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Mediterranean
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North Africa Northeast Africa Horn of Africa 1 4 5

Review
28 May 2013

This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 14 – 27 May 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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North Africa
Algeria

Eray Basar ► eray.basar@cimicweb.org

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For further information, contact: Med Basin Team Leader Trista.guertin@cimicweb.org The Med Basin Team Med.basin@cimicweb.org

Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on 21 May that President Abdelaziz Bout eflika’s health is improving while he convalesces in France, reports Reuters. The president has been absent from the public since suffering a stroke on 27 April, leading to speculations about his worsening condition and actual whereabouts. Two Algerian newspapers faced legal action after reporting that Bouteflika was in a coma, reports BBC. With the president’s health in question only one year ahead of the next elections, Algeria is preparing to transition from rule by a gerontocracy to governance by a generation “too young to have fought in Algeria’s war of i ndependence against France,” reports Reuters. However, it is highlighted that such a power transfer may be “bumpy” at a time of insurrection by Islamist militants in neighbouring countries. Preparing for the transition, Arabic-language El Khabar recently mentioned article 88 of the constitution. The article states the “leader of the senate would temporarily take over in the event of the death or incapacity of the president.” However, other newspapers published photos of the prime minister as a likely successor to the president.

As demand for Algerian oil increases, the country is unable to improve the oil sector and increase planned production. The industry has been plagued by a number of problems, including highly criticised foreign oil investment laws, security concerns, inefficient bureaucratic processes, power struggles between political and military elite and scandals of alleged corruption involving the state oil company Sonatrach, informs United Press International (UPI). Foreign oil companies such as BP continue to pressure the Algerian government to ease investment regulations. Algeria is reportedly in need of foreign investment and technology to meet its future oil production targets. However, the aforementioned unfavourable investment climate in the country translates to a lack of interest in the recent bidding rounds. The Middle East Economic Digest suggests the situation is “a country that in recent years was announcing plans for a rapid acceleration in gas output is facing a stiff challenge just to maintain production”. A moderate earthquake of 5.5 magnitude shook Bejaja region in northern Algeria on 19 May, reports South African Press AssociationAgence France-Presse (Sapa-AFP). Five people were injured and several houses were damaged during the incident.

Egypt
President Mohammed Morsi revised a draft law on civil society after opposition members and international human rights groups voiced concern over the initial draft, reports Reuters. The original law required non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to obtain prior permission from the government to receive international funding and implement projects. Critics argued these measures would impede NGO operations. Secretary to the President, Khaled al-Qazzaz, indicated that the revised law removes any such restrictions. However, the director for Human Rights Watch in Egypt, Heba Morayef, stated upon reviewing the latest draft, “There have been no major changes. It still gives the government the power to restri ct their activities and cut off funding”. Seven Egyptian soldiers kidnapped in the Sinai Peninsula on 16 May were freed six days later on 22 May, reports CNN. Once released, the Egyptian security forces reopened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza. The crossing was closed in protest of the kidnappings. Armed forces spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Ali indicated that military intelligence services and Sinai residents assisted with the soldiers’ release. However, it is not yet clear who kidnapped the soldiers. The militant Islamic group Hama denied allegations of involvement. Ismail Haniya, leader of Hamas, sent a congratulatory message to Egypt upon the soldiers’ release, claiming a “major achievement by the Egyptian military and a reassurance of the Egyptian sovereignty in Sinai”. According to Ahram Online, the government ordered hotels to ban men from working in women’s spas in an effort to prevent the sexual harassment of tourists, according to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou. Any hotel spa violating the decree could face closure or revocation of its spa licence. Over the past two years, the ministry has received 150 cases of sexual harassment of tourists to include three reported rapes in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh. In other efforts to address the issue of violence against women, the United Nations (UN) agency UN Women launched a new antisexual harassment initiative in Egypt on 27 May, reports Ahram Online. UN Women, in cooperation with members of the international student group Enactus, launched the ‘Consider Her Your Sister’ campaign at Kafr El-Sheikh University. A recent UN study found that 99.3 per cent of female respondents within Egypt reported experiencing harassment. In related news, ten men in southern Egypt are suspected of committing “honour killings” on 23 May, reports Associated Press (AP). Reportedly, the men killed a mother and her two daughters then proceeded to dump their bodies into the Nile River. The women were believed to be adulterers. Honour killings, often carried out by male family members to avenge a violation of traditional morals, are common in conservative regions of Egypt. While the practice violates Egyptian law, courts can be sympathetic to perpetrators and issue lighter sentences.

Libya
Libyan officials reported a series of explosions on 18 May in Benghazi and the capital Tripoli, with no reported casualties, writes Associated Press (AP). Three of the explosions occurred in the eastern city of Benghazi targeting an abandoned church and several security vehicles. Two other explosions occurred in the capital Tripoli, one near a security building and another near the Saudi, Greek and Palestinian embassies. A bombing suspect near the embassies was arrested. Another explosion on 14 May, which was initially reported as bomb explosion but later described as an accident, killed three people and wounded fourteen others, reports Sapa-AFP. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on 20 May that several car bombs and other explosives were found and defused within the past two days. However, Zeidan did not provide any further details about the locations of the discoveries.

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Gunmen attacked the Mellitah gas complex in western Libya on 20 May, reports AFP. Operations were not disrupted although a soldier and a brigade leader guarding the facility were wounded. According to reports, the attack was carried out by one of the two rebel groups responsible for facility security; the two groups had previously clashed in March. Libyan military staff reportedly ordered the air force to track down the attackers. On 21 May, oil flows stopped to Libya’s Zueitina terminal when tribal demonstrators demanding jobs shut off a valve along the pipeline, informs Reuters. A Zueitina engineer said two officials from the firm went to meet with the demonstrators but said “they are calling for representatives from the [state energy firm] National Oil Corporation to come meet with them”. A 2012 congressional committee to oversee Libya’s energy industry expressed in a statement: “We strongly condemn the shutting down of oil facilities, which is seen as illegal and harmful to the state and economy”. The facility resumed normal operations on 27 May after the locals and Deputy Minister of Oil Omar Shokmak reached an agreement. Shokmak promised to prioritise the region and improve living conditions, adding that it was a front line during the revolution against the former regime. Shokmak stated that the citizens’ right to peaceful demonstrations does not warrant “causing damage to the country’s interests”.

Morocco
The Istiqlal (independence) Party threatens to abandon the governing coalition unless Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane eases plans to cut food and energy subsidies, reports Reuters. Benkirane’s Justice and Development Party (PJD) argue that the country’s expend iture of 57 billion dirhams (USD 6.6 billion) on subsidies in 2012 – almost twice as high as 2010 – is not sustainable. The move to cut subsidies to repair the country’s economy is supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The conservative Istiqlal Party opposes PJD’s reform plan, which is likely to be supported by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, saying it is “too radical”. Istiqlal spokesman Adil Benhamza offers: “The government said it spent 57 billion dirham in subsidies last year, but it is not true. I t recovers 23 billion dirham in value added tax”. According to the reports, subsidy cuts raise prices thereby impacting the living standards of the Moroccans, which risks reviving protests for political and economic reforms. According to Spanish authorities, approximately 200 sub-Saharan Africans attempted to cross into the Moroccan Spanish enclave of Melilla on 13 May; nearly 120 successfully avoided capture and entered the territory, reports AP. However, five illegal migrants drowned during an attempt to reach Spain on a polyester boat, reports AFP/The Local. Seven others, including four women, were rescued and brought to a Moroccan hospital in Nador for treatment.

Tunisia
Ansar al Sharia, a Salafist group openly supporting al Qaeda, clashed with the police on 19 Source: BBC May, reports Euronews. The group used Facebook to a gathering in Ettadamen district of the capital Tunis. The original gathering had been scheduled for the central city of Kairouan; however, the government prohibited the Kairouan gathering as it posed a “threat to public security”. Police dispersed about 500 protesters with tear gas in Tunis. Ansar al Sharia spokesman Saifeddine Rais was arrested for incitement, reports Bloomberg. Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said: “We will deal with this organization with total seriousness but in accordance with the law” and a dded that [Ansar al Sharia] exists but isn’t legal. It must either follow the law or end its existence”. On the other hand, Abu Yahya al-Shanqiti, a member of the Sharia Committee of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), urged the Tunisian Salafists to exercise self-restraint and not be “provoked by the regime and its barbarism” in order to maintain their public support, reports AFP. AQIM also praised Ansar al Sharia in a Twitter post and encouraged continuation of “good steps that bore fruits”. Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution (LPR) spokesman Nasreddine Wazfa criticised the prevention of the group’s protests that began 24 May in the Tunis suburb of Kram, which later resulted in the arrests of nine supporters, reports Tunisia Live. Wafza argued the legality of the protest which advocated for the adoption of a law to ban previous regime officials from holding government positions. Wazfa notified the Ministry of Interior and the police precinct 72 hours ahead of the protests in accordance with the law. Interior Ministry spokesman Lofti Hidouri said LPR was warned one day in advance not to hold the unauthorised protests.

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Northeast Africa
South Sudan – Sudan Cross Border Issues

Trista Guertin ► trista.guertin@cimicweb.org

Tensions between South Sudan and Sudan escalated after “border issues” disrupted the flow of oil between the two countries during the week of 20 May, reports Sydney Morning Herald. According to Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti, South Sudan prevented the free movement of oil engineers and equipment across their shared border. South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and Sudanese president Omar al Bashir resolved the issue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 25 May. However, relations soured once again when Bashir threated on 28 May to halt oil exports from South Sudan if Juba continued to support rebels in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Darfur, reports Al Jazeera. The threat could significantly impact South Sudan as the country relies heavily on Sudan’s oil pipelines and requires access to Red Sea ports to export its oil. Bashir stated, “We warn the government in the South that if they provide any assistance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N) Source: Al Jazeera or to the rebels in Darfur, we will completely close the pipeline”, claiming he would know if Juba ceased assisting rebels. Sudan continues to accuse South Sudan of backing rebels fighting in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur – claims which South Sudan denies. Oil exports, which are expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue for both countries, only recently resumed after a fifteen month hiatus. In March 2013, Juba and Khartoum signed nine agreements to include one that allowed for oil flow resumption and others covering security and trade. According to Bashir, all nine agreements must be respected. He further warned that a breach of one would nullify the other eight. US Secretary of State John Kerry said on 25 May that he will appoint a new special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, reports Bloomberg. Kerry, speaking in Ethiopia while attending the fiftieth anniversary of the African Union (AU), believes the envoy will assist in resolving on-going disputes between the two countries, including “very significant border challenges”.

South Sudan
The humanitarian situation within eastern South Sudan continues to deteriorate after a hospital operated by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders (MSF), was ransacked during the week of 13 May, reports Voice of America (VOA). As a result, MSF suspended its operation of the hospital, located in the town of Pibor in Jonglei state. MSF’s coordinator for operations in South Sudan, Richard Veerman, stated the attack appeared to be a deliberate attempt to render the facility inoperable; not only were stocks and equipment raided, but the facility itself incurred damage, making it difficult for the NGO to resume services in the near future. Veerman also voiced concern that the local population lost access to medical services. The minister of local government in Jonglei, Ding Akol, said that an investigation is underway, but voiced suspicions that Yau Yau rebels are responsible. On 27 May, Hilde Johnson, head of the United Nations peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said that the force lacked sufficient troops and aircraft to protect civilians in Jonglei state, according to Reuters. The UN reports that on-going clashes between rebels and government troops have displaced tens of thousands of civilians including nearly 10,000 residents of the town of Pibor. Johnson reported that she had doubled the number of UNMISS troops in Pibor, but stated: “We cannot sustain a p resence with the logistical capacity that we have, with the problems we have with air transport and by road. So we cannot protect civilians in big, big, big numbers.” South Sudanese President Kiir commented that he would “never accept” the International Criminal Court (ICC) during a meeting with the new Kenyan president and ICC indictee Uhuru Kenyatta on 23 May, informs VOA. Kenyatta, visiting Juba for the first time since his election, promised the development of roads, rail and pipelines to strengthen ties between the two countries. Kenyatta was elected president in March 2013 despite an ICC indictment on accusations of inciting ethnic violence following the 2007 election. However, Kiir disregarded the court and voiced an unwillingness to sign up to it vis-à-vis the Rome Statute, saying, “We have talked about these problems of the ICC, that the ICC, whatever has been written in Rome, has never been used against any one of their presidents or heads of states. It seems that this thing has been meant for African leaders, that they have to be humiliated”.

Sudan

President Bashir announced he will no longer negotiate with the rebels of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N) and armed rebels in Darfur, according to Sudan Tribune. Speaking before the headquarters of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on 27 May, Bashir called the rebels “mercenaries and terrorists”, and stated that t he Sudanese government would neither recognise nor negotiate with the alliance of the rebel groups known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), comprising SPLM-N, Justice and Equality Movement, and Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). Bashir’s speech indicate s a significant shift in policy, after committing to pursuing peace with rebels earlier in the month.

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The UN reported on 23 May that continued fighting in the region of Darfur displaced 300,000 people since January of this year, reports Sudan Tribune. UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, speaking at a press conference in Khartoum, stated that the figure is more than “the total number of displaced in the last two years put together”. While visiting Sudan to assess humanitarian operations in the country, Amos voiced concern over the continued lack of adequate basic services for internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing at a camp in North Darfur. Amos said, “I was particularly shocked when we visited some of the new arrivals in ZamZam camp. I saw people who had recently fled fighting in South Darfur sheltering under small pieces of tarpaulin in the hot desert sun, in desperate conditions”. Amos noted that Sudan is in a funding crisis and requires an urgent increase in donor assistance as humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate, including rising levels of malnutrition.

Horn of Africa
African Union Jubilee Summit

Foard Copeland ► foard.copeland@cimicweb.org

On 25-26 May, Ethiopia hosted the fiftieth anniversary of the African Union (AU), reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). Originally named the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), the body transferred its name and governing bodies to the AU in 2002, modelling much of its structure after the European Union (EU). Current membership includes all 53 countries on the continent (excluding Morocco and including the Western Sahara1). The Jubilee Summit followed weeklong celebrations. Attendees included US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang, reports AFP. On 27 May, AU leaders announced the establishment of a rapid reaction force, a major outcome of the conference. As Reuters noted, the founders envision a military unit that can swiftly deal with coups, rebellions and acts of war. Proposed by South African President Jacob Zuma, the peacekeeping force will be known as the African Capacity for the Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC). Uganda and Ethiopia committed troops to the ACIRC which will operate under the auspices of the AU’s Peace and Security Commission. In a surprise economic development, Brazil announced plan s to cancel debts for twelve African states totalling USD 900 million, according to Al Jazeera. Hoping to establish a “special relationship for Brazil” with a host of African countries, the debt relief package represents one element of Brazil’s foreign policy strategy to invest in the continent. Beneficiaries include Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania, and Zambia, among others 2. According to BBC, Brazilian trade with Africa increased fivefold over the last decade. Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari also attended the AU summit, describing his country as a “trusted partner”. He presented detailed plans for Indian-backed technical assistance and infrastructure development across the continent. The attendance by high-level members of India, Brazil, and China highlights the growing role of BRICS3 countries in African political and economic development.

Eritrea
Eritreans celebrated twenty years of independence on 24 May, informs All Africa. However, news agencies covering the anniversary, such as AFP, said the day was “gloomy” as the country remains one of the poorest and most repressive in the world. A report released by Amnesty International earlier this month detailed almost non-existent political freedoms in the country. According to AFP, “Opposition parties are banned and anyone who challenges the president — a former rebel commander who led the war against Ethiopia — is jailed without trial, often in the harshest of conditions”. The country ranks 181 out of 187 on the UN’s Human Development Index, refugee numbers have spiked as thousands seek to flee the country, and a recent crime wave has worsened already poor economic conditions in the capital of Asmara, asserts AFP.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia began diverting water from the Blue Nile (one of the Nile River’s two main tributaries) on 28 May in accordance with its plans for the Renaissance Dam construction, reports All Africa. According to Ethiopian officials, the diversion of water is necessary for the dam’s construction. Officials claim the plans will not affect Egypt’s Nile water supply which relies on the Blue Nile for sixty per cent of its volume. The issue has escalated tensions between the two countries in the past, but the Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idris, said the development is not a surprise and has been planned since November 2012, according to Ahram. Ethiopia insisted on 28 May that it will not cooperate with a World Bank investigation into whether the bank violated its own policies and forcibly resettled 70,000 residents from 16 villages in the western Gambella region. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Ethiopian government to allow residents, once removed for purposes of agricultural industrialisation, to return to their farmland. The group also asked the World Bank to observe human rights and sustainable development principles allegedly ignored in the 2012 Country Partnership Strategy.

Kenya

The AU supports Kenya’s request that the International Cri minal Court (ICC) transfer its cases against President Uhuru Kenya and Vice President William Ruto to domestic authorities in Kenya, reports Bloomberg. Heads of state attending the AU summit on 26 May
1 2

Represented by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) According to BBC, additional beneficiaries include: Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Sudan. 3 BRICS represents an informal partnership between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Conceived in 2001, the group represents an alternative to G-20 country models for industrial development, and five of the world’s strongest economies in the so -called “global South”. The fourth BRICS summit was held in Durban, South Africa, in March 2013, where leaders pledged a new partnership with Africa.

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approved a resolution in support of Kenya’s request to the ICC. Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and current A U chairperson, described the ICC investigation as “flawed” and said, “The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity, of ill governance and the kind, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting rather than the objective of taking care of crimes and impunities”. Al Jazeera reported the resolution has no technical legal repercussions but drastically improves Kenyatta’s standing because it is backed by heads of state. AFP reported on 27 May the court will not drop its case against either leader. “The International Criminal Court will not be reacting to African Union resolutions,” said ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah. Ruto’s trial is scheduled to begin in late June, with Kenyatta’s commencing on 09 July.

Somalia
On 28 May, Reuters reported a US surveillance drone crashed in southern Somalia, an area of on-going conflict between al Shabaab and AU security forces. Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, governor for the Lower Shabelle region said al Shabaab militants gunned down the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Al Shabaab confirmed that a drone had crashed, but did not immediately claim responsibility. Drones have become an increasingly popular tool for Western countries to combat Islamist extremism in the Horn of Africa region. In news related to the insurgency, the local syndicate Garowe Online reported that fighting erupted between members of al Shabaab and nomads in the Hiran region on 24 May, during which twelve militants were killed. According to Sabahi, residents from Dudumoqaris and Sabahume initiated a ‘counter-attack’ against al Shabaab after nomads refusing to forfeit livestock to the insurgency were killed. Minister of Interior Abdikarim Hussein Guled announced on 27 May that al Shabaab leadership continues to lose support from its base, says All Africa. In the previous two months, senior commanders have expressed open dissent with al Shabaab head Ahmed Abdi Godane (also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubayr) on numerous occasions. In Mogadishu, lawmakers threatened a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and his cabinet, but then shelved the motion on 22 May, reports Reuters. Initially supported by 93 legislators of the country’s 275-member parliament, all but 40 retracted their support for the measure. Analysts said the vote was destined to fail, but nevertheless underlines difficulties in Somalia’s governance structure, even for an administration that is see mingly popular. Finally, Jubaland elected its first president, Sheikh Ahmed “Madobe” Mohamed Islam, on 15 May, according to the Daily Nation. Voice of America reported the two men are warlords whose rivalry could erupt into violence. PM Shirdon appointed a task force to address the issue of Jubaland. The region’s repeated calls for statehood have been rejected by the current administration.

ENGAGE WITH US 28 May 2013

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