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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


SYRIAN STRIKE
*The administrators of the Syrian Revolution Facebook group are calling for a general strike on Wednesday: "Mass protests, no school, no universities, no stores or restaurants open and no taxis." The call comes as the Syrian military continues a brutal crackdown on the village of Tal Kalakh near the Lebanese border, with reports of dead bodies and wounded left in the streets.

SYRIAN SPIN
*The state media, meanwhile, is weaving a different narrative entirely. The state-run Al-Baath daily notes on its front page that a meeting between Syrian President Bashar Assad and residents of Daraa addressed "recent events in Daraa and the current positive atmosphere there, the result of cooperation between residents and the military." The report also touted "reforms underway across the country."

*The official news agency, SANA, ran an identical report. "The members of the Daraa delegation expressed their appreciation for the sacrifices the army has made," SANA reported, adding that the residents asked the president to keep the military in Daraa "to pursue the insurgents." The meeting is "part of a series of ongoing meetings between the president and activists around the country."

SYRIAN RESISTANCE
*Protests are continuing, with women from the town of Darya outside Damascus calling on others to come out to the streets. "Women of Darya: Show the men who you are" reads the street-wide banner carried through the town by several women.

EGYPTIAN STRIFE
*This
cartoon posted on the "We are all Khalid Said" Facebook group shows a man wearing the Egyptian flag as a cape struggling to push the country up a mountain. His feet are chained to smaller rocks which read, "internal strife," "foreign powers' and "the regime." The caption reads: "Egypt needs us."

JORDANIAN DIVIDE
*A 27-minute Al Jazeera documentary explores the class and cultural differences of residents of the Jordanian capital's poorer east and affluent west neighborhoods. The opening scenes show children in the east climbing through rock piles to get to their modest homes, with their father telling the interviewer that the books the children use are old and outdated. This is contrasted with shots of luxury cars picking up children from West Amman's private "Modern American school."

May 17, 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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