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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 24th of January 2020
 
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Africa

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Macro Thoughts

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Repo support has three parts. ON repo (blue) Term repo (orange) T-Bills bought (red) @biancoresearch
Africa


Very little support as disappeared since Dec31.  And with the Fed
saying they will keep adding T-Bills until Q2, and no penalty rate for
Fed repo, the peak in support is probably to come.

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20 OCT 14 :: it is about its 'escape velocity' viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics. EBOLA #coronavirus #WuhanCoronavirus
Law & Politics


“It is a numbers game, the more cases you have the more likely there
are going to be mutations that could change the virus in a significant
way,” said David Sanders, a professor of biological sciences at Purdue
University who studies Ebola.
“The more it persists, the more likely we are going to be thrown a curve.”

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only explanation left is artificial DNA modification, possibly by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which since 2007 has collected samples from thousands of bats across the country and done genetic experiments with them. #WuhanCoronavirus
Law & Politics


Wuhan pneumonia virus ≡ Bat SARS-like coronavirus
Head of fauna at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Dr. Gary Ades
(2020), an expert in bat ecology, is adamant that the possibility of
bats transmitting their coronavirus to humans is close to zero. But
Wuhan's novel coronavirus is capable of transmission between humans.
And the envelope protein of Wuhan seafood market pneumonia virus
(QHD43418.1) & that of Bat SARS-like coronavirus (AVP78033.1) are 100%
identical, based on the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) of
NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National
Library of Medicine). NCBI itself (note 1) has noted the close
connection between the 2 viruses. It follows that the bat virus has
undergone genetic change (either artificial or natural). Yet it is
almost impossible for envelope protein to remain unaltered after
natural mutation. So the only explanation left is artificial genetic
modification.
Wuhan P4 lab to Research Most Dangerous Pathogens It was after the
2003 SARS that China began to plan the building of the Wuhan
bio-safety level four (BSL-4) laboratory of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences (CAS) or the Wuhan P4 lab in the Jiangxia district of the
city, and the lab was inaugurated in 2018. According to CAS itself,
the lab was built precisely to look into the most dangerous pathogens
like the novel Coronavirus and conduct research on them. Towards the
end of 2019, the mystery virus first popped up in Wuhan.

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A New Definition of Warfare Sanctions can be more deadly than bullets @philipgiraldi
Law & Politics


Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not
started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack
of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated
evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem
Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced
troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also
increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks
worldwide. Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a
tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for
a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or
authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war
itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of
narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the
imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of
“extreme pressure” on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to
make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against
their governments and bring about “regime change.” In Pompeo’s twisted
reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again
become “normal countries.” The sanctions can kill. Those imposed by
the United States are backed up by the U.S. Treasury which is able to
block cash transfers going through the dollar denominated
international banking system. Banks that do not comply with America’s
imposed rules can themselves be sanctioned, meaning that U.S.
sanctions are de facto globally applicable, even if foreign banks and
governments do not agree with the policies that drive them. It is well
documented how sanctions that have an impact on the importation of
medicines have killed thousands of Iranians. In Venezuela, the effect
of sanctions has been starvation as food imports have been blocked,
forcing a large part of the population to flee the country just to
survive. The latest exercise of United States economic warfare has
been directed against Iraq. In the space of one week from December
29th to January 3rd, the American military, which operates out of two
major bases in Iraq, killed 25 Iraqi militiamen who were part of the
Popular Mobilization Units of the Iraqi Army. The militiamen had most
recently been engaged in the successful fight against ISIS. It
followed up on that attack by killing Soleimani, Iraqi militia general
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iraqis in a drone strike near
Baghdad International Airport. As the attacks were not approved in any
way by the Iraqi government, it was no surprise that rioting followed
and the Iraqi Parliament voted to remove all foreign troops from its
soil. The decree was signed off on by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi,
based on the fact that the U.S. military was in Iraq at the invitation
of the country’s government and that invitation had just been revoked
by parliament. That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable
to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003. The persistence of U.S.
forces in the country is ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS,
but the real reason is to serve as a check on Iranian influence in
Iraq, which is a strategic demand made by Israel and not responsive to
any actual American interest. Indeed, the Iraqi government is probably
closer politically to Tehran than to Washington, though the neocon
line that the country is dominated by the Iranians is far from true.
Washington’s response to the legitimate Iraqi demand that its troops
should be removed consisted of threats. When Prime Minister Mahdi
spoke with Pompeo on the phone and asked for discussions and a time
table to create a “withdrawal mechanism” the Secretary of State made
it clear that there would be no negotiations. A State Department
written response entitled “The U.S. Continued Partnership with Iraq”
asserted that American troops are in Iraq to serve as a “force for
good” in the Middle East and that it is “our right” to maintain
“appropriate force posture” in the region. The Iraqi position also
immediately produced presidential threats and tweets about “sanctions
like they have never seen,” with the implication that the U.S. was
more than willing to wreck the Iraqi economy if it did not get its
way. The latest threat to emerge involves blocking Iraq access to its
New York federal reserve bank account, where international oil sale
revenue is kept, creating a devastating cash crunch in Iraq’s
financial system that might indeed destroy the Iraqi economy. If
taking steps to ruin a country economically is not considered warfare
by other means it is difficult to discern what might fit that
description. After dealing with Iraq, the Trump Administration turned
its guns on one of its oldest and closest allies. Great Britain, like
most of the other European signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive
Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reluctant to withdraw from the
agreement over concern that Iran will as a result decide to develop
nuclear weapons. According to the Guardian, a United States
representative from the National Security Council named Richard
Goldberg, had visited London recently to make clear to the British
government that if it does not follow the American lead and withdraw
from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions it just might be difficult to
work out a trade agreement with Washington post-Brexit. It is a
significant threat as part of the pro-Brexit vote clearly was derived
from a Trump pledge to make up for some of the anticipated decline in
European trade by increasing U.K. access to the U.S. market. Now the
quid pro quo is clear: Britain, which normally does in fact follow the
Washington lead in foreign policy, will now be expected to be
completely on board all of the time and everywhere, particularly in
the Middle East.
During his visit, Goldberg told the BBC: “The question for prime
minister Johnson is: ‘As you are moving towards Brexit … what are you
going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a
free-trade agreement with the United States?’ It’s absolutely in
[your] interests and the people of Great Britain’s interests to join
with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign
policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign
to keep all of us safe.”
And there is an interesting back story on Richard Goldberg, a John
Bolton protégé anti-Iran hardliner, who threatened the British on
behalf of Trump. James Carden, writing at The Nation, posits “Consider
the following scenario: A Washington, DC–based, tax-exempt
organization that bills itself as a think tank dedicated to the
enhancement of a foreign country’s reputation within the United
States, funded by billionaires closely aligned with said foreign
country, has one of its high-ranking operatives (often referred to as
‘fellows’) embedded within the White House national security staff in
order to further the oft-stated agenda of his home organization,
which, as it happens, is also paying his salary during his year-long
stint there. As it happens, this is exactly what the pro-Israel think
tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) reportedly
achieved in an arrangement brokered by former Trump national security
adviser John Bolton.”
The FDD senior adviser in question, who was placed on the National
Security Council, was Richard Goldberg. FDD is largely funded by
Jewish American billionaires including vulture fund capitalist Paul
Singer and Home Depot partner Bernard Marcus. Its officers meet
regularly with Israeli government officials and the organization is
best known for its unrelenting effort to bring about war with Iran. It
has relentlessly pushed for a recklessly militaristic U.S. policy
directed against Iran and also more generally in the Middle East. It
is a reliable mouthpiece for Israel and, inevitably, it has never been
required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of
1938. To be sure, Trump also has other neocons advising him on Iran,
including David Wurmser, another Bolton associate, who has the
president’s ear and is a consultant to the National Security Council.
Wurmser has recently submitted a series of memos to the White House
advocating a policy of “regime disruption” with the Islamic Republic
that will destabilize it and eventually lead to a change of
government. He may have played a key role in giving the green light to
the assassination of Soleimani. The good news, if there is any, is
that Goldberg resigned on January 3rd, allegedly because the war
against Iran was not developing fast enough to suit him and FDD, but
he is symptomatic of the many neoconservative hawks who have
infiltrated the Trump Administration at secondary and tertiary levels,
where much of the development and implementation of policy actually
takes place. It also explains that when it comes to Iran and the
irrational continuation of a significant U.S. military presence in the
Middle East, it is Israel and its Lobby that are steering the ship of
state.

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13-JAN-2020 :: 2020 Opens with a Bang.
Law & Politics


There was perhaps no Soleimani threat (at least nothing new). And
there was no need for it. Trump borrowed an old Persian trick: put the
head of a horse in the enemy’s bed. @nntaleb tweeted.
There is this formidable scene in the Godfather when a Hollywood
executive wakes up with the bloody severed head of a horse in his bed,
his cherished race horse.
He had refused to hire a Sicilian American actor for reasons that
appeared iniquitous, as while he knew the latter was the best for the
role, he was resentful of the “olive oil voice” that charmed one of
his past mistresses and fearful of its powers to seduce future ones.
its been very cinematic and stream of consciousness in 2020.
Federico Pieraccini writes in an article captioned ‘’The Deeper Story
Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani’’
Iraqi prime minister, Adil Ab- dul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his
interactions with Trump. He tried to explain several times on live
television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi
members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to
engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security
personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi
operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014.This
is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to
undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to
ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to
unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.
Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called
again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he
would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and
security personnel alike in order to pressure me.
The Wall Street Journal reported The Trump administration warned Iraq
that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if
Baghdad kicks out American forces following the U.S. airstrike that
killed a top Iranian general, according to Iraqi officials.
The State Department warned that the U.S. could shut down Iraq’s
access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, a move that could jolt Iraq’s already shaky
economy, the officials said.
Iraq, like other countries, maintains government accounts at the New
York Fed as an important part of managing the country’s finances,
including revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could
restrict Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a cash crunch in Iraq’s
financial system and constricting a critical lubricant for the
economy.
The warning regarding the Iraqi central bank account was conveyed to
Iraq’s prime minister in a call on Wednesday, according to an official
in his office, that also touched on the overall military, political
and financial partnership between the two countries.
“The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi]
economy,” said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee
Securities.

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06-JAN-2020 :: The Assassination (The Escalation of 'Shadow War')
Law & Politics


At the beginning of From Russia With Love (the movie not the book),
Kronsteenn is summoned to Blofeld’s lair to discuss the plot to steal
the super-secret ‘Lektor De- coder’ and kill Bond.
Kronsteen out- lines to Blofeld his play Blofeld [read Trump]:
Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof?
Kronsteen [read Pompeo]: Yes it is because I have anticipated every
possible variation of counter-move.

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US plotting return of 'strongman' in Iraq @BhadraPunchline
Law & Politics


Al-Muhandis was the master craftsman who created the PMF, under the
direct watch of Soleimani. Iran will find it impossible to recreate
the leadership these two titanic figures gave to the Resistance front
in Iraq. Will the PMF remain a powerful political faction or become
prey to predatory forces in the uncertain times ahead? In the absence
of an effective central command, contentious succession battles may
even erupt between Iran-aligned groups within PMF and al-Sadr’s bloc.

In the chaotic situation that is developing in Iraq, it seems
impossible for Iraqi politics to return to the status quo. This also
seems to be the hidden US agenda.

There is growing risk that the meltdown of the Iraqi state can also
lead to a replay of history. It was similar chaotic conditions that
led to the Ramadan Revolution in February 1963 (the military coup by
the Ba’ath Party’s Iraqi Wing), which was allegedly supported by the
US Central Intelligence Agency. Trump will be undoubtedly pleased with
such an outcome.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1052
Dollar Index 97.718
Japan Yen 109.58
Swiss Franc 0.9698
Pound 1.3122
Aussie 0.6849
India Rupee 71.282
South Korea Won 1167.64
Brazil Real 4.1706
Egypt Pound 15.7671
South Africa Rand 14.3607

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Gold Chart 1558.90
Commodities


Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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Isabel dos Santos: Banker found dead in Lisbon BBC
Africa


A banker implicated in the embezzlement and money-laundering case
against Africa's richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, has been found dead
in Lisbon.
Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha managed the account of oil firm Sonangol,
formerly chaired by Ms Dos Santos, at the small Portuguese lender
EuroBic.
His death, on Wednesday, was reported on Thursday soon after Angolan
prosecutors named both as suspects.
Ms Dos Santos denies alleged corruption revealed by leaked documents.
Mr Da Cunha was found dead at one of his properties in Lisbon.
A police source told Portuguese media that "everything points to suicide".
Africa's richest woman 'ripped off her country'
Isabel dos Santos eyes Angolan presidency
On Wednesday EuroBic said it would end its business relationship with
Ms Dos Santos, who is reportedly the bank's main shareholder through
two companies she owns.
It was later reported as saying that Ms Dos Santos was selling her
capital stake in the bank.

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LIBYA Life as a client state looms @Africa_Conf
Africa


As the US leaves the scene, Russia and Turkey may be about to carve up
the country between them
Whether General Khalifa Haftar will this year enter Tripoli in triumph
– which he continually predicted for most of last year – is in doubt
now that Libya's future is in the hands of foreign powers, especially
Turkey and Russia.
Neither Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) militia nor
its adversaries in the United Nations-recognised Government of
National Accord (GNA) led by? Faiez el Serraj are set to chart the
country's foreseeable future.?

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ETHIOPIA Regime reality check The poster child for the new Africa, Abiy Ahmed, faces tricky elections and more strident calls for local power-sharing @Africa_Conf
Africa


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his fresh-faced Prosperity Party (PP)
are set for a tough struggle in elections despite domestic acclaim and
enthusiastic international support, including the 2019 Nobel Peace
Prize.
The process leading up to the national vote, already pushed
tentatively to August from May, which was optimistic, is more likely
to be violent and inconclusive than peaceful and clarifying for
Ethiopia and Abiy, the West’s latest darling in Africa.

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Tshisekedi cannot convert his multiple exhortations into action by the government without the FCC's consent - exactly as Kabila intended. @Africa_Conf
Africa


There has to be more in it for Tshisekedi’s camp followers if his
uneasy partnership with the former president is to survive

The coalition of the Cap pour le changement (CACH) alliance, led by
President Félix Tshisekedi, and ex-President Joseph Kabila's Front
commun pour le Congo (FCC) is unhappy and unharmonious. Yet both still
need each other. The FCC dominates the government and controls the
National Assembly, the Senate, most provincial parliaments and
governorships, as well as the leadership of the main state-owned
enterprises (SOEs). Within these restraints, Tshisekedi cannot convert
his multiple exhortations into action by the government without the
FCC's consent – exactly as Kabila intended.

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BRIEFING 150 Averting Proxy Wars in the Eastern DR Congo and Great Lakes @CrisisGroup
Africa


What’s new? Tensions are mounting in Africa’s Great Lakes region among
Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, all of which allegedly back insurgents
based in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
At the same time, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi is considering
inviting these countries into the DRC to fight groups they
respectively oppose.
Why does it matter? Given their growing animosity, these three
countries, if invited into the DRC, could escalate support to allied
militias while targeting enemies.
The DRC’s neighbours have historically used militias operating there
against one another. A new proxy struggle could further destabilise
the DRC and even provoke a full-blown regional security crisis.
What should be done? Instead of involving neighbours in military
operations, Tshisekedi should redouble his diplomatic efforts to ease
regional frictions, building on a recent joint DRC-Angolan initiative
and drawing on the UN, U.S., UK and France for support.
I.
Overview
Intensifying hostility among states in the Great Lakes threatens a
return to the regional wars that tore that region apart in previous
decades. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, accuses Burundi and Uganda
of backing Rwandan rebels active in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s
(DRC) North and South Kivu provinces and threatens to retaliate for
those groups’ attacks on his country. In turn, Burundi and Uganda
assert that Rwanda supports Burundian and Ugandan rebels in the DRC.
At the same time, the DRC’s new president, Félix Tshisekedi, has
floated plans to invite Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to conduct joint
military operations with DRC troops against insurgents sheltering in
his country, a risky policy that could fuel proxy conflicts. Instead,
Tshisekedi should prioritise the diplomatic track he has also
launched, together with Angolan President João Lourenço, to calm
tensions among his neighbours. The UN and Western governments,
particularly those of the U.S., UK, and France should throw their
weight behind his efforts.
Tensions between Rwanda and its two neighbours, Burundi and Uganda,
have escalated over the past two years. In November 2019, Kagame,
openly threatened to retaliate against his neighbours after an October
2019 raid in Rwanda by a North Kivu-based militia that he alleges is
supported by Burundi and Uganda. For its part, Burundi claims that
Rwanda backs Burundian rebels, based in South Kivu, that it asserts
are behind recent attacks in Burundi. The Burundian and Rwandan
governments have deployed troops to their mutual border. Kagame’s
longstanding rivalry with his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni,
has also taken a turn for the worse, with the latter accusing the
former of backing DRC-based insurgents against Kampala. Both leaders
have purged their security forces of officials perceived as too
closely tied to the other, Rwanda has closed the main Rwanda-Uganda
border crossing and Uganda has deployed troops to the DRC border.
Mounting distrust among the DRC’s neighbours carries grave risks for
the DRC, given how their rivalries have historically played out in
that country.
Tshisekedi, in office for barely a year, has put a welcome premium on
diplomacy to ease tensions. Together with Lourenço, he facilitated
discussions in July 2019 between the Rwandan and Ugandan presidents in
Luanda. Tshisekedi has also worked to improve DRC’s relations with
Rwanda. At the same time, however, he has pursued a plan under which
Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda would conduct military operations, under
the DRC army’s authority, against insurgencies sheltering in his
country. This policy risks fuelling proxy conflicts in the DRC.
Instead, the Congolese president should reinvigorate his diplomatic
track, bringing in Burundi as well as Rwanda and Uganda. He should
invite the UN’s special envoy for the Great Lakes to oversee
tripartite talks aimed at easing hostilities. The UN envoy should
encourage Burundian, Rwandan and Ugandan officials to share evidence
of their rivals’ support for insurgents in the DRC as a first step
toward a roadmap for the withdrawal of that backing. The U.S., UK and
France should use their long-time influence in the Great Lakes to
press for de-escalation.
II.
President Kagame Rattles the Sabre as Regional Tensions Mount
On 14 November 2019, Rwandan President Paul Kagame gave a blistering
speech in Kigali, insinuating that Rwanda’s neighbours were sponsoring
cross-border attacks. Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony for ministers
and military officials, and visibly agitated, Kagame addressed Rwandan
members of parliament in both English and his native Kinyarwanda. The
country has been stable, he said, since his military takeover ended
the 1994 genocide, but its security is once again in peril, this time
from outside its borders. The president did not name those at fault,
but his message was clear: Rwanda’s neighbours were undermining the
country’s security and he was prepared to retaliate if need be. “The
noises being made, from neighbouring countries … there is not much
that I can do about it”, he said. “But anything crossing our border
and coming here to destabilise us … we have proven that we can deal
with it. We will put you back where you belong. There is no question
about it”.
Kagame’s speech came shortly after an attack on Rwanda launched from
the eastern DRC. On 4 October, DRC-based fighters killed fourteen
people in Kinigi village, a hub for mountain gorilla tourism in
Rwanda’s Musanze district. Rwandan officials and regional intelligence
sources attribute the strike to the Forces démocratiques de libération
du Rwanda (FDLR), a remnant of the Rwandan Hutu militia that massacred
much of the Tutsi minority and many moderate Hutu during the genocide.
Mounting evidence points to an alliance between the FDLR and the
Rwanda National Congress (RNC) rebels.  The RNC, also based in the
DRC, is led by Tutsi defectors from Kagame’s government, allegedly
including Kayumba Nyamwasa, who once was one of Kagame’s most trusted
generals but now is exiled in South Africa. Kagame’s speech was a
reaction to the Kinigi attack and escalating tensions between Rwanda
and two neighbours, Burundi and Uganda. Kigali suspects both of
sponsoring Rwandan rebels, including the FDLR and RNC, in the eastern
DRC. Rwandan officials say they have evidence of recent Ugandan
support to the FDLR, whose fighters are concentrated in the DRC’s
North Kivu province.  They accuse Uganda and Burundi of backing the
RNC. Since 2017, RNC fighters have been based in strongholds on the
remote plateau of South Kivu province, where they have allied with
Congolese Banyamulenge Tutsi militiamen hostile to the Congolese army
and Rwanda. Rwandan and DRC officials, as well as local sources, say
some RNC fighters have moved from those areas to join up with FDLR
units in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu, an area close to the
Rwandan and Ugandan borders from which the attacks on Kinigi appear to
have emanated. Rwandan authorities believe that Burundian intelligence
officials and the Imbonerakure, the Burundian ruling-party youth
militia, are embedded with RNC forces.
As Rwanda faces a mounting threat on its western flank, it is also
concerned by recent attacks on its southern border with Burundi.
Rwandan and DRC intelligence officials report that Burundi hosts FDLR
splinter elements from South Kivu, which it has deployed to its border
with Rwanda.  In December 2018, assailants coming from Burundi
launched an attack in the Nyungwe forest in south-western Rwanda,
another tourist attraction and a popular weekend destination for
Kigali residents. The attackers killed two Rwandan civilians and
injured another eight.  The Rwandan army has since saturated Nyungwe,
aiming to reinforce its positions and reassure Rwandans and foreign
diplomats alike that the forest is safe to visit.  Following the
attacks, Kagame resurrected an internal security ministry that he
disbanded two years ago, appointing a former chief of defence as its
head.
Authorities in Kigali point to the April 2019 arrest of Rwandan rebel
Callixte Nsabimana to bolster their accusations of outside
interference. Nsabimana, arrested by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau,
a crime-fighting body, is a former RNC member who later became
spokesperson of the National Liberation Forces, the armed wing of
another Rwandan opposition group, the Mouvement rwandais pour le
Changement démocratique (MRCD), which partly comprises FDLR splinter
elements. During his trial, he pleaded guilty to ordering the Nyungwe
attack and admitted receiving support from Burundi and Uganda.  The
MRCD, however, suggested in a press release that Rwandan intelligence
obtained Nsabimana’s confession through coercion.
UN reports partially support Kigali’s claims of Burundian and Ugandan
ties to Kagame’s armed rivals. In December 2018, the UN Group of
Experts on the DRC, which reports to the Security Council, concluded
that the P5, a group of Rwandan opposition factions including the RNC,
were working with rebels in the DRC with the aim of toppling Kagame’s
government. The experts reported that the P5 received weapons and
other support from Bujumbura, a claim Burundian authorities denied.
In the same month, two prominent FDLR members, the group’s
spokesperson Ignace Nkaka, known as La Forge, and its deputy
intelligence officer Jean-Pierre Nsekanabo, were arrested at
Bunangana, North Kivu, on the DRC-Uganda border. Both men were
extradited to Kigali via Kinshasa. Interviewed by officials of the UN
mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) in the Congolese capital before their
extradition, they said they had met RNC members and a Ugandan minister
in Kampala.  A Ugandan official admitted to Crisis Group that the
minister may have met La Forge and Nsekanabo, but in a private
capacity.
For their part, Burundian officials accuse Kigali of supporting the
South Kivu-based Burundian rebel group, RED-Tabara, a claim that
Rwanda rejects.  Founded in 2011, RED-Tabara is reportedly led by
Alexis Sinduhije, a Tutsi opponent of the Hutu-dominated Burundian
government whom the U.S. has sanctioned since 2015 for instigating
“armed rebellion”.  On 22 October – two and a half weeks after the
Kinigi attacks – RED-Tabara clashed with security forces in Musigati,
Burundi, leaving at least a dozen dead on each side of the border;
RED-Tabara acknowledged that it attacked first.  On 16 November,
assailants launched another assault on a Burundian military position.
At least eight Burundian soldiers died in the firefight ten kilometres
from the Rwandan border in the Burundian commune of Mabayi, Cibitoke
province, and dozens more are missing.  RED-Tabara has neither
confirmed nor denied responsibility. On 6 December, Burundian
President Pierre Nkurunziza accused Rwanda of staging the “cowardly”
attack, a claim repudiated by Rwandan officials.
These attacks come as political tensions heat up in Burundi ahead of
elections scheduled for May 2020. As Nkurunziza increasingly depends
on the Imbonerakure to repress political opponents, Rwanda points to
the youth militia’s growing presence in the eastern DRC, including
within RNC ranks.  One Burundian official stated that if indeed
Imbonerakure units have been deployed in South Kivu, then that would
be a defensive move, given Rwanda’s alleged backing of the attempted
coup against Nkurunziza in 2015 and the subsequent flight of some
putschists into South Kivu.  The official noted that Nkurunziza is
determined to forestall any attempt by Burundian rebels to draw on
Rwandan support and attack the country in the run-up to elections.
Burundi has also reinforced military deployments in Cibitoke following
the November attack.
III.
Rwanda’s Dangerous Rivalry with Uganda
the rivalry between Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has
long been among the gravest contributors to instability in the Great
Lakes region. Animosity between the two men has sharpened dramatically
in the last two years.
Competition between Rwanda and Uganda traditionally has played out
mostly in the DRC, where both have sought to win influence and control
turf. During the 1998-2003 inter-Congolese war, the two countries
backed competing rebel factions in the eastern DRC and deployed their
own forces into the country, with Rwandan and Ugandan troops battling
for the city of Kisangani in 2000. After the war, rebel leaders
supported by Kigali or Kampala won positions in Joseph Kabila’s
transitional government, as their respective fighters were formally
integrated into the national army.  Informally, however, rebel leaders
retained some foreign ties and their command of former fighters within
and outside the army.
Rwanda and Uganda have both backed rebellions in the DRC in the past
twelve years. The first, in 2008, was led by the Congrès national pour
la défense du peuple (CNDP), whose leader, Laurent Nkunda, was a
Congolese Tutsi warlord who had been integrated into the Congolese
army. UN investigators subsequently revealed Kigali’s backing for
Nkunda’s forces, prompting Rwanda to withdraw its support and arrest
Nkunda, who had retreated into Rwandan territory when his rebellion
ended, largely due to the withdrawal of Rwanda’s support in the face
of international pressure.  Kabila, then the Congolese president,
again integrated many rebels into the army; elite army units that
Kabila subsequently deployed to the hardest-hit conflict zones in the
country often comprised former CNDP fighters.  In 2012, some ex-CNDP
units that had integrated into the army broke away, forming the M23
rebel group. This time, Rwanda and Uganda both backed the rebels.
When Congolese and UN forces defeated the M23 in 2013, followers of
one M23 leader, Bosco Ntaganda, fled to and surrendered in Rwanda,
while many of those still loyal in spirit to the arrested Nkunda
surrendered to Uganda.
Over the past two years, former M23 fighters from both factions have
returned to the DRC, fuelling animosity between Rwanda and Uganda. In
the run-up to the DRC’s 2018 elections, fighters began infiltrating
back and embedding themselves in local conflicts in the eastern DRC.
Those hosted by Uganda accused their former comrades who had been in
Rwanda of being Kigali’s puppets – and vice versa.  UN officials point
out that Uganda has allowed the majority of the cohort of more than
1,300 former Congolese M23 rebels who had surrendered to Kampala to
leave a military camp near the Ugandan town of Bihanga where they were
housed.  Some have turned up in hotspots in eastern Congo over the
last two years. Although Kigali was once the M23’s main backer,
because this faction surrendered to Uganda, Rwandan intelligence
officials believe that Kampala is now dispatching them on its own
errands.
Moreover, representatives of Congolese insurgent groups, including
ex-M23 cadres, operate freely in Kampala and meet regularly with
Ugandan military officials, even as Uganda categorically denies
supporting rebels in the DRC or plotting to destabilise either that
country or Rwanda.  These representatives travel back and forth to
North Kivu and the troubled Ituri province in the eastern DRC.
Ugandan officials say they are aware of the presence of armed group
representatives and ex-M23 fighters in Uganda, but can only take
action against those for whom they have evidence of involvement in
plots to destabilise the region.  Rwandan officials argue that Ugandan
officials simply turn a blind eye to armed groups’ activities and that
the RNC itself recruits freely in Uganda.
For their part, Ugandan officials accuse Rwanda of supporting the
Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel movement active in the
eastern DRC.  No independent body has verified the charge, but the
accusations in themselves add to tensions. Uganda has beefed up border
patrols and deployed the Mountain Brigade, a special army unit, to the
Rwenzori mountains at the DRC-Uganda border, looking out over DRC
territory that has been at the epicentre of ADF activity over the last
few years.
Kigali and Kampala have both taken other steps that have contributed
to escalating friction. Presidents Kagame and Museveni have purged
their security services of officials seen as too closely linked to the
other country.  Ugandan authorities even arrested the country’s former
chief of police, Kale Kayihura, in June 2018, accusing him of working
with other police officers and Rwandan agents between 2012 and 2016 to
kidnap Rwandan dissidents in Uganda and deport them to Rwanda.
Acrimony between the two countries reached a high in February 2019,
when Kigali closed a commercially important border crossing amid
mutual accusations of spying.  In May and November, Rwandan security
forces killed a small number of Ugandans and Rwandans accused of
smuggling, drawing the ire of Ugandan officials who believe that the
shootings were hostile acts between nations.  Uganda has rounded up
Rwandan nationals for detention.
Lastly, Uganda’s role in Burundi has become a point of contention.
Rwandan officials criticise Museveni for his failure as East African
Community mediator of the inter-Burundian dialogue.  They believe that
Museveni has preferred to avoid stepping in forcefully to help resolve
the crisis in the interest of preserving his relations with President
Nkurunziza, whom he needs as an ally against Rwanda.
IV.
Improving Rwandan-DRC Relations
If Rwanda’s relations with Burundi and Uganda are ever more strained,
its ties to the DRC, which in the past have alternated between discord
and détente, have warmed, particularly since President Tshisekedi took
office. But improved Rwanda-DRC relations could carry risks for the
DRC’s new president, potentially creating bad blood between him and
Kampala.
Since the M23 rebellion ended in 2013, Kinshasa and Kigali have
attempted to maintain cordial relations. During his tenure, former
president Kabila made sure that his security services cooperated and
shared intelligence with Kigali.  Rwandan officials sought to
reciprocate, stating in private that they would collaborate with DRC
authorities to neutralise armed groups by covert means.  The UN
investigators’ unearthing in 2008 and 2012 of evidence showing
Kigali’s support for the CNDP and M23 provided further incentive for
Rwanda to demonstrate that it is cooperating. Rwandan officials still
smart from the international outcry that ensued and want to avoid
further accusations of backing rebellions in eastern DRC.
Under President Tshisekedi, Kinshasa has if anything tightened its
embrace of Rwanda. Kinshasa has shown a newfound appetite to take on
the FDLR and some of its splinter groups, which in the past the DRC’s
army has often supported as proxies against Kigali. For example, DRC
military officials say that increased intelligence sharing has
resulted in successful operations against an FDLR splinter group in
South Kivu in late 2019, with hundreds of its fighters and dependents
surrendering and repatriating peacefully to Rwanda in December.
Kinshasa’s closer ties to Kigali ties have reportedly even entailed
the DRC suppressing intelligence that suggests Kigali’s continued
involvement in that country.  In private, some DRC officials say
Rwandan security forces were involved in the killings of the FDLR’s
commander, Sylvestre Mudacumura, in September, and a prominent FDLR
splinter leader, Juvenal Musabimana, in November.  Both died in murky
surprise attacks in Rutshuru territory of North Kivu. But the DRC’s
military authorities, when announcing the deaths, asserted that Rwanda
had played no role.
The DRC authorities’ recent withdrawal of arrest warrants for the
former M23 faction exiled in Rwanda further illustrates Tshisekedi’s
closer relations with Kagame. In a letter to the DRC’s military
prosecutor, the coordinator of the DRC government’s national oversight
mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF), a
2013 regional peace agreement signed by the DRC and other African
governments, stated that ex-M23 combatants should be allowed to return
to the DRC, amnestied and reintegrated into the Congolese army and
bureaucracy, although the order has yet to take effect.  This M23
cohort’s leader, Bosco Ntaganda, was tried and convicted of war crimes
at the International Criminal Court in early November.  The faction
includes perpetrators of some of the worst atrocities that occurred
during the 2012-2013 rebellion. (The status of the larger M23 cohort
that surrendered to Uganda and now moves freely in and out of the
military camp in that country remains unclear, though some also
reportedly hope to receive amnesty and join the army. )
The DRC-Rwanda cooperation is welcome but could provoke Kampala and
Bujumbura to step up support for proxies in the DRC if they perceive
Kinshasa’s alliance with Kigali as threatening their own security.
Absent steps to de-escalate tensions between Rwanda and Uganda, the
DRC’s cooperation with Rwanda could backfire, most likely in the form
of violent competition between Rwanda and Uganda on Congolese turf.
That, in turn, could provoke a popular backlash whipped up by
Congolese politicians who often stir anti-Rwandan and anti-Tutsi
sentiment during periods where Rwanda has supported armed insurgencies
in the country’s east.  Defections could also increase from within the
DRC’s army with some commanders or factions persuaded by Rwanda’s
rivals to take up arms against the government.
Prioritising Dialogue over Military Operations
President Tshisekedi initially sought to use his improved relations
with Rwanda to calm regional tensions. Recognising the danger posed by
the Rwanda-Uganda rivalry, he invited Presidents Kagame and Museveni
together to Luanda for meetings in July 2019 co-hosted by his Angolan
counterpart. The meetings resulted in a memorandum of understanding,
signed on 21 August in Luanda, in which both parties promised to
refrain from “actions conducive to destabilisation or subversion in
the territory of the other party and neighbouring countries”.  In
December, however, Rwandan and Ugandan officials failed to reach
agreement on how to implement the Luanda memorandum and talks
collapsed in acrimony. The disagreement partly owes to Rwandan
accusations of continued Ugandan support to proxies, but another
challenge is that the parties cannot reach agreement on any given
mechanism by which to substantiate allegations of links to armed
groups.
President Tshisekedi’s push for the three neighbours to send troops to
root out rebels from the DRC is a high-stakes gambit.
Meanwhile, Tshisekedi had begun exploring military options.
Reportedly, the Congolese president’s emphasis on such options came
mostly at the behest of President Kagame, who is increasingly
impatient with threats emanating from DRC.  In June, the intelligence
chiefs of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania (an ally of Burundi)
met in Kinshasa to discuss the neutralisation of insurgents in the
DRC’s east. In the following months, military commanders from these
countries, joined by officials from the UN’s mission in the DRC
(MONUSCO) and the U.S. army, attempted to develop battle plans.  In
October, DRC army commanders outlined an arrangement by which
neighbouring countries’ forces would launch offensives, overseen by
the DRC army, against militias on Congolese territory.  But Congolese,
Burundian, Rwandan and Ugandan commanders failed to advance the
proposal at their last meeting, in October 2019, mostly due to
Uganda’s reluctance to allow Rwanda to track the FDLR near the Ugandan
border. More talks are expected in early 2020.
President Tshisekedi’s push for the three neighbours to send troops to
root out rebels from the DRC is a high-stakes gambit. It opens the
door to military operations without concurrent political
de-escalation, heightening risks that neighbours use armed
intervention in the DRC to reinforce their own proxies at the expense
of their rivals’. It could even erode the Congolese army’s internal
cohesion, particularly given the delicate potential reintegration
plans for former M23 rebels, who are susceptible to Rwandan or Ugandan
manipulation.
Rather than pursuing military operations, President Tshisekedi should
push for further talks aimed at reducing tensions among his eastern
neighbours. He should build on the Angola forum to host, with
President Lourenço, fresh talks between Rwanda and Uganda, while
seeking similar talks between Rwanda and Burundi.
Separately, the UN and the International Conference of the Great Lakes
Region (ICGLR), an intergovernmental body comprising states in the
region which is one of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework’s
guarantors, should collect and investigate evidence of support to
armed groups in the DRC. Xia Huang, the UN special envoy to the Great
Lakes, who has been instrumental in convening the Burundian, Rwandan
and Ugandan intelligence chiefs, should push the DRC’s neighbours to
give evidence they have of such support by other governments. Xia
should request that they share that evidence with the UN Group of
Experts on the DRC, which is mandated by the Security Council to
investigate allegations and publish verified evidence, and with the
Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) of the ICGLR. The EJVM is
mandated under the PSCF’s terms to investigate allegations brought by
any regional state.
Amassing evidence of support to proxies in the region and ideally
establishing a shared understanding of that support would provide a
stronger basis for the PSCF’s guarantors – comprising the UN, African
Union and the regional bloc, the Southern African Development
Community, in addition to the ICGLR – to push Great Lakes governments
to stop fuelling conflict in the DRC. Admittedly, the challenges of
verifying regional governments’ support to rebels in that country are
great. The UN expert group is minimally staffed and would struggle to
explore each and every allegation. The EJVM, which includes security
personnel from Great Lakes and other countries on the continent, is
also hamstrung by limited personnel and the internal politics of its
membership. Burundian, Rwandan and Ugandan representatives on the body
all likely would face pressure from their respective governments to
dilute findings that would reflect badly on their capitals. The UN
Security Council would need to maintain pressure on all parties to
cooperate with both the expert group’s and the EJVM’s investigations.
The U.S., UK and France can help. All three are UN Security Council
permanent members that historically have been invested in the Great
Lakes region. While they all have appointed envoys for the Great
Lakes, they could use them to greater effect by tasking them to work
together to support regional dialogue.  The envoys should also ensure
that investigations and verifications remain on track and that
political pressure is applied on Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to roll
back any support to armed groups they are found to be backing. A
collective effort at regional diplomacy based around dialogue and
appropriate verification of allegations would also relieve pressure on
MONUSCO, which has struggled for years to find a military solution to
the problem of rebels from the Great Lakes states sheltering in the
eastern DRC.
VI.
Conclusion
The Great Lakes region is increasingly on edge. Distrust is rife among
Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, all of which have connections to
insurgents in the eastern DRC. President Tshisekedi’s emphasis on
regional peacemaking deserves applause and his cooperation with Rwanda
has delivered dividends in tackling Rwandan rebels. But these efforts
should proceed alongside diplomacy aimed at stemming the
Kigali-Kampala rivalry. More broadly, Tshisekedi should rethink his
idea of inviting the three neighbours to participate in military
operations in the DRC. Instead, he should seek an agreement that
entails, first, the DRC’s eastern neighbours pledging not to back
armed groups in the DRC and, secondly, a verification mechanism for
investigating allegations of such involvement. This political track
should build on the Luanda initiative. Special Envoy Xia’s recent
diplomacy means that the UN is well placed to back all this, in line
with Secretary-General António Guterres’s pledges to emphasise
preventive diplomacy. By upping their diplomatic involvement, the
U.S., UK and France can also play useful roles.
Without such efforts, there is a real risk that growing tension will
fuel a wider regional security crisis. Were Burundian, Rwandan and
Ugandan forces given a green light for operations in the DRC, the
danger would be all the graver, raising the spectre of an interlocking
proxy war wherein each Great Lakes country is backing its rivals’
enemies.

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@Total and @TullowOilplc launch joint sale of stakes in Kenyan oil project -sources -@Reuters
Africa


* Tullow willing to sell entire 50% stake
* Total aims to reduce stake from 25% to 15%
* Project launch faces delay
* Tullow under pressure after problems in Guyana and Ghana
LONDON/ PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Total and Tullow Oil aim to reduce
their stakes in Kenya’s first oil development with a joint sale that
could see Tullow exit completely amid uncertainty over the project’s
launch, banking and industry sources said.
The two oil and gas producers have hired French bank Natixis to run
the joint sale process for Blocks 10 BA, 10 BB and 13T in the South
Lokichar Basin, the sources said.
London-listed Tullow, which operates the project, last year indicated
it intended to sell up to 20% of its 50% stake in the blocks.
However, the sources said it is now willing to sell the entire stake
after disappointing exploration results in Guyana and production
problems in Ghana that prompted the ousting of its chief executive and
wiped out nearly half of the company’s market value.
French oil major Total, meanwhile, aims to sell up to half of its 25%
stake in the Kenyan project, the sources said.
Tullow, Total and Natixis declined to comment.
The entire project is valued at between $1.25 billion to $2 billion,
but it is hard to be precise because the development has yet to
receive a final investment decision (FID), two of the sources said.
Tullow this month said it was still targeting FID by the end of 2020,
with production starting in 2022, describing the timeline as
“challenging”.
The fields already produce about 2,000 barrels of oil per day as part
of an early production system. The oil is trucked from Turkana to the
port city of Mombasa. A first cargo of 250,000 barrels was shipped on
a tanker last August.
The project partners have also agreed with the Kenyan government to
develop a crude oil pipeline from Lokichar to Lamu on Kenya’s coast.
Tullow and Toronto-listed Africa Oil, which holds a 25% stake in the
blocks, first discovered crude oil in the Lokichar basin in 2012.
Tullow estimates the fields contain 560 million barrels in proven and
probable reserves and expects them to produce up to 100,000 barrels
per day from 2022.

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This brings the cumulative remittance inflows in the full year 2019 to ($2,796 million), representing 3.7 percent growth from ($2,697 million) in 2018 @BD_Africa
Africa


Diaspora remittances rose 14.4 percent in December 2019 to Sh25.32
billion ($250.3 million) from Sh22.13 billion ($218.8 million)
recorded in November, capping a marginal increase for 2019.
“North America, Europe and the rest of the world accounted for 50
percent, 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of the total
remittances in December,” CBK’s weekly bulletin said.
This brings the cumulative inflows in the full year 2019 to Sh282.82
billion ($2,796 million), representing 3.7 percent growth from
Sh272.80 billion ($2,697 million) in 2018.
In the 12 months, inflows were highest in June at Sh29.87 billion,
declining to Sh22.71 billion in July on effect of a 10 percent tax.
However, the remittances were lowest in February at Sh20.13 billion.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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January 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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