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Horn of Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa and Decocratization Through 2022

Sub-Saharan Africa and Decocratization Through 2022

Source;: The National Intelligence Council published in February 2018 an analysis titled “Sub-Saharan Africa: Pitched Contests for Democratization Through 2022.”

The analysis concludes that standing in contrast to what academics have noted as a global drift toward authoritarianism, democracy remains a potent ideal in Africa. This tug of war between leaders and their constituents will become more intense through 2022, as stagnating economies, urbanization, and access to technology upset many longstanding balances of power. The resulting volatility will pose challenges and create opportunities for the international community as it pursues its strategic interests in this rapidly changing landscape.

Time To Get Tough with Warring Faction Leaders in South Sudan

Time To Get Tough with Warring Faction Leaders in South Sudan

Source: African Arguments, Posted: 13 Mar 2018 08:38 AM PDT

African Arguments posted on 12 March 2018 a commentary titled “South Sudan: Buying Off Elites To Stop Fighting Won’t Work. Here Is What Might” by Daniel Akech Thiong, an independent consultant dealing with South Sudan.

The author argues that you cannot buy off warring elites in South Sudan. He calls for “emptying the fuel tank” by removing the rewards of war. This may include an arms embargo, asset freezes, and a travel ban.

Djibouti Sees China Involvement in Port as No Threat to U.S.

Djibouti Sees China Involvement in Port as No Threat to U.S. are

Source: Bloomberg, Friday March 16, 2018

Djibouti’s government will embrace greater Chinese involvement in the nation’s ports and sees no reasons for U.S. concern that its strategic interests may be threatened, Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh said.

Situated on a global shipping choke-point that links the Red Sea and Suez Canal, Djibouti has become increasingly important to regional and world powers. Smaller than the state of Massachusetts, it hosts the largest U.S. military base in Africa and China’s first such overseas facility, which was inaugurated in August, also in the Doraleh area.

The Horn of Africa country is embroiled in a dispute with DP World Ltd. over the running of the Doraleh Container Terminal and has struck a deal to boost cargo trade with a company working with Chinese state-owned enterprises. It would be “ridiculous” to imagine that China could restrict or deny U.S. access to Doraleh as a result of the deal, Dawaleh said in a phone interview.

“Djibouti’s development needs all its friends and strategic partners,” he said. “At the same time, no one can dictate to us who we should deal with.”U.S. Africa Command General Thomas Waldhauser warned last week that a Chinese takeover of Doraleh could have “significant” consequences if there were restrictions on the U.S.’s ability to use the facility.

Ambassador Assured

Djiboutian officials assured the American ambassador there’s “no intention to eventually give this over to China,” Waldhauser said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing before a visit by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Djibouti March 9. “We’ll have to wait and see. The key at that point is who owns the company and how it works.”

Societe de Gestion du Terminal a Conteneurs de Doraleh, a state-owned company created to take over the operations of DCT, signed an agreement March 5 with Singapore-based Pacific International Lines Pte Ltd. to boost cargo traffic, according to a statement by Djibouti’s permanent mission to the United Nations. The deal came a fortnight after a presidential decree terminated DP World’s management of the port.

The Djiboutian government is seeking guidance from DP World on what the company plans to do with its one-third stake in DCT, Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said in a March 1 interview. The United Arab Emirates government denounced the “illegal seizure” and said state-owned DP World has begun arbitration proceedings to protect its rights.

‘Exclusive Right’

“Other similar strategic players have already expressed their desire to be involved in the expansion of DCT,” the Djiboutian mission to the UN said. While the government is currently only dealing with the management transition, if DPW “would like to sell, then Djibouti’s government has the exclusive right to buy,” Dawaleh said.

PIL has described a memorandum of understanding it signed with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. in August as a “strategic alliance” and “another result” of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt & Road Initiative, a ports and infrastructure project aimed at forging new links between Europe, Asia and Africa.

State-owned China Merchants already has a stake in the DCT through Port de Djibouti SA, a holding company that owns a two-thirds stake in the container terminal, Dawaleh said.

Chinese Trade

PIL, an independent carrier, is “working with China state-owned enterprises for the Belt & Road Initiative,” Edward Ion, a PIL spokesman said by email. In 2015, PIL entered a joint venture with Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd. and Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Ltd. to operate a new container terminal in Qinzhou, China, on the Gulf of Tonkin, Ion said. PIL invested last year in a logistics park that will provide a channel for trade between Singapore, Guangxi, and western China, he said.

China Merchants financed the equivalent of a 23.5-percent stake it owns in PDSA for another port in the Doraleh area that became operational last year: the Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port that abuts the Chinese military facility, Dawaleh said. The remainder of the DMP has been funded by Djibouti’s government and the PDSA, Dawaleh said.

China Merchants’ investor relations department didn’t respond to three emails seeking comment

Is There Any Prospect for Peace in South Sudan

Is There Any Prospect for Peace in South Sudan

Source: World Politics Review, Posted: 14 Mar 2018 08:31 AM PDT

World Politics Review published on 14 March 2018 a commentary titled “A Resurrected Peace Plan Is the Best Hope for Ending South Sudan’s Brutal War” by Andrew Green, a freelance journalist based inn Berlin.

In spite of the optimistic title of the author’s commentary, he concludes there is no end in sight for the current negotiations as fighting continues for a fifth year and aid agencies report that 9,000 people are estimated to be losing access to food every day.

Farmajo: Major changes to judicial system

Farmajo: Major changes to judicial system hare

 Source: Hiiraan Online, Sunday March 11, 2018

Mogadishu (HOL) – President Mohamed Abdullahi said his government is committed to establishing an independent judiciary system which will serve the Somali public across the nation.

Somalia has been lacking proper investigation and prosecutorial mechanisms since the fall of the central government in 1990, making it difficult to deal with criminal cases in the country.

During his throne speech, President Farmajo noted the need for consolidating a judicial system that protects the rights of the citizens to enjoy justice.

“I have concluded long-term study on the judicial system of the country. Now it is time to fix it and soon there will change to our justice system,” said President Farmajo.

Civic societies have long campaigned for changes to the justice system, which they say suffers from corruption and low public trust.

During a visit to Nairobi earlier this month, the Minister for Justice, Hassan Hussein Haji said his ministry is collaborating with its partners in different countries to rebuild the judicial systems.

“As we rebuild our systems, we remain indebted to the Kenyan Government for the role it has played in the past and continues to play today as we rebuild our country. As a government, we have so far been able to achieve a significant sense of security, political and economic stability in our country. We are now focusing on developing our judicial systems and look to learn from Kenya which has a strong system built over the years,” Haji stated.

Somalia’s judicial system, all with all other state institutions collapsed in the 1990s when the government led by Mohamed Siyad Barre was overthrown.

DP World says Djibouti incident could hurt Africa investment

DP World says Djibouti incident could hurt Africa investment are

Source: REUTERS, Alexander Cornwell
Thursday March 15, 2018

DUBAI (Reuters) – Port operator DP World said on Thursday that Djibouti’s decision to seize control of a terminal project could hurt African efforts to attract investment.

The Dubai state-owned port operator is facing twin political challenges in Africa.

Djibouti abruptly ended its contract to run the Doraleh Container Terminal last month and Somalia’s parliament voted this week to ban the company.

DP World has called the Djibouti move illegal and said it had begun proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration, which last year cleared the company of all charges of misconduct over the concession.

“Africa needs infrastructure investments and if countries can change their law [to take assets then this] is going to basically make it more difficult to attract investment,” Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told a news conference in Dubai.DP World reported 14.9 percent rise in 2017 profit to $1.18 billion profit and said that it would invest $1.4 billion across its global portfolio including in Berbera in Somaliland. [L8N1QX0F2]

It is developing a port in Berbera in partnership with the governments of Somaliland and Ethiopia. It is also developing a greenfield free trade zone in the breakaway region.

Bin Sulayem said he was not concerned by the vote in Somalia’s parliament to ban DP World from the country, which the parliament said nullified their Somaliland contract.

It is unclear how Somalia’s federal government could enforce the ban given Somaliland’s semi-autonomous status.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for about 42 percent of the cargo DP World handled in 2017.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Jason Neely

Golaha Wakiilada Somaliland oo ansixiyay heshiiskii Berbera

Golaha Wakiilada Somaliland oo ansixiyay heshiiskii Berbera
Source: Talaado, Maarso, 13, 2018 (HOL)


Talaado, Maarso, 13, 2018 (HOL) –Kaddib kulan maanta ay ku yeesheen magaalada Hargeysa golaha Wakiilada Soomaaliland ayeey ku ansixiyeen heshiiskii Saddex geesoodka Dekeda Berbera ee dhex maray Somaliland, Itoobiya iyo Shirkadda DP World, waxaana heshiiskaas loo ansixiyay si aqlabiyad leh.

Sidoo kale golaha ayaa cambaareeyay go’aankii Baarlamaanka Federaalka Soomaaliya ku laaleen heshiiskii Dekeda Berbera, isla markaana ay dalka kaga mamnuuceen shirkadda DP World.

Sidoo kale waxaa uu Golaha Wakiilada farriin u direen Beesha Caalamka, iyagoo sheegay in dhaq dhaqaaqyada dowladda Federaalka wado ay xasilooni darro ka abuuri karaan gobolka.

Baarlamaanka Soomaaliya oo dalka ka mamnuucay Shirkadda DP World

Baarlamaanka Soomaaliya oo dalka ka mamnuucay Shirkadda DP World
Isniin,  Maarso, 12, 2018 (HOL)–
IsnIsniin,  Maarso, 12, 2018 (HOL)–iin,  Maarso, 12, 2018 (HOL)–

Isniin,  Maarso, 12, 2018 (HOL)–Kulan xasaasi ah oo xildhibaannada Golaha Shacabka ku yeesheen magaalada Muqdisho maanta oo Isniin ah ayeey ka soo saareen xeer dhowraya gobannimada iyo madax-bannaanida Soomaaliya, iyaga oo dhinaca kalana ka mamnuucay shirkadda DP World in ay ka howlgasho guud ahaanba Soomaaliya.

Xeerkan ka soo baxay baarlamaanka Soomaaliya ayaa lagu eedeynayaa Shirkadda DP World inay si bareer ah ugu xadgudubtay siyaasadda, madax banaanida iyo Midnimada Soomaaliya.

Hadaba Akhriso xeerka ka soo baxay Gollaha Shacabka

Qodobka 1aad

Heshiis caalami ah waxaa jamhuuriyadda federaalka ah ee Soomaaliya u geli kara oo keliya xukuumadda federaalka ah ayadoo sharci ahaan loo soo marsiinayo hay’adda sharci dejinta JFS uuna madaxweynaha JFS ku meelmarinayo xeer madaxweynaha laguna soo saaro faafinta rasmiga ah ee JFS.

Qodobka 2aad

1. Heshiis kasta oo lala galo dowlad ama hay’ad kaloo shisheeye, oo ka hor imaanaya dastuurka federaalka ah waa waxbo kama jiraan aanan sharciyad laheyn

2. Heshiis kasta oo shirkadda Dubai Port World” DP world” lala galay waa waxba kama jiraan maadaama uu ka hor Imaanayo dastuurka dalka, xeerka maalgeshiga shisheeye Soomaaliya iyo shuruucda kale ee dalka u degsan.

3. Shirkadda Dubai Port World “DP World” oo si bareer ah ugu xadgudubtay siyaadada, madaxbannaanidu midnimada iyo bedqabka dalka Jamhuuriyadda Fedaraalka Soomaaliyaa, waxaa saas daraadeed shirkadan laga mamnuucay dalka.

Qodobka 3-aad.

1. R/ Wasaaraha xukuumadda Federaalka Soomaaliya la farayaa inuu si degdeg u gaarsiiyo xeerkan madaxa xukuumadda istutaga Imaaraadka Carabta “UAE” kuna wargeliyo iney ku kaceen falal culus oo xadgudub ku ah qaanuunka caalamiga ah oo ay ka mid yihiin kuwa kor ku xusan si bareer ahna uga horimaanaya Dastuurka Federaalka Soomaaliya iyo xaqa shacbiga Soomaaliyeed dowga u leeyihiin bedqabka dalkooda, ilaalinta gobonimadiisa iyo midnimada geyigooda.

2. Waxaa kaloo la farayaa R/ wasaaraha xukuumadda federaalka ah ee Soomaaliya in uu degdeg ah baarlamaanka federaalka Soomaaliyeed u hor Keeno tillaabooyinka iyo howlgallada xukuumadda ay ku ilaalneyso sareynta dastuurka iyo badbaadinta midnimada geyiga Soomaaliya.

Qodobda 4aad:

Baarlamaanka federaalka ah ee Soomaaliya waxaa uu dhamaan shacabka Soomaaliyeed ugu baaqayaa in ay u istaagaan gudashada waajibka saaray muwaadin kasta oo Soomaaliyeed ee difaaca dalka iyo ilaalinta midnimada qarabka

Qodobka 5aad

Xeerkan waxaa uu dhaqan galayaa marka uu ansixiyo baarlamaanka federaalka ah ee Soomaaliya, madaxweynaha jamhuuriyadda federaalka ah ku meel mariyo xeer madaxeyne, laguna soo saaro faafinta rsamiga ah ee jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliya.

Ilyaas Axmed Cilmi

South Sudan requests to join Arab League

South Sudan requests to join Arab League re

Source: ALJAZEERA, Tuesday March 13, 2018

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry has met South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to discuss Juba’s request to join the Cairo-based Arab League, according to a foreign ministry statement.

The meeting comes in the wake of a brief Africa tour by Shukry, during which he met Kiir in the South Sudanese capital on Monday. .

Regional issues According to the ministry statement, the two men also discussed means of enhancing South Sudan-Egypt relations and “regional issues of common concern”, including ongoing negotiations over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam project.

Monday’s meeting also reportedly saw an agreement signed establishing a “mechanism for political consultation” between Cairo and Juba, while Shukry also conveyed a message to Kiir – the contents of which were not disclosed – from the Egyptian president.Since 2013, South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan following a 2011 popular referendum, has remained the scene of a bloody civil war pitting government forces against armed opposition groups.

A split between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar escalated into a military conflict in December 2013.

Despite a 2015 peace deal signed between the two sides, the conflict – in which some 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed – remains ongoing.

Somaliland bans Somalia’s internet country code

Somaliland bans Somalia’s internet country code hare

Source: Hiiraan Online
Monday March 12, 2018

Breakaway Somaliland on Sunday banned Somalia’s top-level internet domain (dotSO) from its regions.

Hargeisa has protested against horn of African nation’s move to control the domain.

In a statement by ministry for Communication and Tetechnology, Somaliland warned universities, local and government organizations against using the dotSO controlled by Somalia.

The statement said the use of the domain would interfere with the nationhood and independence of Somaliland.Somaliland also issued 30 days ultimatum to the websites operating its region to move from dotSO domain.

Somaliland which declared its secession from Somalia in 1992 has not yet managed to introduce its own code country.

The telecommunication companies in Somaliland still use Somalia’s 252 calling code.

The move comes two days after Somalia’s telcom regilator took the control of dotSO which has not been managed by Somali government

Somaliland which has been relatively peace since its establishment failed to get recognition from International Community.

On International Women’s Day, UN celebrates the power of activism to bring change for ‘sisterhood of humanity’

On International Women’s Day, UN celebrates the power of activism to bring change for ‘sisterhood of humanity’

Source: UN News, 8 March 2018

UN Women Twitter
Actor and activist Danai Gurira (left); Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; and actor and activist Reese Witherspoon (right) take part in the celebration of International Women’s Day at the UN Headquarters.

8 March 2018

The drumbeat for women’s rights and empowerment reached a crescendo on Thursday as the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day with a number of powerful events, where global activists joined top UN officials calling for the recent momentum generated by grassroots movements against discrimination and harassment to tip the scales towards lasting change.

Ni una mas in Latin America, Balance ton porc in Europe, Bring back our girls in western Africa, Times Up in North America, #HeForShe and #MeToo in nearly all countries, were just some of the campaigns that have only grown from strength to strength, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN-Women, the Organization’s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

“We celebrate today the power of activism to bring change for all women, their solidarity and the sisterhood of humanity,” added the senior UN official.

Alongside Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka in the UN General Assembly Hall, American actor and producer Reese Witherspoon highlighted that the movement for women’s rights will continue until it achieves its goals.

“Understand that we will not leave, that we will not shut up, we want to see us represent 50/50,” said the Oscar-winning actor.

Understand that we will not leave, that we will not shut up, we want to see us represent 50/50 – Actor and activist Reese Witherspoon

“We will defend women next to us.”

American-Zimbabwean actor and playwright Danai Gurira – who in addition to portraying Michonne in the TV series The Walking Dead and ‘Okoye’ in the blockbuster movie Black Panther – is also a noted education and women’s rights activist, testified about her own experience as a woman in her professional career.

“I drew strength [for my characters] from women from my own life in Zimbabwe,” she said.

The potential of girls and women must not be squandered, added Ms. Gurira, thanking those who stand up for women’s rights and urged many more to join in taking the stand.

UN Photo/Manuel Elias
UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at the observance of the International Women’s Day 2018.

Gender inequality, discrimination and violence against women harm us all – Secretary-General António Guterres

In the same vein, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed that the demand an end to abusive behaviour and discriminatory attitudes against women is something that every “sensible” man and boy should want.

“Because gender equality is a fundamental human right [and] there is no better path to a more peaceful and prosperous world than the empowerment of women and girls,” he said.

“Gender inequality, discrimination and violence against women harm us all,” added the UN chief, noting overwhelming evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies and countries.

Gender inequality, discrimination and violence against women harm us all – UN chief Guterres

In his remarks, Mr. Guterres also highlighted the importance that women’s participation brings to societies and economies. He, however, also said that while much has been achieved since the first commemoration of the International Day (in 1975), challenges remain.

“We still need to break the structural barriers that women and girls face – unpaid care work, unequal pay, harmful stereotypes, discrimination and violence,” he stressed, reiterating his call on everyone to demand gender equality and women’s empowerment together.

Also speaking today, Miroslav Lajčák, the President of the General Assembly, highlighted that many efforts have been made to ensure women’s empowerment and gender equality but added that much more needed to be done.

For every woman who enjoys her human rights, there are too many others fighting for their own [and] for every woman living in safety, too many others are living in fear,” he said.

He expressed that the world needs to reinvigorate the focus on gender and the UN must lead the way.

“We can no longer call for gender equality without following our calls with action. We can no longer speak out for women’s rights without speaking out even lounder when they are violated and we can no longer agree that action is needed without taking it ourselves,” added the Assembly President.

(left) Observance of International Women’s Day 2018 at the General Assembly. UN Photo/Manuel Elias; (right) A Rohingya refugee speaks at an event commemorating International Women’s Day at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: UN Women/Allison Joyce

Held under the theme ‘Time is Now,’ International Women’s Day 2018 celebrates the work of rural and urban activists who have transformed the lives of women around the world.

In addition to events at the UN Headquarters in New York, the International Day was also marked in all corners of the globe with a number of events, including forums, marathons, concerts and video screenings.

It also comes ahead of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, which will be held from 12-23 March.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Ethiopia needs ‘greater freedom’

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Ethiopia needs ‘greater freedom’ re

Source: DW, Thursday March 8, 2018

During a visit to Ethiopia, Rex Tillerson has said the answer to violence in the East African country was greater freedom, and that the country should lift its state of emergency as quickly as possible.

Speaking at a news conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday, Tillerson said that the US recognized concerns over incidents of violence but “we do firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom.”

“While we appreciate the government’s responsibility to maintain control … it is important that country moves on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible,” he said.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in February to restore “law and order” after the prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned suddenly. Although Ethiopia had looked like it was slowly opening up to allow more freedom for people who hold different opinions to the government, the resignation and emergency decree have triggered further political uncertainty and fueled strikes and shutdowns.

Tillerson critical of China’s policy in Africa

During the press conference, the US Secretary of State also repeated comments he made earlier in the week for African countries to ensure they don’t forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China.

China surpassed the US in 2009 to become Africa’s biggest trading partner – and its share of trade continues to grow compared to the United States. China also pumps billions into infrastructure projects around the continent, although these have attracted criticism for using Chinese labor and firms, and low-quality materials.Ethiopia is home to some of China’s biggest investments in Africa, from a railway to Djibouti that opened last year to factories and industrial parks – as well as the African Union headquarters, which Tillerson visited on Thursday.

“We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese dollars from Africa,” said Tillerson, whose visit to Africa is his first time since becoming secretary of state more than a year ago. “It is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty.”

The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, stressed at the same press

conference that Africans “are mature enough to engage in partnerships of their own volition which will be useful for the countries and the continent,”.

Tillerson was also asked (twice) during the press conference about the derogatory ‘s***hole’ remark that US President Donald Trump made about Africa in January. He refused to comment. For his part, Faki said Trump’s Africa remark was “of the past.”

“The incident is behind us, the visit by the secretary of state today is proof of the importance of relations between the different parties,” he said.

Others focus on business, US pushes security

Tillerson’s five-nation, week-long tour of the continent is primarily focused on security issues. He is due to fly to Djibouti, host to military bases owned by the U.S., China, Japan, France, and Italy. Tillerson will then visit Kenya, a US ally in the fight against al Shabaab Islamist militants in Somalia, before traveling to Chad and Nigeria, which are also battling to contain Islamist insurgents.

At the press conference, Tillerson said he had “a very good exchange” with Ethiopian officials about counterterrorism efforts.

The US currently has some 6,000 military personnel spread across Africa. Many of these are supporting African troops as well as other allies, such as France.

kh (Reuters)

Djibouti signs port deal with Singapore-based Pacific International Lines

Djibouti signs port deal with Singapore-based Pacific International Lines are

Source: REUTERS, Wednesday March 7, 2018

DJIBOUTI (Reuters) – Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal Management Company has signed a deal with Singapore-based Pacific International Lines (PIL) to raise by a third the amount of cargo handled at the port, the country’s Ports and Zones Authority said on Tuesday.

The agreement is expected to raise performance at the Doraleh Container Terminal, allowing it to handle an extra 300,000 20-foot equivalent unit containers (TEU) annually, the authority said, without providing any further details.

Last month, Djibouti ended its contract with Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, to run the Doraleh Container Terminal, citing failure to resolve a dispute that began in 2012. [nL8N1QC6D5]DP World called the move an illegal seizure of the terminal and said it had begun new arbitration proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration, which last year cleared DP World of all charges of misconduct over the concession to run the terminal.

The Doraleh terminal has a capacity of 1.6 million TEUs per year. “This agreement is a first important step towards Doraleh Container Terminal fulfilling its capacity potential,” the ports authority said.

PIL is one of Asia’s biggest shipping companies, ranked “11th amongst the top container ship operators in the world,”, it said on its website.

U.S. military presence in Africa grew again, but “we’re not at war,” top U.S. commander says

U.S. military presence in Africa grew again, but “we’re not at war,” top U.S. commander says are

Source: VICE, Wednesday March 7, 2018
By Alexa Liautaud

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser pauses before the start of a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, about “National Security Challenges and U.S. Military Activities in Africa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

U.S. military presence in Africa grew by more than a thousand troops over the past year, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the U.S.’s top commander in Africa, acknowledged Tuesday.

Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee, Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command, said on any given day the total American force rounded out to roughly 7,500 troops, including 1,000 contractors. In 2017, the U.S had roughly 6,000 troops in Africa on a given day, according to AFRICOM.

Waldhauser said the majority of these U.S. personnel were concentrated in two areas: in the East Africa region — namely Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia — and in the west of the continent.

The new numbers are the latest indication that the U.S. war on terror on the African continent shows no signs of slowing. Waldhauser said the U.S. was focused on fighting violent extremist groups like ISIS affiliates in the Sahel, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and al-Qaida. The U.S. has 1,800 personnel fighting joint missions across 13 nations, the size of the continental U.S., according to the annual statement.

Waldhauser specified that the bulk of U.S. forces — more than 4,000 service members— centered on the East Africa region, where U.S. troops are focused on the escalating conflict in Somalia. The U.S. doubled its troop count last year in Somalia — putting boots on the ground in numbers not seen since the “Black Hawk Down” disaster of 1993 — and launched a record number of airstrikes.

But Waldhauser demurred from calling it all-out war.

At the committee meeting, Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas asked the general, “Functionally, I would argue that we are at war in Somalia, is that an accurate reading of the situation there?” To which Waldhauser responded, “Congressman, I would say it’s an accurate reading. I wouldn’t characterize that we’re at war. It’s specifically designed for us not to own that.”

But with loosened rules of engagement and a ramp-up in military activity, it’s increasingly hard to tell the difference. U.S. airstrikes rose from 14 to 35 in 2017, according to data provided by the Bureau of Investigation Journalism. And recent reports have highlighted the gray area of AFRICOM’s “advise and assist missions.” The Daily Beast reported in November that U.S. troops were involved in the massacre of 10 civilians in a village in Somalia. Waldhauser pushed back against that report, saying it “just didn’t happen.”

The U.S. military base in Djibouti was also the subject of major concern. Djibouti remains a critical strategic base for the U.S. military largely because of its port and its proximity to Middle Eastern countries. But the Horn of Africa country recently became a source of tension after China chose to build its first overseas base there. Waldhauser described the Chinese location as “right outside our gates.” And while he acknowledged the U.S. wasn’t ignorant of China’s expansionist goals in Africa, he said there may be opportunities for collaboration.

The Niger ambush last October, in which four Army special forces were killed, repeatedly came up during the hearing. Waldhauser said he had submitted the long-awaited report of the attack to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford.

Ethiopia ruling coalition to nominate new prime minister

Ethiopia ruling coalition to nominate new prime minister are

Source: REUTERS, Monday March 5, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), waves to his supporters during the celebration after his release from prison in Adama town of Oromia region, Ethiopia February 13, 2018. Picture taken February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

The change in leadership follows the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last month. He is the first ruler in modern Ethiopian history to step down; previous leaders have died in office or been overthrown. He said he wanted to clear the way for reforms.

The international community is closely watching the developments in Africa’s second most-populous nation which has a booming economy and is a staunch Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy.

The coalition is made up of four region-based parties but is dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. The Tigrayans are a much smaller ethnic group than the Oromo who are from Ethiopia’s most populous Oromiya region and have long complained of being sidelined from political power.

Their criticism of a government development plan for the capital Addis Ababa in 2015 sparked wider anti-government protests that spilled over into attacks on foreign-owned businesses in 2016. This plunged the country into an crisis and there are still sporadic protests.

“Our people should take a leadership role because this is a moral question. Our people want this. We want this,” Lemma Megersa, the Oromiya region’s president, said in a speech last month.

Global strategy companies including Teneo Intelligence and Eurasia Group have been predicting an Oromo prime minister as the most likely candidate because it would help tamp down protests.

The government has declared two states of emergencies as it tries to calm the political unrest. Since the first one ended in August, it has introduced a series of conciliatory steps, including the release of more than 6,000 prisoners this year.

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), chant slogans to celebrate Gerba’s release from prison, in Adama, Oromia Region, Ethiopia February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

The government declared a second state of emergency the day after Hailemariam’s resignation in February and protests started up again. On Friday, parliament voted to ratify the state of emergency, although 88 legislators rejected it. The previous state of emergency passed unanimously.

One frontrunner for the leadership of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is Abiye Ahmed, according to the Eurasia Group. He was chosen last week to lead the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation – one of the coalition parties.

The multilingual official holds a doctorate in peace and security from Addis Ababa University and served in the military. He set up a government intelligence agency that increased online surveillance before serving as cabinet minister for science and technology, government media outlets have reported.

Diplomats will be watching closely.

“The government needs to continue to release detainees and open the political system by allowing more room for civil society and a freer press,” said David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia.


Opposition leaders say they want more than prisoner releases. They want the government to reform the strict laws that sent them to jail in the first place.

Those include laws passed in 2008 and 2009, including an anti-terror law with a vague definition of offences and another that limited foreign funding for pro-democracy groups. Human Rights Watch has said the legislation was being used to criminalize free expression and peaceful dissent.

“There are laws that the government uses to stifle peaceful activity,” said Bekele Gerba, a former Addis Ababa University lecturer and opposition party leader who was among the thousands of prisoners freed this year.

Bekele, who suffered a stroke during his incarceration, told Reuters that he spent two years confined in a small windowless cell with no bed.

“Usually in this country, the tradition is that opposition parties are regarded as against the government. Whatever the opposition parties do, they are regarded as unlawful,” he said.

There are no opposition lawmakers in Ethiopia’s 547-seat parliament.


Since toppling military leader Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, the ruling EPRDF coalition has been dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. Tigrayans account for about six percent of the population. Oromos make up 36 percent.

Overseas-based activists have complained for years that Tigrayans secured business contracts without competition and dominated the security sector, said Daniel Berhane, an Addis Ababa-based political analyst.

Tigrayan government officials reject the claims.

This resentment contributed to the anger behind the protests, Daniel said.

“There are legitimate public discontents that fuelled the protests. But these protests were … at times accompanied by ethnic attacks, which ranges from physical attacks to arson to eviction,” said Daniel.

The government needs to quell the discontent to avoid further protests that could fan ethnic tensions, said Abdul Mohammed, a political analyst and former government advisor.

“Today, our political discussions are conducted almost entirely in the language of ethnic identity: which group benefits, and which doesn’t,” he wrote in a commentary sent to Reuters.

Former ambassador Shinn said making sure everyone benefits from Ethiopia’s boom would go a long way toward defusing protests.

“The current government deserves high marks for its economic progress,” he said.“But the time has come to ensure this progress improves all parts of society.”

Editing by Katharine Houreld and Anna Willard

Somalia slams Ethiopia-DP World-Somaliland deal on Berbera Port

Somalia slams Ethiopia-DP World-Somaliland deal on Berbera Port are

sOURCE: Hiiraan Online
Friday March 2, 2018

Image Courtesy: DP World

Mogadishu (HOL) – The Somali government blasted the tripartite agreement between Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP world to manage Berbera Port, calling the deal illegal and declaring it “null and void”

The agreement signed on Thursday gave DP World a 51% stake in the port and Ethiopia would acquire 19%. Somaliland Port Authority will retain 30%.

DP World originally took a 65 percent share in the port in 2016 as part of a joint venture with the government of Somaliland under a 30-year concession.

In a statement dated March 2nd, Somalia’s Ministry for Ports and Marine Transport challenged the legality of the deal saying the agreement is a threat to the unity and sovereignty of Somalia.

“The so-called agreement is both defective and detrimental to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia. The ministry, therefore, considering the above declares this deal as non-existent null and void”  the Ministry said.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire reiterated the government’s position on his Twitter account on Friday morning.

“As National leaders we do not take the responsibility of protecting Somalia’s unity, sovereignty and independence lightly. The FGS is committed and determined to protecting [sic] this responsibility in accordance with our constitution.”

The three-way-deal was signed while Somali PM Hassan Ali Khaire was on a state visit to the UAE. It is unclear if he voiced his concerns with the Emirati’s.

The Prime Minister’s sentiment came barely a day after Ethiopia’s Transport minister, Ahmed Shiden announced that the land-locked country secured 19% stake in the Berbera port in northern Somalia.
This media release has been sent to us by a number of government officials. COURTESY

“After a year of serious negotiations, Ethiopia has concluded an agreement with Somaliland ports authority and DP World that give the government of Ethiopia 19% stake in the joint venture developing the port,” Shiden told reporters on Thursday.

Khaire added that foreign investment in Somalia is welcome, but the responsibility to sign such agreements falls to the Federal Government of Somalia.

As of late, Dubai-based DP World has been embroiled in a number of issues in the Horn of Africa region. Just over a week ago, the Djibouti government seized control of a container terminal run by DP World and nationalized the Doraleh Container Terminal. The move effectively terminated DP World’s 30-year concession to operate the port in 2006.

The government of Somaliland has not yet publicly commented on the position taken by the Federal Government of Somalia

Somaliland refutes claims by Somalia on port deal with DP World

Somaliland refutes claims by Somalia on port deal with DP World hare

Source: AL ARABIYA NEWS, Sunday March 4, 2018

DP World’s sale would provide Ethiopia with a 19 percent stake in Somaliland’s Port of Berbera. (AP)
DP World’s sale would provide Ethiopia with a 19 percent stake in Somaliland’s Port of Berbera. (AP)

The Somaliland Government has refuted claims by Somalia nullifying an agreement signed between the UAE ports operator DP World and the Ethiopian Government to acquire a 19 percent stake in Berbera Port.The Somaliland Minister of Information, Abdirahman Abdillahi Farah, said in a statement that the government of President Musa Behi Abdi worked to conclude the agreement with DP World and the Government of Ethiopia. and added that the Republic of Somaliland is a “sovereign and independent and does not allow others to prejudice its sovereignty”.

On Friday, Somalia denounced the port deal, terming the agreement unconstitutional.

The Somali Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport said in a statement that the government was not party to the agreement which it termed as defective.

“This so-called agreement is both defective and detrimental to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the unity of the country,” the Ministry said.

Abdillahi Farah said that Somaliland has been independent and sovereign for 28 years and does not allow anyone to infringe on its sovereignty.

DP World’s sale would provide Ethiopia with a 19 percent stake in Somaliland’s Port of Berbera while the port operator said it would retain a 51 percent stake and Somaliland would retain 30 percent.

Financial details were not disclosed but the statement said the Ethiopian government would invest to develop the Berbera Corridor, a road from the border with Ethiopia to Berbera.

“Having the government of Ethiopia as a partner will enable DP World to support the government in achieving its impressive development plans,” said DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.

‘We’re Finding It Difficult to Hold’ Territory in Somalia: Senator

We’re Finding It Difficult to Hold’ Territory in Somalia: Senator


 Source: Defense One, Saturday March 3, 2018

Somali government forces, African partner nations, and half a thousand U.S. troops are having trouble holding off the extremists of al Shabaab.

Somali soldiers stand near the wreckage of vehicles in Mogadishu, Somalia, in October, after a car bomb detonated.
Somali soldiers stand near the wreckage of vehicles in Mogadishu, Somalia, in October, after a car bomb detonated.

Not much has changed about Somalia’s prospects for long-term stability, says Sen. Jack Reed, since he first visited the streets of Mogadishu almost 25 years ago. Reed, now the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, visited the country anew last week. He found that although the 500 U.S.troops there are effectively disrupting the extremist group al Shabaab, he said, the Somali government is still struggling to hold territory, even with the help of international partners.

“Our doctrine is…to disrupt, clear, hold. We’re finding it difficult to hold,” the Rhode Island senator said. “We have specialized units who are very good at disrupting al Shabaab together with our special operators, but we’re certainly not at the ‘clear and hold phase,’ we’re at the phase of disrupting al Shabaab, keeping them off balance.”

The Pentagon says American troops are in the country to foster a secure environment and deter groups like al-Shabaab and the smaller Islamic State contingent.

So the U.S. ramped up its air war in Somalia last year, after President Donald Trump gave commanders more latitude to call in air strikes “within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities in support of partner forces.” In 2017, U.S. Africa Command conducted more than 30 strikes in Somalia, more than four times the average over the previous seven years.

Reed said al Shabaab was being undermined by various factors, including those strikes and other direct actions, which have removed “key leaders and external plotters from the battlefield.” But the extremist group still conducts suicide bombings and mortar attacks in and around the capital city daily. A particularly horrific truck bombing, which no group has yet claimed, killed 500 people in October.

“In terms of building a stable entity, a country that can take care of its own forces, that’s a long way off,” Reed said.

Two main challenges: The Somali national government, dogged by corruption and beset by political tension with the states, is largely unsupported by the population and lacks an army trained well enough to hold territory outside the cities. AFRICOMestimates that 3,000 to 6,000 Al Shabaab fighters and a couple hundred Islamic State fighters operate in the country.

“Outside of Mogadishu, there’s not a real presence of the federal government,” Reed said. “The government is perceived by many people as corrupt and not serving their ends.”

Meanwhile, the international group of African forces that helped recapture Mogadishu and maintain the modicum of stability since, the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, has been less active since a string of deadly brushes with al Shabaab, Reed said.

“We’re finding it difficult to hold because the AMISOM countries have pulled back a bit, they’re more located on forward-operating-bases, they’re not going out a lot,” he said. “They seem to have reached the point where they’re not going to take on any additional roles and al Shabaab has kind of rebounded.”

AMISOM also started withdrawing troops, aiming to shift security responsibilities to the Somali army by 2020. That hasn’t generally affected U.S. operations, a Pentagon spokesperson said, but trying to do so too soon could.

“The long-term stability in the country will depend on how a withdrawal of AMISOM is conducted and highlights the importance of a well-thought out, conditions-based hand-off between Somali National Security Forces and AMISOM,” said Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Sheryll Klinkel.

Leaders from the AMISOM nations met in Uganda Friday to discuss the transition and security strategies during it. One key question: Are the Somali National Armed Forces ready to be in the lead?

“Right now there’s an effort to build up a Somali National Army, but it’s involved in the political fight between the federal government and states,” Reed said. Plus, there’s other questions about their caliber: “It’s who’s training them? When I was there I was told the Turks had come and trained two battalions of the Somali National Army, but to what standards?”

If AMISOM does pull out, could that role inevitably fall to the U.S., of train, advise, and assist fame? Reed says that’s not something he sees an appetite for.

“We train some specialized units, but I think the notion of going in, like what was done in Afghanistan, to try to train a national army that will fully replace — I don’t think that’s on the table,” he said. “That has to be done, but maybe it could be done by somebody else, maybe we could participate in doing it, but taking that on as we did in Afghanistan or as we did in Iraq?”

And like Afghanistan, building a capable military in Somalia is only just one necessary step within a larger stabilization effort. After decades of instability and limited governance, the Somali government “faces significant work ahead to help Somalia recover,” Klinkell said.

“Twenty-five years ago getting off the airplane in Mogadishu, it was a complicated situation and even back then, we said, ‘Well the real key here is developing governance — the capacity to govern, to generate a sense of internal support by the people for their government. That is probably the best way to defeat any type of terrorist movement,’” Reed said. “We’re still trying to find that

AU, Somalia commend Museveni’s efforts to restore peace in Somalia

AU, Somalia commend Museveni’s efforts to restore peace in Somalia are

Source: nEWvISION, By John Semakula
Saturday March 3, 2018

Left to right: Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia,  President Yoweri Museveni and Gaston Sindimwo, First Vice President of Burundi interacting with the US Ambassadors to Uganda Deborah Malac during the Summit of the Troop Contributing Countries to the AMISON. This was at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Friday March 02, 2018. PhotoS by Roderick Ahimbazwe

Somalia and the African Union Commission (AUC) have commended President Yoweri Museveni’s decision to deploy troops in Somalia 10 years ago when everyone else shunned the idea.

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed noted that President Museveni’s decision and his commitment to achieve peace in Somalia are some of the decisions the people of Somalia will for long be indebted to him.

“I believe AMISOM is succeeding but we have a long way to go. We need to collaborate and continued funding to defeat Al Shabab,” he said.

They made the remarks during the Summit of the Troop Contributing Countries (TTCs) of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held on Friday under the chairmanship of President Museveni.

The Summit, convened by President Museveni was within the framework of the conclusions of a September 2017 meeting in New York. The meeting was held in the wake of the challenges AMISOM was facing, characterized with a mismatch between mission ideas and resources.

In his remarks President Museveni called upon the United Nations Security Council not to repeat previous mistakes made in Somalia if the country is to realise lasting peace.  “If we do things right, chances are Somalia will be much better anytime soon. Let us avoid new mistakes,” he said.

During the summit, the TTCs in a communique agreed to recall the UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017). The main thrust of the resolution was the phased reduction and draw-down of AMISOM troops by 2020.

The TTCs Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Burundi, Uganda and Somalia noted that the timeframes and troop levels under the UN Security Council Resolution are not realistic and that would lead to a reversal of the gains made by AMISOM.

Uganda contributes over 6000 troops to the mission and was the first to deploy in Somalia.

The Summit was attended by a number of dignitaries including US ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac; the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Gaston Sindimwo, the first vice-president of Burundi.

AMISOM Heads Meet Amid Security Concerns About Somalia

AMISOM Heads Meet Amid Security Concerns About Somalia are

Source: VOA, Friday, March 2, 2018

Ambassador Smail Chergui, the African Union Commissioner of Peace and Security delivers opening remarks while Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia listens.

KAMPALA — Officials from countries that contribute to AMISOM, the African Union force in Somalia, are meeting this week in Uganda to discuss a transitional security plan for the troubled country. While AMISOM has made gains in Somalia, the risks still presented by militant group al-Shabab remain vivid due to inadequate funding and troop numbers.

Over the past few years, AMISOM has pushed al-Shabab away from major cities, and the federal government of Somalia has taken steps toward stability. With foreign help, the Somali security forces have grown stronger, and political leaders are aiming to hold nationwide elections in 2020.

These gains, however, are being undermined by inadequate troop numbers and lack of predictable and sustainable funding to fight al-Shabab and a small faction of Islamic State fighters in the north.

The five AMISOM countries are planning to start a drawdown of their troops in Somalia this year, and withdraw all of them by the end of 2020. Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa says it is essential that the Somali government intensify its effort to provide security for its people.

“It is crucial that the drawdown of AMISOM is synchronized with a corresponding strengthening of Somali security forces,” said Kutesa. “The failure to carefully manage this process could imperil the political and security gains already made.”

The ministers and defense officials meeting in Kampala say Somalis also have to make progress in settling internal political disputes, including tensions among clans and the periodic clashes between the forces of Puntland and Somaliland.

These are political issues that AMISOM has no mandate to handle yet they stand to undermine the little peace and stability already gained.

The troop contributing countries are also seeking support from key financial institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.

Smail Chergui, the African Union commissioner for peace and security, notes that resource concerns could sink the fight against al-Shabab.

“More broadly, AMISOM will need to continue to enhance its operational effectiveness,” said Chergui. “Our operational imperative of degrading al-Shabab requires that we maintain an offensive and not defensive posture, and the requisite configuration to allow for that.”

The AMISOM talks open Friday in Kampala