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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Clinton Suggests Link to al Qaeda Offshoot in Deadly Libya Attack :

In Africa, al Qaeda, Libya, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton on September 27, 2012 at 12:26 am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday suggested there was a link between the Qaeda franchise in North Africa and the attack at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the American ambassador and three others. She was the highest-ranking Obama administration official to publicly make the connection, and her comments intensified what is becoming a fiercely partisan fight over whether the attack could have been prevented.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meeting with President Mohamed Magariaf of Libya.

Mrs. Clinton did not offer any new evidence of a Qaeda link, and officials later said the question would be officially settled only after the F.B.I. completed a criminal inquiry, which could take months. But they said they had not ruled out the involvement of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — an affiliate of the international terrorist group with origins in Algeria — in an attack the administration initially described as a spontaneous protest turned violent.

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Mrs. Clinton made her remarks at a special United Nations meeting on the political and security crisis in the parts of North Africa known as the Maghreb and the Sahel, particularly in northern Mali, which has been overrun by Islamic extremists since a military coup helped lead to the division of that country this year.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has long operated in the region, she said, and was now exploiting a haven in Mali to export extremism and terrorist violence to neighbors like Libya.

“Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions,” Mrs. Clinton told leaders assembled at the meeting, including President François Hollande of France and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. “And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”

Mr. Ban called the meeting to lay the groundwork for a possible international military intervention — to be led by African troops — to help the new military government in Mali re-establish control over a part of the country that Mr. Hollande noted was the size of France and is now under the grip of Islamist extremists imposing their vision of law and order.

“We cannot stand by and allow terrorists to take over an entire territory,” Mr. Hollande said.

Top militia leaders in Benghazi have dismissed the possibility that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb played a role in the attacks or had a foothold in eastern Libya. Benghazi residents have said they believe the brigade that conducted the attack could not have managed the assault on its own, because it included more than 100 heavily armed fighters.

Mrs. Clinton’s connection of the turmoil in the Sahel with the violence in Benghazi, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, echoed remarks made last week by Matthew G. Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He said that intelligence analysts were investigating ties between local Libyan militias and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but had not yet come to any conclusions.

A senior administration official said that Mrs. Clinton intended to underscore the rising threat that the Qaeda affiliate and other extremist organizations pose to the emerging democratic governments in countries like Tunisia and Libya, adding that the group clearly intended to make contact with extremists in Benghazi and elsewhere. The final determination of the group’s role, the official said, would await the investigation by the F.B.I.

Mrs. Clinton has also ordered a review of diplomatic security that is being led by Thomas R. Pickering, a veteran diplomat and former undersecretary of state.

It was not clear whether Mrs. Clinton’s remarks foreshadowed any possible retaliation against those who carried out the attack, whether they operated in sympathy with, or on orders from, Al Qaeda leaders. But she reiterated the administration’s vow to bring those responsible to justice, telling the conference that American intelligence and law-enforcement agencies were working not only with Libya but with other nations in the region to investigate the attack.

The cooperation with other nations beyond Libya in the investigations also seemed to indicate that the attack’s planning and execution might have crossed international borders and not simply have been a local, spontaneous eruption of violence in response to an amateurish Internet video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.

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From the start, Libyan officials have sought to blame foreigners, even as they move to crack down on extremist militias that took part in the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last year and clearly had a role in the attack. Mr. Magariaf said at least 40 suspects had been questioned, but there was no definitive conclusion about those involved. “It was a preplanned act of terrorism directed against American citizens,” Mr. Magariaf said in remarks broadcast on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday.

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, defended the administration’s evolving version of events. “Over the course of the past two weeks, this administration has provided as much information as it has been able to,” Mr. Carney told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Ohio on Wednesday. “We made clear that our initial assessment and interim reports were based on information that was available at the time.”

Read the story in it’s entirety here: NYT

Clinton in the Congo, and the real message gets lost…

In Africa, Congo, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aide, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on August 14, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Clinton in the Congo, and the real message gets lost.

Clinton in the Congo

CongoShadow

by Nancy Johnston
THE BALTIMORE SUN

August 13, 2009

The UN reports that there have been 200,000 acts of sexual violence in the Congo since 1998, 65 percent against children. Since January, more than half of the thousands of rapes reported were perpetrated by the Congolese army, according to Human Rights Watch. That is to say nothing of the more than 2 million displaced citizens, and 5.4 million who have died in connection with the war waged against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

An AP report which detailed the $17 million of aid the U.S. has pledge to end such violence described the scene at a refugee camp Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited.

“Residents told Clinton that women and young girls and boys are often victimized by rape when they leave the camp to gather wood or tend to outside gardens. One camp official said a young boy had been raped on Monday.

“One of the two victims Clinton met had been gang-raped after her husband and four children were killed. The other, eight months pregnant at the time, lost her baby and was found by hospital workers in a forest where she had stumbled.”

There are no words for the horrors these people have faced in the past decade.

    But if you’ve watched the news those horrific statistics and stories didn’t register. That’s because Secretary Clinton’s umbrage over a question about a Chinese loan offer became the story, instead of the corruption of officials and the sexual warfare being waged throughout the country.

At a news conference, a student in the audience asks Ms. Clinton what Mr. Clinton thinks about a disputed Chinese contract, and she reacted harshly. It’s unclear what the student was thinking — did he misspeak, meaning to ask for President Obama’s opinion, instead of Bill Clinton’s?

Did the translator ask the wrong question? Did one or the other of them think it appropriate to question our top diplomat about her husband’s opinion, rather than her own? But the point is that the narrative has switched from life-and-death issues that everyone should be united against, to another “Shrill Hill” sound bite.

“Poor Hillary,” her detractors and supporters both say, “She was just so tired! And it must be so hard to see Obama light up the world in his travels; and that Bill, saving those journalists from North Korea, stealing her thunder.”

To which I say, give me a break.

Hillary Clinton has been a professional politician, a U.S. senator, a presidential candidate and she is now the secretary of state of the United States of America. She has nothing to prove to the commentators and the pundits; her job is to advise the president on foreign affairs and enforce the policies of the USA.

She was not a petulant child craving recognition, nor does she need your defense. Secretary Clinton had a point to make, and it was this: I am the representative of the most powerful country in the world, and you will respect both my office and me as a human being.

While you’re at it, why don’t you show that same respect to the women of the Congo?

In a country where being female might be a death sentence and rape is used as a weapon against the population, this is not a point to be made lightly. Perhaps it wasn’t diplomatic, but it was entirely appropriate for Clinton to defend her position and her dignity in a place where so many wives and daughters have no defense or recourse.

So don’t pity Hillary, who in your mind has to compete with her powerful husband and boss. Pity the millions of Congolese who are suffering.

And get alongside her, whether as a feminist or a human being: There’s plenty to find offensive in this situation without falling back to either Clinton hatred or misogynistic punchlines.
Link

Hillary’s relationship with Africa goes back decades…

In Africa, foreign policy, Global News, news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, women on August 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

Women are drivers of positive change…

Par2706876
August 09, 2009
Victoria Mxenge co-operative in Cape Town in 1997, I met homeless women working to transform an empty patch of land into a new community. They pooled their savings and microloans, bought shovels, poured concrete and built new homes for themselves and their children. In 1997 there were just 18 homes. I returned a year later and saw 104. Yesterday I found a village of thousands of homes where once there had been only dust and despair.

The determination and entrepreneurial spirit of the women of Victoria Mxenge underscore a basic truth: empowering women is key to global progress and prosperity. This is not just a moral imperative – it is an economic one as well. When women are accorded their rights and afforded equal opportunities in education, health care and gainful employment, they drive social and economic progress. When they are marginalised and mistreated, as is the case in too many places in Africa today, prosperity is impossible.

This week I am travelling across Africa to highlight the continent’s promise and possibility. Empowering women is a crucial step towards seizing the economic opportunities of this new century. No nation can succeed in spreading prosperity or increasing security if it leaves out or leaves behind more than half of the population.

Our broader agenda for progress and economic growth also includes increasing trade, implementing development strategies that build capacity and opportunity, and advancing responsible governance that rejects corruption, enforces the rule of law and delivers results for people. South Africa’s leadership is essential in advancing this agenda across Africa.

South Africans have many reasons to be proud on this National Women’s Day. President Jacob Zuma recently appointed Gill Marcus as governor of the South African Reserve Bank. Across the country, women are leading small and medium-sized businesses that are the foundation of economic progress. And South Africa is home to dynamic entrepreneurs such as Sally Marengo, who started the KPL Aluminium and Zinc Die-Casting factory which now manufactures car parts in Bedfordview, and Lillian Masebenza, who created the Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Networks to turn traditional stokvels into collectives that help disadvantaged women generate income and start new businesses.

The women of South Africa have helped to make the country an economic anchor for the continent. They are an example of what can be accomplished through civic responsibility, commitment to the rule of law and a diversified and inclusive economy.

Across Africa, women are driving positive change. Kenya’s Wangari Maathai has launched an international movement on behalf of environmental stewardship. Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has taken the reins of a nation once gripped by civil war and proven that women can lead at the highest levels.

But in many parts of Africa, and indeed around the world, the picture is not so encouraging. Laws deny women the right to own property, access credit or make their own choices within their marriage. Women comprise the majority of the world’s poor, unfed and unschooled. They are subjected to rape as a tactic of war, so-called “honour” killings, maiming, trafficking, child marriages, genital mutilation and other violent, degrading practices.

This week I will visit survivors of sexual and gender-based violence used as a tool of conflict in eastern Congo, where women have been victimised on an unimaginable scale. Some 1100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day.

In the face of such depravity the world must speak with one clear voice: this violence must end.

The United States is working to develop partnerships across Africa to ensure that the rights of women are protected and respected, and that they have the opportunity to pursue an education, find a good job, live in safety and fulfil their own potential.

President Barack Obama and I believe in Africa’s promise. Too often, the world views Africa only through the lens of poverty, disease and conflict. But we see a continent of opportunity, home to 800 million people – more than half of them women – ready to build, create and thrive.

National Women’s Day commemorates the 20 000 South African women who marched for justice on August 9 1956. Fearless, they sang an anthem that has become a rallying cry: “Wathint’a bafazi, Wathint’ imbokodo” (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock).

Women can be the rock on which a freer, safer and more prosperous Africa is built.

They just need the opportunity.

Hillary boogies-on down in Africa…

In Africa, Global News, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news on August 7, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Secretary Clinton honors victims of Africa embassy blasts

In Africa, Global News, Kenya, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Somalia on August 6, 2009 at 11:14 am
Clinton addresses the eighth Forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 5. The AGOA is a forum of some 40 African countries that enjoy trade preferences in the giant U.S. market on the condition that they uphold free elections and markets. Clinton will seek to build ties with three African powers -- Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa -- and show support for three countries recovering from conflict -- Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia -- while also stopping in small U.S. ally Cape Verde.

Clinton addresses the eighth Forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 5. The AGOA is a forum of some 40 African countries that enjoy trade preferences in the giant U.S. market on the condition that they uphold free elections and markets. Clinton will seek to build ties with three African powers -- Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa -- and show support for three countries recovering from conflict -- Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia -- while also stopping in small U.S. ally Cape Verde.

U.S. Secretary of State recalls ‘98 strikes in Kenya and Tanzania, and plans to pledge assistance to Somalia
U.S. Secretary of State recalls ‘98 strikes in Kenya and Tanzania, and plans to pledge assistance to Somalia
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observes a moment of silence after laying a wreath of flowers on the site of the bombings against the U.S. embassy in Nairobi that killed 213 people in 1998.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observes a moment of silence after laying a wreath of flowers on the site of the bombings against the U.S. embassy in Nairobi that killed 213 people in 1998.

NAIROBI, Kenya – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday honored the victims of the deadly 1998 al-Qaida-linked attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

A day before the 11th anniversary of the Aug. 7 bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam that killed more than 200 people, Clinton paid a somber visit to a memorial at the site of the former embassy in the Kenyan capital.

The site, she said, is a reminder of “the continuing threat of terrorism, which respects no boundaries, no race, ethnicity or religion, but is aimed at disrupting and denying the opportunity of people to make their own decisions and to lead their own lives.”

MSNBC Link

Clinton vows new US support for Somolia

By Matthew Lee
Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today pledged to “expand and extend” American support for Somalia’s weak interim government as it struggles against Islamist extremists believed linked to al-Qaida.

Accusing the extremists of trying to turn Somalia into a base to launch worldwide terrorist attacks, Clinton said the Obama administration would boost military supplies and other aid to the government and an African peacekeeping force supporting it. She did not detail the new aid.

“They see Somalia as a future haven for global terrorism,” she said of the extremist Somali militia known as al-Shabab. To make her point, she noted the recent arrests of four men allegedly linked to the group who are suspected of plotting attacks there in Australia.

“Our information is that al-Shabab not only uses foreign fighters and foreign money but foreign ideas in its attack on the people of Somalia,” she said.

“There is also no doubt that al-Shabab wants to take control of Somalia and use it as a base from which to influence and even infiltrate surrounding countries and launch attacks against countries far and near,” Clinton said after meeting beleaguered Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.

Ahmed agreed.

“Their aim is to make Somalia a ground to destabilize the whole world,” said Ahmed, who appealed to Clinton for additional resources. “We cannot suffer any longer. The people of Somalia have a right to peace.

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