Pan Africa Newswire
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sunday March 2, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking in Cleveland on March 13, 2010 at a public forum on the history of U.S. foreign policy towards Haiti., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
March 4, 2014
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sunday March 2, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
To listen to this broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Tensions are escalating over the United States backed fascist coup in Ukraine. The overthrow of the elected President Viktor Yanukovich last month has prompted uncertainty throughout Ukraine and especially Crimea on the Black Sea.
A military-backed trial aimed at prosecuting ousted President Mohamed Morsi has once again been adjourned this time ostensibly due to bad weather. A new cabinet reshuffle by the army-allied regime has removed several of the liberal and social democratic politicians and replaced them with technocrats and businessmen.
The Ethiopian government has announced that the Great Renaissance Dam project on the Nile River is nearly one-third complete. The project will re-direct water from Egypt to expand the generation of hydro-electric power and regional trade as well as economic development.
Finally, fighting is continuing in the Republic of South Sudan despite ongoing negotiations. The talks are continuing in Ethiopia where the African Union headquarters is based.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast From Marygrove College on the Housing Crisis--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe on March 1, 2014
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, chairing the 11th Annual Detroit MLK Day Rally & March at Central United Methodist Church on Monday January 20, 2014. (Photo: Marge Shultz), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast on the Housing Crisis Conference at Marygrove College Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe on Saturday March 1, 2014
To listen to this broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe just click on the website below:
This broadcast covered the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion Conference at Marygrove College located in Northwest Detroit. The event was designed to focus on the impact of foreclosures, evictions and homelessness on communities throughout the state of Michigan.
The Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs played a prominent role in the conference by mobilizing many of the families which successfully fought to keep their homes from seizure by the banks and the federal government.
Moving testimony from numerous activists brought home the ongoing crisis which was caused by the banks and the failure of the local, state and federal governments to impose a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions which would have saved thousands of home throughout the state.
Abayomi Azikiwe, the host of the Pan-African Journal, interviewed a number of the conference participants broadcasting around the world their assessments of the crisis and its underlying causes. All of the people interviewed concurred that the crisis is economic in its origins.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on Press TV's Top Five. Azikiwe is a frequent guest on satellite television news., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Muslim population in CAR under siege: Editor
Sat Mar 1, 2014 4:22PM
Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe
France triggered CAR slaughter
To watch this Press TV world news interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, Detroit about anti-French sentiment in the CAR due to the rising violence there.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The French president being there in the CAR. Here we are with France thinking this was going to be a three-month adventurism and it has been anything but that.
Azikiwe: Yes, this is the second visit of President Francois Hollande to the Central African Republic, which is a former French colony.
I completely disagree with his assessment that the French military intervention in the CAR has saved thousands of lives. We believe it is just the opposite.
The destabilization and the precarious security situation inside the country have worsened since the escalation of the military intervention by Paris. I believe that he is attempting to justify an ongoing French as well as European Union military intervention in that mineral-rich African country.
The French parliament has recently approved an extension of the French occupation inside the country, but there is no evidence that suggests that their presence has in fact protected civilians.
The Muslim population in the Central African Republic is under siege. People who have even attempted to leave have been prevented from leaving. And there are essentially mobs that are there that are not being disarmed by the French troops or the EU troops or the African troops that are allied with France and the European Union.
And this of course is going to worsen unless there is a political solution to the crisis inside the country.
Press TV: Exactly, a political solution indeed, but not by what the French president’s posturing is of which you said I think an additional 400 troops were sent in.
So, what is France’s game plan at this point?
Azikiwe: France has always had a strong military as well as economic presence in most of its former colonies, many of which gained their independence in 1960 or thereabouts so therefore this is a continuation of a similar policy of neo-colonialism that was largely crafted by the French during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He is attempting to provide a rationale for the maintenance of this position, but it remains to be seen whether or not the situation is going to stabilize inside the country.
The current Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza says that she will be in office until 2015 when there is going to be elections taking place inside the country. However, it will be very difficult to have any form of generally democratic elections when you have these types of threats that are being launched against the Muslim community.
The economy has been severely damaged because the Muslims have been largely responsible for bringing in consumer goods, being involved in trade. And of course this has created a very, very bad food crisis as well as a crisis of the economy overall inside that state.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, delivering a lecture in Boston on the struggle against imperialism in Africa and abroad. The event was held on Feb. 22, 2014. (Photo: Steve Kirschbaum), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Africa & the Struggle Against Imperialism
Why neocolonialism should be opposed in the western capitalist states
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Note: Below are excerpts from remarks made at two public meetings in Boston and Philadelphia on Feb. 22 and 24 respectively. The events were part of an African American History Month tour sponsored by Workers World Party and the International Action Center branches based in both of these cities.
Feb. 21, 2014, marks the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik Shabazz, who was gunned down before hundreds of people in Harlem at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1965. Nearly five decades since his murder there are still many remaining questions about the conspiracy to eliminate this heroic and iconic figure who was a legend in his own time and has been immortalized since he was taken away from his family, comrades and supporters worldwide.
Malcolm X represented the best within transformational leadership during the 20th century. He was born into a Garveyite family with both of his parents playing leading roles within the Universal Negro Improvement Association—African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).
Malcolm’s parents met at a UNIA Convention held in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) in 1919. This gathering proved to be pivotal in the growth of the Garvey Movement. The following year the UNIA would hold its convention in New York City where for a month the organization would hammer out its program and make an international appeal for the liberation of African people.
Louise Little, Malcolm’s mother, was originally from the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada. His father, Earl Little, a Baptist preacher, was born in Georgia.
Earl Little was reportedly killed by the white supremacist organization known as the Black Legion in 1931. This racist and fascist group was similar to the Ku Klux Klan and carried out terror campaigns against African Americans and labor activists in Michigan.
As a result of his father’s brutal murder, his mother became isolated and was committed to a mental institution for nearly three decades. The Little family would be broken up and the children were sent to foster care and to live with other relatives.
Malcolm would eventually move to Boston in 1941 where he fell into the street life and landed in prison by 1946. During his time in prison between 1946-1952, he became an intellectual and later a member of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad.
Of course Malcolm would come to Detroit and Inkster, a suburb outside the city, to work and organize for the NOI. He became an assistant Minister of Mosque Number One where he recruited co-workers, youth, street people, members of churches and anyone willing to listen to the NOI’s views and world outlook.
In 1957, Malcolm was appointed as the national spokesman for the NOI. He traveled around the United States preaching and organizing for Elijah Muhammad.
Later in 1959 Malcolm would take his first trip abroad to Egypt, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He was acting as an emissary of Elijah Muhammad and the NOI.
Malcolm brought politics, material historical analysis and international affairs to the NOI. He would found the Messenger Magazine in 1959 that later grew into the Muhammad Speaks newspaper in 1961. This newspaper became widely circulated inside the African American community across the U.S.
Malcolm X and Global Struggle for African and World Emancipation
Like Garvey, Du Bois, Henry Sylvester Williams, Anna J. Cooper, Addie Hunton, Amy Ashwood Garvey and others before him, Malcolm X realized that the plight of African people inside North America was inextricably linked to the conditions of the masses on the continent and in the Diaspora. He also recognized that the colonized and neo-colonized peoples were engaging in mass and armed struggles to win their national liberation in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and South America.
In 1960 in New York City at the Teresa Hotel in Harlem he would play leading role in hosting the-then Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro and his delegation which had traveled to the United Nations. The Cuban delegation was treated in a hostile and racist fashion until Fidel moved up to Harlem and won the respect and recognition he and his comrades deserved.
However, by 1963, Malcolm X would run into obstacles within the NOI. He would be forced out of the organization and in March 1964 he formed the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and later the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) in June of the same year.
His second trip abroad in April and May 1964 was much more political and organizationally directed. He would visit Mecca for Hajj but also spent time in Egypt under the late President Gamal Abdel Nassar and in Ghana, which was led at the time by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the chief strategist and tactician of the African Revolution.
Upon returning to New York Malcolm indicated that his organizational activities would not be limited to demanding the acquisition of full democratic rights and self-determination for African Americans in North America but would seek allies in Africa, the Arab world and other regions of the globe where oppressed people resided. He went back to Africa, the Middle East and Western Europe between July and November 1964 to further seek working relationships with progressive and revolutionary governments as well as national liberation movements.
It was Malcolm’s success in internationalizing the Black struggle during 1964 and early 1965 that brought down the raft of U.S. imperialism against him. Even today his death is described by bourgeois commentators and historians as being more of a tragedy rather than a political assault on the movements for emancipation worldwide.
Pan-Africanism and Internationalism Today
In the 21st century the legacy of Malcolm X and those who have followed in his steps is more relevant than it was five decades ago. As Malcolm observed in 1964-65, the imperialists have shifted their focus from direct to indirect rule. Their objective is to halt, frustrate and if necessary, overturn all advancements made by oppressed and working people throughout the globe.
Capitalism is in a deeper economic and political crisis today than it was during the 1960s. In the second decade of the 21st century the ideologues of the capitalist system put forward no solutions to the problems of poverty, joblessness, environmental degradation, racism and national oppression, gender inequality, etc. All the spokespersons for this exploitative system articulate are more measures leading to greater austerity, war and political repression across the world from Africa, to Europe to the entire Western hemisphere.
Five decades ago the Democratic administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a so-called “War on Poverty.” However, the fundamental causes of poverty and income inequality were never attacked by the system. When the masses of African Americans went into the streets to demand Civil Rights their efforts were thwarted by the state. Later as the movement became more militant and armed it was ruthlessly repressed by the local police, the intelligence services, the National Guard and the Army Airborne Divisions.
After the assassination of Malcolm X, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference would take a position against the U.S. imperialist war being waged on the Vietnamese people respectively in 1966 and 1967. SNCC would be met with political and law-enforcement repression and Dr. King was assassinated as a direct result of their people’s struggle against poverty, racism and war.
From the period of Johnson’s lackluster “war on poverty” to the “benign neglect” of the Nixon administration and subsequent regimes, structural unemployment and poverty has worsened. In this period the ruling class openly advocates the further mass impoverishment of workers, women, trade unionists, the nationally oppressed, workers in general and even retirees.
In Detroit, where Malcolm X organized during the 1950s, the very social base which served as the cadre for the NOI and subsequent organizations such as the Republic of New Africa (RNA) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW), has been systematically eroded due to the development of the capitalist system of production and social relations. Notions of a post-industrial or post-capitalist society became an ideological tool to dissuade and demoralize the working class and the oppressed from organizing in their own interests.
If the profits accrued from the exploitation of workers in the U.S. are not enough then the ruling class will move to other areas of the country or outside its borders. The impact of these policies has still not satisfied the owners of the means of production and now they want to repress the masses even further to take away not only the social safety net which grew out of the struggles during the Great Depression and Post-World War II period but to also break its contracts with organized labor stealing their homes, wages, jobs, pensions and healthcare systems.
Due to the crisis of the world capitalist system, even the superficial trappings of bourgeois democracy have been torn asunder. In order to enforce austerity a system of emergency management and forced bankruptcy is being implemented in Detroit and the state of Michigan as a precursor and blueprint for the working class across the U.S.
A key element of this process of the disempowerment and super-exploitation of the masses is imperialist war. The Pentagon budget has grown exponentially even in the aftermath of the Cold War where the must talked about “peace dividend” never materialized during the 1990s and in the successive decades.
The war against working people in the U.S. is an extension of the campaign of vilification, demonization and outright occupation of the oppressed nations. It is only the rich defense contractors, industrialists and bankers who profit from imperialist conquest. Since the beginning of the so-called “war on terror” the overall conditions of working and oppressed people in the U.S. has decline precipitously.
Consequently, our struggle against the economic crisis, racist violence and austerity is part and parcel of a broader movement taking root around the world. As Malcolm X and later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would repeatedly state “our problem is not only an American problem, but a world problem.”
Some Recent Case Studies on the Intensifying Global Class Struggle
Egypt and Tunisia
An indication of the people’s willingness to fight the system of global oppression was illustrated clearly in Tunisia and Egypt during 2011. In southern Tunisia a national rebellion took root leading to the fall of the former dictator Zen Abidine Ben Ali in January of that year.
Later in Egypt, a national uprising, which resulted in the deaths of at least 800 people, erupted on January 25 leading to the removal of Hosni Mubarak who had dominated politics since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in October 1981. The movement in Egypt influenced developments in other parts of Africa and the Middle East—eventually inspiring the Wisconsin capitol takeover and standoff that winter.
Of course the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) can be traced to the actions in North Africa and Wisconsin. The Occupy Movement spread across the U.S. and indeed the world with occupations in England, Australia and other countries.
Although these events prove that when pushed far enough the masses will rise up, the question becomes what are we fighting for? How do we transform a righteous people’s rebellion into a revolution that can not only affect the system but overthrow it?
This is why we must place emphasis on the ideological struggle and the necessity of revolutionary organization. V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party and the Russian Revolution, understood the questions of organization and power. In his works on “The State and Revolution,” “What Is To Be Done?”, and “Marxism and Insurrection,” Lenin takes up these issues.
One fundamental difference between Marxism-Leninism and Anarchism is how the state is viewed. How can working people transform the state to serve its own interests? Lenin pointed out through his study of Marx and Engels observations related to the Paris Commune of 1870-71 as well as the revolutionary uprisings of 1848-1851, that in order to move towards a classless society the workers and the oppressed must seize state power to fully eliminate all vestiges of exploitation and inequality.
These challenges become even more significant for the African Revolution in light of the legacy of slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism. Today the imperialists are able to rule indirectly through patronage, bribery, the tactical support of bourgeois class forces within the oppressed nations. If these measures are not sufficient the U.S., NATO and its allies can send in their military units to carry out aerial bombardments, drone attacks, counter-intelligence operations, and economic strangulation through sanctions or complete occupations with boots on the ground.
In Egypt the situation appears to have come full circle with the military back in power where Field Marshall Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi poised to take off his military uniform and run as a civilian president. The U.S., which had subsidized the Egyptian armed forces as rulers for three-and-a-half decades, refuses to label the events as a coup in order to maintain its control and influence over this strategic state.
In Tunisia, left politicians face assassination and other forms of political repression in order to open the way for a technocratic neocolonial state still in alliance with France and Washington. The form of the political system is emphasized over its essence which is still geared toward pleasing the West and its foreign policy imperatives for the region.
Central African Republic and South Sudan
Dominating corporate news coverage of the African continent recently has been the internal conflicts within the Central African Republic and South Sudan. These states have been the scene of military interventions by France, the U.S., the European Union (EU) and its allies in the region.
When discussing the events in the CAR and South Sudan the western media outlets often emphasize the ethnic-religious aspects of the conflicts and crises. The general tone of the reporting is to provide a rationale for imperialist intervention in order ostensibly restore order or possibly “democracy.”
Nonetheless, the role of these African states in the imperialist system of economic exploitation and oppression is never pointed out. Neither is there any serious mention of the strategic resources that exist in abundance in both the CAR and South Sudan.
France had colonized the CAR for decades and has always maintained both a military and economic presence inside the country. Paris’ motivations in the CAR are by no means “humanitarian” since colonialism was never a project to improve the conditions of peoples in Africa but to conquer, expropriate and exploit the people and their resources.
As more French troops poured into the CAR the greater the security risks were to its people. Many CAR residents realized this and began to organize demonstrations against the role of the French and Chadian troops.
The government of interim President Michel Djotodia was forcefully removed in January and a new regime headed by Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of the capital of Bangui, was installed. However, the violence against the minority Muslim population continues. The situation is such that tens of thousands of Muslims, both CAR citizens and foreign nationals from Chad and Sudan are being forced to flee.
France announced that it will deploy another 400 troops bringing the official total up to 2,000 and that the EU will also send in another 1,000 soldiers. Several thousand troops from Chad, Rwanda and the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville are also in the country under the auspices of the MISCA, a Central African regional initiative, and the United Nations Security Council, which authorized the occupation led by France.
The Pentagon has been assisting the occupation of the CAR by ferrying troops into the state and providing intelligence and logistical support. In October 2011, the Obama administration had announced that it was deploying Special Forces and military trainers to four East and Central African states including the CAR along with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan.
Mineral resources found in the CAR include gold, diamonds and uranium. The imperialists and their multi-national mining firms want to further exploit these resources for the benefit of Wall Street and the Pentagon.
In the Republic of South Sudan, the U.S. along with the State of Israel pushed for years in favor of the partition of the Republic of Sudan, which prior to 2011, was the largest geographic nation-state in Africa. The country was emerging as a significant oil-producing state marketing 500,000 barrels per day.
The Republic of Sudan also has natural gas and other hydro-electric potential for regional power generation. Strategically located on the Nile River, a project is underway with neighboring Ethiopia to build a Great Renaissance Dam that would redirect large sections of the Nile so that other states within East, North and Central Africa can deepen their cooperation through power generation and trade.
British colonialism and U.S. neocolonialism are at the root of the current crisis between the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan as well as the internal problems within the two now divided states. The role of the People’s Republic of China also cannot be ignored since most of the oil concessions in the Republic of Sudan were held by China and other Asian states.
Therefore the partition of the country has brought about economic hardships for both states. Yet these issues are rarely mentioned, if at all, when the situation prevailing inside both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan are discussed in the Western press.
The role of Uganda, a key U.S. ally, has been instrumental in determining the outcome of the initial phase of the conflict between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice-President Riek Machar. Uganda’s government wants to maintain stability within South Sudan and have therefore sent thousands of its own troops into the country to bolster the Kiir regime.
Peace talks at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are being undermined by the Ugandan military presence. The U.S. utilized its newly-created East African Response Force, a unit of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), to enter South Sudan with greater force. Pentagon troops were deployed from the AFRICOM military base in the Horn of Africa state of Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier.
All throughout East Africa the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) maintains a strong presence. In Somalia, the CIA has a field station and launches drone attacks against alleged Al-Shabaab operatives in various regions of the country.
In Somalia there are 22,000 troops occupying the country from several U.S.-allied states in Africa including Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti. These forces are maintained through funding and training from Washington and Brussels. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has recently announced that the 2,000 Kenyan Defense Forces troops have been integrated into its operations from the south of the country which also has oil and is strategically located on the Gulf of Aden, one of the most lucrative shipping lanes in the world.
To secure the utilization of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, there are flotillas of warships off the coast of Somalia from both the Pentagon and the EU Naval Force. The region of East Africa has also witness large-scale findings of additional petroleum and natural gas resources both inland and off shore from Somalia down to Mozambique.
Consequently, we can expect an escalating presence of the Pentagon and the EU within the East and Central African regions. These military operations are clearly designed as well to contain and block the greater involvement of the People’s Republic of China in this region of the continent.
South Africa and Zimbabwe
The Republic of South Africa has gained considerable attention with the passing of former African National Congress (ANC) leader and President Nelson Mandela. People within South Africa, the continent and the world mourned the passing of this freedom fighter on December 5, 2013.
South Africa has the strongest economy on the African continent and the largest working class. The working class in South Africa is still quite militant with ongoing strikes in the mining, automotive, agricultural and service industries of the national economy which is well integrated into the world capitalist system.
During the 1980s, the working class movement through the trade unions came to the fore making the demise of the apartheid a reality. The combined forces of the mass and trade union movements along with the armed struggle and the international solidarity campaigns proved to be a winning strategy in the defeat of one of the most egregious forms of national oppression internationally.
Apartheid, like slavery, Jim Crow and classical colonialism, was an economic system of exploitation. Even though the forms of racist discrimination have been legally abolished the South African state and economy still remains within the capitalist sphere of influence.
The South African Communist Party during the anti-apartheid struggle for national liberation characterized the system in the country as “colonialism of a special type.” Nonetheless since the ascendancy of the ANC to political power, South Africa is facing the same problems that other states on the continent are grappling with. There are the aspects of modern-day capitalism, i.e. high unemployment, underemployment, burgeoning class divisions, the intransigence of capital and the threat of imperialist intervention.
With the upcoming elections in South Africa on May 7, a struggle is unfolding between the ANC and its allies within the SACP and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on the one hand and the Democratic Alliance party backed up by the mine owners and industrial magnates on the other. Although we would never claim as some ultra-leftists and reactionaries do, that there has been no progress in South Africa in light of the advances in housing, education, affirmative action, public transport and international relations, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to re-correct the legacy of the settler-colonial system of apartheid.
Mines which produced 80 percent of the world’s supply of platinum must be nationalized for the benefit of the workers inside the country. This is the only solution to the conditions under which the workers are toiling prompting them to sustain strikes and other labor actions in their demands for better wages and working conditions.
In neighboring Zimbabwe, the ZANU-PF government in 2000 paved the way for the large-scale redistribution of land which had been stolen by the white settlers during the later years of the 19th century. The government of President Robert Mugabe suffered sanctions and other efforts to both destabilize and overthrow the sovereign state of Zimbabwe.
Nevertheless, ZANU-PF has been able to hold out from this onslaught over the last fifteen years. There is much discussion now on how to further the empowerment of the African masses through the nationalization of mining and other sectors.
It seems inevitable that South Africa and Namibia will eventually take a similar course as Zimbabwe. These states combined with other regional entities can set the pace for greater mechanisms of economic and political unity throughout Africa.
Most states within the AU have stood by Zimbabwe in its struggle to defeat the western-backed sanctions and other forms of destabilization. At the recent AU Summit in Ethiopia, President Mugabe was voted in as Vice-Chair of the continental organization setting the stage for it takeover of the institution in 2015.
In the recent elections in Zimbabwe where ZANU-PF won the poll by a landslide, all relevant regional African organizations endorsed the outcome illustrating support for land reform and other forms of empowerment throughout the continent. Despite the sanctions imposed by Britain, the U.S., the EU and Australia, the Republic of South Africa, the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC), the AU in addition to the People’s Republic of China have maintained and enhanced fraternal relations with Zimbabwe.
Conclusion: Our Tasks as Anti-Imperialists
We must continue our solidarity with the struggles of working and oppressed peoples throughout the globe. The efforts on the part of the ruling class to divide the peoples of the so-called Global South from those residing in the more Northern industrialized regions cannot be allowed to succeed.
Any vestiges of “protectionism” and national chauvinism which remain among the workers in the West can only be described as political reaction emanating from a delusional worldview. These outlooks have gotten workers nowhere in the current period since their wages have been lowered and the ideological offensive on the part of the ruling class is intensifying.
Workers and the nationally oppressed inside the U.S. must answer the bankers and bosses with acts of solidarity with the peoples of Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and South America. Workers in South Africa should be championed in their heroic struggles for a living wage and control over their wealth and conditions of employment.
In Colombia workers at General Motors who have been injured on the job are thrown away like trash. A coalition of Detroit workers and community activists have taken up the plight of the injured Colombian GM workers and have provided concrete actions of solidarity through demonstrations, public relations campaigns and material support.
There is growing support for the revolutions in Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. Ruling class propaganda against all the forces of progress, socialism and revolution in South America has often been ignored by the people of the U.S. and Western Europe.
Many people who have traveled to these Caribbean and South American states are struck by the degree to which working and poor people have been empowered. In Cuba there are social gains that have been in existence for decades in the areas of healthcare, technological and scientific research that remain unmatched in the U.S.
The attempted isolation by U.S. imperialism of progressive states and socialist construction in South America has not worked. The South American governments are looking to Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region for allies.
These trends are reflected in the African-South American Summit, the BRICS Summit, and the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), which is currently chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Such developments in international relations are a manifestation of a rising consciousness and unity among the former colonial and neo-colonial states and peoples.
Workers and oppressed peoples in the West must embrace and defend these gains in order to learn lessons that can be beneficial in the overall global class struggle. The degree to which our solidarity is expressed with the peoples of the world the further we will be along in winning a world devoid of exploitation and oppression therefore creating the conditions for the realization of a socialist future.
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Featuring Abayomi Azikiwe in Boston, Feb. 22, 2014
Boston audience attends lecture by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, who spoke on the role of imperialism in Africa on Saturday Feb. 22, 2014., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire, Speaks During African American History Month in Boston on Saturday Feb. 22, 2014
To listen to this Pan-African Journal Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast just click on the website below:
February is African American History Month and this year Abayomi Azikwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, went on a lecture tour to four cities on the east coast of the United States. Azikiwe visited and delivered talks in New York City, Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The theme of the lectures was "Africa and the Struggle Against Imperialism." In Boston where this program was broadcast, there was a standing room only crowd which listened intently to the lecture and raised serious questions in its aftermath.
Since the Bush administration and continuing under Obama, the United States imperialist system has escalated its military presence on the African continent through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In the recent developments in the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan, Pentagon troops have been involved.
Many of the contemporary problems within various African states were inherited from the systems of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Therefore Africans worldwide must draw on their historical legacy of anti-imperialist and Pan-African struggle to fight the push for the total recolonization of the continent.
A Russian army officer helps armored personnel carrier in Sevastopol, Ukraine's Black Sea Port. The United States supported fascist coup is raising tensions within the region., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Russia to recall ambassador from USA after Obama's insulting statement
03.03.2014 | Source: Pravda.Ru
Russia's Federation Council offered Russian President Vladimir Putin to recall the Russian ambassador from the United States, first deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council Vladimir Dzhabarov said.
The Senator said that the speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, signed the appeal prepared by the committee. The document does not imply the ambassador should be recalled automatically. "It is for the president to make the decision, on the basis of political expediency," he explained.
On March 1, Valentina Matvienko requested SF Foreign Affairs Committee to make an appeal to Vladimir Putin to recall the Russian ambassador from the United States.
Meanwhile, at an extraordinary meeting of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, Deputy Speaker Yuri Vorobyov stated that US President Barack Obama had crossed the line when he said that Russia would have to pay a high price for its policies. According to Vorobyov, Obama insulted the Russian people.
"I think we need to appeal to the President and recall the ambassador," said the official.
The UK, Canada and Lithuania have recalled their ambassadors from Moscow, citing the possible deployment of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine. To crown it all, it was announced that all seven G7 members have suspended preparations for the summit G8, which was to be held in Sochi in the summer of 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin overseeing military drills. Russian military forces are preparing for the possibility of further United States backed destabilization efforts in Ukraine., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
President Putin monitors military exercise in Leningrad region
Russia March 03, 19:52 UTC+4
President Putin accompanied by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, troops commander of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov and Chief of the head department of combat training of the Russian armed forces Ivan Buvaltsov on Monday have monitored a military exercise held on the Kirillovsky test range in the Leningrad region in the framework of a surprise inspection of combat readiness of troops and ammunition of the Western and Central military districts.
The surprise inspection of troops of the Western and Central military districts, which began on February 26, ends late on March 3.
Around 150,000 servicemen, 90 planes, 120 helicopters, 880 tanks, 80 ships all in all took part in the exercise.
More than 1,800 servicemen, 30 tanks, around 20 airborne combat vehicles, five planes and 80 helicopters were involved in the exercise held on the Kirillovsky test range on five scenarios: drills in combat operations and liquidation of a presumed adversary, landing operations by paratroopers on guided parachutes and landing of tactical airborne troops for isolation of a zone of military operations, neutralization of an artillery unit or a logistics supply battalion.
Putin orders troops that took part in military exercises to return to bases
Russia March 04, 10:31 UTC+4
MOSCOW, March 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President and Supreme Commander in Chief Vladimir Putin has ordered troops that took part in military exercises to return to their bases, the president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
According to Peskov, on Monday, after a report about successful exercises was presented to Putin, the supreme commander in chief ordered the troops that participated in the exercises to return to their permanent deployment bases.
On Monday, the president personally watched the exercises on the Kirillovsky training ground in the Leningrad Region, together with Defenыe Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Western Military District Troops' Commander Anatoly Sidorov and Chief of the Main Department for Combat Training of the Armed Forces Ivan Buvaltsev.
The urgent drills were conducted to test the combat readiness of troops of the western and central military districts, involving 150,000 personnel, up to 90 planes, 120 helicopters, 880 tanks and 80 ships.
On the training ground, Putin, who had ordered the urgent drills, watched tactical exercises of a motorized infantry brigade and paratroops who played five main episodes - brigade units' combat actions, elimination of an enemy detachment, landing of paratroopers to destroy a control point, landing of tactical airborne units to isolate an areas of combat actions and an operation to destroy artillery and a material support battalion. The training involved more than 1,800 personnel, more than 30 tanks, about 20 combat vehicles, five planes and 80 helicopters.
A monument to the Soviet Red Army that fought against the Nazi invasion of the Ukraine was painted in the colors of the fascists inside the country who overthrew the government. The uprising and coup is supported by United States imperialism., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Russian Defense Ministry dismisses Ukraine ultimatum reports as ‘total nonsense’
Published March 03, 2014 17:01
Media reports about an alleged Russian ultimatum made to the Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea are “total nonsense,” a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
He said that no ultimatum had been made to the Ukrainian forces, Interfax reports.
“We have become accustomed to the daily accusations by the Ukrainian media of carrying out some sort of military actions against our Ukrainian colleagues," Russian Black Sea Fleet representative said, adding that “those who want to pit us against each other in the Crimea won’t succeed.”
“There’s nothing new about such disinformation. It’s clear who is behind this. Those ‘puppeteers’ have been unable to come up with anything new since Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria,” he added.
Also, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told RT that they are unaware of any Russian ultimatum toward the Ukrainian forces in Crimea.
The source revealed that they had only heard about the alleged ultimatum from a report by Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
“We’re interested in keeping friendly relations with the people of Ukraine and in preserving stability,” the source told RT.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also stressed that the Black Sea Fleet units in the Crimea aren’t interfering into the internal events of Ukrainian politics.
The self-deсlared Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed earlier Monday that the Russian Black Sea Fleet had delivered an ultimatum to the Ukrainian forces remaining on the Crimean peninsula.
“If they won’t give up by 05:00 local time (03:00 GMT) a full-scale assault on the units of Ukrainian military in Crimea will begin,” an unnamed source in the ministry told Interfax-Ukraine.
On Saturday, Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to send Russian military forces in Ukraine to ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”
However, the final say about sending in the troops lies with Putin, who hasn’t yet made such a decision.
The authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance after the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of languages other than Ukrainian in official circumstances in the country.
More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.
Crimean authorities denounced the self-proclaimed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The majority of troops in Crimea switched sides in favor of the local authorities.
Feeling a threat from the new central government of questionable legitimacy, a number of regions stood up against it.
Thousands of people across eastern and southern Ukraine are flooding the streets of major cities, urging local authorities to disobey Kiev’s orders. The local population is calling the government in Kiev illegitimate and demanding that their local governments refuse to take orders from it.
Yanukovich sent letter to Putin asking for Russian military presence in Ukraine
Published March 03, 2014 21:31
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin says ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has sent a letter to Putin asking him to use military force in Ukraine to restore law and order.
"Under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terror and violence," Churkin quoted the letter from Yanukovich to Putin in the third emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
"People are being persecuted for language and political reasons," Churkin read. ”So in this regard I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine."
After reading the letter, Churkin held up a copy of the original letter from Yanukovich to Putin for council members to look at.
Churkin also told the UN Security Council that it is about protecting the rights of the Russian-speaking population there.
Russia considers it necessary to ensure that the agreement between Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition on the crisis in Ukraine is fulfilled, Churkin told the UNSC.
Churkin said it is essential that the obligations set forth in the agreement on February 21 be fulfilled, such as beginning the process of constitutional reform with full participation and contributions from all regions of Ukraine for subsequent approval in a national referendum, and the formation of a legitimate government of national unity in the interests of all political forces and regions.
Churkin clarified at the UNSC meeting that Russia’s goal is not to return ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich to power, but acknowledged that he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine and that his fate should be decided by the people of Ukraine.
He stressed the need to "rein in the radicals" operating in Ukraine and asked Ukrainian opposition leaders to dissociate themselves from them.
Churkin added that new information is emerging about more provocations in the works against the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.
People’s self-defense units were formed in a situation where threats and forceful actions of ultra-nationalists puts at risk the lives of Russian citizens and the Russian-speaking population. The units already managed to prevent the capture of administrative buildings and the smuggling of large amounts of firearms and explosives by radicals, Churkin explained.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power followed Churkin’s comments in front of the UN Security Council, saying that Russia's actions regarding Ukraine are a “violation of international law.”
"It is a fact that today Russian jets entered Ukrainian airspace," Power said. "Russia military action is a violation of international law. Russian military bases in Ukraine are secure. Russian mobilization is a response to an imaginary threat. Military action can not be justified on the basis of threats that haven't been made or aren't being carried out. Russia needs to engage directly with the government of Ukraine."
Powers appealed for human rights monitors to be sent to Ukraine, while calling on Russia to “immediately pull back” deployed forces.
"Russia has every right to wish events had turned out differently. It doesn't have the right to express that using military force," Power said.
Ukraine Ambassador to the United Nations Yuriy Sergeyev said his country has “not received a compelling answer” on Russia’s stated reasons for moves into Crimea.
“You call it a coup d'etat. We call it a revolution of dignity,” Sergeyev said, speaking in the direction of Russia’s Churkin.
"We [Ukraine] have a different understanding of human rights than you [Russia],” Sergeyev added.
Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, said China condemns the recent extremist violence in Ukraine.
“We urge all sides to resolve differences through legal framework” and to protect rights of all people, Jieyi said.
The Ukrainian parliament in Kiev in its first days disturbed eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, where many Russian speakers live, by voting to repeal a law which gave regional status to the Russian language.
Seeing this as part of an anti-Russian discriminatory stance of the government, some of the regions denounced Kiev and said they would not be taking orders from the new regime.
Authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance after parliament voted to repeal the law.
More than half of the Crimean population are Russian and use only the Russian language for their communication. The residents have announced they will hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.
Crimean authorities denounced the self-proclaimed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The majority of troops in Crimea switched sides in favor of local authorities.
In the wake of the escalation, the self-imposed president of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov, spoke out against the language vote, stating on Monday evening that he will not sign the decision to repeal the language law. Instead, he will wait until a working group drafts a new law that will allow the use of all languages in Ukraine.
In the 1990s, the status of Sevastopol became the subject of endless debates between Russia and Ukraine. Following negotiations, the city and surrounding territories were granted a special “state significance” status within the Ukrainian state, and some of the naval facilities were leased to Russia for its Black Sea Fleet until at least 2047. According to the agreement, Russia can have up to 25,000 personnel in Crimea, according to Churkin.
Feeling a threat from the self-appointed government, a number of regions have stood up against it. Thousands of people across eastern and southern Ukraine are flooding the streets of major cities, urging local authorities to disobey Kiev’s orders. The local population has deemed the government in Kiev illegitimate, demanding that their local governments refuse to take orders from it.
Thousands rally in Russia’s southwest to support Russian speakers in Ukraine
Published March 04, 2014 02:19
Thousands gathered in the Russian cities of Novocherkassk, Bryansk, and Belgorod to support the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. “We don’t abandon our people,” said banners held by those who sympathized with residents of the crisis-torn country.
Nearly 7,500 people took part in a demonstration in the southern city of Novocherkassk, one of the biggest industrial centers of Rostov region and capital of the Cossacks.
People from the entire Rostov region gathered in the center of the city, carrying Russian flags and wearing black and orange ribbons – a Russian symbol of the victory in World War II. The demonstrators held banners saying, “No to extremism,” and “Peace for Ukraine,” along with “Russia and Ukraine: the same roots, the same faith.”
What is currently happening in Ukraine can hardly be called “democratic reorganizations,” said Anatoly Nosyrev, world champion in kickboxing and Novocherkassk resident.
Rallies in the southern city of Bryansk, a center of steel and manufacturing, attracted over 5,000 people, local police told ITAR-TASS.
Among those present to support Ukraine were World War II veterans, activists of public organizations, students, and teachers.
“I sympathize with Ukrainian people, especially with the citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol,” said Vitaly Volvich, a citizen of Bryansk.
The rally, held under the slogan, 'We don’t abandon our people,' started in the city’s center square.
“By this demonstration, we give hope to all the citizens of Crimea that Russia doesn’t abandon them. We are ready to help them,” said Igor Dorokhov, a former officer who served in Ukraine.
Some of the city's deputies also called upon the local people to support the rally, which was deemed a "popular gathering for brotherly people."
“The nationalism is raising in the Western parts of Ukraine,” said Nikolay Dashunin, the head of administration of one of Bryansk’s districts. “We gathered here to support Russian-speaking citizens of Crimea and Ukraine in general.”
Rallies and other actions in support of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine also attracted nearly 5,000 people in the southern city of Belgorod, the capital of the region which borders Ukraine.
The future of Ukraine should be determined by its citizens, not separate radicals, said the participants of the rally.
“Now it is very important to let Ukrainian nation make its own decisions,” said Viktor Ovchinnikov, deputy head of Public Chamber of the Belgorod Region, adding that the Ukrainian people should feel the support of Russians.
Only 80 kilometers separate Belgorod from its neighbor, the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov. During World War II, their citizens fought against Nazi invasion together under the flags of the USSR.
“Veterans of both Belgorod and Kharkov have long life traditions,” said city veterans. “We shouldn’t leave them [people of Kharkov] in trouble.”
On Sunday, thousands in Moscow, St Petersburg, and the southern city of Krasnodar rallied in support of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine. Around 27,000 people – including members of patriotic youth groups and veterans’ organizations – took part in the Moscow march, held under the slogan, 'We don’t abandon our people.'
A demonstration in St. Petersburg attracted some 15,000 people. The rally was organized as a gesture of approval of the decision of the Russian government, which allowed the use of Russian troops to protect Russian citizens and ethnic Russians living in Ukraine from possible violence.
Authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance after the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of languages other than Ukrainian in official circumstances.
Feeling a threat from the self-appointed government, a number of regions have stood up against it. Thousands of people across eastern and southern Ukraine are flooding the streets of major cities, urging local authorities to disobey Kiev’s orders. The local population has deemed the government in Kiev illegitimate, demanding that their local governments refuse to take orders from it.
Lupita Nyong'o has won the best supporting actress award at the Academy for her performance in 12 Years a Slave. Steve McQueen, the director, won for best film of the year., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Lupita Nyong’o shines
March 4, 2014
An emotional Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for best supporting actress on Sunday for her role as the hard-working slave Patsey in drama “12 Years a Slave”, capping a breakout awards season for the Yale-trained Kenyan actress.
Nyong’o (31) won the Oscar in her first feature film role, earning a thunderous standing ovation from the Hollywood audience. She beat fellow frontrunner Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of a loopy housewife in caper “American Hustle” in one of the most closely-watched Academy Award races this year.
“Yes!” the actress exclaimed when accepting the award after hugging her brother, “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen and other actors in the film.
“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey, for her guidance.”
Nyong’o, who earned the same award from her peers at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, was chosen for the role from some 1 000 young actresses who auditioned.
“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid,” Nyong’o said, with tears in her eyes.
The Oscar marks Nyong’o’s coronation into the top echelon of dramatic actresses working in Hollywood.
“I’m a little dazed, I can’t believe this (award) is in my hands, I can’t believe this is real life, I’m just really overwhelmed,” Nyong’o told reporters backstage.
“What I have learned for myself is that I don’t have to be anybody else and myself is good enough and that when I’m being true to myself, I can avail myself to extraordinary things such as this,” Nyong’o added.
The actress has also become a new emblem of high fashion with her styles on the red carpet.
Her light blue halter-neck Prada grown, which the actress helped design herself, wowed at the Oscars.
“12 Years a Slave,” by British director McQueen, is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a 19th century free black man tricked and sold into slavery.
Nyong’o gave her strongest thank-you onstage to McQueen for casting the formerly little-known actress in the role.
“This has been the joy of my life,” she said.
“I’m certain the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful, and so am I.”
Nyong’o’s Patsey, who is able to pick more pounds (kilos) of cotton per day than the stronger male slaves, embodies resilience in the drama even as the primary recipient of physical and sexual violence.
“There was an underlying stream of grief at all times even in the lighter scenes,” Nyong’o said last year while promoting the film.
“There is a deep pain in Patsey throughout and living in that pain was not easy.”
SPLM-N negotiation team with former South African President Thabo Mbeki on Feb. 13, 2014. They are attempting to resolve outstanding issues stemming from the 2011 partition of Sudan., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
MONDAY 3 MARCH 2014
Mbeki suspends talks on Sudan’s Two Areas, refers process to African Union
March 2, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Sunday announced that it can no longer continue its mediation to end the conflict in Sudan’s Two Area due to the considerable gap in the positions of the two parties and referred the matter to the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC).
On 18 February, the mediation handed over to the Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a draft framework agreement calling to cease hostilities, open humanitarian access to reach civilians in the rebel areas. The proposal also suggested to hold direct talks on the Two Areas and to prepare the ground for a national conference on constitutional reforms.
The government delegation accepted the proposal of the mediation and insisted that the rebel group should accept to disarm and reintegrate its combatants. From its side, the SPLM-N proposed to negotiate a new humanitarian deal. Also, the group stressed that Khartoum should lift a ban on its political activities and accept them as political partner in the constitutional conference. Furthermore, the group called to hold a preliminary meeting in Addis Ababa to fix the modalities of the process.
"As is its right, the SPLM-N presented a fundamentally different proposal, which rendered an agreement unattainable. The Panel is of the view that as matters stand, it is impossible to bridge the chasm between the Parties and will therefore refer the matter back to its mandating principal, the AUPSC, for further guidance," the AUHIP said in its statement.
The panel of mediators headed by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki further praised the discussions that the government is holding with the opposition political parties to convene an inclusive national dialogue inside the country.
"This underscores the need urgently to find a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Two Areas, the better to integrate the Two Areas into the national dialogue," the mediation added.
The government said it intends to end the military conflicts with the rebel groups in the Two Areas and Darfur region through separate peace agreements after what they can join a national process aiming to adopt a new constitution.
The rebels groups in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile and Darfur proposed to sign a comprehensive cessation of hostilities and to participate in an inclusive process with the other political parties after the formation of a new government. This holistic conference will discuss the regional conflicts, and adopt a new constitution.
In Addis Ababa, the government and rebel delegations traded accusations over the collapse of negotiations.
The government chief negotiator Ibrahim Ghandour who arrived on Sunday morning to the venue of the talks in Addis Ababa told reporters that SPLM-N is responsible for the failure of the talks because they demand the inclusion of national issues in a process destined to resolve the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Ghandour further criticised the AUHIP for not blaming the SPLM-N rebels and holding them "responsible for spoiling the talks". He further expressed hope that the position of the AUPSC on the resolution of the conflict in the Two Areas be more fair.
The presidential assistant further expected that SPLM-N rebels escalate military attacks in South Kordofan.
He also said that they would not accept to internationalise the national dialogue process.
"We will not accept the internationalisation of dialogue, and Mbeki has nothing to do the dialogue process. The claims of the SPLM-N are an attempt to waste time and resources needed by the Sudanese people," Ghandour said.
The spokesperson of the SPLM-N negotiating delegation was not reachable to comment on the suspension of talks.
However, in a press conference held on Saturday evening in Addis Ababa, the rebel top negotiator, Yasir Arman, reiterated that the 28 June 2011 framework agreement is the reference point for the peace process.
The deal, which is denounced by the government, establishes a political partnership between the ruling National Congress Party and the SPLM-N and provides they work together to achieve democratic reforms.
Arman further said that the presidential initiative for national dialogue creates a good atmosphere to implement the framework agreement more than any time before. However he blamed the government delegation for not coming with new ideas about the comprehensive political solution.
"We do not want intentions, but we want solutions". If the government and the NCP do not have ready ideas now, or want to complete the process of consultation with all political forces they must ask a specific period to complete the dialogue, and then come up with clear ideas," he further added.
The deputy head of the Sudanese government delegation, Suleiman Omer, told reporters on Saturday that they have a mandate to negotiate only on the Two Areas.
In October 2009, the former South African president presented a report about justice and peace in Darfur to the AUPSC and the UN Security Council.
Since he was appointed to chair a follow-up panel to help to implement his recommendations for peace in Darfur and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 related to the South Sudan before its independence and democratic transition in the country.
South Sudanese dissident Gen. James Koany Chuol of Unity state has announced his support for the opposition and the appointment of an interim administration. The rebellion is calling for the removal of President Salva Kiir., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
TUESDAY 4 MARCH 2014
MSF warns of deteriorating security in Unity state’s Leer county
March 3, 2014 (BENTIU) - The deteriorating security situation in Leer county and surrounding areas of South Sudan’s Unity state has devastating consequences for thousands of people hiding in bushes, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned last week.
The medical charity, in a statement, said 240 of its local staff has left Leer hospital, fleeing into bushes with several dozen of the most severely injured patients and thousands of local people.
“The security situation is worsening every day, living conditions are life-threatening and MSF has now lost contact with two-thirds of its staff,” partly reads the statement.
One MSF staff member explained, “Many people from Leer are here – the community are hungry, food and water are a problem for everyone – people are drinking water from a dirty river. We hide during the day; it is safer for us to move around at night.”
Raphael Gorgeu, MSF’s South Sudan head of mission described the situation on the ground as “chaotic” and “hostile”, adding that it was very difficult to know where civilians fled to.
“The sporadic contact we are able to make with our staff paints a desperate picture for them and the unknown thousands living in terrible conditions, vulnerable to disease, dehydration, malnutrition and attack,” further he stressed.
Meanwhile, MSF staffs are reportedly continuing to care for patients, but said medicines were running out.
Fifteen surgical cases, the international charity said, were still being cared for by the staff, but could no longer change their surgical dressings due to supply shortages.
“The staffs who remain in touch with MSF report that worsening security has pushed them further into the bush. They have split into smaller groups to decrease the chance of attack and divided their supplies of medicines, which they are saving to treat only the most life-threatening cases,” explained Gorgeu.
Last week, one MSF team was reportedly treating at least 45 critically ill patients each day.
“The most common conditions are watery diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections and malaria – conditions that are directly related to the dire living conditions and lack of shelter and mosquito nets,” the agency said, adding “Staff have also reported alarming cases of sexual violence.”
MSF has worked in Leer for the past 25 years, providing outpatient and inpatient care for children and adults, surgery, maternity, HIV/TB treatment, and intensive care.
SPLA troops guarding Bentiu, Unity State. The area is a large oil-producing center in the Central African state., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
MONDAY 3 MARCH 2014
Juba asked IGAD nations to deploy troops to protect oilfields: official
March 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - South Sudan’s government said it submitted a proposal to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to deploy 10 battalions to protect its capital, Juba and the oilfields against attacks by rebel groups from Burundi and Rwanda.
It asserted that the East African regional bloc is currently examining its proposal.
Ateny Wek Ateny, the press secretary to South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir announced the gradual withdrawal of the Ugandan troops from South Sudan’s territory towards Western Equatoria to continue its mission in fighting the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The presence of the Ugandan army in South Sudan represented a major obstacle to implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in Addis Ababa last January between the government and rebels led by ex-vice president, Riek Machar.
Ateny, stressed in a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday that Juba would accept the proposal for holding a constitutional conference, saying it must be preceded by an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, resettlement of refugees and providing humanitarian assistance for the affected.
He renewed his government’s accusation that the United Nations allegedly supported the rebels, questioning why its mission in Juba never condemned Machar’s forces for "stealing 20 vehicles".
Ateny further claimed they tapped phone conversations of a senior UN official, allegedly telling somebody in Nairobi, Kenya that the rebels would be assisted if they reached the capital.
President Kiir’s spokesperson said that Machar’s forces fought government army using UN tanks, asserting the government will prosecute the four leaders who were detained in connection with the coup attempt including the former secretary general of the country’s ruling party (SPLM), Pagan Amum, in a military court.
Both pro and anti-government armed forces are responsible for serious abuses that may amount to war crimes in two key oil hubs in South Sudan during recent fighting, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report last week.
“The wanton destruction and violence against civilians in this conflict is shocking,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
“Both sides need to stop their forces from committing abuses and hold those who have responsible for their actions, and the African Union (AU) should accelerate its long promised investigations", he added.
But Ateny has criticised the HRW report, accusing the renowned rights body of "taking the side of the rebels". He also questioned the credibility of witnesses’ accounts that government army committed genocide, describing them as “liars” seeking to secure political asylum.
He said South Sudan was an open country and pointed that war creates a good opportunity for chaos indicating foreign elements might have involved in the incidents.
Ateny also disclosed that they arrested 50 people for involvement in killing on ethnic basis, accusing Machar of exploiting the fact that 75% of his Nuer tribe are army personnel who dragged the country into ethnic war, asserting the latter’s plot failed to achieve its objective.
He accused Machar of launching ethnic war allegedly killing 175 people in Unity state capital, Bentiu and 126 members of the Dinka tribe inside the hospital in Bor, besides committing rape, crimes and killing of nuns inside a church in Bor.
Ateny, however, demanded that Machar forms an investigation committee to look into those accusations and asserted stability of the security situation in South Sudan, saying military operations are restricted to four districts, including two in Jonglei, as well as one Upper Nile and Unity states.
The official also criticised Ethiopia indirectly saying it had a long record of human rights violations.
Conflict erupted in South Sudan’s capital on December 15, 2013 when President Kiir the accused his longest-serving deputy of allegedly staging a coup.
Both sides have been accused of committing atrocities and violence has continued despite a ceasefire agreement signed on 23 January in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Map of South Sudan where fighting has taken place between SPLA forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those aligned with Riek Machar., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.latimes.com/world/la-fg-south-sudan-governance-20140301,0,1310831.story
South Sudan violence leaves donors disillusioned
The country's descent into ethnic warfare, less than three years after it won independence, have many questioning the wisdom of spending billions to help it.
By Robyn Dixon
6:10 AM PST, March 1, 2014
JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan was one of the most ambitious state-building projects that global donors have ever undertaken: Take a newly minted, resource-rich country with some of the world's worst poverty, health and education problems, pour in aid, assistance and diplomatic advice and hope for the best.
Instead, the African nation descended into ethnic warfare and chaos in December, less than three years after it won independence. Some now question the wisdom of the U.S. and others in pouring billions of dollars into a place long-racked by staggering corruption, poor governance and ethnic violence.
Some analysts say international donors were so tied up in humanitarian projects and development that they overlooked the corruption and dangerous ethnic divides in the ruling party and army.
Sara Pantuliano, analyst at the Overseas Development Institute, a London-based think tank, said many falsely assumed that enough development, improved services and access to food would lead to lasting peace.
Despite vast riches in oil, South Sudan's problems never abated nor, critics say, has its government shown an inclination to deliver healthcare and education, which have essentially been outsourced for years to Western donors.
"They have to have the political will to do something for their own people," a frustrated Western diplomat in Juba said recently. "It's important that we help the government to understand that their primary responsibility is services for people, and their protection, and that should not be contracted out."
The U.S. provides about $600 million annually, but lawmakers at a January hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressed frustration and anger over the issue.
Intense American engagement in South Sudan's struggle was key to its gaining independence, but disillusionment has set in, with some analysts suggesting the U.S. will be reluctant to plunge into such projects again, especially with the results so uncertain.
The ethnic fighting has dashed donor confidence in the ruling party politicians who unleashed the violence, which has left an estimated 10,000 people dead and 800,000 displaced.
"It appears that the greatest threat to South Sudan post-independence is South Sudan itself," said Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), chairman of the House committee at the hearing.
But analysts also ask why international powers didn't do more as the struggle in the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement spun increasingly out of control last year.
In theory, things should have gotten better after a 2005 peace deal with Sudan that ended a 22-year civil war. Under the arrangement with the Sudanese government in Khartoum, South Sudan got half of the oil revenue. But more than half of its share was gobbled up by defense costs and by the salaries of an army bloated by rebels incorporated into the Sudanese People's Liberation Army in previous peace deals.
Moreover, at least $4 billion was stolen, according to President Salva Kiir, and more was squandered on officials' perks, such as fancy cars and $300-a-night hotel accommodations in Juba, the capital, government officials and their families, for years on end.
After independence, South Sudan's oil revenue increased sharply, but seven months later, Kiir abruptly shut down oil production in a dispute with Sudan over transit fees. It was seen as a costly move. The loss of the resource that provided 98% of the government's revenue lasted 14 months.
The government borrowed millions of dollars from foreign banks to pay its soldiers, knowing that healthcare, education and humanitarian services would be provided by donors and aid agencies.
"It's hard for foreigners to say we are not going to step in, if the government doesn't do it. That's the dilemma," said the diplomat, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to comment.
Even if peace is restored, diplomats say, South Sudan's credibility is likely to remain deeply damaged. The cost to South Sudan is immense, as fighting has deterred foreign investors, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
"I think when things do calm down on the military side, it's not going to be business as usual. They're really starting from scratch, I think, in terms of credibility and security of investors," the diplomat said.
Peace talks between President Kiir and his rival, Riek Machar, have stalled.
The root of the recent fighting came more than a year ago when Machar, the deputy president, and other prominent government figures announced that they would run against Kiir for the country's leadership. Kiir sacked them in July.
The risk of a split in the army and governing party was clear, and in December, fighting erupted between forces loyal to Kiir, a Dinka, and Machar, a Lou Nuer, quickly spilling over into ethnic violence.
According to Abraham Awolich of the Sudd Institute, a Juba think tank, Westerners trying to build South Sudan overlooked the infighting and lack of democracy in the country's governing Sudanese People's Liberation Movement.
"No one paid attention to that. The international community has had enough warnings that the internal processes of the SPLM could be a threat to peace, and that is where they should have been working," he said.
Toby Lanzer, U.N. humanitarian co-coordinator in South Sudan, dismisses skeptics who argue that state-building is too difficult. There's no choice but to act, he said.
"Anybody who believes believe that state-building or nation-building is fast seems to have overlooked some recent experience in other settings," he said.
The disillusionment over U.S. state-building in South Sudan, after difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, has some predicting that the U.S. will scale back such ambitious actions.
State-building missions "tend to be long, difficult, and expensive, with success demanding an open-ended commitment to a messy, violent, and confusing endeavor," Michael J. Mazarr wrote in Foreign Affairs journal last month. Nor is success certain, or even likely, he said.
"When a social order has become maladapted to the globalizing world, when governing institutions are weak, personalized, or kleptocratic, corruption is rampant, and the rule of law is noticeable by its absence, there are simply no proven methods for generating major social, political, economic, or cultural change relatively quickly," he wrote.
US-backed forces of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM enter the town of Wanlaweyn. The Horn of Africa nation is being occupied by imperialism utilizing proxy forces from the region., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SOMALIA: Statement by the UN Special Representative for Somalia on the state-building conferences in Baidoa
For Immediate Release:
PRESS STATEMENT 07/2014
Statement by the UN Special Representative for Somalia on the state-building conferences in Baidoa
Mogadishu, 3 March 2014 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, is closely monitoring developments in Baidoa, including the outcome of today’s conference, and has taken note of the Federal Government’s response.
“I urge all parties to observe maximum restraint and refrain from any action that could pose a threat to security,” said SRSG Kay. “This year is critical for consolidating a united and stable federal Somalia. The country has overcome many recent challenges through compromise and dialogue.”
“I encourage traditional leaders, politicians and stakeholders in Baidoa to commit to serious, inclusive and continued political dialogue guided by respect for the Provisional Federal Constitution and existing agreements,” he added. “The UN will continue to support the Federal Government of Somalia’s efforts to lead a reconciliation process.”
“The situation in Baidoa highlights the need for the Federal Government to accelerate its work on the state-building process in Somalia in an inclusive manner, including the development of a detailed plan and timetable for the formation of Federal States, a final Constitution and democratisation by 2016,” SRSG Kay noted.
SRSG Kay continues to work closely with international partners on this important issue, including AMISOM, IGAD and the EU.
Get updates from UNSOM:
Ground troops from the US-backed AMISOM forces enter the town of Wanlaweyn in Somalia. The country has 17,000 troops occupying the Horn of Africa state on behalf of the Pentagon and NATO., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Ugandan troops to form U.N. guard force in Somalia
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Uganda will send about 400 extra troops to Somalia to protect U.N. personnel in the capital Mogadishu, officials said on Monday.
The United Nations requested a guard force last year after al Shabaab militants attacked the main U.N. compound in Mogadishu in June, killing at least 22 people.
"It is to provide security to the United Nations so that AMISOM is not bogged down by escorting them. AMISOM (the African peacekeeping force) will be freed to follow al Shabaab wherever they are hiding," army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said.
The 410 Ugandan soldiers will be deployed this month, Ankunda said, though a U.N. official said the timeframe was ambitious.
The al Qaeda-affiliated rebels have staged many attacks in the city in the past few weeks despite the presence of the peacekeepers, including a February 21 assault on the presidential palace and a bombing that targeted a U.N. convoy outside the airport. Both showed the insurgents' ability to hit government-controlled areas at will.
The guard force will not be a part of the expanded 22,000-strong AMISOM peacekeeping force that has driven al Shabaab out of its major urban redoubts in the past three years. The insurgents still control swathes of countryside.
(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu, Richard Lough in Nairobi and Elias Biryabarema in Kampala, Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Syrian armed forces have made progress in recent months against the assaults by U.S.-backed counter-revolutionary combatants. The imperialists are backing the rebels., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Military operations carried out against terrorists in several areas
Mar 03, 2014
Provinces, (SANA) Army units continued Monday operations against terrorists' dens and gatherings in several areas around the country.
Authorities seize bus loaded with weapons and ammunition on highway in al-Qtaifeh
A military source told SANA that competent authorities seized a bus full of weapons and ammunition on the international road in al-Qtaifeh in Damascus Countryside.
The source added that the authorities seized the bus which was full of machineguns, snipers' rifles and binoculars, arresting the terrorist who was driving the bus.
Army establishes control over al-Sahl and al-Aqaba areas in Damascus Countryside
Army units established full control over the town of al-Sahl north of Yabroud and al-Aqaba area in al-Qalamoun, Damascus Countryside, eliminating all the terrorist groups in these areas, in addition to making progress in Rima farms.
Terrorist hideouts were destroyed and many terrorists were killed in the town of Ras al-Ein and in the town of Yabroud and its surroundings.
The army also eliminated many terrorists and destroyed their weapons and ammo in Khan al-Sheih and its farms and in the mountains east of al-Zabadani, in addition to destroying three weapons containing weapons and ammo and eliminating terrorists in the town of Daraya.
Terrorist hideouts were destroyed in Aliya farms and al-Hajariya in Douma area, and many terrorists were eliminated including two terrorist group leaders named Hisham Haround and Khaled Othman al-Sheikh, while army operations in the town of al-Mleiha were left dead or injured and their weapons and ammo were destroyed.
A special operation in the town of Erbin resulted in destroying a terrorist hideout and killing many terrorists, in addition to eliminating terrorists and destroying a mortar launcher in Jobar.
Army units eliminate non-Syrian terrorists in Lattakia countryside
A military source told SANA that the army units killed and injured a number of terrorists in the villages and towns of al-Shmiseh, al-Doura, al-Frlouq and Majdal Kikha in the northern countryside of Lattakia, most of them were non-Syrians.
Among the dead terrorists were Abu Ass'ad al-Masri, Mahmoud Mohammad Abu Khafs, Amer Mohammad al-Ghoush, Subbhi Khawatimi, Maher al-Malla, Majd Eddin al-Khateb, Mohammad Mayani and Orfan Hassan.
The source added that the army units also destroyed a warehouse full of locally-made rockets and a car loaded with weapons and ammunition.
Stability restored to town of Hweijet al-Mreiyia in Deir-Ezzor
Army units restored stability and security to the town of Hweijet al-Mreiyia in Deir-Ezzor after killing big numbers of terrorists and confiscating their weapons.
Army units destroy terrorists’ hideouts in Aleppo
Army units foiled armed terrorist groups’ attempts to infiltrate into Khsrufieh Mosque in the old city of Aleppo and al-Sayyid Ali area, killing and injuring a number of terrorists.
A military source told SANA that army units killed and injured a number of terrorists in Jdaideh and Erbid and destroyed a car equipped with a heavy machinegun with all terrorists inside it in Kwairis.
The source added that other army units eliminated a number of terrorists and wounded others in the industrial area, Bustan al-Qaser, Bani Zaid, Hanano, al-Ameriyeh, Salah Eddin, the old city of Aleppo, Tal Sousin and surrounding Aleppo central prison. The terrorists’ criminal tools were also destroyed.
Army units eliminate terrorists in Homs countryside
An army unit prevented a terrorist group from sneaking from al-Mashjar al-Janoubi neighborhood in Talbiseh, Homs countryside, and attacking a military checkpoint, leaving the terrorists dead or injured and destroying their weapons.
Another unit eliminated a terrorist group in the town of al-Hosn in Talkalakh area, including the group’s leader Nashwan Kadalem.
Terrorists killed in Idleb
A military source told SANA that the army units killed and injured scores of terrorists in the villages and towns of Bkfloun, Kfarlata, al-Nayrab, Failun and Nahlaia in the countryside, destroying their weapons and ammunition.
Mass marches voice support to Syrian army in Homs and Quneitra
Mar 03, 2014
Provinces, (SANA)- Citizens in Karm al-Shami and the adjacent neighborhoods in Homs city on Monday took to the streets in support of the firm national principles and the Syrian Arab Army in confronting the armed terrorist groups.
Citizens in Hisia town and the adjacent villages in Homs countryside and Karm al-Shami neighborhood in Homs city staged a mass march in support of the firm national principles and the Syrian Arab army in confronting the armed terrorist groups.
Participants in the march carried national flags and placards stressing national unity and glorifies the sacrifices of the army in face of the takfiri terrorism, and they expressed commitment to the national principles.
They asserted that Syria will remain the citadel of steadfastness and confrontation in face of the conspiracies hatched against Syria.
Thousands of citizens from Quneitra province flocked into streets in al-Baath city in support of the national principles and the Syrian Arab Army in repelling the takfiri groups.
The participants affirmed their adherence to Syria’s unity and their appreciation of the heroics and sacrifices of the Syrian Army, voicing confidence in its ability to preserve Syria’s sovereignty and defeat terrorists.
A statement on behalf of the people of Quneitra and Golan voiced commitment to standing up to terrorism and liberating the occupied Golan.
Participants underlined the importance of rallying behind the Syrian Army and supporting it so that it may restore security and stability to the country.
Terrorist mortar attack leaves 2 citizens dead in Aleppo
Mar 03, 2014
Provinces, (SANA)_Two citizens, one a child, were martyred in a mortar attack on al-Khalidieh neighborhood in Aleppo.
A source told SANA that terrorists launched two mortar rounds, one landed near a school in the neighborhood, killing a 7-year-old child and injuring another, while the second slammed into a private car, killing the man inside it and causing material damage in the area.
In Hama, a woman was injured in Qarmas village by a shell fired by terrorists that also caused material damage in the area.
Terrorist attack injures five citizens in Damascus
Five citizens were injured of mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential neighborhoods of Bab Touma in Damascus.
A source at the Police Command told SANA that five citizens were injured due to a mortar shell landed on al-joura alley.
The source added that another shell fell on an abandoned house in al-Qishleh neighborhood, causing material damage to it.
Terrorist attack on Police Hospital and Harasta suburb causes material damage
A source at the Police Command told SANA that a mortar shell fired by terrorists fell on the entrance of the Police Hospital, causing material damage to the building without casualties among the patient and the medical cadres.
The source pointed out that other 3 shells landed on P4 islands and Harasta suburb roundabout, causing material damage to the site.
B. Mousa/ M. Ismael/ Mazen
Tunisian Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa. He is putting together a 'technocratic' cabinet three years after a national uprising that ousted Ben Ali., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Prime Minister Replaces 18 Regional Governors
03 March 2014 1:07 pm
Eighteen of Tunisia’s 24 governors were replaced last Friday by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, a procedure his office said was meant to prepare for the upcoming election.
The Ministry of Interior, responsible for local governments, released a list of the replacements in a statement on Friday.
The political opposition has long accused the former government, led by the Islamist Ennahdha party, of appointing loyal officials to state positions. Ennahdha ceded power last month in an agreement by political leaders to resolve a lengthy political deadlock. The opposition has urged Jomaa’s government to review Ennahdha-era appointments.
The change of governors “is a preparation for the elections so that people [governors] will be neutral,” Sami Ben Kraiem, a spokesperson for the prime ministry, told Tunisia Live.
Ben Kraiem added replacing the local leaders is part of same roadmap, a document agreed upon by Tunisian political parties and civil society groups that presents a set of guidelines to be met by the National Constituent Assembly and the caretaker government before the next elections expected in 2014.
The six governors who have kept their positions are not suspected of having partisan allegiances, Ben Kraiem said.
There are no women among the new appointees.
“18 governors changed today and still no women,” wrote Nadia Chaabane, a member of the Constituent Assembly from the secular Massar party, in a Facebook post Friday.
Only one woman has ever served as a governor in Tunisia, according to Huffington Post Maghreb. Saloua Mohsni Labiadh was governor of Zaghouan, south of the capital, Tunis, from 2004 to 2008.
- See more at: http://www.tunisia-live.net/2014/03/03/prime-minister-appoints-18-new-regional-governors/#sthash.V6uf8x4v.dpuf
February 28, 2014
Tunisia Seeks to Boost Regional Economic Ties
by Mohamed Elshinnawi
During a surprise visit to Tunisia recently, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised the country saying it could be a “model to other peoples seeking reforms.”
While Tunisia’s political transition has been praised as a regional model, the country’s economy has stagnated. Discontent over the economy exploded in January when strikes and riots largely shut down the country after new taxes were imposed by the government. While the taxes were rescinded, Tunisia’s government continues to struggle to revive the economy.
As part of that effort Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki has pledged to revive The Arab Maghreb Union, a regional organization founded in 1989 to promote trade and political ties between its five members; Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.
Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington says Marzouki’s efforts make sense.
“The Tunisian revolution was about jobs and economic opportunities. Economic development requires a bigger market with free trade partners and investment in economic ventures, so reviving the union could help pull the economies of its members who have a lot in common.” Masmoudi said.
Earlier efforts to foster regional cooperation broke down over the decades-long dispute between Morocco and Algeria over the Western Sahara.
Masmoudi says Tunisia has a role to play in helping to bring the two sides together.
“Tunisia can be a mediator in trying to reach an acceptable solution to that dispute which prevented the Union from succeeding.”
But William Lawrence, a Professor of International Relations at George Washington University and a Senior Fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) disagrees.
“2013 was a bad year for Algerian-Moroccan relations, they had several disputes over the same issue and given the Moroccan appetite for scoring points internationally on the Western Sahara issue, I don’t see much chance for a Tunisian role any time soon,” he said.
Masmoudi says Tunisia can still benefit from both Morocco and Algeria.
“Morocco has a thriving economy, so there are tremendous opportunities for economic cooperation that creates badly needed jobs and Algeria is a very rich neighbor with surplus capital that can be invested in Tunisian agriculture and tourism,” he said.
Lawrence agrees, saying regardless of the tensions between Algeria and Morocco Tunisian efforts to revive the Union serve all members.
“All of the Maghreb states are very aware that they lose several points of their respective gross domestic production GDP every year by not having a unified economic activity,” he said.
Tunisia’s economic problems stem in part from the global economic downturn – especially in the EU countries – which are Tunisia’s main trade partner. So while it is trying to revive the Arab Maghreb Union, Tunisia is also working to develop trade with regional powers like Iran and Turkey.
Tunisia reduced customs duties on imports from Turkey, an early supporter of its revolution. Turkey’s economy minister recently said that Turkish companies have invested $744 million in Tunisia with more to come. Turkey also provided a critical $500-million assistance package immediately following Tunisia’s revolution.
Masmoudi says Turkish economic support has been a boon to Tunisia. “Turkey has become a major economic super power in the region and with its swift support to the Tunisian revolution it became a main partner in energizing Tunisian economy and in technology transfer,” he said.
Tunisian officials have also been outspoken in their diplomatic support for Iran, with President Marzouki criticizing efforts to isolate Tehran over its nuclear program. In a recent meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Tunisia’s ambassador in Tehran pledged to expand trade and political ties.
William Lawrence says however Tunisia’s outreach to Tehran is more political than economic.
“Islamists in general have always been long inspired by the 1979 Iranian revolution and in particular Iran’s stance with regard to the Palestinian issue,” he said.
Radwan Masmoudi says regardless of where it finds economic partners it’s vital that Tunisia do so if its revolution and its transition to democracy are to succeed.
“For the last three years Tunisia focused on developing its democratic institutions and recently ratified a new constitution, but at the end of the day people would like to have jobs and food on their tables. Democracy has to deliver economic development so people can feel that the Tunisian revolution improved their livelihood,” said Masmoudi.
$1.2bn WB support fund for Tunisia
FROM THE NEWSPAPER
TUNIS: The World Bank on Friday announced a $1.2 billion programme to support economic and political reform in Tunisia after the adoption last month of a new constitution.
“The financing planned for 2014 would include $750 million in support of government reforms to level the economic playing field and promote growth and job creation, while increasing accountability in the delivery of services to citizens,” the bank said.Another $300m will go towards building up local government capacities to support the decentralisation process envisaged in the new constitution, with $100m being allocated to a credit facility for banks that finance small and medium-size businesses.
The level of financial support is designed to match the Tunisian government’s progress on reform during what the bank called “this last year of democratic transition.”
“The consensus built around the new constitution provides a foundation for much needed economic reforms,” said the bank’s regional vice president Inge Andersen after meeting Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa.
Tunisia’s economic recovery since the revolution has been hampered by political instability, social unrest and Islamist violence that culminated last year with the assassination of two secular politicians by suspected jihadists and months of institutional paralysis.
But in a major step towards ending the crisis and restoring stability, parliament finally adopted a consensus constitution in January, three years after the Arab Spring uprising, paving the way for the formation of a technocrat government tasked with steering the country to fresh elections.
The Great Renaissance Dam Project in Ethiopia. The government of Sudan has pledged support for the project., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Egypt irrigation minister denounces Ethiopia's 'obstinacy' on dam
MENA, Ahram Online , Monday 3 Mar 2014
The Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government, with anxiety high that it would negatively affect Egypt's share of Nile water
Egypt's Irrigation Minister Mahmoud Abdel-Muttalib denounced on Monday what he described as Ethiopia's obstinacy towards building its Grand Renaissance Dam, MENA reported.
Ethiopia's project is a $4.2 billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, one of the main tributaries of the Nile. It is a source of concern to Egypt, since it is still undetermined how it will affect Egypt's Nile water share, the country's main source of potable water.
In talks last January between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, negotiations hit a dead-end, with MENA reporting that Ethiopia refused to discuss the terms of "confidence-building measures," which Egyptian officials say must be changed in order to avoid reduction of Egypt's Nile river water share.
Abdel-Muttalib, who retained his position in Egypt's new interim cabinet, said Egypt's Nile water share is a "red line" that Egypt won't allow to be crossed.
He reiterated that the country encourages development in Ethiopia, without harming Egypt's water rights.
On Saturday, a spokesman of the government-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation reportedly said some 32 percent of construction of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam has been completed, with efforts intensifying to complete the rest.
Spokesman Miskir Negash said construction of the dam has been ongoing "day and night," adding that the dam has so far employed 7,000 people.
An Egyptian tour bus was damaged in a blast, killing four in Taba on the Red Sea. The incident took place on Feb. 16, 2014., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Egypt renews efforts to attract foreign tourists to its shores
Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Monday 3 Mar 2014
Authorities mount international campaign to reassure tourists that Red Sea and Sinai beach resorts are safe, following the 16 February bombing of a tourist bus in South Sinai that killed four
Egypt's tourism minister has opened the door for security delegations from other countries to assess the safety of touristic areas across the country, part of a continued effort to convince the international community that Egypt is safe for visitors.
The announcement from tourism minister Hisham Zaazou on Sunday at ITB Berlin, the world's largest annual trade fair, comes in the wake of a recent bombing of a tourist bus in the South Sinai resort town of Taba that killed three South Korean tourists and their Egyptian bus driver.
The attack, claimed by the Sinai-based militant Islamist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, was the first to directly target tourists since the start of a terrorist campaign against the military and police following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July.
Following the bus bombing, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, and Switzerland all issued warnings against travel to Egypt's Sinai and advised their citizens to leave the peninsula immediately, and tourism companies began evacuating their customers.
Hotel occupancy rates in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh have slid to 48 percent, down from 55 percent a week earlier, an official source told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website on Sunday.
Twenty percent of reservations in Sharm El-Sheikh have been cancelled, the source added.
Some two dozen countries issued travel warnings for Egypt after Morsi's ouster due to the political violence gripping the country at the time, but eased those warnings later.
The Red Sea and Sinai coastal areas are a vital hub of Egypt's ailing tourism sector, welcoming around 75 percent of the country's holidaymakers in the past three years, tourism ministry spokesperson Rasha El-Azaizy told AFP after February's bus bombing.
A security team sent by the United Kingdom to Sinai last week to check on the security measures in tourist resorts found no necessity for a travel ban to Egypt, the source added.
Egypt's tourism sector, which contributes around 11 percent of the country's GDP, has experienced a series of hits since the January 2011 uprising which toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian journalist Kareem El-Beheery has been released from a month of detention in Egypt. He was charged with covering an "illegal demonstration.", a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Egyptian journalist El-Beheery released on bail
Ahram Online, Monday 3 Mar 2014
Kareem El-Beheery of El-Badil has been in detention since January after an arrest while covering demonstrations on the third anniversary of the revolution
Well-known Egyptian journalist and leftist activist Kareem El-Beheery has been released on bail after more than a month in detention.
El-Beheery's lawyer, Karim Abdel-Rady, tweeted on Monday that El-Beheery and 12 other detainees, including minors, were released on LE1000 bail each.
El-Beheery, a journalist with Al-Badil news website, was arrested on 25 January while covering protests for his employer in front of a police station in the western Cairo suburb of 6 October City as part of demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the January 2011 uprising.
He was accused of inciting riots, protesting and possessing Molotov cocktails, and given back-to-back 15-day detention spells in prison pending investigations.
According to a statement issued earlier by El-Beheery, the journalist had showed his ID to officers but failed to convince them that he was on duty as a reporter.
El-Beheery has since accused security forces of physically assaulting him at the police station when he refused to be photographed next to an assortment of weapons.
According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), El-Beheery and other detainees were forced to strip off their clothes and were later interrogated while blindfolded.
Also on Monday, the ANHRI reported that 24 other detainees arrested on 25 January were given 15-days detention pending investigation on charges of illegal protesting, possessing weapons and explosives, as well as joining a banded group, a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
At least 1,079 of what the interior ministry has described as "rioters" and "Muslim Brotherhood members" were arrested on 25 January, according to reports from the ministry.
The recent clampdown by authorities on journalists working in Egypt has drawn criticism from human rights organisations and press-freedom advocates.
In January, 20 Al-Jazeera journalists – 16 Egyptians and four foreigners – were arrested in Cairo and referred to a criminal court.
The 16 Egyptian defendants face charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation, while the four foreigners are accused of aiding a terrorist group and spreading false news.