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TOP NEWS RELATED TO U.S. AFRICA COMMAND AND AFRICA Pentagon mulls NATO request for more U.S. drones in Libya campaign (LA Times) (Libya) The Obama administration is considering sending more Predator drones and other surveillance planes to bolster the NATO air war in Libya, and has reopened a debate over whether to give weapons to the rebels seeking to overthrow Moammar Kadafi, a senior Defense Department official said. Qaddafi Increases Chances He Could Stay (Bloomberg) (Libya) Playing the waiting game has paid off for Muammar Qaddafi. After conducting four months of daily bombings, the NATO-led allies are willing to make a concession to persuade him to give up power: Let him stay in Libya. Gaddafi rules out talks with Libya rebels (AlJazeera) (Libya) Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has ruled out talks with the rebels seeking to end his 41-year-rule. Do we have any clue what we're doing in Libya? (CBS News) (Libya) Four months after American submarines began launching missiles and U.S. pilots began flying sorties, does anyone, perhaps even including President Obama, really know what we are trying to do in Libya? U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's plea: We can't allow Somalia to starve (LA Times) (Somalia) Across the Horn of Africa, people are starving. A catastrophic combination of conflict, high food prices and drought has left more than 11 million people in desperate need. The United Nations has been sounding the alert for months. We have resisted using the "F-word" ³ famine ³ but on Wednesday, we officially recognized the fast-evolving reality. There is famine in parts of Somalia. And it is spreading. Somali women's minister abducted by Islamists (AFP) (Somalia) Islamist rebels seized Somalia's newly-appointed women's minister Thursday as she took office, heightening security fears for aid groups planning deliveries to a famine-stricken nation.
Anti-Govt Protests Spark New Clashes (AllAfrica) (Malawi) Renewed clashes and violence were reported from towns in Malawi on Thursday, a day after thousands of protesters marched against the government. Boko Haram Sect Splits (Vanguard) (Nigeria) Confusion has crept into the camp of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram which has unleashed a reign of terror in the northern part of the country for several months as the sect has split into two factions. One faction, the Yusufiyya Islamic Movement, YIM, has vowed to expose the other faceless group, which it described as evil group. US Army doctors join GAF at local clinics (Modern Ghana.com)
By Spc. Jess Raasch, 116th Public Affairs Detachment
July 20, 2011 - ACCRA, Ghana ² Soldiers from the 814th Medical Company of the North Dakota Army National Guard and the Ghana Armed Forces completed the last of three humanitarian civic assistant sites in Doryumu, Accra July 18 as part of MEDFLAG 11. U. S. Military Commander for Africa Command in Banjul for Joint Military exercise (Shanghai Daily.com) BANJUL, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The commander of the U. S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, is in the Gambian capital Banjul for the on-going joint military exercise involving 40 African countries. UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website y Condemning Lord·s Resistance Army atrocities, Security Council demands surrender y General Assembly President and South African leader discuss Security Council reform y When a food security crisis becomes a famine y In wake of attack in Guinea, UN envoy presses for dialogue y Horn of Africa: UN steps up efforts to bring urgent relief to millions in need ------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST: None at this time ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------FULL ARTICLE TEXT
Pentagon mulls NATO request for more U.S. drones in Libya campaign (LA Times) By David S. Cloud July 21, 2011, 5:53 p.m. Washington³ The Obama administration is considering sending more Predator drones and other surveillance planes to bolster the NATO air war in Libya, and has reopened a debate over whether to give weapons to the rebels seeking to overthrow Moammar Kadafi, a senior Defense Department official said. NATO commanders requested the sophisticated surveillance aircraft after concluding that they were running out of military targets in Libya after four months of bombing and missile strikes against Kadafi's military forces and command facilities, U.S. and NATO officials said. The Pentagon's willingness to consider strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization force in Libya marks an apparent shift since Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta took over the Pentagon early this month. Panetta has emphasized that winning the war in Libya is one of his top priorities. His predecessor, Robert M. Gates, had urged European allies to do more and had stressed that the U.S. military was overstretched. NATO commanders are especially eager to obtain more Predator drones, which can remain aloft for a dozen hours or longer, beaming live video and other intelligence data back to targeting analysts on the ground, a senior NATO officer said. The Predator drones can carry two air-to-ground missiles. "It's getting more difficult to find stuff to blow up," said a senior NATO officer, noting that Kadafi's forces are increasingly using civilian facilities to carry out military operations. "Predators really enable you study things and to develop a picture of what is going on." The Pentagon sent NATO several Predators to augment the Libya operation three months ago. Additional drones would permit expanded surveillance of facilities where the alliance suspects Kadafi and his inner circle are directing attacks, the officials said.
"We are looking at all the possibilities" for sending drones and other surveillance aircraft, said the senior Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the debate is ongoing.
The official said sending more Predator drones would require transferring them from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, and counter-terrorism operations elsewhere, and that some U.S. officials and senior commanders oppose the move. "The reason why this is hard is that everything we have is currently committed elsewhere," the official added. Ali Aujali, the rebels' envoy in Washington, said the rebel leadership had long ago put in a request for U.S. military aid. He said the need is for small arms, antitank weapons and four-wheel-drive vehicles for the desert, as well as equipment to detect minefields laid by Kadafi's forces. "We can't get rid of this man by throwing eggs at him," Aujali said. The war in Libya has cut the country in half. Kadafi still controls the capital, Tripoli, and much of the surrounding area in the west. The rebels hold the country's eastern region. Giving the rebels lethal aid for the first time would signal that the White House has decided to deepen the U.S. role in hopes of turning the tide in the rebels' favor. The Obama administration has furnished the rebels with uniforms, boots, radios, tents, medical supplies and other nonlethal assistance since April. But the United States declined to provide weapons and other lethal aid, in part because Washington did not formally recognize the rebels. That hurdle was crossed last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States would join more than 30 other nations in recognizing the rebel leadership coalition, known as the Transitional National Council, as Libya's government. "Now that the recognition has taken place, I think that discussion" of providing military aid "will be back on the table," the senior Pentagon official said. France and several other countries have acknowledged providing small arms and other military aid to the rebels. Any U.S. decision to send assistance would be made in consultation with allies, Defense Department officials said. The fighting in eastern Libya has appeared stalemated for weeks. In the west, rebels in the Nafusa Mountains and the coastal enclave of Misurata have made slow progress in their drive toward Tripoli.
With Kadafi refusing to step down despite the NATO bombing, the Obama administration has gradually accepted that a solution to the crisis could involve letting him stay in Libya. The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said this week that the administration continued to believe that Kadafi had lost legitimacy and needed to give up power. But he said the United States would not make a determination about where Kadafi should go. The immediate issue for the Pentagon is whether to meet NATO's request for more Predators and other surveillance planes. The Pentagon currently has assigned enough Predators to the operation to keep two over Libya around the clock, U.S. officials have said. In addition, the U.S. has provided a Global Hawk drone ³ an unarmed high-altitude surveillance plane ³ and dozens of other manned aircraft, which conduct surveillance, intelligence collection, aerial refueling and other support missions. Most of the strikes against ground targets have been carried out by manned aircraft from France, Britain and a few other countries. But U.S. Predator drones also have carried out 64 strikes against ground targets since April, according to the Pentagon. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu declined to comment on the alliance's request to Washington. She said NATO has "got the assets that we need right now" to continue carrying out the air campaign. "It's a complex situation," she added. "It's a very fluid situation, and that's why ISR is key." ISR stands for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. NATO's formal request for more surveillance planes did not specifically ask for Predators, officials said, but alliance officials made it clear in discussions with U.S. officials that their preference was for more drones. Since the NATO bombing campaign began in March, it has damaged or destroyed about 570 Libyan military bases, bunkers and other unspecified "facilities"; 355 air-defense missiles; more than 500 tanks and other armored vehicles; and an estimated 860 ammunition dumps, according to statistics released by NATO. --------------------Qaddafi Increases Chances He Could Stay (Bloomberg) By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Patrick Donahue Jul 21, 2011 2:34 PM ET .
Playing the waiting game has paid off for Muammar Qaddafi. After conducting four months of daily bombings, the NATO-led allies are willing to make a concession to persuade him to give up power: Let him stay in Libya. The U.S., the U.K., Italy and France now say they would be willing to accept an outcome short of earlier demands that Qaddafi leave Libya, either to go into exile or to stand trial on charges of war crimes. ´One of the scenarios effectively envisaged is that he stays in Libya on one condition, which I repeat: that he very clearly steps aside from Libyan political life,µ French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said yesterday in a television interview with French news channel LCI. As the military campaign enters its fifth month, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies want to wrap up a mission that Juppe promised at its March 19 outset ´will be counted in days and in weeks, not in months.µ Politically, they have pressing concerns at home: For Europeans, it·s saving the euro and for Americans, it·s defending an AAA credit rating by cutting federal spending. ´It shows some desperation, because the entire military operation didn·t deliver what the U.K., France and also the U.S. had hoped for,µ Jan Techau, director of Carnegie Europe in Brussels, the European center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in a telephone interview. ´You get pragmatic and you change the targets.µ ¶Regime Change 2.0· Qaddafi·s resistance has complicated efforts to map out a contingency plan for a post-Qaddafi Libya. The dictator, who seized power of the oil-rich North African nation in a military coup in 1969, still controls the capital, Tripoli, and has threatened to ´blow upµ the city if the rebels succeed in seizing it. Techau calls the new strategy ´Regime Change 2.0,µ permitting exile within Libya. That is a softer take on the original plan, which had been to either let Qaddafi escape to a safe haven or have him stand trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. For the first time, allies and rebels may be prepared to grant Qaddafi·s wish to live out his retirement on his home soil, on the condition he lay down his arms and give up power.
That ´is a possibility that can be worked to try and make him leaveµ power, Mahmoud Jibril, who heads the Transitional National Council, the rebel governing group, told reporters in Madrid today. ´If Qaddafi does not leave power, there is no room for an exchange of ideas,µ he said. ´We do not intend to negotiate on whether Qaddafi leaves power but on how he leaves power.µ Limited Options The June 27 indictment of Qaddafi on charges of crimes against humanity limited his exile options to a handful of countries that did not ratify the Rome treaty that set up the court in 2002. Still, Qaddafi saw a door open the day after the U.S. and 31 other nations gave the Transitional National Council official recognition as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman and National Security Council staff member Derek Chollet held a secret meeting July 16 with representatives of Qaddafi·s inner circle. The face-to-face talks were a sign of U.S. willingness to negotiate with the regime, according to a spokesman for Qaddafi·s government, Moussa Ibrahim. U.S. State Department officials insist that the meeting was not a negotiation and was intended only to deliver the message in person that Qaddafi must step down. Must Step Down Either way, U.S. officials don·t exclude the possibility of Qaddafi staying in Libya as long as he steps aside. ´He needs to be removed from power or remove himself from power,µ White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday. ´It is up to the Libyan people to decide what his future is beyond that, I mean, so it·s not for us to say.µ Robert Danin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said that the longer the military campaign drags on, the harder it becomes to keep the coalition together. Time has played in Qaddafi·s favor, as it ´seems to have strengthened his negotiating position,µ Danin said in a telephone interview. By flitting between conciliatory overtures and threats, Qaddafi has kept his opponents guessing what his next move will be or whether the end to the conflict will come only with his capture or assassination.
´Qaddafi·s message is ¶Like hell am I leaving Tripoli; give me something I can work with or come get me,·µ said Alessandro Politi, a former adviser to the Italian Defense Ministry. ´The allies realize they can·t keep demanding he cede power if they don·t give him a palpable option of where to go.µ Libyans· Choice The ´bestµ outcome would be for Qaddafi to leave Libya and stand trial in The Hague, Gavin Cook, a spokesman for the U.K. Foreign Office, said in a telephone interview today. ´But what happens to Qaddafi is ultimately up to the Libyan people, and they should determine his future.µ Cook noted that in the past, the rebel leaders ´have been clear that there·s no possibility of Qaddafi staying in Libya.µ Visiting China, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that Qaddafi remaining in Libya is ´an optionµ Italy can go along with. That is a far cry from remarks he made in March, when he said he hoped a ´certain numberµ of African countries would take the Libyan leader. Letting Qaddafi stay does pose risks and could destabilize a country that was stitched together in 1929, when Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were united as one colonial province under the Italians. Qaddafi has held the country together in his four decades in power. ´Is he going to be safe five, 10 years down the line is what he will be asking himself,µ Politi said. ´Will the authorities catch up with him or someone try and kill him?µ ----------------Gaddafi rules out talks with Libya rebels (AlJazeera) By Unattributed Author July 22, 2011 Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has ruled out talks with the rebels seeking to end his 41-year-rule. "There will be no talks between me and them until Judgment Day," Gaddafi told a crowd of thousands of his supporters in his home city of Sirte on Thursday in a remotely delivered audio message. "They need to talk with the Libyan people ... and they will respond to them." Gaddafi's remarks cast doubts on a flurry of recent Western efforts to negotiate an end to a deepening conflict.
In another speech broadcast by Libyan television, Gaddafi addressed "a meeting of Misurata tribes", calling for "a march on the city (east of Tripoli) to liberate it" from rebels. Meanwhile, the rebels have escalated their offensive against Gaddafi's forces east of the capital Tripoli, capturing one of the most prominent government commanders along the way. After two days of fighting, they moved their position to around 4km forward from Dafniyah, a town in Misurata. "We move forward [now] towards Zliten," Ayman, an opposition field commander, said, referring to the coastal town 160km east of Tripoli. "We are now close to an area called Tuesday Market in Zliten and, God willing, we will liberate our people in Zliten soon from the forces of the tyrant." Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Misurata, described General Abdul Nabih Zayed, the captured commander, as the one of the most high-value prisoners taken by the opposition to date. Zayed allegedly co-ordinated the deployment of tanks into Misurata in March which triggered the recent fighting. "According to the military commanders here in Misurata, Zayed was actually captured yesterday as they started their offensive towards the town of Zliten. He was slightly injured, so he was brought back to the hospital here in Misrata," she said. "Its also a significant catch because it is happening at the time the opposition started their push towards Zliten. They have made significant territorial gains. Rebel commanders are saying they are interrogating General Zayed and they are hoping he will give them significant information." Boobytrapped oilfields In another claim on Thursday, opposition officials said Gaddafi forces had boobytrapped vital petroleum installations in Brega so they could be blown up if his forces lost the oil town. Mahmoud Jibril, the opposition diplomatic chief, characterised Brega on Thursday as a "big minefield" and said some oil installations were "full of bombs, explosives".
The advance towards Brega has been slowed by vast quantities of anti-personnel mines planted by retreating Gaddafi loyalists and the difficulties in attacking an estimated 200 government troops fighting from positions near the oil facilities. At least 72 opposition fighters have died and 623 others injured since the push was launched on July 14 for Brega, located 800km east of Tripoli and 240km southwest of Benghazi, the opposition stronghold. On the war's western front, opposition commanders said they were awaiting orders from Benghazi to start a fresh offensive from the Nafusa Mountains just days before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Energy shortage With no end to the conflict in sight, the Libyan opposition is seeking new supply deals to import fuels into eastern parts of the country to help alleviate energy shortages, a source in the opposition oil ministry said on Thursday. Even in peacetime the oil producer still needed to import some fuels because of insufficient refining capacity. Increased military demand and damage to oil infrastructure have further boosted import requirements. "Vitol are providing some fuels but I'm not sure it's enough to serve the whole country. They are pursuing other suppliers," a source in the opposition oil ministry said. Vitol, a trading firm, has been the opposition's major oil trading partner since the war began and has regularly shipped cargoes of oil products including diesel badly needed to keep the country running. Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from the eastern town of Jalu, said the Gaddafi forces have repeatedly crossed the eastern desert south of Benghazi to destroy oilfield infrustructure. "In early July, they attacked a pumping station in Field 103, southwest of Jalu, and boobytrapped the engine room with landmines," she said. "War has brought oil production in Libya to a standstill. And Gaddafi is determined to prevent the opposition in the east from starting its own oil business." ------------------Do we have any clue what we're doing in Libya? (CBS News)
By David Rieff July 21, 2011 Four months after American submarines began launching missiles and U.S. pilots began flying sorties, does anyone, perhaps even including President Obama, really know what we are trying to do in Libya? It is true that, compared to Afghanistan, a major war whose outcome is generally agreed to hang in the balance, and to Iraq, from which we have not yet completely withdrawn, and even to Somalia and Yemen, where the tempo of our counterinsurgency operations have been steadily increasing, both directly and by proxy, Libya may seem minor. But, if our military operations in that country are hardly the greatest burden our armed forces confront, they are also hardly trivial. Less than a month before he left office, outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates estimated the U.S. would spend $750 million on the Libyan operation, while a Department of Defense document published in May revealed the American contribution to Operation Unified Protector involved 75 aircraft (including drones), flying 70 percent of the reconnaissance missions, 75 of refueling missions, and more than one-quarter of all air sorties. And yet, from March 28, when President Obama announced Operation United Protector·s predecessor, Operation Odyssey Dawn, until now, the fog of incoherent justification for the war has been at least as thick of the proverbial fog of war itself. Have we gone to war? Well, no, not exactly. We were, Obama said in that first speech, ´[committing] resources to stop the killingsµ of innocent Libyan civilians by Colonel Qaddafi·s forces. If the United States has initiated combat operations, this really amounted not to war-fighting, but to taking ´all necessary measures to protect the Libyan peopleµ and to ´save lives.µ And did our actions mean that the goal of the mission was regime change, Iraq- or Afghanistan-style? Not at all, the president insisted. Taking a predictable swipe at the Bush administration, he said dismissively that we had already gone ´down that road in Iraq.µ It was an apt metaphor, if, perhaps, unconsciously so, since regime change would have required just that: sending troops down the road, on the ground in Libya. And that, the president argued, would be far more dangerous than what he was ordering the military to do. This may have sounded like the prudent thing, but what it was³what it is, for nothing has changed at all in this regard over the course of the past four months, even though we have officially recognized the Libyan rebels³is the incoherent, internally self-contradictory thing. We believe Qaddafi must go, and we will not let him make significant advances on the ground, but we refuse to take responsibility for his overthrow. So, to use a military term of art, we have an end state³Qaddafi·s ouster³but we are not willing to do what is needed to attain
that goal expeditiously, which, of course, is why there is at least, for the moment, still a stalemate on the ground in Libya. The stark fact is that the outcome Obama wants and the means he is willing to use to secure it are hopelessly mismatched. And this is leaving aside the fact that this ´a donkey is a horse designed by a committeeµ intervention flies in the face of the sense of the War Powers Act and represents one more ornament in the crown of the imperial executive. Oh, for the days of a good old-fashioned congressional declaration of war! I AM NOT joking. The U.S. involvement in Libya is the logical outcome of policies, pursued under both Republican and Democratic administrations (Somalia under President George H. W. Bush, Bosnia and Kosovo under President Bill Clinton), in which war was never fully acknowledged to be war, with all the gravity that such an acknowledgment would have implied. Instead, we were told that what was taking place was a so-called humanitarian intervention, a kind of armed emergency relief operation (as in Somalia in 1991), or armed human rights intervention (in the Balkans and, now, in Libya). The latest version of this delusion is the so-called Responsibility to Protect doctrine, or R2P, as it is almost universally known, that was adopted by the United Nations World Summit in 2005 and ratified by the General Assembly in 2008 with the support of George W. Bush·s administration. R2P states that sovereignty is not absolute and, when a nation is committing crimes against its own population, where feasible and in those cases where all other (non-military) means are believed to have failed, outside powers not only may, but actually have a duty, to intervene. R2P is cited explicitly in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973³the same resolution Obama cited in his speech announcing that he had ordered U.S. military action in Libya. Those who took a decent English 101 class in college may remember being instructed that a failure of language usually reflects a failure of thought. The truth is that doctrines like humanitarian intervention and R2P are ways of waging war without taking responsibility (or accepting accountability, both moral and democratic) for doing so. That is why they are so pernicious, and why, even in cases where an intervention may be warranted, far from being an improvement on the traditional way that nations and coalitions of states have come to the decision to go to war and how they have waged war, they are actually a very large step in the wrong direction. They allow us to pretend we are not going to war, but, instead, are just trying to protect the civilian population from harm. War, however, is not police work, not armed humanitarianism, not human rights activism with an air force, and it should not be allowed to become anything of the kind. The Libyan precedent is so disturbing precisely because,
unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, or (again) Somalia, whether one supports U.S. actions in these places or instead favors withdrawal, it reflects such tendencies. Alternative: the "just war" Of course, there are good reasons why humanitarian, democracy-building, and human rights justifications are so attractive to policymakers. In the past, nations went to war for four reasons: out of interest (including wars of conquest); because they were bound by alliances (World War I, to use an obvious example); in self-defense; and out of a belief that it was just to uphold some cause. War is still with us, but, with the exception of self-defense in the broad sense, all these justifications have been increasingly set aside. When the time comes for war, there is only the possibility of state violence couched in the language of peacemaking and peacekeeping. It is a world that George Orwell would have had no trouble recognizing, and the fact that those who champion R2P and other forms of humanitarian intervention have good intentions and are, to use an oldfashioned term, good people, does not make their demarche any less Orwellian. There is an alternative. It is called just war, and it has existed since the days of St. Thomas Aquinas. If he had thought it right to go to war in Libya, Obama could easily have said something like this: The insurrection in Libya is a just and decent cause in which the Libyan people have risen up to overthrow the Qaddafi dictatorship. We can·t overthrow every dictatorship, either because they are too powerful, as is the case with China, or because American interests run too deep, as is the case with Saudi Arabia. But, when it is feasible to assist a popular uprising against a tyrant, America should do so. And that is what I have now ordered our armed forces to do in Libya. Americans might have disagreed with such an assessment. Principled interventionists and principled anti-interventionists would have known where they stood. But neither side, nor, indeed, the great American middle, could have faulted the president for trying to have it both ways, as he has tried to do with the current policy of Regime Change Lite. Just wars don·t have to be defensive. But they have to be wars, and the dismal folly of R2P and the Obama administration·s use of it in Libya, is that it involves war-fighting without either the seriousness (and the serious will to win) or the moral gravitas that war requires. It turns war into police work, not to say social work (´we·re just protecting innocent civilians,µ and all that). Under its aegis (or that of so-called humanitarian intervention), it can·t be fought seriously and to the end.
For anyone but a pacifist, fighting is always an option of last resort. So is standing down. What should not be an option is the unholy compromise between the two that is embodied in R2P and is now having its test run in Libya. Bio: David Rieff is the author of eight books including "A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. -------------------U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's plea: We can't allow Somalia to starve (LA Times) By Ban Ki-moon July 22, 2011 Across the Horn of Africa, people are starving. A catastrophic combination of conflict, high food prices and drought has left more than 11 million people in desperate need. The United Nations has been sounding the alert for months. We have resisted using the "F-word" ³ famine ³ but on Wednesday, we officially recognized the fast-evolving reality. There is famine in parts of Somalia. And it is spreading. This is a wake-up call we cannot ignore. Every day I hear the harrowing reports from our U.N. teams on the ground. Somali refugees, their cattle and goats dead from thirst, walking for weeks to find help in Kenya and Ethiopia. Children who arrive alone, terrified and malnourished, their parents dead, in a foreign land. From within Somalia, we hear terrible stories of families who watched helplessly as their children died, one by one. One woman recently arrived at a U.N. displacement camp 87 miles southwest of Mogadishu after a three-week trek. Halima Omar, from the region of Lower Shabelle, was once considered well-off. Today, after three years of drought, she barely survives. Four of her six children are dead. "There is nothing in the world worse than watching your own child die in front of your eyes because you cannot feed him," she said of her ordeal. "I am losing hope." Even for those who reach the camps, there is often no hope. Many are simply too weak after long journeys across the arid land and die before they can be nursed back to strength. For people who need medical attention, there are often no medicines. Imagine the pain of those doctors, who must watch their patients perish for lack of resources. As a human family, these stories shock us. We ask: How is this happening again? After all, the world has enough food. And yes, economic times are hard. Yet
since time immemorial, amid even the worst austerity, the compassionate impulse to help our fellow human beings has never wavered. That is why I reach out today: to focus global attention on this crisis, to sound the alarm and to call on the world's people to help Somalia in this moment of greatest need. To save the lives of the people at risk ³ the vast majority of them women and children ³ we need about $1.6 billion in aid. So far, international donors have given only half that amount. To turn the tide, to offer hope in the name of our common humanity, we must mobilize worldwide. This means everyone. I appeal to all nations ³ both those that fund our work year in and year out, and those that do not traditionally give through the multinational system ³ to step up to the challenge. On July 25, in Rome, U.N. agencies will gather to coordinate our emergency response and to raise funds for immediate assistance. Meanwhile, we must all ask ourselves, as individual citizens, how we can help. This might mean private donations, as in previous humanitarian emergencies in Indonesia after the tsunami or Haiti after the earthquake, or it could mean pushing elected representatives toward a more robust response. Even in the best of circumstances, this may not be enough. There is a real danger we cannot meet all the needs. The situation is particularly difficult in Somalia. The ongoing conflict there complicates any relief effort. More broadly, sharply rising food prices have stretched the budgets of international agencies and NGOs. Operating conditions are complicated by the fact that the transitional national government of Somalia controls only a portion of the capital, Mogadishu. We are working on an agreement with the forces of Shabab, an Islamist militia group, to grant access to areas of the country that they control. Even so, serious security concerns remain. We must also recognize that Kenya and Ethiopia, which have generously kept their borders open, face enormous challenges of their own. The largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab, in Kenya, is already dangerously overcrowded with some 380,000 refugees. Many thousands more are waiting to be registered. In neighboring Ethiopia, 2,000 people a day are arriving at the Dolo refugee camp, also struggling to keep pace. This compounds a food crisis faced by almost 7 million Kenyans and Ethiopians at home. In Djibouti and Eritrea, tens of thousands of people are also in need ³ and potentially many more. Even as we respond to this immediate crisis, we need to find ways to deal with underlying causes. Today's drought may be the worst in decades. But with the effects of climate change being increasingly felt throughout the world, it surely
will not be the last. This means practical measures: drought-resistant seeds, irrigation, rural infrastructure, livestock programs. These projects can work. Over the last 10 years, they have helped boost agricultural production in Ethiopia by 8% a year. We have also seen improvements in our early warning systems. We knew this drought was coming and began issuing warnings in November. Looking ahead, we must ensure that such warnings are heard in time. Above all, we need peace. As long as there is conflict in Somalia, we cannot effectively fight famine. More and more children will go hungry; more and more people will needlessly die. And this cycle of insecurity is growing dangerously wide. In Somalia, Halima Omar told us: "Maybe this is our fate ³ or maybe a miracle will happen and we will be saved from this nightmare." I cannot accept this as her fate. Together, we must rescue her and her countrymen and all their children from a truly terrible nightmare. -----------------Somali women's minister abducted by Islamists (AFP) By Ali Musa Abdi July 21, 2011 MOGADISHU ³ Islamist rebels seized Somalia's newly-appointed women's minister Thursday as she took office, heightening security fears for aid groups planning deliveries to a famine-stricken nation. Armed men abducted 32-year-old Asha Osman Aqiil in Balad, a town north of the capital Mogadishu, a day after she was named the country's minister for women and family affairs. She was on her way to take up her position when she was snatched by a gang, clan elder Ahmed Sheikh Mohamud told AFP. "It is unfortunate that she is in the hands of the wrong people and we are praying that she is freed," said a lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity. The only woman in a new 18-member government unveiled by Prime Minister Abdiwali Mohamed Ali on Wednesday, Aqiil was travelling into Mogadishu for her first cabinet meeting by car when she was abducted.
Before her sudden elevation to ministerial office, Aqiil was previously a vocal women's rights campaigner. A widow, her husband was abducted and killed by suspected Islamist gunmen three years ago. Her abduction will heighten security concerns among aid agencies planning to resume emergency food deliveries to regions under control of the Islamist rebel group Shebab, after the rebels lifted a ban on their work and appealed for aid in the face of a severe drought. The United Nations, which this week declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia under rebel control, said Thursday it would resume flying aid deliveries into Mogadishu "within days". The head of the World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, said during a visit to Mogadishu on Thursday that the WFP was anxious to get food supplies into the worst affected areas "as quickly as possible". WFP was forced to pull out of southern Somalia last year following a series of threats and curbs imposed by the Shebab, but has continued to operate in other parts of the country. The hardline rebels rule much of southern and central Somalia where they have imposed strict Islamic laws, including prohibiting women from holding public office. "We condemn the kidnapping of the women's affairs minister by the Shebab. Somali women will do what it takes to secure her freedom," women rights activist Sahra Maalin told reporters. "Aqiil is a prisoner of conscience and her unlawful arrest must be rejected," she added. Maalin described the minister's abduction as a "collective punishment against Somali women and all those who believe in equality." The Shebab, designated a terrorist group by the United States, have waged a bloody campaign to overthrow the country's Western-backed government they accuse of being an apostate administration. The government's authority in the war-ravaged capital is limited to just a few areas where it survives under the protection of a 9,000-strong African Union force.
Somalia is the worst affected country in the drought-hit Horn of Africa region. Nearly half of Somalia's estimated 10 million people are facing a food crisis, with malnutrition rates currently the highest in the world. Relief groups and donors on Thursday said they were ready to test Shebab's pledge to allow aid through to the regions they control, provided their aid would reach those most in need. "We are determined to test that pledge," USAID administrator Raj Shah said in Nairobi. "We would like to see that access expand dramatically and rapidly." The kidnapping of foreigners is rampant in Somalia, a Horn of Africa country ravaged by cycles of devastating violence since the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. -------------------Anti-Govt Protests Spark New Clashes (AllAfrica) By Unattributed Author 21 July 2011 Renewed clashes and violence were reported from towns in Malawi on Thursday, a day after thousands of protesters marched against the government. The Face of Malawi reported on rising tensions in towns, such as Limbe, which were relatively peaceful yesterday. The website also recorded unconfirmed reports suggesting the government has given the Malawi army 'shoot-to-kill' orders. As a consequence, civil society organizations, which organized the July 20 demonstrations, released a radio announcement warning citizens against participating in further demonstrations. The organisations also said the government regarded the protests as illegal, and advised citizens that their grievances have been presented to President Bingu wa Mutharika for his consideration. The statement said "it is important to wait for the responses from the president". It closed by conveying condolences to families of those who lost their lives in the demonstrations and said "they did not die in vain". Also on Thursday, Mutharika addressed Malawians and called for talks with the organizations which led the demonstrations, according to Newstime Africa.
In a 20-minute speech given during the lunchhour, Mutharika asked civil rights groups and opposition political parties to form a committee to meet him and try to find a solution to the country's problems. In his speech, he also referred to citizens killed during the demonstrations. Unconfirmed reports say that as many as eight were killed. The Malawi police have used local radio stations to issue a stern warning against continued protests. ----------------------Boko Haram Sect Splits (Vanguard) By Daniel Idonor And Ndahi Marama 21 July 2011 Maiduguri ³ Confusion has crept into the camp of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram which has unleashed a reign of terror in the northern part of the country for several months as the sect has split into two factions. One faction, the Yusufiyya Islamic Movement, YIM, has vowed to expose the other faceless group, which it described as evil group. The Yusufiyya group is made up of followers of slain leader of the Islamic sect, Mallam Mohammed Yusuf. This development came as President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, held talks with elders from Borno State, over growing insecurity in the state, which is believed to be the abode of the sect. The Yusufiyya Islamic Movement, in a two-page statement contained in leaflets yesterday, condemned the attacks and bombing of residences and places of worship by the other sect that claimed to be fighting a Jihad in the North. The leaflets were distributed on Tuesday to the various wards, Post Office Area and media houses in Maiduguri, Borno state capital. Confusion, misinterpretation The leaflets read in part: "The Yusufiyya Movement has come to mean different things to different people in the last few months. This confusion and misinterpretation have made it necessary for us to come out publicly with the clear truth regarding our concept, struggle, aim and ultimate objective, as our declaration would guide in distinguishing the Yusufiyya movement from the various labels ascribed to us, as the Boko Haram. This is necessary in the light of genuine concern by individuals and groups to the mass suffering of innocent citizens caught in the cross fire between our members
and the Nigerian troops. This concern has again brought to the fore, the daunting issue of reconciliation, through dialogue, with the Nigerian authorities and individual leaders involved in the naked abuse of our birthright to the peaceful propagation and practice of our religion as we understand it." The sect argued that it was in the process of exercising their right to propagate their religion as they understood it, that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf was killed as well as the destruction and confiscation of their landed and moveable property in Maiduguri. Following their leader's murder, the members therefore "resolved to wage a struggle between justice and injustice, between truth and falsehood, right against wrong, in which the sect was sure of victory." The statement, however, noted that the public must know that the Yusufiyya Islamic sect is far from the image of the heartless terrorists, arsonists or sadistic robbers painted by other people with a distinct agenda, saying "it is therefore unbecoming to attribute attacks on the civilian population or places of worship to our group, the Yusufiyya Islamic Movement". Referring to the factions in the Boko Haram sect, the statement further explained that; "ours is a clear fight for the blood of our founder, Mohammed Yusuf and other leaders who were slain in cold blood by former governor of Borno State (names withheld), the former Borno state commissioner of police and the late President", adding that the former president "has since been seized by Allah in an answer to the sect's prayer for support against his aggression". "We therefore distance our group from all the bombings targeted at civilians and other establishments and equally condemn them and pray that Allah expose those who perpetrated them and attributed them to us." Exonerating the Yusufiyya sect from other factions of Boko Haram sect, the statement declared: "We are concerned that some people with evil motives have infiltrated our genuine struggle with a false holy war that is outright un-Islamic. We call on this evil group to desist, failing which we shall have no option than to expose and hunt them. "Finally, we have resolved to temporarily halt our fight against the assassination of our leaders in compliance with the prohibition of fighting in the holy month of Ramadan." JTF in Borno to restore order
The Joint Security Task Force (JTF) spokesman, Lt.Col. Hassan Mohammed confirmed the statement and distribution of the leaflets on Boko Haram factions and temporary ceasefire in Borno State. He said: "The JTF is on top of the insecurity situations in Borno State. The factions being created in the Boko Haram sect and the temporary ceasefire from the Yusuffiyya Islamic sect could bring peace and the restoration of law and order by nipping all acts of terrorism by the other factions of Boko Haram sect." Speaking on the alleged excesses of soldiers in fighting terrorism and other acts of violence, Mohammed said: "We are here in Borno to restore law and order and not to intimidate or harass any residents of the affected wards in Maiduguri metropolis." He said, "the truth of the matter, is that terrorism is the enemy of the entire world, including the killings and bombings of Maiduguri residents and their places of worship". He added that if the people could not live in peace without the protection of their lives and property, soldiers would not have place or relevance in any democratically elected country, like Nigeria. Nigerian soldiers, according to him, are learned and civilized professionals that are here in Borno State to protect people's lives and property. Military to remain in Borno-- FG Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, met behind closed doors with a forum of elders from Borno State; North East Elders and Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, over the growing concern of insecurity in the North, following activities of the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram. It was resolved that the military will remain in Borno State until enduring peace is restored. Those who attended the peace talks included Vice President Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke; Chief of Defence Staff, National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azaazi; ACF Board Chairman, Gen Jerry Useni; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed and the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe. The meeting which began at about 2:00 pm, held at "House 7" of the Presidential Villa, perhaps to avoid the media that usually swarm on those suspected to have met with the President over sensitive issues.
The elders who arrived Abuja on Tuesday were said to have been accommodated at the Sheraton Hotel, before they were conveyed in a 30-seater Toyota coaster bus to the venue of the meeting. Information Minister, Mr Labaran Maku who briefed reporters after the meeting, said, all the parties agreed that the army should remain in the state till further notice. Broad based consultations "There were broad-based consultations on the outcry for the withdrawal of military. But in the light of this discussion, the meeting generally agreed that it is premature to withdraw the military. What was needed was that if there are cases of individual misbehaviour by members of the Joint Task Force, the authorities will look into those cases", he said. He added that "right now we know that one or two soldiers who were found to have done things in excess are being questioned by the relevant authorities. What is important is that the army are playing a great role and with the situation we are in now, if you withdraw the army, we don't know what will happen." According to him, "what is most important is to manage the military until such a time that it is clear that some of the potent threat are lowered". He said: "The President this afternoon held a broad-based consultation with leaders from Borno State, the North East and Arewa Consultative Forum on the security situation in Borno State and other parts of the north." "This meeting was broadly attended by political leaders. The meeting explored different options, consulted widely on what we can do together to bring about peace and security in Borno State and other affected areas. The meeting was very fruitful and indeed, this is the beginning of further dialogue to find solution to this problem. --------------------US Army doctors join GAF at local clinics (Modern Ghana.com)
By Spc. Jess Raasch, 116th Public Affairs Detachment
July 20, 2011 - ACCRA, Ghana ² Soldiers from the 814th Medical Company of the North Dakota Army National Guard and the Ghana Armed Forces completed the last of three humanitarian civic assistant sites in Doryumu, Accra July 18 as part of MEDFLAG 11.
Soldiers from the Iowa-based 949th Veterinary Company of the U.S. Army Reserve and the Texas-based 965th Dental Company of the U.S. Army Reserve worked alongside the 814th and GAF. The diverse team of soldiers provided care in Ablekuma-Mataheko and Dawhenya earlier this week. MEDFLAG 11, a bilateral exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Africa, is performed to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Ghana through 10 days of collaborative training during which medical, dental and veterinary knowledge is shared to improve proficiency of both countries' clinics. The first portion of MEDFLAG 11 included five days of classroom training. This training allowed soldiers from both teams to present information about how they perform tasks and what running their clinics is like. ´By learning this material in the classroom setting beforehand, we are able to go into this experience with a firm understanding of what to expect,µ said Spc. Kerry Thompson, a combat medic with the 814th and Bismarck, N.D., native. This training led to three days of hands-on application at the three HCA sites. The medical staff from the U.S. and Ghana worked side-by-side to provide highquality clinical health care for as many citizens in the communities as possible. ´Getting to work with other people from another side of the world is a great experience,µ said Lt. Cmdr. Ruby Amegavluie, a nurse with the 37th Military Hospital in Accra. ´It is such a great opportunity to learn from each other and share ideas.µ The HCA sites perform similar tasks as a walk-in clinic, providing basic medical care for illnesses such as colds, coughs and aching joints. The most common illness seen at all locations was malaria. ´The community also benefits so much,µ said Amegavluie. ´It would be great to be able to hold this exercise again.µ On the first day of administering care, the team treated nearly 300 patients. The second and third days proved equally successful after the team provided care for about 420 patients on the second and about 440 on the third. ´Nobody has complained about the care they have received,µ said Amegavluie. ´All patients seem very happy to have our help.µ
Both teams have learned a great deal about each other and themselves during this exercise, both professionally and personally. ´It is amazing to connect with people from such a different area and realizing we aren't that different after all,µ said Thompson. ´I have met people I will never forget and formed bonds I will never let go of.µ A key program in the United States' efforts to partner with the government of Ghana, MEDFLAG 11 is the latest in a series of exercises involving U.S. military forces and African partner militaries with the aim of establishing and developing military interoperability, regional relationships, synchronization of effort and capacity-building. --------------------U. S. military Commander for Africa Command in Banjul for Joint Military Exercise (Shanghai Daily.com) BANJUL, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The commander of the U. S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, is in the Gambian capital Banjul for the on-going joint military exercise involving 40 African countries. Ham on Thursday called on Gambian Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy at State House. Accompanied by the chief of defense staff of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh, Ham was at State House to express his sincere appreciation to the vice president and the government of Gambia for successfully hosting the military exercise to be concluded on Thursday. "It has been a wonderful opportunity for the 40 different nations to assemble here in The Gambia and participate in this very important military training. It would not have been possible without her support as well as the support of the chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Kinteh and the entire government," he told reporters. General Ham said the vice president of Gambia was pleased with the exercise, and went on to disclose that they discussed with the CDS of GAF the possibility of conducting a similar military exercise in the near future. He stated further that the U. S. and Gambia have for long enjoyed cordial ties, which they want to continue. "So we will look for areas where we can increase our cooperation," he added.
For his part, Lt. General Massaneh Kinteh said the move will further act as a springboard in consolidating the already existing military ties between the two countries. He said. "This African partnership has even brought us closer and not only closer, but has brought on board other partners, that on our side would not have been able to meet. So having 40 countries in The Gambia for this exercise is a great honor for us as it has moved our relations to another level." The exercise, which was organized by the U. S. government, the U. S. Department of State for Defense and the U. S. Africa Command, was meant to give the participating nations a unique opportunity to once again test their military communication equipment with a view to harmonizing their interoperability for future support to the African forces operations. --------------------UN News Service Africa Briefs Full Articles on UN Website Condemning Lord·s Resistance Army atrocities, Security Council demands surrender 21 July ² The Security Council today strongly condemned the persistent attacks by the Lord·s Resistance Army (LRA) across Central Africa, demanding that the group end its atrocities against civilians and that its members disarms and surrender. General Assembly President and South African leader discuss Security Council reform 21 July ² Security Council reform and the ongoing fighting and humanitarian suffering in Libya topped the agenda today during a meeting between General Assembly President Joseph Deiss and South African President Jacob Zuma. When a food security crisis becomes a famine 21 July ² For many months United Nations aid agencies have warned of an impending crisis in the Horn of Africa as drought, failed harvests and fighting in some areas led to increasing food insecurity. Now conditions are so grim that the UN has turned to a word it uses sparingly and specifically ² famine. In wake of attack in Guinea, UN envoy presses for dialogue 21 July ² A senior United Nations envoy today called on the President of Guinea to pursue dialogue with opposition political parties in the troubled West African nation in the wake of the unsuccessful attack on his residence on Tuesday.
Horn of Africa: UN steps up efforts to bring urgent relief to millions in need 21 July ² The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it will start airlifts within days to get vital supplies into Somalia, which is bearing the brunt of the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, and is preparing to open up a number of new land and air routes to bring urgent relief to millions in need.
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