The War Diaries

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Archive for the ‘Somalia’ tag

The African Union at 50

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An African Union billboard outside the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia featuring the four main languages of the international body- Arabic, English, French, and Portuguese. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

An African Union billboard outside the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia featuring the four primary languages of the international body- Arabic, English, French, and Portuguese. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

New York- While it’s memorial day here in the United States, this past Saturday it was the 50th anniversary of the African Union [formerly the Organization of African Unity until 2001]. I visited the AU/OAU’s original headquarters in 2011in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after the hectic melée’s of Egypt, Libya and Bahrain when I needed a bit of a break.Upon reading of the AU’s 50th anniversary festivities, I thought a short photo essay was in order.

I initially ventured to the AU’s grounds from my hotel on Churchill Road to try and gather information on the possible creation of Jubaland astatelet  in southwestern Somalia as well as the doings of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Dolo Odo refugee camp on the Somali border. But I quickly discovered that a Chinese government construction outfit was building a gleeming new AU conference hall and tower on the adjoining lot which captured my attention.

An Ogadeni woman exits the Chinese government's construction of the new African Union complex on April 13, 2011. Just after I took this photo the Chinese man in the pink shirt ordered an Ethiopian security guard at the site to wrest my camera from me because he deemed it forbidden to take photos of the Chinese foremen and engineers. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

An Ogadeni woman exits the Chinese government’s construction of the new African Union complex on April 13, 2011. Just after I took this photo the Chinese man in the pink shirt ordered an Ethiopian security guard at the site to wrest my camera from me because he deemed it forbidden to take photos of the Chinese foremen and engineers. Fortunately for myself, the burly security man had no clue how to erase the flash card on my Olympus DSLR ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

As the China State COnstruction Engineering Corporation builds the new African Union conference center, goat herders push their flocks past. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

As the China State COnstruction Engineering Corporation builds the new African Union conference center, goat herders push their flocks past. Despite the vast poverty surrounding the Chinese project, Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi stated: “China, its amazing reemergence and its commitments for a win-win partnership with Africa is one of the reasons for the beginning of the African renaissance.” ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Despite being adjacent to war ravaged Somalia, the then coming partition of north and south SUdan, and and hermetic Eritrea, the AU's Situation Room was a dim office of tranquility in the comparative safety of the Ethiopian capital. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Despite being adjacent to war ravaged Somalia, the then coming partition of north and south SUdan, and and hermetic Eritrea-not to mention the rest of the conflicts spread across the continent, the AU’s Situation Room was a dim office of tranquility in the comparative safety of the Ethiopian capital. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

In the courtyard of the original AU headquarters before the Chinese project was completed in 2012. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

In the courtyard of the original AU headquarters before the Chinese project was completed in 2012 stands a monument for the 25th anniversary of the OAU as it was then called in 1988. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

A poster promoting the AU's peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan. ©2011 Derek Henry Flod

A poster promoting the AU’s peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan. ©2011 Derek Henry Flod

As the AU's new tower took shape over Addis Ababa's low rise skyline dotted with corrugated aluminum shacks coated in red dust. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

As the AU’s new tower took shape over Addis Ababa’s low rise skyline dotted with corrugated aluminum shacks coated in red dust, the contrast between Chinese influence and African ground realities never seemed more stark. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

 

Written by derekhenryflood

May 27th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

New Horn of Africa Article Out

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New York- The fruits of my intellectual East African labors came to bear and my Jubaland article is out in this week’s edition of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor. Though it may appear to be a concise, quiet analysis, a lot of shoe leather went into the production of this piece, not to mention a decent sunburn or two in the thin air of the Ethiopian capital. I must say, after having returned stateside two weeks ago now, I desperately miss my daily helpings of injera, the oddly (at first anyway) delectable Ethiopian national dish. A young Ethiopian-American kid I met in Lalibela told me how I would be in great shape after the combination of high altitude walking and zero fat, zero preservative food. Unfortunately, I am sure I am back to me old habits after multiple trips to some of my favorite DC and NYC eateries and drinkeries since I’ve been back.

Just cranked out yet another issue of Militant Leadership Monitor, should be another great issue. I will post a plug for that when we go live with it. I’ve also added two Wikileaks links along the right side of this page-that connecting to the Guantánamo files and that connecting to the Cablegate Cable Viewer. Take a look.

In other, more dire news, Syria still seems to be burning in it’s own self imposed Hades. Aside from sanctions and further isolation, the internationals are powerless to stop al-Assad from smashing the Syrian people as protests are now reported in all corners of the country-including Qamishle in the very vulnerable northeastern pocket of Syrian Kurdistan.

Latakia, Syria at dusk. Taken from the roof of my hotel en route to the Lebanon war which would change my life. ©2006 Derek Henry Flood

A minaret in Latakia, Syria bellows the azan at dusk. I wonder what it must be like to be in revolutionary Syria now that the fear barrier has been breached.©2006 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

April 29th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

September issue of Militant Leadership Monitor

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New York- The new issue of MLM is out on the Jamestown site for subscribers (and those wanting to join). I have an article about the civil war in Colombia and the death of Mono Jojoy and the search for FARC supremo Alfonso Cano and brief articles on the doings of All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders in Kashmir and the extradition of Mas Selamat Kastari back to Singapore from Malaysia. Colleague and friend Syed Adnan Shah Ali Bukhari has an in-depth biography of the nefarious Qari Hussain of the TTP. The RAND corporation’s Peter Chalk has a profile of Yazid Sufaat and Toronto’s Andrew McGregor has a fascinating piece on Puntland’s Shaykh Atam and his militia movement in northern Somalia’s autonomous region.

The Pirates of Puntland

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New York- Jason Florio has a big photo essay in the current Winter 2010 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review called The Pirate Port about the quasi ragtag Somaliland coast guard in Berbera and their dealings with pirates based out of Bossaso in neighboring Puntland. The whole issue of VQR is dedicated to Africa and seems pretty interesting. I saw the bold cover shot on the rack at Barnes & Noble and it caught my eye. The photo essay is pretty lush especially in a time when a lot of publications seem to cutting back on their photo budgets. I love that the article shows a different side of the struggle for Somalia than the Shabab/Ethiopia angle. It shows that Somalia, well the breakaway Somaliland region anyway, is a region that you can actually visit and tour around within reason. The Somalilanders who inherited some of the ideas of parliamentary democracy from the British who ran the region as a protectorate, have been running the area as an independent state since the fall of Siad Barre in 1991 but have obviously failed to get anyone to care outside of their own diaspora and the odd internationalist intellectual. This VQR is definitely worth a look for anyone tired of the same stories being run in the MSM.

More of Jason’s work can be seen on his revamped site here. Jason did an article last year for Men’s Journal called “The New War for Hearts and Minds” on Human Terrain Teams in Kapisa Province in Afghanistan that became pretty controversial for some reason (I think having to do with a subset of right-wing bloggers called “Mil (-itary) bloggers.”). There are more great photos on his site than were printed in the original article. Makes me wish I still had my photography site up….

Afghan commandos in Kapisa Province. ©2008 Jason Florio

Written by derekhenryflood

February 12th, 2010 at 3:50 pm