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Feb. 21st, 2015

A Sudden Departure

There is word that current Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region (Central Africa) Russ Feingold will officially tender his resignation sometime within the next 21 days. Why this change is occurring has not been officially made clear.

The timing of the resignation is interesting. A new offensive is in the works in the Eastern Part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This time the target is the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) or the former Armed Forces of the Government that was driven out of Power during the horrific genocidal period in 1994. The UN itself has withdrawn support for this mission over the status of some senior officers of FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) who they wanted removed due to their suspected War Crimes.

Also Burundi is preparing for their Elections in May of this year. Tensions within the country are high as well with reports this week of the removal of the Nation's Intelligence Chief just 90 days after being appointed to the job. Also a prominent Radio Personality who supported the opposition was released from jail as well. This runup is proving to be very interesting.

There is speculation that Mr. Feingold is considering a return to the US Senate. During the time he served in that body African concerns were one of his major concerns while he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Could he feel that returning to Capitol Hill may actually increase his influence while addressing African Concerns and Issues?

There are two elections coming up on the Electoral Calendar. First of all one Feb 28th the small landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho goes to the polls to elect a new Parliament. Then days after that the West African Nation of Togo itself holds a poll to determine who will be its President.

There is also word that the US is scaling back its deployments to Liberia to deal with the horrific Ebola Outbreak as well. Troops are being recalled as well as Helicopters. Now there is a gradual closing of the Labs and Hospitals that were set up as the Health Care Systems of these nations were severally overtaxed.

Feb. 13th, 2015

ISIS AUMF possibilities in Africa?

Most people now have heard about the the New AUMF (Authorized use of Military Force) that is currently being negotiated by the White House and Congress. This will replace the AUMF that was authorized after the September 11th attacks and covered operations against Al-Qaida.

So why is this proposed AUMF being discussed on an African Policy Blog? Well several events have occurred that will have the potential of seeing some form of US Covert Operation or possible intervention during the timeline currently being proposed by the Obama Administration.

The Collapse of the Yemeni Government is already having a negative impact when it comes to Security Issues in the Horn. Already there have been high profile Assassinations in Mogadishu and Nairobi. Yemen was a known source of Arms and Fighters during the years that Somalia did not have a functioning Government. The collapse of the Yemeni Government will continue to have a negative impact not only when it comes to crime and terrorism but most likely the production of khat.

Also the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has also began conducting "market research" to identify partners who not only have an interest in but also the capabilities to assist in an enviroment for the use of mobile fixed wing aircraft. The minimum requirement for payload capacity is 1,000 pounds with a maximum of 4,500 pounds and including a mix of 12 passengers. That is about the size of a US Green Beret A Team or Special Forces Squad.

The Countries listed include Jordan (Initial Base of Operations), Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Other locations may be dictated in North Africa as Operational Requirements and timely committment permit. Decisions are expected by Feb. 23rd.

There are more interesting wrinkles in the Nigerian Electoral Saga. Late last month the Nigerian Military Headquarters webpage was hijacked reportedly by Boko Haram Supporters. Also earlier this week an attempt to elect leaders for the National Labour Congress ended acrimoniously. Aggrieved parties hijacked and smashed ballot boxes. It was not clear how this meeting devolved into such a morass but attempts are being made to restore order.

It was also revealed that the Servers for the Governments of Ghana and Senegal were targeted by hackers as well. The Senegal Attacks were in response to President Macky Sall attending the Charlie Hebdo rally in Paris. The attacks in Ghana which targeted a portal that hosted 58 Government webpages was conducted by a well known hacker from Turkey. The reason why this attack was successful was due to a failure to upgrade software.

We have a new election date in Africa: November 27,2016 will be the date for the Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Whether or not they will be free or fair has yet to be seen......

Feb. 4th, 2015

Nigerian Situation involving other Africans

We are less than two weeks away from the upcoming Elections in Nigeria and other states are drawing some unique lines. We have noticed some interesting internal news regarding the Nigerian Elections as well.

First the external information: We have noticed the impact that the Chadian Forces have had in both Northern Nigeria and in Northern Cameroon in operations against Boko Haram. But there is a price to be paid for their intervention such as what occured in 2013 when their troops went into Mali to assist France. It was the French Government who paid for THAT Intervention.

It was revealed to the Confused Eagle that the price that will be paid to Chad is not Cash, Nor is it Oil specifically either. According to my source it will be paid for by the use or acquisition of Oil Tankers to the Ministry of Defense in Chad. Not the State Oil Company. The Vessels now are in International Waters before being bunkered and then moved to Malta. This itself poses some serious questions such as for whom is this being done or better yet is this a scheme to acquire new Hi-Tech Weapons?

Another interesting move has come from South Africa. The Defense Minister has stated that any South African currently in Nigeria fighting Boko Haram should be arrested. We should note that this is not the first time that this has been suggested by the South African Defense Ministry either. Last Fall it was reported that any South Africans that were serving in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) would be subject to arrest also.

South Africa does have an interesting history when it comes to the use of mercenaires. In fact "Mad" Mike Hoare is a South African. There was a heavily South African role in the abortive 2004 Coup Attempt against President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea which led to new Legislation in Pretoria.

Now to the internal polls. There is a sign of concern for President Jonathan and the ruling PDP (People's Democratic Party)which has been in control since the Military yielded control back in 1999.

The Main Opposition Candidate former General Buhari appears to be polling well in the Christian Dominated South of the Country. This shows how poorly Goodluck Jonathan has governed Nigeria.

Switching to a Sudan issue. Foreign Minister Ali Karti has been invited to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington this week. Mr. Karti is one of the main organizers of the chaos and deaths that have occurred in Darfur. The theme of the Prayer Breakfast is the Armenian Genocide that occurred during the First World War. Is this a case Irony or is the Administration being Tone Deaf again?

Jan. 24th, 2015

Upcoming News

The Situation in Nigeria is becoming more concerning as Election Days draws near.  The Violence orchestrated by Boko Haram and their Allies in Nigerian Society and Government has spread into Cameroon and Niger itself is under threat.

Gen Buhari was scheduled to give a speech here in Washington on Monday Jan. 26th and that event was hastily postponed within the last 24 hours with the excuse of a scheduling conflict being used.

It has also been announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will soon be travelling to Nigeria to get a first hand look at the situation. Also next week hearings on the situation within Nigeria come Front and Center by the House Foreign Relations Committee. There are plenty of questions to be asked but there are some things that need to be cleared up.

No matter how President Jonathan feels the ills that are plaguing Nigeria are not totally because of the actions or inactions of the United States regarding Boko Haram but He has to realize that Nigerians have to own this. The inability or even the unwillingness to enforce the Laws of the Country or even provide basic services that the Population needs is also a huge factor. After all the Federal Government of Nigeria has effectively ceded control of Borno State to Boko Haram and is now in danger of losing Adamwa State.

Over the last week Chadian Troops have had to enter both Nigeria and Chad as part of a Regional Effort to defeat this Group. When Chadian Forces entered the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Peacekeepers back in 1998 they had a reputation of shooting first and then asking questions. Hopefully this will not be the result of this intervention.

Switching now to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and this potential disaster in the making, The Lower House of Parliament passed a bill which would have allowed President Kabila to suspend elections until a National Census was taken. This could have effectively extended his term for years. This act triggered violent protests that left at least 52 people dead in the Capital of Kinshasa and in Goma. At one point as well the Internet was suspended in the City of Bukavu. That has been partially restored.

The Senate has passed a measure that removes the Census provisions and that current efforts to update the voter rolls must respect the Constitution. These measures now go to a Conference Committee. In the other concern regarding the DRC there is no firm timetable set for the Operations to begin against the FDLR but Namibia and Angola have stated that they will not participate.

In Niger over 60 Churches have been destroyed as part of the Backlash against the Paris Terror Attacks. The View of the Western Media.... Move on No Story here.......

And the Band Plays on..

Jan. 16th, 2015

An Interesting Start

Election Day in Nigeria draws closer as does the one in Burundi. Both Nations have had violent starts to the new year. But are the reasons the same? Both Countries have incumbent Presidents seeking reelection. Although Burundi's President is seeking a third term that may circumvent the Constitution which is a main point of difference.

Both are facing active insurgencies. Nigeria has a radical Islamic Movement called Boko Haram that is in effective control of Borno State in the Northeastern Part of the Country. It appears to have spread its campaign to Adamwa State in Nigeria and into the Northern Part of Neighbroing Cameroon.

During the interholiday period an unnamed force which at the time were suspected to be Rebels from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo but later turned out to be the FNL (National Force of Liberation) a Burundian Hutu Militia with an estimated 3000 fighters. This report is interesting. The Main Base of Support for the FNL is in the area around Lake Tanganykia. The Kivus area were the attack took place is North of their base of support.

The attack in Burundi killed hundreds of soldiers, fighters and citizens in a battle that lasted almost one week. In recent days Boko Haram launched an attack that killed an estimated 2000 fighters. Amnesty International even released Satellite Imagery that showed the destruction of entire villages. Meanwhile the Chibok Schoolgirls remain in custody of the Islamists for over 9 months now.

Today it was announced that the United States and the United Kingdom would work together on a joint strategy to deal with Boko Haram. A regional force of Neighboring States is reportedly coming closer to fruition as well. Earlier today reports of Chadian Troops are being sent to both Nigeria and Cameroon to deal with what is rapidly becoming a regional threat.

No such assistance has been made yet to Burundi. Although in Neighboring Congo the UN is reportedly ready to launch its long promised offensive against the FDLR at any moment. A Deadline for the group to surrender came and went on Jan. 2nd. Could this be playing a role in what is occuring in Burundi? That is not easy to answer but cannot be ruled out either.

These elections take place within days of each other as well:

Blowback continues to be revealed after the Gambia Coup Failure. One of the areas that was expected that something could occur was the Casamance region of Senegal. Well the attack has energized The Casamance Rebels who are against the Government in Dakar and are allies of Gambian President Jammeh. What will happen in Guinea-Bissau where Jammeh also has influence has yet to be seen at this point of time.

Concern is growing yet again that Al-Shaabab is gaining strength in Kenya. This is not a positive sign for East African Stability as the Group seeks to lash out at those supporting the increasingly strengtheing Somali Government. Also there are rumors that Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are fundraising in Madrid and possibly even recruiting.

Jan. 6th, 2015

Starting Off with a Coup.....

The New Years Holiday was one of the most interesting time in The Gambia. Over that time an incident that was reported as Coup but what appeared to be a Mutiny took place. While President Jammeh was out of the Country an attack against the State House in Banjul took place. For two decades this country has been under the thumb of a ruthless tyrant Named Jammeh.

So during this time a group of disgruntled members of the Military made their effort to remove him from power. During an overnight assault they made their effort. At least 5 people were killed during the firefight. One of the fatalities was a Gambian National who was from Kentucky. It has gotten really interesting due to the fact that the effort to remove Jammeh was sabatoged from within. Also two individuals are now facing charges of Violating the Neutrality Act and using a Firearm in the use of Committing a Crime.

Reading the Press Release from the Justice Department gives the impression that there is a issue of clarity. The Video of President Jammeh inspecting the Weapons Captured which includes AKM assault rifles and AR-15s. The Indictment specifically mentions M4 Carbines......Is this really a Black Op underway?

Also we should expect some type of Blowback against both Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Some of the Attackers who remain at large have fled to Bissau where they have so far gone to ground. In Senegal there is an Operation underway where specific members of the Opposition have been targeted for deportation back to The Gambia. the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) which is the Intelligence Service of the Gambia does have Agents at work in Dakar monitoring the Opposition.

Did anyone notice the item in the New York Times last friday regarding the Chibok Girls? for those who were not aware of the Old Gray Lady ran an item stating that the Obama Administration did actually provide actionable intelligence to the Nigerian Military regarding the Missing Chibok Girls. This story has been denied by the Nigerian Military as not being true. However I wonder about the Press Conference where the Head of the Nigerian Military gave the Press Conference where he stated that the Nigerian Military knew where the Schoolgirls were. IF that Information did not come from the US Intelligence Community then where did they get it from?

This story is very critical as relations between Abuja and Washington continue to sour and Boko Haram continues its agressive approach to disrupt the elections next month. It should be a matter of concern that Boko Haram is now launching attacks in Cameroon as well.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is becoming an Issue yet again. The deadline for the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda to surrender on Jan 2nd has passed and reports are that on today (Jan 5th) the offensive to bring this group to Justice has begun. Last Summer the Obama Administration did not rule out the potential of US Forces actually taking having a role in this Operation.

Another area of Concern is the crackdown against the Panzi Foundation. They run a clinic in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo with the focus on treating Female victims of Rape. In recent weeks staff members of the clinic have had their pay seized by the Government and the Corporation is itself being targeted by the Kabila Regime. Kabila has announced plans to amend the Constitution  to run for a third term as President.... It appears that Panzi is ruffling some feathers in Kinshasa.......

What a way to start the new year.......

Dec. 29th, 2014

Wrapping Up 2014

When it comes to relations between the United States and Africa the year 2014 is ending with several underreported but major decisions by the United States and African Countries.

First of all it was announced that two Countries The Gambia and South Sudan are losing their privleges and benefits that were given to them under the AGOA (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.) It is suspected that the conflict in South Sudan which has entered its second year and the Crackdown against both Students and Homosexuals in The Gambia.

Regarding South Sudan the plan by the Obama Administration to create a Power Sharing deal between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar is in trouble. The South Sudanese are resisting this effort. It appears that the longer this fiasco continues the more that the misdeeds of Machar emerge.....

An Interesting Story is coming out from Nigeria It appears that Halliburton is one of several companies that is being indicted for its role in a Bribery Scandal that totaled $ 180 Million. The purpose for the bribes were to win a contract for Liquefied Natural Gas worth an estimated $6 Billion. The really juicy part of this story is that Former US Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to be indicted regarding this scandal.

Another Part of this Inquiry is looking at how Shell benefited from Illegal Payments to Nigerian Customs Officials by another company that is part of the scandal as well.

Meanwhile in Tanzania a New Military Intelligence School which is being  constructed with the Assistance of the Hard Working Tax Payer nears completion. 61% of the facility is complete, this is including 1005 of the infrastructure. Meanwhile in another project involving Tanzania is also nearing completion. This project will allow for four communities serving an estimated 20,000 people to have potable water.

Also Members of the United States Marine Corps have recently concluded training with their Ugandan Counterparts. This mission covered the basics, standard infantry tactics, basic livesaving and other skills that the basic infantryman needs to survive in a Combat Zone.

 there is word from a Group that Monitors Religious Persecution regarding East Africa and other Nations. There has been an increase in the reported number of cases of Religious Persecution in Africa. The Group says that there is a Pressing Threat by Groups seeking to impose Sharia Law in both Kenya and Tanzania. They are concerned about the state of violence in Nigeria as it moves closer to its Feburary 2015 Elections and Sudan and its refusal to build new churches is another concern.

Dec. 17th, 2014

Wrapping Up?

The Location for the first major exercise between the United States and its African Partners scheduled for 2015 has been announced.

Flintlock 2015 which is a major Counter Terrorism Exercise that has the goal of assisting West African States and has evolved from the Trans Saharan Partnership will occur in Chad this year. This Multinational Exercise will partner US Forces with partners from both Africa and Europe.

There is great scrutiny regarding this endeavor. Several Countries which have received direct aid including training have had trainees launch Military Coups against corrupt and repressive regimes much to the chagrin of the powers that be in Addis Ababa, Washington, Paris and Brussels. The timing of this exercise is interesting. Beginning on Feb 16th and ending on March 9th there will be operations also conducted in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia.

Interesting that this will also take place when there are three scheduled elections in Africa during the timeline of the exercise. Nigeria and its hotly contested plebiscite, Burundi with its simmering refugee situation and the CAR which has its own issues that need to be dealt with.

Meanwhile Elements of the Marines have just wrapped up an exercise with Benin and Togo. Small Boat Maintainance was one program that was conducted during this exercise. Another was a Theater Security Cooperation Engagement Exercise. We have to love the timing of this with Togo have Anti-Government Demonstrations as well. There is sure to be more information regarding Togo to come out in the near future.

Speaking of Demonstrations the Confused Eagle has learned that there will be more Demonstrations this coming weekend in Libreville. There should be more info by the beginning of next week regarding this.

Did anyone notice Al-Jazeera calling on the Obama Administration to do something regarding Gambia? It has been 10 years since Mr Hedeya was murdered by still unknown parties. Justice needs to be heard here.

Regarding the South Sudan Resolution at the UN Security Council there is some wrangling regarding the issue of the Arms Embargo.

The ICC is having a bad month: It ends the Darfur Investigation due to stonewalling from Khartoum and it was forced to drop charges against President Kenyatta of Kenya.

Sierra Leone and the UK have told the US that its assistance is not needed as the Country reportedly catches up with the Ebola Outbreak. There are reports of at least one new case in Guinea-Bissau as well..

ending Part 1

Dec. 11th, 2014

Broken Alliances

How interesting things are getting in Nigeria. The closer we get to the Elections the more desperate Goodluck Jonathan is getting. After another reported request for Arms from the United States was rejected the Nigerian Government has seen forced to procur arms from other sources.

Reports now indicate that Nigeria has a deal in place to receive $1 Billion from Russia. The Money will probably be used to acquire attack helicopters which is felt needed to deal with the Boko Haram Insurgency. The question is will this be seen as a blow to US Policy in Africa? Nigeria after all is key partner in Africa if you listen to key position holders in Washington. In fact one Nigerian Magazine has come out and said that the Alliance with the United States regarding Boko Haram has been a failure due to the inability to procur both arms and intelligence.

The Ability by Boko Haram to infiltrate the Security Forces of Nigeria and the Incompetence shown by both Military and Political Leaders are more of a cause for the inability to defeat the insurgency than any action taken by the Obama Administration but it clearly has not supported the Nigerians as promised....

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is another cause for concern. Earlier this year the State Department Promised $35 Million for the upcoming Presidential Elections.  The key was that the Elections were to be free and fair and Democratic Institutions were to be respected. However that appears not to be the case.

Under the current Constitution the President is term limited to only have two terms in office. Plans are in the works for the Constitution to be amended so that President Kabila can run for a third term. This is not boding well in Washington. A small militia has once again began to terrorize civilians in the Eastern Part of the Country. So is this a case of a margainal leader seeking to retain power to enrich himself?

How close are the ties between the US and Kenya? The CIA Torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Community mentions Kenya in a prominent role. Kenya has been having issues with Al-Shaabab over the recent months. Could this be the site of a first blowback attack?

Also Christian Groups in Kenya are concerned regarding the recent anti-Christian violence that the Group is taking in recent attacks in Northeastern Kenya. I wonder how the White House will respond.

Dec. 4th, 2014

More Missteps?

The United States is in a new row with Nigeria. Once again the issue is the Nigerian Military seeking to purchase Helicopters to deal with the Boko Haram Islamist Insurgency. The Country wanted to purchase Cobra attack Helicopters from the US Military. Reports indicate that the Obama Administration was not too keen on the sale. Guess how the Nigerians responded? They ended the Program where US Special Forces were training a Battalion of the Nigerian Army to perform the tasks similar to what the Rangers perform for the US Army.

While the Jonathan Administration Bloviates and Postures regarding the Helos they are now losing the Insurgency. Boko Haram has increased its attacks in Adamwa State. Last Month the Headquarters of a Main Opposition Party was raided in Abuja. These are steps that a Government in Control would make.

What is interesting is that Nigeria is now close to signing a deal to purchase 2 Squadrons of the JF-17 Lightning. A Fighter that is jointly produced by both China and Pakistan. Earlier this year there were reports that the Nigerians were interested in the J-7s that the Pakistani Air Force currently flies. There were even reports that Pakistani Pilots even flew Airstrikes against Boko Haram as well.

There are also rumors that the UN Security Council could pass a new line of Sanctions against South Sudan and the people who are orchestrating the violence there. But has anyone noticed the language that the UN is using regarding the Independence and Soverignty of the Country? According to information sent to the Confused Eagle earlier this week the South Sudanese Foreign Minister was summoned to New York to meet with the UN. What has happened since this acrimonious meeting occurred is that there have been persisitent rumors that South Sudan will be run for 10 years as a UN Trusteeship to reorganize the Infrastructure in the Country.

Who could run the Country as a Trustee? The US could be asked to do so. China has an increasing interest in the Country as well as Uganda and Kenya. It is even feasible for Khartoum to even run things.... Boy would that make Bashir happy. But its interesting to see some of the people proposing this criticized the Bush Administration over Iraq. Deja Vu?

Finally there is an issue occurring within The Gambia for the World to stand up and take notice about. It seems that there is a crackdown against the LGBT Community as several are now in hiding or have fled the Country. Lets see.... Journalists are beaten, disappear or are driven overseas, It support Militants in the Casamance Region of Senegal, Has placed certain individuals in the Army of Guinea-Bissau, Murdered victims of Human Trafficking, Closed Christian Schools and its the LGBT Community that finally gets the World interested in what is going on in the Country.

Once again there are new concerns regarding the Christian Community in Sudan. At least 35 people were detained by Security Forces in the Country as Churches were closed yet again. 17 people did have their charges thrown out by a magistrate.

Interesting News item here: Dozens of Chinese were arrested in Kenya with hacking equipment. They were busted near the US Embassy as well.

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