The 17th Ordinary Summit of the AU is being convened under the theme of ‘Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’.

Keywords : Equatorial Guinea

Tracking Africa’s social and political evolution.

Friday, June 24, 2011
The 17th Ordinary Summit of the AU is being convened under the theme of ‘Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’.

Sources: UNISOM; UNIMIS; African Union; World Bank Report 2010; IMF 2009; UN Development Index 2010; Huffington Post; ICC; Reuters; World Fact Book; CPA Agreement; Sudan Tribune; Al Jazeera; Amnesty International; Pambuzuka

By Tula Dlamini

Overview

The 17th African Union Summit takes place from 23 June to 1 July 2011 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Summit takes place in the context of large scale political disaffection, particularly among youths in Africa who have responded through active participation in protests against their governments.

Youth in Africa are unique in having a legal instrument dedicated to them, namely the Youth Charter (2006), which came into force in 2009, and has been signed by 38 and ratified by 24 of 53 member states.

African leaders understand that the continent’s greatest resource is its youthful population and that through their active and full participation - Africans can face up to the difficulties that lie ahead. Commitments have already been made towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, there is reason to be concerned about the general condition of young people in Africa, many of whom are marginalized from mainstream society through inequalities in income, wealth and power, unemployment and underemployment, infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, living in situations of poverty and hunger, experiencing illiteracy and poor quality educational systems, restricted access to health services and to information, exposure to violence including gender violence, engaging in armed conflicts and experiencing various forms of discrimination. These are some of the issues that will likely be discussed at the upcoming 17th Summit of AU in Equatorial Guinea.

The Summit will also discuss peace and security in Africa broadly.
Over and above the unfolding security developments in Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Ivory Coast, critics have questioned the rationale of hosting the summit in Equatorial Guinea arguing that the context of Equatorial Guinea today could not be further from the values and principles of the African Union. They say the government is spending more on the summit than it does on education and health per year combined.

In the last few weeks, over 100 students and political opposition leaders have been arrested.

But perhaps, most damming for Equatorial Guinea is the fact the country has ratified less than 12 of over 100 of the AU’s treaties.

Analysts are asking the question whether the time has come for some minimum standards for hosting a Presidency and the summit.

Youth in Africa - Key facts:

1. Close to half of the population in Africa falls between the ages of 15 and 24, within the scope of youth as defined by the African Youth Charter.
2. Three in five youth are unemployed
3. Three quarters live below the poverty line of less than US 1$ a day.
4. Most governments in African countries do have youth policies that aim to empower youth. These policies in most cases go un-accompanied by costed-Action Plans for monitoring and accountability.
5. Various programmes targeted at youth are offered by governments and also by civil society. However, these programmes are largely uncoordinated due to weak frameworks on linkages of youth development to broader development objectives; consequently it has been difficult to account for inputs, outcomes and impact for these programmes
6. Few countries have established Ministries which are charged with the responsibility of youth affairs. However, these ministries do not have an adequate structure that reaches the lowest level-districts, and in most cases these ministries are under staffed, and more than often unequipped with technical capacity in working with a youth analysis framework.
7. Most of these Administrative structures do not receive adequate funding from governments resources to effectively implement youth empowerment programmes.

Implications

Economic disaffection fuels political disaffection and reduces the potential for active citizen engagement during and in between elections.

African Union position on Youth Development

Youth in Africa are unique in having a legal instrument dedicated to them, namely the Youth Charter (2006), which came into force in 2009, and has been signed by 38 and ratified by 24 of 53 member states.

The Charter calls for the following key elements:

• promotion of active youth participation in all aspects of development and at all levels;
• the formulation of a comprehensive national youth policy and programmes informed by consultation with youth and resourced adequately;
• collation and provision of accurate data on youth including employment, unemployment, and underemployment;
• creation of an enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship, and provision of quality and appropriate reproductive health services and access to treatment, among others.

According to the State of the Union Report of 2010, which tracks the implementation of continental standards and instruments, unlike the modest progress recorded in the case of children; Africa’s youth have seen more new policies and programmes that target their livelihoods, civic participation.

National youth policies were passed in Ghana (2007), Nigeria (2007), Kenya (2008) and South Africa (2009) aimed at promoting employment, social protection schemes and youth funds. Rwanda has even provided for two youth seats in their Chamber of Deputies.

High Level Panel on Financing for Youth Development

The issue of youth has been discussed at the level of the AU, particularly in the wake of the North African crises, wherein the 275th Peace and Security Council meeting called for the need to provide the youth with economic opportunity and avenues for greater participation in political decision making to avoid undue discontent. A High Level Panel on Financing for Youth Development was established which called for the following;

1. To the African Union Member States:

• Endorse, mobilize, and allocate resources for the Medium Term Priorities for the Plan of Action for the African Youth Decade
• Enact age specific standards and quotas for youth in parliament and appointment to government positions
• Pass laws to ensure opportunities for youth in private and public companies
• Facilitate and create mechanisms for Diaspora youth to contribute to development efforts

2. To the African Union Commission (AUC):

• Utilize the APRM and NEPAD to monitor and report on the implementation of the Charter

PEACE AND SECURITY

Equatorial Guinea

Risk for a revolt is high in Equatorial Guinea ahead of the 17th Heads of State African Union summit due on 01 July 2011. The rights group says political opponents of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema – the current chair of the AU. Nguema’s administration has allegedly arrested and detained around 100 students in recent days.

Amnesty said the arrests appeared to be "a pre-emptive measure to prevent any demonstrations during the summit".

President Nguema exerts almost total control over the political system; and, though oil has given the country wealth, the marchers say ordinary citizens are yet to reap the benefits.

How will the AU respond to the situation currently obtaining in Equatorial Guinea? Will it ignore the demonstrators and risk being perceived as supporting President Obiang – who has ruled the country for 32 uninterrupted years since seizing power in a 1979 coup or will the AU condemn its own chairperson?

The AU on 16 February 2011 expressed solidarity with the Egyptian people, saying “their desire for democracy was consistent with the relevant instruments of the AU and the continent’s commitment to promote democratization, good governance and respect for human rights." Further, the AU on 23 February 2011 condemned "disproportionate force" against the protesters.

Whatever, the AU pronounces on Equatorial Guinea, either way – trouble is looming in Obiang land. A tacit embrace for the demonstrators will encourage them, while ignoring them can only lend currency to view that the AU supports tyranny in Africa, thus jeopardizing any prospects of AU driven future interventions in conflict situations around the continent.
General state of peace and security in Africa

The 17th AU Assembly in Equatorial Guinea takes place in a context marked by major developments in Tunisia and Egypt, the conflict in Libya, as well as the situations in Somalia, and Sudan, with the persistence of the Darfur crisis and the threats that the current tension in Southern Kordofan and Abyei poses to the progress made in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Sudan

More than 2 million people have died in Southern Sudan over the past two decades due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes.

Brief Timeline: 2002 - 2011

• July 2002: Sudan government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) sign a peace framework agreement in Kenya.
• 26 May 2004: Government of Sudan and the SPLM signed three protocols on Power Sharing, on the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, and on the long disputed Abyei area.
• 5 June 2004: The parties signed “the Nairobi Declaration on the Final Phase of Peace in the Sudan.”
• 9 January 2005: Government of Sudan and the SPLM signed the final peace agreement at a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya.
• 11-15 April 2010: Sudan held national and regional elections.
• 8-15 January 2011: South Sudan held a referendum to decide on unity or independence.

There are implications for its foreign policy. The country has invested heavily in peacekeeping, capacity building and mediation efforts in Sudan.

Talking points and Important Issues to watch:

Africa’s youngest nation is born

On 09 July 2011, Southern Sudan officially secedes from North Sudan, becoming an independent country.

South Sudan faces major challenges. The list is long but the following are noted:

Borders

Even though North Sudan appears resigned to the South’s secession, the two countries will still have to agree on the precise border that divides them. One major piece of that puzzle is Abyei, an oil-rich region that was supposed to hold its own referendum and decide whether it would secede along with the South or remain with the North. Due to disagreements between North and South Sudanese leaders, Abyei’s referendum was postponed indefinitely.

Now that the voting is over, Abyei remains a “potential hotspot.”
The Southern People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has said that if the Abyei referendum is not conducted, the only remaining option is for Abyei to be transferred to the south by presidential decree.

On the northern side, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said he will not accept Abyei being part of the south.

The seriousness of the situation in Abyei is so great that one analyst calls it “the key to South Sudan’s stability.” Without a solution that both governments and the people of Abyei can accept, violence may escalate.

Oil

Oil is the primary driver of Sudan’s economy.

Economic prospects for both Northern and Southern Sudan remain linked to continued oil production.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, citing the International Monetary Fund, oil represented 98 percent of total revenues for the 2010 for South Sudan compared to Khartoum at 65 percent.

At 98% - Southern Sudan is totally dependent on exports of crude that run through the pipeline and refinery system in the north. Negotiations on the future management of the oil sector are thus crucial to the survival of both north and south Sudan after July 2011.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 (which provided for the referendum) established a 50-50 revenue-sharing agreement between North and South, but now the two countries will have to negotiate a new agreement on revenues.

Three-quarters of the oil is in the South, but the North has the pipelines and refineries.

North Sudan has threatened to cut supplies to the South if there is any breach of the 50-50 revenue sharing agreement signed under the 2005 CPA.

Integration and Citizenship

South Sudan will need to develop a basis for national integration, citizenship, and unity that relies on more than just opposition to the North. This is a serious challenge that is compounded by the return of refugees and members of the Diaspora. Many were born in refugee camps across Africa, and others grew up in overseas countries of Europe, America, Asia and elsewhere.

Political Reform

South Sudan will face the challenge of allowing multiple social voices to express their opinions unhindered.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — dominates the political arena but might need to transform itself into a broad-based political party so as to preserve the goal shared by all southerners — self-determination. This will require a genuine opening of political space.

Other reforms include the demobilisation and reintegration of armed forces linked to the SPLA which remains a key concern. Nearly 40% of the Southern Sudanese government budget goes to the army, meaning that demobilisation and reintegration of army units is a priority after independence.

Development

UNDP 2010 report provides alarming statistics on education, disease, sustainability, and other issues in South Sudan, notably;

• 70 percent of the people in South Sudan have no access to any form of healthcare
• one in five women die in childbirth and;
• one in five children fail to make it to their fifth birthday

These problems are not just economic – they also threaten to undercut political stability.

The AU High-Level Panel on Sudan has been involved in attempts aimed at a negotiated settlement around a range of outstanding issues. The three-member Panel is led by former President Thabo Mbeki and includes former Burundi President, Pierre Buyoya and former Nigerian Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

While they are yet to resolve many of the issues, there has been developments on many fronts, including agreement that neither territory would support the respective oppositions.

Abyei - an oil-rich area on the border between the North and South of Sudan
This tense region is a ‘deadly war waiting to happen’. A spark could ignite renewed violence and plunge the whole area back into war. Abyei has seen its share of bloodshed. In 2008, northern and southern forces clashed. Hundreds were killed and thousands were displaced as Abyei town was razed. Residents of Abyei feel left behind by the South and threatened by the North.

A region of nomadic Arab Misseriya pastoralists and African Ngok Dinka, Abyei was supposed to have had its own referendum on whether to join the new South or remain with Khartoum. But lingering questions, such as who has grazing rights to the land and who is eligible to vote, have postponed Abyei’s referendum indefinitely.

As a result, the Dinka of Abyei have threatened to hold their own unilateral referendum which would likely end in the region aligning itself with the South, a result that would be unrecognized by the North and by nomadic Arab Misseriya pastoralists who do not favor a split Sudan. The tension could cause renewed fighting.

On 19 May 2011, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) invaded Abyei and simultaneously, President Omar El Bashir dissolved the Abyei Administration, arguing his government had intervened in order to restore law and order. An estimated 50 000 people were displaced.

Abyei was expected to hold a referendum simultaneously with the vote on Southern Sudan in January 2011 but this did not happen.

The region’s disputed status has long been recognized as a potential ’trigger for violence’. As the date (09 July 2011) for the secession of Southern Sudan edges closer, control of Abyei has remained one of the biggest points of contention in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Temporary Agreement on Abyei

On 20 June 2011, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia an agreement on Abyei was signed between Khartoum and SPLM. This agreement, which is a temporary arrangement, calls on withdrawal of both Khartoum and South Sudanese armed forces from designated Abyei area, where they will be replaced by a peacekeeping force, composed of Ethiopian troops. The agreement also calls for establishment of civil administration as well as rapid repatriation programme for the residents of Abyei—who were driven away from their homestead, due to forceful occupation of Abyei by Khartoum armed forces.

The Ethiopian peacekeepers will act as a buffer, between the South and North, and their mandate is just to protect civilians within its area of control in Abyei, but to also effectively monitor, intercept and prevent border incursions by armed groups – often consisting of proxy militias on horse backs, carrying AK47s and swords.

But given their limited mandate, which excludes engaging militarily with the armed groups, how will these peacekeepers deal with possibly large scale firefights with any of these armed elements? This is worrying considering the number of the Ethiopian troops to be deployed in the area is only one brigade and given the vastness of the land and number of different armed groups who roam the area.

Future of UN Peacekeeping in Sudan

The future of the UN peacekeeping force is under debate. Khartoum has indicated that it should be disbanded, or - if it’s mandate is to be extended by the United Nations - that it should only be based in Southern Sudan.

Darfur

Faced with renewed fighting in early 2011, the UN and AU, which oversee the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), urged conclusion of the Doha talks.

A draft peace agreement (Darfur Political Agreement) was handed on 27 April 2011 by the mediation in Doha to the Sudanese parties participating in the Doha peace process: Government of Sudan (GOS), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM).

The next phase is the Darfur Political Process (DPP), to be facilitated with support from the joint peacekeeping mission. The goal of the DPP is to allow Darfuri stakeholders to be directly involved in supporting and implementing a peace agreement.

The UN and AU have different positions on the process: the UN secretary-general urges the process be based on the outcome of the Doha negotiations, while the AU urges it to proceed concurrently, irrespective of Doha’s outcome.

In contrast to the Doha-based peace talks between the government and rebels outside of Darfur with international mediators, the DPP aims to engage Darfuri civil society in a more indigenous and inclusive political process.

Participation by interested civil society groups in the DPP is likely to face a brick wall, given the fact that the government has in the past failed to engage civil society in Darfur talks. Allegations abound of routine uses security forces to harass and arrest civil society and political party activists, journalists, and perceived opponents.

With many questions about the DPP still pending, UNAMID has set up a secretariat to oversee the process, while the UN and AU, and a group of special envoys to Sudan, have stressed the need for the Sudanese government to create the “enabling environment” for the process to be credible.

In March 2011, the government of Sudan announced it will hold an administrative referendum in July 2011 to determine whether Darfur should be administered as one region or remain three states. Rebel movements and the US argued that this interferes with the Doha peace talks, where the status of Darfur is a key issue.

Southern Kordofan

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Southern Kordofan, following the armed conflict that broke out between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), on 5 June 2011.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes and face hunger and diseases, due to fighting, aerial bombardment and the interruption of essential supplies. There are also reports of human rights abuses.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Jean Ping confirmed the humanitarian crisis affecting the civilian population in all parts of Southern Kordofan and called upon the Parties to engage in current negotiations towards a political settlement, under the facilitation of the AU High‐Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). The AU insists that there is no military solution to the current political conflict and that the Parties should urgently agree to a cessation of hostilities.

AU and the ICC decision on al-Bashir

The African Union (AU) has consistently argued that the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to charge President Omar al-Bashir with war crimes will harm the peace process in Sudan.

"The AU reiterates that the search for justice should be pursued in a manner not detrimental to the search for peace. The latest decision by the ICC runs in the opposite direction," the bloc said in a statement.
The upcoming 17th Summit of the AU in Equatorial Guinea is an opportunity to follow up on recent developments on this matter.

Somalia

The Kampala Accord

The Kampala Accord was signed on 9 June 2011 by the President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. The Accord seeks to end the current transitional period, with a deferral of elections for one year.

The UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are collectively tasked with facilitating and supporting the implementation of the Kampala Accord and to further peace and reconciliation in Somalia.

The next phase is the drawing up of a roadmap, with benchmarks, timelines and compliance mechanisms, to be considered by the envisaged consultative meeting in Mogadishu soon, as essential for the implementation of the transitional tasks within the next twelve months.

The TFG Prime Minister, Mr. Mohamed “Farmajo” Abdullahi on 19 June 2011 resigned from his position, as part of the implementation of the Kampala Accord.

AMISOM

The African Union Mission in Somalia (UMISOM) was deployed to Mogadishu in March 2007 with the mandate to support the Djibouti Peace Process by protecting Transitional Federal Institutions and TFG personnel, and by securing critical infrastructure in Mogadishu, including the airport and the seaport.

By October 2010, AMISOM consisted of over 8,000 peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi.

Key actors in Somalia’s politics include;

• the provisionally autonomous regional state of Puntland which occupies the northeastern section of post‐independence Somalia
• the self‐declared independent state of Somaliland which occupies Somalia’s northwestern section
• the internationally‐recognized Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.) which controls part of the capital Mogadishu, with defacto sovereignty over all of post‐independence Somalia, according to international powers
• the armed Islamist revolutionary opposition to the T.F.G. (Harakat al‐Shabaab Mujahideen – H.S.M.) which controls most of the southern and central section of “Somalia” and has ambition to control all of it.
• the African Union (A.U.), which originates the peacekeeping mission (UNOSOM) that protects the T.F.G. in the capital Mogadishu
• AMISOM
• the Western donor powers and I.G.O.s that fund the T.F.G.
Other significant actors are;
• Somalia’s neighboring states, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti; Arab states looking for political and economic influence
• the Islamist donors to and rebel movements affiliated with H.S.M.
• the Ogaden National Liberation Front (O.N.L.F.) that wages an armed war of liberation in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State
• regional authorities in southern and central Somalia, some of them established (Galmudug, Himan and Heeb, Ahlu Sunna wal‐Jamaa), others contesting H.S.M.’s control and loosely linked to the T.F.G. and the S.S.C. liberation movement that calls for independence of territories disputed between Somaliland and Puntland.

The Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.) controls a trained army numbering several thousand soldiers. Other various TFG-allied groups throughout Somalia are estimated to control militias ranging in strength from hundreds to thousands. The TFG and some groups possess limited inventories of older armored vehicles and other heavy weapons, and small arms are prevalent throughout Somalia.

On 8 September 2009, 500 naval recruits graduated to form Somalia’s first naval force in over 2 decades. The TFG said it would use the force to combat piracy off Somalia’s coastline.

Libya

On 5 May 2011, countries in the Libya Contact Group and allies - composed of foreign ministers from more than 20 countries including France, Britain, the US, Italy, and Qatar, as well as representatives of the Arab League and the African Union (AU) met in Rome, as forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi pounded a rebel town in the west.

The Contact Group said after the Rome meeting they had set aside a temporary special fund (US$250 million initially) to be channeled to the rebel administration in its eastern Libyan stronghold of Benghazi. The group said the money would be used for humanitarian and public policing purposes only, according to France24 TV.

Frozen Assets

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would try to pass legislation to unblock about $30bn of Libyan state funds frozen in the US to help the rebel movement, while there was a cautious response from Britain, which said it had no plans to contribute to the fund set up for the rebels because it had already made a "very substantial" contribution to humanitarian assistance.

As the fighting has descended into a stalemate, the rebel Transitional National Council said it needs up to $3bn to keep going. But efforts to unblock Libyan state assets that are frozen in overseas accounts, or to allow the rebels to get past United Nations (UN) sanctions that prevent their selling oil on international markets, have been held up so far.

Rebel spokesman Mahmoud Shammam said the rebels had enough funds only to pay for their immediate needs in food, public salaries and medicine until the end of the month (May 2011).

But Libyan authorities argue, "any use of the frozen assets is like piracy on the high seas."

Libya Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told media "they (the rebels) are not a legal entity. They are not a country. The country is not divided according to a referendum or to a United Nations resolution," adding, "This is illegal ... If we stay silent about it, I think we will be living in a jungle."

He said in a report cited by Reuters on 5 May 2011, that Libya had more than $140 billion invested abroad and that the Libyan central bank had transferred 700 million Libyan dinars to its Benghazi branch in February 2011 to pay for six months of salaries and other expenses.

The African Union Road Map

Meanwhile, Turkey followed in the AU’s footsteps in trying to secure a ceasefire in the North African state. While Gaddafi had agreed to a ceasefire on 26 April 2011, the Libyan Transitional Council insisted there could be no peace until he and his son leave power and all prisoners are released.

The AU has since its first deliberation on the issue on 10 March 2011, insisted that "only a political solution will fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people and promote lasting peace in that country"
In that regard, the AU through the PSC worked out a roadmap for resolving the Libyan crisis. The AU met with representatives of both parties. The Libyan Government reiterated its unconditional acceptance of the AU Roadmap, while the National Transitional Council pledged to study the document thoroughly.

The current situation is that both sides are expected to submit their comments and proposals on the various elements of the Roadmap shortly. Since the last consultation on 26 April 2011, the situation in Libya has continued to deteriorate, marked by continued fighting and other military operations, the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, which is tragically illustrated by the plight of the people living in the town of Misrata, and the absence of any dialogue between the parties to find a comprehensive solution to the various aspects of the crisis.

At the Contact Group meeting in Rome, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU reiterated the need to support the quest for peace in Libya and to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people.

According to the AU, the role of the international community is to help the Libyan people overcome this sensitive phase of its history, and its involvement must be laid on clear bases, namely:

(i) the need to duly take into account the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people to democracy, political reform and good governance, and the fact that only Libyans should determine the future of their country;

(ii) respect for international legality, which requires, under the circumstances, that all act within the limits of the provisions of Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011). In this regard, our PSC expressed concerns that must be taken into account if we want to promote and consolidate an international consensus on the way forward and strengthen global governance based on effective multilateralism; and

(iii) the persevering and sustained search for a political solution to the present crisis, which demands that the international community fully mobilize itself to facilitate the speedy conclusion of a ceasefire, as required by the Security Council in its Resolution 1973 (2011), being clearly understood that the ceasefire is only one the elements, certainly an important one, of the overall solution that we must promote, and that it must be accompanied by the establishment of an international verification and monitoring mechanism which is effective and credible.

The Rebel Road Map

Libyan rebels unveiled their detailed "road map" to democracy at a meeting of the 22-nation Contact Group on Libya in Rome. The proposals begin with local elections even before the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

The road map also sets out the structure of an inclusive unity government if Gaddafi stands down. The government will include members of the current council, alongside three members of the Gaddafi regime.

There will also be two high-ranking military officers, two police or intelligence officials who have not been involved in the bloodshed, and a Supreme Court judge.

Under the plan, a National Congress of representatives of all towns and cities will be held to elect a committee to draft a new constitution. That will be submitted to a referendum. The road map foresees parliamentary elections four months later, with presidential elections two months after that.

Questions have been raised in Western capitals about the rebels’ credentials after revelations that one commander is a former Guantanamo inmate. These contradictions are compounded by the fact that Gadaffi reportedly has lots of cash money on hand to continue to buy allegiances, particularly tribal allegiances and mercenary support that is sustaining his fight. Both NATO and the rebels might have underestimated how many billions of dollars Gadaffi had stashed away from which to sustain a long, drawn out military operation.

NATO’s reputation on line

As of 23 June 2011, NATO has flown over 12,000 missions over Libya including 4,000 strike sorties by attack helicopters, missile firing drones, and jet fighters - when its war began against Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s military in March 2011.

The results have not marched the intensity of the air bombardments, except for a growing battlefield stalemate and troublesome divisions within the NATO alliance.

The punishing barrage has failed, so far, to dislodge Gaddafi from his base, and there is no sign that Gaddafi is about to surrender.

On 23 June 2011, deviating from the collective norm, Italy called for a suspension of the air campaign to permit the delivery of humanitarian aid to Libya’s civilians who confront an increasingly dire humanitarian situation. This gesture by Italy has been interpreted to mean the NATO offensive has had the unintended consequence of exacerbating the very humanitarian crisis it was intended to relieve.

Gaddafi’s government has repeatedly accused NATO of targeting civilians in an attempt to rally support against international intervention into Libya’s civil war. The alliance insists it tries to avoid killing civilians.

Ivory Coast

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has requested an investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes committed after a disputed presidential election in Ivory Coast in November 2010. The ICC judges have yet to open the investigation.

If the panel of judges grants the request, it will be the 7th case opened by Luis Moreno-Ocampo on ‘war crimes or crimes against humanity’ – all of them in Africa.

Ivory Coast is not a party to the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, but the Ivorian government has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate and try crimes under international law committed in the country since 19 September 2002.

President Alassane Ouattara confirmed this commitment in a letter to the ICC in December 2010.

Posted by Tula Dlamini

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