Monday, 14 August 2017

Intense fighting in Ethiopia as key road is blocked, U.S. warns citizens

The United States embassy in Ethiopia has reported of intense gunfire between two cities leaving a main road linking the capital and another town blocked.
A statement released by the embassy read: “The U.S. Embassy is aware of reports that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga has been blocked by security forces between the cities of Babile and Harar due to intense fighting including gunfire.”
They added that even though Ethiopian Defense Force troops were arriving in the area, the road in question was not passable. The cause of the clashes is not yet known.
The U.S. Embassy is aware of reports that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga has been blocked by security forces between the cities of Babile and Harar due to intense fighting including gunfire.
They further cautioned citizens on travel to the above mentioned areas. “Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”
The US remains one of the few countries that have maintained their travel advisory for Ethiopia despite the lifting of a 10-month state of emergency imposed last October.
The U.S. State Department on December 6, 2016 warned its citizens “of the risks of travel to Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest related to sporadic and unpredictable anti-government protests that began in November 2015.” It also spoke about how curfew rules had hampered its activities.

Ethiopia state of emergency affecting work of US embassy

Between December and the latest security message, the US embassy has issued four alerts to its citizens.
  • 5th January: Alert with respect to explosions in Bahir Dar, capital of Oromia region – one of the epicenters of anti-government protests.
  • 11th January: Report of an explosion on January 10, 2017 in the Gondaon Intasole Hotel located in Gondar in Amhara State.
  • 13th April: Alert during the easter festivities, “U.S. citizens to be aware of their surroundings around the upcoming Easter holiday,” the alert said.
  • 27th April: Alert on reports of a series of grenade explosions in the city of Gondar.
One of the towns where the clashes have been reported, Babille, is in eastern Ethiopia. It is believed to have been named after one of the 12 major clans of the Oromo people, it is located in the Oromia Region, 30 kilometers east of Harar.
Harar, also located in eastern Ethiopia is known as the ‘Mecca of Africa’. It’s surrounded by a centuries-old defensive wall that has several large gates. The city is known for its mazelike alleys and traditional houses decorated inside with flat hanging baskets. A holy Islamic city, Harar has many mosques, including the Grand Jami Mosque with its tall white minarets. source

‘Africans will be biggest losers after letting foreign military into their continent’

          Africa has become a staging ground where foreign countries can show off their military capabilities against one another away from their country of origin at the expense of Africans, says African affairs expert Ayo Johnson.
Turkey is gearing to open its largest overseas military base in Somalia.
The United Arab Emirates are building a military base at the port of Berbera, in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.
Africa is an attraction to foreign militaries: China opened its first overseas military base on August,1 in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Djibouti is also currently housing Americans, Japanese and French troops. readmore

The Rise of Aksum

The Rise of Aksum

History of Africa Episode 5 of 9

Zeinab Badawi travels to the little-visited country of Eritrea and neighbouring Ethiopia, to chart the rise of the Kingdom of Aksum. Described as one of the four greatest civilisations of the ancient world, Zeinab examines archaeological remains - in both countries - dating from many hundreds of years before Christ. She explains how the Kings of Aksum grew rich and powerful from their control of the Red Sea trade and how they were one of the first civilisations that officially embraced Christianity in the 4th century. Zeinab also discovers why the Queen of Sheba and the Sacred Ark of the Covenant are so critical to the story of Aksum.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

frica and the Gulf crisis: the peril of picking sides

As the Gulf crisis enters its third week, the decision to cut or downgrade diplomatic ties with Qatar by eight African countries could have a long-term impact on the nationals of those countries, analysts warned.
"This is not good for Africa. This is rush decision-making and taking sides in a crisis that the leaders have no clear grasp of is dangerous and will scare investors away," Adama Gaye, a Senegalese foreign policy expert told Al Jazeera.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced that they were cutting ties with Qatar and imposing land, sea and air blockades.
The Arab countries accuse Doha of supporting "terrorism" and "extremist groups" - charges which Qatar strongly denies.

Soon after the announcement, some Gulf envoys and ministers started shuttle diplomacy, travelling between countries trying to convince allies to cut ties with Qatar. readmore

Djibouti accuses Eritrea of occupying disputed area Official says Eritrean soldiers occupied moved contested border territory, days after Qatar pulled its peacekeepers out.

Djibouti's foreign minister has accused neighbouring Eritrea of occupying a disputed territory along their border shortly after Qatar peacekeepers left the location this week.
Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said on Friday that Djibouti's military was "on alert" and that it has lodged complaints to the United Nations and the African Union.
"Qatari peacekeepers withdrew on June 12 and 13. On the same day, there were Eritrean military movements on the mountain," Ali Youssouf told the Reuters news agency.
"They are now in full control of Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island. This is in breach of the UN Security Council resolution," he added, referring to areas that the neighbours dispute.
Authorities in Eritrea were not immediately available for comment.
Qatar announced that it was pulling its contingent out on June 14, days after the two East African countries sided with Saudi Arabia and its allies in a major diplomatic standoff with Doha.
Qatar's foreign ministry did not give a reason for the move.

On June 5, a Saudi-led bloc of countries announced they were cutting ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting "terrorists" - allegations Doha strongly denies. readmore

The Petrodollar Is in Trouble

       The Petrodollar Is in Trouble

As Saudi Arabia continues to liquidate more of its foreign exchange reserves, it means serious trouble for the petrodollar system
Sun, Jun 18, 2017 | 8297 182
The birth of the petrodollar
The birth of the petrodollar

The U.S. PetroDollar system is in serious trouble as the Middle East’s largest oil producer continues to suffer as the low oil price devastates its financial bottom line.  Saudi Arabia, the key player in the PetroDollar system, continues to liquidate its foreign exchange reserves as the current price of oil is not covering the cost to produce oil as well as finance its readmore

Africa: Qatar's Conflict With Its Neighbours Can Easily Set the Horn of Africa Alight

It began as a squabble between Arab allies, but the standoff between Qatar and its neighbours is threatening to engulf the Horn of Africa. When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives declared at the beginning of June that they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar it appeared to be of interest mainly to the Arabian Peninsula - and the Gulf in particular.
The Saudis and their allies accused Qatar of backing international terrorism. The US, which has the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, looked askance, but did little more than use its good offices to try to ensure that the war of words did not flare into an open conflict.

But the countries just across the Red Sea have found themselves dragged into the dispute. After prevaricating for some time, Eritrea, which had hitherto good relations with Qatar, fell into line with the Saudis and broke ties with Qatar. readmore