Sunday Blog Roundup: Belmokhtar Surrender (?), Qadhafi and the UN, US Dialogue with Africa

Alle examines reports that AQIM leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar may surrender to Algerian authorities. However, Alle sounds a note of caution:

Now, this has been reported wrongly so many times — rumors, psychological warfare, etc — that I’m hesitant to put any confidence at all in it, especially given the source. Actually, I’m going to assume it’s false. However, the constant reports about Belmokhtar negotiating a retreat (they’ve been reappearing for years) does remind one of the similar reports about Hattab, which eventually turned out to be true,  suggesting the faulty reports themselves were perhaps part of the negotiations game. These last few years, other commanders have been stealing the spotlight in AQIM’s southern zone, eg. in the recent kidnappings, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that it’s true that he’s more or less retired from active-duty leadership — but from there to reconciling with the state, it’s still a big step. Possibly, whether true, mistaken or deliberately false, it has something to do with the much-talked-about multi-state chase for AQIM/Sahara.

Kal draws some depressing conclusions from Qadhafi’s speech to the UN:

No one in the French, Italian or British Foreign Ministries should be surprised with what they’ve got from the Brother Leader. No American leader should be confused. This is Qadhafi and it is what one gets when he deals with Libya. Western gaming on Libyan oil and cooperation has done untold damage to the credibility of the African Union, for it made his leadership acceptable in the eyes of the outside and on the continent; it has deeply dented the moral standing of multiple Western countries, the United States, Italy, France, Britain and others, though it would be curious to find that the leaders of those countries actually cared on either count. The process of “normalizing” Libya, a place that cannot be called “normal” regardless of how much oil or gas it exports, to whom those exports go or however quietly Western leaders make their deals with Qadhafi, has been one that has been beneficial to no person in need: not to the Lockerbie victims, not to the hungry peoples of Africa, not to the Palestinians, not to the Philippine Muslims and not to the Libyan people. It has benefited Qadhafi, his delinquent sons, Western money grubbers and those who commit terrible crimes while the Colonel blusters, Westerners react and Libya sends them money with which to sow mischief.

The Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman also offers a few thoughts on Qadhafi’s speech.

At Dipnote, Public Affairs Officer William Strassberger writes about US dialogue with African leaders.

Sociolingo points us to a paper on “China’s growing engagement in Africa’s mineral sector and assess its impact on local governance.”

And last but not least, Texas in Africa looks at Somalia’s civil war.

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