Mapping the Turkish military’s expanding footprint

by Hilal Kaplan Daily Sabah 

02/10/2020 – Mapping the Turkish Military’s Expanding Footprint » was the title of a study featured last year in Bloomberg and several other prominent publications. In light of recent developments, the Eastern Mediterranean and Azerbaijan have also been added to the map. The article written by Selcan Hacaoğlu starts by saying that the Turkish military hasn’t been as effective in as many areas globally since the Ottoman Empire, and explains how it has riveted its political influence with its military presence in Syria, Iraq, Qatar and Somalia and as a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan and the Balkans. Continuer à lire … « Mapping the Turkish military’s expanding footprint »

OPINION: Mali coup puts region’s oil and gas industry on edge

By Barry Morgan in  Paris – UPSTREAM
 

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

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali)

 

El-Sisi calls on army to be prepared amid Libya crisis

21/08/2020 – CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has directed the army to maintain the highest levels of preparedness and combat readiness to protect Egypt’s national security.

During a meeting with various senior military personnel, the president directed them to continue to maintain combat readiness to carry out any tasks entrusted to them, in light of the current challenges in the region. Continuer à lire … « El-Sisi calls on army to be prepared amid Libya crisis »

Detained Malian President May Be Deported to Senegal, Military Source Says

21/08/2020 –  The new Malian authorities, who came to power after the recent coup, are discussing with Senegal the possible deportation of detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to the country, a Malian military source said.

“There are talks with Senegal on his [Keita’s] deportation [to Senegal]”, the source said late Thursday.

Earlier in the day, spokesman for the National Committee for the Salvation of the People Colonel Major Ismael Wague said that a transition council would be set up in Mali. The council would be headed by « a transition president », who can be either a military officer or a civilian, he added.

The National Committee for the Salvation of the People was established by the rebel military leaders following the coup earlier this week as Mali’s new governing body.

The coup began on Tuesday at the Kati military base near the Malian capital of Bamako. The rebels detained Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, and some other senior government officials. Later, Keita announced his resignation and dissolution of the parliament.

The Economic Community of West African States revealed on Thursday plans to send a high-ranking delegation to Mali to help restore constitutional order in the country. ECOWAS wants to seek the reinstatement of Keita as the Malian president.

SPUTNIK NEWS NOUAKCHOTT

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali)

Turkey set to receive $35 billion in Libya contracts

By Zülfikar Doğan

20/08/2020 – Following a maritime and military agreement signed in November, Turkey and Libya’s United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) inked another deal on August 13 that effectively opens up the oil-rich North African country’s market to Turkish contractors.

The deal, signed by Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and the GNA’s Planning Minister Al-Taher Al-Juhaimi, both resolves ongoing issues between Turkish firms and Libyan employers and paves the way for new investments and projects, inviting Turkish contracting firms to take on projects in the country. Continuer à lire … « Turkey set to receive $35 billion in Libya contracts »

Mali coup plotters impose curfew, close borders

Mali’s military leaders have ordered the closure of all border crossings and imposed a night-time curfew, according to an announcement by Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff. This follows the resignation of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which he made on state television late Tuesday after he was held in custody by the mutineers for hours. « As of today, 19 August 2020, all air and land borders are closed until further notice. A curfew is in place from 9pm to 5am [local time] until further notice, » Col-Major Ismaël Wagué said in a televised address on Wednesday morning. He also extended an invitation to opposition groups – which have been calling for reforms – for talks leading to fresh elections. « Civil society and political social movements are invited to join us to create together the best conditions for a civil political transition leading to credible general elections for the exercise of democracy through a road-map that will lay the foundations for a new Mali, » he said. ‘A relief to all’ A member of Mali’s opposition group, M5 movement – which held protests against former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta for the last few weeks, has termed his resignation as a « relief ». Prof Ramata Sissoko Cisse told the BBC World Service from Georgia in the US that Mr Keïta had lost the backing of the people. « I think it’s a relief for the Malian people and for all the citizens of Mali to finally hear from the president that because of the lack of support of the Malian people he finally accepts to resign, to give back power to the people who originally gave it to him and I think the people of Mali are very relieved today, » he said. I don’t want bloodshed President Keita’s resignation followed months of civil unrest occasioned by mass protests. Wearing a blue surgical mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, the President said on national broadcaster ORTM that he had little choice but to stand down to avoid bloodshed, and the country’s national assembly and government would now be dissolved. « For seven years I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country back on its feet, » Keita said. « If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I don’t want any blood to be shed, » he said. The New Times

The New Times

Mozambican govt begs Zim for military rescue

07/08/2020 – The Mozambican government, battling an Islamist insurgency which has cost more than 1 000 lives, has abandoned the idea of seeking military intervention from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and now prefers a bilateral arrangement with Zimbabwe, it has emerged. Continuer à lire … « Mozambican govt begs Zim for military rescue »

Egypt, Greece sign maritime deal to counter Libya-Turkey one

07/08/2020 –  Egypt and Greece on Thursday signed a maritime deal that sets the sea boundary between the two countries and demarcates an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights. Continuer à lire … « Egypt, Greece sign maritime deal to counter Libya-Turkey one »

Erdoğan: Turkey’s intelligence organization has been a game-changer in Libya

27/07/2020 – President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at the opening ceremony of a new service building of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in İstanbul yesterday (July 26).

« Turkish Intelligence Organization conducts works on areas of cryptology, cyber, satellite, and signal intelligence all around the world, » he said and added, « It is not coincidence that MIT is one of the first institutions targeted during the historic struggle our country is exerting for a while. » Continuer à lire … « Erdoğan: Turkey’s intelligence organization has been a game-changer in Libya »

Egypt’s strong military message to Turkey, Tunisia

23/07/2020 – The drums of war on the Libyan-Egyptian border are not beating in the way we are familiar with. Their echo is resonating everywhere in the world. Although not conventional, these drums of war are growing louder and louder.
Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi warned of the readiness of his country’s army to intervene both within and outside its borders, in a clear reference to the conflict in neighboring Libya. By saber-rattling on Egypt’s western border with Libya, El-Sisi wanted to send clear and strong messages to all: The Egyptian forces are ready to enter any confrontation, and with any party, in order to protect Egypt’s national security. Continuer à lire … « Egypt’s strong military message to Turkey, Tunisia »