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DougMacG
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« on: February 17, 2008, 06:47:30 PM »

A largely untold story that Bush brought to light with his current trip there...

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Africa/wm1817.cfm

February 15, 2008
President Bush's Trip to Africa:
Solidifying U.S. Partnerships with the Region
by Brett D. Schaefer and Anthony B. Kim

President George W. Bush is scheduled to embark today on his second trip to Africa. The five-day visit includes stops in Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia and will promote significant Bush Administration initiatives that address HIV/AIDS; combat terrorism; and promote development, good governance, and economic freedom in Africa. Indeed, the Bush Administration has demonstrated unprecedented attention and dedication to the region, including creating the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); increasing U.S. official development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa fourfold; offering a new, more effective way to provide development assistance in the Millennium Challenge Corporation; and setting up a new combatant command dedicated to Africa.

President Bush's trip is the culmination of seven years of efforts to improve U.S. relations and create trade and development partnerships with African nations. These efforts have generated real improvements in the region. A great deal more can be achieved in the coming years, and America should continue to play a leading role in helping African nations take the steps necessary to improve economic growth and development and in expanding partnerships in the region.

In a contentious election year, Africa is an issue on which there is substantial agreement and significant potential for cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. The President's trip is a well-timed effort to emphasize the strides that have been made. Congress should work with the President to ensure that his initiatives continue to succeed beyond 2008.

Real Outcomes from America's Successful Engagement with Africa

Africa no longer sits on the margin of U.S. foreign policy interests. U.S engagement with the region has been moving increasingly toward closer ties as Washington "recognizes the evolutionary change the continent is undergoing."[1] President Bush has met more African heads of state than any other U.S. President. He "has focused on ways to reshape the landscape and reframe the debate" on U.S. policy towards Africa with "emphasis on partnership and cooperation" that can produce positive, measurable results. [2] In recent years, the U.S. has successfully partnered with many African nations to combat the spread of disease, encourage economic development and growth, and elevate the stature of the region as a priority in U.S. foreign and national security policy.

Helping Africa Fight Diseases. The HIV/AIDS pandemic and other diseases like malaria and tuberculosis have undermined economic progress in Africa, threatening people's livelihoods and productivity, lowering life expectancy, and increasing child mortality. Recognizing the grave challenge that disease presents to the continent, President Bush has made fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis a priority for his Administration.

The most prominent effort is the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, more commonly known as PEPFAR. Announced in 2003, the five-year, $15 billion initiative is the largest commitment by any country for an international health program dedicated to a single disease. While PEPFAR is global in scope, it has a strong focus on Africa: Twelve of the 15 focus countries are located there, including Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.[3]

PEPFAR included among its original goals providing treatment to 2 million people infected with HIV; preventing 7 million new infections; and providing care for 10 million persons, including orphans and at-risk children.[4] Over the past five years, the program has made it possible for 1.4 million people in Africa to receive life-saving treatment,[5] with a special emphasis on preventing infant infections. In his 2008 State of the Union Address, President Bush urged Congress to double funding for the program to $30 billion over the next five years to treat 2.5 million people; fund prevention efforts for 12 million people; and provide care for another 12 million, including 5 million orphans or vulnerable children.[6]

In addition to PEPFAR, the five-year, $1.2 billion President's Malaria Initiative, which aims to halve the mortality rate of the disease over five years in 15 African countries, has brought real benefits to people in Africa. Through public-private partnerships, more than 6 million insecticide-treated bed nets are being distributed, and about 25 million people have already benefited from them.[7] The U.S. has also been the largest donor to multilateral efforts to combat disease, including providing more than 27 percent of funds for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.[8] Congress should support the President's efforts to combat disease in Africa, as these programs have demonstrated significant achievements.

Partnering with Africa for Economic Growth and Development. In parallel with PEPFAR and the Malaria Initiative, the Bush Administration dramatically increased U.S. assistance to sub-Saharan Africa and created the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2004. The MCC administers the Millennium Challenge Account, an innovative approach to providing U.S. development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa.

From 2000 to 2006, the United States doubled its development assistance to $21.5 billion and quadrupled its development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa to $5.6 billion.[9] The U.S. is also the world's leading provider of humanitarian and food assistance, which has saved millions of lives in Africa and elsewhere. In 2006, the U.S. provided more than $3 billion in humanitarian assistance in more than 50 countries and more than $2 billion in food aid in 82 developing countries.[10]

However, the Bush Administration recognizes that the level of aid funding is not necessarily a measure of effectiveness. Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign assistance, most African countries are little better off today than they were decades ago.

The bulk of economic evidence shows that, while there may be a role for assistance and donor nations, the key to development lies in the hands of the governments of developing countries. African countries must first remove obstacles to development by adopting policies that bolster free markets and entrepreneurship, good governance, and the rule of law. These conclusions closely adhere to the evidence provided in the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual study by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal that looks into countries' economic policies to measure their level of economic freedom and finds that, "in pursuing sustainable prosperity, both the direction of policy and commitment to economic freedom are important."[11]

Based on this understanding, the Bush Administration proposed a new way of providing development assistance that encourages recipients to adopt sound economic policies. The MCC targets assistance toward low-income and lower-middle-income countries with a demonstrable record of investing in people and promoting policies that bolster economic growth and the rule of law. The overarching goal is to help countries graduate from the need for foreign assistance.

Over the past four years, the MCC has created remarkable policy reform competition, known as "the MCC effect," among countries that wish to qualify for an MCC "compact agreement" or a "threshold program."[12] By increasing transparency in compiling and disseminating economic statistics and competing with each other for MCC grants, these countries have been motivated to pursue real policy improvements.

The reforms brought about by "the MCC effect" have encouraged entrepreneurial activities and created more favorable conditions for economic growth and development. Of the MCC's 16 compact agreements, nine are with African nations, including three of the five countries on the President's trip (Benin, Tanzania, and Ghana). The nine African compacts total nearly $3.8 billion, which accounts for 70 percent of the MCC's total grants to date.[13] Additional threshold programs totaling $100 million have been channeled to the seven African countries among the MCC's 18 threshold countries.[14]

To ensure the MCC's mission to "reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth in the developing world," President Bush requested in his fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget $2.23 billion for the MCC, an increase of $680 million over the level enacted for FY 2008.[15] Congress should fulfill this request to ensure the initative's continued success.

Enhancing Economic Growth Through Trade and Investment. Seizing on another powerful anti-poverty tool, the Bush Administration has expanded trade with Africa by opening the U.S. market through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Trade and investment flows dwarf official development assistance. For example, in 2006, trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa from the U.S. alone totaled more than $80 billion. In comparison, total development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa from all donors that year was only $39.9 billion.[16]

Moreover, trade and investment are more effective at promoting economic growth because they directly contribute to private-sector development without a government or nongovernmental organization (NGO) intermediary. In this manner, trade efficiently spurs economic growth, increases entrepreneurial opportunities, and creates new and better-paying jobs.

AGOA, which was enacted in 2000, has been the cornerstone of America's trade and investment policy with sub-Saharan Africa. By encouraging trade and investment, AGOA has helped enable African nations to take advantage of opportunities to improve growth through integration into the global economy.

Through AGOA, many African goods receive zero-tariff access to the U.S. market.[17] In response to these lower costs, two-way trade between the U.S. and Africa has grown by almost 140 percent since the introduction of AGOA, including an increase of more than 90 percent in non-oil/gas trade.[18]

For Africa to benefit fully from trade, however, tariff and non-tariff barriers must be eliminated more broadly. The U.S. has pressed other nations in the World Trade Organization to adopt measures through the Doha Round to remove anti-development practices that inhibit trade between developing countries and between developed and developing countries. As noted by National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley:

    The United States is also seeking to open markets through the Doha Round of trade negotiations. Doha represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help millions in the developing world rise above poverty and despair. And the President is committed to concluding an ambitious Doha Round agreement this year.[19]

Congress should support U.S. efforts in the Doha round by agreeing to provide fast track status to the trade reforms resulting from the Doha negotiations.

Recognizing Africa's Increasing Strategic Importance. Africa is no longer a distant region whose instability and problems can be ignored by the U.S. As articulated in the National Security Strategy, the need to expand and ensure America's access to energy resources, prevent the spread of terrorism in weak or failed states, and address transnational health and environmental concerns has transformed Africa from a strategic backwater into a priority region for U.S. economic, political, and military interests. America has become increasingly involved in the region since the end of the Cold War, with more than 20 U.S. military operations in Africa between 1990 and 2000 and another 10 since 2000. These concerns and operations, combined with a rising expectation by many in America and other countries that the U.S. should intervene in internal and regional African conflicts more frequently and actively, make it likely that the U.S. will become more involved in the region in coming years.[20]

In recognition of Africa's rising importance, President Bush announced on February 6, 2007, that the United States will create a new, unified combatant command for Africa (AFRICOM) to oversee security, enhance strategic cooperation, build partnerships, support nonmilitary missions, and conduct military operations as necessary. The unique challenges facing Africa led the Administration to set up a new type of interagency command for the continent. The President made clear that he sees the new command as having more than simply military responsibilities: "The Africa Command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth in Africa."[21] The new command will draw heavily from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other federal bodies for expertise.

Creating an independent command for Africa elevates the foreign policy and national security issues critical to the region in U.S. policy circles. This move is merited by the region's increasing importance to U.S. national and economic security. President Bush has demonstrated foresight in calling for an Africa Command, and Congress should support it.

Conclusion

President Bush's second visit to Africa is an excellent opportunity to highlight the many successful efforts and programs initiated and expanded by the Bush Administration that benefit both the United States and the people of Africa. America's constructive engagement with Africa and the President's appreciation of the region's growing importance should be noted and supported by Congress.

There is substantial agreement by both sides of the political aisle on the need to forge close relations with African countries and work together to promote economic growth, stability, and good governance. Congressional action to support these programs is critical to maintaining America's efforts to replace poverty with prosperity in the continent. Congress should support these initiatives and programs so that America can continue its efforts to guide Africa into a brighter future.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 10:18:17 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 10:27:32 AM »

I must admit that it is quite nice to see our President visit countries where the people seem genuinely warm towards America and towards him.

Many folks in the circles I often hang out in grumble about foreign aid, but my understanding is that on a % of GDP basis it is actually quite low.  Apart from the fuzzies of it all, it occurs to me that for reasons of geo-political good will that American generousity could be a good thing.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2008, 08:08:29 AM »

This from the WSJ could just as easily have gone in the Media Matters thread:

Geldof Praises Bush
February 20, 2008
President Bush is visiting Africa, and the Washington Times's Fishwrap blog reports he is being joined by Bob Geldof, "an Irish rock and roll singer and longtime social activist who has helped, along with U2 rocker Bono, raise awareness about need in Africa":

Mr. Geldof has remained closely engaged with African affairs since then, and he spoke off the cuff to reporters today who were waiting for a press conference with Mr. Bush and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.
Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, "has done more than any other president so far."
"This is the triumph of American policy really," he said. "It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion."
"What's in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing," Mr. Geldof said.
Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed "to articulate this to Americans" but said he is also "pissed off" at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.
"You guys didn't pay attention," Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers.
Apparently they still aren't paying attention. Apart from the Times, the only press reference we could find to Geldof's comments was an editorial in the conservative Investor's Business Daily.

For the past 2½ years or so, we've been hearing endlessly that Americans hate President Bush, that even those who don't hate him disapprove of him, that even those who don't disapprove of him are tired of him, and that his presidency is an unqualified failure. Now comes a surprising dissent from that view, and hardly anyone pays attention. It's a man-bites-dog story, but the press corps looks more like a herd of sheep.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2009, 02:38:23 PM »

In his Oslo address Thursday, President Obama mulled the trade-offs in dealing with repressive regimes. "There's no simple formula here," he said. "But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement, pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time."

From Nobel theory, we move to practice in Sudan. As a candidate, Mr. Obama stood with the human rights champions of Darfur and pledged tougher sanctions and a possible no-fly zone if a Sudanese regime infamous for genocide didn't shape up. His tone has changed in office.

Unveiled in October, the Administration's Sudan policy emphasized carrots for the regime to ease up in Darfur and implement a peace deal in southern Sudan; any sticks were relegated to a secret annex. The President's special envoy to Sudan, retired Major General Scott Gration, was reluctant even to allude to tougher sanctions. He said that "cookies" and "gold stars" are preferable to threats and that Darfur was experiencing only "remnants of genocide."

President Omar al-Bashir, whose Islamist National Congress Party took power in a 1989 coup, got the message and decided to test the limits of this new indulgence. Almost immediately the regime hardened its stance on implementing the peace accord. Brokered by the Bush Administration in 2005, the deal calls for political reforms, including free parliamentary elections now scheduled for April, and a referendum on independence for the south in two years. Long before the ethnic cleansing in Darfur turned into a Hollywood cause célèbre, a two-decade war between the Muslim north and the Christian and oil-rich south took two million lives.

On Monday, police in the capital Khartoum beat and arrested opposition leaders who were pressing parliament to adopt the necessary laws to hold the April elections. Time is running out to pass them. The Bashir regime now refuses to overhaul the national security and criminal laws as also stipulated in the 2005 deal. Its recalcitrance means the election and referendum, assuming both come off, would be tainted. This could in turn end up restarting the civil war.

At the same time, the preference for diplomacy over pressure has encouraged the hard men in Khartoum to stoke the flames in Darfur, ignoring an arms embargo and challenging the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force there.

In the man-bites-dog story of the year, the U.N. last week took the Obama Administration to task over its lax efforts to enforce the arms embargo, while praising the Bush Administration. "In contrast to that leadership of 2004 and 2005, the United States appears to have now joined the group of influential states who sit by quietly and do nothing to ensure that sanctions protect Darfurians," Enrico Carisch, who was the top U.N. investigator of violations of the arms embargo until October, said in written testimony before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa.

The Sudanese aren't even the hardest of cases. Concerted American pressure forced this regime to cut ties with al Qaeda in the 1990s, end aerial bombing and support for slave-hunting militias in the south and accept the 2005 peace deal.

Mr. Obama can summon up tough rhetoric. "Yes, there will be engagement; yes, there will be diplomacy—but there must be consequences when those things fail," he said in Oslo. But the world's rogues might be forgiven for missing the nuances. So far, they've seen only the engaging side of this American President.
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bigdog
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 08:56:09 AM »

http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2012/11/23/the-unbelievable-lightness-of-some-african-states/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+themonkeycagefeed+%28The+Monkey+Cage%29

From the article:

What is striking and surprising here is just how easy it can be to take over some African states, or large parts of them.  The post-independence historical record provides numerous examples where dozens or a few hundred armed men have done it.  This is generally just assumed to be the way things are in Africa, but when you think about it it is actually really puzzling.  Being the president in African countries (and many others besides) can be an incredibly lucrative deal.  Why don’t these rulers, in their own self-interest, take some of that money and use it to build crack units, presidential guards, or strong and loyal army divisions that would protect their hold on power against two dozen putchists, or a hundred or a couple thousand rebels armed with rifles and maybe some mortars?
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 09:53:28 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2013, 10:11:13 AM »

Americans at War in Africa
Two weekend raids show al Qaeda is a long way from defeated.


The tide of war against al Qaeda is expanding, as two weekend raids by U.S. commandos illustrate. The raids show the skill and reach of American special forces, but also the enduring nature of this conflict with Islamists and the need to counter its African expansion.

Special forces and U.S. intelligence scored a major victory in snatching Abu Anas al-Libi outside his home in Tripoli in Libya. Al-Libi is wanted as one of the plotters behind the 1998 bombing of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 and injured more than 4,000 innocents. The al Qaeda leader had resettled in Tripoli after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, taking advantage of the new government's weakness.
[image] Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

This image provided by the FBI shows Abu Anas al-Libi on their wanted list October 5, 2013.

Al-Libi ought to be an intelligence gold mine if the Obama Administration is willing to extract it. U.S. officials are saying he is likely to be tried eventually in U.S. criminal court. But for now he is probably on a U.S. Navy vessel, where he can be interrogated safe from American civilian due process.

Al-Libi ought to be brought to Guantanamo as an illegal enemy combatant and tried by military commission. But it apparently offends the Obama Administration's political sensibilities less to keep captured killers on board a ship for weeks instead. That's also how the Administration dealt with Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali member of al Qaeda who was captured in April 2011 and kept incommunicado at sea for some two months. Secret prison, anyone?

The benefit of capturing such men, as opposed to firing a missile from a drone, is to gain intelligence to stop future attacks. The Obama Administration has captured very few al Qaeda operatives and as a result we know less than we should about the ways that al Qaeda is decentralizing and expanding in Africa. Let's hope it doesn't offer al-Libi a Miranda warning.

Navy SEALs were less successful in a raid on the al-Shabaab branch of al Qaeda in Somalia. They withdrew after taking fire and as a precaution against causing civilian casualties. The U.S. hoped to capture a leader of al-Shabaab, which carried out last month's attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi that killed at least 69 people.

Success or not, the Obama Administration deserves credit for undertaking both raids. These are high-risk missions and not every one will work as well as the grab in Tripoli. But it's vital to U.S. security to take these risks. We learned on 9/11 that terrorists can strike the U.S. if they are allowed to create sanctuaries even half a world away.

The Administration has seemed reluctant to act forcefully against al Qaeda in Africa lest it undermine President Obama's claim that the terror network is defeated. The raids are a tacit admission that Mr. Obama has been overselling victory, but we're nonetheless glad to see the U.S. going back on offense.

=====================

stratfor


Summary

The two U.S. special operations forces raids to capture high-value targets in Libya and Somalia both occurred on Oct. 5 but do not seem to have been directly connected. The operations were most likely the consequences of distinct intelligence efforts, and their timing so close together was incidental. Still, the operations illustrate that while the United States is avoiding larger and longer engagements, the use of limited special operations with smaller dispersed footprints and specific targets continues.
Analysis

The target of the operation in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, was Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Libi. He has been sought by the United States for his involvement in the 1998 embassy attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and was one of the original names on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list when it was created in October 2001. Apart from his role in the embassy attacks, al-Libi had been tied to the al Qaeda core since its relocation to Sudan in 1994, having operated close to Osama bin Laden. That Washington has a solid legal case against al-Libi made his capture a more attractive option than killing him with a drone strike in a populated city.

After the 1998 attacks in East Africa, al-Libi lived in the United Kingdom for some time, where he avoided prosecution due to a lack of evidence. He finally fled to Afghanistan in 2000 before law enforcement teams raided his house. After the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, al-Libi allegedly escaped to Iran, only to return to Libya in 2010, prior to the Libyan civil war that led to the end of Moammar Gadhafi's rule. Al-Libi likely took advantage of the amnesty offered to jihadists by the Gadhafi regime, managed by the former dictator's son, Seif al-Islam.

Al-Libi has been known to associate with several organizations that were involved in Libya's civil war, although he did not seem to be involved in al Qaeda in East Africa's operations. Given U.S. activities in Libya, especially increased intelligence gathering after the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, al-Libi had probably been under surveillance. With the decimation of the core al Qaeda group, al-Libi was likely trying to either stay below the radar in Libya, or to pursue his jihadist ambitions to the extent possible, especially with the opportunities provided in post-Gadhafi Libya. He was probably still attempting to establish an operational base by navigating local militias. That he got caught suggests that he failed to develop an infrastructure or to latch on to an existing one. This should not be a surprise since the scale of jihadism in Libya is much smaller than in other places.

A separate, failed raid took place earlier Oct. 5 in the coastal Somali town of Baraawe, which is still under the control of al Shabaab. The raid targeted Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, commonly known as Ikrima, a leader of Kenyan terrorist group al-Hijra, also known as the Muslim Youth Center. The group is affiliated with al Shabaab, having openly pledged allegiance to them, and has been implicated in a series of bombings in Nairobi as well as the recruitment of youths in Kenya to join al Shabaab in Somalia.

The attempt to capture Ikrima came two weeks after the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, an attack that involved both al Shabaab and al-Hijra. Ikrima allegedly arranged safe houses and equipment for the militants who attacked the mall. His capture would have removed an important operative from al-Hijra, disrupting the group's ability to plan attacks in Kenya, while also eliminating an important backer of Ahmad Abdi Godane's transnationalist faction within al Shabaab. The consolidation of al Shabaab's leadership after Godane's attempts to weed out opponents has resulted in a stricter hierarchy that could be easier to disrupt. The capture of Ikrima could also have delivered useful intelligence on the whereabouts or activities of other important al Shabaab militants.

Both targets have indirect or past links to the al Qaeda in East Africa network, but their activities have never been directly connected, and it is unlikely that the raids, despite occurring on the same day, were related. It is more likely that the raids occurred together because of the availability of intelligence and operational constraints.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 10:32:40 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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