Saturday, February 22, 2003
According to InstaPundit and National Review, Chirac has got a new buddy in Mugabe.

It's hard for me to believe that France can possibly be pleased with the systematic and intentional violations of human rights that go on in Zimbabwe under the direction of Mugabe. At the same time, Mugabe and Chirac had much to gain from a successful meeting this weekend. Mugabe got the chance to strut around posing as a statesman. His hope is that this will improve his position within his own party at home and also increase his clout among other leaders on the continent. For Chirac, it was a chance to showcase "solidarity" with African leaders and attempt to shore up support for the French position on Iraq and against the neo-colonial oppressors of the US and UK.

After last weekend's mess at the EU summit, I guess Chirac figures he needs to find friends wherever he can. However, to put a tyrant like Mugabe on the same stage as Kibaki, Wade and Kuffuor is an insult to anyone who has hope for democracy in Africa.

Quick Nigeria update: It wasn't noted very widely, but in Osama's "Iraq statement" he made a special mention of Nigeria and Morocco:

We also stress that Muslims have to move and incite and organize the nation into armies to face these great events and harsh conditions, and to liberate themselves from the slavery of these unjust and infidel regimes enslaved by the U.S. From among the most ready for liberation are Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Now I'm no intelligence expert, but whether or not Osama's still alive, ths appears to indicate that there are active al Qaeda cells in these countries. We've already heard about the Straits of Gibralter plot. As for Nigeria, the presence of al Qaeda cells would probably come to no surprise to people like Ibrahim Zakzaky and Abubakar Mujahid.

Anyway, statements like this should put us on notice that the African continent is on the front lines when in comes to the War on Terrorists.

Hmmm... maybe that show of African solidarity with the "French position" this weekend in Paris was nothing more than a French propaganda stunt. According to the piece in the NY Times, some African heads of state weren't even consulted about the joint statement expressing support for continued appeasement of Saddam:

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda said he was never consulted about it.

"Nobody asked me my opinion," he said. "We didn't even discuss it."

I suppose in M. Chirac's opinion, this was a good opportunity for African heads of state to "just be quiet." I wonder if Mr. Kagame will get any kisses at next year's summit.

Wow! Check it out: I've entered the blogosphere! I decided to set this up due to what appeared to be the lack of African news and analysis on the blogosphere. And since I follow the news anyway, it's just as easy to post it here. Although the main focus will be African news, I'll probably use it to post whatever happens to interest me at the moment. (Hope nobody minds.)

So this will be fun and maybe I'll learn something in the process.

I can't blog long, but in the meantime check out the Africa semester website at my alma mater. They have a bunch of great events planned this spring including an exhibit of African Art at the McClung Museum. So if anyone happens to be in Knoxville this spring, definitely go and check it out.

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