Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit. TOP TOPICS
- Libya surprised a lot of people last month by agreeing to completely dismantle its WMD programs. This development has wide-ranging implications for the war on terror in general, as well as African security.
- But as Gaddafi moves to improve ties with the Western democracies, his buddy to the south, Robert Mugabe, withdraws his country from the Commonwealth to protest Zimbabwe's continued suspension.
- As for Charles Taylor, former tormentor of the Liberian people, his continued asylum in Nigeria will soon be debated in the Nigerian parliament. This could be the first step towards bringing Taylor to justice for crimes committed in Sierra Leone.
- Daudi cites a short piece indicating a stepped-up US anti-terror presence in Kenya.
Libya * The announcement of Libya's impending disarmament elicited a variety of responses. Instapundit notes that even the NY Times admits that this is a big success for the Bush administrations foreign policy. * Andrew Sullivan points out that France, long a major power in African politics, was completely left out of the deal between Libya, the US, and UK...and the French press is none too happy about it. * Some of us (myself included) are pretty skeptical of any deals with dictators, but QandO details a variety of reasons for optimism on the Libyan deal. (Via WOC) * True to form, the BBC doesn't even mention that the ouster of Iraq's Saddam Hussein in a war justified largely by concern over illicit weapons might have played some role in Libya's decision to disarm. * Roger Simon notes that Libya's missiles for their nuclear program came from North Korea, but what about the centrifuges needed to produce weapons grade material? * That question appears to be answered with this NY Times article claiming that Pakistan, America's ally in the war on terror, was the source for the centrifuge designs. Zimbabwe * After withdrawing from the Commonwealth, it was back to the grind for Comrade Mugabe. The first order of business was to once again defy a court order and reoccupy the offices of the independent Daily News. * As for Mugabe's continuing "land redistribution program" Head Heeb reminds us that this is, and always has been, a land grab for Mugabe and his ZANU thugs. * But despite Mugabe's continued excesses and abuses, South Africa's Mbeki can always be counted on to support appeasement. * Meanwhile, AfricaBlog reports that the Zimbabwean economy continues to decline. Nigeria * Strategypage predicts that Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Equitorial Guinea are ripe for war in 2004, but if this is war, then the first battle has already ended in Nigeria where government forces have just "crushed" and Islamist uprising in the north of the country. * Abiola comments on Nigeria, war, and Nigeria's Islamists here and here. * But maybe the situation isn't really so dismal... CS Monitor puts an optimistic spin on the new year with this article claiming that Africa's hot spots are calming down. They may have something here, particularly in the case of Liberia * In a step toward peace, the UN has begun to disarm Liberia's fighters... * ...and in a surprising develoment, the disarmament program was briefly overwhelmed by the large number of people desiring to turn in their weapons. Hopefully this is a good omen.