The Blowback Continues from Africa
Recently Vice-President Biden made a trip to Africa on an Official Basis. One of the stops was to South Africa where He attended the opening of the World Cup in football. But He made another stop that has erupted in chaos after his departure and may have impact on another policy issue.
The City in question just happens to be the Capital of Kenya Nairobi. The visit by Mr. Biden had three objectives. The First goal was to pass on a message from President Obama to the Leader of South Sudan Salva Kiir. Secondly there was an effort to address the deteriorating situation in Somalia. Finally the visit was an effort to show the Support of the United States for passing the Draft Constitution that is currently being debated in Kenya.
Shortly after his departure there was a prayer rally in Uhuru Park in Nairobi. This was organized by several Church Groups that are currently seeking to defeat the proposed Constitution. Shortly before the rally was to disperse two explosive devices were detonated. The resulting Stampede led to the deaths of seven people and the injuries to dozens more. Already the blame game has begun in Kenya about who is responsible for this incident.
As noted on Confused Eagle there is an interesting Money Trail originating from the United States and going to Kenya. The Administration is supporting the Draft by providing funds from the Agency for International Development to support this effort. There is a clause in the Constitution that will provide for “ Access to Reproductive Health”. To the Religious Right these are code words for Abortion. Some of these groups here in the US have been supporting the effort to defeat the proposed Document. It should be noted that the Siljander Amendment may be in violation in this case. This Amendment stipulates that under no circumstances should US Foreign Aid be used at all in an Abortion Debate.
Another topic that has caused problems for the Administration has been Sudan. The Aftermath of the Elections that occurred in April has been tragic and interesting. There has been an increase in the activities of Militias and there has been some frustration in the Congress regarding the actions before the Plebiscite.
The Peace Talks in Doha are on the verge of Collapse according to some reports. There have been clashes in Darfur between the Sudanese Armed Forces and JEM. There is instability as well in Southern Sudan. Some militias in the South have been active against GOSS as well and in a interesting move Darfur was not mentioned as a National Security Interest of the United States but Genocide was.
There is another aspect that could prove dangerous in the region. That is a renewed Proxy War between Uganda and Sudan. In the past the Sudanese Government has armed and in some cases used the LRA as a proxy force to exert its influence in the region. The Ugandans have also support those in the South that have been seeking Independence. This week reports of a clash between the Janjaweed and the Ugandan Military was reported in the CAR.
There are several reasons to be concerned about this. First this shows the weakness of the current Government in Bangui. Various Forces are now operating on their soil conducting Operations. Secondly this could be a reaction by Khartoum to lash out against those who were critical of the April Elections. Finally this could be a cynical effort by President Museveni to drum up support for his reelection bid in 2012. In the past He has used instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a platform to run for reelection. So this is not a new tactic on his part.
The Situation in Somalia has not changed much at all. Mogadishu is still a battleground and the Islamist Insurgency is still creating problems for the Weak Western back Government.
All in all these situations present long term issues for the Administration. The Criticism regarding the handling of Sudan has raised alarm and anger amongst the activist community. At this time there has been no official response from the Administration regarding the Bombing in Nairobi that occurred on June 13th. Very little has been said regarding Somalia except that like in Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there is concern regarding the use of Child Soldiers.
The intent of sending the Vice-President to Africa was to show that the Administration is concerned with current events that are occurring. They may have missed the Mark.
The Author Comments on US Policy towards Africa and publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com