Giles's Feed
Aug 21, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to bloodshed

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi appealed on
Sunday night for his people to “save Tripoli” from a rebel
offensive, but his four-decade-old rule appeared doomed.

While leaders of neighbouring Arab states folded quickly in
the face of popular uprisings, Gaddafi had put up a bloody
fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who quickly
seized half the country.

Aug 21, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to bloodshed

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi appealed on
Sunday night for his people to “save Tripoli” from a rebel
offensive, but his four-decade-old rule appeared doomed.

While leaders of neighbouring Arab states folded quickly in
the face of popular uprisings, Gaddafi had put up a bloody
fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who quickly
seized half the country.

Jul 13, 2011

Six months on, Tunisian revolution disappoints some

TUNIS (Reuters) – A short while ago, Adel Klaifa was used to members of the Tunisian president’s family coming to the beach and riding on his camels.

The only problem was that they refused to pay like regular tourists.

Now six months after the overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the first victim of the Arab Spring revolutions, Klaifa has another problem — not enough customers of any kind. Along with many of his fellow Tunisians, economic prosperity remains elusive.

May 16, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to violence

LONDON (Reuters) – While other Arab leaders folded quickly in the face of popular uprisings, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi has put up a bloody fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who have seized half the country.

With his bedouin tents and heavily armed female bodyguards, along with a readiness to execute his opponents and turn his tanks on his opponents, Gaddafi has cut an eccentric and violent figure as Libya’s leader for more than 40 years.

Mar 16, 2011

Gaddafi seen growing in confidence as rebels fade

LONDON (Reuters) – As his armed forces roll over rebel fighters, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi has shaken off his delusional first response to the uprising and is reasserting his grip on the country he has ruled for more than 40 years.

After presidents in Tunisia and Egypt succumbed to popular revolutions, swift early gains by rebels in Libya made it look as though Gaddafi would be the next Arab domino to topple.

Feb 22, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi fights for survival

LONDON (Reuters) – With his penchant for bedouin tents and heavily armed female bodyguards, along with a readiness to execute his opponents, Muammar Gaddafi has cut a disturbing figure as Libya’s leader for more than 40 years.

For most of that time he held a prominent position in the West’s international rogues’ gallery, while maintaining tight control at home by eliminating dissidents and refusing to annoint a successor.

Feb 18, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi feels ripples of change

LONDON (Reuters) – With his penchant for Bedouin tents, heavily armed female bodyguards and Ukrainian nurses, Muammar Gaddafi has cut a showman like figure as Libya’s leader for more than 40 years.

For most that time he also held a prominent position in the West’s international rogues’ gallery.

Jun 23, 2010
via Africa News blog

Africa takes the stage in London

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Africa is providing a lot of fine material for the London theatre these days.

A rare outing for Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman was a highlight at the National last year. This was followed, also at the National, by Matt Charman’s The Observer,  which unpicked preparations for an election in an unnamed African nation.

More recently, Lynn Nottage’s excellent Ruined, which dealt with tough themes relating to women’s lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has just finished an acclaimed run at the Almeida in Islington.

Mar 1, 2010
via Africa News blog

What’s in a name?

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My colleague Emma Farge has blogged  on the confusion that arose in oil markets after reports of a coup in Niger caused erroneous rumours that last month’s military takeover had taken place in Nigeria, a similar-sounding country with its own history of  interventions by the men in uniform.

This is not the first time the confusion has arisen. During my time as a correspondent in Lagos in the 1980s, a report appeared on the front page of a local newspaper saying Nigeria had rescheduled its foreign debt, an important issue at the time and a story I certainly did not want to miss.

Sep 22, 2009
via Africa News blog

Some questions about al-Shabaab

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          Have the Islamists started to go too far in Somalia?The reaction among ordinary Somalis to an al-Shabaab car bomb attack on African Union peacemakers last week may be instructive.The attack was billed as an act of revenge against America for a commando raid carried out a few days earlier by U.S. troops, who killed one of the most wanted al Qaeda men in Africa.Seventeen of the peacemakers, all Africans, were killed. So too were a number of Somalis who had gone to the peacekeepers’ base for medical attention. At least 19 Somalis died in shelling that followed the car bomb attack.”Bombing Somali Muslims because of a dead foreign terrorist is totally ungodly andinhumane,” businesswoman Asha Farah told Reuters after the al Shabaab attack. “I can only say that al Shabaab are mad.”Her view reflected that of many Somalis that Reuters correspondents spoke to in the capital, Mogadishu.Will any of this make a difference to a group that has already conducted executions and punishment amputations and which shows no sign of letting up in its fight to oust the transitional government?That remains to be seen, but it is perhaps worth remembering that both in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, al Qaeda lost a lot of  ground when they began killing innocent Muslims during their attacks on Westerners.There is certainly frustration among Somalis, who feel that al Shabaab is misinterpreting Islam and using religion to justify criminal acts in what is after all a traditionally moderate Muslim society.Most Somalis are not in a position to take the initiative against al Shabaab — but if a real international force took the fight to them in Mogadishu and elsewhere, it could find it had more support on the ground than expected.