Monday, April 18, 2011

Ethiopia keeping Egypt in dark on Nile dam- Reuters

* Ethiopian minister says dam could also benefit Egypt

* Dismisses war fears, says not a national security issue

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, April 18 (Reuters) - Ethiopia did not inform Egypt it planned to build a huge dam on the Nile and the two countries have not discussed the issue despite fears a dispute over the river could spark war, Ethiopia's water minister said.

Work on the 5,250 megawatt (MW) Renaissance Dam - which will be one of the world's ten biggest -- began this month with Italy's Salini Costruttori overseeing a project with a $4.78 billion cost Ethiopia plans to fund itself.

"No. They found out from the media," Alemayehu Tegenu told Reuters in an interview on Monday when asked if Ethiopia had officially informed Egypt it was building its first dam on the Nile -- something Egypt has always opposed.

The nine countries through which the Nile flows have for more than 10 years been locked in bitter talks to renegotiate colonial-era treaties that gave Egypt the lion's share of the river's waters and veto power over upstream dam projects.

Tensions rose last month when Burundi joined five other countries -- Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania -- and signed a new deal stripping Egypt of its veto and agreeing to renegotiate how much water each country is entitled to.

Egypt has said it will not recognise the new agreement.

In November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Reuters that Egypt was backing rebel groups in his country because of the Nile dispute and that if it went to war with upstream countries over the river it would lose.

But Alemayehu dismissed analyst fears that war could erupt.

"It is not (a national security issue) and it will not be," he said. "What we plan in this country does not impact on Egypt in a negative way."

He said Egypt had yet to officially discuss the dam with Ethiopia. "I have not received any official objection from the Egyptian side," Alemayehu said.

"If Egypt continues with the old mentality, they may not support this dam. If they change their mind and follow a win-win approach, I think they will."


Alemayehu said the Ethiopian government had commissioned an independent survey that proved the new dam would benefit Egypt and Sudan by decreasing siltation in their irrigation projects and by reducing water wastage.

Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dina Mufti, told Reuters that Egypt's new Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, had asked to lead a delegation to Ethiopia.

Alemayehu said Ethiopia would not agree to an Egyptian request to see plans for the dam unless Egypt joined the six countries that had signed the new deal.

Ethiopia says it will be forced to finance the dam from its own coffers and from the sale of government bonds because Egypt was pressuring donor countries and international lenders not to fund its dam projects.

Ethiopia aims to produce 15,000MW of power within 10 years as part of a plan to spend $12 billion over 25 years to overcome chronic power shortages and export to other energy-starved African countries.

Under the original Nile pact Egypt, facing water shortages by 2017, is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic metres a year from the Nile's total flow of around 84 billion cubic metres. Some 86 percent of the waters originate in Ethiopia.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nigerian Elections 2011: Embracing an Historic Opportunity for Democracy Apr 1711- Carson (Online)

Nigerian Elections 2011: Embracing an Historic Opportunity for Democracy

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On April 9, 2011, Nigeria held the first of a series of elections that will impact the direction of Africa's most populous country and second-largest economy, and set the course for the future of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. What we have seen so far in West Africa this year is promising - peaceful and credible elections in Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, and the triumph of democracy over dictatorship in Cote d'Ivoire. Some forty years ago, I began my first tour as a newly-minted Foreign Service Officer in Lagos. Arriving just seven years after its independence, the Nigeria I found was one locked in a brutal civil war with an uncertain future. I am proud of Nigeria's achievements over the last decades, and its role as a leader in Africa and the world.
On April 9, I observed along with 17 other US Embassy and Consulate teams, Nigeria's National Assembly elections. We were heartened by what we saw. In sharp contrast to its elections of 2007, Nigeria was demonstrating that it can hold credible elections that allow the Nigerian people a meaningful opportunity to elect their leaders. Together with US Ambassador Terence McCulley, I visited polling stations in the Federal Capital Territory and adjacent Nassarawa and Kaduna States. I was struck by how well Nigeria's civil society and the democratic institutions worked together and the broad- based and enthusiastic participation of Nigerian citizens exercising their right to choose their leaders. The commitment and professionalism of the young people of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who performed extraordinarily well in carrying out their important work is an encouraging sign of Nigeria's bright future. I also saw the incredible dedication of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chair Attahiru Jega, who remained steadfast in pulling off the round despite the initial false-start on April 2. Deemed a "general success" despite delayed delivery of election materials, the presence of "under-age" voters, and some incidents of violence, Nigeria has the chance to do even better by holding a fairer, freer, and more peaceful Presidential election on April 16. I urge election and security officials to build upon this foundation for an even stronger and more peaceful showing on April 16 and April 26.
Times are changing. Social media played an important role in this cooperation. INEC and voters exchanged messages via Short Messaging Service (SMS) texts, Twitter, and Facebook, with camera images sent from cellular telephones, all to promote a more transparent process, to verify adherence to correct procedures, and to alert authorities and the media to potential challenges. This Saturday, I will join Nigerians in watching @inecnigeria and @swiftcount on Twitter as they transparently work towards a credible election process.
Democracy is important to all of us. No one person or any single electoral event can transform an entrenched political culture. Sadly, this past weekend, some opponents of democracy tried to derail the process by resorting to thuggery and violence. Political intimidation and violence have no place in a democratic society. As we move forward, Nigeria's political leaders - and those who aspire to lead - must refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or acts of intimidation. Any election violence is unacceptable, as it casts a shadow over the entire electoral process. The United States not only condemns violence and intimidation, but we are prepared to take appropriate measures against those individuals who violate basic democratic norms, as we have done in places such as Cote d'Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar..
The 2011 Presidential, National Assembly, Gubernatorial, and State Assembly elections provide an historic opportunity for Nigeria to become a model for the rest of Africa and the world, especially for those citizens demanding democracy in their countries. All Africans deserve smooth, peaceful, transparent, and credible elections. The conduct of the first round of elections indicates that Nigeria is ready to be that example. We stand with the Nigerian people in seeking free, fair, and credible elections and I challenge all Nigerians to work together with even more patience and determination this weekend to produce leaders elected by the Nigerian people.
Johnnie Carson is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ethiopia Inflation Rate Accelerates to 25% in March - Businessweek

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 25 percent in March from 16.5 percent the prior month, the Central Statistical Agency said in an e-mailed statement on April 12.

The National Bank of Ethiopia abolished two-year old lending caps on banks on April 4. The policy measure was taken partly because montary and fiscal policies had controlled inflation, Yohannes Ayalew, deputy governor of monetary stability said on April 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Agnes Nikoi at

Syrian Secret Police humilating and torturing innocent people in the city of Banias(Youtube)

Nile Politics Continue as Ethiopia Plans Dam Construction ( Sahel Blog)

Egypt’s domestic situation has changed tremendously in the last few months, but long-standing regional tensions over water-sharing from the Nile River have remained. Last spring, an agreement on water-sharing pitted Egypt and Sudan (who refused to sign) against countries upstream such as Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania. This deal aims to substantially reduce Egyptian control over the river. Egypt’s new government, whoever takes charge, faces challenges on the Nile issue, especially from Ethiopia, the most outspoken of the upstream governments. The controversy will also test the new country of South Sudan, which is expected to side with the other upstream countries.

In late March, Ethiopia “said it planned to build a huge dam on the Nile despite a long-running row with Egypt over use of the river and concern the dispute may spark a war.” This dam, near the Sudan border, would generate “15,000 megawatts (MW) of power within 10 years, part of a plan to spend $12 billion over 25 years to improve the country’s power-generating capability.”

Ethiopia’s government has taken an alternately aggressive and conciliatory tone toward Egypt regarding the dam project:

Speaking to the opening session of an international hydropower conference [in late March], [Ethiopian Prime Minister] Meles [Zenawi] vowed the $4.8-billion project would go ahead, even if impoverished Ethiopia has to pay the tab itself.

“We are so convinced of the justice of our cause, so sure of the strength of our arguments, so convinced of the role of our hydropower projects in eliminating poverty in our country that we will use every ounce of our strength, every dime of money that we can save to complete our program,” Meles said.


[But] in comments to reporters after his speech, the Ethiopian leader held out hope that the post-Mubarak administration in Cairo might soften Egypt’s longstanding opposition to upstream use of Nile water.

“I am still hopeful that the current government in Egypt will recognize that this project has nothing but benefits to Egypt,” said Meles. “Nothing. I believe the Sudanese understand this has nothing but benefits to them.”

Meles said a change of heart by Cairo’s new leaders could open the way for cooperative agreements, including a deal that would give Egypt partial ownership of the dam.

“If there is a reconsideration, there will be time to consider many issues, including possibly joint ownership of the project itself. We are open to such ideas,” said Meles.

Egypt seems at least somewhat willing to negotiate:

In what seems to be a possible solution to the Nile water quotas dispute between Egypt and upstream Nile Basin countries, Water Resources Minister Hussein al-Atfy has announced an initiative by the African countries to renegotiate the Nile Basin Framework Agreement.

He said the initiative aims at allowing all people of Nile Basin countries to benefit from the water, and added that international arbitration would be Cairo’s last resort in dealing with this issue.

Reaching agreement on the future usage of the Nile will be crucial for preserving peace between the Nile countries and ensuring that millions of people have access to water and power. All of the major players have indicated their willingness to reach a solution – now it remains to be seen if there is a solution that can satisfy everyone. If no solution appears, it seems Ethiopia may force the issue.

For one Ethiopian perspective on the dam project, see this article.

Italian pro-Palestinian activist has been found dead in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip hours after being abducted.(BBC)

Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, was seized on Thursday by a radical group that has been in conflict with Hamas and is seeking the release of its leader.
Police said he was found hanged in a Gaza City house after receiving a tip-off. Two people have been arrested.
Italy denounced the "barbaric murder", calling it an "act of vile and senseless violence".
Mr Arrigoni was the first foreigner kidnapped in Gaza since BBC journalist Alan Johnston was abducted in 2007.
Friends of the activist gathered outside the hospital where his body had been taken on Friday morning.
"He came from across the world, left his country and family and his entire life and came here to break the siege, and we kill him? Why?" asked one of his friends.
YouTube video

File photo of Vittorio Arrigoni holding aid at Gaza seaport in October 2008
Vittorio Arrigoni was a pro-Palestinian activist who had been in Gaza for several years
Vittorio Arrigoni was seized by Salafist radicals, an Islamist movement itself that considers Hamas as too moderate, BBC Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison says.
The Salafists had threatened to execute Mr Arrigoni by 1400 GMT on Friday unless several prisoners, including their leader, Sheikh Abu Walid al-Maqdasi, were released. Sheikh Maqdasi was arrested by Hamas police last month in Gaza City.
In a video posted on YouTube, Mr Arrigoni appeared to have been beaten and his eyes were covered with thick black tape.
A caption on the video read: "The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption." The video called Italy "the infidel state".
It is not clear why Mr Arrigoni was killed before the given deadline, but the Hamas interior ministry said he had died soon after being abducted.
Ministry spokesman Ehab al-Ghussein said he was killed "in an awful way".

Salafists in Gaza

  • Small in number but appear to be attracting supporters
  • View Hamas as too moderate
  • Refuse to abide by ceasefires
  • Launched hundreds of rockets at Israel
  • Salafism espouses an austere form of Sunni Islam based on practices of earliest Muslims
Mr Ghussein told reporters that the security forces had been led to the house in Gaza City by one of the men involved.
He described the killing as a "heinous crime which has nothing to do with our values, our religion, our customs and traditions", and vowed to hunt down and bring to justice others who were involved.
In Rome, the Italian foreign ministry expressed "its deep horror over the barbaric murder".
Mr Arrigoni was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and had been in Gaza for several years.
Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the ISM, said he was very well-known in the territory and had a "dynamic, humanitarian personality".
"I even thought that whoever has him is going to see his humanity and just let him go, so when I heard what happened to him I was totally shocked," she told the AFP news agency.
Hamas had been credited with eliminating the threat of kidnapping in Gaza until his abduction. This is likely to be seen as a challenge to its authority, our correspondent says.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BBC News - Japan: Powerful earthquake hits north-east

Japan: Powerful earthquake hits north-east

The BBC's Roland Buerk in Otsuchi: "We felt the earthquake, a rocking side-to-side"
It came as Japan said it was extending the evacuation zone around the nuclear plant because of radiation concerns.
The cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were damaged in last month's disaster. Workers have been struggling to prevent several reactors from overheating, and avert a large-scale release of radiation.
The plant's operator, Tepco, said power used to pump water to cool three damaged reactors had been cut briefly but early indications suggested the plant had not sustained any further damage.
The zone around it will be widened to encompass five communities beyond the existing 20-km (12-mile) radius, following new data about accumulated radiation levels, officials said.
Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said the new evacuations would take place over the coming month, from areas including Iitate village, which lies 40km from the power station, and part of the city of Kawamata.
"There is no need to evacuate immediately," he told a news conference, but added that there were concerns about long-term health risks.
'Standing together'
The latest tremor struck shortly after the country stopped to observe a minute's silence to remember the nearly 28,000 dead or missing in the 11 March disaster.
Silence in Minamisanriku to mark one month since the devastating earthquake and tsunami
Survivors in shelters marked the moment the quake and tsunami hit at 1446 (0546 GMT) with bowed heads.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanked people around the world for their support.
In an open letter carried in seven newspapers around the world, he said that the support had brought hope and inspired courage at a desperate time.
"Through our own efforts and with the help of the global community, Japan will recover and come back even stronger. We will then repay you for your generous aid," he wrote.
"With this in our hearts, we now stand together dedicated to rebuilding the nation."
The official death toll from the disaster is 13,130, while 13,718 remain unaccounted for. More than 150,000 people have been made homeless.
The prime minister has also tried to reassure survivors that the fishing industry - which many in the area rely on for their livelihoods - would resume as soon as possible.
The tsunami wrecked boats and piers, closing down large-scale fishing operations.
But the damage to the nuclear plant has also hit the fishing industry, as public and international buyers ditch Japanese food products over fears of contamination.
Workers have been feeding water into three reactors at the plant to cool fuel rods.
They are continuing to inject nitrogen into the No 1 reactor to prevent another blast caused by a build-up of hydrogen gas.
They have also been releasing water with low levels of radioactivity into the sea so that they can transfer highly radioactive water to a sealed area on site.
Officials have warned it will be several months before the situation at the nuclear facility is brought fully under control.

Ivory Coast: Gbagbo captured, taken to Golf Hotel (YouTube)

YouTube - In Ethiopia, UNICEF Executive Director sees equity strategy accelerating development

YouTube - In Ethiopia, UNICEF Executive Director sees equity strategy accelerating development: ""

Monday, April 11, 2011

Libya in Context - Moving beyond lies, propaganda, forlorn hopes and fantasy(Modern Ghana) (

 I was not planning to revisit this topic, however I have had people asking me for a fuller analysis, so hopefully this is my final word.. at least for a while. It may seem long, but is actually only a brief overview as books can and will be written on this subject.

Putting things in context - If we want to understand any subject we need to put things in context or rather contexts. There follows my contextualisation of the turmoil in Libya:

The Historical Context
Historically, Libya was one of the first parts of Africa to turn from Black to Brown to White,thousands of years before the Christian era. Chancellor Williams, in his landmark book 'The Destruction of Black Civilisation', in discussing the period 2181-2040 B.C. tells us: "..Both ends of the empire broke away from the center. The northern end, white Lower Egypt, became independent again and more and more whites spread over Upper Egypt.........Since Lower Egypt also had internal strife among it's now independent provinces, delta chiefs did not hesitate in accepting the invitations of black princes to form alliances and lead troops into Upper Egypt. Asians also marched across the desert from Libya where they had also replaced the indigenous Blacks and were now the dominant population." (Williams 1987: 80)

In discussing the Libyan dynasties that ruled Kemet; Williams tell us that the Libyans "..were, first of all, Western Ethiopians, then heavily Berber, Mongolian, Arab, a sprinkling of Hebrews and other Asiatic peoples, and then of course, the resulting Afro-Asians." (Williams 1987: 112)

If we go back far enough "Libya was once so nearly all-black that to be called a Libyan meant that one was Black." (Williams 1987: 112)

The Libya referred to thus far is not the Libya of today, as what we now refer to as Eastern and Western Libya did not become politically united until 1911! Several hundred years before the Christian era the Carthaginians had taken control of Western Libya. During his invasion of North East Africa, in the fourth century BCE, Alexander of Macedonia conquered Eastern Libya and the Greeks ruled this region until they were superseded by the Romans. With the division of the Roman empire the Byzantine half (Eastern Roman empire) controlled eastern Libya. Various powers have controlled east and West Libya until the late 1500s, when the coastal regions of what is today Libya were conquered by the Turkish Ottoman empire. In 1910, Italian imperialism moved to colonize the area of Libya. Italy decided that they wanted to join in the imperialist fun (remember they had tried to conquer Ethiopia in the late 19th century) in the region. The British ruled Egypt. The French had colonized Algeria. From 1911 to 1943, Italy employed savage genocidal tactics to consolidate its rule in Libya. The historian Abdullatif Ahmida describes this as one of the most brutal colonizations of the 20th century. Libya itself became the country we know today in 1934 under the colonial rule of Mussolini.

Raymond Lotta in an article entitled 'The Events in Libya in Historical Perspective...Muammar Qaddafi in Class Perspective...The Question of Leadership in Communist Perspective' 09 March, 2011, tells us that:

"Italy was on the losing side of World War 2. After the war, the U.S. and Britain put their weight behind a pro-Western constitutional monarchy in Libya headed by King Idris. He allowed the U.S. to set up Wheelus Air Base. It was one of the U.S.'s largest overseas military facilities...and the base was used for military training, missile testing, and for fighter and reconnaissance missions.

it was only in 1959 that large oil deposits were discovered in Libya. U.S. and European companies moved in big time to set up production operations. The banking sector grew rapidly, especially after an oil pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea was finished. Oil revenues soared through the decade of the 1960s. But the foreign oil companies were getting the lion's share of earnings. And what oil wealth did return to was concentrated in the hands of a small mercantile, banking, and speculator elite.

Poverty remained widespread. And the opportunities for a new middle class growing in connection with the oil economy...they were limited. So, mass resentment against the Idris monarchy was growing.

Then you had the impact of regional and world events. In 1967, Israel attacked Egypt and Syria with the support of the U.S. In Libya, students, intellectuals, and workers organized mass actions and strikes. There were also protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam. Unrest was spreading in the face of the Libyan government's total subordination to the West.

In the 1960s, a wave of national liberation struggles—in Asia, Latin America, and Africa—was battering imperialism and shook the international order. This aroused literally hundreds of millions throughout the world to rise in resistance. This was a time when a new nationalist spirit was being stirred, when ideas of Arab unity against imperialism were taking hold. It was a time when revolutionary China was influencing social forces and Marxism-Leninism was a big part of the ideological discourse. But the fact that the U.S. was under this kind of siege also provided openings for many different class forces who had been held down by imperialism. They saw new possibilities.

......Qaddafi was part of a group of young army officers influenced by the pan-Arabist and social reformist ideas of Gamal Nasser, the leader of Egypt. Qaddafi came from poor desert-tribal origins, and other radical-minded officers came from lower-class backgrounds. The military was one of the few institutions in Libyan society that afforded them any chance of training and mobility.

These young army officers were outraged by the corruption and subservience of the ruling regime. They saw themselves as the bearers of a new Libya. And in 1969, they organized a coup against the King and constituted a new government out of what they called their Revolutionary Command Council."
Of course Muammar Gaddafi has ruled Libya since 1969 until the present day.

The key learning points to take from the above are:
- Present day Libya has existed for less than 80 years, which is a relatively short time in nation building terms.
- The division between East and West Libya has existed for thousands of years and was not created by Gaddafi
- Before Gaddafi took power the country was dominated by an elite drawn from eastern tribes/groups/clans and they have never forgiven him
- Blacks lost any meaningful stake in Libya thousands of years ago
- A significant minority of the population in the east are of Italian extraction

The Economic Context
As has been noted above, Libya has a lot of oil and we all know that 'the West', particularly the US, is competing with China for control of critical energy resources. As noted with Iraq, if Libya's main export was carrots people would be a lot less interested.

In an article entitled 'World Cheers as the CIA Plunges Libya Into Chaos' David Rothscum (March 01, 2011"Information Clearing House") David Rothscum tells us:

"Before the chaos erupted, Libya had a lower incarceration rate than the Czech republic. It ranked 61st. Libya had the lowest infant mortality rate of all of Africa. Libya had the highest life expectancy of all of Africa. Less than 5% of the population was undernourished. In response to the rising food prices around the world, the government of Libya abolished ALL taxes on food.

People in Libya were rich. Libya had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of all of Africa. The government took care to ensure that everyone in the country shared in the wealth. Libya had the highest Human Development Index of any country on the continent. The wealth was distributed equally. In Libya, a lower percentage of people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

How does Libya get so rich? The answer is oil. The country has a lot of oil, and does not allow foreign corporations to steal the resources while the population starves, unlike countries like Nigeria, a country that is basically run by Shell."

Now, whilst the statement by Rothscum that "People in Libya were rich." is an exaggeration unless comparing Libya with the poorer countries in the world, however it is true that Libya is a country where there is not widespread poverty. The average life expectancy is 77.47 which ranks it 57th in the world and it scores well on many other developmental indices. Of course with a lot of oil and a population of around 6.5 million it is much easier to achieve these results as compared to Nigeria with a population of around 155 million people, however it is true to say that the Libyan government has not been as corrupt and financially self-serving as those in Nigeria or many of the oil rich Arab states.

Finally, have you ever pondered why in a time of austerity there is always money to kill people but often not enough to keep people alive? The following quote gives food for thought.

"The cost of bombing Libya. The U.S. operation in Libya could cost the U.S. between $400 million and $800 million, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. ..................As Rep. Barbara Lee likes to say, “it's about priorities.” That is, when it comes to budget cuts, it's about what you think is vital and important and what you believe can fall by the waste side. University of Virginia Prof. Larry Sabato tweeted on the day the U.S. bombed Libya that “100 cruise missiles at $1 million dollars each = $110 million. Just baseline expense.”

Already estimates are coming in that the cost of the Libya operation could be over $1 billion dollars. The Cost of War in Afghanistan $377,025,390,632. Cost of War in Iraq $773,698,442,965. Total Cost of Wars Since 2001 $1,150,723,833,597. National Journal reports that the Pentagon is asking for $708.3 billion for this year, including another $159.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now let's think about those numbers and let's go over some of the proposed cuts in President Obama budget and the cuts the House GOP is proposing. Remember what you hear Speaker John “we're broke” Boehner says about his support of the Libya operation — if he does support it…

1 ••• President Obama is proposing to cut $2.5 billion in heating assistance for low-income people (LIHEAP).

2 ••• President Obama is proposing to cut $300 million from Community Development Block Grants, which the CBC is strongly opposed to.

3 ••• President Obama is proposing to cut $100 billion cut in CUTSl Grants over 10 years."

4 ••• The House GOP is proposing a $758 million cut in a program for the poor known as WIC. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children and provides food assistance to low-income women and their infants.

5 ••• A $1.125 billion cut in state and local law enforcement and COPS hiring.

6 ••• The House GOP is proposing to cut $1.6 billion cut in job training and employment grants.

7 ••• The House GOP is proposing a $1.3 billion cut in community health centers.

8 ••• The House GOP is proposing a cut of $210 million from Maternal and Child Health Block Grants. This would chop the program by 30%. Like the WIC program, the grants assist low-income pregnant women and their children in accessing health care.

The key learning points from the above are:
- The basic source of the internal discontent in Libya (which is real even if fanned by 'the West') is not economic.

- The oil wealth of Libya is a critical factor in the intervention of the 'Western powers'

- Libya's refusal to allow it's economy to be controlled by 'the West' put it on a collision course with 'the West'

- President Obama is a war criminal like his predecessors and serves the military industrial complex

- 'The West' is planning to use revenue from Libyan oil sales to pay for bombing the country!!!

The Political Context
In an article entitled 'With its military aggression against Libya, America stands as the champion of hypocrisy and war mongering' Solomon Comissiong tells us that:

" On March 20, 2011, several European powers, led by the United States, began bombing the North African nation of Libya under the pretext that it was a humanitarian mission to save civilians from being killed by “pro-Gaddafi” forces.

The bombing was authorized by the United Nations Security Council which continues to ignore the indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq, and tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by the U.S.

If the American government is genuinely concerned about the killing of civilians, it would stop supporting the barbaric and repressive government of Israel for their crimes against humanity in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. However, instead of standing on the side of justice, the U.S. government continues to fund the apartheid government of Israel by way of over three billion dollars each year, in military aid....................................

During Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza (December 27, 2008 - January 18, 2009), over 1400 Palestinians were killed, including 313 children. This unwarranted and disproportionate use of force, called Operation Cast Lead, was never stopped by the U.S. government. America was complicit with each and every destructive bomb and bullet indiscriminately hurled at civilians in Gaza. Where was the U.S.- imposed “no-fly zone' to prevent bombs, including white phosphorous bombs, from dropping directly on the homes of Palestinians? Where was the US's selective humanitarian conscience during this terror- laden campaign of death and destruction?

Whilst I don't recommend watching too much television I always found that a phrase that was often used in 'Westerns' by 'Indian' characters "the White man speak with false tongue" always struck a chord with me! The foregoing quote by Comissiong reinforces our understanding that the military intervention by 'the West' has absolutely nothing to do with the protection of civilians or humanitarianism and everything to do with politics and economics. With the advance of the 'rebels' towards Gaddafi's home town of Surt, where it is fair to assume he still enjoys considerable support, it will be interesting to see if the 'alliance' forces will be even handed in their approach to protecting civilians and will stop the rebels from firing on the town. Of course we know the answer, only some civilians are worthy of support and protection.

Watch the following video filmed in 2007 to see the former US four star General; Wesley Clarke, describing how he was told by a General on the Joint Chiefs of staff of the US's plan to take down seven governments in five years starting with Iraq. These governments were: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The Key learning points from the above are:
- The 'western powers' are motivated by their desire for continued political and economic hegemony over North Africa and the rest of the Arab world

- Humanitarian intervention is a cover for 'regime change' which is the real objective of the bombing, despite the lies of President Obama

- Libya is one of only five countries in Afrika that are not part of Africom

- 'The West' has long-term plans for regime change across the globe which we are usually not aware of until after the event.

The Cultural Context
Why is the AU (African Union) such a bit part player in this imperialist drama? Those who support the 'dream' (what I would call a nightmare) of Continentalist pan-Afrikanism

would have us believe it is because the wise leaders of Africa do not support military intervention (which most don't), however the truth which so many find unpalatable is that in terms of civilisation identity Libya is no more Afrikan than Iraq or Yemen or Syria. What is civilisation identity? Samuel P Huntington suggests that:

CIVILIZATION IDENTITY will be increasingly important in the future, and the world will be shaped in large measure by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations. These include Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African civilization. The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from one another.”

THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS By Samuel P. Huntington, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, pg. 25 (my emphasis in bold)

Huntington suggests that “Civilisation and culture both refer to the overall way of life of a people, and a civilisation is a culture writ large. They both involve the “values, norms, institutions, and modes of thinking to which successive generations in a given society have attached primary importance.”(page 41)

There is no civilisation identity which unites Continental Africa and the AU in the way Western civilisation unites the EU.

You never question why Australia, Canada and the United States act in consort with Western Europe do you? They act together because they share a civilisation identity. Geography has nothing to do with it. if it was about geography, why isn't Australia politically aligned with Asian countries? Ask yourself why are you receiving this newsletter? Is it becaue you live in the same country as me (many of you do not)? Why don't the people on my street receive it? Libya is in Africa but is part of the Arab League like many countries in North Afrika (some of whom have majority Afrikan populations). Why? Why is Egypt referred to as in the Middle East when it is in Afrika? Why are the Arab Libyans rebels killing Afrikans who live in Libya as part of this rebellion?

To hammer home the message about civilisation identity; consider the following. In the war in Bosnia following the break up of Yugoslavia there were three parties:

The Serbs - who were primarily supported by Russia
The Croats - who were primarily supported by Germany

The Bosnian Muslims - who were primarily supported by Saudi Arabia and Iran; as well as Muslim fighters from all over the world. N.B. The US provided some political support but did not commit any military support.

This was a war in Europe. Ask yourself why countries aligned themselves the way they did. Why did you have Sudanese nationals fighting for the Bosnian Muslims but you would never have found them fighting against the apartheid regime in South Africa? The answer is civilisation identity.

For those who think Gaddafi's only agenda is Pan-Afrikanism let's hear the Nigerian scholar Dr Chinweizu quoting Muammar Gaddafi:

In the past 40 years, Libya's Gadhafi has been particularly active in sponsoring chaos, anarchy and civil wars in Chad, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire etc., and in trying to Islamise Uganda, Rwanda, the CAR etc. For example, in a live broadcast on Rwanda Radio on 17 May 1985, Gadhafi said:

"First you must stick to your Islamic religion and insist that your children are taught the Islamic religion and you teach the Arabic language because without the Arabic language we could not understand Islam. . . You must teach that Islam is the religion of Africa. . . You must raise your voice high and declare that Allah is great because Africa must be Muslim. . . We must wage a holy war so that Islam may spread in Africa."

--quoted in [Bankie, F. and Mchombu, K. eds (2006) Pan Africanism, Windhoek: Gamsberg Macmillan, pp. 239-240]

Just what Afrika needs a religious war! Turn all of Afrika south of the Sahara (that is not alreadty Islamic) into the central region of Nigeria!

You can read the full article on my website at the following link:

Chinweizu also cites Gaddafi's call for Arabs who live outside of Afrika to move into Afrika in an article entitled 'The Arab quest for Lebensraum in Africa and the challenge to Pan

Afrikanism' Copyright © 2006 by Chinweizu which can also be found on my website in Chinweizu Corner

“The third of the Arab community living outside Africa should move in with the two-thirds on the continent and join the African Union 'which is the only space we have'”

--Col. Mouammar Gadhafi of Libya, at the Arab League, 2001

If you go to Chinweizu corner and Neo-Garveyism on my website you can read lots of articles about the reality of Afrikan/Arab relations.

The Key learning points from the above are:
- Understanding civilisation identity is critical to understanding the place of Libya and other majority Arab North Afrikan countries in world politics

- Most Afrikan countries are irrelevant in this whole scenario. Libya might as well be on a continent on the other side of the world

- Gaddafi has espoused Pan-Africanism, Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism at various times according to his needs. He has supported the governments of other Afrikan countries

as well as rebel movements in other Afrikan countries when it has suited him.

- Afrikans have to move from dichotomous thinking which says 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' to the understanding that in politics 'There is no such thing as permanent friendships, only permanent interests'.

Global politics is complex and makes for strange bedfellows. The Saud dynasty who rule Saudia Arabia and practice Wahabbi Islam, an extremely rigid strand of Sunni Islam, align themselves with the US and 'the West' to organise against their key regional enemy, Iran (majority Shi'ite) and also are happy to see Gaddafi attacked in Sunni Libya because of his politics. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia produces significant number of jihadists who wage war on the West.

It's easy to jump to simplistic conclusions. The West is bad therefore Gaddafi is good. The West is wrong therefore Gaddafi is right. The West is our enemy therefore Gaddafi is our true friend. The West supports the rebellion therefore it is purely manufactured. There is genuine dissent against the Libyan government. I couldn't tell you how many Libyans feel this way, however we know it has long historic roots and is rooted in divisions that pre-date Gaddafi. As usual 'The West' sees an opportunity for divide and rule and takes it. The hopefully dwindling number of Obamaholics are going to end up with so much metaphorical blood on their hands if they keep on supporting their war criminal hero there won't be enough soap available to wash away their moral complicity. And what to do if he turns US guns on a majority Afrikan country? Is it a case of my Black President right or wrong? Meanwhile around a million Afrikans have been displaced by the civil war in Cote D'Ivoire and France is working behind the scenes there; whilst working up front in Libya. Speaking of covert action, Britian has at least 350 special operatives on the ground in Libya as I type.

The West's military intervention in Libya is cold, calculating, vicious, hypocritical, wrong and typically European.

At the end of the day I am Afrikan, I am on the Afrikan team and learned long ago that whilst we cry for everyone; everywhere, virtually no one else cries for us. There is no Justice, JUST US!

African countries to renegotiate Nile water quotas with Egypt(Al-Masry Al-Youm)

<p>Nile Basin States</p>
In what seems to be a possible solution to the Nile water quotas dispute between Egypt and upstream Nile Basin countries, Water Resources Minister Hussein al-Atfy has announced an initiative by the African countries to renegotiate the Nile Basin Framework Agreement.
He said the initiative aims at allowing all people of Nile Basin countries to benefit from the water, and added that international arbitration would be Cairo’s last resort in dealing with this issue.
He also said the Framework Agreement signed by six Nile Basin countries did not state a redistribution of water quotas, which means it did not deprive Egypt of its rights to the water.
Also, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, in a meeting with the Ethiopian ambassador, said he would visit Ethiopia soon in an attempt to turn a new page in bilateral relations.
Meanwhile, Assistant Wafd Party President Mostafa al-Guindi said Ugandan President Yuri Museveni called him to thank him for the warm media coverage of the Egyptian diplomatic delegation’s visit to Uganda last week.

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.