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United States Africa Command Public Affairs Office 20 June 2011

USAFRICOM - related news stories TOP NEWS RELATED TO U.S. AFRICA COMMAND AND AFRICA Critics assault Obamas Libya policy (POLITICO) (Libya) An intensifying battle over the presidents power to wage war without congressional consent will come to a head this week in the House with a bipartisan contingents efforts to amend a defense spending bill with provisions designed to end American engagement in Libya. Gates Says Libya Strategy Absolutely Right (DOD) (Washington) The U.S. strategy toward Libya is absolutely right, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on "Fox News Sunday" this morning. The secretary, who will retire June 30, also discussed Afghanistan, the fiscal future of the department and what he will miss about the job during one of his last interviews as secretary. GOP splitting over U.S. role in Libya and Afghanistan (LA Times) (Libya) Republicans are facing a widening fissure over the U.S. role on the world stage as party leaders decide whether to confront President Obama this week over his policy toward Libya. NATO confirms strike hit wrong target, killing Libyan civilians (WP) (Libya) NATO said a coalition bomb misfired into a residential neighborhood of Tripoli early Sunday and killed civilians, an acknowledgment that is likely to fuel a growing controversy over the Wests protracted effort to oust Moammar Gaddafi. Claims of Wartime Rapes Unsettle and Divide Libyans (NY Times) (Libya) The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said this month that evidence was emerging that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had authorized his soldiers to rape Libyan women, an assertion that seemed to support months of rumors about a brutal, continuing campaign. Libya action may cost UK hundreds of millions (BBC) (Libya) The total cost of the UK's involvement in Nato's military action in Libya could run "into the hundreds of millions" of pounds, Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has said.

Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief Guterres visit boat people on Italian island (UNHCR) (Libya) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief Antnio Guterres met boat people, including unaccompanied minors, on a tiny Italian island on Sunday and remembered those who have lost their lives trying to reach Lampedusa by sea from Africa.

Darfur rebels say Sudan army attacks their positions (Reuters) (Sudan) Rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region accused the government of attacking them with military vehicles, warplanes and troops on horses on Sunday. Somalia: Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Resigns (RFI) (Somalia) Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has resigned reversing a statement he made last week saying he would not step down from the position. UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website y Niger: UN Official vows to help country overcome socio-economic challenges y UN urges probe into reports of refugees left to drown off North Africa y Sudan: UN condemns harassment of its peacekeepers in Southern Kordofan y Sudan: UN peacekeepers provide medical treatment to prisoners in Malakal y Ban urges immediate end to hostilities in Sudans Southern Kordofan state ------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST: WHAT: Certification: The Path to Conflict-Free Minerals from Congo WHEN/WHERE: Monday, June 20th at 10:30am to 12:00pm; Woodrow Wilson Center WHO: H.E. Ambassador Faida Mitifu, Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Jane Harman, Director, President, and CEO, Woodrow Wilson Center; Steve McDonald, Director of the Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, Wilson Center; Robert D. Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, US Department of State; John Bradshaw, Executive Director, Enough Project; Tim Mohin, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Advanced Micro Devices; Sasha

Lezhnev, Policy Consultant on Conflict Minerals, Enough Project; Joanne Lebert, Director of the Great Lakes Policy Program, Partnership Africa Canada Info:http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=events.event_summar y&event_id=701620

WHAT: Liberia Through the Eyes of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africas First Elected Female Head of State WHEN/WHERE: Friday, June 24th at 12:30pm to 1:30pm; United States Institute of Peace WHO: Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia Info: http://www.usip.org/events/liberia-through-the-eyes-president-ellenjohnson-sirleaf-africa-s-first-elected-female-head-s WHAT: 2011 World Congress of the Society for International Development (SID) WHEN/WHERE: From 8:30am on July 29th to 4:00pm on July 31st; Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Clavert Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 WHO: Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank; Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Kenya; President Joaquim Chissano, the former President of Mozambique TOPICS: Economic Progress, Human Development, Global Health, Governance and Citizenship, Science and Technology, and Gender Equality Info: http://www.interaction.org/event/2011-world-congress-societyinternational-development-sid ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------FULL ARTICLE TEXT Critics assault Obamas Libya policy (POLITICO) By Jonathan Allen June 19, 2011 An intensifying battle over the presidents power to wage war without congressional consent will come to a head this week in the House with a bipartisan contingents efforts to amend a defense spending bill with provisions designed to end American engagement in Libya. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), a member of the intelligence committee, has drafted an amendment to prohibit the use of government funds to continue the Libya mission, unless the expenditure is aimed at withdrawing from the theater. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), one of 10 lawmakers who filed suit against President Barack Obama over his failure to seek congressional approval for U.S. military action against Libya, plans to offer one that is a straightforward cutoff of funding.

Its not just rank-and-file lawmakers who are talking about cutting off funds. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) raised the prospect of using Congresss power over the Treasury to restrict the presidents war-making authority because, he says, the president has not done enough to explain the size, scope and necessity of the U.S. mission. Obama didnt win many converts on Capitol Hill last week when he informed Congress that he doesnt believe he needs lawmakers approval for U.S. operations because they are, in his opinion, distinct from the kind of hostilities contemplated by the War Powers Act. Boehner said that interpretation doesnt meet the straight-face test. So after nearly a decade of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has cost thousands of American lives and nearly $1.3 trillion, a Libya mission that is comparatively inexpensive less than $1 billion so far and does not require ground troops has become the battleground for questions over the extent of the presidents power and Congresss willingness to let him use it. It all amounts to a historic test of Congresss constitutional role as the warmaking branch of government, the viability of the Vietnam-era War Powers Act and the ongoing public appetite for American military engagement abroad. Not only is Obama clashing with critics in Congress, but the Republicans competing to take him on in the 2012 presidential election debated the matter at their New Hampshire forum last week. Ultimately, there are two issues at play: The first is whether the U.S. should be involved in Libya, and the second is whether the president needs congressional approval to continue American operations in that theater. After three months of debate on Libya, they have become intertwined in some minds. Republicans who have historically backed a robust presidency say Obama is violating the War Powers Act. Meanwhile, Democrats who have sought to limit presidential warmaking power are comfortable with Obamas belief that the War Powers law doesnt apply to the situation in Libya. Any president, if we are attacked, if our country is attacked, has even under the War Powers Act very strong powers to go after that country. But short of that, he must come to Congress, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in 2007. In 1999, as the branches of government debated U.S. involvement in Kosovo, Boehner called the War Powers Act constitutionally suspect as part of an argument that Congress should not bind the hands of then-President Bill Clinton or his successors.

A strong presidency is a key pillar of the American system of government the same system of government our military men and women are prepared to give their lives to defend, Boehner argued. Just as good intentions alone are not enough to justify sending American troops into harms way, good intentions alone are not enough to justify tampering with the underpinnings of American democracy. Aides to Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were in lock step Friday when asked whether their bosses would support or oppose efforts to cut off funding for Libya. Well see, they answered. Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are opposed to a funding cutoff. In the Senate, John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) who were candidates in the past two presidential elections are preparing a resolution that would approve of U.S. actions in Libya in an effort to preserve the viability of the War Powers Act. McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, two of the Republican Partys leading hawks, said on separate political talk shows Sunday that they fear the rise of an isolationist wing of the GOP. That element was evident during the Republican presidential debate last week and has been reflected in the views of tea party favorites in the House GOP majority. First of all, we were not attacked. We were not threatened with attack. There was no vital national interest, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, head of the House Tea Party Caucus, said at the New Hampshire debate. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are boxed into a position in which a vote against the Libya action or against the presidents authority to deploy forces is a vote against Obama, and a vote in favor of continuing operations there risks alienating both anti-war Democrats and war-weary independents. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has backed the position that Obama doesnt need congressional approval to stay the course with his Libya policy, while Reids top lieutenant, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), insists that he must seek approval. But even those who agree on the presidents basic policy in Libya are at odds over some of his obligations under the War Powers Act. Graham said on Meet the Press on Sunday that the law is unconstitutional and not worth the paper its printed on.

The president needs to step up his game with Libya, but Congress should sort of shut up and not empower [Muammar] Qadhafi, Graham said. Durbin, who agrees with Graham on the importance of continuing the mission in Libya, said the president must get congressional approval. We are engaged in hostilities in Libya. What we should do is act on a timely basis to pass congressional authorization under the War Powers Act, Durbin said on Meet the Press. That law was designed to limit the president by allowing him to deploy American forces without congressional consent for only up to 90 days. It was intended to restrict the powers of the presidency after wars were fought in Korea and Vietnam without declarations of war from Congress. Since then, presidents generally have sought congressional approval through so-called use of force resolutions and the like before deploying troops for extended engagements. But many lawmakers and lawyers, particularly those who serve administrations, argue the law is unconstitutional. In practice, the War Powers Act has done little to limit the presidents power and some believe it has expanded the executive branchs authority to wage war. Sunday marked the 90th day since the start of the Libya campaign, and the mission, now led by NATO, continues without congressional approval. Depending on how they are structured, the Kucinich and Heck amendments could get votes on the House floor, giving Congress a chance to end the Libya intervention. Conversely, if they fail, it would be a tacit approval if not an authorization of the hostilities there. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Fox News Sunday that cutting off funding in the middle of a military operation, when we have people engaged, is always a mistake. Gates Says Libya Strategy Absolutely Right By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service Washington June 19, 2011 The U.S. strategy toward Libya is absolutely right, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on "Fox News Sunday" this morning.

The secretary, who will retire June 30, also discussed Afghanistan, the fiscal future of the department and what he will miss about the job during one of his last interviews as secretary. The United States and its allies began the operation to protect Libyans from the depredations of the Gadhafi regime, and then turned leadership of the effort over to NATO. When this operation started we had 50,000 troops in Iraq. We had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. We had 24,000 people engaged in Japanese earthquake relief. We have a number of commitments around the world, Gates said. The arrangement and the understanding the president had with our key allies from the very beginning was the U.S. would come in heavy at beginning, establish a no-fly zone and then hand off the operation to our allies and that we would recede into a support role, he said. That was his decision going in and he stuck to it. The operation is protecting the Libyan people and the regime is getting weaker each day. The secretary believes President Obama has complied with the War Powers Act. But the president would also welcome the Congress passing a resolution of support. From the U.S. standpoint American service members are involved in a limited kinetic operation. If Im in Qaddafis palace, I suspect I'd think Im at war, he said. Gates also discussed the strategy in Afghanistan. Once President Obama decided on a strategy in December 2009, he has stuck with it. As part of that strategy, U.S. troops will be drawn down gradually, turning over security responsibility to Afghan forces. Its always been envisioned that with success on the ground, that the balance between combination of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, the way it would shift more to counterterrorism over time, Gates said. We have had a lot of success over the last 15 months in Afghanistan. The conditions on the ground are far better than they were a year ago. This fighting season, the coalition and its Afghan allies have not only held everything taken from the Taliban last year, they have been able to expand security and further disrupt the infiltrations coming in from Pakistan, Gates said. Turning to the budget, the secretary said he is worried about the fiscal future of the department. He is afraid that many whose primary concern is the deficit will see the department as a cash cow.

The base defense budget is not part of the deficit problem, he said. Our percentage of the base budget, not counting the cost of wars, the defense budget is about 3.5 percent of (gross domestic product). Thats basically the lowest that's been, except for a brief period in the 90s, since before World War II. The department will economize and the cost of the wars will fall dramatically in the next few years. I think that its a mistake -particularly to couch the question in terms of the cost of war, because my question is, whats the cost of failure? he said. What was cost of 9/11 because we left Afghanistan in 1989? How much money have we spent since 9/11 trying to deal with that problem? The United States is on the right road with the combat role in Afghanistan scheduled to end in 2014. So, this isnt an open-ended conflict, he said. I just ask people to consider the consequences of failure. Gates has served 45 years in public service. He offered a few insights that experience has gained hi, When we have been successful in national security and foreign affairs, it has been because there has been bipartisan support, he said. At its heart, success comes when the executive and legislative branches have agreed on the basic tenets of the national security strategy. Thats what happened through nine presidencies and the Cold War that led to our success, because no major international problem can be solved on one presidents watch, he said. And so, unless it has bipartisan support, unless it can be extended over a period of time, the risks of failure is high. Gates said the only thing he will miss about being secretary is the chance to interact with the troops. I just spent three days with them in Afghanistan a week-and-a-half ago, and getting on that plane was very hard, he said. He felt he was leaving them behind while they were still in the fight. Theyre so dedicated and so confident and theyre so capable, he said. Theyre just (such) extraordinary people.

GOP splitting over U.S. role in Libya and Afghanistan (LA Times) By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau June 20, 2011 Republicans are facing a widening fissure over the U.S. role on the world stage as party leaders decide whether to confront President Obama this week over his policy toward Libya.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other congressional Republican leaders have said that U.S. involvement in NATO's bombing campaign, which hit the 90-day mark Sunday, violates the War Powers Act. The House could seek to cut off money for the war as it takes up the annual Pentagon spending bill this week. Several of the party's potential presidential candidates have called for the U.S. to quit the fight in Libya and questioned the depth of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Other Republicans have begun pushing back, criticizing what they see as a growing isolationist agenda within the party. The result is that Republicans, once relatively unified on foreign policy issues, now have a division that parallels the long-standing split in Democratic ranks. The debate was on public display Sunday as two of the GOP's leading figures on defense and foreign policy, Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, criticized Republican presidential hopefuls and congressional leaders who question the country's military intervention around the world. "There has always been an isolationist strain in the Republican Party," McCain said on ABC's "This Week," "but now it seems to have moved more center stage.... That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people all over the world." Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that any debate over cutting funding for the Libya war would encourage resistance by Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. "Congress should sort of shut up," he said. McCain and Graham also criticized former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's leading in the polls for the party's presidential nomination, for referring to the fighting in Afghanistan as a "war for independence" that the U.S. should leave to others. "I wish that candidate Romney and all the others would sit down" with U.S. commanders "and understand how this counter-insurgency is working and succeeding," McCain said. Romney was one of several presidential hopefuls who, in last week's Republican candidate debate, focused criticism on U.S. military operations in Libya and Afghanistan. None took the sort of hawkish positions that McCain advocated during his presidential run in 2008.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), for example, questioned what U.S. interest is at stake in Libya. "We were not attacked," Bachmann said. "We were not threatened with attack. There was no vital national interest." The rift among Republicans has been developing for some time but is coming into sharper relief as the wars become increasingly unpopular and as the election year draws closer. The arguments became louder last week after the White House released its rationale for not asking Congress to authorize the Libya conflict under the War Powers Act. White House officials said the war is not covered by the act's definition of "hostilities" because the U.S. is playing a support role and American military personnel are not directly in harm's way. Boehner, who is trying to balance the conflicting positions within the Republican caucus, gave a carefully worded answer on the subject last week, hinting at a possible move to cut off money. "The House has options," he said. "We're looking at those options, and my guess is we may be prepared to move on those options." A move to cut off money for Libya could gain support both from the right wing of the Republican Party and antiwar Democrats. The Republican skeptics about Libya and Afghanistan tend to frame their arguments in fiscal rather than foreign policy terms. The $700-million cost of the Libya operation has fueled their opposition to what Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called "an overreaching and sometimes unnecessary foreign policy." "Our current expansive foreign policies are no longer fiscally possible to sustain," he wrote in an op-ed article. At the same time, the GOP has a strong interventionist faction that has long opposed most efforts to restrain presidential power. Many prominent Republicans have argued for years, for example, that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional, a position Graham repeated Sunday. Where the majority of Republican voters will end up is unknown. A Gallup poll last month suggested that 47% of Republicans wanted to bring the troops home from Afghanistan. All that could make the issue tricky for Republican candidates, said Steven S. Smith, professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis. "Warweariness is a real phenomenon," he said. The feeling that the fighting is

unending "feeds the sense of misplaced priorities that bends some Americans in a more isolationist direction." On the other hand, Smith said, "not knowing how Republican opinion might develop, this appears to be a dangerous issue for Republican candidates who have not made foreign affairs even a minor part of their campaigns." -----------------------------

NATO confirms strike hit wrong target, killing Libyan civilians (WP) By Ernesto Londono June 19, 2011 TRIPOLI, Libya NATO said a coalition bomb misfired into a residential neighborhood of Tripoli early Sunday and killed civilians, an acknowledgment that is likely to fuel a growing controversy over the Wests protracted effort to oust Moammar Gaddafi. Libyan officials said the blast flattened a two-story house, killing two children and seven adults. Sundays bombing marked the first time NATO has acknowledged that a military mishap had resulted in civilian deaths in Libya, and it came a day after the alliance confirmed that last week it accidentally struck a vehicle carrying allied rebel fighters. The two incidents underscored the perils of a military campaign the West is waging almost exclusively from the air, with shifting front lines and scattered allies with whom it has spotty lines of communication. NATO regrets the loss of innocent civilian lives and takes great care in conducting strikes against a regime determined to use violence against its own citizens, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, the Canadian commander of the alliances mission in Libya, said in a statement issued late Sunday. NATO said that it intended to strike a military missile site but that a weapons system failure appeared to have caused a number of civilian casualties. High-profile cases in which civilians were killed by U.S. and allied troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars became major turning points in those conflicts as antiWestern sentiment soared. And Sundays incident bolstered Gaddafis claim that the coalitions operation is just the Wests latest bid to invade and pilfer a Muslim nation.

We will never forgive, we will never forget, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi told reporters Sunday afternoon. He said the recent NATO bombings ought to ignite a global jihad against the oppressive, criminal West. The Libya operations growing number of critics on Capitol Hill and in NATO capitals are certain to pounce on the incident to argue that the costly, threemonth mission is foundering. The Obama administration has struggled to defend its stance that the U.S. role does not require congressional approval, while NATO is facing mounting questions about the pace and achievements of a campaign that Western leaders hoped would end within weeks. Sunday marked the 90th day of the campaign, and Congress is likely to vote this week on amendments that would cut off funds for the operation or place restrictions on the use of U.S. troops. One hopes it will encourage NATO and Western governments to reconsider the case for a cease-fire, which they appear to have ignored until now, said Hugh Roberts, a Libya expert at the International Crisis Group. The great danger is that out of laziness, politicians will continue to succumb to the false argument that there is no alternative to military intervention. On Sunday, a spokesman for Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said this incident brought to mind something the senator had said previously. When a president conducts a misdirected war, there will be misdirected results, Mark Helmke said. He added: Historians may look back and say, this [is] when the United States under Obama killed NATO, the most successful military alliance in history. The bomb struck a home in the Souk Jouma district of northern Tripoli, an area of the city where many despise the Gaddafi regime. The streets of Souk Jouma have been restive in recent weeks. Regime loyalists have painted over anti-Gaddafi graffiti and residents attempting to stage antigovernment demonstrations have exchanged gunfire with government forces, residents said in interviews Sunday. By taking foreign journalists to the flattened house twice Sunday morning, Libyan government officials provided reporters with a rare glimpse of a side of Tripoli they have worked arduously to conceal.

Residents didnt chant pro-Gaddafi slogans when they saw foreign journalists, as often happens in other parts of the capital. There were no photos of the autocrat, and none of the green flags used to convey loyalty to the regime were visible. A 38-year-old man who asked to be identified only by his first name, Ali, said more than half of the areas residents oppose the regime. But there is no army here, he said, standing on a pile of rubble. Just civilians. Libyan government officials have struggled in recent weeks to convince journalists that NATO has bombed civilian targets, but the accounts and evidence they have presented have often been unconvincing. NATO aircraft have conducted more than 4,000 flights to identify or strike targets since it took command of the mission on March 31. The bombings have destroyed critical government facilities, including Gaddafis palace. In a video statement late Sunday, Wing Cmdr. Mike Bracken, a NATO spokesman, said, The Gaddafi regime could put a stop to this fighting if it were to comply with the international communitys demands. But Gaddafi has vowed to defeat the alliance and has sought to portray the rebels as armed gangs collaborating with crusaders from the West. In a speech Friday, he urged NATO to use nuclear bombs, saying Libyans would prevail no matter what. Others in his government have called for an immediate halt to the bombings, saying negotiations with rebels based in the western city of Benghazi might be possible if NATO suspends its mission. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim on Sunday said the strikes against civilians were deliberate. They want to plant horror and terror in the heart of people so they will want a quick end to the conflict, he said. This is making the enemy even clearer: the West attacking a Muslim country for oil, dominance and occupation. Staff writer David A. Fahrenthold in Washington contributed to this report. ----------------------------Claims of Wartime Rapes Unsettle and Divide Libyans (NY Times) By Kareen Fahim June 19, 2011

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said this month that evidence was emerging that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had authorized his soldiers to rape Libyan women, an assertion that seemed to support months of rumors about a brutal, continuing campaign. We have information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government, the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said at a recent news conference. There is evidence, he said, that anti-impotence drugs were bought in bulk and supplied to soldiers. In some parts of Libya, he said, there may have been hundreds of victims. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo cautioned that these were only allegations, however, and human rights investigators have since raised questions about the assertions. Amnesty International said its researchers had not turned up significant evidence to support the claim of mass rapes. And M. Cherif Bassiouni, chairman of a United Nations commission investigating human rights violations in Libya, said he and his team had so far interviewed only one victim and had been told about a handful of other cases. Im not saying it isnt true, he said in an interview. Im saying I dont have the evidence for it yet. Some confusion was to be expected: it is notoriously difficult to investigate allegations of sexual violence in war zones, where traumatized victims already burdened with the stigma of rape remain vulnerable to renewed attacks. But in Libya, infighting among doctors and other health workers in rebel-held areas who are trying to investigate rapes has deepened the uncertainties. They have criticized one another, squabbled about how to conduct a proper investigation and argued about whether there were any rapes at all. The claims of widespread sexual violence have been cited by foreign officials calling for Colonel Qaddafi to step down. In a recent statement, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cited the allegations by Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, and said that Colonel Qaddafi and other leaders in the region were trying to divide the people by using violence against women and rape as tools of war. Much of the controversy as well as the early, unconfirmed evidence of mass rapes has centered on the work of a Libyan psychologist in Benghazi, Dr. Seham Sergewa.

Dr. Sergewa said that she had identified at least 259 victims of rape from more than 60,000 responses to surveys she and other volunteers distributed over several weeks in eastern Libya and along the Tunisian border. She said she had personally interviewed 140 rape victims. But other doctors have attacked her research and methods, saying it seems unlikely that she could have distributed so many surveys, even in the best of times. The doctors, including the head of Benghazis Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Ali M. Elroey, say she has been unwilling to open her research for peer review. I find it a bit exaggerated, Dr. Elroey said in an interview at the hospital, where Dr. Sergewa, until recently, kept a small office. I dont think in three weeks you can distribute that many fliers. Dr. Sergewas colleagues have also criticized her for talking to the news media. The rape question is highly sensitive everywhere in the world, and even more so in a conservative society like ours, said Essam Gheriani, a psychologist who is leading one of several efforts to help victims of sexual violence. The attention is discouraging victims from coming forward, Mr. Gheriani said, and asking for the help they should be asking for. But others said that the opposite was true and that media attention could encourage women to report the attacks. As researchers fight among themselves, unconfirmed accounts of sexual violence continue to circulate. Rebel officials said they had discovered condoms and packets of Viagra in tanks and other vehicles captured from Colonel Qaddafis soldiers. Many people say they have seen cellphone videos of rapes, though such videos have been hard to locate because, Colonel Qaddafis opponents assert, cellphone users quickly deleted them to protect the women. CNN, however, did recently broadcast a cellphone video that it said depicted a woman being sexually assaulted by two men using a broomstick, though it was unclear who the rapists were or when the attack occurred. The victims have also been hard to find. Apart from Eman al-Obeidy, who burst into a hotel full of journalists to say she had been raped by Qaddafi militiamen, few women have spoken out. Theyre not going to say it publicly, Mr. Bassiouni said. Theyre not going to destroy their family reputation. In its report from Libya, Mr. Bassiounis team noted that there were also allegations of rapes committed by rebel fighters.

The story of one woman who said she was raped by Qaddafi loyalists underscored the challenges facing victims and people trying to help them. The woman said that she was willing to tell a reporter about the rape and that she had talked to a doctor who was a friend, but that she had no intention of discussing it further with any official. The story also seemed to match a pattern that Dr. Sergewa said had emerged from her interviews, in which women said they were kidnapped by Colonel Qaddafis soldiers or loyalists and raped in remote places. The woman, who is 41, said that about 10 days after the uprising began in February she was seized by three men with knives who drove her to a remote villa where at least four other men were waiting. Beginning about 2 a.m. that day, the seven men took turns raping her, she said. They didnt say anything, the woman recalled. I wished one of them would talk. When one finally did speak, at 7 a.m., he ordered several men to dump her near her house. Let her be a lesson for every woman, she quoted the man as saying. She said she believed that they were all loyalists of Colonel Qaddafi who were punishing her for her visible role as a protester against his government. Dr. Sergewa, well known in Libya for her appearances on a morning television program, said the efforts to discredit her work and harassment that has included anonymous telephone threats reflected a continued reluctance in Libya to broach the subject of sexual violence. As a nation, we dont want to deal with it, she said. She said that she had relied on family connections, volunteers and local charities to distribute the surveys in cities and towns where Libyan refugees began settling after the uprising began. Dr. Sergewa said she would show photos she had taken of victims injuries to investigators, if the women consented. She showed a few completed surveys to a reporter, but said she did not have access to the others because Dr. Elroey had locked up her research at her old office at the psychiatric hospital, a charge that he denied. On the back of one survey, Dr. Sergewa said, a 22-year-old rape victim wrote in despair: Im always thinking of killing myself. ----------------------------Libya action may cost UK hundreds of millions (BBC) By Unattributed Author

June 19, 2011 The total cost of the UK's involvement in Nato's military action in Libya could run "into the hundreds of millions" of pounds, Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has said. He told Sky News that while the campaign was currently costing "tens of millions", spending would rise as operations continued. The government had previously said it would not cost hundreds of millions. The cost of the military campaign is being met by Treasury reserves.

'Moral case' Mr Alexander said that as the money was coming from reserves "set aside precisely for contingencies such as this, it doesn't have an effect on any other spending, on any other public services". He added: "Of course there is a very powerful moral case for the action we are taking in Libya, it's right that we find those resources precisely from the contingency reserve that we have. "It's right that the United Kingdom is playing a leading role to protect Libyan civilians from the appalling activities of the Libyan government and to take that country, we hope, to a better future." When military strikes against Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces began on 19 March, Chancellor George Osborne estimated that the cost of British involvement would be "in the order of tens of millions of pounds, not hundreds of millions". Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "It is worrying that Danny Alexander seems to be guessing about current costs, which are dramatically more than George Osborne originally predicted. "We support the mission in Libya, but the government need to be clearer on the costs." The BBC said last week that it understood that the cost of military operations in Libya to the British taxpayer had reached 100m. ----------------------------Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief Guterres visit boat people on Italian island (UNHCR)

By Melissa Fleming June 19, 2011 LAMPEDUSA ISLAND, Italy, June 19 (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief Antnio Guterres met boat people, including unaccompanied minors, on a tiny Italian island on Sunday and remembered those who have lost their lives trying to reach Lampedusa by sea from Africa. Jolie and Guterres visited the Porta d'Europa a stone gateway on a headland next to the sea where hundreds of boats have arrived with migrants from North Africa, including refugees and asylum-seekers. More than 40,000 people have risked the Mediterranean crossing on overcrowded boats and reached Lampedusa so far this year. A further 1,500 have died in the attempt.

Guterres appealed on European countries to accept the people coming from Africa, especially those fleeing violence in Libya. "When we have so many conflicts at the gates of Europe, the most important thing a country can do is keep their borders open," he stressed, while mentioning Italy by name. The High Commissioner noted that about 18,000 people, including refugees, had reached Lampedusa by boat to date from Libya, while adding that this represented only 2 per cent of the people who had left Libya since conflict erupted there in February. Jolie, who earlier in the day meet asylum-seekers at two locations in Malta, said she was moved to be at the Porta d'Europa. "It was very moving to stand with the mayor, the priest and the people of Lampedusa at this place, to take a moment of silence while a wreath was laid on a submerged boat on which three people had lost their lives. "When I think of these people, these families, I try to imagine what would bring someone for example a mother with children to make this journey. What kind of a life she must have lived, what she must have suffered, to be brought to a point where her last resort is to step onto an overcrowded rickety boat," Jolie said. "What must her life be like that the best alternative is to risk drowning and suffocation . . . only to be brought to a new country where she may be turned away. Sent back to sea," she said, adding: "Very few of us here today can even begin to understand what kind of painful existence she must have led." The award-winning actress and Guterres also both thanked the Italian coastguard for saving many people who were on sinking boats. Jolie had earlier

Friday in Valletta praised coastguards in Malta for having "saved thousands of lives over the years" and urged that they receive support from the international community to handle the inflow of migrants by sea. The VIP visitors also saw reception facilities on Lampedusa and met with unaccompanied minors as well as some new arrivals. Italy has moved most of the boat people to the mainland, but some have been returned to Tunisia. Most of the arrivals have been economic migrants, especially from Tunisia, but some are people in need of international protection, including refugees from subSaharan Africa and Libya. Guterres said it was important that arrivals be moved from the crowded conditions of Lampedusa as soon as possible. He also noted that among those coming to Italy, "there are some people who are becoming a refugee for the second time." Meanwhile, he spoke against proposals that Italy revive a policy of pushing back to Africa boats carrying migrants. "My position is clear, it's not possible to send people back to a civil war situation." Before joining High Commissioner Guterres in Lampedusa, Jolie had visited Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat. She visited Lyster Barracks, a former Royal Air Force facility and now a detention centre for asylum-seekers, many of whom have fled the violence in Libya. They include Somalis, Ethiopians and others from sub-Saharan Africa. "Malta has saved many lives, but it is the daily conditions on the ground that are of most concern," Jolie said in Malta on Sunday morning. "We've spent time today speaking with the government and will spend more time talking about how, together, we can make the conditions more humane, especially for the children. "We've spoken about our shared concerns about making sure asylum claims are processed as quickly as possible so no-one is sitting in a prison-like situation and waiting on a decision about their status," she added. Many of the people Jolie met in the barracks told her that they had been working in Libya to make money to remit to their families back home. One man referred to Libya as the heart of Africa, where they were able to work. "Now it is on fire and Africa is crying," he said. The people said they had never attempted to come to Europe before, they just wanted a place where they were safe and could work. "They are not asking to go

to any particular country, they just want to find safety to work, and to have freedom," Jolie stressed. The Goodwill Ambassador also visited an open centre near Malta's main airport where vulnerable asylum-seekers are living in tents inside an old aircraft hangar while their asylum claims are assessed. The people she met there said living conditions were difficult. -----------------------------

Darfur rebels say Sudan army attacks their positions (Reuters) By Alex Dziadosz June 19, 2011 KHARTOUM- Rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region accused the government of attacking them with military vehicles, warplanes and troops on horses on Sunday. The Sudanese army confirmed it had clashed with rebels in the mountainous Jabel Marra region but said it had not used aircraft and the fighting had not displaced civilians. Darfur is just one of several flashpoints as Sudan's south prepares to secede on July 9 -- a move analysts say could embolden rebels elsewhere. The north's army is also battling armed groups in the Southern Kordofan border state. Violence in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels are fighting government troops backed by largely Arab militias, has fallen from its peak in 2003 and 2004 but a surge in attacks since December has forced tens of thousands to flee. Ibrahim al-Helwu, a spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) led by Paris-based Abdel Wahed Mohamed al-Nur, said the violence began around midmorning when government troops advanced from the Darfur settlements of Kas and Nyala. He said 27 people, including 19 civilians, were killed and about 40 wounded after an assault with land troops and Antonov and MiG aircraft. "From the morning, the government started to attack," Helwu said, speaking by phone from Paris. "More than 10,000 civilians are displaced from this area."

Government military spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khaled said troops had fought SLA rebels in the Jabel Marra area on Sunday, causing an unconfirmed number of casualties on both sides. He denied aircraft were used in the fighting and said civilians had not been harmed or forced to flee. Separately, Sudan's army has been battling southern-aligned groups in the northrun oil state of Southern Kordofan for two weeks, raising tensions as the south prepares to become an independent country in less than a month. At least seven different rebel militias are also fighting the southern Juba government, according to the United Nations. The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of masterminding genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Khartoum refuses to recognize the court. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have died during the conflict in Darfur. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000. Qatar has been hosting Darfur peace talks but progress has been hampered by rebel divisions and continued military operations, as Khartoum has gradually reasserted control over towns and other previously rebel-held areas. The south voted to secede in a January referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war. ----------------------------Somalia: Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Resigns (RFI) By Unattributed Author June 19, 2011 Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has resigned reversing a statement he made last week saying he would not step down from the position. His move follows a recent UN-backed deal reached in Uganda which called for Mohamed to resign within a month to pave the way for the formation of a new government in Mogadishu. "Considering the interest of the society and in compliance with the Kampala accord, I decided to quit to compromise for the national interest," Mohamed told reporters in the capital, Mogadishu.

The accord, which also ended the prime minister's mandate, stipulates that elections for president and speaker of parliament will have to take place before 20 August, 2012. Mohamed, a Somali-American, has served as prime minister for about the past six months. He previously taught at a community college in New York. The president has named Abdiwali Mohamed Ali as caretaker prime minister until a new appointment is made. Somalia's transitional government, which was set up in 2004 in Kenya, owes it survival to the international community. It has been weakened by in-fighting between its leaders which has worsened as the end of the mandates approached. ----------------------------UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website Niger: UN Official vows to help country overcome socio-economic challenges 17 June The United Nations representative for West Africa today offered the world bodys support to strengthening the democratic institutions in Niger, according to a press statement from the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA). UN urges probe into reports of refugees left to drown off North Africa 17 June The United Nations Human Rights Council today called for a comprehensive inquiry into allegations that sinking boats carrying migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing unrest in North Africa were abandoned to their fate at sea despite the alleged ability of ships in the vicinity to rescue them. Sudan: UN condemns harassment of its peacekeepers in Southern Kordofan 17 June The United Nations today strongly condemned the detention and abuse by the Sudanese armed forces of four UN peacekeepers who were on patrol in Kadugli, the main town in Southern Kordofan, where fighting is raging between the northern and southern armies. Sudan: UN peacekeepers provide medical treatment to prisoners in Malakal 16 June A medical team from the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has provided treatment to more than 140 inmates and prison staff in the main prison in Malakal, the capital of Southern Sudans state of Upper Nile, during a one-day medical camp in the facility this week. Ban urges immediate end to hostilities in Sudans Southern Kordofan state

15 June Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged an immediate end to the fighting in Sudans Southern Kordofan state, which has caused the death of many civilians and the displacement of tens of thousands, and put United Nations staff directly at risk.