Thursday, March 10, 2011

Obama's State Department Turns Away From and ignores Sub Saharan Africa

President Obama is quick to join the protest against Republicans both inside and outside the Beltway. Likewise, his “on the job training” in dealing with social unrest in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula is also prominent, especially when it makes him looks grand standing on the side of Democracy In Tunisia and Egypt. This is in stark contrast to the manner in which he deals with similar issues in Sub Saharan Africa.

There are several troubled spots in Sub Saharan Africa currently that neither the media, President Obama or his State department have addressed publically. Most prominently are what is occurring in Uganda, The Ivory Coast, the Sudan or even what is occuring in Zimbabwe. If Fact until today, Obama has been basicaly quiet on what is occuring in the Ivory Coast.


In Uganda, President Museveni, the formal rebel leader has been in power ever since he took control of the nation twenty five years ago. He is a very close ally of the United States and receives 100s of millions of dollars in Aid annually – while the populating is gripped in extreme poverty and joblessness. Obama has never addressed or spoken about the dozens of deaths over since 2009 occurring during youth protest against the government. Even this week, thousands took to the streets of Kampala but they are ignored and portrayed as invisible by the present US administration.


In the Ivory Coast, after free and fair elections, Laurent Gbagbo still refuses to step down after losing the presidential elections this past November. Although this past December, President Barack Obama urged Ivory Coast’s incumbent leader to cede power to the “legitimate winner” of the polls, he was not as forceful as he has been with his counterparts in North Africa or even in Iran. The United States has agreed with Ecowas that sanctions should be put in place but outside of that has shown no leadership on the issue. Mean while, Ivory Coast's incumbent leader has seized four major international banks that had shut down operations because the banks did not respect the law and closed without proper notice. The banks included offices for Britain's Standard Chartered, France's BNP–Paribas and Societe Generale along with U.S. bank Citibank.


In the Sudan, students, mobilized by online social networks, rioted in Khartoum, throwing stones at police cars and chanting. Unlike the recent uprising in Tunisia and the ongoing one in Egypt, but there is also the issue of southern Sudan's recent referendum vote, which approved secession from the north. As Khartoum is located in northern Sudan, it remains unclear what relation, if any, the uprising has to the recent referendum. One thing is clear, however: the winds of change are blowing across Africa and the Middle East, and whether they will bring stability and democracy or more civil war and dictatorship remains to be seen.


Prior to Tunisia's popular revolt, Sudan was the last Arab country to overthrow a leader with popular protests, ousting Jaafar Nimeiri in 1985. And just like the other recent revolts, the Sudan is in an economic crisis associated with government overspending and bloated import bills caused foreign currency shortages and forced an effective devaluation of the Sudanese pound last year.

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