Kenya’s Somali North East: Devolution and Security

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Devolved government in Kenya’s newly formed north-eastern counties, designed to address decades of political marginalisation and underdevelopment, has been undermined by dominant clans monopolising power and growing corruption. ICG – Nairobi/Brussels – OVERVIEW – Africa Briefing N°114 Violent clan competition and antipathy between elected county elites and the remaining national administrative structures have allowed the violently extremist Al-Shabaab movement to expand and operate with relative impunity across large areas of the North East. Its attacks exposed security-service disarray and caused ... Read More »

Who Downed Metrojet Flight 9268?

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Was it ISIS – or somebody else? © Antiwar – by Justin Raimondo First they said the downing of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 was most likely due to Russia’s “notorious” regional airlines, which supposedly are rickety and unreliable. The Egyptian government denied that terrorism is even a possibility, with Egyptian despot Abdel Fatah al-Sisi proclaiming: “When there is propaganda that it crashed because of Isis, this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image ... Read More »

Russian-made cargo plane crash in S. Sudan kills dozens. Second Mid East air disaster

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No cause has yet been established for the Russian-made Antonov Ant-12’s crash-landing on the east bank of the Nile River 800 m short of Juba international airport in South Sudan Wednesday, Nov. 4. Its five-man crew were Russians. According to first reports some 40 people were killed both on board and on the ground, although there appear to be two survivors. DEBKAfile – Special Report But none of the 224 passengers and crew aboard the Metrojet Flight 9268 Airbus 321 survived ... Read More »

Sisi comes to London: why is David Cameron welcoming Egypt’s autocrat to the UK?

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In 2011, the British prime minister hailed democracy in Tahrir Square. Now he is receiving Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with open arms. What is a man who has overseen the state killings of more than 2,500 political opponents doing at Downing Street? The Guardian – Jack Shenker In footage recorded by news cameras, you can see David Cameron – flanked by a large security team – threading his way through the flag sellers and nut vendors and the amiable mayhem of ... Read More »

The Politics behind the Ebola Crisis

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At the Ebola epidemic’s height in mid-2014, there were concerns social order in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could collapse. ICG – Dakar/Brussels, Africa Report N°232 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS International mobilisation, notably after the UN Security Council declared the epidemic “a threat to peace and security” on 18 September, brought an extensive intervention and considerable progress. When explaining the dramatic increase in infections starting in March, observers mostly point to weak health systems, limited resources, population mobility, inadequate ... Read More »

Benghazi: What Neither Hillary Nor the Republicans Want To Talk About

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As I write this, Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the House panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks that killed four Americans is still going on. I wasn’t able to listen to all of it live, and will plow through the transcript in due course. © Antiwar – by James George Jatras Two things already are notable: one concerning the impact of the hearing itself – plus another aspect marked only by the sound of crickets chirping. First, as one would have ... Read More »

Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project

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World’s largest concentrated solar power plant, powered by the Saharan sun, set to help renewables provide almost half the country’s energy by 2020 The Guardian – Arthur Neslen in Ouarzazate The Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is used to big productions. On the edge of the Sahara desert and the centre of the north African country’s “Ouallywood” film industry it has played host to big-budget location shots in Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, The Living Daylights and even Game of Thrones. ... Read More »

Global seed vault dispatches first ever grain shipment

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Supposedly disaster-proof food crop conservation project located on the Svalbard peninsula, ships 38,073 seed samples to Lebanon and Morocco The Guardian – Suzanne Goldenberg @suzyji It was meant to be the ultimate insurance policy against a catastrophe that could wipe out the world’s food supply. Now the global seed vault – a repository burrowed deep into the frozen hillside of the closest town to the north pole – has issued its first down-payment on that legacy. The caretakers of the ... Read More »

Central African Republic: Avoiding an Electoral Flare-up

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The pre-electoral period in the Central African Republic (CAR) is heating up. In Bangui, youth militias engage in daily criminality and intercommunal tensions are now very high. ICG – By Thierry Vircoulon & Thibaud Lesueur * Also available in: français Meanwhile in the provinces, several groups of combatants of the ex-Seleka and militiamen of the anti-balaka are assembling in an attempt to march toward Bangui, seeking a violent confrontation. Until now, international forces have managed to prevent some of the combatants ... Read More »

Asylum seekers face eviction four weeks after being allowed to stay in Britain

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Charities predict worst winter for homelessness thanks to Home Office regulations The Guardian – Tracy McVeigh People winning the right to asylum in Britain are being forced into homelessness because Home Office regulations mean they face eviction within 28 days of their application being accepted. Charities predicted that this winter would be the worst for homelessness in decades, with the rising number of rough sleepers being exacerbated by a rule that prevents asylum seekers from completing the paperwork and organising ... Read More »

Why Beasts of No Nation fails to tell the whole story about child soldiers

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Film critics are enthralled by Idris Elba’s new film, Beasts of No Nation, which gives a vivid account of the life of child soldiers. But those who work in the field are not so thrilled The Telegraph – By Harriet Alexander, New York It wasn’t the 14-year-old’s capacity to kill which most depressed the Lieutenant-General. Not was it the harrowing scenes of senseless violence, with children used by warlords as weapons of war, killing their kin to order. What most ... Read More »

What South Africa leaving the International Criminal Court would mean

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The call by South Africa’s governing party to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has implications for the rest of the continent. But it is not going to happen any time soon. By Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg When South Africa joined the ICC in 1998 the country had just emerged from the scourge of apartheid. South Africans were fresh victims of gross human rights violations and had hoped that the rest of the world would join the ICC. ... Read More »

Social Dialogue Under The Gun in Tunisia

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Tunisia’s democratic transition has been idealized as the bright light of the Arab Uprisings. In addition to avoiding the bloody crackdowns of Egypt, Libya, and Syria, the country held the promise of making real gains on the issues of social justice—low wages, unequal development, and crony neoliberal capitalism—that triggered the uprising. Jadaliyya – by Ian M. Hartshorn Led in part by the country’s powerful trade union, the democratic transition was supposed to provide a re-energized economy, tripartite negotiation on wages ... Read More »

Algeria and Its Neighbours

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Algiers/Brussels, ICG – Middle East and North Africa Report N°164 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Algeria is emerging as an indispensable broker of stability in North Africa and the Sahel. Where insecurity, foreign meddling and polarisation are on the rise across the region, it has at key moments promoted dialogue and state-building as the best means for lifting neighbours out of crisis, thus to safeguard its own long-term security. What some call Algeria’s “return” to regional politics after a long absence since ... Read More »

Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet Set a Powerful Example

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award its annual peace prize to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet is an occasion to celebrate what this extraordinary group of labour unions, business and civil society organisations accomplished. ICG – By Issandr El Amrani | @boumilo Today, it is easy to be complacent about the coalition government in Tunis, which is a direct result of the groundwork laid by the Quartet in 2013. One can lament the security, economic and political challenges that Tunisia still faces. ... Read More »

When You Educate A Girl, You Educate A Nation

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I was almost ashamed to look directly at her. She stared at the ground, but that couldn’t hide her two bruised eyes, a cut lip, and an abnormally swollen face. You could see the shame she felt. And while the naïve 27-year-old part of me wondered why she didn’t just leave her husband, it would take me some time before I realised she had less choice than most. The Huffington Post – Chantelle Baxter, Co-founder of One Girl Violence against ... Read More »