The Sahel is in terrible condition and we doubt that bank action plans of several billion dollars will do anything beyond enriching a few leaders. We just saw the UN Secretary-General’s reporting to the UN Security Council.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Security Council briefing on peace and security in Africa.
The session dealt with Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Tchad – the countries visited by Mr. Ban Ki-moon. He did not go to Mauritania or Senegal.
The Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon said:
I came back from the visit with a clear sense that we need to do much more to fight poverty, empower women, provide employment opportunities for young people and ensure that all the people of the Sahel have what they need to build a better future.
The Sahel’s vast size and long, porous borders mean that such challenges can be addressed successfully only if the countries of the region work together. The United Nations will continue its efforts to promote security, good governance and resilience.
We took an important first step in Mali at the regional meeting. African ministers, as well as regional and international organizations and financial institutions, came together to improve coordination and address the Sahel’s fragility. They welcomed the African Development Bank’s establishment of an Action Fund, which will help jump-start underfunded projects and contribute to longer-term development.
During the visit, the World Bank, and the EU, pledged $8.2 Billion for the SAHEL.
The Secretary-General also had a very moving visit to Timbuktu, he said. People there are struggling to recover from human rights abuses and upheaval. I was given an opportunity to view the cultural treasures that had been damaged in attacks. This was a terrible loss for Mali — and for our common global heritage — but with UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) help, we are moving to safeguard it.
We must continue to strengthen MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). Mali has made progress toward re-establishing constitutional order. The first round of legislative elections was conducted in an orderly manner. But the political process between the Government and armed groups has been delayed. I remain concerned about the security situation in the north.
Further – “Across the region, terrorist acts, the trafficking of arms, drugs and people, as well as other transnational forms of organized crime, are threatening security. We must do more to address the food crises that plague the Sahel. We also have to improve conditions in migrants’ communities of origin while also generating more legal opportunities for migrants to work abroad” – he said.
To put all this into context – we say the situation in this French-speaking belt of Sub-Saharan Africa – is totally unacceptable.
We wait to hear of any projects that help the people there rather then the banks that manage those projects.
Nevertheless – the UNSG continued – “I look forward to the views of Council members on how we can achieve this. And I count on all partners to live up to our promises so that this important region can break the cycle of poverty and insecurity and usher in an era of prosperity and stability for all.” This prompted statements from some delegations.
Now seeing what the Council said we would not express hopes that the Council intends to do anything about the Sahel.
it is indeed very cheap to say: “The Security Council reaffirms its continued commitment to address the complex security and political challenges in that region, which were interrelated with humanitarian and developmental issues, as well as the adverse effects of climate and ecological changes.” We ask – indeed gentlemen – what does this mean to you and what do you intend to do?
All right – there is a reference to a document – S/PRST/2013/20 and then what? So, yes, there is a call to the local governments – but who indeed expects them to act? What are we entitled to expect from this UN?
The UN Advisory Committee of Administrative and Budgetary Questions asks – Why is The Office of the UN Special Representative to the Sahel located in Rome, with Romano Prodi as its Head, while he was pursuing the Presidency of Italy?
Matthew Russell Lee reports from the UN that Amid Sahel Standstill, UN Committee Asks Why Prodi Is Based in Rome.
UNITED NATIONS, May 10, 2013 — When Romano Prodi, ostensibly the UN’s envoy on if not in the Sahel, became a candidate for the Italian presidency, the UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made excuses, telling Inner City Press the question of conflict of interest was “moot,” because Prodi lost.
But the UN Advisory Committee of Administrative and Budgetary Questions is not so forgiving. Their report on Prodi’s office says that Prodi’s fundraising
And so, “the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly invite the Secretary-General to review the current arrangements for the Office of the Special Envoy and to consider alternative locations of the Office in the Sahel region. In developing his proposals, the Secretary-General should be requested to take full advantage of the opportunities for realizing synergies with the other United Nations entities present in the countries of the region, and avoid all duplicative activity.”
Why is Prodi allowed to be based in Rome? And what has he accomplished?
We post this because this is a point well taken when reviewing the wasteland called the UN – but we do not intend this as an attack on Mr. Romano Prodi whom we know from years past. He is an Italian politician who understood the issue of climate change and the problems of reliance on Middle East Petroleum. He surely can do a lot of good under UN employment, but then the UN must hire him in ways that do not allow for mistakes, or even reasons for criticism like the above.
The Sahel is the black Africa arc just south of the Muslim Arab Maghreb and Egypt – the region that includes Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal. A region that knows the effect of climate change causing drought and conditions that push the region to get involved in the Affairs of the North Africa Arab arc and its Arab awakening from one set of dictators and moving into the arms of Islamic extremists. This while European States like Spain, France, and Italy, with past colonial ties to the region, may thus be not the ideal moderators of the budding new debate of Arab Nationalism at the time of effects of drought caused by climate change. The whole issue needs much more serious UN review then the UN has shown up to now. Would Dakar be the right place to seat Mr. Prodi?
Chasing Islamists in the Mountains of Mali, or is it the Dunes? What goes on in Sahelistan – Is this a new Islamistan? Is it a fight for resources? A World of Multi-Partnerships? Will there be an AZAWAD?
Back at the end of January 2013 we posted – based on an article in “Der Spiegel” – that reached us via the UN Wire – that there was in the making an Islamistan, much more dangerous to the West then the AfPak (Afghanistan & Pakistan) region. This will be a Sahelistan ranging from Mauritania to Somalia, right there as a second southern complete layer to the Mediterranean shore Arab States that stretch from Morocco to Egypt. We call this the SAHELISTAN. Its front line is in Mali, Niger, and Chad.
This layer of Islamism is a combination of conservative Islam used as mortar to bind together locally inspired aspirations to free themselves of the Arab century old imposed rulers and like in the Maghreb States and Libya and Egypt, is supported by the religious leaders out of pure opportunism.
Our old posting is:
Now, in Vienna, I realize further the influence of this newly evolving threat and the reality that Europe is happy to let France, the former Colonial power in that region, shoulder the problem by itself. Further, it is France that running its National energy network on nuclear power, is totally depended on the Uranium they get from those countries, while other Members of the EU have no such dependence.
Further, as we noted last month, at the time of the Vienna Conference of the “Alliance of Civilizations” – as shown by the regional division among the Workshops in that meeting, the Central European States have sort of distanced themselves from the Mediterranean States by showing their economic interest as an extension from Central Europe to Central Asia – that is the Black Sea – Caspian Sea and beyond to the other smaller Muslim States that were part of the former Soviet Union. This leaves the Southern EU States to worry about the Muslim MENA region (Middle East – North Africa) and Turkey – if it has to be.
We also suggested a third tier – the Northern tier – and that is the line that connects the Scandinavian countries – Germany – Poland – with Russia.
But that is not where Vienna left this part of the world.
In March I participated further at two wide scope events:
(1) March 11, 2013, the Austrian Institute for International Politics (OIIP) where Editor Walter Haemmerle of the Wiener Zeitung, was the moderator between three Members of OIIP – all Professors at the University but coming from different areas of interest – Prof. Heinz Gaertner – a political Scientist, Prof. Jan Pospisil for the Arab Space – in particular North Africa, and Prof. Cengiz Guenay, for the Near East/ Middle East Space.
The topic was USA – Near East – Mali – in context of Changes of International Applications of Power.
(2) March 21, 2013, the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) – www.VIDC.org – using the space at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialog – dealt with a more limited topic – and therefore could go down to quite some depth – “Mali: Perspectives for the Political Come-Back.”
The two Malians were – Ismaeel Sory Maiega, Director of the study Center of Languages and African Cultures, and the European Representative of the Tuareg-organized Insurgency MNLA – Mouvement National de Liberation de l’Azawad – National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, Mr. Moussa Assarid.
Ms. Biloa is also the President “Club Millennium” in Paris – an African Think Tank and training place for leadership.
From the OIIP event:
The issue is the US – it is retrenching from the Reagan – G.W. Bush (the son) days of overextended global involvements – so issues like the insurgency in Mali and other Islamization aspects of North Africa, are to be from now on pure European problems. Even the Middle East will have to take care of itself – the most the US will do is to express encouragement for others to act. Professor Gaertner studied the US elections and his view of the Obama II Administration is very similar to what we wrote on our website. The US is readjusting to the Trans-Pacific Partnership – with China its main focus, so much of what goes on in the Muslim Space will have to be filled in by others. Europeans will have to look across the Mediterranean for their own sake.
Dr. Jan Pospisil did his PhD thesis on US-German military cooperation and then looked at East Africa and Sri-Lanka. Like Prof. Gaertner he sees in Syria the biggest problem for the topic of human rights and both think that this is an area that Austria will pay attention as well. With this background it becomes interesting to note that the Austrian participation in Mali is with 9 people.
Dr. Cengiz Guenay wrote his PhD thesis on “Islam as a political factor in Turkey” and found Libya, Egypt, and now Syria as his main fields of interest and he is called in quite often to explain the situation to the media.
The two main points I marked myself from this discussion were:
A. that Turkey is now a TRADING STATE and will do whatever Mr. Erdogan finds opportune for the literal moment.
B. The World – Instead of Multi-polarity – now it will be MULTI-PARTNERSHIPS.
Then at the VIDC/Bruno Kreisky Forum event we got to know Mr. Assarid a full blooded Tuareg, dressed to prove it, who speaks about the Azawad State they want to carve out from the Northern half of Mali – the five towns – Timbuktu, Lere, Hombori, Gao, and Kidal. His bio says he is a writer, journalist and comedian – living in Paris since 1999. He has appeared on TV in several series as actor. He was saying that the Tuaregs have a National movement that is secular. They are not part of an Islamic uprising and their problem is rather that the other side – the present government in Bamako – that took over from an elected government by military coup – is the one that may help the North Africa Al-Qaeda – not the Tuaregs.
Listening to him, and to his opponent, Professor. Maiega, who is an intellectual – head of a Bamako Institute to promote indigenous languages and African Civilizations, it seems that in effect both of them are more interested in traditional African culture then in Islam, and in effect it is France’s interest in holding on to its previous Colony that is the most problematic aspect of this entanglement. Is it all because of the Uranium, coal, and other natural resources found in Mali? Will this move on to Niger and Chad? What would happen if Mali is allowed to split amicably into two States? Could this be worse then seeing it unravel in fighting that allows other groups to mix the boiling pot?
The French say they want to bring down their fighting troops from 4,000 to 1,000 by the end of April, and have by that time trained the Mali government troops, and the West African troops, that offered to help. I say – Do not hold your breath – I say.
The problem with the desert people maybe much more complicated then what was presented. There is money to be made from those natural resources, and from kidnapping people for ransom. The desert is big and people rather unemployed – so the few can muster the rest, and bamboozle with religion cooked up with social, ethnic, tribal arguments to boot – this works in a world that thinks very little of terrorism, as an accepted tool for those that feel downtroden, and the passage to the world here-after as a move to step up an imagined personalized ladder.
Recent History as reported today – April 1, 2013: The fighting reflected the difficulty of securing Mali after a French intervention in January that pushed the rebels out of their northern strongholds.
“Things are quiet this morning. The markets are open, traffic is on the streets, and people are out of their houses,” Timbuktu resident Garba Maiga said by telephone.
Malian military sources said soldiers were sweeping parts of the town to ensure there were no remaining rebel fighters.
At least one Malian soldier was killed in the clashes, along with more than 20 insurgents, according to a government statement on Sunday night. Residents said at least five civilians were killed in the crossfire.
An army spokesman said that groups of rebels had entered the town after setting off a suicide car bomb at a checkpoint, diverting the military’s attention.
Paris is keen to reduce its current 4,000-strong troop presence to 1,000 by the end of the year as it hands over its mission to a regional African force.
By coincidence – the following arrived in our Inbox and I find this relevant as it stresses US-Senegal relations. Senegal is a Muslim State.
04/01/2013 03:58 PM EDT
Remarks at Luncheon in Honor of Four African Democratic Partners.
William J. Burns
Martin Van Buren Dining Room
March 29, 2013
Good afternoon. It is truly an honor to be here today with all of you. I want to thank Assistant Secretary Carson for hosting this luncheon. As you know, despite our best efforts to change his mind, Johnnie is leaving the State Department after a nearly four decades of exemplary public service. We are all deeply indebted to Johnnie for his leadership and stewardship of the U.S.-Africa relationship.
I would like to welcome President Banda of Malawi, Prime Minister Neves of Cape Verde, Foreign Minister Ndiaye of Senegal, and Foreign Minister Kamara of Sierra Leone. It is a pleasure to host you here at the Department of State.
Like Johnnie, I am an Africa optimist. I am an optimist because the tide of wars and civil strife is receding. I am an optimist because the continent continues to make steady progress in political reform — more than half of the countries in Africa have embraced democratic, multiparty rule and elections and term limits are now widely accepted norms. And I am an optimist because Africa’s growth rate will soon surpass Asia’s and seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are African.
The credit for this transformation belongs to leaders like you and courageous citizens across the continent. Looking back over the past two decades, the United States is proud of its modest contribution and steady support.
President Clinton worked with Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region. President George W. Bush created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, programs that saved millions of lives and brought hundreds of thousands of Africans out of poverty. Over the last four years, President Obama has built on this foundation by forming partnerships based on mutual respect and responsibility with governments, entrepreneurs, youth, women, and the private sector to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, promote opportunity and development, and advance peace and security.
Each of you illustrates the potential of these partnerships.
President Banda – in one year, you led Malawi out of a deep abyss, moving swiftly to stabilize the economy and elevate human rights. And as you did, the United States was pleased to restore its partnership with your government, including lifting the suspension of our $350 million MCC Compact. We look forward to continuing to work together further to strengthen Malawi democracy, address hunger and improve food security.
Prime Minister Neves – under your leadership, Cape Verde reached middle-income country status, joined the WTO, attracted significant foreign investment, and solidified its social safety net. We value our cooperation on maritime security and in countering narcotrafficking and are pleased to launch a second five-year MCC compact to accelerate economic growth.
Senegal is one of the United States’ strongest partners and a leading democracy in Africa. We applaud the Senegalese government’s commitment to improve governance, regional security, and bilateral cooperation. We deeply appreciate President Sall’s efforts for peace in the Casamance and his leadership on peacekeeping and regional security.
Last year, Sierra Leone held fair, free, and credible elections. We thank President Koroma and his government for their commitment to strengthening Sierra Leone’s democratic institutions. Predictably, the economy responded to your efforts, expanding by 30% in 2012. Let me also note our deep appreciation for your government’s troop contribution to the Somalia peacekeeping force.
There is no doubt that we face many challenges in the coming years – from the Horn to the Great Lakes, and the Sahel. This is why our partnership has never been more important. Fortunately, it has never been stronger.
Thank you very much.
According to the Scottish explorer and scientist Robert Brown, Azawad is an Arabic corruption of the Berber word Azawagh, referring to a dry river basin that covers western Niger, northeastern Mali, and southern Algeria. The name translates to “land of transhumance“.
On 6 April 2012, in a statement posted to its website, the MNLA declared the independence of Azawad from Mali. In this Azawad Declaration of Independence, the name Independent State of Azawad was used (French: État indépendant de l’Azawad, Arabic: Dawlat Azaw?d al-Mustaqillah).
On 26 May, the MNLA and its former co-belligerent Ansar Dine – an Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda – announced a pact in which they would merge to form an Islamist state; according to the media the new long name of Azawad was used in this pact. But this new name is not clear – sources list few variants of it: the Islamic Republic of Azawad (French: République islamique de l’Azawad), the Islamic State of Azawad (French: État islamique de l’Azawad), the Republic of Azawad. Azawad authorities did not officially confirm any change of name.
The MNLA has unveiled the list of 28 members of the Transitional Council of the State of Azawad (Conseil de Transition de l’Etat de l’Azawad, CTEA) serving as a provisional government with President Bilal Ag Acherif to manage the new State of Azawad.
The Economic Community of West African States, which refused to recognise Azawad and called the declaration of its independence “null and void”, has said it may send troops into the disputed region in support of the Malian claim.
Ansar Dine later declared that they rejected the idea of Azawad independence. The MNLA and Ansar Dine continued to clash, culminating in the Battle of Gao on 27 June, in which the Islamist groups Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Ansar Dine took control of the city, driving out the MNLA. The following day, Ansar Dine announced that it was in control of all the cities of northern Mali.
On 14 February 2013 the MNLA renounced their claim of independence for Azawad; it asked the Malian government to start negotiations on its future status.
All of this points at a very confusing situation that in effect backs what we heard at the meeting of March 21, 2013 here in Vienna.
Above map suggests that the presence of Tuaregs which were nomads, is not limited to the north of Mali alone, but they are found in neighboring States as well. The history of the region involved wars that extended to Algeria and to larger Morocco. The area was part of empires that existed in Timbuktu and Gao.
Under French rule
After European powers formalized the scramble for Africa in the Berlin Conference, the French assumed control of the land between the 14th meridian and Miltou, South-West Chad, bounded in the south by a line running from Say, Niger to Baroua. Although the Azawad region was French in name, the principle of effectivity required France to hold power in those areas assigned, e.g. by signing agreements with local chiefs, setting up a government, and making use of the area economically, before the claim would be definitive. On 15 December 1893, Timbuktu, by then long past its prime, was annexed by a small group of French soldiers, led by Lieutenant Gaston Boiteux. The region became part of French Sudan (Soudan Français), a colony of France. The colony was reorganised and the name changed several times during the French colonial period. In 1899 the French Sudan was subdivided and the Azawad became part of Upper Senegal and Middle Niger (Haut-Sénégal et Moyen Niger). In 1902 it was renamed as Senegambia and Niger (Sénégambie et Niger), and in 1904 this was changed again to Upper Senegal and Niger (Haut-Sénégal et Niger). This name was used until 1920 when it became French Sudan again.
French Sudan became the autonomous state of Mali within the French Community in 1958, and Mali became independent from France in 1960. Four major Tuareg rebellions took place against Malian rule: the First Tuareg Rebellion (1962–64), the rebellion of 1990–1995, the rebellion of 2007–2009, and a 2012 rebellion. This alone should tell the world that the situation is not stable and that it can be adjusted only if autonomy is granted the Tuareg region.
In the early twenty-first century, the region became notorious for banditry and drug smuggling. The area has been reported to contain great potential mineral wealth, including petroleum and uranium.
On 17 January 2012, the MNLA announced the start of an insurrection in Azawad against the government of Mali, declaring that it “will continue so long as Bamako does not recognise this territory as a separate entity”.On 24 January, the MNLA won control of the town of Aguelhok, killing around 160 Malian soldiers and capturing dozens of heavy weapons and military vehicles. In March 2012, the MNLA and Ansar Dine took control of the regional capitals of Kidal and Gao along with their military bases. On 1 April, Timbuktu was captured. After the seizure of Timbuktu on 1 April, the MNLA gained effective control of most of the territory they claim for an independent Azawad. In a statement released on the occasion, the MNLA invited all Azawadis abroad to return home and join in constructing institutions in the new state.
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared Azawad an independent state on 6 April 2012 and pledged to draft a constitution establishing it as a democracy. Their statement acknowledged the United Nations charter and said the new state would uphold its principles.
In an interview with France 24, an MNLA spokesman declared the independence of Azawad:
In the same interview, Assarid promised that Azawad would respect the colonial frontiers that separate Azawad from its neighbours; he insisted that Azawad’s declaration of independence had international legality.
No foreign entity recognised Azawad. The MNLA’s declaration was immediately rejected by the African Union, who declared it “null and no value whatsoever”. The French Foreign Ministry said it would not recognise the unilateral partition of Mali, but it called for negotiations between the two entities to address “the demands of the northern Tuareg population [which] are old and for too long had not received adequate and necessary responses”. The United States also rejected the declaration of independence.
The MNLA is estimated to have up to 3,000 soldiers. ECOWAS declared Azawad “null and void”, and said that Mali is “one and [an] indivisible entity”. ECOWAS has said that it would use force, if necessary, to put down the rebellion. The French government indicated it could provide logistical support.
On 26 May, the MNLA and its former co-belligerent Ansar Dine announced a pact to merge to form an Islamist state. Later reports indicated the MNLA withdrew from the pact, distancing itself from Ansar Dine. MNLA and Ansar Dine continued to clash, culminating in the Battle of Gao and Timbuktu on 27 June, in which the Islamist groups Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Ansar Dine took control of Gao, driving out the MNLA. The following day, Ansar Dine announced that it was in control of Timbuktu and Kidal, the three biggest cities of northern Mali. Ansar Dine continued its offensive against MNLA positions and overran all remaining MNLA held towns by 12 July with the fall of Ansogo.
In December 2012, the MNLA agreed on Mali’s national unity and territorial integrity in talks with both the central government and Ansar Dine.
Most are Muslims, of the Sunni or Sufi orientations. Most popular in the Tuareg movement and northern Mali as a whole is the Maliki branch of Sunnism, in which traditional opinions and analogical reasoning by later Muslim scholars are often used instead of a strict reliance on ?adith (coming directly from the Mohammed’s life and utterances) as a basis for legal judgment.
Ansar Dine follows the Salafi branch of Sunni Islam, which rejects the existence of Islamic holy men (other than Mohammed) and their teachings. They strongly object to praying around the graves of Malikite ‘holymen’, and burned down an ancient Sufi shrine in Timbuktu, which had been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The people living in the central and northern Sahelian and Sahelo-Saharan areas of Mali are the country’s poorest, according to an International Fund for Agricultural Development report. Most are pastoralists and farmers practicing subsistence agriculture on dry land with poor and increasingly degraded soils. The northern part of Mali suffers from a critical shortage of food and lack of health care. Starvation has prompted about 200,000 inhabitants to leave the region.
Refugees in the 92,000-person refugee camp at Mbera, Mauritania, describe the Islamists as “intent on imposing an Islam of lash and gun on Malian Muslims.” The Islamists in Timbuktu have destroyed about a half-dozen historic above-ground tombs of revered holy men, proclaiming the tombs contrary to Shariah. One refugee in the camp spoke of encountering Afghans, Pakistanis and Nigerians among the invading forces.
Were the two most important Islamist leaders of the Sahara killed? What was the part of France and Japan in the fight to exterminate the rebels that became active when the Algerian military coup tried to stop Islamists from taking over the government by the elective process.
What does the following mean when viewing what we got to call the Arab Spring and the dichotomy between twigs of democracy hope and trunks of solid Middle Ages religious zeal?
Al-Qaida loses key leader in Africa
Mastermind of Algeria attack ‘killed in Mali.’
AP, Kyodo, The Japan Times on-line, March 4, 2o13
N’DJAMENA – Chad’s military chief announced late Saturday that his troops deployed in northern Mali had killed Moktar Belmoktar, the terrorist who orchestrated the attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria that left 36 foreigners dead.
Local officials in Kidal, the northern town that is being used as the base for the military operation, cast doubt on the assertion, saying Chadian officials are attempting to score a PR victory to make up for the significant losses they have suffered in recent days.
Belmoktar’s profile soared after the mid-January attack and mass hostage-taking on a huge Algerian gas plant, during which 10 Japanese employees of engineering firm JGC Corp. were killed. His purported death comes a day after Chad’s president said his troops had killed Abou Zeid, the other main al-Qaida commander operating in northern Mali.
If both deaths are confirmed, it would mean that the international intervention in Mali had succeeded in decapitating two of the pillars of al-Qaida in the Sahara.
“Chad’s armed forces in Mali have completely destroyed a base used by jihadists and narcotraffickers in the Adrar and Ifoghas mountains” of northern Mali, Chief of Staff Gen. Zakaria Ngobongue said. “The provisional toll is as follows: Several terrorists killed, including Moktar Belmoktar.”
The French military moved into Mali on Jan. 11 to push back militants linked to Belmoktar and Abou Zeid and other extremist groups who had imposed harsh Islamic rule in the north of the vast country and who were seen as an international terrorist threat.
France is trying to rally other African troops to help in the military campaign, since Mali’s military is weak and poor. Chadian troops have offered the most robust reinforcement.
In Paris, French military spokesman Col. Thierry Burkhard said he had “no information” on the possibility that Belmoktar was dead. The Foreign Ministry refused to confirm the report.
Belmoktar, an Algerian, is believed to be in his 40s, and like his intermittent partner, Abou Zeid, he began on the path to terrorism after Algeria’s secular government voided the 1991 election won by an Islamic party. Both men joined the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, and later its offshoot, the GSPC, a group that carried out suicide bombings on Algerian government targets.
Around 2003, both men crossed into Mali, where they began a lucrative kidnapping business, snatching European tourists, aid workers, government employees and even diplomats and holding them for ransom.
The Algerian terrorist cell amassed a significant war chest, and joined the al-Qaida fold in 2006, renaming itself al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Belmoktar claims he trained in Afghanistan in the 1990s, including in one of Osama bin Laden’s camps. It was there that he reportedly lost an eye, earning him the nickname “Laaouar,” Arabic for “one-eyed.”
Until last December, Belmoktar and Abou Zeid headed separate brigades under the flag of al-Qaida’s chapter in the Sahara. But after reports of infighting between the two, Belmoktar peeled off, announcing the creation of his own terrorist unit, still loyal to the al-Qaida ideology but separate from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
Actors and diplomats tour Sudan, the US President will speak up. Human problems and oil money problems will get different levels of attention. George Clooney, Barak Obama and Susan Rice among the actors. The following day UPDATE from UN/New York – it seems the UN is not stepping in the Sudan with intent to make reality openly known.
The article was posted October 12th, the UPDATE id from October 13th and is posted at the end.
Actor and Sudan activist George Clooney visited President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his recent trip to south Sudan in advance of a referendum in January on partition.
Clooney hopes to call attention to the increasingly unstable relationships between the northern and southern regions.
Sudan President Omar Al Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in the country’s Darfur region, is expected to fight to keep South Sudan from seceding because it has more than 75 percent of the country’s oil.
Clooney visited Darfur refugee camps in Chad, just across the Sudan border, and came to the White House early in 2009 to press for the appointment of a high-level envoy to the region.
Afterward, Obama, in March, 2009, tapped retired Major Gen. Scott Gration to the special envoy spot. When the president was an Illinois senator, Gration accompanied him to Chad in 2006 to visit a refugee camp populated with people from Darfur who had fled widespread killing and raids there.
In recent weeks the Obama administration has taken a much more active stance on Sudan. At the U.N. General Assembly last month, Obama spoke at a ministerial meeting where he called for governments of both North and South Sudan to ensure a peaceful, fair and transparent referendum in January.
Clooney and Obama started working on Sudan issues in 2006 — before Obama’s trip to Africa. In April of that year, Clooney, then-Sen. Obama and former Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) spoke at the National Press Club about the ongoing violence in Darfur and drew attention to an upcoming “Save Darfur” rally on the National Mall to urge the world to move faster to stop the slaughter, rape, and forced displacement in the region.
Now George Clooney covered by CNN’s Ann Curry upstaged the 4 day trip to Sudan by US Ambassador Susan Rice and most of the Ambassadors on the UN Security Council who went on their own fact finding mission. Best report from the UN trip can be found at www.innercitypress.com/unsc1sudan… from Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press who surprisingly was allowed by the UN to participate with the officials. He continues his coverage back at the UN – www.innercitypress.com/ban2sudan1…
Also along were Ambassadors Lyall Grant of the UK, Vitaly Churkin of Russia, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, Ertugrul Apakan of Turkey, Claude Heller of Mexico, Tsuneo Nishida of Japan …. in total there were 11 countries out of the 15 UNSC members represented there by their main UN representative, including from Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Uganda who are leaving the UNSC at the end of 2010. Countries not sending their Permanent Representatives, or Number 1 Ambassadors, were Austria, France, Gabon and Nigeria. France sent #2 and Austria is leaving the UNSC at the end of this year – but the only continuing African members of the UNSC are Gabon and Nigeria – both did not make their top hats available for this fact-finding mission to Africa – in this context it is inexcusable in our opinion for them not to have gone on the trip.
As expected, this trip has seemingly achieved nothing and the courage to deal with the humanitarian problem of Sudan is missing – but as Matthew Lee points out – some may believe that dividing the oil revenue may be making progress in practice.
With Sudan in Crisis, UN Dodges Questions, UNMIS Ignores Them, DC Follies.
From Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, who was on the Sudan trip:
UNITED NATIONS, October 13 — While the UN speaks about how important Sudan is to it, it refuses to answer basic questions, both in its New York headquarters and in Sudan.
On October 11, having returned from the Security Council trip to Sudan during which, among other things, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier neglected to tell the Council about the village of Sora in Darfur being entirely destroyed the previously week, and the internally displaced people who spoke with the Council were subsequently interrogated and intimidated by Sudanese authorities, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky about both of these issues.
On both issues on October 11, Nesirky said “let’s find out.” When asked again about Sora at the UN noon briefing on October 12, Nesirky said “I can assure you that something is in the works. I don’t have anything for you right now. Something is in the works.”
Thirty hours after that, 54 hours after the Sora question was asked, nothing, no response at all.
And so early on October 13, Inner City Press directed three questions to the Spokesperson for the UN Mission in Sudan, including these two:
Please provide the response of UNMIS / the UN to the “The Southern Sudanese Drivers and Mechanics Association… cit[ing] UNDP, UNMIS and Kenya Commercial Bank among the organisations that continue to employ foreigners in positions that many unemployed indigenousould hold, rendering local drivers redundant. www.borglobe.com/25.html?m7:post=…
Please provide by email asap what UNMIS put out about the incident with the Sudanese journalist(s) on the tarmac in Juba in the Security Council delegation’s plane.
Eleven hours later (and counting) there had been no response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt to questions directed to the spokesperson’s email address listed on the UNMIS website.
The Q&A with the UN Spokesman is transcribed below.
But in Washington DC George Clooney, with whom the UN Security Council met with for longer than they met with IDPs, was reported to be asking for Congressional action. What action?
One media outlet said he was raising issues of Darfur, which he didn’t visit. How seriously is South Sudan, much less Darfur, being taken?
From the UN’s October 11 then October 12 noon briefings:
Inner City Press: On Sudan, following the Council’s visit to the Abu Shouk internally displaced persons camp, I guess that was on Friday, there have been reports that the people they spoke with had been interrogated by Sudanese authorities, and in some cases, arrested. I am wondering if UNAMID is aware of that or the UN, I mean the UN system more broadly, and what they intend to do about it?
Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Let’s find out.
Inner City Press: The other, as we left there, some, Mr. [Georg] Charpentier had provided a document that seems to indicate that, in the week before the Council’s visit, a village called Sora in eastern Jebel Marra was “entirely, completely burned down”. I know that Mr. Charpentier briefed the Council members, but none of them on the way back seemed to… this wasn’t mentioned to them. I am wondering… what does UNAMID and Mr. Charpentier do when a village is entirely destroyed? Is it an important thing? Is it the kind of thing that they should brief the Council about?
Spokesperson: Can you roll back and tell me again, because it is sort of confusing.
Inner City Press: Okay. Among documents that Mr. Charpentier provided at the end of the trip…
Spokesperson: To whom?
Inner City Press: He gave it into the press bus, saying that this would just verify things that he’d said about things not being a problem in Jebel Marra. But deep in the document, it says that a village named Sora was completely burned down. It doesn’t say whether it was by ground fighting or an aerial attack. But if it’s aerial, it seems it would be the Government. None of the Security Council ambassadors on the way back had been aware of this or had been briefed on this. So, I guess my question, it’s a twofold one, factually it would be is it possible to discover from Mr. Charpentier, whose document this is, whether the village of Sora was destroyed from the air or by ground? And maybe some statement on why, in the briefing that he gave to the Council, this destruction was not raised?
Spokesperson: I am assuming you didn’t raise it with him yourself, because it was passed into the bus, and then you read it after the bus pulled away?
Inner City Press: I read it actually on the way back, yes, yes.
Spokesperson: Right. Okay, well let’s relay that back whence you just came.
A full 24 hours later, noon briefing of October 12:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask a couple of questions about Sudan. One is, there has been, I guess in the last 24 hours, there have been a couple of developments. One is a quote by President [Omer Hassan] al-Bashir that he will not accept any alternative to unity, which many people say is basically a threat not to accept the “yes” vote if the vote is in fact held 9 January. So I am wondering, there was a statement made on 24 September, but this statement by al-Bashir seems to be totally contradictory to it. So, I am just wondering, what’s the process for either UNMIS [United Nations Mission in Sudan] or the Secretariat to… What did they think of that statement? And also there was an arrest made on Saturday, as it turns out, of these pro-secession people in Khartoum as part of the demonstration. They were not only beaten, but it turns out they were arrested. So the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] has said that’s a bad move and violates the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] that they are not allowed to campaign for secession. Does the UN have any response to that?
Spokesperson Nesirky: On that second question, I’ll see what we can get you on that. I don’t have anything right now. On the first question, I would indeed refer back to the statement, the communiqué, that was issued. I don’t think we will be commenting on every twist and turn. The basic principles of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are well-known, and the communiqué speaks very clearly about the need to stay on track.
Inner City Press: Did you get anything back on this issue of this village of Sora that was listed as being…?
Spokesperson: I can assure you that something is in the works. I don’t have anything for you right now. Something is in the works.
But 30 hours later, nothing. Watch this site.
Footnote: while Nesirky held a noon briefing on October 13, he had only just begun to take questions when he stopped, to present guests who had spent three hours working toward a future report. When they were done, so was Nesirky: he didn’t ask if there were many more questions. But there were…
RECEIVED FROM: Editeur : RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
THIS IS THE INFORMATION No. 41 from RIAED WHICH IS THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR ACCESS TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF WEST AFRICA, BUT THEY HAVE ALSO A LINK TO THE ENGLISH FORM OF THIS LETTER. THE POSTING IS INTERESTING AS IT SHOWS LOTS OF ACTIVITIES THAT GO ON IN THE REGION SINCE 2006 AND CONTINUE TO DATE.
Voici la lettre d’information du site RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables.
A la Une
Un rapport de la Banque mondiale détaille, sur 44 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, les opportunités de réduction d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans 22 domaines. Au travers de l’approche MDP, cette étude a pour objectif d’explorer le potentiel offert par les projets énergétiques à faible contenu en carbone qui peuvent contribuer au développement de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce but, l’équipe de réalisation de l’étude a identifié les technologies pour lesquelles il existe déjà des méthodologies MDP et qui ont déjà donné lieu à projets MDP dans d’autres régions en voie de développement.
Liberia : deux firmes américaines financent la construction d’une centrale hydroélectrique Les firmes Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) et Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) basées aux États-Unis, ont déboursé 150 millions de dollars pour la construction d’une centrale hydro-électrique à Kakata, dans la région de Margibi (environ 45 kilomètres de la capitale Monrovia).
Maroc : lancement du plus grand parc éolien en Afrique Le Maroc a lancé le 28 juin 2010, au nord du pays, le plus grand parc éolien en Afrique, pour une enveloppe de 2,75 milliards de dirhams (400 millions de dollars) soit une des étapes – clés du Programme marocain intégré de l’énergie éolienne, qui table sur un investissement d’environ 31,5 milliards de dirhams (4 milliards de dollars).
Cap Vert : la CEDEAO ouvre un centre des énergies renouvelables La Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique d l’Ouest (CEDEAO) a ouvert un nouveau centre pour les énergies renouvelable (ECREEE) aux Iles du Cap Vert pour développer le potentiel de la région en énergies renouvelables.
Côte d’Ivoire : l’état relance le barrage de Soubré Dans le cadre des mesures annoncées pour palier aux difficultés dans le secteur de l’énergie électrique, l’état ivoirien va relancer le projet de construction du barrage hydroélectrique de Soubré.
Malawi : un projet de biogaz mène à d’autres services Une unité de production de biogaz de petite échelle au Malawi, récemment créée dans le but d’atténuer le changement climatique, peut également, si elle est bien exploitée, améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance dans les régions rurales du Malawi.
Afrique sub-saharienne : les meilleurs produits d’éclairage hors réseau gagnent le soutien de Lighting AfricaCinq produits innovants ont été sélectionnés lors de la conférence de Lighting Africa et du commerce équitable à Nairobi en mai dernier.
Bénin : projet d’amélioration de l’acccès à l’énergie moderne Le Gouvernement de la République du Bénin a obtenu un crédit auprès de l’Association Internationale de Développement (IDA) d’un montant équivalant à quarante sept millions cinq cent mille Droits de Tirages Spéciaux (47 500 000 DTS) soit soixante dix millions de dollars US (70 000 000 USD) pour financer le Projet de Développement de l’Accès à l’énergie Moderne (DAEM).
Afrique de l’Est : Les micro-entrepreneurs font leurs entrées dans le marché de l’énergie, à temps pour la coupe du monde Un groupe de 20 micro-entrepreneurs originaires de Ranen, un marché local de l’ouest de Kenya, sont les premiers entrepreneurs DEEP formés et mis en relation avec les institutions financières pour obtenir des facilités de crédits et développer leurs affaires dans le secteur énergétique.
L’Égypte compte ouvrir sa première centrale à énergie solaire fin 2010 L’Égypte compte mettre en service sa première centrale électrique à énergie solaire d’ici la fin de l’année 2010, a indiqué lundi 14 juin 2010 le ministère égyptien de l’Énergie.
Accord entre le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain et la BEI Le président de la BEI (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) se félicite de la seconde révision de l’Accord de Cotonou et signe avec le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain un accord d’assistance technique en faveur d’un projet dans le secteur libérien de l’énergie.
Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…
France : Forum EURAFRIC 2010 La 10ème édition du Forum EURAFRIC « Eau et Énergie en Afrique » se tiendra du 18 au 21 octobre 2010 au Centre des Congrès de Lyon (France).(29/06/2010)
Sénégal : salon ENERBATIM 2011 La deuxième édition du Salon International des Energies Renouvelables et du Bâtiment ENERBATIM en Afrique se tiendra du 6 au 9 avril 2011 au CICES (Dakar).
Tunisie : Congrès international sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Environnement Ce congrès aura lieu du 4 au 6 novembre 2010 à Sousse (Tunisie).
Algérie : salon international des énergies renouvelables ERA 2010 Le Salon international des énergies renouvelables, des énergies propres et du développement durable, se tiendra les 19, 20 et 21 octobre 2010 à Tamanrasset (Algérie).
Afrique du Sud : forum Hydropower Africa 2010 Ce forum sur l’hydroélectricité en Afrique aura lieu du 16 au 20 août 2010 à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud)
Derniers documents (études, applications…) proposés en libre téléchargement :
La revue de Proparco – n°6 – mai 2010 Cette revue bimestrielle n°6 de Proparco (groupe AFD) a pour thème : « Capital-investissement et énergies propres : catalyser les financements dans les pays émergents »
Les petits systèmes PV font la différence dans les pays en développement La coopération technique allemande (GTZ), a publié une étude qui fait le point sur l’impact des petites installations photovoltaïques sur le processus d’électrification rurale hors réseau, dans les pays en développement.
L’électricité au cœur des défis africains Manuel sur l’électrification en Afrique – Auteur Christine Heuraux
Interactions bioénergie et sécurité alimentaire Ce document de la FAO fournit un cadre quantitatif et qualitatif pour analyser l’interaction entre la bioénergie et la sécurité alimentaire.
Blogues du Riaed
Petit site dédié à un projet, une rencontre, une institution… Vous pouvez présenter vos connaissances et proposer des ressources en libre téléchargement.
Accès aux blogues hébergés par le Riaed : www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41
Annuaire du Riaed
Inscrivez vous en qualité d’expert, ou inscrivez votre entreprise / institution / projet, etc. dans l’annuaire du Riaed pour être facilement identifiable et joignable. Vous le ferez en ligne, en quelques minutes, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve6. Vous pouvez aussi le faire en adhérant au réseau du Riaed, en qualité de membre, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve11 et en précisant à la fin votre souhait d’être aussi présenté publiquement dans l’annuaire (cocher la case ad hoc).
ASAPE ASAPE ou Association de solidarité et d’appui pour l’environnement
Burkina énergies et technologies appropriées (BETA) BETA est une entreprise solidaire qui a fait le choix de s’investir dans la promotion de l’accès à l’énergie en milieu rural.
Opportunités de financement de projets
EuropeAid – Facilité Énergie n°39 – Newsletter de juin 2010 Ce numéro de la lettre de la Facilité Énergie de la Commission Européenne nous fournit les statistiques sur l’évaluation des notes succinctes.
Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges
Maroc : formation continue « La pérennisation des systèmes énergétiques décentralisés » L’objectif de cette session est la formation d’un groupe de techniciens impliqués dans les aspects techniques et socio-économiques de l’introduction de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque dans l’électrification des zones rurales et isolées.
Burkina Faso : formation continue « Développer son expertise pour économiser l’énergie dans les bâtiments climatisés » L’IEPF et 2iE ont développé une formule qui comprend non seulement la formation proprement dite, mais également le suivi des bénéficiaires de cette formation (en particulier les entreprises industrielles), avec un engagement de leur part à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations des audits, en finançant tout ou partie des coûts.
Sites francophones sur l’énergie
Une liste de sites francophones et de réseaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=34
(Autres liens et réseaux)
THAT IS – THE SIMILAR TEXT IN ENGLISH FROM THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF AFRICA SEEMS TO BE AVAILABLE AT:
Une liste de sites anglophones et de réseaux internationaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=35
THE BLOGGS LINK IS THE FOLLOWING BUT IT SEEMS OLD: www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41
We posted this first February 10, 2010, but felt compelled to pick up the subject of the meeting when we saw This Friday and this Saturday/Sunday Financial Times having in both issues a full spread by OIC on “The International Donors’ Conference For The Development & construction of Darfur” (The small “c” for construction is the way they said it.)
It says that the conference aims at mobilizing donations for and investments in the following sectors:
-Health & Education
– Agriculture, Livestock & Forests
– Rural & Women’s Development & Capacity Building
– Housing and Physical Planning
– The Cement Industry & Agricultural Process
a conference website – www.OIC-OCI.org
The page is adorned with the flags of SUDAN, SAUDI ARABIA, TURKEY, EGYPT.
Though we were very positive about our first posting, this addition is rather approached by us as skeptics.
WHY DID THEY HAVE TO WASTE MONEY FOR THESE ADDS IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES?
I thought that finally the Arab world has seen that they must intervene in Sudan as a matter of Arab or even better – Islamic – pride. It was obvious to us that the funding and work will have to be sort in the family. After all, does OIC believe that anyone outside the Arab world will channel through them donations for the poor people of Darfur via Sudanese the Government? Will anyone invest except in drilling for oil and that you do not get via an add in the FT.
Further, 30% of the page is a self advertisement of the OIC – “About OIC” – which is good PR but nothing for the Darfurians.
On the other hand – weekend The Financial Times (Saturday/Sunday March 20-21. 2010 had in the Life & Arts Section pages 1-2, a large article by Barney Jopson – “The road to independence” that was about South Darfur – “Sudan’s ‘Wild South’ is a country-in-waiting and could become a sovereign state next year, But is this shattered region ready to stand alone?”
The truth seems to us that Sudan has so badly mishandled Darfur that in effect it could become next State-in-waiting and the Sudan empire may fall apart. OIC could help sort this out in nice, quiet, discreet diplomacy and by backing the economy first using the oil income of Sudan and investment from other oil funds.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish OIC Secretary General : The Donors Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur on 21 March.
But the OIC Calendar posted in the same posting says: “March 23: OIC Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur – Cairo, Egypt.” (??)
OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu also expressed his great satisfaction on the visit of H.E. Idriss Deby, the President of Chad, to Sudan and the agreement reached between the two countries to normalize their bilateral relations.
Also – OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu expressed his deep disappointment over the announced decision of the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to direct the pre-trial chamber to decide anew on the charge of genocide against the President of Sudan Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir.
All the above seems to show that the Islamic countries are ready to step into a problem solving mode in Sudan – but will the UN keep its Darfur and South Sudan watchdog positions? White washing Al-Bashir should not be allowed. What was done in Sudan was a series of Government sanctioned crimes. We also said that some of the motivation to those crimes had to do with impacts of climate change – will the oil rich Islamic countries – those countries that got financial advantage by selling the oil to the rest of the world, will they indeed pay their dues in the form of real help to the black people of Darfur – be they Islamic or not?
The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu discussed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Ahmad Aboul Gheit the current arrangements for the organization of the ‘International Donors Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur’, due to be held in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo, in March 21, 2010. The meeting was at Aboul Gheit’s office in Cairo on 6 February 2010. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the facets of joint cooperation between the OIC and Cairo, and their bilateral relations.
The meeting also addressed the ongoing arrangements for the next Islamic Summit Conference, which will be held in Egypt in March 2011, as well as various other issues of mutual interest.
The Secretary General had arrived in Cairo on 5 February. During his visit he also met with the Egyptian Minister of Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Himdi Zaqzouq and discussed the existing cooperation between the two parties in many fields.
Ihsanoglu said that the Conference, which will be held at the ministerial level, will submit to the donors a number of vital projects in Darfur with the aim of completing the development process, which will strengthen stability in the province.
On another level, the Secretary General delivered on February 7, 2010 a lecture on ‘The Future of the Muslim World’ at the International Book Exhibition in Cairo.
Turkish Minister of Trade and Industry visits the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah.
A ninety-member Turkish delegation led by the Minister of Trade and Industry of Turkey Dr. Nihat Ergun visited the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah on 8 February 2010. The Minister, whose delegation comprised industrialists and businessmen from the private and public sectors in Turkey, was received by the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Ambassador Hameed A. Opeloyeru, and the Director General of the Cabinet and Chief Advisor to the Secretary General Ambassador Sukru Tufan, on behalf of the OIC Secretary General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. They exchanged views on how to expand cooperation between the OIC and Turkey in economic sector.
The Minister and his accompanying delegation attended a briefing session on expanding intra-OIC cooperation in the fields of trade and industry delivered by Ambassador Opeloyeru. The presentation covered a range of vital issues which included Intra-OIC Trade, Trade Preferential System of OIC, Cotton Rehabilitation Program, Agro-Food Development, Development of OIC Halal Food Standards, Cooperation in Tourism, Banking and Financial Sectors, Transportation and Private Sector initiatives.
Minister Ergun for his part stressed that his country will continue to take an active role in the OIC initiatives. He also noted that Turkey will soon finalize the ratification process of the Statute of the Standards and Meteorology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) which will function under the umbrella of the OIC.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the nterests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969). The Headquarters of OIC are in Jeddah – www.oosterhuis.nl/quickstart/inde…
Obama is bequested a Country and a World in high state of disrepair – When will he be able to find the time and the means to help the people of Congo and the people of Darfur and South Sudan? What will he discuss in his first tete-a-tete with the President of China?
War in Congo has caused by now 5 million death and there is no end to it, war in Sudan has cost by now 2.5 million lives. Further many millions of people were driven from their homes – both these very large countries, rich in natural resources, have been driven to abject poverty with a very thin crust on top – rich people that made their fortune from the misery of the many,
China has now invested $9 billion in Sudan in oil deals, and $5 billion in Congo in minerals – someone from the locals gets some of this money. Americans and Europeans spend money on aid campaigns and would really want to see an end to the Killings. They clearly feel this is a bottomless pit. Three prominent leaders in the NGO effort to do something about this upheaval in Africa are:
George Clooney – famous actor and director, David Presman – human-rights lawyer, and John Prendergast – co-chair of “the Enough Project” wrote the following article as an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.
Not on Our Watch, and the Enough Project cry out to President-Elect Barack Obama in hope that, despite the other enormous tasks that he will have starting January 20, 2009, he should also take on the problems of Africa – specifically Congo and Sudan. We are with them but we do not see how he could spread out in his first days in office beyond the clear focus on the US economy as we reported today based on Obama’s media presentation of today – November 22, 2008.
By coincidence, today I also met Safiyya Sarkin, President and Founder, Women Beyond Survival. She told me about East Chad, which has become an extension of the war in Darfur, a war caused by Sudan. Chad is not alone, The Central African Republic is in similar condition as extension of wars in South Sudan and Congo. The whole region is in flames and why cannot Africa get its act together and show that they are ready to speak up for their people?
The point is that a government should be responsible for the protection of its own citizens, and if they do not act according to the UN principle “The Responsibility To Protect” their neighbors should be helped to move in and establish order. And if the neighbors do not want to do it – or cannot – the UN should be able to take over. But did you ever look at what goes on at the UN Security Council? If there is no oil to protect, seemingly nobody acts, and if it is just one large power that works on that oil – what then? Will President Obama be ready to stand up and be counted as a defender of the people of Darfur even without a US interest in the oil of Sudan? We hope he will, but we are not convinced that this will be right at start. Further, we actually think that incoming Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who visited Darfur, and knows the atrocities, and being a woman, would be ready, after confirmation by the US Senate, to look at least on the women’s side of the East and Central African problems in line of www.womenbeyondsurvival.org
On US Memorial Day, it was Decided in Geneva to hold Durban II on US Premises in Geneva. This is a Victory for the Egyptians Fronting for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and one more African Weight on the Neck of the UN. Up to now only the US, Canada and Israel Washed Their Hands of this Ongoing Scandal – Will Next US President Simply Say We Do Not Pay a Cent For This Outrage? We Assume This Will Now Come Up In The US Presidential Election Campaign.
EYE ON THE UN: For Immediate Release – May 26, 2008 – The US Memorial Day.
Contact: Anne Bayefsky
UN Racism Conference to be held in Geneva April 20-24, 2009 – Ironically over Holocaust Remembrance Day.
May 26, 2008
The next UN racism conference – known as Durban II or the Durban Review Conference – will be held on UN premises in Geneva from April 20-24, 2009, a UN preparatory committee decided today.
Anne Bayefsky, editor of EYEontheUN.org, said “holding the meeting at a UN venue on European soil will essentially guarantee funding from the UN regular budget for the conference, and that the European Union will fully participate and not follow boycott plans of Canada, the United States and Israel.”
Jews all over the world will be remembering the 6 million murdered in the worst instance of racism and xenophobia in human history.
At the same time, the United Nations will be discussing whether the Jewish state, created in the wake of the Holocaust and standing as a bulwark to ensure it is never repeated, should be demonized as the worst practitioner of racism and xenophobia among nations today.”
Durban II is intended to promote the implementation of the 2001 Durban Declaration, which singled out only Israel and labeled Palestinians as victims of Israeli racism.
For once South Africa showed the courage to stand up and be counted among the Nations – the rest of Africa – we must note – is nothing but a rug at the feet of the Islamic world – Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibuti, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Marocco … all countries were black Africans suffer from the Egyptian led OIC intrusions on their continent. The UN is just a conduit for making the world pay the bill.
The UN Was Not Able To Make A Notch in the Darfur, Chad, and C.A.R. Region and People Are Dying – Now The UNSG Ban Ki-moon Suggests To Go Back To The Drawing Board. The Observation Seems Right – But It Just Does Not Cover the UN Nakedness.
CHAD, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, DARFUR MUST BE TACKLED TOGETHER â€“ BAN KI-MOON SAYS.
The Observation Seems Right – but it just does not cover the UN nakedness.
The flare-up of civil strife, cross-border tension and displacement involving Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan should be addressed in a unified manner that is outside the mandate of the mission currently being deployed by the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today.
In his report on the Mission in CAR and Chad, known as MINURCAT, Mr. Ban writes: “The internal crisis in Chad, the situation facing refugees and internally displaced persons [IDPs] in eastern Chad and the Central African Republic, the tensions between Chad and the Sudan and the situation in Darfur should be addressed simultaneously.”
This should be done, he adds, in a coordinated effort that takes into account the root causes of the internal conflicts and the regional dimensions of those problems.
“To date, however, neither MINURCAT nor EUFOR is ideally mandated to address these issues,” he says, with the latter acronym referring to the European support force.
The innovative, multi-dimensional MINURCAT was set up by the Security Council last September to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the northeast of the CAR and eastern Chad and in the neighbouring Darfur region of Sudan.
It was mandated to comprise 300 police and 50 military liaison officers, as well as civilian staff, focusing on the areas of civil affairs, human rights and the rule of law. The strength as of 1 April stood at 163 national and 64 national staff.
Deployment was delayed when Chadian rebels advanced from the area of the border with Sudan in a bid to take Chad’s capital, N’Djamena in early February. Though the rebels were eventually driven out of the city, street fighting left many dead and UN staff were evacuated.
Also in early February, about 10,000 people from West Darfur sought refuge in eastern Chad following a series of deadly air and land attacks by the Sudanese Government and its allied militia.
In addition, the Prime Minister of the CAR resigned in January and in the subsequent period many thousands fled their villages due to raids by armed groups, with many making their way to Chad.
These problems are complex and all require comprehensive solutions worked out between the many parties involved, Mr. Ban notes in the report.
Modern Purim thoughts include the UN.
Purim is the day when Jews remember the plans made by Haman to eradicate all the Jews of the old Persian empire. He did not succeed and paid with his life – as we say – the rest is history.
Jews were ordered to remember what happened then – so they read that story – the Megillah (the parchment of Esther) – year after year – on the evening before Purim. This year it happened on Thursday, March, 20th – so last night we participated at the “Megillah Madness” – at The New York Synagogue in Manhattan – led by Rabbi Marc Schneier.
On Purim, the Jewish Jockers are used to run a competition for the coveted “Haman of the Year Award” and this year’s two top candidates were two heads of UN Member States who appear daily on the UN menu: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of the Sudan. The former attacks Jews verbally every day, and has also sponsored militants that fight Jews and Israel daily, while the latter was reportedly actually engaged in genocide against less Arabized Africans of Darfur. www.SustainabiliTank.info has posted many times articles on above deeds. We even tried to understand the background of the genocide in Darfur by considering climate change aspects as an influence on what started the warfare. But whatever the reasons, it is the government of Khartoom that backed its favorites. We see here fights between intruding, more Arabized, pastoralists against lesser Arabized, and blacker, agriculturalists. Our claim was that this is genocide that was started by increased desertification in the region. The UN as an institution did not want to hear such arguments, and eventually it took Sir Nicholas Stern, and the intervention of the UK government at the UN Security Council, to vindicate last year what we were saying three years ago. Whatever the issue, it was al-Bashir’s responsibility “TO PROTECT” his citizens. Instead he puts hurdles before those from the outside that came to help.
Happy Purim – and I would like to note further that this year Purim falls on the same day as Good Friday – or Easter Friday. This has happened only the second time since 1910.
Easter occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, and that full moon usually coincides with the first day of Passover. That is how both religions – Judaism and Christianity have the renewal holidays aligned. This year this is not the case, and the reason is that it is leap year in the Jewish calendar, and an added month (a 13-th month) has been introduced. That brings instead the strange alignment between Easter and Purim. We would like to see in this an opportunity for healing – in the sense that we could say changes could be introduced so that Haman-type of hatred is removed from our lives – our society gets renewed like at Passover time, though this is Purim time. Would it be so terrible to ask the UN to consider this proposition of making sure that evil is remembered and actually acted against?
UN Geneva and UN-AU in Darfur: Attacks on Darfur Villages by Sudanese Forces – a “Deliberate Military Strategy.” So, What Has The UN Done About This In Four Years? What About Somalia That Came Up Also Today On The UN Screen?
UN: Attacks on Darfur villages a ‘deliberate’ strategy.
from Geneva, Switzerland, by AF, and picked up on Mail&Guardian of South Africa.
20 March 2008 12:11
Attacks on four villages in West Darfur in January and February by the Sudanese armed forces amounted to a “deliberate” military strategy, the United Nations said in a report on Thursday.
The UN further condemned the attacks as “violations of international humanitarian and human rights law”, saying that they failed to “distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives”.
Sudan has been locked in a serious humanitarian crisis since ethnic minority rebels in Darfur took up arms against Khartoum in 2003.
In its latest report, the UN detailed attacks in four villages which it described as part of “a major military campaign” launched by the Sudanese government.
It describes the campaign as an attempt to regain control of the northern corridor of West Darfur, and to drive out the Justice and Equality Movement rebel group.
It said that attacks by armed Arab militia on a village called Saraf Jidad took place on three occasions in January and resulted in the displacement of almost the entire population there.
Attackers opened fire at people and torched houses. Food reserves were also deliberately burnt.
At the other three villages of Sirba, Silea and Abu Suruj, aerial bombardments on February 8 were accompanied by ground offensives by armed militia as well as the Sudanese armed forces, it said.
Extensive looting was carried out and “consistent and credible accounts of rape committed by armed uniformed men during and after the attack in Sirba” were also highlighted in the report.
The UN said it was unable to report on similar attacks in Jebel Moon and other areas which also resulted in civilian deaths, as access to Jebel Moon was denied by the Sudan government until March 1.
This is a breach of the government’s obligation to allow UN officials access under an agreement signed in February, said the UN.
The report urged the Sudanese government to cease hostilities in the area, and to refrain from “launching deliberate and indiscriminate aerial attacks against civilians”.
It also asked all parties in the Darfur conflict to respect their obligations, and to refrain from the use of civilians as “human shields”.
The UN says at least 200 000 people have died in Darfur in the past five years and more than two million people have fled their homes. – AFP
Today we watched African Delegates celebrate another step in the 17 year long battle in Somalia – there the UN also hides behind the AU, and the AU does not have even a force there. The South African Ambassador said that today was a great day for Somalia because the UN even spent time in looking at the problem – asked about an intervention – he said that is still a long way off. So, what was he happy about? Shame on all of this so called UN Security Council, and on the UNSG as well – even though it was today his report to the UNSC that caused the Ambassadors to spend their time on this failed UN Member State. Simply said – the UN does not have the guts to stand up when Islamic States are involved in misdeeds. Is this the power of the oil exporters? What else?
From www.policyinnovations.org of the Carnegie Council, New York – Oil and Turmoil.
As rebel troops rolled into the Chadian capital N’Djamena last month, commentators were once again ready to blame it all on the country’s oil. Many saw the resource curse in action: An oil-rich country driven to civil strife by avarice and a sudden influx of wealth.
The headline on CNN immediately read: “Oil fuels ethnic violence in Chad.” Environmental groups and human rights activists felt vindicated that their campaigns against the Chad-Cameroon pipeline would now be taken more seriously. Given that many view Iraq as an “oil war,” there was a general presumption that the loathsome liquid was also the ultimate cause of this African conflict.
The connection between oil and conflict has been made since the earliest industrial uses of the fuel. Soon after the end of World War I, the French oil executive Henry BÃ©renger in a historic dinner speech alongside the distinguished British diplomat George Curzon said, “As oil had been the blood of war, so it would be the blood of the peace.” If oil was part of the problem it would perhaps be part of the solution as well.
Nevertheless, we need to consider the complexity of conflicts in regions like Chad far more carefully before assuming linear causality. Civil war in Chad predates the discovery of oil by at least two decades, thus the underlying ethnic rifts may be a more profound determinant of conflict.
Extractive industries are a kind of windfall development similar to the establishment of a casino in an impoverished neighborhood. In order for an oil windfall to be successful in the long run, it must be coupled with development strategies that utilize the revenues and minimize its environmental impact. With the growing influence of globalization on national policies, some of the fears of resource dependency in Africa and its connection to corruption may be assuaged.
Take the example of Equatorial Guinea, which has been a languishing dictatorship since its independence from Spain in 1968 (although it nominally formed a constitutional democracy in 1991). Following the discovery of oil in the mid-1990s, the international community became more engaged with this tiny country. The United States reopened its embassy in Malabo in 2003, and the State department asserts that U.S. “intervention has resulted in positive developments,” such as an office to monitor human rights in the country.
The viability of such a mechanism as a means of initiating change in Equatorial Guinea was tested by a recent scandal involving the alleged siphoning of oil revenues to an account held by President Teodoro Obiang’s family at Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. The account was linked to acquisition of property in the Washington suburbs, and this led to a U.S. Senate hearing on the issue and an investigation by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Currency in 2004.
None of this would have happened if Equatorial Guinea had not been brought to the world’s attention by oil. Yet the onus for exerting such influence still lies with the international community. At the same time, the regulatory capacity of some African governments over oil activities has grown.
As peace returns to the streets of Chad, the eye of the international community should remain on how the oil revenues are managed and how the country ultimately plans for a post-oil economy. The elaborate system for revenue transparency that the World Bank set up for Chad’s oil must be enforced.
Despite oil’s tortured history and eventual demise as a fuel, it must not be summarily dismissed as a cause of turmoil in Africa. Rather it should be considered as a resource that needs to be managed with effective development planning.
Saleem H. Ali
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources
Saleem H. Ali is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and on the adjunct faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. For the 2007â€“2008 academic year, he is also serving as the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace.
Prof. Ali is also on the visiting faculty for the United Nationsâ€“mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica), where he teaches a course on Indigenous Environment and Development Conflicts. Much of his empirical research has focused on environmental conflicts in the mineral sector and he is the author of Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (University of Arizona Press, 2003). His most recent edited volume is Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, September, 2007), with cover endorsements from E. O. Wilson, George Schaller, and Achim Steiner and a foreword by Julia Marton-Lefevre.
Dr. Ali is also a member of the expert advisory group on environmental conflicts for the United Nations Environment Programme with a specific interest in transboundary conservation zones. As part of this effort, he is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Taskforce on Transboundary Conservation.
Previously, Dr. Ali was an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric and a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Health Canada as an Associate at the Boston-based consulting firm Industrial Economics Inc. Dr. Ali’s research appointments include a Public Policy Fellowship at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, a Baker Foundation Research Fellowship at Harvard Business School, and a parliamentary internship at the U.K. House of Commons.
Articles by this Author:
Oil and Turmoil (Commentary)
Ban Ki-moon, on a visit to the Bush Presidential Library in Texas, told the father of President George W. Bush that Darfur was also about climate change and that the US and the UN were essential partners in solving global problems.
Based on the UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE, 29 February, 2008 =========================================================================
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his first visit to the state of Texas today, told President George Bush. the father, that the UN and the UNITED STATES were CRITICAL PARTNERS ON A RANGE OF GLOBAL ISSUES.
In finding solutions for the Darfur conflict, global warming, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and a host of other issues, the United Nations and the United States were essential partners, he said.
“As a boy growing up in South Korea, I was inspired by America and its noble ideals,” he said. “American soldiers saved my country from communist aggression. They were so friendly to me and so generous. I’m still grateful for the sacrifice the American people made for my nation,” he affirmed.
As West Darfur continues to be scourged by a new wave of air and ground attacks, the United Nations refugee agency estimated today that more than 13,000 Sudanese have fled to a remote area of Chad that is beset by its own inter-ethnic strife.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), just this week an additional 3,000 refugees arrived in eastern Chad’s volatile Birak area, where an assistance mission was cancelled yesterday after armed men on horseback were spotted, along with black smoke rising from a burning village.
“The insecurity and close proximity to the Sudanese border mean UNHCR cannot establish a camp in the Birak area, but we are trying to provide emergency assistance when our teams can get there,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.
The agency is still awaiting approval from the Government of Chad to move the refugees to existing camps that already house 240,000 people uprooted by the five-year conflict in Darfur, in which the Sudanese Government and militias are fighting rebel factions and in which over 200,000 people, mainly non-combatants, have died.
A UNHCR team which reached the Birak area earlier in the week reported that the new arrivals had come there because of repeated militia assaults on the Jebel Moun region of West Darfur.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Special Representative for Sudan, Ameerah Haq, visited Sileah in West Darfur yesterday as part of an inter-agency assessment mission and found the town â€“ which normally has a population of 20,000 â€“ almost empty.
Only around 300 people remained, mostly elderly citizens who could not flee. The town was attacked on 8 February, in the beginning of the current onslaught.
Women In Great Numbers Descend On The UN for CSW 52 – that is the yearly take-over of the UN by the Commission on the Status of Women. EXXONMOBIL Takes A Ride and Tells a Meeting – While Having Had $11 Billion Profits Last Quarter, It Spent 11 Million Through 2007 On Humanitarian Efforts.
Subject: Women In Great Numbers Descend On The UN for CSW 52 – that is the yearly take-over of the UN by the Commission on the Status of Women. EXXONMOBIL Takes A Ride.
The Commission on the Status of Women is Having its meeting at the UN – and the UN wants to have us believe that it is all about “Violence Against Women.” The reality is that for the week, a yearly event, women’s organizations take over the UN; the UN will be used for many other purposes, besides the one expressed by the UNSG, as well.
This article picked up first the official statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the very good reporting by Edith Lederer from the Associated Press – based on that UN official position. But then we wish to single out one “Parallel Event” held on February 25, 2008, at the Church Center across the UN. We went to that event because we were sent a flyer that mentioned as a panelist: “EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION – Speaker to be announced.” This was enough to trigger our curiosity and the appetite to devour that unnamed speaker for a named company – this while all other members of the panel were right there named in the open.
The title of that event was – “CORPORATE FEMINISM: ENHANCING CORPORATE INFLUENCE THROUGH WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT.” The Conveners of the event were The International Council of Jewish Women and cosponsored by: Soroptimist International. The first body is represented in the US by the National Council of Women, the second body came to CSW 52 with the theme – “Financing for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.” We will have much more about all of this, but as said, we will first introduce the two postings we mentioned in the previous paragraph.
CSW 52 had nothing to do with the will of the UNSG. As said this is an event organized by the Commission on the Status of Women – though, clearly, it is highly possible and we would say probable, that the UNSG has suggested a topic for this years meeting of the CSW. This is clearly a very welcome move on his part and it comes after we saw so many cases when even UN Peacekeeping forces are accused of rape – not just combatant forces that had to be kept apart by these UN forces. So, besides the global humanitarian problem, there is here also a UN problem – and it could not be soon enough for the UNSG to step into this breach of confidence in the UN.
Further – the UNSG in the words of his Spokesperson:
Further, the press conference, as well as the main meeting itself, included male witnesses talking freely about their own experience of having attacked women. Specially was impressive in his presentation one male from the US that after 20 years of counseling came to the conclusion that the three cases of him attacking women were based on the male culture in his neighborhood. A man is supposed to be aggressive he said, and this translated in the way he dealt with women. Men go to war – successful – they become heroes. He finally recognized that this was his personal problem and now he counsels other delinquent males so they recognize the wrong motivation them act the way they do.
But then the UN has not reached yet the level of self criticism reached by above man who by now is rather a gentleman. The question of rape in the field, and exploitation of women and girls in the field, by UN personnel, was never raised at this event – not even the fact that the UN building itself harbors soft porno and smut. So, the only remaining good investigative journalist at the UN – the man called by all – Matthew – did bring this up. Please his post:
Having reported the above, let us see now the CSW 52 Parallel event on Corporate Feminism // Women’s Empowerment, and let us say right front that we do not begrudge women that pushed for equal rights to advance on the corporate ladder. We were friends with such power houses like Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan. Years ago, we hosted them at events of “The Theatre for Ideas” – in Manhattan and in East Hampton, Long Island, New York.
Going to www.soroptimistinternational.org I found that Soroptimist International is a worldwide organization for women in management and professions, working through service projects to advance human rights and the status of women. Even better – Soroptimist International is a launch partner for this vital UNIFEM internet global advocacy campaign which will run until 8 March, International Women’s Day. One in 3 women and girls may be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime.
Greater resources are urgently needed to halt these shameful statistics. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, managed by UNIFEM, supports local initiatives, such as work to prevent human trafficking, assisting survivors of domestic violence, or helping to implement laws against rape.
A message from the Soroptimist International President:
A flyer describes their projects – I will just mention a very small sample: a project “Independence” to help rebuild lives of women in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, through education, job training and micro-credit loans for small businesses; “Limbs for Life” that provides prostheses for victims of landmines in Angola, Georgia, Afghanistan; “SIAM” in Northern Thailand villages to develop income-generating activities and AIDS education in order to decrease the number of women entering the sex trade; SI/SIGHT clinics in Bangladesh to prevent blindness in children under 5; anti-malaria bed-nets for children under 5 in Ze, Benin; care, nutrition, education for abandoned children in Vietnam; help for women AIDS victims in Uganda and Ukraine….
Margaret Lobo was not involved in setting up the program of that panel. She told me that this was done by the local organizations in New York. She gave me a second flyer explaining what the organization does –
The other sponsoring organization was The International Council Of Jewish Women with about 50 member organizations is represented in the US by The National Council of Jewish Women ( www.ncjw.org ). A faith-based volunteer organization that works to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families and to ensure individual rights It is a politically savvy organization. For over a century, NCJW has been at the forefront of social change. NCJW members are outspoken champions for progressive policies at the federal, state, and local levels. Over the years, NCJW’s collective voice has changed the world for the better – improving the lives of women, children, and families in the US and Israel.
The Moderator of the panel was Meryle Kaplan, Vice President of Advisory Services at Catalyst. www.catalyst.org “CATALIST was founded in 1962 as a nonprofit corporate membership research and advisory organization working globally with businesses and professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women and business.” This according to their flyer. They are “connected to business and its changing needs.” Offices in New York, San Jose, Toronto, and Zug, Switzerland. They work with 340 leading corporations, firms, business schools, and associations – they honor exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with an annual Catalyst Award. The New York office is on Wall Street and I was not impressed.
Meryle Kaplan told me that she asked her speakers to talk about in-house corporation advancement of women, and as well, about involvement of the corporations in their environments – the interaction with the communities where they do their business.
Elizabeth Cottam, Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity at Goldman, Sachs &Co., and Carolyn Buck Luce, Senior Partner, Global Accounts Group, at Ernst & Young, LLP were excellent examples of female leaders in their corporations. Their presentations were indeed examples of what women have achieved in that old fight for advancement within their corporations. They spoke about how funds were created in their companies to help promote the female employees, and how now they are finding new targets for their fights inside the company. Having achieved an increasing percentage of top jobs, though still a minority – they want now also part of the say in the philanthropic funds that these companies have established. This because women may have different interests in the way those funds are distributed. There was a lot of interesting material in their short presentations and much more further information was provided at Q&A time. Their presentations were indeed good examples of how women executives evolved and are now an important factor in the economy as wellas in the social fabric of developed countries that can also help women in developing countries.
Carolyn Buck Luce also teaches at Columbia University a course on “Women in Power” at the School of International and Public Affairs. Corporations want now to put their women into leadership positions in the community – dealing with economics, safety, health – in the community. One point she made is that it still happens that when women succeed they may yet get laid off. this because people are afraid of power. She started out at the US Department of State in the Soviet Union. She wrote about the promotion of minority women. She is a mother of four. She said that by looking at her success she inspired also her sons in their own career development – a comment that was very appropriate to her presentation.
Elizabeth Cottam, working with an Investment Bank, a financial institution that deals only with high net-wealth individuals, governments, corporations, financial institutions, is in an organization were there is an internal competition for who gets to work with the best clients. These competitive women want more career development in house programs. They know that there must be a business rationale for helping the women employees. 2004-2007 she was the company head of Human Capital Management Asia. Now she heads the Global efforts.
Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness, Eileen Fisher, Inc., a company that manufactures clothes overseas – in places like China, Korea or Thailand. In those factories 80% of the workers are women. She helps the company carry out the company’s commitment to practicing business responsibly in its relations to these women employees. It is her job to develop community partnerships and oversee the commitment to ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY. She came to Eileen Fisher, Inc. after a fundraising career with Asian-American cultural, educational and social service organizations in New York City. (today we posted also an article about women in Bangladesh that grew with the garment trade – this is clearly a subject with high importance to developing countries’ women empowerment.)
The ExxonMobil leaf says correctly that an EWGI (Educating Women and Girls Initiative) yields higher rate of return for society than any other investment available in the developing world – so it says “ExxonMobil is doing this in order to accelerate progress toward international objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. “
Exxon EWGI programs fund activities in Angola, Chad, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Qatar – and when Ms. Luxbacher spoke – she also included Washington DC among places they operate. Now this makes sense – in the countries she mentioned, a very real hodge-podge of dissimilar places in the world, that are all affected by Exxon drilling for oil and gas – and Washington DC where the drilling is for government favors – all this to the sound of $11 million grants through 2007 in areas including a long list of activities that most probably had very little application in a country like Qatar, where the paper says that they provided vocational and life-skill training for what amounts there to middle age – to older women (ages 18-45). Also, remember please that Qatar has little oil but has a long term large reserve of gas. After the US had to abandon its air force bases in Saudi Arabia, the bases were moved to Qatar and located right on top of those gas fields. Qatar is a safe place for a US Oil and Gas company, and doing some limited favors to the government does not hurt. There is no work here with girls – there maybe some work with grown up women, under good supervision, and no chance of causing those women to start demanding rights. That surely would not have been allowed in an Arab country – even Qatar.
In Indonesia, they work in the oil rich semi-independent Aceh region, where the interest by the US oil company was a cause to a rebellious movement. In Colombia they helped fund seemingly a UNICEF improved Water and Sanitation effort for schools (that is a US Administration affiliated Ms. Veneman effort with good US business savvy activity). Good for Colombian schools in the Cartagena and Santa Maria areas where Exxon is active. Similarly UNICEF related activities go on in Chad (you remember that infamous pipeline that brought about an attempt to divide the country and a war?) and Equatorial Guinea – another trouble spot. To get into activities in Angola and Nigeria would sink us into sand-holes. ExxonMobil does not do any philanthropic work in Venezuela – actually they may nearing the point that they lose all work in Venezuela. Seemingly Venezuela might yet do philanthropic work in Washington DC as they already do in South Bronx, New York City.
This leaves us only with Kazakhstan, where strong local government will simply not let ExxonMobil do as it pleases – so, in order to obtain some favors, under conditions that they must compete for business with European companies, they may actually do something that is important to the local people, and to US government initiatives. There they work with USAID on a micro-finance program that helped also 1,760 women with their first business training. We hope that with the supervision of the local Enterprise Development Center (EDC) that they actually helped establish, they are now a positive force in the effort, of interest to the Kazaks, to move their past-Soviet style economy, now on a path more close to private enterprise.
Except for Kazakhstan and Qatar, the other 5 countries mentioned are all hot spots of ExxonMobil caused dissensions, where local people oppose the environmental damage that the oil company has caused and is causing. Who is interested there in their philanthropy outstretch? This is great business for public relation firms – you see we do some good there with the few peanuts we are throwing in the direction of the local poor, while we feast with the local government that will be happy to exchange the future of their people, for the present pay-outs to the ruling few. Now – that is oil business at its best and it needs really very little planning – it needs good technical expertize to get the oil and gas out of the ground, and deliver it to pipelines and shipping terminals. We must have a good PR firm to bring us to the UN, and put us on a panel with others that do good.
Now, with above things in mind, I decided to ask an outright killer question at this meeting of well-to-do women.
My question went something like this: As the only man in this room ( I was immediately told that I was wrong – there were three more men in the room and close to one hundred women) I want to express my male point of view.
I know that men are supposed to be those that are propelled to advance on corporate ladders, and that they do wars, and everything that is bad, but the old concept was that women do good by bringing up the children, worry about the environment, and are inclined to do all the good things in general. So my question to the woman from ExxonMobil is what does ExxonMobil do for the environment, for the health and quality of life of the local people on whom their activities have an impact, for the children, for next generation? For their own children’s future? What does Exxon Mobil do about climate change? Is it fair to say that a company that had profits pushing $50 billion last year, $11 billion last quarter, throwing a miserable sum of 11 million dollars at the problems they leave behind, is it not a very meager feat of PR?
All what Ms. Luxbacher, the General Manager of ExxonMobil Corporate Planning was able to say was that they spent more then $11 million. She said she was ready to talk to me later. The moderator said she wanted to go back to women’s questions, and I insisted that my question was a women’s question because it dealt with children and the future. For the rest of the session the lady from ExxonMobil did not say a word. To my discredit, I confess here, that I did not speak with this lady when the session was over, but had rather much more fruitful discussions with other ladies in the room – some that said to me that I did ask the right question that had to be asked indeed. I think that I made some friends – though I am not naive to think that I did not also make some new enemies for life.
I hope that some of the true Soroptimists will send me now material about efforts they wish to be posted, and I really do not feel any obligations to those that just used the UN for the ride.
George Clooney’s Statement to the UN Accredited Press – January 31, 2008 – An Indictment Of The Whole UN Enterprise. (“The Job Of Messenger comes With Responsibility To Deal With Facts. Not To Tell People What They Want To Hear … But To Tell The Unfiltered Truth.”)
GEORGE CLOONEY’S STATEMENT
I’m the son of a newsman, so the job of Messenger comes with the responsibility to deal with facts. Not to tell people what they want to hearâ€¦ but to tell them the truthâ€¦ unfiltered.
Each conflict zone has difficulties that are uniqueâ€¦ but there is always one unifying threadâ€¦ the worst atrocities are saved for its poorest and most vulnerable.
In the Congo, we were there the day the peace agreement was signed in Goma. We were in out-posts that were shelled days beforeâ€¦ and for now, that fighting has stopped. It’s a very tenuous agreement… It’s flawed and messy but it is alsoâ€¦ hope. Real tangible progress and change for peace.
It’s only because of the determination of the UN peacekeepers that this hope is possible.
In Chad, the peacekeeping role is in its infancy. The fighting is spilling back and forth from Darfur. The situation has deteriorated since I was there nearly two years ago.
The border of Chad and Darfur is the front line of the conflict. It’s a dangerous place to be, and the refugee and IDP camps are right thereâ€¦ at most risk.
We met with President Deby who assured us that the UN and humanitarians are not only welcome but needed in this countryâ€¦ That doesn’t mean it will be easy to succeed there.
â€¦ And then there’s Darfur. Our party was eventually allowed to come in. The Sudanese government hoped to show that they’ve been unfairly treated by the international community. That the calls of atrocities by the government are exaggeratedâ€¦ that it’s simply a civil war.
Let us be clear. As we traveled to north, south and west Darfur, el fashir, nyala, zalengiâ€¦ there is not one man, woman or child in any campâ€¦ at any locations that doesn’t hold the government of Sudan or it’s Janjaweed supported militia, responsible for them being displaced. Not one. Millions are homeless, not from famine or disease or acts of God. But from a well armed militia intent on ridding the land of its people. That’s fact not speculation. You can have an opinion on whyâ€¦ you can have an opinion on what it should be called, but you can’t debate fact.
There is however another fact. The attacks have increasingly grown more complicated. A vacuum was created. A vacuum of justice, civility, local government, land rightsâ€¦ humanityâ€¦ as in any apocalypse the ones left standing begin to fight for survival.
The rebel groups can, and have engaged in horrific acts of violence. Rebel leaders like Minnie Minawi and Abdul Wahid have followers capable of unspeakable cruelty.
There can be NO peace until all the parties sit down at a table and begin the long process of talks. Some two and a half million people want to go back to their homes, and NOT live their lives in misery.
â€¦ In order to deploy peacekeepers you need three things. Support by the host nation, support by the member states and resources.
To the host nationâ€¦ specifically President Bashirâ€¦ these peacekeepers are not an occupying force, there’re not there to spread democracy or infringe on religious beliefsâ€¦ the Congo is proof of that. The government has accepted Resolution 1769, that means that you can’t obstruct the peacekeepers. You’ve asked for more humanitarian aidâ€¦ humanitarians cannot work if they’re not protected from rebel attacks. If they’re not your rebels then you should welcome the peacekeepers efforts to suppress the violence.
The resource issue is far less complicatedâ€¦ most members aren’t fulfilling their duty. The United States to take an example is a billion short of its peacekeeping funding resources means helicopters, trucks, radios any number of elements to support these forces.
To the member statesâ€¦ all your participation and skill is needed. China was eventually instrumental in pushing 1769 through the Security Councilâ€¦ so it’s China that can hold the Sudanese government to the commitments it made to the UN and to China specifically. The international community looks more and more to China for leadership and with that comes great responsibility. You can be the difference to millions of people’s lives.
This body has a habit of referring to itself as a collective of individual states. But you’re much more than that. You’re the United Nations. An entity all to yourselves. When I stood in a hospital next to women who’d been raped and set on fire two days earlier, they look up to me and said “Please send the UN” not the US or China or Russiaâ€¦ just the UN. You’re their only hope.
It’s important to note that you have a peacekeeping force already there. Most of them were formerly the African Union troops. Some nine thousand. Most haven’t been paid since September. They’re waiting for their pay, waiting for their 17-thousand extra troops, they’re waiting for equipment.
There are some groups protecting 250-square kilometers of desert with no helicopters and no radios that workâ€¦ there are your troops nowâ€¦ the men and women risking their lives for peaceâ€¦ your responsibility. So either give them the basic tools for protecting the population (and themselves) or have the decency to just bring them all home. You can’t do it half wayâ€¦ bring them homeâ€¦ and then shut off your TVâ€¦ and your radioâ€¦ your phonesâ€¦ and the internet. And go back into your offices and wait until it’s all overâ€¦ It shouldn’t take too long before they’ll stop hoping for the UN to come.
But right now they’re hoping. They see these bright blue hats and they feel a new energy in the airâ€¦ they feel for the first time that this is the moment that the rest of the worldâ€¦ all the nationsâ€¦ unitedâ€¦ are stepping in to help them.
There’s only one change to get this right. They believe you when you tell them that hope is comingâ€¦ they know that only the United Nations can help on this scale. They know itâ€¦ and you know it.
This posting is not intended to answer above question – we will returnto this as our attention was caught again by Darfur and its neighbors in a Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs debate last night, in which we came out convinced that at its best the UN does just plain observing, and at its worst it just plainly caves in to the Arab States. www.SustainabiliTank.info comment) All what we intend here is only to post an Independent of London article that presents the latest AP reporting from the ground.
Chad rebels fight army near Sudan.
Soldiers killed several hundred rebels in fighting Monday in eastern Chad, the country’s army said in a statement — a deadly reminder of the difficulties a proposed European force for the region might face.
The battles at Abougouleigne, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) east of the town of Abeche, left “several hundred (rebels) dead, several injured and several prisoners of war” taken into military custody, according to the statement from the general staff.
The officer said soldiers also destroyed 50 vehicles and seized another 40 belonging to the rebel group — the Union of Forces for Development and Democracy. The group could not immediately be reached for comment about the clashes.
The army statement did not say if any Chadian soldiers were killed or injured.
Chad has struggled in the face of several rebellions in the east, with some insurgents saying President Idriss Deby has not provided enough support to their kinsmen in the neighboring Darfur region of Sudan.
Last month, four Chadian rebel groups signed a peace deal in Libya with Deby’s government. But the Union of Forces for Development and Democracy said last week it was unsatisfied with the pace of implementing the agreements, and then clashed with government forces over the weekend. No information was immediately available about casualties from the weekend clashes.
UN officials estimate that around 3 million people have been uprooted by conflicts in the region, also including the fighting in western Sudan’s Darfur region and unrelated rebellions in Chad and Central African Republic.
Aid workers say both rebels and the government have visited refugee camps to recruit children into their forces.
The European Union has offered to send a 3,700-strong force to Chad and Central Africa Republic to help protect refugees displaced from the four-year conflict in neighboring Darfur. Deployment of the EU troops has been held up, however, over a lack of air transportation, as well as medical and logistical units.