During African Trip, Obama Oblivious To Enormous Violence, Death Toll‏ – OpEd

By IndepthAfrica
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Jul 2nd, 2013
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Barack Obama and Jacob Zuma hold a joint news conference in Pretoria today. The U.S. President said the thoughts of Americans and people around the world were with Nelson Mandela and his family

Barack Obama and Jacob Zuma hold a joint news conference in Pretoria today. The U.S. President said the thoughts of Americans and people around the world were with Nelson Mandela and his family

By Jim Kouri

While President Barack Obama and his family are touring southern Africa, on Monday Somalia’s government issued an ultimatum that demands Kenyan security forces posted in the port city of Kismayo, as part of an African Union force, be removed.

The Kenyan counterterrorism units, who invaded Somalia in 2011, had ousted al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab terrorists from Kismayo before joining the 17,700-strong AU force.

In addition, the fighting between the Muslim Brotherhood-run government of Egypt — an African nation — and anti-Islamist protesters is resulting in the deaths of many Egyptians.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission said it had acquired evidence that Nigerian security forces, currently battling the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram, are killing, torturing, and raping civilians in an effort to quell an Islamist-provoked uprising in which about 2,000 people have already been killed.

A report by the commission said troops retaliating against civilians had torched homes and tried to hide evidence of gross violations by disposing of bodies.

However, during his visit to Tanzania in Africa on Monday, President Barack Obama announced a “new era in U.S. relations with Africa” that will result in replacing charitable handouts with “strategic investment,” according to his prepared remarks.

Obama’s visit to Tanzania is last stop of his multi-million dollar, three-country tour of the African continent.

“We are looking at a new model that’s based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership,” he said. Basically, Obama paraphrased the axiom: “Give them a fish and feed them for a day; teach them to fish, and feed them for a lifetime.”

“Ultimately, the goal here is for Africa to build Africa for Africans and our job is to be a partner in that process,” said Obama.

Critics of Obama’s African trip have said that his choice of nations to visit smacks of being an opulent vacation at taxpayers’ expense coupled with positive photo opportunities, when what is required is a peacemaking mission.

“It’s noticeable that Obama chose South Africa as his main destination, while he ignored his ancestral home of Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Congo, and other African nations that are facing increasingly hostile terrorist groups especially those allied with al-Qaeda,” said former U.S. Marine intelligence officer and New York police detective Michael Snopes.

“While Obama loves his flowery pronouncements, they appear to be rooted in wishful thinking not reality. His appearance in Tanzania was intended to provide Obama adulation and positive press coverage, but Tanzania is hardly the same Africa as Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, or the Sudan. Why didn’t Obama appear in Darfur or Mogadishu?” Snopes asked.

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