Morocco Upgrades Legal Tools to Combat Money Laundering, Terrorism Fiancing

 

02/10/2020 – Morocco’s Minister of Justice Mohamed Ben Abdelkader said on Thursday that Morocco is ready to upgrade its judicial and institutional tools to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The minister’s declaration took place at a meeting with the National ِAssociation of Notaries under the theme, “The role of justice in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.” Continuer à lire … « Morocco Upgrades Legal Tools to Combat Money Laundering, Terrorism Fiancing »

Esper reaffirms close security ties between US, Morocco

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 »

Tunisia : U.S., Tunisia Sign Road Map for Defense Cooperation

01/10/2020 – Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Tunisian Defense Minister Ibrahim Bartagi agreed on a road map for defense cooperation during meetings in the capital city of Tunis.

The road map discussed yesterday charts a 10-year course for cooperation between the two countries.

Tunisia is a major non-NATO ally of the United States and already works with the Defense Department on many shared interests and concerns. The agreement will advance these shared security interests, said a U.S. defense official traveling with the secretary.

The road map recognizes the importance of the U.S.-Tunisian relationship in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Tunisia is a « security exporter » in the region, participating in many exercises and cooperating with other nations in security matters.

Terrorism and threats from violent extremist organizations are always a danger in the region, and Tunisia is intimately involved in looking for solutions to the migrant crisis. Esper said he is impressed by the Tunisians’ efforts to enhance their capabilities against terrorists, but also to promote stability and security on the African continent.

« The road map is a shared understanding of where our shared priorities are, » the defense official said speaking on background. « It talks about shared objectives, shared interests and shared threats. These are areas where we can work together. »

The road map took two years to negotiate, and it is a clear-eyed look at the relationship and suggests ways to close capability gaps. « We both want to improve [Tunisia’s] military capabilities and training to improve [U.S. and Tunisian] interoperability. »

Some of the shared interests include freedom of navigation, intelligence sharing, humanitarian operations and disaster relief, the official said.

The official would not speak specifically on what gaps the nations see in their military capabilities, but spoke of gaps that African nations, in general, experience — airlift, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance shortages and the like.

The 10-year road map is a relatively new program. It allows the nations to begin the planning and funding cycles in such a way as to build incrementally. The official said this may be a blueprint for negotiations with other nations in Africa and elsewhere.

BY JIM GARAMONE, DOD NEWS

US DEPT OF DEFENSE

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali)

U.S. defense chief’s rare Algeria visit points to Sahel region threats

Algiers-Reuters

01/10/2020 U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper made a rare visit to Algeria on Thursday for talks with the president about war-torn Libya and the troubled Sahel region to the south of the Sahara.

oth countries are alarmed by the threat posed by Islamist militant groups in North Africa and the Sahel, and Algeria is weighing a more active military role against them outside its own borders.

They held “talks on Libya and the Sahel and both parties agreed to maintain cooperation and coordination,” a statement from Algeria’s presidency said.

Esper’s visit is the first by a U.S. Defense Secretary to Algeria since Donald Rumsfeld’s in 2006 and he is also the most senior American official yet to meet President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Tebboune took office in December after last year’s mass protests led the army to push his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down after 20 years in power.

The new president has proposed changes to the constitution aimed at mollifying the opposition protest movement, but the reforms would also give the army new powers to intervene in neighbouring states.

“Mark Esper wants to discuss the Algerian army’s possible role in the region once the new constitution is passed as it allows peace-keeping operations overseas,” a Western diplomat in Algeria familiar with the matter told Reuters.

An Algerian source said the talks were expected to focus on Libya, where nine years of chaos after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi have created space for militants, and Mali, where French troops are trying to help quell an Islamist insurgency.

“Algeria has an influence in Mali. It showed it can help. The Americans understood that French military intervention did not curb terrorism,” a senior Algerian security source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

“As for Libya, it is well known that Algeria maintains good ties with all the players including tribes and personalities,” the senior source told Reuters.

REUTERS

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali)

Libya/US : Al-Sarraj discusses security arrangements with US Jones Group International

  Written By: Abdulkader Assad

28/08/2020 – The Head of the Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj discusses with the US-based security firm « Jones Group International » shared visions for building the capabilities of Libyan security personnel, and fighting extremism and terrorism. Continuer à lire … « Libya/US : Al-Sarraj discusses security arrangements with US Jones Group International »

Algerian Minister: Algeria Open to Dialogue With Morocco

26/08/2020 –  Communication Minister and Spokesperson of Algeria’s government Ammar Belhimer has said Morocco is a “neighbor and brother country,” recalling the historic and cultural depth that the two countries share.

When asked about the Morocco-Algeria crisis in an interview with Russia’s state-sponsored Sputnik News, Belhimer said the two countries share a mutual goal: A unified Maghreb. Continuer à lire … « Algerian Minister: Algeria Open to Dialogue With Morocco »

USA – Apogee-SSU to continue training west African pilots #Chad #Niger

26/08/2020 – US company Apogee-SSU is training Cessna 208B Caravan crews of the Cameroonian, Nigerien and Chadian air forces under a United States government contract.

The US Department of State recently renewed the company’s training contract, Africa Intelligence reports, and Apogee-SSU said on its website it has openings in Africa performing services for the Department of State (DOS), Bureau of African Affairs. This requirement is for the full-time services of three Technical Advisors to train selected aviation personnel in Cameroon, Chad and Niger on Cessna 208B aircraft and respective mission equipment, such as Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and/or Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), so that partner nation aviation personnel are self-sufficient in the operations and maintenance tasks of Caravan aircraft. Continuer à lire … « USA – Apogee-SSU to continue training west African pilots #Chad #Niger »

‘Local politics, porous borders benefit Boko Haram’

21/08/2020 – While many extremist terror groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh have largely faded from the world scene, their African counterpart, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. Continuer à lire … « ‘Local politics, porous borders benefit Boko Haram’ »

Canada should rethink aid to Mali after two coups, analysts say

The Globe and Mail

20/08/2020 – After two military coups in Mali in the past eight years, Canada and other key donors are being urged to reconsider their massive financial and security support for Mali’s dysfunctional government.

Soldiers seized power in the West African country on Tuesday for the second time since 2012, capitalizing on mass protests and rising discontent with a government that has failed to end years of violent insurgencies and corruption. The mutinying soldiers were greeted with jubilation in the streets of Mali’s capital, Bamako, in a clear sign that the government had lost the support of the population, despite the huge flows of international aid.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation within hours of his arrest by the rebel soldiers. The military announced plans to set up a civilian transitional government and hold elections, but the African Union decided on Wednesday to suspend Mali, while West African countries closed their land and air borders with Mali and threatened to impose sanctions on it.

Canada is one of Mali’s biggest foreign supporters, providing a total of about $1.6-billion in development aid over the past 20 years, along with hundreds of military peacekeepers and police trainers. Other countries, including France, have sent thousands of soldiers and military vehicles to fight Islamist radicals.

The aid, however, has failed to end the violent conflict that has devastated the country. A report this month by United Nations’ experts found that senior army and intelligence officials in Mali are deliberately obstructing a 2015 peace agreement, allowing the violence to continue.

Over the past year alone, Canada provided about $140-million in development aid to Mali, deployed troops and police officers to the country, spent millions of dollars on peace and stabilization programs and wrapped up a 12-month peacekeeping mission in northern Mali that included helicopters and hundreds of military personnel. Canadian mining companies have also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Mali.

About 10 Canadian military officers are currently stationed at the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping mission in Bamako, and there are no plans to evacuate them, according to Captain Gregory Cutten, a public-affairs officer for the Canadian Armed Forces.

The international aid has been criticized as excessively focused on military security, neglecting the crucial issues of governance that determine whether Mali’s political leaders can maintain public support.

“If you can’t get the governance right, you are really frittering away the money you are sending there,” said Fen Hampson, professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Inside the Canadian government, there are signs that Ottawa agrees with the criticism. A Canadian official said the international community – including Canada – needs to spend more on governance in Mali rather than just counterinsurgency. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the official because they were not authorized to speak publicly on Mali.

The official agreed that the massive aid has helped Mali’s government to avoid demands for reform. The UN mission in Mali must do a better job of helping the government address popular grievances on issues such as policing, electricity, water and schools, the official said.

Prof. Hampson said the immediate challenge for countries such as Canada will be to hold the coup leaders to their pledge to provide free and fair elections. But in the longer term, he said, countries including Canada should be prepared to spend more on boosting Mali’s capacity to govern and meet the needs of its citizens.

“If you’re going to be engaged, you better be prepared to stay there for the long haul and not simply be doing a quick one-off because you are running for a seat on the United Nations Security Council,” Prof. Hampson told The Globe.

“If you can’t get the governance right, you are really frittering away the money you are sending there,” said Fen Hampson, professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Inside the Canadian government, there are signs that Ottawa agrees with the criticism. A Canadian official said the international community – including Canada – needs to spend more on governance in Mali rather than just counterinsurgency. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the official because they were not authorized to speak publicly on Mali.

The official agreed that the massive aid has helped Mali’s government to avoid demands for reform. The UN mission in Mali must do a better job of helping the government address popular grievances on issues such as policing, electricity, water and schools, the official said.

Prof. Hampson said the immediate challenge for countries such as Canada will be to hold the coup leaders to their pledge to provide free and fair elections. But in the longer term, he said, countries including Canada should be prepared to spend more on boosting Mali’s capacity to govern and meet the needs of its citizens.

“If you’re going to be engaged, you better be prepared to stay there for the long haul and not simply be doing a quick one-off because you are running for a seat on the United Nations Security Council,” Prof. Hampson told The Globe.

“It does require perhaps a more serious international effort and not just by the French who have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting.”

He said there is a tendency to see Mali “as a bit of a sinkhole” because of the billions already spent by Western countries. “It’s a long-term problem and you’re going to have lots of failure but at the end of the day you have to ask the question: ‘What is the alternative?‘ ” he said.

“The alternative – to pull back and walk away – would not just mean destabilization in Mali and continuation of problems in the north, where you have both separatist elements and Islamic jihadists. It’s the contagion that is already spreading to other parts of West Africa.”

Chris Roberts, a political scientist at the University of Calgary who specializes in Africa and peacekeeping issues, said the heavy flow of foreign aid has allowed Mali’s government to stall the political reforms and accountability measures that it badly needs.

“As most Malians on the street know, the international community is part of Mali’s fundamental political crisis: It seems to support an entrenched political class,” Mr. Roberts told The Globe.

In the years before the 2012 coup, and again in the years before the latest coup, Canada significantly expanded its aid for Mali, he said.

“Canada ramped up its bilateral aid to Mali as political malaise, corruption and security dynamics got worse,” he said.

“We ignored the direct and indirect effects of development and security assistance. Mali’s political elites face no incentives to change, to improve institutions, elections and accountability, when they know the international community will keep the financial flows coming. Until we try harder to understand how high levels of aid foster an unaccountable political system, we are part of the problem.”

Judd Devermont, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the international community has been ignoring the political realities in Mali.

The country’s elite have reverted to patronage politics, neglecting the peace process and losing the trust of the public, he said in a commentary on Wednesday. “They have chosen to simply go through the motions,” he said.

AUTHOR : THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali) | Photo: Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, centre, spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, speaks during a news conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, on Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was forced to resign in a military coup. // Arouna Sissoko/The Associated Press

Nigeria – DHQ differs with U.S on ISIS movement

From Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

11/08/2020 – The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said the recent warning by the United States of America (U.S.A) about bandits’ infiltration of the West African region was meant to sustain the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Continuer à lire … « Nigeria – DHQ differs with U.S on ISIS movement »