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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

Sep. 9th, 2016

Welcome Back

The month long recess is over. Congress is back for the rest of the month before heading home to campaign for reelection.

They are back tanned rested and supposedly ready to work for the public trust. There are some actions that are being taken by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa that on the surface gives the impression that in certain countries the status quo is not acceptable.

First of all is South Sudan. The most recent fit of violence which saw Riek Machar driven from his position as First Vice President of the Country has angered some members of Congress. The rape of aid workers at the Hotel appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Even though there are reports that the victims were offered safe conduct to leave the facility and protection.

Has anyone noticed that since Machar left there has been a modicum of peace within the country? The Situation in South Sudan is sure to be a topic when IGAD meets in Mogadishu on Sept 13th (Tuesday as this is being written).

Also in August there has been a series of violent attacks within Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch documented an incident where Security Forces killed at least 90 people. There was an incident at the prison where most of the major Political Prisoners are being held by the authorities. That incident which involved both a Fire and reports of Gunshots left at least 28 people killed also.

In a cruel twist the authorities in Addis have not revealed which prisoners have been killed after this incident. This is a cruel twist to the families of those incarcarated. They do have a right to know what happened to their loved ones. The Government also has an obligation to let the next of kin know what happened to their loved ones.

There is talk of a resolution in the House to raise concerns about what is going on in this crucial "ally". From what the Confused Eagle has been told by a source this is meant to be a trial balloon. How this effort goes will determine if there is enough support to garner a full fledged resolution that could end up on the desk of the President.

The fiasco known as the Presidential Elections in Gabon may not be over yet. Even though the EU observers have found reason for concern in one district, The appeal filed by the losing candidate Jean Ping was filed in a timely manner. Therefore the appeal will be heard by the Constitutional Court.

This means that if the appeal is denied there most likely be more violence within Gabon.

Later this month there are elections planned for Somalia and in 10 Days is the offical day when Elections for the Democratic Republic of the Congo are supposed to be announced if they are actually are going to be held.

Aug. 25th, 2016

The Eagle is Busy

The Activities in Africa by the United States in Africa have itensified somewhat in the last couple of weeks. First of all Secretary of State John Kerry visited two countries Kenya and Nigeria to discuss Counterterrorism Efforts and other concerns.

Both Countries are dealing with Insurgencies and Militant Islamic Moveents both within their borders and in neighboring states. Nigeria is also facing a crisis in the Oil rich NIger Delta region that has reduced the daily output of petroleum to 1.56 Million Barrels. This is placing a serious damper on the Nigerian Economy and has reduced the ForEx (Foreign Exchange aka Currency) that the Country has available. Recently the Central Bank of Nigeria has suspended several banks from actively trading in Foreign Currency.

Kenyan Issues result from a regional struggle against Al-Shabaab. The day before Secretary Kerry arrived in Nairobi the group did manage to set off three explosions within Somalia. Clearly both Nations do need some assistance.

Secretary Kerry has promised direct Military Aid to Nigeria. This is a role reversal from 2014 when the United States vetoed two attempts by the Nigerian Military to procur Helicopters so that they could deal with the Boko Haram Miltant Insurgency.

Lets move to South Sudan. On tuesday the editor of Confused Eagle received a tip that the Staff Director of a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee was being sent to Juba for a 24 hour long visit. The gist of the visit was to inform the leadership of South Sudan that legislation that is currently in Congress that would impose Sanctions on the suffering African Country is being fast tracked through the Congress. This is meant to be a warning to the warring factions to get back to the talks.

AFRICOM has also kicked off the latest version African Endeavor this week as well. This exercise which is being held on Madagascar is a five day long symposium where African States gather with key partners to discuss the capability of interoperability in a crisis situation.

Since it began in 2006 over 2,000 Communication Specialists from 40 Nations and several regional NGOs have attended this conference.

The US has sent the first Kiowa and Blackhawk Helicopters to Tunisia according to reports. According to reports the Tunisian Military will receive a total of 24 Kiowas and 12 Blackhawk Transport Helicopters.

The sale of these rotary wing aircraft valued at over $100 Million was approved in May this year.

Aug. 16th, 2016

More Intrigue

It has been announced in recent days that the United States is in the process of transferring 5 refurbished Huey Helicopters to Uganda.

This event came to light after Bell Helicopters which conducted the necessary upgrades transferred these rotary wing aircraft the the United States Government. In turn the USG has announced on the website which allows for bids on contracts that they are looking for companies to provided maintainance for these vehicles.

Now the questions about how will they be used arise. We know that the Ugandans have close ties to South Sudan where instability and uncertainty are the norm and not the exception. It has also been announced that the UN wants to send 4,000 Peacekeepers into South Sudan as well.

One capability that the UN Mission in South Sudan has been lacking in has been Helicopters. The few that the UN currently has in country have been overused in a country where infrastructure is poor and that is being generous.

There is another possibilty at work here. Could the Ugandans be preparing for more conflict originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Just this past weekend 53 people were brutally murdered in an attack launched by the ADF if initial press reports remain accurate.

There are elections scheduled for later this year in the DRC. These Elections have to be formally announced no later than September 18th to formally begin the Electoral Campaign. The failure to do so will most likely trigger a Constitutional Crisis. Meanwhile the Kabila Regime is begging for funds to coordinate these elections and provide for new IDs. Since the last cycle at least 15,000,000 new voters have become eligible to vote in the country. So the question remains why did Kabila wait so long to prepare for this?

Let's digress to Ethiopia where tensions continue to escalate as opposition supporters seeking reforms from the Central Government in Addis are repressed by Security Forces. In one clash an estimated 93 people were killed.

IF the situation in the Ogaden Region is not addressed then a root cause for some of the problems that plague Somalia currently will be allowed to fester.

It is abundantly clear that Ethiopia is like several other African Regimes. When confronted the authorites feel that the only proper reply is to reply with what they consider to be overwhelming force. This is not a formula for long term stability for Ethiopia.

Aug. 8th, 2016

More Trouble

Yesterday Iddris Deby once again took the oath of office having been "duly" reelected President of T'Chad. Reports indicate that there were protests in the Capital that left one person dead.

Why should we pay heed to this landlocked Country? It's not like back during the Reagan Administration when our dearly departed friend Col Qadaffi was keen on his program of Pan-African Expansionism and was trying to wrest the Aouzu Strip from the Government of then President Hissen Habre. How often did those of us here in the USA read a newspaper or see on TV events around a place known as Fayu Largou?

Now more that three decades later the Central African Country has an entrenched leader who has close ties to the indicted war criminal Omar Bashir in Sudan. But analysts give credit to the examplary performance of the Chadian Military in Operations in Mali that began with the coup back in 2012 in support of the French Intervention.

The Country's Military is also taking a prominent role in taking on the Boko Haram Militants as well. Even though there have only been a handful of attacks against Refugee Camps inside T'Chad it is felt that since the Area of Operations of Boko Haram is around the Lake Chad region itself the Deby Regime feels that along with other states that have been targeted by the Islamists such as Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria that the threat has to be dealt with. Even Benin has seen fit for regional stability to provide a contingent as well.

Some people here in Washington have stated Tongue in Cheek that this Administration has not met a dictatorship that it did not like. However its Geography, Military Capability and stability does make it appear that this Country is a necessary relationship to have in the eyes of the Administration and the Pentagon.

As the date for Elections here in the United States draws closer the Security in the Maghreb has been thrown once again into the spotlight with the resumption of Airstrikes by the Obama Administration in Libya. Could this be an effort to resolve the inherent mistake that was made back in 2011 by fostering instability in the North African Country?

The more cynical observers will assess that these airstrikes are an attempt to improve the standing of Sen. Clinton by fixing one of the many mistakes that were made during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Like Tunisia the Nation of T'Chad is becoming more prominent in US Defense Strategy. However will it achieve the status of a Major Non-NATO ally like Tunisia has? It could only be just a matter of time.
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Jul. 21st, 2016

Obama and Africa

Earlier this week the Brookings Institution held an event with a most interesting topic. The conversation centered around President Obama and his legacy on the Security Situation in Africa.

Obviously the grade has to be a mixed bag. The Administration has done a horrible job sheparding the Independence of South Sudan. The Electorate of South Sudan in their wisdom voted to elect Salva Kiir as their President. The Administration has taken several steps, some covert others blatently obvious to throw their support for Reik Machar. The question has to be will US Policy towards South Sudan change when a new administration takes office in Janurary 2017?

Another issue that people have with this administration is that it has cozied up with several African Despots. The Ethiopians are a shining example of this. Not holding this Government accountable for its repression of Human Rights will be seen as a glaring oversight. Also a glaring oversight is the failure to support the Civil Society and the Political Opposition in Gambia

It is felt that the Pentagon has taken control of the Policy towards Africa. With the horrendus handling of the Libya with the use of Air Strikes to remove the Qaddafi regime should we consider that to be the exception that proves the rule? The Special Ops Command did assist the authorities in both Mali and Burkina Faso in the aftermath of the Terror Attacks that hit those countries over the past winter.

Another area that was not implicity addressed is the failure of the State Department when it comes to Nigeria. This is an issue that Hillary Clinton should have to answer for. The Administration did suspend direct Military to Military contacts. This may be the reason why the drones which were sent to Nigeria after the kidnapping of the Chibok Schoolgirls were removed after a short period of time.

It is felt that the Power Africa Initiative could be a benefit to Africa as well

Switching Gears

A Small Team of US Marines was recently in Cameroon. Their goal was to train the Cameroonian Military in specific tactics that could be used in an effort to rein in the Boko Haram insurgency that plagues the region.

There is a new issue within the Gambia also. Within the last 24 hours several people including one who hold US Citizenship has been sentenced to Prison regarding the protests that occurred earlier this year.

Jul. 8th, 2016

Holiday Info Dump

This 4th of July Holiday here in the United States ended up being what is considered to be a long holiday weekend. That means that the Government will release information that is pertinent but expects nobody to really pay attention to due to distractions.

As the Holiday weekend was beginning the State Department issued not one but two travel warnings regarding Africa. The first one that was issued was regarding Kenya. This was a warning that replaced one that was issued on November 10,2015 covering concerns regarding the border between Kenya and Somalia.

Also concerns were raised regarding the threat of terrorist acts and the rising crime rate that is occuring as well.

Travel to Garissa, Wajir and Madera Counties should be avoided at all costs according to the new warning. Terrorist attacks involving the use of weapons and grenades have been occuring in these locations.

Also Al-Shabaab has been active in the region as well. The Group also launched a High Profile attack in Mogadishu over the Holiday Weekend as well. There was no such warning issued for Somalia as well.

24 hours later another warning was issued regarding Mali. This is interesting as the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has requested an additional 2500 Peacekeepers be sent to the Country to beef up the UN Mission there.

The US Warning which has different syntax than the Kenya Warning is issued to Americans planning on travelling to or are currently living and working in the Country. There is an additional piece of information as well as there is a NOTAM that has been issued by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) advising not to fly below 26,000 feet (FL260) while transiting Malian Airspace.

In recent days a new Militia has appeared in the Central Part of the Country. It appears allied to the Bamako Government as well. Other sporadic attacks have taken place in the restive Northern Part of the Country. Security in that part of Mali is a reason for concern as the current Government has not been able to adequately provide protection for the population there.

The State Department ordered all Dependents under the age of 21 to leave the Country and has authorized the departure of their parents as well. This warning replaces the one that was issued on April 26th.

The State Department issued its TIP (Trafficking in Persons) report. One ommission from the Bad Country List was the Gambia. Did they have advance news that Jammeh was going to make Child Marriages Illegal with a sentence of 20 years? He actually did that this week. There are times where Politics is like Comedy, Timing is Everything.

Quietly there is a move to have a Special Envoy from the United States sent to the Gulf of Guinea to deal with the Boko Haram issue. This is an idea that should have been done some time ago. Hopefully it won't take as long to do this as it took the State Department to declare the Group an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization).

Also regarding Nigeria the US is concerned regarding the Security Situation around the commercial capital of Lagos.. More to come regarding this

Jun. 28th, 2016

Benghazi

By now you have heard of the competing reports regarding the Benghazi Attacks that occurred on September 11,2012. This is the attack that resulted in the Deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 Security Contractors. Being within two months of a Presidential Election some underhanded tactics were to be expected.

There are several issues that are not being raised. One of them is the fact that Benghazi was and still a known hub for both Weapons and more recently Human Trafficking. At that time Benghazi was a known transit point for weapons heading from Sudan into the Gaza Strip. The question of whether or not this was point of US interest is not covered in the report. But it should be.

The Concerns about Human Trafficking are a more recent concern with the recent flow of Migrants from Syria and Northern Iraq. But it is still a valid concern nonetheless.

There were over 200 requests for improved security at the facility at the annex. Why didn't these requests reach Secretary Clinton's Desk? This does raise questions about the Machinations of the Bureaucracy within the Department under her watch. She may have some deniability as to the requests but her not getting them could be a sign of a level of mistrust in her leadership or being to mundane for her to deal with.

The Timeline from when SECDEF Panetta ordered the Military to prepare a response at 1900 hrs DC Time to when the initial response finally reached the annex at 1430 the next day. WTF is going on with this? A Marine Officer stated in the report that in that time that the Soldiers were told to change clothing 4 times. The State Dept had concerns about Marine Cammies offending the people in Benghazi. And Active Duty Military conducting an Operation wearing Civilian Clothes violates the Geneva Convention. Marines with High and Tights do have a habit of standing out in the Crowd. BTW Soldiers in Civilian Clothes will be considered to be Spies.

This item has to be one of the greatest pieces of Irony I have ever seen. The Libyan Forces that actually went in and secured the Complex were Qadaffi Loyalists. We had bombed them a little more than a year ago and at the request of a CIA Officer on the scene They showed up with enough force to drive away the Islamist Rebels.

Clearly there were failures to take in the Security Concerns at the facility in Benghazi. The Administration in particularly the State Department and the Agency did not request for any assistance whether from the Military when necessary or seeking funding to actually accomplish this from the Congress.

The response and the aftermath were pure political posturing by an Administration seeking reeelection. Now a key member of that Administration now seeks to hold this high office. Can the United States afford to do so for the next four years?
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Jun. 18th, 2016

Quiet Struggles

Denis Soussu-Nguesso is on a Charm Offensive. At least that is while he seeks international support for his rigged reelection earlier this year. It has been revealed that his effort to reach out to the French have been rebuffed.

So he has been reaching out to another friendly government. That being the United States. But he has not been reaching out to the Obama Administraton but one which in the past has been very favorable to the African Liberation Movements in the final decades of the Cold War.

Just which group is this? Well its the Congressional Black Caucus. Last Decade they were the group within Congress that pushed back against any sanctions against President Mugabe in Zimbabwe during the period of seizing Farmland from Commercial White Farmers and cracking down on a growing Political Opposition as well.

So why are He reaching out to them now? He could be telling the CBC that he is providing Stable Leadership in a region where strife and its after effects run rampant. This could be a slick attempt to tell Washington He is willing to work with them to promote regional stability.

Bear this in mind as the Main Opposition Candidate and the Individual who won the election if you believe the independent figures that were available is now under arrest for Compromising State Security.

General Mokoto a Man who actually decided to stand up against what is turning into another Kleptocracy has now been arrested. Now the cynical question is was he arrested for winning the election? Or was he arrested for not going to meet with DSN? Or is it Both?

Some more interesting news regarding Nigeria. Earlier this week it was announced that a major financial annoucement would be coming from Abuja. What could that announcement be?

The decision to uncouple the Naira from the Dollar was announced. This is a devaluation of that struggling currency. All this amounts to is a Hail Mary.

The Drop in Oil Prices to around $50 a Barrel and Corruption are two major factors for the Economic Malaise the Country finds itself. However the Ag sector is not doing that badly as the Cashew Crop brought in just under 51 Billion Naira in sales. Its not enough but its a good shot for an Economy that is Oil Driven and seeking new sources of revenue.

The Insurgency in the NIger Delta seems to be taking a pipeline out daily and operations against Boko Haram are draining the Economy as well.

Speaking of Boko Haram Chad has sent 2000 Troops to Niger to plan for Operation against the Islamic Militants that could be launched any day now.

Jun. 6th, 2016

News and Notes

It has been no big secret that this year in Africa one of the major goals has been the eradication of the Illegal Ivory Trade. Do you remember seeing the images in Kenya of the Bonfires using large stacks of confiscated Elephant Tusks.

Imagine hearing that the number 2 Diplomat representing the United States in Malawi was taken into custody for doing what? Ivory Smuggling. The Person in Question Michael Gonzalez actually was at Kamuzu International Airport when an inspection of his luggage turned up having one piece of ivory. Although the Arrest was confirmed by Malawian Police the details were not specific.

Ivory Smuggling is a good source of revenue in East Africa. Most of the Traders in fact end up having ties of some sort with China. Most of the Foreign Nationals Arrested at the Airport tend to be Chinese Nationals. This is not only an embarrassment to the United States Diplomatically it also tarnishes the efforts by US Law Enforcement to assist in eradicating the trade.

Meanwhile in South Africa the US Embassy in Pretoria issued a Security Alert over the weekend. The alert for US Citizens warned against a potential threat eminating from Shopping Centers and Malls. The Alert mentioned that Terrorist Groups were planning on attacking High End Facilities in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. This Alert sounds very eerily like the incident which occurred at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

Johannesburg has a reputation for being a center for Crime. That is a given. However its has been suggested that there are several Mosques in Cape Town that are considered to be very Pro-ISIS. It is also suspected that the city could be a base of Operations by Islamic Radicals for Operations in the Region.

It should be noted that ISIS has called for attacks against Western Interests to be Carried out during Ramadan.

There is also some interesting news regarding the upcoming (if they occur) Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If the Elections do not meet the Constitutionally Mandated Timeline of 30 November 2016 it is widely rumored that the United States will impose Sanctions.

Three Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Murphy(D-CT) have introduced a non-binding Resolution in the Senate that gives the Sense of the US Senate that if the Elections do not happen on time than the US Should Impose Sanctions on the Central African Country.

Already the US has allocated $35 Million in Election Assistance (most of which has already been distributed) so that this cycle can be held. But if the US imposes Sanctions how will they be targeted? Will those mentioned in the Panama Papers be targeted? What about the Security Forces which have been adept at targeting the Political Opposition? So Many Questions to answer in a period that will be less than 180 days.

Going to be an interesting way for the Obama Team to transition out of the White House.......

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