Introducing “Hotel Africa,” new book on African politics

Hotel Africa: the politics of escape presents an alternative way of looking at sub-Saharan Africa: a perspective that counters the usual media images of disaster, disease and mayhem. Far too often, Americans visiting Africa claim to meet only the sick, the murderous and the starving. Or they meet sick starving Africans murdering each other.

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Libya and its militias: Who’s in charge?

THE jihadist militia known as Ansar al-Sharia that was blamed for the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11th that led to the death of the American ambassador was smashed ten days later at the behest of a surging crowd of angry citizens who marched on its base and forced its members to flee. At least 11 people were killed in the fracas. But that is by no means the end of the matter.A newly elected proto-parliament, known as the general national congress, had elected a prime minister, Mustafa Abushagur, the day after the ambassador’s murder.

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Iran: Behind the rants, uncertainty grows

Ready for the second coming FOR Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, the annual session of the UN’s General Assembly in New York is an opportunity to forget domestic burdens and to shine, however bizarrely, on the world stage. Even before he addressed the assembly, he had created his usual rumpus on his arrival in the United States—by calling homosexuality “ugly”, denying the Holocaust, and describing Israel as a mere “disturbance” in Middle East history that would be “eliminated”. Moreover, he breezily dismissed the recent flurry of speculation that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the American presidential election in November.A few days later, in his actual speech to the UN, he blasted “the uncivilised Zionists” for “intimidating” Iran.

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Egypt and Gaza: A honeymoon that wasn’t

ABOVE Gaza’s parliament hangs a tableau of two smiling Islamist leaders. Muhammad Morsi, the new president of Egypt, and Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the neighbouring Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, the Palestinians’ dominant Islamist movement. The two men are raising their hands together, hailing a regional dawn against a backdrop of Cairo’s pyramids.

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Nigeria’s crisis: A threat to the entire country

LOUDSPEAKERS at the governor’s mansion in Kano come to life every Friday with the voice of an imam, summoning hundreds of officials to take small mats to the car park and line them up on the tarmac to pray. They used to visit a local mosque but no longer feel safe enough to venture outside a Baghdad-style green zone. Nearby streets are blocked with man-high barriers; entry is via a few well-run checkpoints where even residents must show documents to reach homes protected by walls topped with razor wire.

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West Africa: Ban Warns of ‘Perfect Storm’ of Crises Confronting Sahel

[UN]New York -United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for urgent international support for the people and governments of West Africa’s Sahel region, warning that the area is at a critical juncture with 18 million people affected by a severe food crisis.

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