02/10/2020 Rabat – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed a military cooperation deal Friday with Morocco, his final stop on a Maghreb tour aimed at beefing up the fight against terrorism and Islamic extremists in war-torn the Sahel and helping reach a settlement in Libya. Continuer à lire … « Esper reaffirms close security ties between US, Morocco »
14/09/2020 – « La situation de protection [des populations] dans les régions de Diffa, Tillabéri, Tahoua et Maradi reste précaire avec un activisme des groupes armés non-étatiques ». C’est ce qui ressort d’un rapport de présentation analytique de protection UNHCR qui a prévalu dans 4 régions du Niger. Continuer à lire … « Niger – Sécurité : La situation de protection reste précaire dans 4 régions (rapport) »
OPINION: Last week’s mutinous putsch by Malian army officers against President Boubacar Keita is cause for concern among oil and gas companies operating in the region, not least in Senegal and Mauritania’s burgeoning industry.
The bloodless coup was swiftly denounced by the African Union, which demanded the immediate recall of the ousted president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, yet people were seen rejoicing on the streets of the capital Bamako.
Popular frustration had mounted over alleged corruption and growing insecurity in the landlocked state, most of it controlled by Tuareg militia and terror groups Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly insisted Operation Barkhane, a UN-backed French military campaign to neutralise the Islamist insurgency, would be unaffected.
France has 5100 soldiers deployed to assist and train the G5 Sahel militaries of Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania and is desperately seeking funds to shore up the mission in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to scale down US counter-terror operations.
Keita may now be relocated to Senegal by Mali’s army junta, comprising senior officers well-liked in the ranks and led by US-trained Colonel Assimi Goita.
The events of 18 August reflect a wider malaise. Recent weeks have seen the advance of East Africa’s Al Qaeda affiliate to threaten liquefied natural gas developments operated by Total and ExxonMobil in Mozambique.
South Africa is wary of entering the fray for fear of jihadist retaliation on its own territory — Russia’s Wagner Group tried and failed to assist the Mozambique army but quit the scene, popping up again this month in Libya’s southwestern oil patch.
Russian mercenaries have sought access to natural resources in return for quelling rebellion but have had limited success with the US, for now, deploying substantial diplomatic capital to exclude Russian entities from participation in oilfield equity.
Lukoil failed to snare desired acreage in Equatorial Guinea and in Senegal where Nigerian independent Oranto Petroleum was also persuaded against a proposed farmout to Rosneft.
Perhaps more critical is the spill-over into sub-Saharan Africa of intense competition between the Emirati-Saudi alliance and a coalition of Qatari-Turkish interests with Iran as an active participant, all vying to win friends and influence people across the continent.
Underlying the geopolitical rivalry are sharp religious differences between Wahabi Sunni extremists and the expansionary Muslim Brotherhood, fed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who this week landed a massive, open-ended security deal with G5 member Niger.
France is appalled, having failed to secure either Saudi or Qatari finance for the G5 which may now crumble, with President Emmanuel Macron using funds borrowed by Senegal to hastily build a military camp at Goudiry near the Mali border to combat cross-border threats.
Little more than 600 kilometres of desert separates restive Islamist militias from the Senegal-Mauritanian coast, while just to the north Iran stands accused by Morocco of using Hezbollah to train up Polisario rebels just in case the US caves in and backs Rabat’s claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara.
One false move and an attack on Senegal’s flagship oil and gas developments could blast both out of the water before either Sangomar or Greater Tortue Ahmeyim have pumped a drop — and Woodside Petroleum, Total and BP are well aware of the threat.
(This is an Upstream opinion article.)(Copyright) |Photo : Bloodless coup: Malian army soldiers arrive amid a crowd of supporters in Bamako’s Independence Square after the overthrow of the country’s president Photo: AFP/SCANPIX
26/08/2020 – According to the latest statistics of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Turkey has sent more than 18,000 Syrian mercenaries to Libya, of whom about 7,000 returned to Syria, in addition to about 10,000 from other nationalities.
Thousands of mercenaries join the groups affiliated with the government of National Accord in Tripoli, which is currently planning to seize the strategic city of Sirte, amid a state of international anticipation that subsided with the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement in Libya on Friday. Continuer à lire … « Turkish mercenaries’ confessions: Fighting in Libya in exchange for Turkish promises to them »
26/08/2020 – Niger’s security forces have arrested more than 100 people in the Sahara desert who were trying to illegally cross the country’s northern border into neighbouring Algeria, security sources said Monday. Continuer à lire … « More than 100 migrants arrested in Niger near Algerian border »
German Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer said Sahel terrorism remained a « great threat. » Her French coounterpart called Mali part of a « security challenge » across Sahel Africa, impinging to ‘the whole of Europe. » Continuer à lire … « Germany, France, Britain to keep troops in Mali despite coup »
21/08/2020 – The United States on Friday suspended military aid to Mali after a group of rebel military officers seized power and placed the West African country’s president under arrest.
There will be « no further training or support of the Mali armed forces — we have halted everything until we can clarify the situation, » the US special envoy for the Sahel, J. Peter Pham, told reporters.
« It’s not clear which forces are involved in the mutiny, who is involved specifically, where loyalties lie, » he said.
On Tuesday, mutinying troops seized the country’s elected but unpopular 75-year-old president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
They forced him to announce his resignation and unveiled a junta that would rule until a « transitional president » takes over.
Pham said the US government, which is particularly concerned about Islamist jihadists carrying out attacks in the country, was in contact with the junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People.
« These contacts are operational, » Pham said.
« They do not imply recognition but acknowledgment that these people are to a certain degree in control of certain things. »
The takeover — Pham avoided the term « coup » — « is certainly not going to help, » he said, as the United States and other countries work together with the Malian military to combat Al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked groups conducting attacks in the region.
Washington currently provides surveillance and logistical support for French troops in the country conducting operations against the extremists.
He reiterated the US demand that Keita be released, noting his age and poor health.
« He is the legitimately elected head of state, » Pham said.
19/08/2020 – Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Heiko Maas, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, discussed strategic ties and ways of strengthening co-operation in trade, education and food security. Continuer à lire … « Germany’s foreign minister discusses Libya and Lebanon on UAE visit »
19/08/2020 – Members of the Higher Libyan-Tunisian Business Council have called for border crossings to be re-opened as soon as possible to facilitate trade exchange between the two countries. They appealed, at a joint meeting in Tunis, to the authorities in both countries to resolve obstacles facing businessmen and traders in the two countries and to strengthen health measures to curb the spread of Covid 19. According to the Communication Office of the Ras Jdeir Border Crossing trade movement across the border was continuing with the same ratio in the time of CoronaVirus.
Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 938thmeeting held on 29 July 2020, on the situation in Mali, following the Declaration of Economic community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government on the Socio-Political crisis in Mali adopted on 27 July 2020:
Taking note of the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS convened by videoconference on 27 July 2020 on the socio-political crisis in Mali;
Recalling its previous communiques and press statements on the situation in Mali and in the Sahel region, in particular communique [PSC/PR/COMM(CCCXV)] adopted at its 315th meeting, on 23 March 2012 and communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(CMXXXIV)] adopted at it 934th meeting held on 26 June 2020;
Reaffirms the relevant AU instruments, in particular the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the Protocol Relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, as well as the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which reject any unconstitutional change of government, including seizure of power by force;
Further reaffirming the unwavering AU respect for the sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Mali, as well as AU’s solidarity with People and Government of Mali;
Mindful of the need for Malian stakeholders to uphold their commitment towards the full implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Mali, emanating from Algiers process, as a unique and balanced framework for Malians to resolve their differences, on the basis of the principles of transparency and inclusivity;
Reaffirming the need for all Malian stakeholders to work together towards addressing the root causes of the crisis in their country, in particular the central issues relating to governance, security and development.
Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council
1. Commends ECOWAS for its continued leadership and engagement in efforts towards finding a lasting solution to the socio-political crisis in Mali, currently facing multifaceted challenges that have the potential to undermine peace, security and development efforts in the country; in this regard, welcomes the initiatives by ECOWAS, including the deployment of a Special Envoy and Mediator, H.E. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, to lead the mediation process, a visit of a Delegation of Heads of State and Government to Bamako, led by H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority, and comprising the Presidents of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal;
2. Endorses the Declaration of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on the Socio-Political crisis in Mali, adopted on 27 July 2020, with a view to resolving the crisis in Mali, in line with Article 16 of the PSC Protocol; calls on the United Nations Security Council to endorse the Decisions contained in this Declaration, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter;
3. Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to consult the ECOWAS with a view to finding a lasting solution to the socio-political situation in Mali, based on dialogue, within the framework of implementation of the Peace and reconciliation Agreement in Mali, emanating from the Algiers process;
4. Calls on all Malian stakeholders to uphold the supreme interest of their country above any other consideration and therefore, take full responsibility of the Declaration by the ECOWAS Authority; further calls on all Malian parties to expedite the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Mali, as a priority towards preserving the political and security achievements made thus far;
5. Expresses concern at the threat posed by the current tensions to the constitutional order in the Republic of Mali, which potentially constitutes a serious setback for the country and the region as a whole, in particular given the current spread of terrorism, violent extremism and inter-communal tensions in the Sahel that continue to hinder the necessary efforts towards improving governance and living conditions of the people;
6. Appeals to all Malian citizens to remain calm and refrain from any actions or public declarations that could further exacerbate the situation in the country and create the necessary conditions for peaceful and inclusive dialogue and mediation efforts currently underway; in this regard, encourages the Malian stakeholders to continue with the dialogue and negotiation processes to promote a peaceful and durable solution to the ongoing crisis in the country;
7. Reiterates AU’s continued support to the efforts of the ECOWAS in Mali and calls on the international community, in particular the United Nations, to continue to providing support to Mali, in efforts aimed at addressing the root causes of the crisis in this country, particularly issues related to governance, security and development;
8. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
PSC Secretariat / African Union