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Africa's and Gambian Fatou Bensouda is new ICC chief prosecutor.
With the African Union (AU) having been a fierce critic of outgoing International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, it will be hoping for a better relationship with his successor, Fatou Bensouda - the first African to hold a top post at the ICC. She is a former Gambian justice minister.
UN Gives Offensive Powers to Peacekeepers in DRC
Members of the United Nations Security Council have given their unanimous support to allow UN peacekeepers to launch offensive operations for the first time ever on Friday.
The Security Council passed a resolution which will create a force of 3,000 troops to be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to fight rebel groups in the east of the country. The new ‘peacekeeping’ brigade will have revised rules of engagement which will allow them to launch “targeted offensive operations” to hunt down and disarm or neutralize armed rebels groups. Previously, UN peacekeeping brigades were able to guard key infrastructure, but could only engage enemies if attacked.
The Congo missions broader purpose will be to “prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them,” the resolution said.
The Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Augustin Matata Ponya welcomed the move, describing it as “the beginning of the end of armed groups” and saying “The DRC welcomes this vote, which marks a decisive turning point for re-establishing peace and security in the Kivu”.
South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi have all pledged troops to create the new brigade, says UN peacekeeping force chief Herve Ladsous. The force, along with surveillance drones, will be deployed to the Kivu region of DRC by July….
Believe it or Not, Good Things are Happening on the African Continent
Ghana had a 13% GDP growth rate in 2011, higher than both China and the US (which only had 1.7%). While the overall size of the GDP of the US is significantly greater, it would be good to have as much attention focused on this growth. We are informed more about all the wars and dysfunction on the continent, than the economic growth and progress being made by no just Ghana, but Ethiopia, Nigeria, Botswana and others, all with higher growth rate in the past year than many “developed” countries.
These economic growth factors are steps in the right direction which should be noted, and celebrated. The next time the western media choose to squeeze 1 minute of African reporting into its schedule, be sure to call bullshit, when its focus inevitably turns to some half naked kid big bellied kid, or the cliched child soldier.
Militant Advances in Mali
A group of Arab militants have taken over control of a town close to Timbuktu in Mali, whilst a new group of Islamist militants are currently amassing outside Kidal.
French forces recently led an international effort to take back control of northern Mali from Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels and return it to the national government in southern Mali. The rebellion in Northern Mali was originally started by Tuareg rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), who then formed an allegiance with Islamist militant groups before being pushed aside. Many fighters from the MNLA crossed over to join the Islamists, and then promptly left again to join other groups when the French invaded. Ethnic Tuareg claim that they are discriminated against by the national government in Bamako
The recent proliferation of Chinese investments in Africa should be troublesome for all who’s paying attention. These investments generally starts off with investments in roads, supposedly at no cost to the government, or the people, and may continue with the building of government offices or a few schools. This is all good so far and not necessarily a bad thing. The fact is that someone is benefitting but as always it is not the citizens, and no one invests without expecting some returns. Africa is rich in minerals, oil, land and has one of the largest growing consumer market outside of the US, and you can expect that Chinese takeover of these interests in the near future will rapidly expand. They will be able to get in and gain control these industries at little or no costs to Chinese investors simply by pointing to the good work they had initially done. The only persons to suffer as always will not be the governing party, but will be the citizens that will be the subject of the violence from losing political parties whose ouster mean loss of all the benefits they once received, or so called rebel groups who will stop at nothing to get their share of the royalties by any means necessary.
The problem is that many African nations have become disenchanted with their once close “partner” the United States and is therefore ripe for the picking by the Chinese government which can now easily sell themselves by promising investments in roads etc. The fact is, this shift for one hegemonic imperialist for the other supposedly good-hearted philanthropic super power is a mirage. Neither the US nor China has Africa’s best interest at heart. However, whereas African groups in the US can rise up at the sign of certain violations int heir home countries and lobby the US government to take direct or indirect action to put policies back in place that would protect citizens, no such means exist within the Chines political system. This is not a sales pitch for the US government, but merely a cautionary tale in being aware of those who come bearing gifts…