January 23 – 30, 2013
Each week, United Black America analyzes Pan African news from Africa and across the globe.
America Expands Role in Mali Conflict
From The Wall Street Journal – “U.S. military and intelligence officials are drawing up plans to deepen the American role in Africa by providing data to help French warplanes locate and attack militant targets in Mali.
The Obama administration has agreed to provide air tankers to refuel French warplanes targeting rebels in Mali, sharply expanding the level of U.S. involvement in the campaign. WSJ Pentagon Correspondent Adam Entous reports. Photo: Getty Images.
The Obama administration’s decision Saturday to provide air tankers to refuel the French warplanes crossed a key threshold that placed the U.S. closer to direct involvement in strikes, even through the administration has been reluctant to get involved in what could be an open-ended conflict. The administration last week started moving French troops and equipment to Mali using Air Force transport planes.
Taken together, the recent developments mean that the Obama administration has begun providing the support most urgently sought by the French, after wavering for two weeks to assess Paris’s aims.
A decision now to begin providing sophisticated targeting data would plunge Washington even more deeply into the French intervention[...]”
Britain has also expressed a willingness to get in on the neo-colonial power grab, and is prepared to send over 300 military personnel to Mali and West Africa to boost support for the French-led war on the African country.
It is not surprising that the United States is coming to France’s aid. The United States is NOT in Mali for the good of the Malian people, but to reinforce the interests of its imperialist Caucasian cousin. As Pan-Africans, we can learn a lot by bearing witness to how white nations support one another and how we should be doing the exact same from a position of geopolitical sovereignty.
United Nations to Deploy Spy Drones over DRC
From Al-Jazeera English – “The Security Council has approved the use of surveillance drones over eastern Congo to monitor roving militias so it can more effectively deploy U.N. peacekeepers.
A letter released Thursday from the president of the Security Council to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the council members note the robot spy planes will be used “on a case-by-case basis” and will not set a precedent for the U.N.’s general consideration of “legal, financial and technical implications of the use of unmanned aerial systems.”
The letter from Pakistan U.N. Ambassador Masood Khan, who holds the rotating Security Council presidency, was released as a U.N. expert launched a special investigation into drone warfare and targeted killings, which the United States relies on as a front-line weapon in its global war against al-Qaida.
Civilian killings and injuries that result from drone strikes on suspected terrorist cells will be part of the focus of the investigation by British lawyer Ben Emmerson, the U.N. rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights. The U.N. said Emmerson will present his findings to the U.N. General Assembly later this year.
The U.N.’s spy drones over Congo would be unarmed. [...]”
With that being said, it was drones like these that were also in part responsible for the killing of Brigadier Binani, one of the key bodyguards of the Lord’s Resistance Army group leader Joseph Kony.
Brazil Night Club Fire Kills 234
From CBS News – 234 people were killed in Latin America’s largest country when pyrotechnics in a popular nightclub sparked a blaze.
“The blaze broke out early Sunday at a packed nightclub in Santa Maria, a college town of about 260,000 in southern Brazil.
Most of the victims died from smoke inhalation. More than 122 injured people remain hospitalized.
The repercussions of the fire widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze.
The government of the country’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, promised tougher security regulations for nightclubs and other places where many people gather. President Dilma Rousseff promised Monday that “we have the responsibility to make sure this never is repeated.” Mayors in other cities pledged to follow suit, especially with the upcoming start of Carnival, which floods nightclubs with celebratory crowds.[...]”
Brazil has the largest black population behind Nigeria, with Afro-Brazilians representing 53 percent of Brazil’s population. The majority of those killed were college students.
20th African Union Summit Ends in Ethiopia
The 20th African Union Summit ended in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after focusing on a wide range of issues affecting the continent with a focus on Pan-Africanism and African renaissance. The conference was full of optimism based on falling numbers of disease-related fatalities and an improving economic forecast.
From The Peoples Daily Online – “Among the most prominent gains are that there is more intra- Africa trade, war against HIV/AIDS is being won, more children are going to school, more roads are being tarmacked and constructed, the economies are being managed better, the middle class is expanding and most importantly, the continent has a roadmap on where it wants to be.
“Uncritical and reductionist label of Africa as ‘wretched of the earth’ has been rapidly overshadowed by rising economic performance and political progress evidenced in the numerical increase of democratic transitions,” noted a pre-summit briefing by Institute of Security Studies (ISS), a pan-African Think-Tank.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, the newly elected Chairman of the AU, was enthusiastic when he spoke of being responsible for overseeing the development of Africa’s strategic plan that will guide development planning from 2014 to 2017. Ethiopia, a former example of everything that can go wrong in Africa now has a booming economy growing at an average 7.5 percent and has nearly eradicated hunger.”
Thanks to the efforts of the African Union, the continent has moved a step closer to a continental government with the passing of a proposal to create an International Constitutional Court and an African Institute of Statistics headquartered in Tunisia – North Africa’s smallest country.
Tunisian President Marzouki pointed out that the Tunisian initiative regarding the Court is aimed to “create an authority of judiciary and consultative nature whose mission is to see to it that all countries respect laws and principles agreed upon by Nations, notably, the principle of founding legitimacy on people’s will and organise periodic free and transparent elections.”
But the AU Summit was anything but a love-fest in light of the growing disaster that is Mali. The summit body admitted that its response was “slow” , and spoke very little of the growing presence of European military forces on the continent. Boni Yayi, Benin’s president, told leaders on Sunday at the opening of the 54-member AU summit that the body’s response had taken too long, and that France’s action was something “we should have done a long time ago to defend a member country”.
Former well-known Chairmen of the African Union include H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, Kwame Nkrumah, Idi Amin, William R. Tolbert, Jr., and Robert Mugabe.
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