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Oct. 3rd, 2019

Mixed News

This starts off with the proverbial line there is good news and sadly there is bad news. Both items cover the same country that being Somalia.

First for the good news. After an absence of 28 years, The United States has officially reopened the Embassy in Mogadishu. The timeline began with the ouster of former President Siad Barre in 1991 and subsequent collapse of the Somali State until the Trump Administration.  The historic events which passed notably including the event that led to the Night of the Rangers aka Black Hawk down warfare by proxy as the US encouraged both Ethiopia and Kenya to intervene, supporting the AMISOM Mission, Special Forces Raids and Drone Strikes. Alot took place over the years.

Now the bad news. Al-Shaabab reportedly launched an attack against what they called a US Military Installation. The facility at Baledogle is known to be a facility from which UAVs are launched from to support AMISOM and Somali Government Forces. There was one reported American Casualty but the injuries were reported to be minor.

The Second piece of Mixed News pertains to Chad. In late September the South African Arms Manufacturer Denel missed a delivery of 40 Armored Vehicles to the Central African Nation. What is interesting is the fact that the Chadian Government paid a down payment of R 100 Million on a R 340 Million contract.

On September 30th the US Delivered 80 Toyota Land Cruisers as part of a $15 Million package. The delivery also included Comm Gear and Supporting Equipment. This gear will be used by Chadian Forces that are supporting the Sahel 5 Initiative.

Finally there is some news regarding Cameroon. Officially when it comes to the National Unity Conversation the US is maintaining a position of Neutrality. It should be noted that earlier this year Undersecretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy stated that the way to resolve the crisis in Cameroon is through Mediation.

Sadly this is tinged by reports of a death of a Cameroonian Asylum Seeker in ICE custody in San Diego. This sad event should have people focused on resolving the political morass in Cameroon. Sadly this will be exploited by some for profit or political gain.

Sep. 18th, 2019

Travels

The New Commanding General of AFRICOM has been travelling the Continent in recent weeks. Paying visits to two nations that have serious struggles with Insurgencies.

General Stephen Townsend has made visits to both Somalia and to Mali. There has been an increase in US activity in the country with a reported US Air Strike launched against targets on September 17th. This comes twenty four hours after an attack by Al-Shaabab against Somalia Government Forces and their supporters from AMISOM.

The visit by General Townsend to Bamako where he met with senior Malian Political and Military leadership was part of a regional visit where He is scheduled to meet with other leaders of the Sahel 5 coalition.  Recent incidents including attacks against Churches in Burkina Faso and new reports of Farmer Herder Conflicts in Chad are reasons for concern.

That is why the US effort dealing with improving the Military Capabilities of the Sahel 5 countries are a key focus of AFRICOM at this point in time.

Back to Somalia for a moment

In late August of 2019 the Government reached a deal with SPG (Sonoran Policy Group) a lobbying firm based in Arizona to lobby the Trump Administration to increase the amount of Foreign Aid the Country will receive. The contract will cost $400,000 for the rest of the calendar year. (Not bad for roughly 90 days of work)

It should be noted as well that SPG has represented both the Kenyan Government and Current DRC President Felix Tshishsekedi before he won the Presidency. Key members of the firm have worked for the Trump Administration as well.

One of the goals is to lift the freeze levied on the Somali National Army covering both food and fuel that was imposed after increasing concerns regarding corruption.  The firm is also committed to arranging talks between the Somali Government and the Trump Administration and Lawmakers as well.

Also within the last two weeks the Confused Eagle was able to attend two events regarding two African Countries seeking to have more US Investors invest in these countries.

These Countries are Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The pitch on behalf of Guinea was made by President Alpha Conte at the Brookings Insitution. just a week before the Congolese made their pitch for US investors.

Both countries have highlighted the ease at which it is now able to to acquire a business licence and tax number online without the redtape that it previously had taken in order to invest.

President Conte also stated that although his country is not tied up with France, the US or China that American Investors should not be frightened of the Chinese either.

Aug. 17th, 2019

While Congress is Away.....

Generally speaking the month of August is a time of quiet here in Washington. The Senators and Representatives are back in their home districts at town halls or campaigning to become the next President of the United States. That being said there have been some interesting moves.

The first item concerns the rising interest by the Trump Administration regarding the situation in the Sahel. During the week of August 15th the US Air Force announced that the base near Agadez, Niger is now Operational.

According to a Press Release issued by US Air Forces in Europe- Air Forces Africa, US Airmen have completed several major construction projects at Nigerien Air Base 201. The Runway is completed as well as major portions of the infrastructure needed to conduct operations at the facility. The airfield needs to go through the necessary assessments and procedures to be developed to allow for the operations that would be launched from the facility.

ANAC the Nigerien Civil Aviation Authority along with the Nigerien and US Air Forces agreed to as of August 1st to fly limited VFR (Visual Flight Rules) at Base 201. In layman's terms there is another UAV base operational.

The more that things change the more they stay the same. The case in point here is the situation in Zimbabwe. There was great optimism in the country when long serving President Robert Mugabe was removed after a coup and replaced by the current incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa. Who has promised to install improvements in the country but has not been able to deliver yet.

One of the major issues of contention was the support that the main opposition party the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) received from the United States. Relations between the US and Zimbabwe have been tense especially during the Administration of George W Bush which coincided with the controversial land reform program which was a factor in the Zimbabwean Economy coming to a screeching halt.

During the week of August 15th an Op-Ed in the Herald which is the main voice of the Government in print published a piece entitled US Embassy has become an opposition cell.

One of the reasons cited by the paper is that a member of the embassy staff visited an unnamed activist that had been allegedly abducted and brutalized. The Op-Ed didn't mention who was accused of attacking the activist. But the glaring ommission can be taken to suggest that agents of the Zimbabwean Security Services could be the Guilty Party.

They have also accused the US Embassy of urging violence during the protests that took place on August 16th as well. It seems that despite the new leadership in Harare the rhetoric has not changed one iota.

Jul. 27th, 2019

After the Ministerial

We are now two weeks removed from the Religious Freedom Ministerial that was hosted by the US State Department. During the dozens of side events the climate in one African Country was highlighted. That Country was Nigeria.

The country faces serious challenges from both the Boko Haram Insurgency in the northeastern part of the country to the violence in the Middle Belt States that have been caused by the actions of the Fulani. The inability of successive Nigerian Governments to address these issues are a serious challenge.

During the week of July 25th it was announced that the Trump Administration would clamp down on the Visas on several high profile Nigerian leaders. This fulfills a promise made during the general elections that were run earlier this year which resulted in the deaths of over 600 people. After these polls were held the Administration stated that it would consider placing visa restrictions upon those who were held responsible for undermining the democratic process or were responsible for the electoral violence.

Considering that there are privacy concerns regarding naming the specific individuals who are targeted by this ban we will not know who has been targeted until they start complaining to the Media and friendly audiences.

The Administration appears to be taking a wait and see attitude when it comes to events that continue to unfold in Sudan. Gradually the number of people that were killed during the protests in June are trickling out. During the week of July 25th the RSF (Rapid Security Forces) moved against several key actors including arresting the head of the Army and moving against the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). This appears to be a revolution that conducting a purge to purify certain elements while negotiating a transfer of power back to civilian rule. This appears that it will be a long drawn out process to ensure certain people do not face justice for their actions.

Finally the West African Nation of Senegal has received 2,200 M4 Carbines from the United States. The weapons which were acquired under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program was deemed to be necessary before Senegalese Troops deploy to Mali to support the Multidimensional Integrated Stablization Mission.

This transfer was approved in June 2018 by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the weapons were delivered a short time later. On average delivery time should range anywhere between 24 and 30 months. Training in the use of the weapons was provided by the Vermont National Guard.

West Africa will be a security concern for as long as Libya continues to be unstable.

Jul. 3rd, 2019

Congress Stepping Up?

In recent weeks the US Congress has made some moves that should be seen as taking an increased interest in the current situation in Cameroon.

First of all an amendment was added to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) 2020 that would have seen the total suspension of US Military Assistance to the Country. This amendment came from the offices of Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) these Senators should be commended for adding this provision but sadly even though the NDAA was passed this Amendment was defeated.

Also at this time a CODEL (Congressional Delegation) is currently on the ground in Cameroon. This mission is currently being led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) who is the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organizations. She also leads the Foreign Policy Task force for the Congressional Black Caucus as well.

It is not known whether or not the CODEL will visit the strife torn Northwest/Southwest Provinces which is where the Insurgency is taking place. But having this mission on the ground may lead to more hearings in the House sometime after the Independence Day recess.

Also it has been revealed that Rep Rob Bishop who sits on the Committee on Natural Resources in the House sent a letter to the World Wildlife Fund seeking documents regarding complaints whether or not US Funds sent to the group were used to promote violence in both Cameroon and in the Congo.

The letter seeks all documentation regarding their operations in both countries since Jan !, 1998 to the current day. Specifically the documents in question refer to accounting for funds that "wholly or partially supported armed rangers or paramilitary forces." This letter was inspired by a Buzzfeed news report stating that indegenious people in six Asian and African Countries were tortured, raped or killed by elements that received grants from the WWF.

Two specific documents that are being requested are reports documenting Operations in Cameroon released in 2015 and a 2017 report covering the Messok Dja National Park in Brazzaville. Documents are also requested highilghting contacts between the Washington Office and their International Partners...

More to Come

Jun. 15th, 2019

Sudan and other moves

This past week Undersecretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy made a visit to Khartoum to highlight the concerns the United States has regarding the pace of transfer from 30 years of Military Rule to Civilian Government.

The Undersecretary stated that if this process fails then Sudan does risk becoming another Somalia or Libya. That means an entity with either a weak functioning or there isn't a functioning Government in place. That is why the Trump Administration has decided to appoint a Special Envoy to Sudan and the person that they have chosen is career Diplomat Don Booth.

The concern is that there are some people both on the Ground in Sudan and in regional Capitals who are concerned about the pace of change not that it is indeed in process.

Also during the previous week the Trump Administration announced that it was transferring Arms to Niger. This was the first delivery of a promised $ 21 MIllion that the US has promised to delivered. This equipment is gearmarked to assist the Sahel 5 deal with rising Militant Attacks across the region. The US has provided Aircraft and Armored Vehicles over the past few years as well to Niger.

Also receiving a package of equipment and other supplies was Malawi. The Southern African Country has received just over $1 Million worth of equipment from the US to support its troops currently on peacekeeping missions. There is concern regarding the timing of this delivery coming so soon after Police fired Tear Gas against protesters in the Capital. This means we should monitor events in the country as well.

Finally like a bad penny Erik Prince keeps turning up. It has been revealed that one of his entities is now doing business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His firm will be extracting both Minerals and Timber and providing Financial Services as well. There have been several ongoing investigations looking into the actions of firms that work in all three of these fields. This one may be popcorn worthy

May. 13th, 2019

While You are focused on the Gulf......

There are two interesting item regarding the situation that is currently unfolding in Cameroon.

First of another resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives that does not call for drastic changes in the US Policy towards the country but in essence raises the concerns of the House.

This Resolution H Res 358 reads very similar to H Res 1111 which was introduced in the previous Congress and allowed to die. This was introduced by the current chair of the House Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa Ms Karen Bass of California. The murder of Mr. Wesco a Missionary from Indiana could be a catalyst that could see more serious action taken on this.

Also on May 13th an informal briefing regarding the Southwest Regional (Cameroon Government is trying to ban the use of the terms Anglophone and Francophone) Crisis will be held at the UN Security Council today. Since it is not a formal item on the agenda there is not much hope that any serious action will be taken by the council.

That being said there will be demonstrations in New York today over the situation in Cameroon.

Also there are some thoughts that the Confused Eagle has regarding the rescue mission in Benin over this past weekend, (May 10th)

As we now know an unidentified American Woman was among the hostages rescued by French Special Forces. Her identity remains hidden as she didn't sign the documents offered by the State Department that would have revealed it to the public.

That being said here are the questions:

How does someone who is kidnapped for a period of 28 days not reach out to their family back in the United States? The State Department stated that it had no knowledge that this person was in fact kidnapped. I'm sorry but who goes almost a full month without hearing from a loved one and does not go to the authorities and tell them that they haven't heard from the person and ask for a welfare check?

Reports of the US sharing some intel regarding the kidnappers suggests that they may have had an idea who they were and were sharing information. The Sahel and West Africa are turning into a Flashpoint especially after the destruction of the Church on May 12th in Burkina Faso.

More to come..

Apr. 24th, 2019

Surprise Surprise

It seems that the ambush of and deaths of four Green Berets in Niger are an issue that the acting SECDEF Shanahan needs to be looked into yet again.

This move which is being done in such a way to determine whether or not Charges would be filed against any personnel involved in the decision is underway in order to determine whether or not the Acting Secretary will sign off on any potential charges. Awards to personnel that were granted under Secretary Mattis are under review as well.

This event was one of the factors which has led to the proposed retasking of US Assets in Africa towards confronting a reemerging Russia and a China that are currently perceived to be Strategic Threats. Africa does appear to be one of the areas of contention that is unfolding. On the surface the current strategy of dealing with these two potential adversaries by withdrawing from Africa makes little sense.

That being said the investigation was considered by some to be hastily done and or a whitewash. The surprise among some leaders in the Pentagon about this issue returning will be a situation to monitor.

Sudan is in transition. It seems that with the removal of Bashir from the scene that the US will move to improve the Counterterrorism relationship with Khartoum. The question is should this process be undertaken with the Military Council whose members were placed into their positions of authority by Bashir? Or should the US wait until civilian leadership resumes power in the country.

One thing for certain is that the culture of cronyism has to be defeated before country can move forward. After the arrest of Bashir a search of one of his residences turned up three suitcases. One held $ 371,000 a second held 5 Million Euros and the third held Six million Sudanese Pounds. We should remember that his government stated that sanctions were harming the Sudanese Economy...
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Apr. 10th, 2019

Some Interactions

Two of my favorite events have intersected in early April 2019. They are the Cherry Blossom Festival and the IMF/World Bank meetings here in Washington, D.C.

In recent weeks the Confused Eagle has been able to interact with some key African Decision Makers and there have some that haven't panned out. But there are some unique asks that are being presented to the Trump Administration. First of all is the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

President Tshishsekdi spoke at an event where despite criticizing the Trump Administration for imposing Sanctions on the leader of the National Electoral Commission of the DRC he asked for US assistance in dealing with ISIS in the strife torn eastern part of the Country.

ISIS could mean the ADF which has maintained a presence in the region since the end of the Congo Wars of the late 1990s. The group was also a component of the Al-Shabaab strike in Kampala during the 2010 World Cup. However when it comes to the DRC there is one key fact that needs to be remembered. With former President Kabila a member of the Senate and his allies having a stranglehold on Parliament just how much of an agenda will the current President be able to accomplish without the approval of Kabila and his supporters?

Secondly is Mali. Foreign Minister Camara met with a delegation at the Malian Embassy which the editor of Confused Eagle was able to attend. There were several key takeaways from that meeting as well.

First of all some of the reforms that were recommended by Peace Negotiations have been written down as a proposed new Constitution and presented to the President for his review. In June it is expected that a referendum on this document will be held. This has the potential to be a bellweather moment for the country.

Secondly the Malians would like more Military Assistance from the United States. Most of the US efforts in Mali have amounted to supporting French efforts in the Country. They are asking for the US to assist them as they recover from the collapse of 2012.

Thirdly the country would love to see the restoration of the MCC Compact which was suspended after the Coup in 2012. There are major infrastructure needs in the country specifically in the northern part of the Country. A restoration of or granting a new MCC compact could lead to more direct investment by US companies (another wish that the country has)

President Touare of the Central African Republic spoke at the United States Institute for Peace within the last 24 hours of this posting. He also wishes for an increased presence by the US when it comes to investments. His Excellency also stated that all are welcome in the Country. This statement was in reference to being asked about the Russian Presence that is currently in the Country.

Also within the next 24 hours the Confused Eagle will be interacting with a delegation from South Sudan that is currently in the United States seeking US Economic investments as well.

Truly this is one of my favorite times of year.

Mar. 26th, 2019

(no subject)

This report begins with the tragedy of Cyclone Idai. At last report at least 700 people perished in both Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The damage done to the infrastructure especially to the Port City of Beira has been devasting.

It has been announced that President Trump has instructed the US Military to conduct an initial assessment of the damage in order to determine what assistance could be best provided. The initial assesment by AFRICOM will be conducted by the CJTF-HOA (Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa) which is based in Djibouti.

Already the DOD has released $6.5 Million in Assistance to USAID to immediate aid. This will probably just be only the tip of the Iceberg but this aid is being ordered just 72 hours after a formal request for International Assistance was made by Mozambique. It is not known whether or not Zimbabwe or even Malawi has made calls for assistance after this devasting storm hit the East African Coastline.

Also within the last 24 hours the State Department has updated its Travel Advisory regarding the Central African Republic. Right now the strife torn country is considered to be a level 4 Risk. That means do not go there under any circumstances at all. The reasons given are for an increased rate in both crime and civil unrest.

In recent weeks there has been concerns that the Peace Deal in the country is showing signs of unravelling. 14 groups stated that they had issues regarding the agreement and were walking away unless the Prime Minister was removed from office. In recent days four former Rebel Leaders have been added to the Government with the position of Advisors. How this will turn out has yet to be seen.

There are reports from Cameroonian Media that the rumored Sanctions against Cameroon for actions committed in the Southwest Cameroon and against former Presidential Candidate Kanto have been announced. The names were not given but this is going to have an impact.

More to come

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