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Feb. 17th, 2017

Old Moves Replayed

It appears that the Trump Administration is seeking to address one of the African Issues that created some angst during the Second Term of the Obama Administration.

There have been reports that President Trump is considering a proposal to sell a Arms Package to Nigeria. There were several attempts by the Government of Goodluck Jonathan to purchase Helicopters from Israel to improve the capabilities of the Nigerian Military in dealing with the Boko Haram Insurgency. These moves were sabatoged by the Obama Administration. It was felt by some that this was a factor in the victory of the current President Mr. Buhari.

Nigeria does have major issues in the restive Northeastern Part of the Country. The actions of Boko Haram in Borno is a factor in the rise of the risk of Famine in that part of the Country. Fulani Militants have been wrecking havoc in the Middle Belt States as well and that can been seen as the current threat to the internal stability of the Country.

What generally gets overlooked is the Niger Delta region which is the home of the Petroleum Industry for the Country. It also adjoins a part of Cameroon which is the home of the Anglophile Community in Cameroon, the Heart of the Oil Industry of the Country and feel like second class citizens in the Country themselves. So there are copious internal or external threats that could pose an issue for Abuja.

It appears that Joseph Kabila is once again using the playbook used during 2016 in an attempt to remain in Power as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Earlier this week the Finance Minister of the Country somberly announced that the Country would not have the financial capability to run the Elections scheduled for later this year under the terms of the deal negotiated by the Catholic Church in December 2016.

There is growing concern that this deal will not last until then. The recent passing of Tshishsekedi has the potential to accelerate the pace of the collapse of this deal. Recent Fighting in Kasai Orientale regarding the closing of several underperforming Gold Mines and the persistent Militia activity in the Eastern Part of the Country continues to show concern about the stability of the Country.

Whether or not this is a tactic to implore that the Trump Administration provide some funding for this Elections which was something fell on deaf ears within the Obama Administration has yet to be ascertained.

Another interesting question has to be will Joseph Kabila be forced to learn the lesson that Yaya Jammeh in the Gambia learned last month the hard way. Elections are the will of the Governed. If you lose you have to honor the will of those who cast the ballots. And if you are a destabilizing factor in the region then your neighbors may take action to ensure that stability ensures.

Feb. 6th, 2017

Meanwhile............

You have to wonder sometimes that when people howl and complain about an issue if it actually distracts the attention of both the media and the general public from an issue of great importance.

The Pause in the immigration of Muslims for an estimated 120 Days could have been handled better by the Trump White House and did not need the hysterical reaction from the left talking about a Muslim Ban when the previous 5 Administrations have done the same thing at least once during their Presidency.

However the business of Diplomacy by the United States continues on unabated. Even though Rex Tillerson is now the Secretary of State and the holdover is no longer working but the caretaker made some interesting and crucial decisions that should be highlighted.

We know that Somalia is one of the Countries where there is a Pause on Immigration. That being said there is a major Security Issue along the Border with Kenya. So much so that on January 27th the State Department updated the Travel Warning regarding Garissa and Lamu Country.

A recent raid by Al-Shabaab against a KDF Base in Somalia resulted in Heavy Casualties amongst the Kenyans This emboldened the Somali Islamists to launch another raid into Kenya itself where the Islamists crafted a Operational Plan that was so good that they forced the Kenyans into a path where they could launch an Ambush. Clearly the tactics that are being used in Somalia need to be updated. Also in recent days the State Department has authorized a deal where Kenya will purchase $417 Million of US Made Aircraft. Clearly this is an attempt to deal with some tactical issues that the KDF is currently having.

In previous postings of Confused Eagle it has been noted that Tunisia has been granted the Status of a Major Non-NATO Ally. They are the first Country in Africa to garner such a distinction. In recent days the US has begun delivery of some Kiowa Helicopters.

This will allow the Tunisian Military to have a rapid response to any potential threat especially along the border with Libya. But the Southwestern Border where there is contact with Algeria should be a focal point as it seems that new Militias pop up on an daily basis.

One of the most effective programs that the US has to deal with Security Issues in Africa is pairing a State National Guard with an African Country. Recently another deal was brokered. This time the Indiana National Guard will be paired with Niger. In recent weeks the US , France and Germany have taken steps to indicate just how strategically important this country is. Germany is using a base in Niger to supply its troops on the Peacekeeping Mission in Niger, French Special Forces and UAVs are active in Niger and the US has been conducting a similar strategy to the French.

It seems that Niger has a similar external threat to Tunisia. There are elements some Islamist some Criminal who use the old trade routes and porous borders in the region to move with stealth to launch attacks and further their criminal enterprises. this is a step that should be monitored to determine what course of action will need to be taken...

Jan. 17th, 2017

Sanctions and Warnings

This past Friday the Obama Administration issued one of the interesting 11th hour decisions that are made before the transition actually occurs.

The Administration felt that Sudan has met most of the Criteria that were needed to facilitate the lifting of Sanctions imposed on that Country by the United States. The Think Tank World just happens to think that this is a good move. They also have the same ideas when it comes to the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea as well.

One of the areas that was held up for cooperation was in Counterterrorism. We have to realize that Sudan is only providing to the US what they want us to know much as any other Government in the World. However if Joseph Kony were in the Hague and Sudanese Weapons were not flooding Libya I could drink the Kool-Aid here.

There is a train of thought that seems to indicate that the reason for the Sanctions being lifted (which the Saudis love BTW) has to deal with a Railroad. Specifically the efforts by China to modernize the decaying Railroad Network in Sudan.  It is suspected that Sinopec is a beneficiary as well as some of the sanctions covering the Petroleum Industry will be lifted as well.

The way the Sanctions are drawn up are interesting as well. They will be lifted for a 180 day trial period. So after July 12th the Secretary of State, The Head of USAID and the Director of National Intelligence have to inform the National Registry whether or not the lifting of these Sanctions will become permanent.

Also over the Weekend the United States issued another travel Warning also. This one covers Northeastern Kenya. Specifically the area around Garissa and Lamu County.

The warning covers fears of an impending attack by the Somali Islamist Group Al-Shabaab. The group has managed to maintain some influence in this part of Kenya for sometime now. Some of the attacks also suggest that the Group may have at least one base in Northeastern Kenya.

One concern could be that the Islamist Group could feel that it can find Greener Pastures inside Lamu County due to its large Somali Population. Whatever the case the State Department has made a wise call in issuing this Warning.

Also the US has seen fit to donate a surplus C-130 to Niger as well. The US has been conducting some training exercises with the West African Country in recent weeks as well.
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Jan. 10th, 2017

A New Era

Welcome to the First Posting of Confused Eagle for the year 2017!

We first begin with the latest regarding the situation in The Gambia. As some of you are aware the United States Issued a Travel Warning for the Country over this past weekend. It urges that any non-essential travel be postponed like most updates but also urges that those currently in the Country to leave ASAP.

The urging Americans to leave is the key component in this warning. The update states that the potential for unrest is such that any unrest could disrupt the Transportation network in the Country. It warns of the Ferrys being potential chokepoints that could place those seeking to flee the unrest at risk of kidnapping or injury.

A Planned Hearing of the Gambian Supreme Court with International Justices to determine whether or not the Petition filed by current President and loser of the election Yayah Jammeh has any merit did not occur. The plan is for Justices from other West African States to hear the petition. It was revealed that a quorum would not be able to hear this until May 2017.

Adama Barrow who won the poll that was conducted in December 2016 is scheduled to take his oath of office on January 19th (24 Hours before the Donald) so its within the realm of possibilites for this to be the first African Crisis that the Trump era State Department will have to face.

Another locale that needs a modicum of attention is Cote D'Ivorie. Over the past weekend as well there was a Mutiny amongst the Security Forces. Some of the Rank and File were protesting the fact that several Promises made when President Outtara assumed Office were not kept.

Whenever there is civil strife in a nation and Integration of both Government and Rebel Forces takes place there tends to be some issues that need to be addressed. Some of the promises that were made included a stipend and housing.

The situation has been resolved but there has been a shakeup in the higher ups in the Security Forces as the Defense Minister, The head of the Gendarmes and the Head of the Army have been replaced by the President.

Another area of concern is that US Intelligence did a Study where they are anticipating the increase of Global Conflicts as the Global Economy slows down. This is not the most positive development for the incoming Trump Administration...But it may be a boon for Analysts.

Dec. 7th, 2016

Fake Diplomacy

Today is Election Day in Ghana. Turnout was high after both major Candidates for Office the incumbent seeking reelection John Mahama and perennial opposition candidate Nana Akufo Addo and five other candidates seeking the office signed a pledge to keep the process peaceful.

Sadly one opposition supporter was killed after a demonstration 48 hours ago which was the catalyst for the pledge. The main issues of the campaign have been the faltering economy of Ghana and corruption. It is the issue of corruption that is most intriguing.

Just before the electorate went to the polls there was a very interesting news story. It seems that Ghanian and Turkish Criminals had run an alternative and illegal US Embassy in the Ghanian Capital. For 10 years this building provided fruadulent US Documents to clients seeking to conduct business with the United States Government.

There are two areas of concern: First why did it take 10 years before they were caught? Its possible that the victims were coerced into silence. Another possibility is that there was some form of collusion with the Security Forces of Ghana perhaps they also had a pipeline into the US Embassy as well.

Another point is that the quality of their work was adequate enough to fool US Customs Workers when they entered into the United States. Can you imagine the chagrin when these documents were actually presented at the US Embassy? Another question to be asked is just how many people who thought that they purchased legitimate documents are actually in the United States illegally?

Earlier in a posting on Confused Eagle it was mentioned that the Obama Administration was transferring Huey Helicopters to Uganda. Earlier this week it was revealed that a similar program is underway regarding Kenya. At least 8 of the Rotary Winged Aircraft have been delivered.

Kenya does have some major security issues. It seems that Al-Shabaab has a larger presence in Lamu County than it does in Somalia. There have been some high profile attacks in the region where the response by security forces was hampered by the time of response. Having these Aircraft will improve response time.

Another issue that could be addressed is the problems along the border with Ethiopia. That part of Ethiopia does have its issues with acts committed by the Ethiopian Security Forces. However Cattle Rustling between tribes is an underlying issue in the area. These aircraft have the potential to interdict that as well.

Also this week the US issued a travel warning regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Family Members of Staff at the Embassy in Kinshasa have been ordered to leave the country before December 19th. That happens to be the last day of the Kabila Administration under the mandate of the Congolese Constitution.  It appears that the State Department is expecting some issues when that date appears.

Dec. 2nd, 2016

Getting it Wrong?

For most of the Summer Samantha Power and her staff at the US Mission to the UN in New York and her counterpart at the Council of Human Rights in Geneva have been trumpeting the concern about the potential for Genocide in South Sudan.

After all since 2013 there has been fighting that has been inspired by a power grab by ousted former First Vice President Reik Machar. Thousands have been killed and displaced by the violence that has plagued the country since then. But since the ouster of Machar there has been relative calm although the situation in the IDP Camps are an issue.

The US has been floating a Resolution at the Security Council that calls for an Arms Embargo to be placed on the Country and for targeted sanctions to be imposed upon specific individuals found to be instigators of the Violence.

This effort has been been undercut by Russia which feels that an Arms Embargo is not needed at this time. Ugandan Diplomats have been working behind the scenes presenting Documents that highlighted their concerns about the potential Heavyhanded response that can come from the UN Security Council.

Just in recent days the authorities in Juba announced their intentions to allow a regional peacekeeping force to deploy to the Country. Japan and Canada have also stated that they will not withdraw their peacekeepers from the Country.

So why the disparitiy between the US and the rest of the Council? After all Ms Power wrote one of the definitive works when it comes to Genocide. She had some credibility which is probably been wasted over the situation in South Sudan.

Then its probably the Message. South Sudan Policy has had the handprints of the Enough Project all over it. They have been doing an adequate job in tracking the movements of Joseph Kony throughout Central Africa and the flow of Illicity mined Conflict Minerals in the region as well.

When it comes to South Sudan do we have to apply the Darfur Principle here? This is a principle that an NGO can work on an issue and raise awareness of it and do just enough to address but then fundraise off of it to keep the cashflow coming in while influencing US Policy in the Country.

Reik Machar is no longer in Power but still trying to influence events in the Country. So the focus is now on the leadership of Salva Kiir. How long will it be until we hear calls for new elections and a change in leadership? Not on what is really needed such as improving the Road Network and improving the Agriculture Sector.

So which message will win out in New York? How hard will Nikki Haley be lobbied to follow what Enough may propose? We will find out after Jan 20th

Nov. 25th, 2016

Two Elections

There are two upcoming Elections in West Africa that should generate some interest in the International Media.

What will the focus be? Will they be trumpeted as the Electorate hearing their voices heard as to whether or not incumbents will be told that we appreciate the efforts that you are making on our behalf or will they be told that we want a change in direction?

These elections take place within a week of each other. The first on December 1st takes place in the small country with a neurotic leader known as Gambia as the Country and Yaya Jammeh as the incumbent. It is expected that He will manipulate the results so that he retains power. Already the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent has indicated that they are concerned about the potential of Politically Motivated Violence.

This should not be a huge surprise. Leaders like Jammeh who seize control via a Coup generally do not have any modicum of respect for the Democratic Process. Whereupon the only way that he will leave office is either by dying in office or being ousted in a Coup himself.

This does not mean that the people within the Gambia or the Diaspora itself will take this lying down. The Diaspora particularly based in the United States and to a lesser extent in Europe are well organized. They have been organizing Online Blogs, Newspapers and Radio Stations to inform the citizens of the Country what is really going on. Already 4 Journalists have vanished during this campaign. Being a Journalist in Gambia should merit some form of Hazard Duty Pay.

Within the week there will be elections in Ghana as well. There is some fear of politically motivated violence taking place in that Country as well.

Ghana itself is in a really bad area. Close to Cote D'Ivorie and Liberia which are recovering from Civil Wars within the last two decades both Countries have a large number of disenfranchised former soldiers that are just waiting for someone to show up with a Rifle and some money and say "I have a Job for You".

Ghana has had some serious financial issues over the past couple of years including the devaluazation of its currency. This promotes a reason to seek a change in Government but will the powers that be allow that to occur? We will find out on December 7th.

Somalia has been choosing members of its Parliament in recent weeks as well. This Country is on the radar of several people as reports indicate that the US Military is taking on a larger role in taking the battle to Al-Shabaab. How this plays out could also determine the future relations not only with Somalia but also Kenya and Ethiopia as well..

At the United Nations the US has drafted up a new Resolution Regarding an Arms Embargo on South Sudan. It has been announced that the well traveled Reik Machar who was lterally thrown out of Ethiopia after reportedly meeting with Iranian Assests in South Africa and the Head of the Army will be sanctioned by the USG.

Speaking of Sanctions something may occur regarding the DRC as according to the Constitution Joseph Kabila is supposed to vacate his office on November 30th. If not there is Legislation mandating Sanctions here as well.

Nov. 9th, 2016

An upcoming change?

It seems only a short time ago that US Policy in Africa had 4 key linchpins. They were Angola, South Africa, Ethiopia and Uganda. Three of the four were the New Democratic States highlighted by the Clinton Administration. They had unique changes in Government whether by coup or elections.

In recent weeks there have been several interesting developments in several of the above mentioned countries.

Since the collapse of Oil Prices the Economy of Angola has become stagnant at best. Large Cash Withdrawals are prohibited and at one point the main supplier of US Dollars to the Country ceased providing this service.

South Africa and the ruling ANC seems to lurch along from one crisis to another. The Finance Minister was the target of a corruption probe that was recently ended, The Country is leaving the International Criminal Court over alleged racism. However its action of allowing Sudanese President Bashir to visit and to actually facilitate his leaving the country before the pertinent warrants can be issued has to be taken into account as well. It has been expected that the Zuma Administration was expected to face some sanctions for actually allowing this to occur.

Uganda has reportedly floated a loan to the struggling Government in South Sudan. This loan which will be at least 380 Million Ugandan Shillings will be paid back over 4 years with an interest rate of 6% after the first year. The amount is the amount that GOSS owes Ugandan Vendors doing business with Juba.

Ethiopia has issues that has been written about in previous postings here on Confused Eagle.

But there are other countries that the US has seen fit to reestablish or improve relations with.

Last year Tunisia was granted the status of a major Non-NATO ally. The country has struggled since it was the epicenter of the Arab Spring Back in 2011. A recent report in the Washington Post indicates that the US has set up a UAV base in the Country to fly recon missions over neighboring Libya. Whether or not these vehicles are being used along the Western Border with Algeria has not been noticed but the Algerians are concerned.

Senegal is another nation where the US has been maintaning a presence. There are several reasons for this logic. First of all is the Islamist activity in the region. Dakar has been used as a ingress point to provide logistical support for UN Operations in Mali and French efforts in Burkina Faso. Secondly there will be upcoming elections in a couple of weeks in The Gambia. The question of what incumbent President Jammeh will allow to happen is given a new sense of urgency after the Election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Finally there is Niger. This country is in the crosshairs of Islamists from not only Nigeria but also the Maghreb. Currently there are US UAVs using the country as a base of operations. Also French and US Special Forces are in the Country securing the Country's borders. Germany has also announced that it will set up a logistics base to support its peacekeepers that are currently serving in Mali.

Do these actions indicate a shift in US Policy? Are we seeking new partnerships instead of long entrenched leaderships?The answer maybe yes but the better question is are we shifting towards new threats? Or are we addressing what has the potential of becoming long term crisis situations?

These are just some of what President Elect Trump may have to deal with during his term as President of the United States

Oct. 26th, 2016

Hijacked Message?

Just how bad is the situation within Ethiopia? It is one of the most interesting crisis situation that has arisen in the Horn of Africa. But there is an issue regarding just how much information the ruling authorities in Addis want their citizens and the International Community to know about the Oriomo region.

Late last week the US State Department issued a Travel Warning regarding the internal security situation within Ethiopia. One means of delivering this message was to deliver it to US Nationals throughout Ethiopia who have registered to receive such messages from the US Embassy. What happened next is an interesting point of data that will have people actually wondering what is actually taking place in the Country.

The Confused Eagle was able to gain access to the Warning issued by the State Department. As a favor to a friend who is currently working on a Project over there we sent the message to him. The reply that was sent back to us was not pleasing.

The Ethiopian Government has taken the effort to block the Message from the State Department to our own citizens. We all have heard how in the past that the current leadership in Addis has jammed broadcasts from the VOA Tigray Service the BBC Regional Broadcasts and even Duestche Welle. Any Ethiopian Blogger that writes about the Situation in the Oriomo region is arrested quickly in short order.

The Internal Situation within Ethiopia may be showing signs of a slow moving transition. They are being forced to remove troops that supporting the AU Stabilization Mission in Somalia to deal with the never ending series of protests that are occuring around Ethiopia.

Sometime after Thanksgiving we should not be surprised to learn that the United States will be imposing sanctions against several members of the Kabila Inner Circle or some cronies for failing to meet the Constitutionally Mandated Timeframe for Presidential Elections.

The Current Timeline which was proposed by CENI (Independent National Elections Commission) and was recently approved by the Constitutional Court is now April 18,2018. This is way past the November 30, 2016 which is currently what the current Constitution Calls for.

Kabila has also making the rounds across the region trying to line up support for His Actions. Governments such as Uganda and Congo-Brazzaville who have leaders how have subjugated the rule of law to remain in office may actually offer some form of support in lieu of the expected sanctions regimes that will come from both the US and the EU. There will be some Economic Impact if these measures are imposed against the DRC.

Sep. 23rd, 2016

New Deals

It has been some time since this has been updated.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held its African Braintrust a week ago here in Washington, DC. Sadly the turnout was disappointing considering what the subject matter was. After the panel on Education and Health Care which is one of the major issues that will impact the Continent for the next decade the crowd shrank for the panel on Security and Democracy.

It was refreshing to see the concerns split into Anglophone and Francophone Countries as there is a unique pattern unfolding on the Continent. For the most part the Islamist Insurgents with the exception of Nigeria and Somalia are in French Speaking Countries. However the issue of those President extending their terms of office by manipulating the Constitutional Process are also in Francophone Countries with the exception being Uganda.

However initiatives such as Power Africa are targeting only the English Speaking Countries such as Kenya and Nigeria.

Could a language barrier be hindering US Policy?

There are also reports that the US has moved some UAVs into Northern Cameroon as well. There is no information regarding whether or not if they are playing any role in the current offensive in Borno State by the Nigerian Army at this time. But things do happen for a specific reason. This could be a case of the US following through with the promises made by SECSTATE Kerry during his recent trip to Abuja.

Also the DOD has announced that Cessna will be awarded a $24 Million Contract to provide six Caravan Aircraft to Cameroon, Chad and the Philippines. These aircraft will be configured for ISR (Intelligence,Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Operations. Most likely both Chad and Cameroon will use these platforms to deal with the Boko Haram issue.

The US is also taking part in a sideline meeting at the United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York. Even though the Bab-al-Mandeb is a vital waterway where 3% of the World's Oil passes through on a daily basis attacks there by piracy have actually been on the decrease. UN Figures actually have noticed an uptick in similar acts taking place in the Gulf of Guinea region. When will the UN pay attention to this?

Something to keep an eye on: The Election Appeal that is currently underway in Gabon should have a decision released soon. Keep an eye on this as violence is expected if the appeal is denied

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