam will not diminish Egypt’s water supply. The panel included experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. In a rare sign of domestic political opposition, 4,000 to 10,000 protesters marched through Addis Ababa on 02 June. Led by the Semayawi (Blue) party, the group called for the release of political prisoners. The Economist noted the demonstration, which concluded without incident, was the largest since 2005 when 200 unarmed participants were killed and thousands arrested after protesting a flawed election process.
Journalists were ordered to vacate the media centre in Kenya’s Parliament Building on 05 June, reports Capital FM. The decision angered civil society leaders. The National Assembly Clerk, Justin Bundi, said the space was needed for committee rooms. The Kenya Parliamentary Journalist Association (KPJA) countered that journalists can only hold parliament accountable by rendering their work transparent. “Let’s not roll that back,” said KPJA chairperson Alphonce Shiundu. The decision to shut out journalists from Parliament comes as retribution for their coverage of a recent salary standoff, according to RFI. The monthly pay rate of parliament members, EUR 7,600 (USD 10,027), has been harshly criticised as exorbitant and led to bloody protests in May, according to BBC. However, it seems unlikely that current members will settle on the reduced salary of EUR 4,800 (USD 6,330) proposed by the federal salaries commission. In international developments, the UK agreed to pay Kenyan survivors of the Mau Mau revolt USD 31 million, according to BBC. Thousands of people were killed during the rebellion in the 1950s as Kenya struggled for independence from Britain. Foreign Secretary William Hague identified 5,228 victims who will receive compensation. The UK also plans to construct a memorial to the Mau Mau uprising in Nairobi.
Somalia Intense fighting broke out between the followers of two rival warlords in the strategic port city of Kismayo, Jubaland, on 08 June, reports Al Jazeera. Armed members of Ras Kamboni, a group led by Ahmed Madobe, attempted to arrest Iftin Hassan Basto when a gunfight erupted between militias loyal to the two men. Madobe was elected president of Jubaland by an assembly on 15 May but the result was contested by Basto. The Somalia Federal Government (SFG) also called his election unconstitutional. At least eighteen people were killed in the attacks and hundreds of residents fled Kismayo. Troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have skirmished with al Shabaab militants over control of the Kismayo airport in recent weeks, although Kenyan commanders report the group is “relatively finished”. As of 08 June, AMISOM, led by Kenyan troops, held the airport while various militias maintained tenuous order in the city. Al Jazeera reported that the presence of militant groups unnerved local residents. In a separate security development, NATO and EU maritime counter piracy operations freed fourteen Indian sailors on 07 June after pirates hijacked their ship, reports India Times. Somali pirates have been thwarted from hijacking ships on four occasions in 2013, a dramatic decline in the number of attacks from previous years. AP also broke the news that al Shabaab militants carried out summary executions of two men in the southern town of Bararwe on 06 June. The men were accused of spying for AMISOM peacekeepers. Finally, AP reports that al Shabaab is discouraging Somalis from inoculating children against polio. Militants are misleading parents by accusing foreign health workers of sterilising children and infecting them with AIDS rather than administering the vaccine. Four polio cases were discovered in Somalia and Kenya in April, prompting an urgent response from the World Health Organization (WHO) and government officials on 27 May. One million people are expected to receive vaccinations in Kenya and Somali
ENGAGE WITH US 11 June 2013
Published on Jun 11, 2013
This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 28 May - 10 June 2013, with...