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Monday, February 18, 2008

Sudan's Final Solution for Darfur is Underway this week in Chad....What will the World do?

In anticipation of the UN Forces deploying in Sudan, the Sudan has launched its final solution against the African's in Darfur.....
  1. The Sudan government supported the move of friendly Rebels into Chad which cut off UN aid to 160,000 Darfur refugees -3 Weeks ago
  2. The government turned their troops loose on the Remaining Population. aledgein they are JEM Rebles.-2 weeks ago
  3. They captured perhaps 800 Darfur children ages 12-18 - of child soldier age- 1 week ago-
  4. In Chad, armed gunmen prevented 179 families them from getting on trucks on the Sudan border to get them to a safe Refugee Camp -3 days ago.
  5. The Sudan Government is moving in now to West Darfur-this week

The refugees the Sudanese government scattered before are now at the mercy of the Chad-rebels which the Khartoum government supported -In East Chad-the Chad government is in no position to help as they are still defending their Capital in West Chad.

UN troops in Sudan (Central) already have millions to guard. There is no one left to defend the hundreds of thousands of Darfur refugees....


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Algeria- Tizi Ouzou Attackers again hit Military

ALGIERS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A bomb attack on an Algerian military convoy killed one soldier on Saturday while the head of the main secular opposition party escaped unhurt from a separate attack nearby, a security source and the political party said.
  • The blasts in the Tizi Ouzou area, 60 km (40 miles) east of Algiers, were the first major attacks since Feb. 7, when suspected Islamist rebels killed eight paramilitary gendarmes in an ambush on their convoy in southeastern Algeria.
  • There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosions on Saturday.
    The soldier died of his wounds after being taken to hospital, the security source said. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack on the convoy.
  • Karim Tabou, leader of the Socialist Forces Front party, was attacked as he drove his car on a highway, the party said, adding that gunmen also shot at Tabou and that his car was slightly damaged.
  • Authorities were not immediately available for comment on either of Saturday's attacks.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Friday, February 15, 2008

Abu Mansour Al-Amriki Algaeda's East African Trainer

Feb 2008,
History Commons
A militant in a video message released this month has an interesting background. The message supports Shabab, one of two radical Islamic groups fighting for power in war-torn Somalia. According to a US intelligence source, the militant in the video, Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, is an ex-US soldier who fought in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

No US soldiers officially fought in the Bosnia war, but about a dozen Muslim ex-US Special Forces soldiers fought in Bosnia and trained al-Qaeda and other mujaheddin forces there around 1993 (see December 1992-June 1993).

At the time, the US military and Saudi government apparently had an interest in sending Muslim ex-Special Forces there (see December 1992-June 1993 and December 1992).

Mansoor is said to be a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda’s East Africa leadership, and is a lead trainer for Somali insurgent forces.

Although he only appears on video wearing a face mask, it is clear that he is Caucasian

The Rest @ History Commons

Monday, February 11, 2008

M-N-J (MNJ) Promises to Step up attacks in Niger

The following article was posted in France by a media outlet that has been accused byt the Niger government of having direct connections to the NMJ leadership. Possible conclusion from the article and other related traffic:

  • The MNJ has been a nationalist rebel group, generally without Islamist objectives
  • Islamist Jihadists often practice a perceived quranic and Hadith requirement to warn their enemies to repent before they attack.
  • In the last year before other attacks, MNJ has initatied this practice
  • This warning was released 12 days ago
  • therefore attaks on Areva and other Uranium interests in Niger may be iminent

Paris - Niger's Tuareg rebels will attack uranium mines and convoys in a new phase of their battle against the industry, a leading figure in the rebellion warned in an interview published on Thursday.

The Tuareg Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (MNJ) can mobilise up to 1 000 fighters under military chief Aghali Alambo, the leader of the rebellion Rhissa Ag Boula told French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur.

"We are going to attack the uranium mines, including those of (French nuclear giant) Areva, to stop factories functioning, prevent the exploitation of new quarries, and seize the cargo that is en route to the sea," he said.

"You can't exploit uranium without us," he warned.

Poor and restive Niger finds itself sitting on a surprising treasure trove of uranium. The west African state on the edge of the Sahara is the world's third largest producer of an element whose price has soared.

Areva is Niger's top private employer and has operated two uranium mines in the country for the past 40 years.

The stakes are particularly high for former colonial power France: three-quarters of the nuclear-powered electricity produced by its main electricity company EDF uses uranium imported from Niger.

In April last year, MNJ rebels attacked Areva's biggest uranium project in Niger, demanding better application of the economic aspects of the 1995 peace agreements that ended the first Tuareg rebellion.

The MNJ says peace will not return to the north of Niger without better integration of Tuaregs into the army, paramilitary corps and the local mining sector. Since February 2007 it has carried out attacks on military targets in the area.

Rhissa Ag Boula said this new phase of the Tuareg rebellion would soon see the rebels occupy a dozen urban centres in the uranium-rich north, such as Agadez, Arlit, Iferouane, and In Gall.
"There will be legislative and presidential elections in 2009. This will all happen before then," he said.

President Mamadou Tandja, who refuses to negotiate with the MNJ, in November extended by three months a state of emergency that has reinforced the army's powers in the conflict zone.
The Tuaregs are a grouping of nomadic tribes who have roamed the Sahara since centuries before the countries of the region gained independence from colonial powers.

The Rest @ News 24

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Eritrea Preparing to Attack Ethiopia?

Is Eritrea planning an attack on Ethiopia to try and get them to withdraw from Sudan?

In the last 24hours they are denying fuel to Peackeepers on the Border, who may have to withdraw.

When the UN gets its 26,000 member force in Sudan, Islamists waging a decade old campaign in North Africa will be outgunned.

This may be the next chess move after the Sudan backed Rebel assault on Chad last weekend.


UNITED NATIONS, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Eritrea has ignored a U.N. deadline to grant peacekeepers on its border with Ethiopia access to badly needed fuel, but U.N. troops fear war could break out and have not begun leaving, a U.N. official said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set a Wednesday deadline for Eritrea to allow the U.N. peacekeepers to refuel, saying they faced a fuel crisis. But the U.N. official said on Thursday that Eritrea had ignored the deadline.
  • "The U.N. cannot afford to leave because it would create the conditions for a resumption of the conflict," a U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "Abandoning our positions would sanctify a resumption of the conflict."
  • He said that the U.N. peacekeepers were acting as a buffer between two neighbors, both of which have amassed troops on their borders.
  • It was not clear how long the peacekeepers could stay put with only meager fuel supplies. If Eritrea continues to deny them fuel, they eventually will have to pull out, using their emergency fuel supplies to evacuate, the official said.
  • Last week the U.N. Security Council renewed the mandate of the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, or UNMEE, for six months. The council also urged Eritrea to end its fuel blockade of U.N. staff.
  • But Eritrea, which contends that a continued U.N. presence on the border would be tantamount to an occupation, ignored the demand, prompting a stern warning from the council on Monday.

The 1,700-member U.N. force went to the border in 2000 at the end of a two-year war between the two countries in the Horn of Africa that killed 70,000 people.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

KHARTOUM, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury is preparing to launch a string of civil actions against companies it says have breached sanctions imposed on Sudan for abusing human rights and supporting terrorism, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.
  • Agents had built up a "queue" of enforcement actions against violators that will be rolled out in as early as a month's time, said Adam Szubin, Director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
  • OFAC, he added, was stepping up its enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Sudan following a strengthening of Washington's stance against atrocities in Darfur last year.
  • "Sudan is at the top of our list, among our most serious concerns. We are investigating a number of significant Sudanese violations," Szubin told Reuters.
  • Szubin said he could not name the companies involved but added that U.S. sanctions on Sudan affected both U.S. companies and foreign companies operating from inside the United States.
  • U.S. President George W. Bush tightened sanctions against Sudan in May, accusing the Khartoum government of obstructing U.N. efforts to bring peace to Sudan's western Darfur region........
  • .........Violating companies now face fines of up to $250,000 a breach or a charge of twice the offending transaction -- a penalty that in some cases could run into millions, said Szubin.
  • OFAC was waiting for the publication of official guidelines for the new penalties before pushing through the enforcement actions, he added, "in the next month or two".
    The recent increase in penalties for sanctions violators had strengthened OFAC's hand, he added.

"What we were seeing in a few cases would be a company that facilitated, let's say, a handful of petroleum sales for Sudan out of the United States ... and then was caught."

  • Before the penalty increase, the company would have only had to pay up to $50,000 for each illegal sale -- a charge that many organisations could write off."We're now able to say, if your transactions totalled $40 million, and those were violative transactions, you could be facing a maximum penalty of $80 million. And that is no longer something that people will shrug off."

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

AQIM Claims Bombing on JEwsih Embassy in Mauritania

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) took responsibility for the shooting attack during the early morning hours of February 1 against the Israeli embassy in Mauritania’s capital of Nouakchott.

Three bystanders were wounded in the attack at an adjacent restaurant and disco called the VIP. The International Herald Tribune carried the group’s claim:
  • “In this blessed raid that has been carried out by the champions of al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, targeting the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott on Friday morning … the mujahideen have attacked it with the fire of their weapons and their bombs and were able with the support of God to injure an unlimited number in the ranks of Jews and their guards,” the statement said.
  • [There was other rhetoric claiming the attack was in reposnse to Jewish oppression of Palestinians]-Shimron

Cearly significant for this attack, Mauritania is only the third member of the Arab League besides Egypt and Jordan to have diplomatic relations with Israel.

The attack follows on a recent surge of attacks in Mauritania, a country previously little affected by terrorism of this variety.

A family of French tourists was attacked by AQIM in December and a contingent of Mauritian soldiers targeted shortly thereafter. The heightened threat environment led to the cancellation of the Dakar Rally, a cross-desert auto race.

Three people have since been arrested for the attack amid speculation that the embassy was not the intended target, but in fact was the VIP restaurant next door.

The Rest @ Threats Watch

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Al Qaeda Meeting in Southern Algeria Interrupted

Sun 3 Feb 2008, 10:39 GMT

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian troops killed five al Qaeda fighters, including the organisation's chief in Mali, during a hunt for men who shot at army helicopters in Algeria's desert south, the top-selling daily El Khabar said on Sunday.

The five were killed on Friday in the Rhourd Ennous area 700 km (440 miles) south of Algiers, El Khabar, which has good security sources, quoted a military source as saying. A sixth guerrilla was arrested in the operation, the newspaper said.

The hunt, led by a major-general, began when a group of armed men in all-terrain vehicles opened fire at army reconnaissance helicopters flying over the desert in the Rhourd Ennous region on January 29 and then fled.

The hunt was still in progress, the paper said. It quoted hospital sources as saying the dead men included people of "African nationalities."

"It is probable that they are from Chad, Mali, Niger and Mauritania," one of the sources was quoted as saying. An army spokesman could not immediately be reached.

The newspaper said the men had links to an al Qaeda group operated by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian veteran of the Afghan war against Soviet occupation who is believed to be hiding in the border areas between Algeria, Mali and Niger.

Algeria's main Islamist militant group opusually erates in remote mountains east of Algiers and the southern desert, and is involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

El Khabar and Echorouk newspapers both reported that security forces had arrested dozens of suspected smugglers in Algeria's southern desert in the past few weeks to probe links between smuggling and what it called terrorist activities.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Chad - The Rebels Won

The Guardian

Chad rebels besiege presidential palace· Déby caught unprepared for swift move on capital · EU delays deployment of Darfur troops as UN leaves Chris McGreal, Africa correspondentMonday February 4, 2008

  • Rebel forces cut Chad's capital in two yesterday and laid siege to the palace where President Idriss Déby was overseeing a last effort to save his authoritarian 18-year rule.
  • Reports said bodies littered the streets of N'Djamena and looters were ransacking shops while government forces resisted the rebel assault with helicopter gunships and tanks.
  • The assault has forced the European Union to delay the deployment of a 3,700-strong peacekeeping force, dominated by France, to protect hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees from Darfur now living in eastern Chad from cross-border raids, and may possibly prevent it taking place at all.
  • The government in N'Djamena accuses Sudan of backing the rebels to block the European intervention. A Darfuri rebel commander told Reuters yesterday that Sudanese government planes and vehicles were attacking the Chadian border town of Adré.
  • French officials said they offered to evacuate Déby but he had refused to leave. France has previously used its forces stationed in Chad to keep threats to Déby at bay but so far the 1,400-strong French military contingent has apparently concentrated on evacuating hundreds of foreigners.
  • The defence minister, Hervé Morin, said France will remain neutral in the conflict, perhaps reflecting the promised shift in Africa policy away from propping up unpopular client regimes.
  • The United Nations said it was evacuating all its personnel.
  • US embassy staff and more than 200 Chinese oil workers were also flown out.
  • The French news agency reported French military sources as saying there were about 2,000 rebel fighters and that Déby had up to 3,000 troops.
  • It also reported that government helicopters attacked a column of rebels moving towards the main radio station. French Mirage combat planes were seen flying over the city but apparently were not involved in the fighting.
  • The rebel force attacking N'Djamena is a coalition of three groups led by Timane Erdimi, who is a close relative of Déby, and Mahamat Nouri, a former defence minister. The groups have for several years operated out of Sudan, leading Chad to accuse Khartoum of backing them.
  • But Déby has clan links to some leaders of the Darfur rebellion, who launched attacks in Sudan and aggravated relations with Khartoum. Two years ago they worsened further after Sudanese militias launched raids on refugees from Darfur in Chad, also driving tens of thousands of Chadians from their homes.
  • Chad's foreign minister, Ahmad Allam-Mi, has accused Sudan of backing the latest attempt to overthrow Déby in order to block the EU peacekeeping mission.
    "Sudan does not want this force because it would open a window on the genocide in Darfur," he told Radio France Internationale.
  • He said Sudan was trying "to install a regime in Chad that will bow to it".
    Yesterday Sudan denied backing the rebels. "We are not supporting the rebels. We have no connection with them," a foreign ministry spokesman in Khartoum told Reuters. "They started from eastern Chad and they moved to the capital."
  • The Libyan leader, Muammar Gadafy, attempted to broker a ceasefire but the rebels are divided and he was apparently unable to get the three factions to agree.
  • The African Union has said it will not recognise a rebel government if it seizes power.

Victory by the rebel United Front for Change, a coalition of three forces, would have important regional consequences. Chad is home to about 420,000 refugees from Sudan's Darfur region, who may be made more vulnerable by a rebel victory because of the UFC's ties to the government in Khartoum. About 180,000 Chadians have also been forced into camps by the conflict.

EU ministers have approved the deployment of 3,700 peacekeepers to eastern Chad to protect refugees and aid operations from cross-border raids from Sudan but that has been held up by the sudden increase in fighting.

The bulk of the force is to come from France, Chad's former colonial ruler. Rebels threatened to attack peacekeepers who stood in their way and one group has declared war on foreign troops.

The rebel assault may also impact on Chad's position as a major oil exporter since the completion of a $3.7bn pipeline linking its oilfields to terminals on the Atlantic coast, run by US and Malaysian multinationals.

Chad has also just signed a major joint venture with China, but most of the Chinese working in the African state have now been evacuated.

The Rest @ The Gaurdian

China reports a ceasefire proposal by Gaddafi of Libya has been accepted by Mahamat Nouri -this has been deined by rebel spokesman Mahamat Hassane Boulmaye operating out of Sudan.

This would be little more than a roumer for the moment....


"Chadian rebels who were fighting in the capital city of Ndjamena have accepted a cease-fire proposed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, media reported Sunday.

Libya's official news agency Jana reported that Gaddafi contacted the chief of the biggest rebel force, former diplomat Mahamat Nouri. Nouri agreed to a cease-fire and to talks aimed at implementing a peace and reconciliation agreement.

The African Union Saturday appointed Gaddafi a mediator in the crisis in the oil-rich Central African nation.

However, rebel spokesman Mahamat Hassane Boulmaye said he had not heard of any cease-fire and did not believe Nouri would agree to an unconditional end to hostilities.

"The fighters would rebel," Boulmaye said in a phone call to The Associated Press. He added that he was speaking from the border with Sudan and had not spoken to Nouri since Saturday afternoon.

It is reported that earlier government troops were fighting back rebels amid reports that at least 400 were in the city and had broken into the presidential palace.

The Rest @

Saturday, February 02, 2008

N'Djamena Appears to have Fallen

N'Djamena - Chad's rebel forces appear to have taken the capital N'Djamena.

Unconfirmed reports say several thousand heavily armed rebels have entered the city and surrounded the presidential palace.

There are reports of heavy fighting but there is no word on President Idriss Déby.

The rebels, who are backed by Sudan, began advancing on the capital earlier this week, after leaving in a convoy of several hundred trucks from the border with Sudan.

France has sent a plane to evacuate hundreds of French citizens and other foreigners. US nationals have been urged to report to the embassy.

The United Nations is withdrawing its entire staff. The deployment of a European Union peacekeeping force due to begin on Friday evening has been suspended.

The EU force was to be stationed along the border with Sudan to protect local residents, refugees from Darfur and UN staff.

The Rest @ Radio Netherlands

Rebel and Govermnet Forces Fighiting in Chad's Capital N'Djamena

By Nico Colombant Dakar02 February 2008

Chadian rebels have entered Chad's capital N'Djamena and are battling against army units near the presidential palace. This follows a one-week rebel offensive to topple long-term President Idriss Deby. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from our regional bureau in Dakar.

Military officials, rebels and international aid workers confirmed the fighting around the presidential palace.

  • Clashes began early Saturday 20 kilometers outside the capital, before engulfing the city center.
  • Residents in N'Djamena say they heard increasingly intense heavy arms fire. They say rebels occupied the east and south of the capital, and that there was fighting around the airport as well.
  • An exiled rebel spokesman who has been in contact with rebels on the ground, Makaila Nguebla, says Chad's army has offered little resistance.
  • He says rebels from several groups who allied themselves for this offensive were able to cross Chad over the course of one week from their bases near Sudan and enter the capital in one day.
  • The rebels say that if they take over, they will impose transitional rule for two years before organizing free and fair elections. Chad has had several coups since independence from France in 1960.
  • The newly-elected head of the African Union, Gabon's Foreign Minister Jean Ping, said he was very worried by the situation. He also said the African Union would not accept an unconstitutional change of government.
  • President Deby has been in power since 1990. Several years ago, he changed the constitution to allow unlimited presidential terms. He went to the scene of fighting Friday, before returning to the capital. Military officials who spoke to media did not immediately disclose his location.
  • His rule has been marked by accusations of corruption in the newly-emerging oil sector, and lately by defections from his clan-based inner circle to various rebel movements.
  • The French army, which has a permanent military base in Chad, has been giving the Chadian army logistical and surveillance support, but has said it will not enter into direct combat with rebels.
  • The fighting has led to the postponement of the deployment of a planned European Union peacekeeping force to secure people displaced from the conflict in Chad, as well as fighting in nearby Central African Republic, and from Sudan's warring Darfur region.
  • Border regions at the intersection of these three countries have been wracked by different rebellions, attacks by vigilante groups and inter-ethnic communal fighting in recent years.

Friday, February 01, 2008

al Hakaimaha's faction, Egytian Islamic Group (EIG)

Al Qaeda Franchise in Egypt

  • August 2006 merger between al-Qaeda and Muhammad Khalil al-Hakaimah’s faction of the Egyptian Islamic Group (EIG) (see Terrorism Focus, September 12, 2006).
  • The EIG had been largely dormant for several years after incurring severe setbacks. Furthermore, much as al-Hakaimah does not seem to represent the core of the EIG, Al-Libi is also believed to represent only a minority within the LIFG.

Chad Peace Plan Appears to be in Ruins

The BBC's Stephanie Hancock in Ndjamena says that after some of the heaviest fighting seen in the country in several years, the ceasefire is now effectively dead in the water

Rally of Forces for Change (RFC)
  • The RFC said its positions had been bombed by Chadian helicopters on Saturday, raising fears that a major ground battle could soon take place.
  • A spokesman for the RFC, Id Moura Maide, told the AFP news agency that the fighting had begun when Chadian military helicopters attacked one of the group's bases in the area.
  • Saturday, Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmat Allami said RFC rebel forces led by Timan Erdimi had clashed with government forces around Kalait, some 210km (130 miles) north of Abeche.
  • There have been days of fierce fighting east of Abeche between Chad's army and the UFDD, during which the government said several hundred rebels had died.
  • On Friday, the UFDD also said it had declared war against the French-led 3,500-strong European Union peacekeeping force which is due to be deployed in Chad in January to protect refugees from Sudan's Darfur region.
  • The rebels accused French military planes of flying over their positions and passing intelligence to the government during last week's fighting. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has insisted the declaration would not jeopardise the EU mission.
  • The UFDD said it had broken the ceasefire because the government failed to honour the peace agreement brokered by Libya in March.
  • The clashes follow days of fierce fighting east of Abeche between Chad's army and the UFDD, during which the government said several hundred rebels had died.
  • The largest of the rebel groups, the UFDD, is led by Mahamat Nouri, a former government minister and diplomat who defected from the government in April 2006, accusing Deby of corruption, and launched an armed rebellion.
  • Nouri is thought to have relocated to Sudan in 2007.
  • Deby's government regularly accuses Sudan of supporting the UFDD rebels, who are largely drawn from their chief Nouri's Gorane ethnic group.
  • Khartoum has repeatedly denied Deby's allegations, and has in turn accused Chad of backing rebel groups fighting the Sudanese government in Darfur.

United Front for Change (Fuc) rebel coalition


UN Refugeee Agency in Chad Evacuates Due to Rebel Attacks

UN News Service (New York)
31 January 2008Posted to the web 1 February 2008

The United Nations refugee agency today evacuated most of its staff from its office in a town in eastern Chad after a series of armed attacks this week on the agency and other aid organizations operating in the troubled region.

Five vehicles belonging to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), its non-governmental partners and Médecins Sans Frontières Suisse have been stolen at gunpoint in the past 72 hours, while the UNHCR compound in Guereda was entered by armed men on two nights this week.

Serge Malé, UNHCR's representative in Chad, said the agency was "left only with one choice, much to our regret, which is to relocate most staff out of the Guereda area, as we cannot continue to perform our activities in favour of refugees."

Four UNHCR staff and 28 local and international staff with the agency's partners were flown to the regional centre of Abeché today, while a convoy of eight vehicles also travelled from Guereda so that the few remaining vehicles in the town were not attacked.

A minimum amount of staff will remain to ensure there is basic support in the two refugee camps, Mile and Kounoungou, operating in the area. The two camps - host almost 30,000 refugees from Sudan's war-wracked Darfur region - have been officially handed over to refugee leaders to manage while UNHCR staff numbers are reduced.

The most serious incident occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, when two armed men wearing military uniforms jumped the wall of the UNHCR compound and threatened the guards with guns so that they can steal two vehicles.

Early this morning an unknown man armed with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle entered the UNHCR guesthouse before being chased off by staff members of the agency's local partner.

Tensions between the Chadian National Army and opposition forces have been building in Guereda and the wider region since Monday, while the problems in the town have been exacerbated by ethnic clashes between Zaghawas and Tamas.

Jorge Holly, head of the UNHCR field office in Guereda, said the local authorities do not have the necessary means to protect agency staff or other aid workers.

"In this area, we have a state of complete impunity," he said. "Guereda is getting very vulnerable. If humanitarian workers are not around, it is impossible to provide adequate protection to the refugees. But the situation here is getting out of control and we also have to protect our staff and partners."

The security situation is also tense inside the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, in the southwest of the country, with the international staff of both UN agencies and NGOs advised to stay at home.
Eastern Chad is currently home to about 240,000 Sudanese living in 12 official refugee camps, which have sprung up since the Darfur conflict began more than four years ago.

Meanwhile, about 5,800 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) have arrived in several border villages in southern Chad in the past few weeks, fleeing attacks by zaraguinas or cattle rustlers in the north of their homeland.

Last year the Security Council authorized the establishment of a multi-dimensional UN presence in Chad and the CAR, including a peacekeeping mission to be known as MINURCAT, to try to stabilize the region.

In a related development, a meeting of troop and police-contributing countries for MINURCAT and two other missions - the hybrid UN-African Union force in Darfur (UNAMID) and the force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as MONUC) - was held at UN Headquarters in New York today.

General Per Five, a military adviser with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), told the meeting that UNAMID is still lacking helicopters, a key capacity for the mission to operate successfully.

Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute said it was vital to move ahead with the deployment of UNAMID as MINURCAT will not succeed if the mission in neighbouring Darfur is failing.

In Addis Ababa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned against cross-border instability. "The situation in Chad and the continued military conflict there should not spill over negatively to the peace and security in Darfur," the deployment of peacekeepers or the ongoing political process in Darfur, he told a press briefing.

The Rest @ AllAfrica Global Media via UN News Service, New York

Sudan Backed Rebes Mount Major offensive to Take the Chadian Capital, Battle at Massaguet

The watch for the release of missionary Cash Steve Godbold has been complicated by apparent coorindated Rebel Attacks in Chad, with rebel forces moving on the Capital from both the South and the East.

The following is from today's Ramadji, a local Chad e-newspaper.


February 1, 2008 (NDJAMENA) — Fighting broke out Friday between Chadian government forces and rebels just 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the capital Ndjamena, military and rebel sources said.

A military source said "heavy fighting" had been underway for about an hour as government forces engaged the main rebel force around the town of Massaguet.

Rebel sources, contacted by satellite phone, confirmed the outbreak of hostilities and said they had been bombed by Chadian air force planes.

The rebel alliance led by Timan Erdimi, Mahamat Nouri and Adbelwahid Aboud Makaye moved on Ndjamena after crossing southern Chad from bases in west Sudan, which Ndjamena accuses of backing the rebel militias.

Chadian government troops led by President Idriss Beby Itno had rushed back to defend the capital on Thursday, while France announced it was boosting its forces in the country in response to the unrest.

Government soldiers had initially driven east to intercept the rebels, but the head of state and a small escort returned to Ndjamena and formed a "belt" around the city, a military source said.

The manoeuvring came on the day the advance guard of an EU peacekeeping force was due to begin deploying.

The head of the EUFOR operation, General Jean-Philippe Ganascia, said any rebel advance would only delay, not divert, his mission.France, Chad’s former colonial master, flew an extra company of troops into Chad from Libreville on Friday to protect its nationals, and has closed down its school in Ndjamena as a precaution.

"Precautionary measures are being taken for the French nationals in the eventuality of trouble in Ndjamena, including a reinforcement of the Sparrowhawk group," a source close to French Defence Minister Herve Morin said.

Some 2,000 French soldiers have been deployed in Chad since 1986 under the codename Sparrowhawk. Morin said in Washington Thursday — rounding up a 36-hour visit to the United States — that France would fulfil its commitments to Chad, which include logistical support to the Chadian army and help with intelligence.

The EUFOR mission is tasked with protecting refugees from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur, just over Chad’s eastern border, as well as Chadians and people of the neighbouring Central African Republic displaced by internal conflict.

Ganascia said the military stand-off in the country could delay his mission "by a few days" thanks to logistics problems, but not divert it."I am not concerned (by the rebel manoeuvres) unless during their offensive they threaten or attack civilians, or the non-governmental organisations, or UN personnel," he said in Abeche. But he added that if the rebels confront the EU force "believe me, I will face them down."

Observers had feared that rebels could begin a new offensive before March. "They have a window to fight before the effective deployment of the European force fixes positions on the ground, which the Sudanese want," one told AFP.Both sides said French military reconnaissance planes were flying regular sorties to gather information on rebel movements.

About 234,000 Darfur refugees, along with 179,000 displaced eastern Chadians and 43,000 Central Africans uprooted by strife and rebellion in the north of their country, are housed in camps in the region.The last clash in eastern Chad claimed several hundred lives on both sides in November 2007, and rebels last moved on Ndjamena in April 2006.

The Rest @
John C. K. Daly wrote an
exapnsion analysis of China's
Taiwan Lands on the Spratlys
China's Expanding Naval Presence Troubles Neighbors
Hu Jintao Tightens Grip Over “Shanghai Faction”
China’s Energy Corridors in Southeast Asia
Feeding the Dragon: China's Quest for African Minerals
Chinese Commercial Aviation Cleared for Take-off
Feeding the Dragon: China's Quest for African Minerals
By John C. K. Daly
While much of the attention on China’s emergence onto the global economic stage as an industrial powerhouse has focused on the accumulation of its massive trade surpluses, most Western observers probing Beijing’s interest in Africa’s rich natural resources have concentrated on the Middle Kingdom’s seemingly insatiable appetite for energy resources. Africa currently contributes 12 percent of the world's liquid hydrocarbon (oil) production. In 2013, African oil production is projected to rise to 10.7-11.4 million bpd, and by 2018 to 12.4-14.5 million bpd [1]. In 2007, African oil constituted more than 22 percent of the United States' total usage and 28 percent of China’s—the latter case including approximately 60 percent of the Sudan's oil export—compared to the 2006 figures of 9 percent for China, 33 percent for the United States and 36 percent for Europe.A less mainstream but perhaps more significant issue for Sino-African relations is China’s growing interest in Africa’s rich mineral resources—where Beijing’s shopping list literally runs the gamut, from aluminum to zirconium [2]. Considering China’s dynamic economy and robust growth, its interest in African minerals may well prove in the long run more strategically important in its grand strategy than African oil—especially if China's deals with Central Asian energy exporters prove successful. The minerals sought by China affect every aspect of its economy, from the minerals like titanium needed for producing military aircraft to the iron ore needed to fuel its export of consumer goods, to its surging diamond trade for the country’s growing appetite for luxury items. Although China possesses an abundant supply of colored metal mineral resources, most of it is of low-grade ores and only one-third of the total amount of mineral ores can be processed through available technology. While China's rapid economic growth drives up demand for colored metal resources, the growing demand and supply gap could put a serious strain on the Chinese economy (Beijing Review, December 14, 2007). Chen Qiyuan, a professor at Central South University, oversees the project in the 973 Program that is charged with implementing the 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010), in particular, toward researching and developing essential minerals. Chen said that the project has strategic significance not only for sustaining economic development but also for national security. Chen estimates that the research that his project is undertaking would increase the lifespan of China's mineral resources. If metal output and recycling levels stay at the 2005 level, Chen’s research indicates China's copper resources will last another 12 years, nickel for 40 years and zinc for 18 years (Beijing Review, December 14, 2007).China-Africa Overall Trade During the 1990s, trade between China and Africa grew by 700 percent, doubling from 2002 to 2003 and in 2005 almost doubled again. In 1995, Chinese imports from Africa were worth $1.4 billion; 11 years later, their value soared to $28.7 billion, a 2,000 percent increase [3]. Unlike virtually all of China's significant trading partners, in 2006, Africa as a whole actually ran a modest trade surplus, sending China $28.8 billion in goods while importing $26.7 billion [4]. In January 2006, China released its first policy paper on Africa—China's African Policy—elaborating its future objectives on the continent, noting that “China is willing to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with African countries and African regional organizations when conditions are ripe” (Xinhua, January 14, 2006) By 2010, China will overtake the United States and France as Africa's biggest trading partner (BBC, July 4, 2007). Current African exports are extensively resource-based, with oil accounting for 73 percent of African exports to China; followed by iron ore, totaling 4.03 percent of China’s global supply, which was worth $131.8 million in 1995 and $839.16 million in 2006; cotton; diamonds, which constituted $151.3 million in 1996 and $704.5 million in 2006, aggregating 29 percent of Chinese global supplies; and timber. For 2006, China's top 10 African import countries were Angola ($10.9 billion), South Africa ($4.09 billion), the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($2.78 billion), Equatorial Guinea ($2.53 billion), the Sudan ($1.94 billion), Libya ($1.69 billion), Gabon ($816.8 million), Mauritania ($402.02 million), Morocco ($359.47 million) and Zambia ($269.13 million) [5]. China and South AfricaOut of the 54 countries and the island territories in Africa, Beijing regards South Africa as the continent’s mineralogical treasure house. South Africa is the largest producer of gold—currently accounting for 14 percent of total global production and containing 40.1 percent of the world’s known reserves—and contains 87.7 percent of the world’s platinum reserves, 80 percent of its manganese ore, 72.4 percent of its chrome ore and 27 percent of its vanadium [6]. In 2006, gold accounted for 20 percent of South Africa’s exports, while coal, platinum and other minerals made up an additional 25 percent [7]. South Africa also has substantial reserves of other industrially important metals and minerals [8]. Between 1996 and 2005, South African exports to China increased to well over $1.25 billion. China reciprocally has invested $130 million in South Africa, mostly in the Buffelsfontein chromium mine (BuaNews, January 9). According to South African Revenue Service trade data, in 2007, South African exports to China rose 195 percent compared with the same period in 2006, to $2.26 billion, behind Japan, the United States, Germany and Britain (Business Report [South Africa], September 14, 2007). South Africa accounts for about 75 percent of world ferrochrome, and China now imports over 90 percent of the ferrochrome consumed by its voracious stainless steel industry. China is not alone in its interest in South African minerals; the United States is also heavily dependent upon South Africa for key minerals including chrome, manganese, vanadium and platinum. In February 1987, then President Ronald Reagan certified andalusite, antimony, chrysotile asbestos, chromium, cobalt, industrial diamonds, manganese, platinum group metals, rutile and vanadium as “strategic” minerals that were considered essential for supplying military, industrial and civilian needs of the United States at the time of a national emergency; moreover, they are not sufficiently found or produced in the United States [9].China's Voracious Appetite for MineralsChina’s outreach for minerals and resources to supply its economy have had a global impact; since 2005, many commodity prices have soared—gold and silver are again reaching price heights not seen since the late 1970s, while in 2007 prices for copper, zinc, lead, tin, chromium, platinum, molybdenum, coal, oil and uranium also set multi-year or all-time highs [10].China now consumes 30 percent of the global total for zinc and 25 percent of that of lead, while since 1996 China's consumption of refined copper has risen from less than 10 percent of world demand to 22 percent, and the Chinese economy absorbs 27 percent of the globe’s iron and steel and 25 percent of its aluminum. China already produces one-third of the world's steel, and its iron ore imports are expected to double by 2012. In 2003, China passed the United States to become the world’s largest copper consumer and by the following year consumed 46 percent more than the United States. In 2006, China announced plans to set up Strategic Mineral Reserve to stockpile uranium, copper, aluminum, iron ore and other minerals. The reserves are critical for providing China with a buffer to adjust to market fluctuations, manage emergencies and guarantee the security of resource supplies [11].China's African Resource Acquisition Investment Strategy The general patterns of Chinese investment in Africa are discernible and differ in many respects from Western attitudes. First and foremost, China in its long-term view has concluded that Africa’s overall macroeconomic situation is improving, despite the problems wracking the continent—from corruption to civil war—giving it a much bolder position on investment than more cautious Western investors. Chinese producers also see Africa as a continent of immense opportunity for their lost-cost products, which in most cases undercut higher-priced Western imports. The final element in Beijing’s perception of Africa is a keenly focused awareness of the continent’s rich resource base; while Western competitors also covet Africa’s mineralogical resources, Chinese investment strategy benefits from Western deficits and therefore holds advantages over European and American approaches. Western and European investors arrive with ideological baggage and domestic constraints in the form of economic reform, anti-corruption and human rights campaigns—a key aspect of China’s policies toward the continent is its avowedly apolitical and amoral stance described as “non-interference in domestic affairs.” Adding to the appeal of China’s “soft power” is an appreciation of a half-century history of friendly ties and past Chinese support for liberation movements in Africa, topped off with the provision of “no-strings-attached” financial and technical aid to African countries. These deals often include low-interest or interest-free loans and additional funding for both developing infrastructure and civil projects.A prime example is Chinese investment in Angola. China invested in Angola’s oil industry even as civil war raged, in 1995 exporting $135.7 million worth of hydrocarbons. Since the nation ended a 27-year civil war in 2002, Angola has become China’s largest trading partner, in 2006 surpassing Saudi Arabia as China’s leading oil exporter, and has the fastest-growing economy on the continent with a projected 2007 gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of over 20 percent. In 2006, Angola exported $10.93 billion of oil to China and joined OPEC, but two-thirds of the population is estimated to earn less than a dollar a day. This has provided an opportunity for the opposition, with Unita party leader Isaias Samakuva commenting, "What we have seen is that Angolans have not benefited from the accords with China. These are aspects that need to be looked at carefully and see how they can be bettered" (Cruzeiro do Sul, January 12, 2007).China has landed some impressive deals throughout Africa, including winning a majority stake in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Gecamines joint venture. In return for a $5 billion loan, the DRC government is giving four Chinese state enterprises a 68 percent stake in a joint venture with Gecamines, the state-owned mining company, in addition to China Overseas Engineering’s $300 million investment in two Congolese copper and cobalt mining projects [12]. In another coup, in June 2006, China beat out Brazil’s Vale do Rio Doce—the world’s top iron ore producer—and French company Eramet to secure a $3 billion contract to develop massive iron ore reserves in Belinga, Gabon. During the China-Africa Summit in November 2006, among the agreements concluded by China were a $938 million contract to develop an aluminum plant in Egypt and a $230 million deal for ferrochrome mining and smelting in South Africa.These investments do not come without risks: on April 24, 2007, a guerrilla attack on a Chinese-run oil field in Ethiopia left 77 people dead. Since 2004, dozens of Chinese workers, engineers and other civilians have been killed or kidnapped in Nigeria, Kenya and other African states. Moreover, African workers in Angola, Zambia, Nigeria and Morocco have demonstrated over Chinese labor policies, most notably at Zambia’s Chambishi copper mine, where on January 3, 500 workers went on strike to protest low salaries and poor working conditions, with one worker representative commenting that salaries were as low as $54 per month (The Times of Zambia, January 4).China’s extensive operations in the Sudan have also attracted intense international criticism for fraternizing with a supporter of terrorism involved in a brutal campaign in Darfur, an ongoing legacy of the Sudan's ongoing 24-year civil war. The international community also deplores China’s deepening relationship with Mugabe’s despotic regime, but Beijing instead focuses on projections that in 2008 trade between Zimbabwe and China is set to increase to $500 million (The Herald, January 7). In December 2007, Sinosteel Corporation acquired a 67 percent stake in Zimbabwe's leading ferrochrome producer and exporter Zimasco Holdings (The Herald, December 20, 2007).Despite the problems enumerated above, the possibilities for the future of Chinese-African trade seem limitless. According to South African mining executive Sir Sam Jonah, only 30 percent of Africa has been explored for mineral wealth (The Gibbs Review, January 2006, Vol. 01.). The only question, in an increasingly resource-hungry world, is whether Africa’s riches go East or West. ConclusionChina's Africa strategy—which is tied to over 50 years of ideological solidarity, beginning when the continent was struggling to liberate itself from colonialism—is now paying immense economic dividends. China's willingness to invest heavily in African nations either currently wracked by civil war—such as the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—or recently emerged from chaos—such as Angola—has given it a leading position in development projects that more timorous Western investors up to now have largely avoided. Given the relative political stability of Africa, it remains a high-risk strategy. For Beijing to maintain China's impressive growth record, however, there is really little choice, as American and European investors have already locked up many of the globe's more stable sources of raw materials. It remains to be seen whether China's Africa policy will ultimately become a system that pacifies the continent, or possibly leads to either covert or overt “resource wars” for the limited supply of both hydrocarbons and strategic minerals. China's policy, at least as regards what Washington defines as strategic minerals, could certainly become a disruptive influence in Washington-Beijing relations. Given China's oft-stated commitment to global peaceful development, it remains to be seen how such a confrontation might play out. Considering Washington's establishment last year of its AFRICOM military command, there seems little doubt that in the event of armed confrontation Beijing would be the loser. China clearly prefers the economic benefits of peaceful trade; as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq so vividly illustrate, armed conflict is a net consumer of men, material and money and it is obvious that for the present Beijing is trying to avoid such a path.