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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie


A R A B I C A ارابيكا

BATTLE OF TRIPOLI
Violent clashes continued on Wednesday in Muammar Gaddafi's last stronghold in the Libyan capital. Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tripoli reports that Gaddafi's headquarters in the Bab al-Aziziya district was hit by mortar shells fired from a nearby neighborhood. "There are snipers on the buildings in Bab al-Aziziya," said rebel commander Nouri Mohammed.

TANKS OF HOMS
The Syrian military campaign in the central city of Homs continues, with one resident filming a tank in the street from what looks like behind a tree. The person filming says it is Wednesday, and that the tank is on Zeer Street in Homs "firing randomly on people in the streets." Gunfire is heard in the background.

CURSED IN TALBISA
Here is a video also said to be taken on Wednesday in the town of Talbisa. What sounds like a young man curses the armed soldiers. "Fire, you motherf*#*er – I'll f*#K your sister," the person filming says, and shortly thereafter at :30, the soldiers in the armored vehicle open fire. The camera pans to enormous holes, 6-8 inches wide, shot into the boarded up stores on the street. The soldiers "are trying to break up demonstrations on UNESCO Street." But as the crackle of gunfire resounds, the chants of "Allahu Akhbar" from a nearby street grow even louder. At 1:39, the firing gets close to the young men filming and they begin running, cursing the soldiers. At 2:39, viewers can see quick glimpes of empty streets, with all the shops closed. As he is running away, the man filming says mockingly of the soldier firing, "he can't shoot because he's a motherf*#*er." As the firing stops, the camera, and the young man who is still filming, peers around a street corner. When no soldiers are seen, he slowly moves into the empty street, filming bullet holes and posters of men ("martyrs') who have been killed in the uprising. It is a first-person, visceral six-minute chronicle of war.

FRIDAY PLANS
The Syrian Facebook group is now billing itself as the "Syrian Revolution General Commission." Protests will continue this Friday, the group announced, calling it the "Friday of patience and resilience." The group now has more than 265,000 members in its Arabic version.

LEBANESE SEARCH?
The Lebanese Prime Minister told An-Nahar newspaper that his government is doing "everything it can" to find the four Hezbollah members convicted of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. One of the indicted men gave an interview to Time Magazine last week in which he said that authorities "know where to find me if they wanted to."

August 24, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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photo of Senegal President Macky Sall coming out of his airplane

President of Senegal Macky Sall arrives Monday at Andrews Air Force Base for the U.S.-Africa summit. Md., Dec. 12, 2022.

U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Isabelle Churchill
Alex Hurst

-Analysis-

Some 100 of the most important political eyes in Africa aren’t turned towards the U.S. this week — they’re in the U.S. For the first time in eight years, the White House is hosting 49 African heads of state and leaders of government (and the Senegalese head of the African Union) for a U.S.-Africa summit. Not invited: any nation that has recently undergone a military putsch, or otherwise not in good standing with the African Union, like Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

It’s only the second such summit, after Barack Obama held the inaugural one in 2014. For African nations, it’s a chance to push for trade agreements and international investment, as reports FinancialAfrik, as well as to showcase their most successful businesses. According to RFI, dominant in its coverage of West Africa, on the agenda are: fighting terrorism, climate change, food security, and a financial facility intended to facilitate African exports to the U.S.

These themes are recurrent in national coverage and official diplomatic communiqués, from the likes of Cameroon (whose communiqué pointedly notes the U.S.’s “lack of colonial history” in Africa), which is seeking to regain access to the the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, to Madagascar, which as an island nation, is particularly concerned with climate change.

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But is the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and the accompanying nice talk all just cynical cover for what are, in fact, purely U.S. strategic interests in its wider global competition with China? That’s certainly the message from Chinese media — but also a point of view either echoed, or simply acknowledged as matter of fact, by African voices.

“No matter how many fancy words the U.S. uses, the country still sees Africa as an arena to serve its strategic goal of competing with China,” Liu Xin writes for China’s state-run Global Times.

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