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Feb. 2nd, 2016

Some Behind the Scenes Info

Its very rare that books are reccomended on this Blog. But yet again any serious scholar regarding African Issues, A student following the Foreign Policy of the Obama Administration or even the War on Terror have to read the following book.

Tomorrow's Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa by Nick Turse is a must read. Although his Politics may be left of center ( He writes for the Nation and is the managing editor at TomDispatch) Mr. Turse has crafted a collection of articles that in some ways matches what you see here on Confused Eagle.

AFRICOM is a topic that appears often in his writings. The Debate between him and the Public Affaris Office at AFRICOM at the end of the book is a very informative look at how the Pentagon Presence in Africa is a very controversial Notion.

It appears that as this year advances that there will be controversial elections in Africa. ISIS/Daesh and Al Qaeda will attempt to expand their influence outside of their bases in Libya and Syria. Im sure that copious amounts of ink will be used to offer solutions to these issues as they emerge.

There is some interesting Financial News regarding Africa as well today. Prudential Financial announced that it will partner with LeapFrog Investments to invest $350 Million in African Insurers.

A list of Insurance Companies that are targeted for this project are located in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

Subsaharan Africa with its growing Population, Rising Incomes and New Technology make the region an area that will be targeted for investment. By 2018 Insurance Premiums are expected to grow by 10% in Nigeria, 9% in Ghana and 8% in Kenya.

Also at the End of Jan. A meeting was held in Raliegh NC by AFRICOM, US Army Africa and leaders of the National Guard to discuss the future of the Partnership Program which links US National Guard Units to African Militiaries.

At this time there are 12 Partnerships currently in Operation

California--->Nigeria
New York---->South Africa
North Carolina---->Botswana
North Dakota---->Ghana,Togo and Benin
Michigan------>Liberia
Utah----->Morocco
Vermont----->Senegal
Wyoming---->Tunisia
Kentucky---->Djibouti
Massachusetts---->Kenya

Jan. 26th, 2016

Election News

The US State Department has once again issued a travel alert for a Central African Country. This time the nation in question just happens to be Uganda.

The Alert which expires on March 31,2016 urges that American Citizens in Uganda maintain a high level of security awareness leading up to, during, and following the election period. Presidential and Parliamentary Elections are scheduled to be run on Feb. 18th of this year.

The alert also cautions Americans against attending any Political Rallies, demonstrations, or crowds of any kind as what may start out as a Peacefully Event could evolve into a confrontation. Another Place where US Citizens are encouraged to avoid are polling places also.

The State Department and the US Embassy in Kampala are not aware of any overt threat against American Citizens in the Country, Americans are encouraged to review their security plan and to monitor local news outlets for Breaking News and Developments.

This new alert comes one week after the State Department issued another alert regarding concerns of "Excessive Use of Force" by Ugandan Police against Members of the Political Opposition holding rallies. Rallies by the Opposition have been disbursed and obstructed as well. Members of the media have been targets of brutal police tactics as well.

The US is also ramping up the pressure on the African Union to allow Burundi to accept Peacekeepers in an attempt to break up the impasse regarding the Controversial Reelection of President Nkuruzina to a third term last year.

The State Department has gone on record to state that it is concerned that the Current Political Stalemate in Burundi must not be allowed to play out in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Also there are two other elections that are scheduled to be run in Africa next month. On the 28th Voters in Benin go to the polls to elect a President. However an official date has not been set yet for the Parliamentary Polls that are planned in Chad.

Jan. 12th, 2016

Some Interesting News

We begin this update with news of a prisoner transfer. It seems that the United States has transferred two detainees from Guantamano Bay. They were transferred to Ghana. This is the first instance of any detainees being sent to this country.

These two individuals Mahmud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammed Salih al-Dhuby were cleared for release by the Pentagon years ago and will remain in Ghana until 2018. according to documents published by the New York Times Dhuby was captured by US Forces in Afganistan back in 2002. He was assessed as being a "probable member of Al-Qaeda" at that point.

Mr. Bin Atef was an admitted member of the Taliban according to the same Documents. Mr. Dhuby went on Ghanian State Radio stating that " I just want the listeners to know that we are not part of any bad group,like Al-Qaeda or anything like that".

Several Religous and Political Groups including the Main Opposition Party have been critical of the Government for accepting these individuals.

Recently the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Dunford of the Marine Corps paid a visit to AFRICOM HQ in Germany. The purpose was to develop a Five Year Plan for the Command to determine what the US Security Interests in Africa will be. The list has five key planks. They are:

1.) Neutralizing Al-Shabaab in Somalia

2.) Containing the Instability ongoing in Libya

3.)Contain Boko Haram in West Africa

4.)Disrupting Illicit Activity in the Gulf of Guinea and in Central Africa

5.) Build the Peacekeeping and Disaster Response of African Partners

AFRICOM has such a small footprint on the Continent so that these goals may seem daunting. However there are several security and contingency arrangements that could allow for deployments on an emergency basis. The question is who will determine the emergency, Washington or the Partner?

Interesting to note about the first plank regarding the conviction of a resident of Maryland for supporting Al-Shabaab in recent days. The group has done well recruiting in several locations in the US. So its not a huge stretch of the imagination.

Also the US has donated 24 MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Armor Protected vehicles) to Nigeria to assist in the Struggle against Boko Haram. The total value of the donation is $11 Million

This donation comes roughly at the same time that Angola is improving its Maritime Security with the purchase of Radars, Patrol Boats and Helicopters from Italy.

Jan. 6th, 2016

Three Key Points

Fox Sports in the US has a place on their sports ticker that highlight three key things regarding Gameday in the NFL. There are three key actions right now regarding US Policy towards Africa.

First of all is Rwanda. It has been announced that Paul Kagame will run for a Third Term as President of Rwanda in 2017. The United States is not pleased with this decision. By taking this action Rwanda joins a list of Countries such as Uganda, Burundi, Togo that has seen a President extend his reign past Constititional Limits.

In March of this year Congo-Brazzaville could join this nefarious group and the Democratic Republic of the Congo may also join by the end of the year. DRC Elections have be run by 30 November of this year.

Rwanda has had a role in the destablization of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now there is word that Burundian Refugees fleeing the violence there are being recruited as fighters by Burundian Rebels. Kagame and his Intel People have not been accused of supporting this yet but the longer the crisis in Burundi festers the more likely this may occur.

Second is South Africa. On New Year's Eve 2015 the Country missed a deadline to resolve disputes regarding Trade Levies (Taxes). This places its membership in AGOA (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act) in jeopardy. In November 2015 the Obama Administration stated that South Africa continued to impose barriers on US trade and gave the country 60 Days to resolve the situation or run the risk of suspension of some trade preferences under AGOA.

On January 4th of this year South Africa faced another deadline to comply with terms within a trade agreement with the United States or risk losing export benefits as well. It also missed a deadline back in October regarding animal health and food safety regulations.

Last year trade between the US and South Africa was an estimated $14 Billion

Finally it was revealed that the US is removing UAVs or Drones from Ethiopia. This is the third country that the US has removed these assets from (Djibouti in 2013 and Nigeria in 2014).

Reports indicate that these vehicles may soon end up in Kismayu in Somalia. So does this mean that Lamu County and Possibly even Burundi may soon see this coverage? Or will these be used for Maritime Operations?

The Administration once again is not being specific.....

Jan. 2nd, 2016

First of 2016

On January 4,2016 Both President Obama and the Congress will return to Washington after taking time off to celebrate Christmas. However that does not mean that things have been quiet.

During the Break Bob Corker (R-TN) Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a meeting with several South Sudanese Diplomats. He stated that they should be "Embarrassed" to Represent the Country.

For more than two years South Sudan has suffered violence after a Coup Attempt by Reik Machar and other members of Neur Tribe who feel left out of the Government which is led by the Majority Dinka Tribe. Thousands of South Sudanese have been killed or forced to leave their homes.

The US and other parties supported an effort to create a National Unity Government restoring Gen Machar to his former Position as Vice President. This amounts no more than a Status Quo Ante Bellum. It rewards bad behavior by one party(Neur) and really solves nothing until elections are held and new leadership can be imposed.

For whatever reason the Obama Administration has Salva Kiir in its crosshairs. Like the Israeli PM the efforts to replace him have so far failed. Seeing a senior Republican leader and one that has some input into US Policy act like this will have the Government in Juba wonder who they can trust in Washington.

AFRICOM is also undertaking two different training exercises already.

First of all CJTF-HOA (Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa). recently conducted a training exercises with Djiboutian Security Forces. This training conducted by Intelligence Specialists currently based in the United Kingdom. This training is designed build security capacity for their troops currently serving as part of the AU Mission in Somalia.

The second project is that the US Army Africa has met with its Gabonese Counterparts to begin the process of planning CENTRAL ACCORD 2016. 14 Other African and European Countries are involved in the exercise which will take place in June of this year.

Gabon is one country that analysts will have to keep an eye on this year. It will be holding Presidential Elections sometime this year and is currently assisting the US and France with Operations in the Central African Republic.

Dec. 22nd, 2015

Ignoring the Plight of Others

Last week the US Network ABC ran a segment highlighting a Group of Iraqi Christians who were able to flee the violence inflicted upon them by the Islamist Militants known as ISIS or Daesh. They have been resettled in Slovakia because One US Commentator took it upon himself to render assistance.

There is a problem with the Mainline Protestant Denominations here in the West showing disdain to their brothers in the Middle East who are being persecuted to the point it can and probably should be declared a Genocide.

Writing in his Epistles the Apostle Paul calls upon Faithful to care for each other and the Church itself. If this is a guideline to be followed than We as Christians are sadly dropping the ball.

It is not just in Iraq or Syria where Christians are under fire. In the last week the following events have occurred in Africa:

In Northern Mali 3 Men were shot and killed outside of a Christian Radio Station. In this instance the Malian Security Forces have made an arrest.

In Northern Kenya Militants from Somalia attacked a bus and tried to seperate the Christian Passengers from the Muslims. In this case the Muslims refused to be seperated because they realized that the Christians would most likely be killed.

In Sudan Two Christian Pastors and a Prominent Christian Activist (Their names are Rev Kwa Shamal and Rev Hassan Abduraheem and the name of the Activist is Talahon Nigosi Kassa Ratta. Earlier this summer Rev Shamal was given 24 hours to vacate his Church so it can be demolished.

The Nigeria Conflict Security Analysis Network compiled data for a report for the period of December 2013 and July 2015 that revealed that during that time period 1,484 Christians were killed 2,388 have been injured and 171 Churches were destroyed in Taraba State.

Christian leaders have been rising up to address the discrepancy in the plight of Christians being persecuted in the Middle East. Its time to do it for their Brothers and Sisters in Africa.



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Dec. 19th, 2015

More Under the Radar

We may have new evidence that the Economy of Sierra Leone was damaged to a higher scale by the Ebola Outbreak of 2014 than people realize. Or there is a level of mismanagement and/or cronyism that continues to plague African Politics.

An Audit of the Sierra Leonian Mission in New York and of the Embassy in Washington provide the details. The findings were that the mortgage of the Permanent Representative's residence was in default to the tune of $166,033 and was due on December 31,2014. A Repossession notice was issued in 2013 if the arrears was not paid.

This risky arrangement used another property of the Sierra Leonian Government as collateral. So this means that there is a another property that is in danger of foreclosure as well.

The Chancery Office is in such poor condition that US Insurance Companies refused to cover this property.

Another Observation was that between 2011-2013 the Embassy in Washington used Rubber Stamps instead of Visa Stickers due to their lack of availability. The Embassy also paid over $46,000 to a hotel for a working visit to the US by President Koroma and his entourage. It is not known if the unofficial members of the delegation have reimbursed the Embassy for their charges for this visit.

Once again there has been a mixup between the US Military and an African Nation. Earlier this week 20 USAF commandos arrived in Libya to foster relationships with some of the Militias vieing for power in the Oil- Rich African Country.

The Problem was that although the Libyan Army was ready to interact with the Americans a Libyan Militia was not willing to interact with them and demanded that they leave the country. They went so far as to post a picture of the Americans who were not in uniform on Facebook.

To advoid conflict the Americans left the area. This is an embarassment for the US Military. Once again it appears that this is a mission that although necessary was poorly planned and executed.

Islamic Extremists are reported to have been gaining a foothold in the Country and it appears that if and when both Yemen and Syria become stable that this may be the next location for Nation Building.

Another US Oil Company may have struck Gold in Africa. Chevron has reported that one of its subsidaries has made a find in the Republic of Congo. (Brazzaville not Kinshasa). This strike was made 46 km off Pointe Noire in the Moho Bilondo Exploration area. The Company is planning on a $1 Billion investment in this area now as a result.

Dec. 14th, 2015

Interesting 48 Hours

The reaction of the US Embassy in Bujumbura since the events of Friday maybe a good indicator of how the political situation is rapidly imploding in the Country.

To recap Armed Supporters of the Opposition or even disgruntled former soldiers attempted to attack 3 Military Barracks in the Capitol. The fighting lasted all day Friday and into early Saturday According to Some Accounts. The Death Toll has been steadily increasing with the official death toll standing at 87.

After the attacks were repulsed Security Forces went into neighborhoods which are known bases of support for the Opposition and reportedly dragged people out of their homes. There are also reports of some Extrajudicial Executions commited by the Security Forces. (Some People reportedly still had their hands tied behind their backs.) No casualty reports have been released for this operation.

The messages that came from the Embassy at first were telling US Citizens and Non-essential Staff to Shelter in Place and maintain contact. Later on US Embassy Staff and Citizens in the Capital were placed under a 9 PM Curfew and those outside the Capital were to remain in place and follow a similar security precaution (following the curfew).

Now the US Embassy is advising US Citizens and non-essentials to leave the Country. It is going to be difficult as most regional Air Carriers have canceled flights to Bujumbura. That means a drive to either Rwanda or the DRC at best.

It should be interesting to note that the Armed Opposition is recruiting for fighters from those fleeing North into Rwanda. Makes one wonder what role Kagame and His Intelligence Services have in this little matter.

This is an important week in Washington as well. Tis the week where the MCC compacts will be announced. It is understood that Ivory Coast will hear their status sometime on Wed.

A delegation from Botswana recently met with reps from AFRICOM EUCOM and US ARMY EUROPE to discuss challenges and opportunities as the BDF (Botswana Defence Forces) Modernize. Some of the Briefing discussed how to synchronize how US and Botswanan Forces could operate in a future environment.

Dec. 6th, 2015

New Advisories

The World is becoming a more dangerous place.  So much so that the State Department issued/updated Two Travel Advisories on Friday Afternoon. The timing can be seen as impeccable considering the locations.

First of all is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Earlier in the week the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) A Ugandan Militia that has close ties with Al-Shabaab launched an attack that killed more than a dozen people in the Eastern part of the Country. This led to a reprisal attack by UN Peacekeepers.

As a result of that the US updated its Travel Advisories for the Kivu Provinces, Ituri and the new Provinces of Tanganyika and Haut-Lomani. The Advisory also warned of an increased risk of Kidnapping and Infectous Diseases in this region as well as the rampant corruption that plagues this region.

The DRC is scheduled to run Presidential Elections sometime in 2016.

The other advisory covered Nigeria. We all know of the the Boko Haram Insurgency in the impoverished Northeastern States of the Country. However in recent weeks supporters of an independent Biafra have made their voices heard during several protests that have become violent.

What is interesting is that within 24 hours of the issuance of this particular advisory Nigerian Security Forces arrested 9 people in the Capital on charges of being a sleeper cell for these Islamic Militants. Timing is everything especially in Politics and even Comedy. But one has to wonder whether or not the Embassy had advance knowledge of the raid or even assisted in locating the Militants.

The State Department has condemned the recent attacks by Boko Haram in Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria that has left scores dead in recent weeks.

There are talks scheduled soon to discuss the situation in Yemen. Ethiopia is concerned that the use of the Port of Assab by Coalition Forces (Saudis, Sudan UAE etc..) could further destablize the area around the Bab-al-Mandab Straits. It is estimated that 10% of the World's Petroleum passes through this Strait as it transits the Suez Canal en route to Europe.

Djibouti which has US, French and soon Chinese Interests on its soil turned down the initial request for assistance from the Saudi led Coalition.

Regarding the Attack on the Hotel in Bamako last month. It seems that the Malian Militants behind the strike are uniting with AQIM in their effort to create their warped vision of the Caliphite.

What will this week bring?

Nov. 30th, 2015

Over the Holiday

In less than 24 hours it will be difficult to exchange US Dollars for the Angolan Kwanza. Rand Merchant Bank based in South Africa announced that a US supplier will no longer provides the notes after December 1st.

The Angolan Kwanza has been under sever pressure for the month of November. Due to the worldwide decline in Oil Prices its value has fallen 30% so far this year for officially traded currency. In the Parallel Markets the decline is perceived to be more substantial in nature.

On Nov. 5th the Angloan Central Bank announced a reduction in the delivery of banknotes in foreign currency to foreign travellers as well as limiting withdrawals from accounts held in foreign currency. The Country also recently sold its first Eurobonds as well generating $1.5 Billion. So it appears that Angola is suffering from the low prices of Oil.

In October of this year the US deactiviated the 60th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron which was conducting operations in Djibouti. This is a major move being undertaken as this was the only MQ-1 Launch and Recovery site in Africa. In Simple terms the US was using this location for the Predators UAV systems.

Although it is not clear whether or not the US is continuing to use other assets in the Country to monitor events or launch operations as fighting rages in Somalia but stopping the program essentially makes the US Blind to events and actions currently occurring in the Horn of Africa. While in operation the UAVs being used here collected over 24,000 hours of gathering intelligence and surveillance and were responsible for the deaths of 69 Foreign Fighters including 5 High Value Targets.

Also over the weekend the Obama Administration addressed the situation in Burundi by targeting 4 Individuals it feels are responsible for promoting the violence in the Country that continues as a low intensity conflict.

Also during the Month of November Members of the US Marines augmented by the British Royal Marines worked with their compatriots from Angola, Nigeria, Togo and Ghana to improve their capacity in addressing piracy and illicit trafficking.

The Gulf of Guinea region has seen a spike in Piracy and is a major route for Human and Drug Trafficking from Africa and even South America to Europe. Unstable Governments play a role in this situation so improving the capability is a step in the right direction. Question is how large of a step is it?

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