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INSIDE THIS ISSUE In Focus North Africa Northeast Africa Horn of Africa ABOUT THE CFC
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15 January 2013
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This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 08— 14 January 2013, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted 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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In Focus: The Arab Maghreb Union By Eray Basar As highlighted by the Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) Habib Ben Yahia, Islamic countries in general, and the Maghreb region in particular, face “agricultural, financial, and social crises” that impose “cross-border challenges and which require cross-border solutions” thereby suggesting a joint action and cooperation in the Maghreb is essential. The Arab Maghreb Union, which comprises the five North African countries of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, exists to strengthen historical ties and ensure regional stability and cooperation. An initial attempt at regional integration was made in 1964 among the same countries, with the exception of Mauritania, through the establishment of the Permanent Consultative Committee of the Maghreb (PCCM). Though never fully operationalised, the initiative was designed to harmonise development efforts and coordinate trade among the four countries and enhance relations with the European Union (EU). In 1988, new factors brought the leaders of the five states together in Algeria to establish various commissions, including the Maghreb High Commission, subsequently signing a treaty to establish the AMU in 1989. In addition to strengthening ties among its members, the AMU aims at freer movement of persons, services, goods and capital, and the integration of policies. The common policy outlined in the treaty encompasses diplomatic cooperation, safeguarding of the independence of each member, realising the industrial, agricultural, commercial, and social development of member states through joint projects, and the establishment of a cultural, religious and educational exchange network. The AMU has never reached its full potential, as long-standing quarrels amongst the member countries have impeded its effectiveness. In particular, relations between Algeria and Morocco remain Continued on page 6
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CIVIL-MILITARY FUSION CENTRE PRESENTS
Eray Basar › firstname.lastname@example.org Algeria Security reports have proclaimed 2012 as Algeria’s calmest year in the last decade, informs Magharebia. Armed attacks dropped to their lowest levels since 2002, especially in the east of the country, locations usually described as the “traditional strongholds of terrorism”. Security operations succeeded in eliminating key figures of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and thwarted several terrorist plots over the year. The country’s counter-terrorism agencies killed 161 militants and captured 309 others in 2012. During the past year, the country experienced a total of 65 attacks, primarily in Boumerdès, Tizi Ouzou, Bouira and Béjaïa regions. The reduced security threat has been attributed to the “pressure exerted by the security services on the strongholds of armed groups”. Algeria allowed France to use its airspace and remains ready to close its Malian border in order to assist France in its military operation against the Islamist rebels in Mali, reports Reuters. French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius said: “We talk regularly with Algeria. I must underline our collaboration, and what we envisage - although it’s not for today - is that if the African troops move to the north, the Algerians would have to close their border”. Algeria has a 2,000 km (1,242 mile) border with Mali and remains concerned that a military offensive could push the Islamist militants into Algeria and trigger a refugee crisis if Malian Tuaregs seek refuge in the country. Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mourad Medelci reassured parliament that Algeria does not have a land border problem with Morocco, during a parliamentary session on 08 January, in which a maritime border agreement with Tunisia was ratified, reports Magharebia. Medelci also said “[t]he two countries could open in the future, the issue of maritime borders”. However, he did not mention the possibility of re-opening the borders between Algeria and Morocco, which have been closed since 1994. Medelci said the agreement would strengthen Algeria-Tunisia relations, and added that other countries such as Libya, Morocco, Spain, and Italy may be included in the agreement in the future. Egypt A retrial has been ordered for former President Hosni Mubarak on charges of conspiracy to kill protesters, reports BBC. Mubarak was arrested in June 2011 after at least 850 people were killed during the revolution, in which the long serving dictator was overthrown. Mubarak will also be retried on corruption charges, after an earlier acquittal was overturned. Four other Mubarak-era officials, including his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, also face retrials on charges of corruption. No date was set for the retrials. The Coptic Church in Egypt reports that tens of thousands of Copts are leaving the country, according to The Telegraph, emigrating to the United States and other countries, seeking the safety and freedom that they fear is disappearing in their own country. Following the Egyptian revolution and the subsequent rise in power of Islamist parties, Christians remain uncertain amid the increasing calls for the implementation of Sharia law. While receiving support and solidarity with many liberal Muslim parties, the increasing power of the Muslim Brotherhood and ultra-conservative Salafist parties makes Christians apprehensive about their future in Egypt. The number of Christians in the country is estimated to be between six to eight million, most of whom are poor and will not be able to emigrate. The Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim promised to ensure appropriate security for the planned 25 January protests marking the second anniversary of the 2011 revolution. As preparations are finalised, Ibrahim pledged that security forces will differentiate between peaceful protesters, and those carrying out violent acts, promising to “strike with an iron fist whoever tries to terrify citizens”. Furthermore, the Minister promised to increase security to protect all important institutions within the country. Libya Unidentified gunmen attacked the Italian consul’s convoy in Benghazi on 12 January, reports Bloomberg. The attack took place as the Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan met with the Algerian and Tunisian Prime Ministers to discuss border security issues and the passage of armed militants and weapons through their shared borders. The Italian consul, who was riding in an armoured vehicle, was not injured during the incident. Libya deported 170 Egyptian nationals who did not possess the correct documentation, reports Daily News Egypt. The Egyptians were imprisoned in Misrata until 12 January at which point the Egyptian embassy organised their transport back to Egypt. The deportations followed the release of a report about Egyptian labourers in Libya, which was received by the Libyan Minister of Labour Khaled Al-Azhari, detailing the situation in the 15 January 2013
Source: BBC Page 2
country. The report revealed that of the 1,350,000 Egyptians present in Libya before the Arab Spring, only 490,000 remain and only 100,000 of those who remain possess proper residency documentation. The report also suggests that there are currently 1,260,000 Egyptians in Libya, and there are plans to bring 500,000 more Egyptian workers into the country as Libyan companies and business owners prefer Egyptian workers, according to the report. The Libyan General National Congress (GNC) voted on 08 January to adopt “State of Libya” as the official name of their country, reports Libya Herald. The name was unanimously approved and will be used in all official documentation, such as passports, identity cards or official transactions. The change came about due to the multiplicity of names the country had under Moammar Gaddafi’s rule, which included Libyan Arab Republic, the United Arab Republic, the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The name will be used at least until a new constitution drafted by the GNC identifies the state system of Libya. Morocco Several activists, who are members of the February 20 Movement, had their prison sentences reduced to six months upon appeal, after being convicted of participating in an unauthorised protest and attacking public officials, reports Middle East Online. However, the appeals court gave them an additional fine of 7,000 dirhams (USD 835).They were arrested in July 2012 while participating in protests in a poor neighbourhood in Casablanca, during which anti-monarchy slogans were chanted. Clashes broke out as police tried to disperse the protesters. Human Rights Watch condemned the initial trial process on the basis that the defendants were tortured into signing false confessions. Tunisia Tunisia marked the two year anniversary of the exile of former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January amid an uncertain and tense climate, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). The country faces many socio-economic problems, threats from jihadists and a political impasse. The modest ceremony to celebrate the occasion was followed by the signing of a “social pact” at the National Constituent Assembly by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, the secretary general of Tunisia’s main labour union, Hocine Abassi, and representative of Tunisian employers Wided Bouchamaoui. However, the pact was only symbolic in nature as the country still faces protests due to low employment and poor living conditions. Some of these protests have turned violent. During a speech in the Assembly following the ceremony, Prime Minister Jebali of the ruling Ennahda Party pledged to “redouble efforts” to form a national consensus and overcome political divisions in the country. The Ras Jadir border crossing between Libya and Tunisia reopened on 10 January after violent protests in Tunisia erupted following the Libyan decision to close the border for security reasons on 04 December 2012. Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali travelled to Libya after the clashes broke out in the Tunisian town of Ben Guerdane, located 30 km from Ras Jadir. However, after the opening of the crossing, Ben Guerdane residents held a general strike demanding investment and jobs.
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15 January 2013
CIVIL-MILITARY FUSION CENTRE PRESENTS
Trista Guertin › firstname.lastname@example.org South Sudan – Sudan Cross Border Issues The European Union (EU) announced on 13 January that it has allocated EUR 80 million (USD 106 million) in humanitarian aid for South Sudan and Sudan. The funding is a part of the EU’s 2013 humanitarian assistance plan, based on an annual Global Needs Assessment (GNA), which categorises 140 developing countries, taking into account vulnerabilities and recent crises. Both South Sudan and Sudan currently face large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from conflicts in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, which according to the United Nations (UN), displaced over 200,000 people in 2012. South Sudan has issued a warning that a failure to reach an agreement with Sudan over the Abyei region could lead to another war, according to a senior Sudan People’s Liberation Movement member (SPLM), Aleu Ayeny Aleu. South Sudan raised objections after Sudan unilaterally established a humanitarian commission to address the disputed oil-producing region, and sent a Sudanese delegation to the region without prior coordination with the South Sudanese government or the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC). Aleu stated that Sudan’s continued military activities at border areas and the Abyei region were a “clear warning of obstacles and threats to realisation of the desire to establish to viable states” asserting the intention of the Sudanese armed forces was to undermine peaceful dialogue. South Sudan At least 3,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Kenya over the past two months, reports Daily Nation. The refugees, fleeing continued hostilities between South Sudan and Sudan, have been arriving in increased numbers at the Kakuma refugee camp, located in the district of Turkana West. The camp is currently sheltering approximately 100,000 refugees, including about 30,000 from South Sudan. The increasing numbers are straining local resources, including supplies of water and firewood. Furthermore, space in the camp is limited, and the increased numbers are causing overcrowding, which is aggravating security issues. Turkana West district commissioner Patrick Muriira stated that while security measures have been increased within the camp, in the long term, the district is looking at plans to expand the camp to better accommodate the camp’s growing numbers. Another UN helicopter was reportedly hit by gunfire on 10 January, according to RIA Novosti. A Russian-owned Mil Mi-26 transport helicopter, contracted to the UN, was hit close to the South Sudanese border with Ethiopia; none of the crew was injured. The UN said it will investigate the incident, which came one day after the Sudanese ambassador in Russia, Omar Dabab Mohamed, accused South Sudan of falsely blaming Sudan for the downing of another Russian-operated helicopter in December 2012. The Mi-8 helicopter, also contracted to the UN, was shot down, killing four Russian crew members. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked South Sudan to investigate the incident and punish those responsible. Sudan The Darfur rebel group Sudan Liberation Movement for Justice (SLJM) claims it killed more than 25 government troops and its affiliated militias in combat in South Darfur on 13 January, according to Radio Dabanga. It was also reported that several government officials and militiamen were wounded and an army garrison was destroyed. The governor of South Darfur, Hamad Ismail Hamad, reported that two rebels were killed and that the army captured SLJM’s commander. Two civilians were killed during the clashes. Al Jazeera reports that the Sudanese army claimed it killed more than fifty rebels during clashes in South Kordofan state on 12 January. Government troops reportedly repelled an attack by the Revolutionary Front, an alliance of four rebel groups, about 15 km from the state capital of Kadugli. The groups comprising the Revolutionary Front are active in South Kordofan, in Blue Nile state to the east and in Darfur to the west. Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels operating in Sudan, including the nineteen-month rebellion in oil-producing South Kordofan. The South, in turn, has said Sudan backs insurgents on its territory.
Source: Al Jazeera
Renewed shelling by the Sudanese government in North Darfur on 11 January killed ten civilians, according to Radio Dabanga. More than 38 shells reportedly dropped by a government Antonov airplane also injured several people, killed livestock and destroyed six homes and a school in the area. The military spokesman of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW), Mustafa Tambour, stated that the Sudanese government has recruited Chadian troops to fight with them against the SLM-AW in the region of West Jebel Marra in North Darfur. Tambour warned Chad that their collusion with Sudan’s army is considered interference in the country’s internal affairs, and that the Chadian troops will not receive any special treatment or immunity from the rebel group.
15 January 2013
CIVIL-MILITARY FUSION CENTRE PRESENTS
Horn of Africa
Trista Guertin › email@example.com Ethiopia A female journalist lost her appeal to an Ethiopian court on 09 January and remains in custody on charges of terrorism, reports Sudan Tribune. Reeyot Alemu was arrested in June 2011, and was subsequently convicted on three counts of terrorism for alleged ties to the banned rebel group Ginbot 7 in January 2012. Alemu is a former high school teacher and contributing journalist for the weekly independent paper Feteh. While the court acquitted Alemu of two charges in August 2012 and reduced her prison sentence, the third charge of terrorism was upheld, and her attempt to clear the final charge against her this week was denied. Another journalist, Woubshet Taye, former deputy editor of the independent newspaper Awramba Times, was also arrested in 2011 on terrorism charges. In December 2012, Human Rights Watch awarded four Ethiopian journalists, including Alemu and Taye, the prominent Hellman/Hammett Award for their efforts to promote freedom of expression in Ethiopia. A new study by the World Bank reports that the fastest-growing sectors of Ethiopia’s economy are the most prone to corruption, informs Voice of America (VOA). The World Bank, in cooperation with the Ethiopian Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC), found that the telecommunications, land management and construction sectors are susceptible to corruption, but measures can be taken to reduce the risk. The Ethiopian government has already made efforts to reduce corruption with regard to land policy, according to FEACC Chairman Ali Suleiman, which has included the establishment of a land registry database and the systematic application of procedures, including the issuance of necessary documentation, such as deeds. The World Bank study, released on 11 January, also praised the country for its overall low levels of corruption, compared to other low-income countries. Transparency International gave Ethiopia a score of 113 out of 176 countries in the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. Kenya President Mwai Kibaki vetoed legislation on 12 January that would have given members of parliament (MPs) USD 107,000 sendoff bonuses, reports VOA. The President directed the Attorney General to revise the legislation to ensure it complies with the country’s constitution. The MPs voted to give themselves the large bonuses on 09 January as their last motion prior to adjourning for the 04 March election. The MPs also designated numerous other perks for themselves, including bodyguards for the duration of their lives, private chauffeurs, state funerals, and access to VIP lounges at all Kenyan airports. A similar bonus package was vetoed by the president in October 2012. Kenyan MPs are currently the highest paid politicians on the African continent, entitled to a salary of USD 13,000 a month. Continued tribal clashes in the Tana delta region killed ten people while two people were critically injured and nineteen homes were burned on 10 January, informs Al Jazeera. An attack in the same region that involved at least 100 raiders killed nine people on 09 January. The Tana delta experienced an outbreak of violence in 2012, during which the Orma and Pokomo tribes battled each other several times, resulting in more than 150 deaths. The continued violence has raised concerns over security and the capacity of the police to ensure security in the run up to the March elections. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a US-based think tank, has urged the US government to assist the Kenyan government in holding fair and peaceful elections. CFR warned about the threat of violence during the election, and called on President Obama to initiate and fund “a robust and coordinated international electoral observation mission to monitor preparations for the elections, the conduct of the elections, and the reporting of the results”. CFR warns that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is currently “unable to prepare for the elections so that Kenyans can go to the polls with confidence”. Somalia A rescue operation on 12 January to free a French national held hostage in Somalia has failed, as it was reported that two French soldiers were killed and the status of the hostage remains unclear, reports BBC. During an early morning raid in the town of Bulo Marer, a gun battle erupted between French soldiers and al Shabaab militants, who have been holding Dennis Allex (an alias) since July 2009. Al Shabaab has not provided proof that the hostage is still alive. A statement issued by the Islamist militants said they had “reached a unanimous verdict on the fate of Dennis Allex after three-and-a-half years in captivity”, and that the details of the verdict would be released imminently. France has reported that seventeen militants were killed during the raid. Human Rights Watch has called on the government of Somalia to free a journalist and two others linked to a woman who was reportedly raped by state security forces several months ago; the organisation reports that the victim has been harassed by the police, but that the perpetrators of the crime have not yet been arrested. When the raped woman arrived at the Central Investigation Department (CID) in Mogadishu on 10 January to report the crime, along with a female acquaintance who had connected her with journalists, she was held in custody until her husband arrived at the office the following day, whereupon she was released and he was detained in her place. The female acquaintance has remained in detention since 10 January. During interrogations, the head of CID, General Abdullahi Hassan Barisse, allegedly forced the woman hand over the telephone numbers of journalists who had interviewed her, and subsequently summoned Abdiaziz Abdinur, who has worked with Dalsan Radio and Badri Media Productions, to the CID, where he also remains in detention. 15 January 2013
Continued from page 1 deadlocked over Western Sahara. Morocco, refusing any concession on Western Sahara, has complained about Algerian support to the Polisario front for the independence of the disputed territory. As a result, borders between the two countries have remained closed for over a decade and bilateral trade has been subjected to numerous tariff and non-tariff barriers. In addition, relations between Mauritania and Libya became strained in 2005 when Mauritania accused Libyan secret services of involvement in an attempted military coup in Mauritania. Algeria’s domestic struggles in 1990s – the cancellation of election results when an Islamist party gained majority votes, the ensuing civil war and the rise of Islamist fundamentalism and terrorism – further hindered the AMU. Mauritania implemented structural reform programmes under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Tunisia and Morocco focused more on their bilateral relations with the EU. While the countries of the AMU signed over thirty agreements on varying subjects, including trade, tariffs, investment guarantees, taxation, and phyto-sanitary standards, only five of them were actually ratified by all five members. Although each country showed a rise in the volume of aggregate bilateral trade among the member states, intra-AMU trade is still very limited. North Africa accounted for the lowest intra-regional trade figures in the world at only three per cent. Despite the setbacks of the pre-Arab Spring period on the operations of the AMU, recent months have brought some positive developments for the union. Following pro-democracy movements in these countries, the Maghreb community revived the AMU, convening the first meeting of the council of foreign ministers in eighteen years in February 2012. During the meeting, Algeria emphasised the need to structure the AMU on the mutual interests of the members. On 08 August 2012, Libya’s Prime Minister AbdelRahim al-Keeb said during a visit to Morocco that an “active and serious” AMU should be realised. Moreover, Keeb called for Morocco’s help in rebuilding the new Libya. Recently, US Senator Joe Lieberman remarked that Morocco’s peaceful political reform model and autonomy initiative for Western Sahara is “serious, credible, good, and realistic”, following a visit to Morocco in late August. Although the direct impact of the initiative on the AMU is yet to be seen, it is likely to improve Algerian-Moroccan relations, thereby improving the overall effectiveness of the union. Highlighting the potential benefits of an active AMU, the EU also urged the North African partners to strengthen their ties. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said “the Maghreb is a region with enormous human, economic and cultural potential. We welcome the calls from partners in the region for closer cooperation and deeper integration between them,” and added that citizens on both sides of the Mediterranean stand to benefit”. Discussing a study related to the region, Ashton noted that the Maghreb is one of the least integrated regions in the world; however, studies indicate that ameliorated ties between the members of the AMU can add wealth equal to one to two per cent of their GDP annually. To that end, the AMU launched new initiatives such as a new pan-Maghreb university and science academy. Libyan Education Minister Mohamed al-Faitouri Soualem announced the plans to establish such an institution after an AMU ministerial committee meeting with Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. Another recent AMU initiative is an investment bank to finance infrastructure projects in the five member countries. According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Mauritania, Sid Ahmed Ould Raiss, the bank was inaugurated by the AMU with USD 100 million in capital to “finance development projects, such as highways, promoting new technologies and also investing in energy” and added that [t]he bank is destined to finance infrastructure programmes in the energy sector”. The Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde said the bank would increase integration and investment in the region. It is also expected that the initiative will create more jobs and improve security in the region. Maghreb Country Statistics Population (2012 Estimates) 35.4 million 6.7 million (Est. date N/A) 3.3 million 32.3 million 10.7 million 88.4 million GDP Per Capita (USD) 5,244 9,957 (2006 data) 1,151 3,054 4,297 --
Algeria Libya Mauritania Morocco Tunisia TOTAL
188.6 billion 62.3 billion(2006 data) 4 billion 100.2 billion 45.8 billion 400.9 billion
0.698 (medium) 0.760 (High) 0.453 (Low) 0.582 (Medium) 0.698 (High) --
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