Entries in North Africa (4)


Former Gen. Cartwright Says US Should Be Wary of North Africa

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While John Kerry is making Syria the focus of his first international trip, the newly-minted secretary of state has likely already discovered that Syria is only one among many volatile situations around the world.

From the “genocidal type” war in Syria to the growing presence of al Qaeda affiliates in Northern Africa, former Gen. James Cartwright tells the ABC News/Yahoo! series On the Radar that he’s concerned about the growing number of potentially volatile regions around the world.

“They're spreading rather than consolidating,” the retired general says of the dangerous areas around the world, known as hotspots. “Africa is probably the biggest one that we are…are seeing in the media right now with the Mali challenge, but that's not limited to Mali.”

The growing threat of Africa can be traced in large part to the expansion of al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups such as al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) — the group behind the recent hostage situation at a natural gas facility in Algeria. Cartwright says the threat posed by offspring al Qaeda groups in Africa shouldn’t be underestimated.

“It's got the same potential to be as violent, certainly, as what we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, with even less governance than what they had in Afghanistan and Iraq,” says Cartwright of North Africa.
As for the Middle East, Gen. Cartwright warns that the continued civil war in Syria, which he describes as “genocidal type activity,” poses a long-term strategic threat to the security of the region.

“The longer this goes on, the less likely, or the longer it's going to take to recover from it. And that's probably more worrisome than anything else,” says Cartwright. “You're going to have a Syria which sits in a very strategic position basically in a condition of disruption for tens of years.”

To hear more about the greatest threats Gen. Cartwright identifies to international security, including how soon he thinks Iran could have a nuclear weapon, check out this week’s On the Radar, an ABC/Yahoo! News series.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama to Speak on U.S. Role in Arab World's Political Transition

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, President Obama will try to convince the Arab world that the U.S. wants to shift its engagement in the region from a military one to a political and economic engagement that will help the people of the region realize their dreams.

"Having wound down the Iraq war and continuing to do so, and having taken out Osama bin Laden, we are beginning to turn the page to a more positive and hopeful future for U.S. policy in the region," a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday.

Officials say the president will likely make clear the administration's intentions to support democracy in the Middle East and North African region while centering on nonviolence, support for human rights, support for political reform and support for economic reform.

Obama will also speak about economic development as "a way of reinforcing democratic transition," the official said Wednesday. Additionally, he'll announce a series of economic initiatives focusing on Tunisia and Egypt, both of which the official says have already "begun their transitions."  The hope for these initiatives would be that other countries in the region will see progress in Tunisia and Egypt enough to adopt these reforms as well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney on Libya, Syria: 'Not All World Leaders Share Common Interests'

James Devaney/WireImage(LAS VEGAS) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says that recent political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa could be either “one of the worst things to happen in the last 50 years” or “one of the most positive developments.”

Speaking before the Republican Jewish Coalition, a Washington, DC-based interest group, on Saturday, the likely GOP presidential candidate did not specifically weigh in on American involvement in Libya, but accused President Obama of failing to understand “that not all the leaders of the world have common interests” with the United States.

He pronounced himself “distressed” by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent use of the word “reformer” to describe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are not like them, and we don't have common interests with them,” Romney said, referring to oppressive leaders around the globe. “We have common interests with people who seek and love freedom.”

Romney’s speech was part of a two-day pre-campaign swing through Nevada, an early state on the presidential nominating calendar. It was also his first major public address in nearly a month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gadhafi Makes Bizarre Speech as Turmoil Grows Feverish

Photo Courtesy - Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- Colonel Gadhafi's grip of power seemed to slip further Thursday as opposition forces called for greater turn-out and the army reacted in violent desperation.

The embattled Libyan dictator gave a bizarre speech by phone Thursday, claiming the revolt was the work of Osama bin Laden and that the rebellious youth had been given hallucinogens. He rambled that the Queen of England has ruled longer than him and yet no one has ever asked her to step down. The speech was often incomprehensible.

Gadhafi's defense of his government came amid reports that his army of African mercenaries has begun to strike back at protesters, using an anti-aircraft gun to blast the minaret off a mosque where opposition demonstrators had sheltered and attacking the protesters with automatic weapons.

President Obama on Wednesday joined other world leaders in condemning this week's violent government crackdown on Libyan protesters who have held firm in their efforts to oust Gadhafi as he struggles to maintain power.

More video has emerged of Gadhafi's forces firing on protesters from helicopter gunships, and a fighter jet dropping bombs. Human rights groups say they've confirmed 300 deaths.

Witnesses said the number could be as high as 1,000.

President Obama said the United States is preparing a full range of options to respond to the crisis, including no-fly zones to prevent attacks and proposals for oil companies to stop operations in the world's 12th-largest oil exporter.

Meanwhile, thousands of foreigners, including hundreds of Americans, are being evacuated from Libya. Americans trying to leave aboard a ferry that was supposed to depart for the island of Malta were delayed by bad weather.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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