It is now widely expected that Yemen’s current unrest will lead to secession and not merely to the flight of its president, as has happened in Tunisia. The background to this situation is that the Republic of Yemen was born in May 22, 1990, when the two states of North and South Yemen merged after several clashes that led eventually to negotiations and a commitment to unity.
Yet the document outlining specific charges against Amina insists that she transferred funds to “terrorist organisations” through various hawalas (business means used frequently in the Muslim world to send money).
Interestingly, the judges had refused to indict Bashir for alleged genocide, ignoring the application by ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, filed last year.
The report adds that countries in sub-Saharan Africa have weathered the global recession better than expected, and better than in previous, milder economic slowdowns.
The question, whether “Somalia’s ‘president’ is a nationalist or agent of Western interventionists” is not an idle one. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was installed as head of Somalia’s powerless interim government (IG) last year, and has been maintained in his dubious position since then by Western countries, their allies, the African Union (AU) and the UN “to fight al-Qaeda in Africa”...
When Chadian President Idriss Deby visited Khartoum in mid-February and was embraced by President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, the event was a great surprise to everyone familiar with the nature of hostility between the two countries...
Morocco's king Hasan II, the progenitor of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, and launderer of Shimon Peres and the late Yitzhak Rabin into currency acceptable in Arab capitals, paving the way for the 1993 Oslo sellout...
The latest crisis in Sudan began on March 14, when the international criminal court (ICC) in the Hague indicted President Omar al-Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and issued a warrant for his arrest. Bashir is being held responsible for crimes allegedly committed by his command in the Western region of Darfur, since 2003, by security forces and allied groups said to be “Arab”, financed by the regime to suppress “non-Arab ethnic insurgents”.
Somalia finally had a new government last month after Sheikh Sherif Shaikh Ahmed, former head of the Islamic Courts’ Union (ICU), was sworn in as president on January 31. The removal from power of the corrupt and docile transitional national government (TNG) and its president Abdillahi Yusuf (controlled by the US and Ethiopia) is undoubtedly a welcome development.
When a government official announced on November 5th that 21 people sentenced to long prison terms for belonging to a banned “Islamist party” had been released as part of celebrations to mark the twenty-first anniversary of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s rise to power in 1987, the irony in the announcement could not have been lost on the Tunisian people.
Somalia is being recognised as the worst and most violent “failed state” in the world, and the tragedy of its people as the “most-ignored human tragedy”. Even the odd commentator in the international media is now calling on the ‘international community’ to help Somalia to restore peace by ignoring the corrupt and ineffective Interim Government (IG) and replacing it with “moderate” members of the Islamic Courts Union.
The summit held in Paris on July 13, hosted by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy to launch the Union for the Mediterranean, was attended by 42 European Union (EU) andMediterranean heads of government, including Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, who co-chaired the summit with Sarkozy.
That, in most cases, the UN merely goes through the motions of mediating an end to conflicts is widely known and generally resented. Consequently, the inevitable failure of most of its efforts comes as no surprise to most. Its mishandling of the conflict in Somalia – culminating in the bogus ‘peace-deal’ signed by the weak interim government and nominal insurgents on June 9 is typical.
The 2008 Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual study that ranks countries in terms of how "peaceful" they are, puts Sudan near the bottom of the world list, with only Somalia and Iraqbelow it. The main cause of the disruption in Africa’s largest country has been the civil war between the north and the south of the country, which began on the eve of independence in 1956 and persisted until a peace deal was signed in 2004.
The US and Ethiopia, alarmed by the growing strength of the "insurgents" backing the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), have stepped up their military operations in recent months to maintain the faltering interim government (IG) in office. Not only have they increased the number of indiscriminate air-raids and missiles, but they have also extended the targets to include crowded mosques.
On March 3, there was further evidence of the US's involvement in Ethiopia's occupation of Somalia, when a Tomahawk missile fired from a US submarine hit the town of Dobley in southern Somalia, five miles from the border with Kenya, destroying at least one house and injuring six people.
When rebel groups centred in Sudan's Darfur region attacked Chad's capital, Ndajamena, on February 2 it looked as if the long, corrupt and oppressive rule of presidentIdriss Deby (pic) might be ending, but Chad was not so lucky. As a report in the Economist put it, “Chad is one of Africa's poorest and least stable countries and Mr Deby one of the continent's worst presidents.”
The transitional federal government (TFG) of Somalia, which was put in power in December 2006 after the removal of the ruling Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) by the Ethiopian army – began to disintegrate last October, finally crumbling soon after its 72-year-old leader, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, fell ill in December and was taken to Britain for medical treatment. Now the new government, a remnant of the TFG, whose name it continues to use, is also backed by the US, Ethiopia and their allies, including those in the region such as Kenya.
A year ago (December 2006) the US government persuaded Ethiopia to invade Somalia, giving it military and financial backing to remove from power the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and replace it with the transitional federal government (TFG). Both Washington and Addis Ababa thought at the time that they had gained effective control of Somalia by replacing the UIC with an administration made up of warlords, military officers and secular officials. But now they have no doubt that whatever control they had has crumbled:
It was in December 2006 that the Ethiopian army – with the US’s military and financial support – invaded Somalia and paved the way for the expulsion of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and its replacement by the clan-based interim government (IG). Now it is once again pouring its troops into Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, to prop up the IG (which has foundered as a result of a dispute between its president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, and prime minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi) and to prevent the UIC from seizing power.
The last thing a Muslim country like Somalia – which has been in the grip of turmoil and lawlessness for 16 years and is now under occupation by Ethiopian and US forces – needs is intervention in its turbulent affairs by Muslim governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that are allies of the US and back its anti-Islamic programme in the Horn of Africa. Yet that is exactly what took place in mid-September, when three top leaders of the so-called Somali interim government (IG) and 300 clan heads (warlords, most of them) gathered in Jeddah and signed a “national reconciliation pact”, as the minority accord was presented.
In the past decade, the US has been able to replace France as the most influential foreign power in former French colonies such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Given the US’s status as the “world’s sole superpower” and its ruthless determination to entrench and exploit that status, it is not strange that France lost its self-confidence as a world power and played second fiddle to Washington even in its own former colonies.
It was widely expected that the reconciliation-congress chaired by the ineffectual transitional government, headed by the former warlord and nominal president Abdullahi Yusuf, would fail almost as soon as it began on July 15. What was not expected was China’s decision to secure a contract with the nominal head. Not only is there no chance to find and extract oil, because of the endemic unrest all over the country, but China’s expected involvement in the federal government’s schemes is bound to contribute to the violence.
It sounds strange, but even the highly secular western media now admit that the people of Somalia “yearn” for the return of the Islamic Courts Union, which had ruled some parts of the country, including the capital (Mogadishu), for several months before it was toppled as a result of the US-backed invasion by the Ethiopian army. The admission follows the failure of the so-called transnational federal government (TFG), restored by the invasion and backed by the West and the UN, to introduce even a semblance of peace or law and order since the expulsion of the ICU
In recent months the war of words between the West and Russia has escalated, with president Vladimir Putin delivering the three strongest attacks on the West of his seven-year rule. Not surprisingly, the two summits held between the US and Russia and the European Union and Moscow, on May 15 and May 18 respectively, failed to resolve the energy war between the two sides. But as Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, explained, the confrontation between the two has nothing to do with ideology.
Somalia’s transitional government (TG) claimed the victory when the shelling of Muqdisho (Mogadishu, the capital) by the Ethiopian army during the recent ten-day confrontation with supporters of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) came to an end on April 27.
To assess whether the Horn of Africa is the "hottest conflict zone in the world" – as some analysts have called it – it is enough to list the countries that constitute it and examine their relations with the US, which has a huge and disruptive influence in the region. Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya are generally known as the components of the Horn, but neighboring Sudan and Uganda are so closely linked to them and embroiled in their conflicts that they are now also widely regarded as Horn countries.
The weak and unrepresentative TFG (transitional federal government) – installed after the expulsion of the popular Islamic Courts Union in December – and the Ethiopian troops who helped install it and are protecting it have failed to stem the growing violence in Somalia. The clashes between them and their opponents in recent weeks show clearly that TFG and the Ethiopians have no control over events.
It seems likely that Somalia will not have peace for the foreseeable future, as war again breaks out between the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and the “interim government” (IG) with the Ethiopian forces entrenched in the region to protect it. Since it is laughable to call the handful of former warlords hiding in Baidoa an ‘interim government’, the current fighting is really only between Ethiopian troops and forces loyal to the Islamic Courts.
Ethiopia – which already has thousands of troops in Somalia, ostensibly to protect the tiny and powerless transitional government – appears about to launch full-scale war against the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which controls most of the war-torn country, including the capital, Mogadishu, and is trying to restore Somali unity. It is in Ethiopia's strategic interest that Somalia continues to be a failed state nominally managed by a weak government that is controlled by it and its allies through the UN.
It is now official: Ethiopian troops have advanced deep into Somalia's territory, reaching Baidoa, the seat of the official but defunct government headed by president Abdullahi Yusuf. These troops have seized airports near the city, 150 miles from Mogadishu, the capital, which has been under the full control of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) since June.
Ethiopia – which has been amassing forces along the border with Somalia while secretly maintaining some inside – openly sent troops on July 20 to the town of Baidoa. This move was made not only to protect the Somali transitional government there against the advancing militias of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), but also to take a leading role in the US's ‘war on terrorism' in the "failed state".
The sudden expulsion last month of the warlords who had ruled Mogadishu for 15 years took everyone by surprise – including the US government, which backed and financed them to prevent any Islamic group from assuming power in the failed state.
The agreement reached on June 22 at Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, by Somalia's nominal transitional government and the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) – which is in control of the capital,Mogadishu, and most of southern Somalia – has been hailed as a first step towards the restoration of peace, tranquillity and unity to the violence-ridden "failed state".
It is a remarkable development that in a country like Egypt, ruled autocratically by a former military officer, members of the judiciary and strongly anti-regime Islamic activists find themselves on the same side in the war the dictator is waging to stay in power and pass it to his son.
Somalis have one language, one religion (Islam), and constitute a single ethnic group, and should not have found great – let alone insurmountable – difficulties in being united and living in peace together. Yet their country is in ruins, split into Somaliland, a former British protectorate in the north, and Somalia, a former Italian colony, in the south.
At a time when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has emerged as the bedrock of the US-led ‘war on terrorism' and of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington has tabled a proposal for the creation of a ‘global partnership' that will make it even more effective in implementing the US government's imperial and anti-Islamic programmes.
Rich countries, led by the US, spend millions of dollars in the Horn of Africa to pre-empt what they call "al-Qa'ida's designs" to turn the region – particularly Somalia – into a "safe haven". But they have clearly chosen to ignore urgent appeals by international aid and food agencies to save the lives of millions of the region's population that are at risk of imminent death from famine caused by a combination of conflict and drought.
The United Nations general assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new Human Rights Council to replace the "widely discredited" Human Rights Commission; 170 of its 191 members voted in favour, four voting against and three abstaining. The vote followed a proposal for reform that was made by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, who is keen to make his dismal term seem better before he bows out at the end of this year.
That president Husni Mubarak of Egypt has been planning for some time to ensure that he is succeeded by his 41-year-old son Jamal, when he eventually retires, has been clear enough to leave no one in any doubt. But recent local, regional and international events have caused him to throw caution to the winds and accelerate his plotting to ensure that Jamal will not face a credible challenge at the presidential elections in 2011.
Six Asia-Pacific countries – the US, China, India, Australia, Japan and South Korea – held a conference, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, in Sydney (Australia) on January 11. It was their reaction to the conference held in Montreal in December by the signatories of the original Kyoto Protocols in order to renew and extend those Protocols.
Just a few weeks after Egyptian president Gamal Mubarak was re-elected in presidential polls widely dismissed as the flimsiest political charade, he suffered a substantial setback in November when the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen made major gains in the elections for Egypt’s parliament, despite operating under severe restrictions because it remains officially banned.
The presidential election in Egypt on September 7, which returned Husni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 24 years, to a six-year fifth term, is widely seen by both Egyptians and non-Egyptian as having been heavily rigged. The non-Egyptians include foreign media and human-rights observers who condemned the thinly veiled fraud.
The US occupation of Iraq, which has destabilised the country, driving it into effective civil war, may have unsettling consequences for neighbouring Syria. US president George W. Bush is exerting strong pressure on Damascus to cooperate with Washington's colonial schemes, to end its links with Lebanon, and to help the UN's enquiry into the murder of Lebanon's late ex-prime minister, Rafique Hariri.
Because president Vladimir Putin cannot be elected for a third term unless the Russian constitution is amended, he and Kremlin officials are preoccupied with the parliamentary elections in2007 and with ensuring the election of an approved successor as president in 2008.
The principal task of the UN Security Council – established under the founding charter of the UN as one of the UN's main organs – is supposedly to promote international peace and security in every part of the world. Yet it is undoubtedly more notable for its failures than for its achievements since its first official meeting, which took place on January 10, 1946.
In a transparently doctored policy speech setting out the US government's vision for the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said in Cairo on June 20 that Washingtonwill no longer tolerate oppression in the region as it has done for 60 years. She stressed that democracy is "inevitable" and that "the fear of free choice can no longer justify the denial theory".
The rising tide of public corruption in Algeria – an issue that was never the centre of concern before – has now forced the regime to address it. The senior military officers who have really ruled the country since its independence in 1962, and the civilian politicians who have been a cloak for them, have focused their attention on fighting Islamic groups, rather than controlling a practice that they obviously benefit from.
President Husni Mubarak has turned one of the most powerful and influential Muslim countries into Uncle Sam's errand boy – humiliating Egypt, its people and Muslims at large in the process. The time is coming to be rid of him, his colleagues, collaborators and intended successors.
Aslan Maskhadov, the exiled leader of the Chechen independence movement, last month urged the Kremlin to begin talks to end a decade of conflict. The call for peace talks came as local officials admitted that the ceasefire Maskhadov had ordered earlier had been effective.
The agreement signed between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on January 9 has been hailed as a “historic peace deal” that ends a long-drawn-out and ruinous war between the “Muslim north” and the “Christian”-animist south.
Given the size of its territory and population and the educational standards of its people, Egypt could be a power to reckon with and could, if it chose, play an effective and beneficial role in African, Arab and Muslim affairs. Instead, its government has chosen to serve the US’s interests, including the survival of Israel, the drastic limitation of Palestinian ambitions and the suppression of Islamic revivalism.
The deal recently negotiated by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, in Brussels on his country’s longstanding quest for membership of the European Union is, by general agreement, unfair and humiliating, and by no means indicates – let alone guaranteeing – that Turkey will eventually be allowed to become a member of the EU.
The ailing 76-year-old president Husni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 23 years with an iron grip, is busy paving the way for Jamal, one of his sons, to succeed him...
Sudan is the largest country in Africa, its western region of Darfur alone being larger than France; the “Islamic and Arab” government of president Omar Hassan al-Bashir is financing and arming the Janjaweed– the “Arab” militia which is allegedly ethnically cleansing the “African” tribes in that region...
The continuing support for the rebels in Darfur and the relentless blame of the Sudanese government and so-called "Janjaweed militias" for the mayhem by the ‘international community' may reasonably be held responsible for the failure of peace in Sudan's eastern region, which has been in the grip of unrest for a year...
Can a man who was born in 1952, when the army took over power, and the new cabinet he leads as prime minister, curb the powers and corruption of the military dictatorship that has persisted since then, as claimed by the hype surrounding the recent dismissal of the old government?
Not since 1932, when the oil-rich kingdom was founded, has the House of Saud been faced with such serious prospects of demolition or division as it is today...
The US has imposed economic sanctions on Syria, on the pretext that Damascus supports terrorism and is keen to possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD)...
In the decade since the genocide in Rwanda, which resulted in the murders of more than 800,000 people in 100 days, the Muslim population of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic West African country has more than doubled...
It is not as unfair as it might sound to describe the management of Kosova’s affairs (mismanagement, according to many analysts) by the UN and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as meddling...
President Husni Mubarak of Egypt has stepped up his role as ‘mediator’ in disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims – such as the Palestine-Israeli war and the Bush administration’s confrontation with Syria and Libya – to take the side of the non-Muslim party in each case...
When a US secretary of state tells an Arab country to follow Libya’s example, and a US president praises colonel Mu’ammar Qaddafi for his "wise" and "responsible" decision, the view that the Bush administration’s foreign policy is fundamentally and cynically imperial is reinforced.
The Bush administration, apparently unable or unwilling to learn any lessons from its recent foreign policy debacles, is making the same charges against Syria as it used to justify the invasion of Iraq, which have been shown to be not merely exaggerated but patently false.
Colonel Mu’ammar Qaddafi’s humiliating attempts in the last several years to woo the US have culminated in his country’s formal acceptance of responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
US intelligence agencies, whose operatives now maintain a strong presence in Arab capitals and rural areas, play a decisive role in determining what organisations, or individuals, are to be classified as terrorists or financiers of terrorism, and therefore prosecuted or banned.
Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussain by the western coalition, there has been much debate about the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that were used as a pretext to launch the war, but which have not been found.
As evidence emerges of manipulation of intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass-destruction (WMDs) by the governments of the US and Britain, demands for proof that Baghdad did indeed possess such weapons are being replaced by calls for the abandonment of an unsustainable stand.
The president of the most populous and "most powerful" Arab country and the prime ministers of Britain and Spain, two former imperial powers, have been conspicuous supporters of Uncle Sam’s imperial ambitions. These have been reflected in George W Bush’s "doctrine of pre-emptive strike"...
Both president Hassan al-Bashir and colonel John Garang, the leader of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), believe that they will be able to conclude a final peace agreement by the end of June, as statements from the offices of the newly elected Kenyan president and the regional mediators show.
President Vladimir Putin was quick to claim overwhelming support for the referendum held in Chechnya on March 23 to give the impression that the ‘separatists’ have been defeated. He also wanted the Chechens to seem to approve a Kremlin-written constitution that reconfirms the republic as part of the Russian Federation...
Egypt’s eagerness to play a prominent role in ending the Palestinian intifada contrasts sharply with its reluctance to take a lead in diplomatic efforts relating to the Iraqi war issue–an extraordinary position for a country that prides itself on being the undisputed leader of the Arab League states.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was a convincing victor in the parliamentary elections on November 3, and has now formed a government, has been variously described in the Western media as ‘Islamist’, ‘rooted in ‘Islam,’ and even ‘Islamic-tinged’.
When six Yemenis travelling in their car 175 km east of Sana, the capital, were blown up by remote control on November 3, US officials were quick to claim the credit. They said that the CIA carried out the targeted assassination...
When the European Commission recommended on October 9 that nine countries be admitted to the EU but not Turkey, most Turks were not surprised. While the popular view is that a Muslim country is not wanted in the Union in any circumstances...
Macedonia, which a year ago was on the verge of civil war, has held elections. They were marred only by sporadic incidents of violence traceable to criminal elements and Slav extremist groups. As in Kosova, the Muslim Albanians are blamed for the unrest.
The crash of a Russian army helicopter on August 19 near Johar-Gala (Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, also known as Ichkeria), in which at least 114 Russian soldiers, many of them officers, died, was a great embarrassment both to the military and to president Vladimir Putin.
If Turkey joins the European Union (EU) it will be its largest member by population, and Europe will share borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria. Both prospects are bound to make most Europeans uneasy (to put it mildly), and they may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to Turkey’s EU membership.
The peace deal signed on July 21 by the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), the predominantly Christian rebel group that has been fighting Khartoum for 20 years...
Algeria is in the grip of political, economic and security problems after 40 years of ‘independence’ that came at a heavy cost to its people, many of whom believe that things will not improve in the foreseeable future.
When the election of Olusegun Obasanjo as president on May 29, 1999, brought to an end 16 years of military rule, Nigerians were understandably relieved. And when the new president promised to strengthen democracy in the country, and to eradicate the culture of public corruption that Nigeria is notorious for, their relief grew into optimism.
Take the fact that NATO has embraced Russia (its Cold War enemy) and is reorganising to engage ‘terrorism’, and president Bush’s recent declaration that he reserves the right to strike at 60 countries that he deems to be a threat to the US
There is a strong feeling among Algerians that the parliamentary elections, on May 30 will not resolve the crises gripping their country. The legislators elected have no influence on policy, and the military, which cancelled the elections in 1991 which the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) were set to win
Recent reports that US forces were preparing to leave their bases in Saudi Arabia created the initial impression that the US’s military presence in the Gulf Cooperation Council states was about to be reduced...
A series of explosions at locations in government buildings and buildings adjacent to the US embassy in Sana, the capital of Yemen, and noisy demonstrations against the regime have shown how angry the Yemeni people are becoming at president Ali Saleh’s undiminished cooperation with the American ‘war against terrorism’.
Colonel John Garang, leader of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which has been fighting Khartoum for almost two decades to establish a separate state in the south of the country, has apparently secured US backing for his programme, if the high-level reception and the funding he received during his recent visit to Washington is anything to go by...
The increasing activity of US military and intelligence officers in Somalia — and the need in general to justify the extension of the “war on terror” — led Washington to announce on March 18 that it had found incontrovertible evidence linking al-Qaeda to Islamic activists in Somalia.
Muslim governments, vying with each other to demonstrate their readiness to back the so-called war against terrorism, are tightening the noose on Islamic charities and schools, controlling their funding, enrollment and curricula to eradicate ‘Islamic extremism’.
The former Soviet republics of Central Asia are not teeming with US servicemen, but more than 1,000 troops are based in Uzbekistan, and US forces have been allowed to use air-bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The persistent speculation of the last month about whether Somalia will be the next battleground in the US’s “war on terrorism” is practically over. Senior US government officials assert that Washington is indeed interested in Somalia, and US special forces and diplomats have already arrived there.
Russia and the US have established reasonably friendly ties in order to avoid conflict between their interests, and occasionally to cooperate for those interests.
The Sudanese government’s determination to mend relations with Washington and its decision to jump on the “war on terrorism” bandwagon have brought noisy demonstrators onto the streets of Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan.
Sudan is cosying up to Uncle Sam to the extent of providing the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with information on Osama bin Ladin, and offering Washington bases on its own territory to be used as airfields during the ‘war against terrorism’, according to reports citing American sources in Khartoum.
Saudi Arabia would not usually engage in public squabbling with the US, with which it has a ‘strategic alliance’, and Washington would not usually humiliate one of its most valuable and dependable proxies in the Middle East.
Until recently it was unknown for multinational corporations to be prosecuted for corruption in developing countries, and for local claimants to sue the giant companies in their own states. In Africa, Asia and the Middle East governments, anxious to create an impression of honesty...
When, on May 3, US president George W. Bush said in a speech to the American Jewish committee that “we must turn the eyes of the world upon the atrocities in Sudan” but only as a “first step”, adding that “more will follow”, he knew what he was talking about.
There were angry demonstrations in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, on June 25 as Macedonians protested that members of the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) and other Muslims had been allowed to escape from the village of Aracinovo in the outskirts of Skopje.
When the Muslim Central Asian countries became independent in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, their leaders — who had been regional heads of the KGB in most cases — promised prosperity and democracy.
A Japanese foreign office committee, called the Committee for Islamic Studies (CFIS), has issued its first report. It accuses Japan of failure to study and relate to a faith “embraced by a fifth of the world’s population”.
The Sudanese government, which has been wooing Washington for months to escape US sanctions and diplomatic isolation, is now furious with the Bush administration because it has revealed its position on the civil war, siding completely and unequivocally with the spectacularly misnamed the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The Bush administration’s close interest in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia (at a time when it is distancing itself from other regional disputes mediated by the US in the recent past), and its readiness to accept Russia as well as France as co-mediators, has led to speculation that a settlement is a distinct possibility.
Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, urged business leaders gathered at Davos, Switzerland, on January 29 to help him to achieve his goal of getting a thousand corporations to back his Global Compact.
French legislators voted unanimously on January 18 to recognise the alleged genocide of Armenians by Turks in 1915. At the same time the British government published plans for a memorial day on January 27 for genocide victims worldwide, designed mainly to commemorate the Jewish holocaust and Armenian genocide.
Out-going US president Bill Clinton signed the international treaty establishing the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal on December 31, in an unexpected move.
A new Nile-water deal between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia and a tripartite alliance between Jibouti, Ethiopia and Sudan directed against Eritrea ï a common adversary and neighbour ï have somewhat eased Khartoum’s embattled position, by complicating Washington’s declared effort to finance opposition-groups fighting to form a breakaway republic in the south of the country.
In a new twist to the latest US efforts to internationalise the Sudanese conflict and force the secession of the country’s so-called ‘Christian South’, American aid-agencies have accused Washington of prolonging Africa’s longest and costliest war.
Algerian president Abdul Aziz Bouteflika claimed a major victory in the September 16 referendum on his ‘progress towards peace’. The results, announced by the ministry of the interior the next day, showed that 98.63 percent of voters had answered ‘yes’ to the single question...
Sudan officially became an oil exporting country on August 30, when it shipped its first barrels of high-quality crude oil from the Bashair oil terminal on the Red Sea. The oil was from the Hegleig oilfield in western Kardofan, and had been transferred to the Bashair terminal through a 1,610km pipeline.
Surprised Nigerians have witnessed two unprecedented events in the last month. A new truth-commission, known as the Oputa Panel, held its first hearings into abuses of power by military rulers, and the administration of the recently-elected president Olusegun Obasanjo announced a plan for the drastic reduction of the army that could cut it by half. Nigerians are watching both developments with interest and no small trepidation.
The Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo - former military dictator and retired general before his controversial election as head of state last February has stepped up his purge of Hausa and Fulani officers in the security forces, largely replacing them with members of his own Yoruba tribe.
The US and Britain are engaged in aggressive and illegal technology-based spying, which enables them - among other things - to monitor telephone communications anywhere in the world.
A draft resolution submitted simultaneously to the US house of representatives and the senate calls on the Clinton administration to arm the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), led by John Garang...
The Islamic Salvation Army (AIS), the armed wing of the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), announced on June 6 that it would end its armed struggle against the government permanently, and place its forces under the states’s authority.
The peace deal signed in Doha, Qatar, by Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir and his Eritrean counterpart Issaias Afwerki on May 2 has left Sudanese opposition groups in disarray, with some, like former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, simultaneously holding secret and separate talks with other Sudanese officials.
In his born-again African phase following his recent rejection of Arab nationalism as a racist concept - and perhaps mindful also of the possibility of international rehabilitation following his sending of the Lockerbie suspects to trial in the Netherlands - Libyan leader colonel Mu’ammar Qaddafi seems to be joining in the west’s crusade against Sudan.
It would not be cynical to conclude that Algeria’s presidential election campaign will not produce new faces untainted by association with traditional power-elites,which are the usual arbiters of power in the country.
Persistent charges over several years by Christian Solidarity International (CSI) that slavery is rife in Southern Sudan finally backfire as Khartoum, in an unprecedented move, invites the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to investigate the allegations, and the agency accuses the Swiss-based but British-led Christian group itself of encouraging slavery in the area.
From the Atlantic coast in the west to the Indian Ocean shores in the east, Central African States locked in civil or regional wars are on the brink of unravelling--in some cases facing the prospect of having their borders redrawn--as those conflicts defy solution, despite external intervention or because of it.
The election of a ‘moderate’ Islamic politician in early May, and the growing influence of Islamically active students in Moroccan universities, have sparked widespread speculation and concern in Western and Arab capitals that one of the most impregnable citadels of secularism in the Muslim world...
The bitter dispute between Italy and Turkey over Rome’s refusal to extradite Abdullah Öcalan, the founder and leader of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), to Ankara to stand trial on charges of terrorism has dealt a serious blow to Turkey’s relations with the European Union (EU).
Whatever happened to the new breed of African rulers, hailed as harbingers of hope, peace and prosperity by the west only months ago?
The nasty little war between Ethiopia and Eritrea should be settled before it gets out of control. In a regional context, Sudan must also be a party to any negotiated agreement.
The most surprising thing about the three-day summit in the British city of Birmingham in mid-May is that seasoned observers and aid workers professed surprise at the failure of the world’s seven richest states plus Russia to agree a deal cancelling the so-called ‘third world debts’ or to adopt measures promoting environmental issues.
When the Arab interior and justice ministers’ meeting in Cairo in late April finally signed an accord on the only thing they normally agree on - the need to fight Islamic activism, euphemistically referred to as terrorism - Arab secular commentators and politicians hailed it as a secure bulwark against the dark forces of anarchy and backwardness.
Ethiopian government policy is being driven by the wild ambition of becoming not only a dominant power in eastern and northeastern Africa but also the ‘bread basket’ of the Gulf countries, as Addis Ababa’s extensive advertising for investment in the western and Arab media puts it.
The US has won an emphatic victory without even firing a single shot. It has established the absurd rule that Washington alone decides who must implement United Nations resolutions as well as who need not...
Despite lengthy and intensive lobbying by Washington and London, the only countries ready to join them unconditionally in their frenzied crusade to butcher the Iraqi people are Germany, Australia and Canada...
The Muslim rulers’ pre-occupation with the ‘enemy within’ - in most cases a euphemism for Islamic resistance - has made them a natural ally of the ‘enemy without’ and consequently, a strategic threat to the security of the Muslim world.
Having deliberately wrecked the chances of a negotiated settlement of the Sudanese civil war, the US has set the stage for a military assault on Sudan by its Christian-led neighbours, as the recent tour of the region by American secretary of State Madeleine Albright...
Anti-Islam animus is not confined to the US or Europe even if it is most pronounced in these lands. The virus appears to be permanently lodged in the genes of most non-Muslim westerners.
New revelations, from the horse’s mouth, linking the Pope to the CIA and US foreign policy during the cold war confirm allegations, first made in a 1996 book but dismissed as wild by commentators, that ‘his holiness’ was locked in an anti-communist alliance with American intelligence...
Several years after the collapse of communism, thousands of prostitutes are still flocking to Dubai, the trade centre of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Leading western newspapers have suddenly stumbled on the fact that it is indeed the Algerian junta - not the ‘bloodthirsty Islamic extremists’ routinely blamed by the regime...
The US and Britain have increased their shares of the global arms market in 1996 despite claims by Washington and London that they are adopting ethical codes to guide the conduct of foreign policy.
The Arab dictators, anxious to ditch the Palestinian cause at the behest of Uncle Sam, by whom they privately swear, have redefined it as a non-Muslim, non-Arab issue that is solely between Israel and Arafat’s Palestinian National Authority (PNA)...
For the first in the history of the Sudanese conflict, Khartoum has conceded to southern rebels the right to exercise self-determination through a properly-supervised referendum.
The limits of France’s proud liberalism, typified by its tradition of openly welcoming and integrating immigrants of all backgrounds, were highlighted on the occasion of Eid al-Adha by vicious attacks on the country’s Muslim community.
What do Indonesia, Nigeria and Sudan have in common? They are huge countries, in terms of area and population, which are overwhelmingly Muslim but with Christian minorities and ethnic diversity that the west uses to destabilize these potentially rich and powerful States.