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Total number of comments: 6 (since 2013-11-28 16:38:00)


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  • Supreme Court declines to take US Health Care in direction of Sub-Saharan Africa
    • In Zimbabwe's defence we did have a universal healthcare system in place until the mid 1990s. It was done away with to comply with a World Bank inspired Economic Structural Adjustment Plan which apparently was designed to liberalise the economy.Unfortunately as with most of those programs in Africa it had the opposite effect and led to some of the frustrations ZANU-PF was able to exploit to devastating effect during the late 90s and early 2000s.

  • Is an Iranian Drug Cartel Behind the Assassination Plot against the Saudi Ambassador?
    • There are just too many sketchy parts to this story. I am guessing that the truth is closer to the drug cartel angle. Its almost impossible to believe anyone associated with Iranian intelligence or the central govt would put together such a sloppy operation. I think Bob Baer is correct in his assessment that the US Justice Dept may have jumped the gun on this one.

      The drug trade out of Afghanistan is a massive problem for Iran, the US and Western Europe. This issue is probably one where a common purpose exists for both sides and they really should be doing more to support each other's efforts. Working together on an issue such as this would no doubt create much more room for dialogue in the future. This would surely be better than the status quo, in which the stakes have been raised so high on both sides that there is no room for discussion. As Bob Baer noted, if a bomb had gone off the US would almost certainly been forced to respond militarily, and there does not seem to be a red phone to Tehran. We live in dangerous times.

  • Qaddafi Forces Advance on All Fronts Despite Bombardment
    • As difficult as it may be to accept isn't it time that we recognised that the situation in Libya is not as simple as we are being led to believe. Gadaffi's forces have taken a pounding over the last few days, but they still remain loyal. Surely the reality is now that Libya is in the throes of a civil war, and the West has chosen their horse so to speak? In that context, surely the legality of the western powers arming one side and bombing the other would have to be called in to question?

      Once again I think the media and the politicians may have seriously misinterpreted the reality on the ground in their rush to draw a picture of the Libyan situation that would be acceptable for their points of view. Prof Cole I have been a little disappointed by the stance you have taken which I feel is a little hawkish. Foreign intervention in Africa has very seldom if ever been straight forward, so we tend to be extremely sceptical of any action by the Western world. This escalation of the Libyan situation surely means the end game for the people of Libya is going to be significantly more expensive both economically and socially. I know people will argue that Gaddafi is a tyrant etc, but surely there should have been some attempt to negotiate with him?

  • 30% of Libya in Hands of Youth Movement
    • The wire service report Prof Cole linked to made no mention of African mercenaries. Furthermore if you read the article I linked to in my response you will see that the situation in Libya with regards to the so called "black African" population is not as black and white as it is being portrayed. There are darker skinned Libyans descended from sub-Saharan Africans brought to the region as slaves in the past - never mind the other groups who have been given refuge by Libya over the years in support of various liberation movements.

      My concern is that a racist element is being allowed to creep into this issue, especially with the allegations of African mercenaries being ordered to rape women etc (never mind the fact that all Libyans are Africans, by virtue of living in North Africa!). The spread of these stories will no doubt put a lot of people in danger, the vast majority of whom (economic migrants etc)do not have the relative luxury of being rescued by foreign governments.

    • Has there been any actual evidence of the so called "African mercenaries" presented so far? There are a lot of economic refugees from sub-Saharan Africa in Libya whose lives are probably being made very difficult by the spread of these rumours. Some of the more base allegations including those of black Africans being given carte blanche to rape "white" Libyan women, remind me of the American south. Surely, Prof Cole you can see the importance of not perpetuating these stories if they are baseless - the article you linked to in relation to the massacre of civilians in Al Bayda, makes no mention what so ever of "African mercenaries". I have relied on your blog as a source of (for lack of a better phrase) informed comment on news from North Africa and the Middle East, but I am struggling to understand why you would allow such a lapse? I don't mean to be rude, but the problems between sub-Saharan Africans and Arab North Africans are well documented and there has been a lot of xenophobic violence directed at economic migrants in recent times - the perpetuation of these rumours will only make things even more difficult for an already maligned section of the North African community. Those who wish to know more about this situation can do so at: link to

  • Wael Ghonim vs. Barack Obama: Change we Can Believe in, Yes we Can
    • Maybe I am misreading the situation, but I don't know exactly what it is you guys are expecting Obama to do about the Egyptian situation? Egypt is a sovereign nation, any political change will have to be initiated by the Egyptian people (which they have already done), aside from trying to pressure the Mubarak government to ensure there is no violence I don't really see what more he can do?

      I hate to be cynical, but why on earth do people assume that Obama would behave differently, than any other American president, because he is black, or a democrat? Maybe Americans need to try an view their country as the rest of us do. We always just see a nation that can and does do a lot of good, but ultimately is always motivated by self interest(which to a degree is understandable). It doesn't matter who the president is, your foreign policy is almost always predictable as a result of this. I don't mean to be harsh but thats the way it looks to the rest of the world.

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