Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Role of Sudanese Political and Civil Society Leaders in the Conflict

 Aljazeera published on 29 September 2023 an article titled "Analysis: Can Sudan's Civilian Leaders Save Their Country from Collapse?" by Elfadil Ibrahim.

Following the outbreak of conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), civilian groups have taken sides.  The Democratic Bloc, an offshoot of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), has sided with the SAF.  The FFC-Central Council appears to have aligned with the RSF, although its leaders insist it is neutral.  These and other divisions among Sudanese civilian leaders raise questions about their ability to assume leadership positions should they be given the opportunity.  

Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan Worsens

 Foreign Policy published on 29 September 2023 an article titled "U.S. Fears Sudan's War Will Worsen Humanitarian Crisis" by Jack Detsch.

At least 5.4 million people have been displaced internally or as refugees across Sudan's borders as a result of continued fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.  This situation is worsening a humanitarian crisis that is already a catastrophe.  

Sudanese Diaspora Raises Money for Humanitarian Aid

 The Washington Post published on 29 September 2023 an article titled "Sudan's Diaspora Sends Home Aid As World's Attention Drifts" by Miriam Berger.  

About 70,000 Sudanese live in the United States, some of the largest communities are in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The article describes some of the efforts by the Sudanese diaspora, especially in the Washington area, to raise funds for their countrymen to deal with the ongoing challenges of war.  

Friday, September 29, 2023

China and Western Countries Compete for Africa's Security Partner

 The South African Institute for Security Studies published on 25 September 2023 a commentary titled "Can China Be a More Attractive Security Partner for Africa?" by Jana de Kluiver.  

China's concept of non-interference is compelling to those African countries disillusioned with Western partners paternalistic approach to security.  But China's cooperation comes with challenges concerning human rights and good governance.  

China Cutting Way Back on Loans for Infrastructure in Africa

 CNN published on 27 September 2023 an article titled "China Has Poured Billions into Africa's Infrastructure.  Is It Now Tightening the Tap?" by Simone McCarthy. 

There has been a steady decline in new loan commitments from Chinese financial institutions to African government borrowers that has deepened in the past two years.  The era of cheap money flowing out of China to Africa is likely over.  

China-Africa Medical Cooperation

 Lund University's Global China Pulse most recent edition is devoted to China's global medical cooperation.  It contains the following two articles on medical engagement in Africa:

--The Politics of Care: Unveiling the Dynamics of Chinese Medical Labour in Algeria, 1960s--1980s

--From 'Medical Revolution' to Techno-Politics: The Transformation of Chinese Medical Teams in Zanzibar

Civil Society Trying to Make Sudan Better

 The Council on Foreign Relations blog posted on 25 September 2023 a commentary titled "Sudan's Civil Society Laying the Groundwork for Sustained Peace" by Entisar Abdelsadig, Search for Common Ground.  

In spite of the on-going violence in Sudan, local communities and civil society are working hard to support internally displaced persons and create an environment for peace.  

Climate Change and Conflict in the Horn of Africa

 The Heritage Institute published in September 2023 conference proceedings titled "Climate Change and Conflict in the Horn: Challenges, Responses and New Mandates."

No challenge is more daunting in the Horn of Africa than climate change.  This document brings together 15 papers that aid in the understanding of climate change and the impact it has on livelihoods, conflicts, and understanding the way forward in the Somali context.  

New "China in Africa" Book Chapter

 Routledge published in 2023 Africa in World Politics, which contains my chapter titled "China in Africa."  The chapter provides an up-to-date overview of the China-Africa relationship.  

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Climate Change to Impact Addis Ababa Negatively

 The Conversation published on 13 September 2023 a commentary titled "Addis Ababa Faces Growing Climate Change Risks Like Heat, Drought and Floods, Study Warns" by Abay Yimere, Addis Ababa University.

Due to climate change, Addis Ababa will likely face increased heatwaves, extreme drought, and severe flooding in the future.  

A New Strategy for US Policy in Somalia

 Foreign Affairs published on 28 September 2023 an article titled "America Needs a New Strategy in Somalia: A Narrow Focus on Counterterrorism Won't Bring Peace" by Sarah Harrison, International Crisis Group.  

The author argues that US policy in Somalia should be based on support for stabilization and reconciliation, not solely on counterterrorism.  The negotiation part is especially tricky given the challenges posed by al-Shabaab and different views on how to respond to the group.  

New Sanctions on Sudanese or Sudanese-affiliated Entities and Persons

 The U.S. Department of the Treasury posted on 28 September 2023 an announcement titled "Treasury Designates Entities and Individual Exacerbating Sudan's Instability."

New US sanctions target a Sudan-based information technology and security company that has been used as a procurement channel for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and a Russia-based military supply company that arranges procurement of parts and supplies purchased by the RSF.  The Treasury Department also sanctioned Ali Karti, foreign minister during the Omar al-Bashir government and now the leader of the Sudanese Islamic Movement.   

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

China's Huawei Announces Large Investment in North Africa

 Ahram Online posted on 26 September 2023 an article titled "Huawei Announces $430 Mln 5-year Investment Plan for North Africa."

Huawei's investment over five years includes $200 million for a cloud computing center in North Africa and $200 million to support 200 of Huawei's local technology partners and 1,300 distributors.  The goal is to build a computing backbone for China.

Combatting Terrorism in Somalia

 The Wall Street Journal published on 27 September 2023 an article titled "A Rare Success Emerges in the War on Terror" by Michael M. Phillips.

Somalia has become a surprising bright spot in the battle against terrorism.  The American-trained 2,000 member Somali special forces brigade known as Danab and clan militias are on the offensive against terrorism in the country.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Maritime Competition in West African Waters

 The U.S. Naval War College posted early in 2023 a 48 minute podcast titled "Maritime Competition in African Waters" with Captain Kamal-Deen Ali (Ghana Navy retired) and questions by Isaac Kardon, U.S. Naval War College, and Naunihal Singh, National War College.  

Captain Ali responded to a wide range of questions related to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, including illegal fishing, piracy, food security, mining, and great power competition. He demonstrated a thorough understanding of all these issues.   

Monday, September 25, 2023

Building US Security in the Indo-Pacific Region, the Quad, and China

 The US Army posted on 22 September 2023 an article titled "Building the Quad: A Diamond of National Security" by Sarah Hauck.

The same article appeared on 28 September in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.

The article summarizes a panel presentation on 14 September at the Lewis and Clark Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  The panel discussed great power competition in the Indo-Pacific region with a particular focus on the role of the Quad (Japan, Australia, India, and US) for enhancing security and competition with China.    

Are Africans Losing Confidence in the Mercenary Wagner Group?

 Foreign Policy published on 25 September 2023 an article titled "Wagner's African Hosts Regret Letting Them In" by Jack Detsch.  

Drawing on U.S. Defense Department sources, the author says African countries are reporting they don't want to be dependent on the Wagner Group for security and are encountering problems with their presence.  The Khalifa Haftar government in eastern Libya has apparently been especially critical of the Wagner Group.  

Talks End on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Without Significant Progress

 Aljazeera published on 25 September 2023 an article titled "Second Round of Negotiations on Ethiopia's Mega-dam Wrap Up."

Two days of talks in Addis Ababa involving representatives from Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan ended without making significant progress according to Egypt and with Ethiopia pledging to continue talks "in good faith."  

Comment:  After four seasonal  annual fillings, Ethiopia completed filling the reservoir behind the dam this year.  During this period, there was no apparent harm done to downstream Sudan and Egypt as a result of withholding Blue Nile water in the reservoir.  The river is now flowing normally again through and over the hydropower dam, which is not diverting water for irrigation purposes.   

Avoiding Conflict in Somalia's Galmudug State

 The International Crisis Group published on 25 September 2023 an analysis titled "Avoiding a New Cycle of Conflict in Somalia's Galmudug State."

The Somali federal member state of Galmudug has experienced recurrent strife during its eight-year existence.  The causes are elite infighting, clan rivalries and battles with non-state armed groups.  Interference from Mogadishu often worsens matters.  Though Galmudug is quiet at present, elections likely coming in 2024 could increase tensions.  The al-Shabaab insurgency is also strong in the area.  

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Has Zambia Resolved Its China Debt Issue?

 The Diplomat published on 22 September 2023 a commentary titled "China and Zambia: A New Chapter Beyond Debt?" by Huiyi Chen, Development Reimagined.

Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema visited China 10-16 September.  In recent years, Zambian debt held by China has dominated the relationship.  The author argues that Zambia managed to resolve the debt issue before the visit, which was all about Zambian development and economic growth.

Video of Meeting of International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia

 The United Nations posted on 21 September 2023 the one hour and 25 minute video account of the International Commission of  Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.

The video opens with remarks by the chairman of the international commission, who cites atrocities in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Afar regions.  He notes the lack of cooperation by the government of Ethiopia in the investigation.  A representative of the government of Ethiopia responds by rejecting the conclusions of the commission.  

Brief statements follow by member national representatives and those from non-governmental and human rights organizations.  The video concludes with a response by commission representatives to some of the questions raised by previous speakers.  

Ethiopian-American Contractor Charged with Spying for Ethiopia

 The Washington Post published on 21 September 2023 an article titled "State and Justice Dept. Contractor Charged with Spying for Ethiopia" by Spencer S. Hsu.

A contract employee for the State and Justice departments has been charged with passing classified information since August 2022 to an official associated with Ethiopia's intelligence service.  Abraham Teklu Lemma of Silver Spring, Maryland, faces three separate counts according to the FBI.  

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Recent Analysis of China-Africa Ties from Chinese Perspective

 West Africa and Asia published on 6 May 2023 an article in Chinese translated as "The New Journey and New Thinking of China-Africa Cooperation in the Era of Great Changes" by Zhou Yuyuan, deputy director of the Center for West Asian and African Studies, Shanghai Institutes of International Studies.  The Interpret: China project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) translated the article into English.  

This is an important, comprehensive, and current analysis of China's view of Africa today and its interaction with great powers on the continent.  Zhou Yuyuan was a fellow at CSIS in 2017.  Reflecting Xi Jinping's policies, the article underscores support for a UN-centered global governance system implicitly led by China.  It takes account of Xi Jinping's most recent policy statements aimed at the Global South: the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative.

Zhou notes the significance of Africa for China's supply chain security and global industrial competition.  He identifies the major problems in China-Africa cooperation and concludes that once again China-Africa relations are in a "critical period."  He highlights the need to develop relations with the African Union and African sub-regional organizations and to give greater attention to the African private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises.  

In view of all the current talk of great power competition in Africa, Zhou argues rather surprisingly that "We must promote dialogue, coordination, and cooperation between major power in Africa with African countries at the center."  He adds that Africa can "promote mutual understanding between major countries, make use of the comparative advantages of major countries, and promote the construction of benign major power relations."  

Interview with Sudan Armed Forces Leader

 Aljazeera published on 23 September 2023 an article titled "Sudan Army Chief: 'Revolution Can Be Restored'" by Mike Hanna.  

In an interview with Aljazeera, Sudanese de facto leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said negotiations with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces are not possible and the fighting could spill over into neighboring countries.  

Friday, September 22, 2023

China's Space Collaboration with Africa

 The US Institute of Peace published in September 2023 a special report titled "China's Space Collaboration with Africa: Implications and Recommendations for the United States" by Julie Michelle Klinger and Temidayo Isaiah Oniosun.  

China is increasingly offering space science and space cooperation as an incentive for African states to form closer ties to Beijing.  The actors involved include government agencies, private and quasi-private companies, and academic institutions in both China and African partner states.  China has provided financing and training, built satellites and ground stations, and cooperated on satellite navigation and climate monitoring.  Most of China's engagement has been in Nigeria, Algeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan